The world is changing at a rapid rate. In this session, we talk about how we can create wellbeing in this crazy world.
Dr. A: Well welcome everybody. This is Dr. A and you’re part of the Conscious Leaders Forum and I’m glad you’re here. We’ll give an opportunity for everybody to kind of settle in and get here with us. So just to kind of set this up, the conscious forum is designed around, usually, I’ll take a theme, you can see today we’re going to talk about: How Can I Be Okay in This Crazy World? And I think we’re all asking that question and you know, we try to look outside and fix the world, get people to somehow be right, and for the world to be right, and if only this happened, and today we’re going to approach it from a very different vantage point. I talk a lot about being the Dominant Force in your life and one of the key things to understand is that the work we do inside is the work that determines the outcome. So things are going to happen. I’m not going to say that there’s not going to be pain in our lives. There always will be. That’s simply part of life.
Life is intrinsically unstable and it will have things that will create ups and downs in your life, but suffering is optional. Our ability to literally, take what happens and put ourselves in position to respond in a way that actually supports our health and our wellbeing can put us in position to truly change our health in our life. So with that, how can I be okay in this crazy world? You know, the key to happiness for most has remained elusive. People think, “Well if I have enough of this or enough of that.” “If I have a nicer house.” “If I can keep up with the neighbors.” “If only this happened and I only got a raise,” and so we look all the time outside of us to find if we’re happy, and what we’re going to do today is really spend some time focusing on inside and how we can respond and every one of us, that’s the great thing, every one of us has the ability to do this. There’s nothing I’m going to tell you today to create wellbeing and potential happiness that you don’t have control over already.
You have control over all these things. It’s just important to understand how that works, why it works, to have the knowledge, and then to start practicing and exercising in a way that allows it to become a reality. So, bottom line is, “I am not enough as I am.” Most of us stay from that vantage point. We’re taught since little kids to have more, to be more. Success, you know, it’s whispered— it’s almost like someone whispers in our ear when we’re really little: success, and all the things that are necessary. That, “As I am right now isn’t enough,” and the reality is, of the things that appear to be in the way of me having that success, or being happy, or having everything I need or want, it’s about letting go. It’s about realizing that those things do not determine your success, your happiness. What determines that is an inside job.
So let’s focus on that. Humans have three core wants. If you break it down, I mean we can subset these, but mostly, humans have three core things that they want. They want security, they want approval, and they want control. So let’s talk about each one of them. Security: security is probably the most primordial thing that we want as humans. Right from when we’re very, very little we want to be secure. We want to be sheltered. We want to have food. We want to have the basics, and we want to be part of something that protects us. Really, security translates to safety. We want those things that are important for our survival. If we go back 10,000 years ago, that was one of the most important things, that being part of a tribe provided for you— security.
The next: approval. We want approval and we know that if we have approval and people like us, that if we’re in the— I’m going back to the tribe, just to show why it’s organized this way— is if we had approval and we were part of the gang then we had security, and so approval was really, really important for us. It’s important for belonging as humans, being together. One of the reasons why the world is so dysfunctional right now is because many people feel lonely. They don’t feel connected. They don’t feel that human interaction, that bond that occurs, and they feel like they don’t have enough approval, and they feel irrelevant, and that they’re not important and they’re not on the inside. They’re actually on the outside looking in, and then the third is control. If you can’t get security, and you can’t get approval, then you try to control. Everything. You try to control people, things, what you do in your daily life, and the reality is, all three of these things are things that are important to us but the way we look at them makes all the difference. So we kind of think it’s out there. Right? That outside of this there are things that can give us security, give us approval, and give us control, and if we could only find them— and then the other part is: if only. “If only my boss would see how good my work is, I would get a raise.” “If only my child would listen to me, I would be in control and be able to help them.” If only. If only. If only. Wanting implies lacking.
So, it’s not that these things aren’t important. That we need or want things, but when we want them, it implies we’re lacking. It implies that we have something that we don’t have. That we don’t have enough security. We don’t have enough approval, and we don’t have enough control. So, it’s the root of all suffering. As I mentioned, there are going to be things— life has got ups and downs and we’re going through a lot of those right now in our lives because the world is changing rapidly, but the reality is, those pains are transient. They occur. They’re part of life, but when we dwell on them and we now want something different, that’s the root of all suffering. So we want to start, and this work was done, some of this work was done by Hale Dwoskin, who’s a guy that created a method called The Sedona Method. He talks about welcoming, but welcoming is whatever you are feeling to be in this moment, in a polite and friendly way. In other words, when we welcome somebody, we basically welcome them and greet them, instead of getting dysfunctional and repressing, or suppressing, or getting all upset and going into a cognitive emotive loop. When we sense something’s happening in our life, we’re feeling something, if we just let it be. If we just welcome it, the feeling, because feelings will come and go, and just like we’ve talked about so many times before, our thoughts and our feelings are not us. They are simply part of our persona, our personal mind, our ego, that has a mind of its own and it’s functioning out there, but it’s not who we are.
It is simply just like our body. It’s basically things that are part of our world, but when we feel those things, it’s important to welcome them. Not repress them or get rid of them because if we do that— they’re kind of like stripes on the road. If you think of when you’re driving your car down the road and there are the stripes that divide the lane, do you think about those? Do you remember those? No. If you actually let whatever comes up come up, fully allow it to express itself, and just let it be with it, versus grabbing onto it and then all of a sudden make it a big deal, basically, it’ll go away. So let go of the need to control and possess something. We simply think if we control, we grab something, we have it, that we have more control and that we can do a better job than actually what’s going on, and the reality is all it does is causes suffering. So as you let go and find the truth of who you really are you’ll be effortlessly more happy. It doesn’t require you to go into a cave up in the mountains, go to the Far East, read 30 books on meditation and meditate. It simply is this relationship we have with ourselves.
