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Hey listeners, have you been working on “fixing” yourself? Well, here’s some good news: you can stop doing that right now—and today’s episode with Don Goewey will show you why. 

Don currently works as the director of the Center for Spiritual Exchange, the official archive for the works of Anthony De Mello (regarded as one of the great spiritual minds of the 20th century) and has committed his life to helping people understand and quiet stress and anxiety, navigate life’s challenges more creatively, and live happier, more fulfilled lives. He also recently edited the new book, Stop Fixing Yourself / Awake Up, All is Well, based on Anthony DeMello’s practical spirituality, and wrote the Amazon bestseller, The End of Stress/Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain.

Don offers many memorable and potentially life changing insights throughout this episode, starting with him telling the riveting story of how his life fell apart in every way and what led to his spiritual awakening after. At the core of Don’s mission is his unique psycho-spiritual model for rewiring the brain to extinguish stress reactions and amplify the higher brain function that enables human beings to flourish—a method that will also help you overcome feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and that feeling of emptiness that can unfortunately characterize modern life. In fact, Don’s method has been successfully applied in high pressure work environments like Cisco and Wells Fargo to help people elevate their experience of work and of life in profound and measurable ways. We also talk about the four steps that make up Don’s method, how your perception creates your reality, and what to do when negative emotions arise.

Don Goewey is the Executive Director of the Center for Spiritual Exchange, the official archive for the works of Anthony De Mello, and the author of The End of Stress/Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain. Previously, Don managed the department of psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School and headed an institute that pioneered a psycho-spiritual approach to overcoming catastrophic life events, which in 2005 was awarded the Excellence in Medicine citation by the American Medical Association. Connect with Don here.

TIMESTAMPS:

This show is about how to rewire your brain. [01:29]

There is a childlike part inside you that has been covered up. [03:31]

Don came to his work in pscyho-spirituality after experiencing an extreme period of stress. [07:04]

He learned to feel the stress and embrace it rather than have it take over. [09:19]

The mind body connection is very important. The quality of your life experiences depends on how well your mind functions. [16:19]

Don’s situation was desperate and it brought about a big change in his life. He discovered that the things that he thought were working against him, weren’t working against him at all. [22:25]

Your happiness in on the inside. Don’t look outside for it. [25:57]

How do you deprogram yourself? The answer is awareness. [28:52]

Look at the way you’ve been put together, all the societal programming that has made demands on you. [34:55]

We have a knee jerk reaction to the trifles in our daily life. We are constantly at the mercy of things and people. [40:42]

What you are unaware of controls you. Get in touch with your negative feelings.     [42:59]

Work towards being non-judgmental. The feeling you are having is programmed into you. [51:21]

Humans have the capacity to hold horror and harm along with love and forgiveness at the same time. [56:47]

The misperception of threat generates most of the stress reactions that we experience. [01:01:16]

Be in touch with your feelings.  Don’t push them away. [01:07:18]

Remind yourself that this upset will pass. 80% of us are shame based. [01:10:10]

LINKS:

QUOTES:

  • “When you find yourself in a situation you can’t change, the challenge is to change yourself.” (Viktor Frankl)

LISTEN: 

Download episode audio by clicking the arrow in the top right corner of the player above

Check out each of these companies because they are absolutely awesome or they wouldn’t occupy this revered space. Seriously, Brad won’t promote anything he doesn’t absolutely love and use in daily life.

 

B.Rad Podcast

Brad (00:01:29):
Hey listeners, stop fixing yourself. That’s right. Everything is okay. Wake up all is well. And we are about to enjoy a very awesome interview with Don Goewey. He is the executive director of the Center for Spiritual Exchange, the official archive for the works of Anthony De Mello. He’s the editor of a new book entitled Stop Fixing Yourself, Wake Up, All is Well. And he also wrote the end of stress, four steps to rewire your brain. And we are gonna talk in this show exactly how to rewire your brain against fear, anxiety, anger, depression, a feeling of emptiness, all these things that we complain about and are so prevalent in hectic high stress, modern life. It’s a beautiful conversation. I’m never gonna forget some of these insights. He presents them so beautifully. So buckle your seatbelt because this is really awesome stuff. And boy, if you need to get drawn in, he is gonna start out with a riveting story where he describes his life falling apart in every way, just the very bottom and facing life or death circumstances up ahead.

Brad (00:02:39):
And this was the time that he chose to come to a spiritual awakening that kind of led him down his path and doing this great work in what he calls psycho spirituality. And he offers a psycho spiritual model for rewiring the brain to extinguish stress reactions, and amplify the higher brain function that enables a human being to flourish. You’re gonna hear him talk about De Mello a lot,, the center that he works with and Anthony De Mello was a Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, writer, public speaker of great renown in the spiritual community. And boy, Don is gonna walk us right through it. And so you’re gonna get some really great practical takeaways. And I just wanna give you a sneak preview and kind of compile some of the conversation that ran for the duration of the podcast.

Don (00:03:31):
So the rewiring process, what will happen is you will discover your childlike spirit, your happiness that’s inside you at all times, but it’s just been covered up by our negative programming. And we have entire shows on that with Dr. Bruce Lipton, how this programming that we received largely in childhood, these tapes that we’re running and operating on an unconscious level throughout the day, and reacting to all these stressors and things that cause us to get upset and not have a perfect day. It’s time to unwind that and let things go. But in a very precise and methodical way, that’s gonna make a lot of sense even to the naysayers. And guess what I did do some devil’s advocate questioning here, because you can hear those opposing voices opposing voice has come up and then the, um, the knee jerk reaction is, oh, great.

Don (00:04:24):
Yeah. Why don’t I just sit on the beach all day and tell myself that everything is fine in life when I’m dealing with, uh, a business or personal crisis. And so he makes a good point of saying, look, this is not about disengaging from the material world, disavowing your competitive spirit and the everyday things that you’re trying to do. It’s just about controlling the response and rewiring your brain. And so it starts with step number one is awareness. And so you want to take notice of all these things that trigger you, and it’s the political environment and the United States these days, or the crisis over there in Russia and Ukraine or the way that COVID is being handled and how you have a different opinion than the leaders. And that’s so frustrating. So just being aware, rather than being on autopilot and just going through the day in a reactive mode, and then once you grasp this awareness harness it, you also wanna realize with step two, that everything’s inside of you.

Don (00:05:28):
It’s not reality. It’s what you make of it. Your perception is what creates your reality. Step three is don’t identify with your negative thoughts, emotions. It’s not you, it’s just you having the, these thoughts. So that’s a big one to step back, uh, look at yourself from the 30,000 foot view, whatever you wanna describe it, you must embrace these thoughts. It’s okay to have them. It’s okay to feel angry, depressed, scared, whatever. But they don’t run the show. You’re just aware of them without judgment. And then you can go to step four, which is the realization that everything shall pass this too shall pass. And so that process working through that and doing it with repetition is going to successfully rewire brain. There’s plenty of research. And he mentioned some of the research and his involvement with Stanford university medical school psychiatry department. A great show.

