This episode was published on 4 February and is approximately 50 minutes long. This episode made possible by Glow Your Soul and Anchor.fm.
In this episode we’re talking about yoga, stoicism, philosophy, and living a better life. We spend time talking about how these schools of thought approach body, mind, ego, attachments, identity, and devotion. We talk about the process of eating, and transforming food into a part of you.
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Show Notes & Selected Links
We’re trying something a little different this week. We’re providing a transcription of the entire show as the show notes. We’ve added in links, cleaned up some spelling, and tried to make the content as useful as possible!
Let’s Jump Right In
All right. Good morning. Imran how are you doing today?
Good morning, Steve. I’m doing great. How are you?
You know, another wonderful day. We’re getting together on another. Well, not so bright and sunshiny a day here, but it’s another great Saturday. I’m really looking forward to our our conversation about yoga, stoicism and philosophy.
Yeah, it’s definitely just as equally gloomy here in Texas, but I’m excited to have this conversation, you know, it’s the follow-up of, of an episode that we did last year, where we kind of both dove a little bit into yoga and the stoicism about philosophy. So excited to have this chat with you today
For those listeners who may not have heard that show or, or aren’t, you know, aren’t aware Imran and I both share a lot of similar thoughts on, on how things work and how, how we interact, but from two totally separate schools of thoughts, or I guess seemingly separate, once you really dig in, you realize that stoicism and yoga are very, very similar from top to bottom, that the ideas that they express are similar, they use different, you know, iconology different thoughts about it, but we’re really getting to the same thing.
Absolutely. just, you know, in general in life, I guess you could consider me a lay disciple of Sadhguru not quite, you know, at that monastic level yet, but you know, so I quote a lot of the things that he says, and I also read a lot of Ram Dass and teachings of the Buddha and, and more of kind of like that Eastern philosophy is not really the best word for it, but I know it’s probably the best understanding of it is, is just kind of those Eastern teachings and that kind of path, right?
It’s, it’s the, it’s the lifestyle and the understanding it’s, it’s much more than, and I’m, you know, I’m a student of, of Marcus and Aristotle and Socrates and Seneca. And I’m at that point now with my study that I’m, I’m trying to understand and have my own, my own opinion of how those are, as opposed to, you know, the, the quotes and saying, you know, Epictetus says this, or Socrates says that I’m trying to embody those things and, and live them in that way. So I’m excited to have this. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of quotes. We’ll be talking about how other people you know, bring these things in, but this is really how you and I, I think, and these are conversations that we have. It’s, it’s actually one of the main reasons we do this podcast is so that we can talk about these sorts of things and share it with others.
Yeah. And that’s a good point that you made, you know, while we will quote things that we’ve read, we also talk a lot about what’s in our experience, you know, and yoga is big on, you know, things being experiential and, and none of this is really about belief or kind of religion or that sense. It’s really about the tools for you to be able to experience things yourself and, and have those you’ll have those within you. Right. And I, you
Know, let’s, let’s jump right in it. You’ve, you’ve had the opportunity to do some really cool things over the last few months, but I think we’ll really expand this conversation and start thinking about, or start our conversation, I guess, with just about what everybody has, right? Every person who’s going to listen to, this has a body, and I’m sure that they identify with it in certain ways. And probably most people don’t stop to think about the fact that while you have a body you’re not your body.
Yeah. That’s very true. You know I think I quoted this in our last episode when we were talking with Jason Teunissen, but you know, it’s an old Buddhist meditation to say, you know, I’m not the body, I’m not the mind. You know, I’m not the limbs, I’m not the organs of action. You know, I’m none of these things and you kind of sit there and you go through this over and over again, as you lose this kind of connectedness or identification with those things. And it’s really about understanding that you’re a being that exists beyond those. Right?
Yeah. And I think, you know, when I think about that from a stoic sense, it’s very much about the control of those things. Like that’s how the Stoics talk about it. There are things that are in your control and things that are not in your body is not something you can control. Right? You can’t decide, Oh, you know what, man, I would really love to have a cramp today. You can do things right to, to get yourself there. Of course, but you can’t control that. You can’t control the stomach ache. You can’t control kidney failure. Right. But it’s your body. And people like to think, Oh no, I totally control that, but it’s not true. Right? You are different. You are separate from it. And you have to find a way to understand that those things that are, that are happening are outside of your control. The only thing you really control is how you react to and what you think about
Yeah. And everything that’s happening is just happening. Right. There’s really no such thing as good and bad. That’s just how you classify it in your mind. Right. Events just are, and it could be, you know, there’s always this cause and effect to things that and we talk a little bit about it and talking about karmic principles, but you know, everything that happens to you as an effect of something that you caused at some point, whether it was, you know, in your life, this lifetime or last lifetime, and you know, it gets us to things that are later on down our list here. But let’s, let’s break down, you know, I want to break down how yoga looks at the body, right? So it looks at the body as layers and, you know, there’s your physical body, which is considered your food body because it’s really just an accumulation of the food that you eat.