Where when something’s happening, we notice it and we just let it happen. We will find that by learning that skill set, we’ll talk about it a little bit later, and then hopefully some people will have some examples they’ll want to share, but as you let go the mind gets quieter. You’ll feel it. I feel it sometimes. You know, you’ll be in traffic or something and someone cuts in front of you— I had somebody pull, literally, right in front of me the other day and I felt this feeling at first. A little bit of threat. You know, the fight or flight, and then I felt a little irritated, and I thought, “Take a deep breath and let it go,” and then within a minute I’m driving down the road and I’m back thinking of something very creative, very positive that’s going on in my life. My daughter’s getting married this weekend and so lots of cool things happened. In fact, I just had this with her because she’s all stressed out, and I said, “Hey, you’re only getting married once and this week, in preparation, enjoy every feeling, every moment. Yeah, the anxiety that you’re having is simply that you’re trying— you’re fearful about something going wrong. It’s going to be fine. You’re going to get married. You’re marrying the love of your life. All those things are actually a bonus. Enjoy them.” So, it’s really an inside job of how we respond to the things that are happening. So simply allowing the mind to do its own thing.
If you notice it, we have a tendency to get trapped. I talk about getting in the river, in the rapids. When you’re in the rapids and you’re flowing down you have no ability to get out, and you’re fighting for your survival. If you let your mind affect you and those feelings become— you grab on to those feelings, you start down the rabbit hole, and pretty soon you can’t escape it, and you’re in what we talk about all the time, the Drama Triangle. You’re now either the victim, the villain, or the hero in that scenario and that will change and once that happens, the limbic area, the reactive area of your brain is involved, and you will be tense. You’ll be worried. You’ll be anxious, but bottom line is, knowing the mind has its own thing and it will start to right itself, because if you’re not buying into it and you’re remaining conscious and aware, those things will happen out here [Dr. A points away from himself]. They don’t happen in here [Dr. A points to himself], where you are. You’re the seed of consciousness, of the awareness of everything around you, but if you allow your mind to take over, a personal mind will take over, and it’ll feed you a story. It’ll create worry. It’ll say, “You do not have enough security in this situation— you need more. You need more approval.” “Why didn’t that person look at you? You said, ‘Hi’ and they didn’t respond,” and pretty soon it’s creating a whole story about why you need to create control to help, and literally all of it is nonsense. It’s actually, really not something that helps us in any way, shape, or form.
[00:10:24] So you’ll find the mind becomes friendly, and there’s enough for everyone, and so moving from the world which has a scarcity mentality, where we don’t have enough. “I need more,” and the personal mind and the ego say, “I need more. I need more control. I need more approval. I need more security,” and you go out and buy the most sophisticated alarm system, and you carry guns, and you do all these things thinking it’s going to give you more security, but if you’re in the mindset that you’re not secure, you don’t have security, and you’re wanting, and you’re going to suffer. There’s not enough, even if you put gun turrets around your house, it’s not going to be enough. So if we just allow the mind to do its own thing then you’ll realize that we do have enough. Most of us live in a sea of if only. If only we had more money. If only we had better relationships. If only we had more toys, then we would be happy and hopefully, that resonates with all of us because we’ve all been there.
Hey, I’ve been there. I remember back when I was a fellow in Miami, in critical care, and I was making $14,000 a year. I love sailing and I wanted a sailboat and I remember looking down saying, “God, I can’t wait for that to happen,” and it did happen and I love sailing, but I love sailing. It’s something I enjoyed and it brought me great happiness. It wasn’t that, “Oh, I need to get a bigger boat,” other than when I started sailing across the ocean, we had to go up a little bit more in size, but it wasn’t getting it so that all of a sudden I had more, it was that this is something that was important to me. So, it’s important to reflect on where we are today versus where we were 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and how we really, probably have more than we need. So if you notice that when you postpone your happiness like, “Oh, if I only do this,” or “When I get this,” then when you want something, you’ll never seem to get it. It seems like that thing that you wanted— I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the stories in the sailing world, because they write articles where somebody was working their whole life and then they were going to retire and sail around the world and yet by the time they retired they were so fried, so totally burned out, so they ended up dying rather than going around the world because they kept postponing their happiness, waiting for the world to be just this certain way.
So, as you will see, most of us have it backwards. We think we don’t have what we want because we haven’t wanted it bad enough, but the exact opposite is true. You know, “If I want it more I’ll get it.” “If I need it more I’ll get it,” but really that’s not true. The more you let go of wanting, the more you feel like you have, because want doesn’t equal having. Want is a feeling that, “I can’t have” or “I don’t have it.” It’s a feeling of lack. It’s a scarcity mentality. It is actually one of the core areas of why we suffer. So, when you can see that, and let go of wanting, you can let go and have it all. Start constantly releasing all that wanting. “I’m now in flow and I start creating.” When we change that orientation of the mind we go from suffering, we go from anxiety, we go from fear-based, and we move into the creative process. Into creating. Into enjoying. To collaborating, and co-creating with others. See, it’s when we’re competitive that it’s about us and about what we have is compared to what they have and the reality is, if you look around the world, and look to many of the countries of the world, the average person makes like $3 to $10 a day, and you know, we’re fighting over whether our $20,000 bonus was really big enough, and if you look in that perspective, you realize, “I really do have what I need.”
So once you let go of wanting, life starts flowing. Life goes from a very different perspective. You know that all is well, and the other thing to remember is you don’t— “I don’t have enough time.” Well, the only thing you have is this very moment. I’m really enjoying this and I’m excited about getting some of your inputs and your questions because I know that if we really examine— Socrates said it, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I think that’s profound because if we really examine our lives, we live in the middle of— 99.9% of the universe is a void. There’s nothing in it, and we’ve got the Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Telescope that are showing us we have billions of galaxies all over and yet we have not found life anywhere yet. I mean, I’m not saying there isn’t, but we haven’t found it yet, and we get to live on this bright blue planet. Where in the morning the birds sing and you could have great relationships, and you can watch what’s going on on the other side of the world on this screen in front of us, and you can have amazing music. We can drive cars that drive themselves. I mean there’s just so many amazing things that we have if we just change our perspective and say, “You know what? I have what I need. I have what I need right now.”