Don (00:06:24):
You’re gonna get some memorable insights, potentially life changing insights. So please enjoy Don Goewey, Executive Director of the Center for Spiritual Exchange, Don Goewey. Thank you so much for joining me. You wrote a very compelling message. I can’t wait to get into your, your amazing life’s work, especially, the new book that’s out that you edited called Stop Fixing Yourself, Wake Up, All is Well. So why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us about some of this really interesting work, and we’re gonna talk about rewiring our brains and all kinds of fun stuff.

Don (00:07:04):
Yeah, well, in terms of me you know, how I came into this work, this work that I call it is basically a field called psychospirituality. You know, it this day and age, um, spirituality. And when I say spirituality, I’m talking about a practical spirituality, living from spiritual values, spiritual principles, not necessarily religion, but not the exclusion of that either. While spirituality, neuroscience, and psychology are on same page finally,. They always it always seemed in past they, they bumped heads. And, I came into this it’s now it’s begun to be called this the, the field of psychospirituality. And, and I came into it the hard way. You know, I came into this work off of, out of a perfect storm of stress that I underwent years ago. I was an executive in a high level position at Stanford University Medical School, and I lost that job.

Don (00:08:13):
And it was quite a crisis cuz you know, I devoted a decade climbing the career ladder to, to reach that position. And, and then nine days after that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor that the doctors warn, you know, was gonna leave me pretty disabled and even potentially unable to work again. And I was married and four kids, and my marriage was in trouble. You know, I had spent so much time devoted on my career and uh, not enough time devoted to family at, at least at that point. So suddenly, you know, my life was coming apart at the seams and it seemed there was nothing I could do to stop the catastrophe. And one of the things that worked in my favor, I certainly didn’t feel like it at the time was that I had to wait six weeks for surgery and you know, six weeks sitting around wondering what’s gonna happen with something like brain surgery generates quite a bit of rumination.

Don (00:09:19):
And, and it certainly did in me. And the first two weeks of that process were just emotionally. It was just pure emotional turmoil. Every night, you know, I’d wake up at three in the morning. It’d stare out the window into the cold dark night, terrified by what it was gonna happen to me and my family, that prospects of homelessness loomed quite large, you know? And then one night I reached a point and that in those dark nights of the soul where I, you know, I just seriously questioned what was worse, all the dire problems, the doctors predicted that my ruminations were making worse or imagining even worse outcomes, or the abject fear that was happening in me every day, all day long for the last couple of weeks. And the answer was really clear. You know, the fear was worst. The bone chilling fear that was going on on the side of me that I was experiencing, it was consuming me and it was depleting the strength I knew I needed to get through this ordeal.

Don (00:10:23):
And so then for the next half hour, I used a process I had learned from a famous American psychologist I had worked with and actually a process. I taught other people, but I’d never used much actually never used it all on myself up until that point. And it was pretty simple. It evolved really being diligently, aware of every fearful, painful thing that I thought and to be, and to watch how that turned into the emotional upset, emotional distress I was in experiencing. And, to see, to see how they were joined at the hip. And then to be willing, to feel it. To feel the pain that it was generating, the upset, the stress it was generating. The pessimism, the narrowing of my perspective. It was generating to observe it all and to embrace it.

Don (00:11:19):
And seeing it as this is not necessarily in reality, this picture, this upset that this picture that I’m painting is painting me into. It’s not necessarily in reality. It’s in me far more than it is in. And I, I did that. And the, the idea was that as you owned it, as you embraced it, owned it, it would eventually pass. Everything passes in this world. That’s for sure you live long enough, you realize that. And especially emotions, emotional upsets, you know, the emotional upset you may have had that was large last week. Oftentimes you can’t even remember this week. And so as I did that to my amazement, I began to see that it, it worked that when I embraced the pain, it passewd. And I experienced this moment where the air cleared. It’s almost like, you know, when you’re underwater, you come up for air. I experience relief.

Don (00:12:24):
And then of course, you know, the ruminating would begin again. And I would be pretty soon, I painted myself back into that corner. And so I worked my way out of it using this awareness process. Until after, I don’t know, maybe an hour of doing this, I kind of reached a, a summit where everything sort of leveled out and I was calm and the calm didn’t leave me. I was able to settle into it. And I knew that it was real. That I had shifted from fear to peace because when I looked out that window in which I saw, you know, the cold dark night looming over the, my future about to suck me into this black hole whole, I didn’t see that this, this time, what I saw was the Moonlight.

Don (00:13:23):
It was a moonlight night and it was shimmering on this beautiful old oak tree that fronted our property, and it really had this feeling of life being sacred of the beauty of light. Suddenly here I am looking at the same, very same picture, but seeing the feeling, the sacredness of it and the sacredness of life. And I could feel this sense of optimism emerging in me. And so I made my mind right in the then and there that as I proceeded towards brain surgery, I was gonna let go of fear every time it raised this ugly head, let go of stress every time it took over in this way. In this very simple way. And certainly during that period of time, I had lots of, uh, emotional upsets that came and went, but I got to a point where, where I could shift out ’em at the point of inception at the moment I began to paint this picture.

Don (00:14:21):
I would look at it. And, and I would, it would almost as if I go, do you really wanna experience that illusion? That my main delusion and my answer was no. And it dropped began to drop. And, you know, one of the things I had to do in my new as I was leaving, my old job was to finish up some projects. It was one way they, you know, they had my golden parachute, they had a carrot attached to it. And if you finish up these projects, you know, we’ll sweeten it even more. So I went back to work. And I was a completely different person at, at work, you know, I’m, I was very, I used to be very competitive, very aggressive, very, very much into succeeding, being sure I succeeded what I was doing. And I was, was more, I had a broader perspective and I had this clarity of, I would look at these things I had to accomplish.

Don (00:15:21):
And, I could under, I could, I could figure it out what it is. I knew I could accomplish what it is I wouldn’t get to. And I prioritized what I could get to and did it well. There were people in my department at the time who previously I thought were my enemies, and I was able to see that that was just another mind made illusion, that I was projecting for my own fear. And then I reported for, for surgery. And, uh, the surgery was a complete success. Actually, the surgeon, um, you know, made, he got laurels for the great job that he had done. And I actually even got my job back. I didn’t get that job that I left. I got another job that was in another department or department of psychiatry where the chairman had heard about this guy facing this calamity who came back to work and changed man with a wonderful attitude.

Don (00:16:19):
And he called me up, called me up a few days before I was going into surgery. And he said, I wanna offer you a job. And, we need this kind of attitude in this godforsaken department and it all we’re worked out. And, you know, if I had talked to it, this is back in the eighties, late eighties. And if I had talked to a neuroscientist at that time and said, do you think this shift in mindset, this shift in attitude that I underwent went, I was responsible for the wonderful outcome medically that occurred. They would’ve told me I am certain, they would’ve told me that it was just hippy nonsense. I was spouting. But today that mind body connection, it’s not even theoretical anymore. It’s definitively established is that and we do know now through the breakthroughs we’ve had with in neurosciences that everything depends everything in your life, the quality of your life experience, the quality of your, the success that you have in your life, all depends on your brain and how well your brain functions and all of that depends on how well your mind functions. And what the science has found is that these spiritual principles that we’ve all been taught to be at peace, to be loving and empathic, to allow yourself to feel connected, to forgive, to be open and honest, to embrace what it, what there is there to be embraced, to learn how to let of fear.