Right. and, and that’s, that’s a piece of this earth. And I think every religion or philosophy teaches you, the fact that this body is a femoral it’s temporary and you will one day return it back to the earth. It’s like a loan you’re taking from the planet, which is going to be collected 100%, one day. There’s no interest added to it, but it will be collected in full at one point in time, you know, however, you will continue to exist. Right. and you have your mind body, which is more than just your brain, right? We, when we think of our mind, we think of our brain a lot. And the reality is, is you’ve got, you know, millions or billions of little cells that, you know, you’re not a singular being, right. You’re a collective of things that have learned how to work together.
And each individual microscopic single cell in your body has the intelligence in it to perpetuate life on its own. All right. It’s got DNA. It has memory. In fact, you know, Steve, can you remember what your great, great grandfather’s Eichler was?
No, but every cell in your body knows that, right? Because it has the DNA and you know, it can go back generations and that’s imprinted in there. So there is a sense of intelligence and memory in mind, that’s greater than what you can consciously access in your brain. Right. and then the next layer is your energy body. The way that yoga looks at that is, so then you have these it’s commonly, you would, you know, more familiar to hear about these chakras, right. And chakra points. And you know, where that comes from is that ultimately it’s physical, but it’s not something you can readily see.
Right. but you have these, you know, what they call [nadis(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7vUhXEH8p8), which are kind of a little like nodules or veins in a sense. And it’s, it’s it’s the channels through which energy flows and the points at which those channels come together are known as chakras. Now, what yoga teaches is there’s actually 114 chakras and no two of them exist outside of the physical realm. So we generally focus on 112 but they get categorized into seven general categories. And that’s what you traditionally hear as, okay, these are your seven chakaras, but you know, that’s also something that’s outside of most people’s experience, right?
I read Inner Engineering a couple of years ago on, your recommendation. That was one of the things that jumped out at me was that concept of the chakras the seven different categories and what they were and, and how you, how your thinking or your being, or what you’re doing relates to those areas. Those are not things that I’ve spent a lot of time on. UI know, you know, Aristotle and others all had thoughts about body and what it meant. And, and the, the idea of the, you know, that you’re giving back. I love the, the idea of, you know, it’s a loan. The, in, in stoicism, they talk a lot about, you know, at some point the olive falls from the tree and returns to the earth. It was, the tree was nourished by the earth. It generated fruit that fruit fell and that an allegory for, for life, it’s the same sort of thing.
You’ve been nourished by the earth you’ve grown, you’ve done, you’ve contributed. And then you give back to the earth. It’s very, very similar in that. It’s just, for me, it’s not an area that I’ve really dug into outside of the Inner Engineering pieces. And I was fascinated by the concept and really thinking about that, what I eat is being transformed into what I am, right. Those pieces of me, right? You eat a banana and that banana becomes nourishment. It’s transforming through some, you know, pretty specific chemical processes into the energy. I need to keep doing the things that I want to do. But prior to really reading that, I never thought about the fact that that banana was being transformed. Right. It’s just not something I think most people ever think.
Right. And, and so what that tells you, and so now within your experience is that the source of creation lives inside of you because that intelligence that can turn a piece of earth into a human body is happening within you all the time. Every time you eat a piece of food, it gets turned into you don’t ever introduce yourself as, Hey, my name is Steve, or I am Steve plus a banana, four steaks, and a baked potato, right? Like you’re, you’re just Steve. And, and you know, all those things have become part of you as a human being. Right.
And going on my next name tag, though, when we have an in-person event where it says, hello, that’s definitely, going to be my name on the tag.
That’s too funny, but so, so there’s your kind of experience there, right? And it’s, it’s one of the exercises in the engineering book is just, you know, be with your food like this. When we eat at the ashram, we eat in silence because the whole act of eating is a spiritual process in itself. And it’s about seeing that there’s a piece of life in front of you on the plate. That’s giving up its own life to become part of yours. Right. And, you know, if that piece of fruit and we’re going to get into ego in a bit, but if that piece of fruit had an ego and it thought, well, what about me? You know, I need to exist as a piece of fruit, then, you know, you may never have that nourishment given up for you so that your life could perpetuate. Right. .