So true freedom only comes when you decide you don’t want to suffer anymore and all suffering is about lack. Hopefully, that makes sense. So what we want to do is practice not closing. When something’s happening in your day and it’s something that you start to sense, all you have to do is shift from where you’re going, which was downwards, becoming this suffering, this cognitive emotive loop where we’re worrying about it, or thinking about it, and getting all stressed out about it, versus just observing it, right? Not closing. Not letting it happen and what’s a great thing, is when you’re happy, when you sense happiness, sense, “Why do I feel happy?” And you know in that feeling, that feeling is at that moment, you are not lacking security, you are not lacking approval, and you’re not lacking control. You’re in— that’s where your whole life can be. Simply by flipping the switch and now just observing your personal mind doing its own thing, and as it’s doing its own thing, you’re not paying attention. It’s kind of like when you have someone that pushes your triggers, if you respond to them, they’re going to push your triggers more, right?
They’re going to push you. Like playing a banjo, they’re going to play the strings that get you upset or get you, whatever it is, and what you have to do is just say, “You know what? I’m going to observe that, but I’m not going to respond to it.” The same thing with our personal mind all we need to do is start observing it and practice, practice, practice. So stress: Wow. What an opportunity to relax. So if you start feeling stress, like I did when that person pulled in front of me, I just took a really deep breath and you could feel it— that stress response, by the way, is a safety mechanism designed by your body and your mind to protect you from real threats. 10,000 years ago you had real threats all day long. You had creatures that could come eat you, and bite you, and sting you, and plants that could hurt you, and poison you. So those were things that were designed, but most of the things we have today in our life are us reacting using those same mechanisms basically, for something that’s perceived. Usually, our personal mind is feeling that, “I wasn’t getting approved.” “They didn’t respect me.” In this situation, “I didn’t feel secure,” or the other is basically, “I need to control that better because of what happened there. I didn’t expect that,” and the reality is: you have very little control over what happens outside of you, but you have full control.
So we want to start observing, and these stressful periods should be like energy bars. It’s just like, you know, we talk about the obstacle being the way. It’s a great opportunity for us to take something that’s an impediment to where we want to go and use it as an opportunity to grow, to learn, to be curious, and have that childhood curiosity that allows us to say, “Hm, why is this happening? What’s happening here and how can I use this to effectively build that strength? Those muscles, those exercise muscles, where I become aware and I’m not caught up. I’m not being triggered by it. The banjo is not being plucked on me. I’m not going to let that happen. I am actually— I have enough. I am enough and I am in position to, in this moment”— because remember, all stress comes from worry about the future, which is not here, or concern, or anxiety about, or something from the past. In the moment, if you think about it, you are enough and you have enough.
What if in this moment right now— and I want us to spend just a moment thinking about if right now, in this moment there’s nothing that needs to be done. We can simply relax and observe and say, “Wow. I’m in this forum with like-minded people that”— You’re here because you want to improve. You know, life may not be fully okay, and listen, it’s not okay for any of us. It’s moving on its own and we just happen to be this one of eight billion people that have their own orientation that we come from, but thinking that we, our personal mind is in control of making everything around us good and work right is crazy! It’s not going to happen and if that’s how we take that orientation, and we let our personal mind, and let it get us anxious, let it get us worried, if we stay in that fearful state, that, “I don’t have enough. If only this happened.” Then we will not be happy and we will suffer every day of our lives. But you have the opportunity to realize that all of these things happening are not you. You are simply the awareness that’s seeing these things happen and you have complete control over that.
[00:20:17] So there are things in your life you’re trying to push away and others you’re trying to pull towards you. We have this every day. This is the foundation of stress and anxiety and the question is, is it worth it? Is it worth not being able to sleep at night because you’re so worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow? Is it worth getting upset at somebody that, bottom line, says something to you? Basically, if someone says something, it’s not about you. It’s about them. You’re simply being respondent. I like to use the analogy that somebody comes up and shoots you. It’s not about you. I mean it’s going to hurt, but it’s about them, and so basically, once we start to understand that the barbs that we get people that say stuff to us, and do stuff to us, it’s not about us. How we respond to that determines how much sanity we have inside and whether we’re suffering with anxiety.
So, I like to say it this way, honor the flow of life. We’re here for a blink of an eye compared to how long— the Earth’s been here for 4.5 billion years. We’re here for— if we’re lucky, and we’re learning the Habits of Health, and we’re learning to be healthy, and by the way, the most important thing on living a longer, healthier life is what we’re talking about right now. Our emotional mismanagement, our inability to deal with the effectual things that happen to us in life is the leading cause of death in the world, and I stand on that, and I know that to be because I know so many people that they have the secondary things they’ve created— they’re overweight or obese, they have cardiovascular disease, they have diabetes, and those things are related secondarily, yes, to how we eat and how much we exercise, but primarily the thing that causes those impacts are that we are not okay.
We need. We want. We desire, and when we have those things, we’ll be okay, but bottom line is, if we realize that we’re okay as we are and that we now move out, and go get the things that we’ve made goals to have, but knowing that we don’t need them, we simply have what we need right now is critical. So I always like to show the slide [references a slide on screen]. This is the goal. The goal in your life is to know this— people go, you know, I know sailors that sail around the world by themselves to get away from humanity, but for most of us that live in the world, we interact with humans, with our families, with our friends, with different people in society and the more we can build internal stability— and that’s what I’ve been talking about today, where things that happen to us that come in, we’re able to recognize them, and if we start to feel a certain way, we can recognize like, “Oh, right now I’m sad,” and it’s okay to be sad, but if you internalize that and now it becomes a cognitive motive loop, it can lead to depression and basically, bottom line is it’s not necessary.
I mean, I’m not saying— if something happens, if you lose a spouse, I lost a spouse, and there’s a period of sadness and grieving that goes on which are natural, but to completely internalize that and make that kind of who you are and your identity, “Oh, I’m a widow now.” Bottom line is, it doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve anybody and it doesn’t respect the person you lost. The person you lost— if you know my background, Lori, my best friend, I mean, I think about her every day and she’s an important part of my kids and I see her in my kids. My mom’s here right now for the wedding and we talk about Lori and the great moments we’ve had. She left an indelible impression, but we look at that with joy. We don’t look at that with, “Oh gosh. Woes me.” I’m not a victim. I am simply somebody who had something happen and now how I respond to it and celebrate her life is important. So bottom line, what that allows for my daughters externally is to build equilibrium. When they know that they can be sad in the moment and then we can laugh, like Erica had her friends here this weekend and we had a moment talking about her mom and then Savannah got into it and we laughed for like 10 minutes about a wonderful situation of us together. So that’s how you build internal stability and external equilibrium. So with that, let’s open it up for Q&A. Let’s take this down [referring to ending the slideshow on screen]. I guess I could do that. Stop share. Okay. Great.