Don (00:17:53):
Those are spiritual principles and those spiritual principles when practiced, have a dramatic and profound impact on your brain. It can rewire a brain that society and past traumas is wired to for knee jerk stress reaction at the site of any kind of problem. It can rewire those circuits that take over and shift your experience to the higher order brain functions that allow you to be positive and creative and loving, and see your problems as challenges and use your creative and, and, and fluid intelligence to work your way through to a solution. Um, that’s how powerful our mindset can be. And so I eventually left Stanford. I wanted to do work in this, in this spiritual domain. And I ended up at the Center for Attitudinal Healing, which had a huge impact internationally.

Don (00:18:54):
It came up with an approach to dealing with catastrophic life events. People dealing with life threatening illnesses, parents who had lost children, men serving life sentences in prison. We even were sent by the Clinton administration into Croatian Bosnia during that genocidal war to work with people experiencing severe post traumatic stress. And, in 2005, I believe it was 2005. The center won the excellence in medicine award from the American Medical Association. And then eventually I took what I’d learned from the center and its approach and applied it to the workplace and went into corporations and began to help people learn to be in those high pressure work environments and to remain to remain calm and creative and positive as they faced whatever they had to face and to bring about a balance of work and life.

Don (00:19:57):
So that the person that comes home at the end of the day to, you know, spouse and children, or whoever’s at home is the person that the people at home are hoping, shows up instead of somebody who’s stressed and shame based and fear based, we can make, make a shift out of that. And, I did that for quite a long while. And then I was offered disposition at the De Mello Spirituality Center to work with the work of Anthony De Mello, who had a profound impact on, on spirituality generally, not only in this country, but throughout the world. He has a huge influence on people like Eckhardt Tolle. His approach is awareness-centered. And by awareness-centered, I mean, a process in which instead of resisting suppressing, repressing the negativity, the negative emotional states, the negative mental states that you tend to habituate to embrace them and embrace ’em in the way that, that I worked with it that dark kind of the soul evening.

Don (00:21:07):
And, out of that, what De Mello says is that awareness will release reality, which he defines as a kingdom of joy, the very kingdom of joy that Jesus talked about. That awareness releases reality to change you. And through grace, you change. You begin to drop the old programming. He laid out a very simple system for us to understand that we’re okay. You know, we’re not, there’s nothing wrong with us. We’ve been, we’ve been programmed by society and society stamped into us a belief that our happiness, our self worth are found out there in the world. And, you know, if we work hard and long enough success will come and out of that happiness, then fulfillment will follow. And then, you know, people like me psychotherapists make a lot of money when we get to midlife. And we discover that, you know, we’ve had success to whatever degree and happiness and fulfillment still eludes us. And so De Mello has a way of addressing that.

Don (00:22:25):
Oh, What a story! And my first thing that really stuck with the stakes were so high for you. You’re facing brain surgery, your life’s falling apart. And I’m wondering, you know, it’s seemingly easier to let things go when you’re stressing about a traffic jam or the overdue balance on your credit card, you know, low stakes thing. But, you know, we’ve heard this, we’ve all heard, and we’ve all been instructed to, you know, to rise to a higher mindset, but we, we seem to get stuck in ruts. But in your case, the stakes were so high. I wonder if that was really a catalyst for transformation because things were so desperate.

Don (00:23:04):
Well, I’ve often thought of it. That puts me in a good light. I like that I’ve often thought that I was so stubbornly entrenched in living my life in the way in a fearful way. You know, one of the things I discovered at the end of that whole process is I was shocked at how much fear I was running. I was shocked at how much I thought fear actually protected me. I was shocked at how much I was projecting my fear onto to attacks on other people without ever really investigating whether what I was thinking was even correct. You know, and discovering that I misperceived everything. The other thing I began to discover back then was that so many of the things that I thought were working against me, weren’t working against me at all.

Don (00:24:01):
There were, that was misperceiving people and events was making ,me throwing me into empathic defense mode. And yet, if you were to look at me back then, what you would probably assess me as is a person who was, had his trip together, a guy who was successful, a guy who was a competitive, a guy who was a winner, all of those things, you know, in America that we place so much value on. And, it took a brain tumor to break the glass so that I could finally let some air in and look and realize, like, this is no way to live a life. And this is no way to, to, to find your way back and make a return back to love.

Don (00:24:51):
Yeah, I guess

Don (00:24:53):
Won’t make it this

Don (00:24:53):
Way. We have to, uh, create this energy for competitive intensity. And I think we’re trained in society to put up those defenses and, and grow that ship on our shoulder from traditional athletic coaching model in particular. And I always laugh. Even today, you see the great leading sports figures and they’ll give an interview and they’ll say, yeah, you know, we were disrespected all over the league and we’re not gonna take it anymore. And it’s like, are you kidding me? But by whom, I mean, what, what are you talking about? Or, you know, the Olympic gold medalist comes back and, and, and defend his or her title and says, you know, everyone wrote me off, before this Olympics. And I wanted to prove something to everyone. And it’s like, it seems so manufactured and it works at a certain level, but I think that’s really important. What you mentioned is that here you are, you’re the successful guy. You’re climbing the corporate ladder. You make a good living. But you’ve found that sense of emptiness because what had driven you, all those success factors that you leveraged to rise to the top of your profession, didn’t really serve to make you happy, fulfilled content.

Don (00:25:57):
Exactly, exactly. Correct. And, we don’t, we don’t recognize that we’re the way we, our functioning is, is outta of that kind of programming. We’ve programmed into that. And the core of that programming is to find your validation, find your worth out outside of yourself, out there in the world. You know, it’s, and it comes at the expense of your happiness because your happiness isn’t out there in the world to, in you. And it’s really hard to find a completely happy person. Somebody that meets that definition, that is whether, you know, life is up or down. You know, that what’s a Sinatra song, riding high in April shot down in May, whether either one of those things are happening, you’re still happy that your happiness is not at stake. Whether you can’t pay your, your credit card bill, or whether you perceive yourself as too much in debt, or whether you’re sick.

Don (00:26:55):
Your happiness doesn’t depend on what’s going on outside. It depends on your heart. And so the, you know, the irony is, is that we’re born happy. You know, when science wants to take a look at what, what is human nature? They look at children, they look at it before it’s been contaminated by all the socialization and programming that happens to a human being as they move through family and church and school, and then out into the world and what they find with children, they’re naturally happy, I think is what Jesus meant when he said not unto you, or are as little children, will you enter the kingdom of heaven? Um, I, I just spent a week with my grandchildren. I just marvel at how happy, how naturally happy they are, how easy it is to make em happy. Even when, you know, when they have little moments where they break down, they bounce back really fast.

Don (00:27:52):
They’re resilient. So we’re born happy, but we’ve become trapped, uh, in believing that we can’t be happy unless, or until something in the outside word occurs. We’re born free, but we’ve been, we’ve become trapped in limited thinking. We’re born with an open heart that stress and fear. So, so easily close. We’re born gifted. We’re gifted beings of a measurable worth, but we often feel we’re not get good enough. We we’re often ashamed. And there’s this divinity of joy, which all the mystics describe, define as reality. You know, this rat race world we live in. My stepfather used to say, wait, till you get out in the real world, you know, well, you listen to the, you know. He’s talking about the dog eat dog world. Well, it’s not reality. You all the mystics to the holy men, the divinity of joy that, that we’re blind to that surrounds us.

Don (00:28:52):
They define as reality. It’s there to make our lives meaningful and rich, but it’s as if, you know, we’ve all been hypnotized through our programming, through our socialization to literally not see what is there, and to see what’s not there. You know, it’s, it’s really weird. Like we see this threatening world, we’ve been programmed to see a threatening world and to respond to it aggressively and it, and, and define it as reality when in fact what we’re not because of that is this divinity of joy within us and surrounding us. And so that’s what De Mello’s point of view is, especially in this book, Stop Fixing Yourself is, well, how do you get back there? How do you deprogram yourself?

Don (00:29:42):
Stop scrolling on social media, watching the network news, this, you know, lowest, common denominator programming that’s playing upon our fears, I guess, would be one start, right?

Don (00:29:53):
Yes. It’s definitely a good start, but I think it is coming to the essential or fundamental understanding that how society has programmed that joy, that happiness, that innate fulfillment that through which you were born to live, how it’s programmed it out of you, stamping into you, the belief that, you know, your happiness and yourself worth or found out there in the world. And again, you know, if you work hard and long enough that success will come and we’ve all swallowed that formula. And then, you know, somewhere down the road, we realize that we’ve succeeded, but it’s come without fulfillment. And that’s failing at life. Tony Robbins says success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure. And it took him a lot of years of, of coaching people to succeed, succeed, succeed. Until he finally realized that these millionaires that he was coaching were unfulfilled people, very unhappy people, that it didn’t come from their happiness, the happiness didn’t come from success.

Don (00:31:01):
And there’s nothing wrong succeeding, but waking up is the realization that contrary to what society has taught us, nothing, but absolutely nothing of the world makes us happy. And success of course is important, but success is not fulfillment. And fulfillment doesn’t come from the world. Happiness doesn’t come from the world. Not that radiant happiness of a child that’s constant that makes you smile for no reason that happiness comes from within you. And the truth is there’s not a single moment in our life when we don’t have all, we need to be happy. That’s waking up when we see that. And it’s waking up when we understand that the only reason we’re ever unhappy is because we’ve been using our time to focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we have right here right now. And, you know, when I work with people, I invite them to take out a blank piece of paper.

Don (00:31:59):
And at the top of it to write, “I cannot be happy unless, or until.” And so people start writing. And it’s interesting because they, they fill the paper up pretty fast with lots of things. I can’t be happy until I’m out of debt. I can’t be happy until my boss appreciates me. I can’t be happy until my spouse agrees that I’m right, and he, or she’s wrong. You know, I can’t be happy until I get that car. I can’t be happy until my kids get into a great school. I mean, the list is endless. And, when you look it over, um, if, if, and you understand my whole life, the happiness that, that I was born to live from is being put on hold based on this belief system that has been stamped into me. And until, until I understand it’s a false set of beliefs, until I begin to understand that the truth is that there is not a single moment of life.

Don (00:33:03):
And when you don’t have everything, you need to be happy and fulfilled. Until you understand that, you’re lost, you know, here you are hap happy and you don’t even know it here. You are at peace deeply at, within yourself. Innately at peace. You don’t even know it here. You are already enlightened. You can’t even see it. You can’t even experience it because it’s overlayed with this, with this belief system, that’s blocking your capacity to see. And so it means, you know, what stop deceiving yourself. It means is that fundamentally, essentially you’re not broken. You’re not some problem to be solved. You’re okay. And if there’s a problem, it’s the way we were programmed with these beliefs. And, and you know, that belief without some thing, or some person or some result, we cannot be, be happy. That’s, that’s what in Buddhism is called an attachment.

Don (00:34:06):
And it, as we begin to understand that we are attaching ourselves to things and outcomes and people on the basis, uh, on the belief that, you know, without that, we can’t be happy. That we’re actually generating the unhappiness that we’re experiencing, because it’s a false believe we don’t acquire or earn it. We have it already. So drop the false beliefs, make that list and look at them really honestly. And at first, you know, people have an experience it’s sort of like, you could almost see their mind is operating. If you could hear the sound of their mind, it would sound like Velcro. You know, when you pull Velcro apart, it kind of crunches, right.

Don (00:34:55):
We’re holding on so tightly to our programming and we look all around us and we see examples of the same with everyone and in our world. I’m, I’m curious, you know, you, I can, I can understand the naysayer forming their rebuttal right now. Don, you don’t understand, my, you know, I’m behind on my payments. I’m facing real world problems. My children are in pain and suffering, and that creates great suffering in the parent. And so how the heck am I supposed to let go and listen to the Buddha and not be attached to anything?

Don (00:35:30):
Well, I would, you know, what I would would invite that person to do is either work with themselves or work with somebody to take a look at the way, really an honest look at the way you’ve been put together and the way you function based on the belief system that’s been ingrained into you, excuse me. And you’re gonna find, as you do that, nonjudgmental quietly through a, you’re gonna find that inside your brain, there’s this whole program and it’s wired into your brain. It operates, uh, oftentimes without, without your awareness, without, without even your permission. And it consists of a set of demands about how the world should be, how you should be and what you should want, and it’s making you miserable. And it’s, and it’s, I furiously insisting that it’s demands being met by life and by people, and by you. I’ve worked with people who were, who were the dying and we’re dying, incredibly, from a incredibly difficult illness. Made my illness pale by comparison and having great difficulty even being able to afford the drugs that they needed because the illness took away their career.

Don (00:36:57):
And, I was, I ran support groups with people like that, and I would watch these people come in. It was a Thursday night group at the Center for Attitude and Healing. And these people would come in, there’d usually be 20 or 30. and along with them would come their, either a close friend or a loved one would go off into a group to deal with their grief and distress that they’re experiencing over, over their loved one’s illness. And in these groups, you’d watch these people come into the center and they’d be dragging. You know, they’d probably had a rough day of treatments or a rough day of rough day with their illness. And they would into the group and they would begin to open up. We would always open up by reading some spiritual principles and they would share with one another.

Don (00:37:50):
And they would, and, and no one was really feeling sorry for themselves. They were really working with, they had done a good job of facing the very thing that I’m talking about, looking at the way they’d been programmed, the function and the, and the face of adversity and the false beliefs that were challenging them, that that were costing them any, any hope for peace and through the course of that group, they came alive every single time. Everybody in that group would come alive. And, they were really loving with each other empathic with each other. They laughed with each other. They laughed at each other’s, even at each other’s perils. And at the end of the group, they would leave changed people. You know, they would, there was spring in their step when they left and they would all talk about they got their batteries recharged to get ’em through another week.