Rachel: All right, first up we have Nancy.
Dr. A: Great. Hey, Nanc!
Rachel: Nancy can you come off mute and turn on your camera? There you are.
Nancy: Can you see me?
Dr. A: I see you.
Nancy: How are you, Dr. A?
Dr. A: I am great.
Nancy: It’s been a while since I’ve asked a question.
Dr. A: What you got?
Nancy: So, I loved your opening statement and you were talking about connectedness and I’d like to know what suggestions you have for us on how, one: to be more connected ourselves, and how to encourage other people to be more connected.
Dr. A: Yeah.
Nancy: I mean, after Covid and retiring, and having more time, I’m finding that a lot of people haven’t come out of that yet, so I’m looking for practical solutions.
Dr. A: I love that. So you know, Covid was an interesting phenomenon because we kind of were sleepwalking through life and all of a sudden this huge thing happened. We had a common adversary, right? All of us now were isolated and we spent time internally with our families, but we kind of hunkered down out of protection and bottom line, that was the idea of creating security, right? Protecting ourself. Creating security. Creating— most approval and connection occurred through the internet, through Zoom, and stuff like this where we would connect virtually and then obviously if we talk about control, we look to control our environment so we weren’t exposed to the virus, right? You know, obviously— and people, by the way, a lot of the— just to show you how this works— a lot of the controversies with the masks and stuff are people not wanting a governmental agency to control them, right? There’s a desire not to be controlled, even to the point where sometimes people did stuff that might have been thought to be a little crazy, and that’s the personal mind at work, and that’s saying inside here, “I’m not letting anybody take control.” Even if in that circumstance— and we’re not going to get into masks, or the virus, or immunizations, because they’re all— basically, everybody has different views and perspectives on it, but when people would do things that may not have been in the best interest for their own families because they didn’t want to be controlled.
So that shows the personal mind works. When we feel a lack of control, and I think a lot of us [unintelligable 00:27:19] the world felt all of a sudden, I mean, I showed a picture in one of my talks, New York City, in the middle of the day, the streets were empty. I mean, it was like one of those science-fiction movies, right? Because bottom line is, we went into isolation. So coming out of— and by the way, it’s still here, you know, there’s still, this season, the CDC’s talking about wearing masks and getting your boosters and stuff, so there’s a baseline level of that that still exists. The most important thing is the human connection. Our feeling, when we talk about approval, approval and belonging, being part of something, humans connecting with each other, is such an important piece of our wellbeing. If you look at it, what do they do with criminals or people that have really bad behavior? They put them in isolation, right? They put them— take them away from the human experience, and it’s probably the highest version of suffering. The only thing probably higher than that is sleep deprivation, where they don’t allow you to sleep and then your body has no chance for recovery.
So the bottom line is, it starts with yourself. It starts with yourself realizing that— you know what? In this moment Nancy, in this moment, I have everything I need. Right? I mean, think about it right now, you’re sitting there writing. You’re creating. You’re open. You’re curious. You want to learn. Just that mindset, don’t you feel good right now?
Nancy: Yes, and I remind myself of that. I remember the first time I heard you say that there’s nothing wrong with us, and everything we need is inside of us. We just need help pulling it out.
Dr. A: Yeah. Yeah, and most of the help comes from yourself. It really is starting— you know, it’s funny because we know we should exercise more, we know we should walk more, we know we should eat healthier, and hopefully, most of us are working in that direction, but if our personal mind is taken over and we’re suffering, it’s competing for what—you know, our prefrontal cortex, our human mind, our abstract mind knows what we need to do, but our suffering inside is why we don’t do it. I mean, I’ve been helping people— I move from critical care to helping people create health in their life over 20 years ago now and yet I see the biggest impediment to that is the personal mind getting in the way. It’s actually, the personal mind always wants something because it’s competing with the external world. It always says, “Oh, they have a bigger house.” Right? “They have a better job. They’re lucky. They’re healthier,” and those are all things the personal mind is putting out there which are competing that we have a lack. It’s our lack, our scarcity mentality, our need to compete with the people around us that creates our suffering.
We’re going to have pain in our lives. Thats just the way it is. We all go from birth to death. We all lose people that are important to us. We all have things happen in our jobs and our situations. We have floods. You know, I live in the hurricane belt and you know we get whacked, and I have friends that, including myself, I mean, I got whacked when I was living in Annapolis by a hurricane and it took out our first level. We lived in the second level of the house with mud and crabs inside our house after the hurricane. Things are going to happen and if we look at ourselves at being at the effect of those things, that those things are determining whether we’re happy or not, we’re going to be suffering our whole lives and what I’m saying is simply, it’s a change in perspective, it’s a change in orientation. It’s understanding that your personal mind was designed to keep you safe.
[00:30:53] It also is important for you to do routines. You know, I wrote several books on habits and in those books we do things with habits so we don’t have to think about everything, because when we think it requires more energy in our brain and it’s one of the adaptive reflexes we have for living. When you drive your car, when you first learn, you have to know where the brake is. You have to know where the turn signal is. All that stuff has to be learned and it’s difficult. Now, after you’ve driven the car for a while, you drive it automatically. You don’t even think about it, but the bottom line is— and that’s the same thing with our patterns. We get stuck in patterns, of how the world should be and we continue those for our whole life and here’s the wakeup message: it used to be you could get away with some of those, but now with the current world we live in, with data mining, companies are now using artificial intelligence, and if you’re sleepwalking and just going through your day not thinking and being aware, and focusing on becoming aware, that what you’re thinking and feeling are not you, but are being put there by these companies that are making you feel good when you do this or feel bad when you do this, we’re going to be controlled. Just like in The Matrix. Just like becoming human batteries and we’re going to be completely a victim to the world. So this work has never been more important. It’s never been highlighted more and it’s time for us to fully take control of that. So, is that helpful?