Don (00:38:52):
And, they were incredible teachers of peace. They credible teachers of what is inside of us, the power that’s inside of us, that when we wake up to it, the huge difference it can make no matter what circumstances we’re in. But you know, we’re, we are all programmed with this stuff and it is all these demands that our programming makes of us. And if the, you know, and we’re programmed, if these demands about who we are supposed to be and what we’re supposed to achieve and what we should want and how should people should be with us, you know, if, and when those demands aren’t met, even though it’s no fault of ours, how our brain just automatically starts generating negative emotions.

Don (00:39:39):
Yeah. I can’t. Everyone doesn’t vote exactly the same as I, or, or feel the, exactly the same about the global pandemic and how to handle it. It’s ridiculous. It’s infuriating.

Don (00:39:48):
It’s exactly right. And then how much of, how much of, you’ve been programmed into shame into feeling not good enough? Well, and so what you end up doing with shame is you end up hiding yourself from the world. So you hide from the world that you’re in debt and you suffer in shame from it. Um, there, you can actually be in debt and be working to resolve it, and at the, in time having the attitude. So what doesn’t have to cause me my happiness, right? But what you end up discovering as you really take a close look at the way you’ve been put together and the way you, the way that causes you to function, you begin to understand you’ve been trained to upset yourself. So like when you and I were, are talking about when other people don’t live up to your brain, your program’s expectation.

Don (00:40:42):
It torments you with frustration and anger and bitterness. And, and when things aren’t under your control, like, you know, the, the description you gave of the person of you don’t understand I’m in debt, but you know, my kids are in trouble. All of that kind of thing, situations that you don’t control probably never will control, or the future feels uncertain in some way, you’re programming in your brain, the way you’re wired’s gonna insist that you experience anxiety, tension, worry. Then you’re gonna expend a ton of energy coping with these negative emotions, by expending, even more energy, trying to rearrange the world and people, you know, to meet the demands that, that your programming says it have to be met. And, you know, sometimes they get met. If you’re [inaudible] you get granted a measure, a precarious piece, but it’s precarious, you know, any moment, some trifle, you know, a plane delay, a traffic jam, a smartphone that doesn’t work, an email you’ve been expecting that doesn’t arrive, a spot on your tie or blouse.

Don (00:41:51):
You know, you name it. We, we just knee-jerk. We just throw ourselves knee-jerk, or our brain throws ourselves knee-jerk, um, into an upset, you know, because we’re outta conformity with what our programming says, way things should be. And it becomes a way of life. It’s a pathetic.

Brad (00:42:12):
We don’t know any better.

Don (00:42:13):
We don’t, right. We’re programmed. We’re not, we’re, we’re not human beings at that point. We’re on automatons and it’s a pathetic existence. That’s constantly at the mercy of things and people, as we desperately try to make life conform to these demands that have been programmed into us. So that, you know, you can enjoy the only piece that most of people ever know, which is a temporary respite from negative emotions. And so the wake up is when you, when you see that, when a human being sees that, it produces in them a sea change. It’s inevitable will produce in them a sea change. They’ll understand they’ve been hoodwinked.

Don (00:42:59):
They understand. And the other part of the programming is, is that when, when you’re living this pathetic existence, you’ve also been programmed to blame yourself for it. Oh, look at me. I’m the one who’s pathetic. And so which only, only deepens the, the wiring that triggers the negative emotional reactions to yourself and to the world around you. But when you see that, when you wake up to this, a sea change will happen in you. And so the question then becomes, well, how do you get deprogrammed? How do you get your brain rewired from all of all of that? And your brain will rewire. And the answer to it is, is awareness. The kind of awareness that, that I was describing in my own personal story. And because you know, what, what you understand through awareness is you begin to practice it every day throughout the day, with everything that everything that comes up in inside you emotionally, you know, negative thoughts, all of that. You begin to understand that what you’re aware of ,you control. What you’re unaware of controls you. That what you’re unaware of is your autopilot.

Don (00:44:15):
It’s just running the show, running your life. It’s your brain using you. It’s a programming using you, not you using your brain. So it’s enough the, the wonderful news and stop fixing yourself. And then Anthony De Mello’s book Awareness is that it’s enough for you to simply be watchful and aware. And through that, all that’s neurotic within, you will begin to drop and you’ll wake up. And there’s only, there’s only three steps that you really need to, um, focus on. And the first thing you need to do is get in touch with your negative feelings. We tend to push them away, suppress them, or react from them. And then we have the negative emotion of guilt that gets added on to, to the, to the attack or the, or the defensiveness that we just display. As those feelings come up, let ’em come up, you know, hurt feelings, feeling nervous, tense, stressed, uh, but

Brad (00:45:19):
You don’t have to react. You just notice it in yourself, right? It’s not that you have to go fly off the handle because you’ve been repressing all your anger in the workplace. And now you can run down the halls and start wing on people and being your authentic self. It’s more, um, just taking notice of things that are triggering you, as they say, and then, sitting with it, I guess you’re suggesting

Don (00:45:42):
Yes. Embracing it

Brad (00:45:44):
So embracing it doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be a pretend that it’s good news. You were embracing your imminent, which you’re, you were a matter of life and death, but you were embracing your situation, rather than I guess, putting up a false positive or, um, you know, refusing to think about, you know, the crisises that were happening in your life.

Don (00:46:10):
I was embracing the situation inside me, and not the situation outside me and I was recognizing that the pain, the suffering I was experiencing was, was in me. Not happening to me happening in me. So I felt shame, you know, I, I built my career up to this point where I lost the job, and now my family was at risk. So I felt ashamed of myself. I felt I had failed horribly. You know, I felt afraid, afraid of the future. I felt angry at God, you know, I, I felt all of those things and then they would all converge into this overwhelming upset that was paralyzing, you know, it fight flight or freeze. I would completely freeze. And so what I did is I, what I allowed into awareness was what was the, my emotional state like this in a simple example of it is this morning.

Don (00:47:17):
I grew up in a, a family with a really brutal stepfather, very physically and, and emotionally abusive to the nth degree. And so, I have this I, what he programmed into me, a sense of dread. And, one of the things about your emotional memory is that once something gets programmed into your emotional memory, it’s, it’s probably there for the duration and what you can do is weaken it. So you get the choice. And so that’s what post traumatic stress is, is that there’s an emotional memory that some outside thing, a sound or the way somebody looks at you or whatever, it triggers that emotional memory. And it, it, it triggers it in a way with such a force that you actually believe you’re in that situation where you’re threatened. That’s what post traumatic stress is. Well, that’s happening in us all the time.

Don (00:48:16):
And so I wake up in the morning, I’ve been programmed to, for the feeling of dread, because my stepfather told me that, you know, eventually I was going to, you know, screw my life up and the world was gonna come and it was gonna crush me crush, you know, a little creep like you. And I got programmed into me and it got programming. It got stamped with the, the hormone cortisol, so that, you know, evolution thinking that it was by doing that, it was helping to save me from world crushing me. And actually the thing that was crushing me was that. It was that thought, that belief, that it calcified into what I thought was real and true. And so this morning, for example, I woke up, you know, here’s the person that has all this understanding of how we’ve been programmed. Here’s a person under is that all this understanding about how the brain works.

Don (00:49:13):
And, and so I wake up this morning and the first thought I have, which is I’ve had most, every morning I wake up is, oh God, another day. And I, because of awareness, because I’ve made awareness, such a feature in, in my consciousness, I caught it now, there it is again. And I felt it. I felt the dread, the gloominess, the demotivation of it, you know, and, and I just sat with it for maybe three seconds and it shifted it,. You know, it passed. I let it come up. I recognized that this is just old programming and it shifted out. And then I opened my eyes from that. And I looked out at this beautiful day and I said, that’s what I’m going for. I’m going for a beautiful day today to hell with the way I got hell with those neuro circuits that are holding onto that false belief.

Don (00:50:12):
And that’s a, you know, I’ve come to think of enlightenment as being that is enlightenment being that you’ve worked at, you’ve worked at, at ways of becoming aware so that you can wake up in a way that the moment an experience arises that you don’t want, you can shift out of it really at the point of inception. And so that it doesn’t drag you down. Well, you know, if you go back 30 years ago, I would wake up in the morning, that feeling of dread would hit me. It was connected to my traumatic past. And, it would carry through the whole day, the whole week, the whole month. And until I finally got a brain tumor that got me to look at it, you know. I mean, it was a, it was a feature of my life. So what I’m saying is it doesn’t have to be. But what you’re embracing is what’s going on in you. And even if you’re judging it. Say for example, you’re feeling fearful and now you’re judging yourself, or, oh, I shouldn’t feel fearful.

Don (00:51:21):
I should be more enlightened, or I, you know, I should be more courageous. And now you’re feeling the gloom of, of shame coming down on you. Then you embrace that and you just be with it. And you might notice certain thoughts that you think that trigger it and you just let them be there. And you, and you really work towards a nonjudgmental way of being aware of the content and reactivity that’s that you’re habituating that got programmed into you just be aware of it. And the second step, and this’s a really important step, is to remind yourself, is that this negative feeling and this negative way of relating to myself and to the world it’s in me. It’s in my programming. It’s not in reality. Reality’s fine. Reality’s neutral. You know, it’s sort of as simple as that, if you’re gonna have, if you have a picnic, like we had this big picnic we planned with my family reunion last week and, you know, everybody put everything together for it. And we got to the, to the park in it, rained you know, and I noticed my first reaction was God darn rain. You know, believe the, well, the rains, the rain, of course, the rain was, was keeping us from having our fun. The rain wasn’t to blame the rain for my upset, the rain was just the rain. The rain is neutral. I’m super imposing my reaction on it, you know? And so, I mean,

Brad (00:52:56):
That’s nice if it’s a rainy picnic, and I’m wondering when you’re going to Bosnia and seeing the atrocities of war, how do these concepts play out with those people that are in severe PTSD, or, I mean, I think you’re credibility is outstanding because you start out the show talking about you’re facing a brain tumor and, and your life falling apart. And so this is not a trivial matter, people. And I, I think it’s really important to emphasize that you have to, I mean, we’re obligated to you know, implement these techniques in the face of everything, even the most, you know, incredibly difficult of circumstances. And I think this is where, um, the naysayers are, you know, raising their voice, the loudest. And we have to kind of get over that hump to say, look, it’s still, you know, it’s still your perception of, of what’s going on, even though it could be widely regarded as absolutely awful. But then, then you’re, you’re stuck with, you know, how you’re going to, how you’re going to deal with it. It’s here. You can’t change it.

Don (00:53:55):
Yeah. Well, you know, Viktor Frankl said, when you, he was in Auschwitz . It doesn’t get worse than that. And he said, when you find yourself in a situation you can’t change, the challenge is to change yourself. And he said that, the last of human freedom is to choose your own way in any given situation to choose your own attitude. And when I got to Croatia, we went to the UN. The UNHCR, there was refuge. The, the part of the UN is in charge of refugees. And we had to connect with them because we were gonna do our workshop on this spirituality called attitudinal healing. And, I remember this woman. Well, it was interesting too. Cuz when I got home, she was actually on a national television commercial trying, seeking funds, you know, and she seemed so sweet on that commercial. But when I went to, to visit with her and, and get her, get her to join forces with me, she was kind of, of insulting and I understood it. And she said, you know, you, people who come here from California, you know, Southern

Brad (00:55:14):
California,

Don (00:55:15):
Yeah. Your hippy stuff. And you come here and then these people, they they’ve lost everything, you know, right down to families. They’ve lost their whole families. They’ve lost everything. They’ve built a up in their life. They have nothing, they have no future. They have no roof over their head other than what, what the refugee camps give them. What they need is a roof over their head. What they need is a few dollars in their pockets. What they need is blankets and a warm place to sleep. They don’t need some California workshop. And so I left there actually really discouraged. I thought, and I was a little worried. Like I, I felt silly, you know, well, am I, am I, what, what is this I came here to do or what the Clinton administration had sent us here to do is this silly?

Don (00:56:05):
And I just assumed that nobody it come to this workshop. And so it was the next day. And it was at, it was in this lovely building in the square. And, uh, you know, I took the cab and the team I was with. We took the cab to the, to the hall and there was this, uh, it, it was a Friday night. So there was this big crowd out in, out, in front, in the square. And I had to push my way through it. And when I got to the door, I said to the guy, what are all these people doing here? And he laughed. And he said, they’re here to hear you. And, I went from being afraid to nobody being there, to being afraid of what am I gonna do with all these people?

Don (00:56:47):
You know, they, whatever they, what if they jump on me? But of course I got over that. Well, you know, the hall was jam packed and there was this one woman. She was, she stood for, or everybody that was in that hall and why everybody had come there, her name was Irina and, and, and not Irina. Her name was Luby. Irina was a UN woman. And so Luby, I noticed her. She was hard not to notice. She came in and she sat in a chair all the way at the edge of the row, cuz I’m sure she wanted to make a quick exit if she wanted to. And she was wearing all black, black scarf, you know, pulled tight. She was wearing sunglasses, and arms folded and just listen, sat there. And I was sure during the lunch break, she wasn’t coming back there.

Don (00:57:40):
She was. And, but when she came back from the lunch break, scarf was off her head and it was a, it was a five day workshop. And on the each day she came in, she was the, so one of the black garments she was wearing, she wasn’t wearing, she was wearing something else. She was, it was almost as if she was dressing down in a certain sort of went a spiritual kind of way. And on the last day she came in, she was in just a lovely colored outfit and she stood up and she said, she, what happened to her was she was living in Vukabar which is where the war opened up. And it was, was really brutal. What people went through and her, her own mother-in-law betrayed. Her, turned her into the Serbs and they nearly escaped. And her heart was broken.