Nancy: Yes and I wanted to thank you for mentioning The Sedona Method. I learned about that years ago when I needed to have knee replacement and was so worried about uncertainty and that process of letting go has been life-changing for me. So thank you.
Dr. A: No, that’s really— I mean, bottom line is, I am a prodigious reader of everything that’s out there and then what I try to do is assimilate in a way that makes it really practical and easy, because a lot of these ideas, you know, they’re not new ideas. We’re just putting them in a way where we can use them and I make sure they’re based in science, but not voiced in science, so they become practical for us. Yeah. Hale has done a lot of good work there. I mean there’s things that they do that may be controversial, but what we try to do is take the essence of, how we can create tools to help us conduct ourselves and exercises we can do to practice, because you can go to the gym and you can get a trainer, but there’s not too many that are doing what we’re doing right here. Where we’re really working on: How can we give you things to help you start to feel that you are becoming the Dominant Force? So no matter what’s happening outside of you, you have full control already. You have full approval already, and you have full security already inside of you. In this moment, everything is okay.
In fact, let’s just do that for a second. Let’s have everybody just take a moment and take a really deep breath [Dr. A and Nancy take a deep breath], and just feel, how are you in this moment? When you’re not thinking of, “Oh, I got to go to the dentist,” or “I got to go do this,” or “tonight I have to do this.” If we, just for a moment, in the moment, be fully aware and we do that many times a day, what it does is it allows you to be calm and it also gives you this perspective where when you hear that voice in your head talking or you feel those feelings, you realize they’re not you. They are simply a response mechanism from your body or your mind, from your personal mind.
See our abstract mind, when we— like Einstein. I like to use that example. Einstein says, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” because in imagination we’re using this area in our brain [Dr. A gestures to forehead] and I mean look at some of the stuff we’re doing. I drive a car that can drive itself now. It’s also the fastest car in the world and it’s not a sports car, it’s a sedan. So that was designed by one man’s idea that he could do it better with a white piece of paper and not worry about all the other things going on. So that’s— we each have that. We all have this part of us, but we spend so much time in the personal mind suffering that we don’t activate this. We’re not in a creative state. We’re in a reactive, fear-based state versus really, really using this area. See when we can become calm and observe and say, “Okay, my personal mind is acting up right now,” and just observe it, kind of even laugh at it, then it’s not affecting us and now we can go right back to what we were creating. We can go right back to having great conversations with the people around us. We can go right back to basically, moving from that drama to the empowerment triangle.
Nancy: I love it.
Dr. A: Cool.
Nancy: Thank you.
Dr. A: You’re so welcome.
Nancy: Thank you for being you.
Dr. A: Thanks. All right. Who’s next, Rach?
Rachel: All right. Next up we have Gareth. Gareth, can you come on camera? There you are.
Dr. A: Hey, Gareth.
Gareth: Okay. So, hello. So my question is, I have back pain, and it’s pretty much chronic now and my question is, how can I be okay if I have chronic pain that causes me not to be able to sleep, making errors on my job, and you know, just affecting my mental outlook on life? You know, how can I be okay with that? Because the other day, I was throwing things down and then I kicked them when they hit the floor. Mad at my wife and everything else. Just mad. Just because I was in so much pain, you know?
Dr. A: Yeah. No, I mean, I get that and I know. I have people very close to me who have chronic back pain and it’s tough. Again, pain we’re going to have in our lives. Suffering, we don’t have to have. So here’s what I’d love you to think about, see and this is not a mind game. This is actually real, but right now, it’s going to be tough for you to swallow what I’m gonna say, but, is it okay if I tell you? Give you a different perspective.
Gareth: It’s okay.
Dr. A: Okay, and I mean this with caring, you don’t have pain. Your conscience doesn’t have pain. Your body has pain. Okay? Your body’s painful. You’ve had whatever happened to create that, so you have the ability to move outside of that and look at it, and what happens is, your frustration, because you’re irritable, and because you’re not sleeping. Listen, when I don’t sleep well, I know it’s harder. So I’m not in any way minimizing the stuff you’re going through, but what I would say is, you have the ability to become the Dominant Force, and what I mean by that is if you can remove yourself from your body and actually sense— that’s why, by the way, when we talk about meditation or breathing, we do that breathing exercises, so you recognize that that’s not you. Your body is not you. Your consciousness, which separates you from everything else out there, your consciousness, your awareness, it’s like shining a light.
So if you’re shining a light, like for instance, if I look outside and I’m looking out at nature, I can see this expansive— I see the blue sky. I see the ocean. I see the palm trees. I see the windows. I see my telescope to look out at the stars. I see a plant, but then if I look right here, and I look right at you, I see you. Okay? So think of your conscience as being a flashlight. You can make it broad or you can make it very specific. When we do math as an example, we’re taking our consciousness and we’re focusing on that math problem, right? So then we go, “Okay. Easy, 3 + 12. Right. Okay, 15.” We have to think about that. All right. What I’m saying is the first step in helping you is to recognize and realize that if you can basically take your focus off of your body and off of your pain, you’ll start sensing and seeing that you’re not your pain. Does that make sense?
Gareth: It does [crosstalk 00:39:21].
Dr. A: It’s theoretical. Yeah, because you’re immersed in it. You know you’re immersed in that and you’re focused. Your spotlight, your flashlight, is focused on that pain and what I’m saying is you have this incredible brilliant mind, your abstract mind, and you can start not focusing on it and focusing on the other things going on, and it’ll be like this, it’s like turning the temperature down, right? See if you’re frustrated and you’re and— listen this is something that’s— I’m not saying this is easy. It actually is really easy, but you’ve— how long have you had bad back pain?
Gareth: It’s been about three years and eight months or so. I got into an accident and I have shift worker sleep disorder, a bunch of things coming off of that.
Dr. A: Okay. So I want to make sure, you’re dealing with a real circumstance and I’m not trying to minimize it but you asked me, how can I be better for my wife? How can I be better, not get so frustrated? Right? Because then how you do that is you recognize— you know, I always talk about this and actually we’ve been talking about it, but if you can remove yourself from that personal mind, your personal mind is having the pain— your body is having the pain, and it’s conversing with your personal mind and it’s saying, I’m irritated right now and I’m gonna take it out— and by the way, we take it out on the people we love the most because we get away with it. If we did that with friends, they’d say go pound sand, right?