Don (00:58:37):
And she said, I thought, because of what had happened, that my heart would stay closed the rest of my life. That I would never trust anything, any person or any situation to love again. And this workshop has reminded me, has helped me open up my heart and all the workshop was about many of the things you and I are talking about here, But she had the awareness. She, she had the desire to open her again, even though, you know, she had a strong naysayer in her that was telling her what she had been through was unhealable was unforgivable. And, she discovered that her heart could open that she could feel happy again. And she said the second to the last day of the workshop, she went home. And it was the first time in months that she actually enjoyed being with her family and wasn’t afraid for them and drew them in close to her.

Don (00:59:41):
And everybody was, you know, she said we were having dinner and everybody was laughing again. That’s, that’s a human being. That’s what a human being is capable of. Mm. Um, you know, the, you don’t control, what’s gonna happen to you in this world. Um, and you know, it’s often the case that what you may think of that happened to you was the worst curse that could ever have happened to you. And then through time you begin to discover it was the greatest blessing that ever happened to you. That’s a true, that’s true of my brain tumor. And that’s what, what Luby said, Luby went on to become a really wonderful teacher and therapists to people. She, she she’s just found, there was so much more to her to give. And it’s not that I would go back and have a brain tumor again, or if she would go back and be in the middle of a war zone. Nobody would do that. We are, we have this capacity, we’re kind of ambidextrous. We have this capacity to hold the horror and the harm along with the love and the forgiveness at the same time. And then when we’re there. And, and in that, in that quiet place of awareness, um, we’re at choice., We can choose which one we lean to lean towards and that what we choose determines the quality of the life we live and experience love it.

Don (01:01:16):
And the third step in the awareness third step is not to identify with the negative feeling. Don’t identify with it. Don’t say, I am depressed. Your brain takes that literally. Your brain’s very literal. So you say, I am depressed. Your brain says, okay, let’s run the depression algorithm right now.

Brad (01:01:37):
Right? Stress hormones, exhausting fatiguing, literally reducing your energy, your concentration, focus, mood.

Don (01:01:45):
Sure. And how many times have you said, this is horrible and your brain goes, oh my God, it’s horrible. Your brain can’t tell the difference. That part of your brain, the amygdala, the limbic system, where a fight flight or freeze reactions are generated where fear is generated. It cannot tell the difference between a real and present danger and one you made up in your head. It considers them both threats. So, and the vast majority of threats of fear, we fear we experience because of a misperceived threat, is triggering the triggers of I’m saying that wrong. But the misperception of threat generates most of the stress reactions we experience. That’s what I’m trying to say.

Brad (01:02:29):
Yeah, that’s rough. I mean, I, I remember, I’m thinking of, uh, your account of this being dreading this brain surgery and, and feeling so negative. And, one of our books Primal Prescription, Dr. Doug McGuff was writing about how the research on women that receive a false positive with breast cancer screening. And over the ensuing six months, the negative health aspects are the same as someone who actually is diagnosed positive. In other words, because they’re told mistakenly that they have breast cancer, they’re so filled of stress, anger, fear that the, the, the literal physical effect of the diagnosis is is major. And, um, I think he was making an argument against, unnecessary screenings because of that risk of getting a false positive and, and trashing your, your stress hormones and your, and your mindset.

Don (01:03:25):
Yeah. You know, it, I mean, if a doctor wants, uh, decides that you, you need some kind screening, it is good to get it. But one of the recommendations I would have with people who go to get it, because they’re, they’re worried well, is to stop step back for a moment and embrace your fear of dying. Embracing the fear of dying is a profound thing to do and to come as you embrace it, to come through it and to accept it and what you find you become enlightened. You know, this moment, now you appreciate it so much more, you know, you don’t wanna waste it. You know, it’s one of the things I discovered in working at the Center for Attitudinal Healing was people would say if I had to go back and be the person I was before I woke up in the ways that this cancer has awakened me, if I had to go back and be that frightened, aggressive, competitive, unhappy person, and, and my reward for going back and being that is that I wouldn’t have the cancer. They, I, so many people say I wouldn’t do it. I cause because what I was a living dead before, I’m alive. Now I’m awake. Now this cancer` has woken me up. So, you know, it doesn’t mean that you, you go out seeking for, for difficulty,“ but you, you awareness will bring you in. You know, if, if, if you’re worried about someday, maybe I’m gonna get breast cancer, so you’re gonna run off and you get a big screening before you do that, embrace your fear of death.

Don (01:05:18):
Take that test first and find yourself a book. Pick up The Tibetan book of the Dead, or, or listen to Ron Bos. He’s, he’s wonderful about death and dying. And you’ll find and come through it. You’ll awaken what will awaken in you as a feeling, a vibrant feeling for life that you didn’t have before an appreciation. You know, remember what DE Mello was saying is that the only reason you’re ever unhappy is because you’re focused on what you don’t have. Hmm. And so what, what you, when go through, when you really embrace dying, that we all die, that everybody that you know is gonna die, that you are gonna die. Everyone that you love is gonna die. And people, people will just say, oh, what a depressing thought. I say, oh, believe me, it’s an enlightening thing to embrace.

Don (01:06:16):
Because as you come through it, you really come to appreciation for every moment you have with those people. You love every moment that you take in a breath every day, there’s a sunset that you, you stop to enjoy or rose you stop to smell, or a child. You took a delight in you. You know, you don’t let rush by you as you rush to the thing that you think so important. And miss the thing, the things that are really important in life. And so you’re not. So what De Mello is telling us is that don’t program yourself by saying, I am depressed. I am ashamed. I am afraid. You can say, look it fear is there right now, my ex my experience right now is one of a fear and separate yourself from it. Almost look at it as if you were looking at another person

Don (01:07:12):
Right. Like Deepak Chopra says, you’re the observer of your thoughts. Yeah. You’re the silent observer of your own thoughts

Don (01:07:18):
As exactly. And I recommend to people, imagine you’re observing your best friend, because you’re usually not very judgemental. You’re much more empathic with your best friend when they’re having a negative reaction, right? So if I’m looking, but at the same time you are that observer, you’re standing, you know, the Zen Buddhist calls it, stepping back, stepping back from the ordeal that your mind is making, making up as you step back and you, and you, you look on it at the same time. You have to allow yourself to feel it, to be in the ordeal at the same time, you’re stepping back from it and it will enlighten you. So that’s, that’s an important step, you know, be in touch with your feelings. Don’t repress ’em anymore. Don’t push ’em away. Don’t try to turn them. Don’t interfere with them at all. Let them come up,.

Brad (01:08:13):
Don’t false, positive them away either.

Don (01:08:16):
Right.

Brad (01:08:16):
Being eternally positive is a defense mechanism. That’s, it’s, it’s, it’s maybe better than being a constant grouch, but it’s still not achieving the objective you just verbalized.

Don (01:08:29):
Oftentimes people when they’re running positive affirmations, if they, if they would look at it a little deeper, they would notice their positive affirmation is fear of their negative reaction. And, so you drop in. You drop, okay, let’s then let’s go to that level. That’s where, that’s where the, where my suffering’s coming from. Let’s drop to that level. Let’s stop fooling around here. And then, so you allow yourself to feel that you remind yourself, this is happening in me. It’s not happening to me. It’s not happening in real it’s happening in me. And, and I’m not to blame for it. I’ve been programmed for it, but now it’s for me to embrace it so I can move through it. Don’t judge don’t judge it. And, and if you do judge it, bring that and embrace that. Embrace the way you judge yourself.