[00:40:52] So it requires you to take a different perspective. Stop shining your flashlight on it and shine your flashlight on, you know— take the moment. If you’re having a bad day or something, focus on that. You know, obviously do the things, work with pain specialists, do all the things that you would normally do, obviously, whatever is necessary there, but start working on here [Dr. A points to his forehead]. That, I’m going to stop giving it center focus. Right now you’re making it main stage. You’re making it main stage actually over your relationship with your wife. Make sense?
Gareth: It does.
Dr. A: So, making a main stage like— you’re sitting in the car and you’re with yourself and start saying, “Okay. It’s a beautiful day.” There’s other things going on, and understand that your mind, if you focus on the good things, the positive things, the things that bring you joy, you’ll see it will minimize the effect of the pain, and if you’re getting ready— so what I’m always about is my surroundings. So if I want to not eat chocolate chip cookies, the best thing I can do is not bring them in the house. Right? Don’t get them at the grocery store. Same thing here. If I want to have a great relationship with my wife, don’t you know— if I’m having a bad day and I’m hurting, make sure I spend some time alone stretching, doing the things that my doctors recommend. Do all those things, but then say, “You know what? Part of the joy in my life is my relationship with my wife?” So then make a conscious effort to focus on that awareness, and how much you love and care about her, and being respectful to that and not encumber her with your own stuff, because remember, we all have our own stuff. She doesn’t need your stuff on her stuff, because then what that does is that creates dysfunction in your relationship, and there’s someone who loves and cares very much for you and you want her to be supportive and really work together with her. Is that helpful?
Gareth: It is and I am following some doctor’s orders they want me to to seek out different things because they’re saying it doesn’t look like my back is actually causing the pain, it may be neurological, and so they want me to seek some help with that— seeing a neurologist and all that. So [crosstalk 00:43:08].
Dr. A: Oh, no. That’s great.
Gareth: It does help me.
Dr. A: Yeah, that’s the sematic part, okay? That’s the part you’re dealing with in your body. I’m a physician, so I know what you’re talking about. I had three partners that were pain specialists, so I understand what you’re going through. What I’m saying is that you are the commander, the CEO of your mind, your brain, your consciousness and I’m saying just— and think about the flashlight analogy because it’s actually pretty profound. It’s simple, but it’s profound. If you don’t shine a light on that– if you minimize it– if you’re not getting secondary gain from it, if you’re not using it to have you feel sorry for yourself and have others feel sorry for you, right? If you take that out of the equation and focus on the things you want in your life, you, along with obviously, getting good medical care, I mean that’s outside the scope of what we’re talking— and, by the way, here’s the second part. Here’s the second part, is if you need, go see somebody. This is not psychotherapy we’re doing. We’re simply talking about how— we’re exploring, we’re examining how we are. I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m not a psychotherapist. If that can help you as well, then go get that help, but I’m saying, personally, what we’ve talked about [crosstalk 00:44:21]. See you’re smiling now. You got on the call [00:44:24] because I think you start to realize that you do have some control here, right?
Gareth: Yes and that’s the other thing, they’re asking me to see a psychiatrist and so I’m going to [crosstalk 00:44:36]. I’ve got some appointments coming up with them so.
Dr. A: Awesome.
Gareth: I mean, I’m trying to do everything I can to take care of myself, get back to work.
Dr. A: Awesome. No. I love that. I love that, and here’s the thing, the more you say that I’m responsible and take that radical responsibility, the better you’ll get because remember, everybody has their own stuff, right? Your stuff is your stuff, and the more you can release that and use the multiple ways. One is: decrease the pain by having a neurologist with you. Two is: you have a psychotherapist or psychiatrist work with you, and three is: yourself personally. Start focusing on what you want to create in your life.
Gareth: Yes, sir.
Dr. A: All right, buddy. Thanks, man
Gareth: Thank you.
Dr. A: You’re welcome. Okay, what else do we have?
Rachel: All right. Next up we have Shawnna. Shawnna, can you come on camera? There you are.
Dr. A: Hey, Shawnna.
Shawnna: Hey, Dr. Anderson. How are you?
Dr. A: I’m great!
Shawnna: I love that your [crosstalk 00:45:36]
Dr. A: I got my mom here, it couldn’t be any better.
Shawnna: I love that. Hello, mom! I wanted to ask, you know, everything that you are sharing on how to move from wanting, fear scarcity, and then to be in the creation and being the creator, there just seems to be a shift happening globally that’s a little bit bigger than what we’ve been used to and a big pattern for just kind of like, the history of our world. So one thing I’m learning is I tend to absorb all forms of energy and I’m working on consciously recognizing this, and really deciding is this expansive or draining for me when that happens. So my question is, how is as a human, or someone who cares, or as a coach, can I stay aligned and focused on my vision, my mission, while being open and curious with people who come to me for guidance?
Dr. A: Yeah. Yeah, so remember— that’s a great question by the way, and actually, I meant to say that to one of the earlier people. The idea is that we want to be careful not to interject or to project, right? We want to be ourselves. So to maintain that impartiality and to be fully deep listening for others, but not absorb that energy ourselves. We have a tendency to do that because we’re empathetic. We care. We’re compassionate, but in your own journey is to recognize— there is a difference between compassion and pity, by the way, right? Huge difference. Like Gareth, I basically, I don’t pity him. He had something happen to him and I have compassion for that, and I want to make sure he understands that he has something real going on, but also, he’s not a victim to that. The victimhood is different than— he was a victim and that he was in an accident, but after that victimhood is a state of the mind. I watched his energetics during that period when we were talking, get better. He was grateful and smiling at the end. Not feeling sorry for himself, right? And that’s the key part.
So for you, I love that you’re working on energetics because the energetics of scarcity are one of competition, they’re fear-based, and they create retraction. Everything gets smaller. Basically, I have enough security. I have enough control, and I have enough approval right now in this moment, as we sit here and talk. Then that allows you to go into a very different perspective. A very different state. One of creativity. One of calm. One of being that everything is good, right? And that switch, those energetics, what happens is, it opens your heart. When you don’t have this stored trauma pushing stuff down and keeping this, all this energy inside of you and resisting, and repressing, and suppressing, and we actually welcome when something comes up like that in our own lives and actually be curious about it and we let it just flow and do its own thing, you’ll find that it’ll be gone. That’s why we talk about taking— if you sense an emotion, there are five basic emotions and everything’s a subset of that, and if you’re sad then sense that sadness, feel it, and then it’ll release. But if you then, if it becomes chronic and you’re focusing on that and “woes me.” You’re saying, “I’m a victim,” then it becomes depression, right?
And we have full control. In fact, there’s some people that say that even grieving, if we truly know how to switch, we can create grieving, you know, get over grieving like that [Dr. A snaps his fingers], because if we recognize the thing we lost is still with us, and part of us, and actually part of our culmination of all we are, then we can celebrate it, versus grieve the loss of it. Does that make sense?
Shawnna: Yeah, it does make sense and I have been recognizing when I do absorb this energy and sometimes I have to like, talk through it with myself. Like, is this real? Is this mine? But I’m seeing the impact you know, in just my small piece of this global world or this universe. You know, people are coming for guidance, but that fear is so big right now because things have shifted so much in the past couple years, and it’s like, I’m wanting to learn, and I’m curious and open to learning. How can I strengthen my consciousness to be present with them as they are coming to me for guidance?
Dr. A: Right. That absolutely— and here’s the— for everybody listening, it’s never been more important to stop sleepwalking. To become awake, aware of your consciousness and focus on it every day. In fact, it puts you in position to be more successful in all areas of life. So I want to make sure when I talk about security, control and approval, I’m not saying those things aren’t great to have. I’m just saying when we perceive that we don’t have them and we feel like we’re lacking them, that’s where all the trouble and suffering occurs, right? So where we are now, I mean, the bottom line is, when I was a fellow, when I was talking about making $14,000 a year, I was great because I was fully learning to become a clinical care physician and I was absorbed with it and I didn’t care about the rest of the things, because that’s what my focus was. I was shining my light. Those are the things I value most. I wanted to become a really good physician and I didn’t need those other things.
[00:51:06] We actually, if we really think about it, right now, this is an exercise everybody should do. Write down right now, “What am I lacking?” Because what am I actually lacking in terms of those three key areas? In terms of security, in terms of— because if we look at where we live— I took the girls gorilla trekking in Rwanda and we were in a little town that’s right next to where the gorillas are up in the mountains and if you want to look at perspective, I mean about what they have and what they don’t have. They have one cow that’s given to them by the state government. That’s the one thing that’s given to them and then their role is to keep that cow healthy so it can produce milk and allow them to feed their kids. And there’s such a lack of grass that they’re having to move and walk the cow like three miles to find a patch of grass. I mean, and yet they’re smiling. The big smiles on their face. They’re not lacking and if you look at their world versus our world— so the whole point is that we have enough and in those energetics what happens is it allows your heart— but your role is to know that everybody has their own perspective.
All eight billion of us have a very different perspective on life. We all have different life experiences and when someone’s sharing them, our role— that’s why I created Stop. Challenge. Choose. All I want people to start off is realizing that they’re not on automatic pilot. They don’t have to respond to everything that they’re the victim, they have no control because that’s what victimhood is about. It’s about that, “I have no control over,” [unintelligible 00:52:49]. If only, right? “If only my boss would do this” The reality is, you don’t need to go anywhere if you already have everything you need here, right? And you don’t need to have anything when everything you really need is already here. So that’s how life is and if we come from that perspective, all the other things are bonus. Listen, I love the ocean. I love to have the fortune enough to— I came from a family that was relatively– we didn’t have much, but we enjoyed life, and now I can walk on the beach and it’s great, but it’s not the part— if something happened and I had to live three blocks to the beach, I can still walk to the beach, right? So I think it’s all about— we only have control over three things: our perspectives, our decisions and our choices, and our behavior, and those things we have full control over. You know, Victor Franco, I mean was in a concentration camp. He lost his whole family, they took his manifesto that he was working on, took it away, but he made a decision inside that bottom line, this is who I am and where I’m going. This is what’s important. This is, and I’m okay as I am. Even though he wasn’t okay. He was in a starvation mode, had nothing and none of the things, and he had very little security, but he made the decision. So, hopefully, is that helpful?
Shawnna: Yeah. It’s super. It’s always helpful talking with you. Thank you so much. Lots of love to you and your mom and congratulations on the wedding!
Dr. A: Thanks.
Shawnna: Bye, Dr. A.
Dr. A: Bye-bye. Okay, I think we have time for one more.
Rachel: All right. Next up we have Cinda. Cinda, can you come on camera?
Cinda: I hope so. Am I on?
Rachel: We can hear you. We can’t see you.
Cinda: Start my video. Here we go.
Rachel: There you are.
Dr. A: Wow! You look like you’re up in the mountains there [referring to the backdrop on Cinda’s camera]. Beautiful.
Cinda: Well, that’s a trail I used to ride my bicycle on.
Dr. A: Very cool.
Cinda: In California.
Dr. A: Very cool.
Cinda: So, good morning Dr. A. It’s great to chat with you today. I joined OPTAVIA in January. I’ve lost 53 pounds and I’m walking like crazy. I use a walker because I have a crushed vertebra and I’m a 9% survivor of brain surgery.
Dr. A: Wow.
Dr. A: You love life, don’t you?
Cinda: I love life. I love life.
Dr. A: I love that. That’s great.
Cinda: And I’m here today to talk about my relationship with my son. I’m 74 and he’s 34 and I raised him totally on my own and when he got married, he married someone who did not like me, and alienated him from me, and then she walked out on him, and it pretty much destroyed our relationship. For 10 years I didn’t see him, until July. He was doing the sound for a concert in Oklahoma City and I drove down from Wichita to spend the day with him. It was so wonderful to be hugged by him. To know that he loved me. It was a beautiful day and I needed to handle it very carefully because I didn’t know what I was walking into, you know, and I wanted to keep the relationship easygoing. Let him talk when he needed to, and me to listen. We got a few minutes here and there to talk, at the end of the day I asked him to do two things, one was to go to Facebook and respond to some of the comments that people— because I posted a picture of the two of us, and some of his friends were commenting and then the other was to improve the communication that we had because he doesn’t respond to phone calls and messages, and to me, that’s an important part of our relationship, because we live so far away from each other, and he said, “Yes. I totally agree with you. I’m going to do it.” Well, he hasn’t really done it.