Don (01:09:20):
Don’t identify with that negative emotion. You are not your emotions. You are far greater than your emotions. It’s like, if you, your negative emotions are like a bucket full of black paint. You throw up into the air, you know, and for a moment as that black paint passes before your eyes, everything looks black and then boom, it comes to the ground. In no way, does it contaminate the blue sky. And so you’re the blue sky. That’s what you really are. That’s what you’re not seeing. That’s what you’ve lost touch with. You’re that wide open blue sky, and being here on Earth, there are gonna be dark clouds that come and go to pass over it. But they pass when you, and then what comes out behind it is the sun. And it’s the blue sky. That’s who you are. So don’t make the mistake of identifying with your emotions.

Don (01:10:10):
And then last but not least is remind yourself that this upset will pass. I sit here with it. What it will eventually do is pass that’s when you learn that fear and illusion, because eventually it goes puff. And then when it does that, when it passes, then all you really need to do is relax into it. Just simply relax into this space that just opened up, that just cleared, you know, like, and think of yourself as you, you just came up for air and relax into that. And what you will notice is that what arises with you is a feeling of contentment, a feeling of joy. You might feel a tingling in your heart. That means your heart is beginning to open and just be with that. And you do that every day. And it, it’s not a thing. It’s not a to do list thing.

Don (01:11:09):
It’s a to be list awareness, to be aware in that way every day, you’ll discover so much about yourself and what, what the wonderful line from De Mello is, is that awareness will release reality. The reality of you is a blue sky, the reality of a divinity within you and around you there to make your experience of life wonderful. But that that’s what, what, what will begin to emerge for you in your life awareness will release that awareness releases, reality to change you. And it’s not changing you into something it’s changing you back into what you are. It’s what it’s about.

Brad (01:11:56):
Don. Goewey killing it today. Fantastic. I I’m feeling that, that tingling right now, what a fantastic show. So your, your book, The End of Stress: Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain. I’m assuming those are the four steps you just talked through and some, some great techniques there to, to, to develop this as a skill.

Don (01:12:17):
Yes. Yeah.

Brad (01:12:18):
Great.

Don (01:12:18):
It’s about that. And at the core of that book, the end of stress at the core of ending stress itself, it is awareness becoming aware of what’s going on within you. And there’s ways in that book to confront the shame. You know, 80% of us are shame based Brene Brown,

Brad (01:12:36):
80% of what

Don (01:12:38):
80% of us are shame based. Oh boy. And that’s, uh, and you know, we, there’s a false belief behind shame, too. We seem to think if you shame people, you’ll help them to change a negative behavior. There’s not a shred of research. There’s not a shred of evidence in research that shows that at all. They shows it quite the re reverse. All you do is reinforce the shame based way of living. And none of this, one last thing I’d like to say here is that this is really important for people to get none of what De Mello is talking about. None of what the mystics that we’ve referred to here are talking about. It’s about renouncing the material world. You know, it’s about one uses the material world, you know, one enjoys the material world, but one doesn’t make one’s happiness depend on the material world.

Don (01:13:31):
That’s the difference. And the irony is, is that when you’re detached from the material world, when you’re looking at that list of, I cannot be happy until this and this and this, but you detach from it. It’s not running the show. It’s not running your show anymore. You actually begin to enjoy your success even more to enjoy the process of achieve even your goals even more. Um, then when you believe your self worth and peace and happiness entirely depend on the outcome of all of that. So, you know, it’s, if you succeed great. If you fail well, there was something in that failure that was a good teacher to me. But in either case your happiness and self worth and not at stake, and that’s living the good life. That’s fulfillment. That’s waking uo and if you’ve been programmed like me for dread, that’s waking up and in the math matter of 30 seconds and less or less moving through it and, and seeing the bright, sunny day and feeling the, the beauty of this divine divinity, whatever this mystery that created us surrounding us, loving us, supporting us, directing us. Feeling that.

Don (01:14:54):
But that’s so important to get, it’s not about and renouncing the material world. It’s about keeping the material world, turning the material world into something you pursue so hardly that you’re constantly stressed,

Brad (01:15:07):
Right? And when you release your shame, you give yourself permission to enjoy it rather than having this constant negative voice, whether you are abundant or scarce, you know, E everything’s a source of stress can, can really become a source of stress. Even people who are very wealthy and have tremendous abundance are, are telling a story the whole time. That’s, you know, not the intended purpose of, uh, enjoying these experiences and possessions.

Don (01:15:36):
Yes, the most perfect, perfect image I’ve ever heard of for, for attachment, for how attached we become to getting this person, getting this job, living in this attached to this material, wealth attached to having these outcomes. All of this is this metaphor of someone gobbling up food, someone in a concentration camp, you know, they get a piece of bread. So with one hand, they bring the bread to their mouth. With the other hand, they’re protecting it from their neighbor who will grab it from them the moment they lower their guard, you know, that’s, that’s what, that’s the suffering that attachment brings to you. Mm that’s. That’s the pathetic life that we’re living when we’re living out of the thinking of our attachments as the path that leads to our fulfillment and our happiness. It is quite the opposite. I mean, how many times have you succeeded at something?

Don (01:16:34):
And the very first reaction you have is that, well, how am I gonna keep succeeding? Or when you get something or what if I lose it? You know, we have these sort of knee jerk reactions that, that we have, and they’re all fear based in that kind of way. Well, when you, when you drop your attachments, and by, I mean, they know your attach, these things we call attachment no longer have anything to do with your happiness, that, that you take charge of your happiness. You choose to happy exactly as you are exactly as your situation is you allow it emerge in you. And the only way you will allow it to emerge in you is through, by being aware of the ways in which you undermine it. Um, and then that’s all you gotta do. It’ll take care of itself. And as you do that you you’ll be living the life. You, you always dreamed of living

Brad (01:17:32):
Don Goewey, what a close. I love it. We can follow you at the De Mello Center with the social media and website and things.

Don (01:17:40):
Yeah. See if you go to, uh, De Mello center.com, um, you’ll, you’ll get hooked up to all. We do a lot of stuff on social media, a lot of great stuff. A lot of video clips from Anthony De Mello,. You can get the book, Stop Fixing Yourself or Awareness, at Amazon. It’s been out long enough, Stop Fixing stuff just came out last year, but it’s been out long enough over the beginning to lower the price. So now’s a good time to grab it.

Brad (01:18:06):
All right. Thanks everyone for listening. Thank you, Don. Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email podcast@Brad ventures.com with feedback, suggestions, and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list to Brad kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list. And if you could go to the trouble to leave a five or five star review with apple podcast or wherever else, you listen to the shows that would be super, incredibly awesome. It helps raise the profile of the B.rad Podcast and attract new listeners. And did you know that you can share a show with a friend or loved one by just hitting a few buttons in your player and firing off a text message? My awesome podcast player called Overcast allows you to actually record a sound bite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off with a quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember B.rad

 

 

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