A couple of times he’s responded to a text, but I’m scheduled to see him tomorrow because he’s going to be in Wichita during a concert, and yesterday I tried to reach him all day, periodically throughout the day, to coordinate. To see whether he’s going to have time to come to my house, see where I live, maybe I could fix breakfast for him, but he didn’t respond and it’s frustrating, and it hurts me. It hurts deep, because it, to me, it shows a lack of respect for the communication that’s necessary. Yet I want to enter tomorrow, because I’m pretty sure I’ll spend the day with him, with positivity, but also somehow— I mean, I’m a 9% survivor. I don’t know— I mean none of us know from one minute to the next how long we’re going to live, but I know that I’m blessed to be alive. I’m blessed to have recovered most of my abilities, but I don’t want me to die and him to regret communicating with me. Nor do I want something to happen with him and me regret that he didn’t communicate with me. So I’m asking for suggestions.
Dr. A: Okay. So, are you open to hearing [crosstalk 00:58:41].
Cinda: I’m open.
Dr. A: Okay, and this is, I’m doing this in the spirit of nothing more than helping you, okay? Give you a perspective.
Cinda: So that’s why I’m asking, because I need help.
Dr. A: Right. No, no, I know and so this is what I would say, I’m going to make one set of statements and then I’m going to suggest because we’re almost out of time. I wish I had, I could spend plenty of time with you. You basically talked about you lacking security in your life, control over what you asked him to do, and approval from him, okay? So you actually are demonstrating, and you’re suffering inside because you’re wanting something that you have no control over, okay? You have zero control. So that’s the first thing. So smile right now, and realize I don’t have control. The only thing you will have any real control over is how tomorrow goes, right? And so in the moment, you had one brief moment in a sea of a tumultuous relationship, right? For years, induced partially by his wife, and goes on, and on, and on. All those things are in the past. All you have is the present, right? Even being anxious about tomorrow, you don’t have control over it. So, all you can decide is tomorrow that you’re grateful for what happens, and for him to see in a relationship that hasn’t had any real dialogue in forever, and obviously it’s not working— by the way, young people don’t do really well with telephones and even text anymore, right?
Dr. A: It’s just a different world. So, we used to get on the phone and talk for hours, right? That doesn’t happen. So part of it could just be the way he communicates in his life. It may have nothing to do with you, but what it does have to do with you is tomorrow just be appreciative for that day and hopefully for him to see that mom isn’t bugging me, isn’t telling me what— because you know what? he’s not on here today and he may not even know about approval, control, and security, right? He may not even have any perspective on that. So that’s the one dangerous thing when you start working on yourself, is you expect or try to project on somebody else what now you’re aware of. You can’t do that. That’s not your job, and until he is raising his hand and saying, “Hey Ma, I want our relationship to be better. I want us to do more together,” you don’t have control over that. You could be open and what you want to do tomorrow is express where he sees, during the whole day together that, wow, it feels really— like, I’m here with my mom right now and we’re having a great time. I asked her to sit in and listen to this because I want to share. She’s never seen this before and to share one of the things that I do, right? But she has to be willing to do that. If she wanted to go watch a soap opera or do something else, I would let her do that. I don’t have control over anybody but myself, and in your relationship, which is based on one time together, for one day and about ready to be a second day, you want the experience to be one, because the things that you desire, you want him to desire this too.
So you can’t control whether you’re going to die three weeks from now or whether he’s going to die, and you’re not going to— you’re going to go to your graves being unhappy with each other. You have no control. You have the peace that you love being with him and you have the peace that you are going to go realizing that you actually had a day, and tomorrow is going to be another one of those days, and hopefully, if you show up in a way that’s conducive, he’ll notice and say, “You know what? I really love my mom and I realize she’s not here bugging me,” and because he might, he has his own stuff going on himself, right?
Dr. A: Does that make sense?
Dr. A: So the takeaway is what? Tell me what you’re going to do tomorrow.
Cinda: I’m gonna go and smile and listen.
Dr. A: And listen, and basically, just that energy, just that energy coming from you. One is I’m just great to be, “I’m not needy.” You don’t need control. You don’t need security. You don’t need approval from him. Right? You’re just happy to share the time. Sense that energy, and put that out there and it may lead to more.
Cinda: Right. And I hope, it’s a hope! He’s doing another event in St. Louis in November where the band that he’s working with is opening for Metallica, and I hope that he invites me to come up and do that, you know, spend another day with him
Dr. A: Okay. So, that’s great, but rather than hope for that, to let tomorrow be tomorrow. Remember, you’re projecting to the future, and in the conversation tomorrow, when it comes up, and just make the statement, not that, but actually say, ”Boy, I would love to see you do your work,” and not say, “Oh, Metallica’s coming on this date. I want to come see you,” right? See the difference? See the difference?
Cinda: Yes. Right. Right. Absolutely.
Dr. A: Because any old excuse will do. He’ll make an excuse if he doesn’t want you there, but if he senses that, “Wow. Mom’s cool and she’d love to see my work.” Hey, there’s opportunity there.
Cinda: Right. Okay.
Dr. A: Okay?
Cinda: Right. Good. Thank you.
Dr. A: Good luck.
Cinda: Thanks! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Dr. A: Right. All right. Thanks. All right, guys. Well, thank you guys so much and hopefully, the perspective is that you do have control. You do have enough security, enough approval, and enough basically, what? Enough control in your own life. Just like we just went over Cinda. She has control over the things she has control of. She has security over the things that she has security of, and she has approval over the things she has approval of. She’s already enough, and tomorrow by showing up like that, in with a relationship with her son, who we don’t know anything about, the “x-factor”, will be at least the environment is conducive to what? Internal stability for her as she shows up, not needing, not wanting, and hopefully external equilibrium where her son will look at her and want to spend more time with her. All right? All right. See you guys. Have a great one. Go out and practice this stuff, it’ll make all the difference to you. Bye.