It was, it was one of those areas. It wasn’t something I expected. I wasn’t prepared for that. I don’t know that way of thinking about it. And it is something different when I think about a meal for me, I, I want to be around my family and enjoying that. Right. And that’s where we use the meal to connect with each other. So, but we don’t ever talk about that sort of thing. You know, you say grace and a lot of families, you know, thank you for this. And when you really think about what’s in grace, it is kind of turning that thought of, thank you for this nourishment that I have from the earth. We’re in a lot of places, if you’re in a, you know, a Catholic household, you’re, you know,
The God for that. But if you back all of that out and think about how those things have morphed over time really is very, very similar to what you’re talking about. Right. We’re saying, thank you for the nourishment that we’re consuming, that came from the earth and it just happens. And I don’t, it it’s things we’ll talk about later in the episode, too, about being present in the moment and understanding where you are, but it’s boy, it’s that for me, like I said, just was not prepared for how that really made me think about the dinner I was eating.
Awesome. I’m glad you had that experience, you know, reading the book. So the next body is, is more of a transient body as you start to get from, because the first three, even the energy body, the, the one that you can see is still physical. It’s part of this physical world. Then you kind of get to, what’s called a transient body and then your nonphysical body, which I’ll just touch on very briefly. And, you know, it’s, it’s referred to commonly as a bliss body, if you, you know, and it’s really, because there’s no words to describe it. You know, once you get past the mind and you get into non-biological things, you know, words are a construct of the logical mind. So it’s, it’s almost impossible to explain something that’s not logical with words, right. And the reason why we call it, the bliss body in yoga is because that’s just what you feel when you touch it. Right. If you ever got to that point in your meditations, or you kind of felt that absolute joy bliss, it’s a, you know, you’re, you’re touching that part of yourself that kind of exists beyond there. But the idea is that, you know, you as a being exists beyond all these things, and, you know, you’re more than just what you consider as your physical bodies.
Yeah. That, that was another area for me when I was reading about the bodies in the chakras. That was, that was very interesting. I spent a lot of time with Aristotle, right. And thinking about the mind and our intellect and our language and how we, how we learn about things in that, that shared body of knowledge that we have. And our, I dunno, our human desire, I guess, to categorize things and dissect things and really break them down to help us understand what they are, versus just being able to enjoy something and being able to be in that moment. And that’s been a, I mean, I do think that’s a struggle for most people, but I think those are those areas where if you were to take some time and really sit and think about it, you’d realize that you don’t have to classify or deconstruct or dissect you, you could just simply enjoy it and enjoy beauty for the sake of beauty, as opposed to, you know, why is it beautiful or what makes this pretty or excellent, right. It’s a different way of, of enjoying those things around you.
You know, that’s, that’s how I look at the intellect, right? It’s, it’s a good tool, right. But just like any tool, you know, it’s, the intellect is like a knife, you know, you can have a very sharp or very doll intellect, and it’s the need of the intellect that wants to break things apart and classify them. And, you know, just like you wouldn’t walk around with a knife all day, just, you know, cutting things up randomly, you know, you pull it out when you need it and you can put it away when you don’t need it anymore. Right. And you know, an example that illustrates the point you just made is if take a look at a flower, right, you could dissect the flower all which way, and you could label and classify, like, here’s the flower pedal, here’s the stamen, here’s the polen, and here’s the stem, right. Usually if you’re the roots and you could go all that about the flower, but you’d never really truly be able to experience a flower, you know, and the fragrance of a flower, right. Or sit back at the same thing. I could dissect a human body and know where all the body parts are. Right. And all the organ systems, but I’d never truly know that person. Right. I wouldn’t know anything about that person. If I didn’t just experience him in his fullness without having to dissect it up with my intellect.
Yeah. I like the idea of thinking about intellect as a, as a tool. There’s a really, I don’t want to take us down this, this side track, but if you get a chance, especially for our listeners, the [Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance], I read that this past year, it’s an amazing journey of a guy telling a story of a number of stories all at the same time, but he talks about the idea of, of quality and being able to, to understand and see beauty without the need for classifying it and everything that you’re doing, you’ve already done some sort of, of classifying of it because your brain has to somehow process that image, right? You are always, you know, a split second in the past, the things are happening in front of you. And by the time it gets to you, you’re slightly in the past and you’ve already applied some level of judgment to it.
And it is a lot about that. Very basic. I want to classify and understand and not just enjoy it. Could you see, could you see and recognize beauty without having to take it apart? And that’s what I’ll put a link in the show notes. There’s some, it was a really fascinating journey in that book and it’s super confusing and it definitely takes a while to read, but it’s when you really get to the meat of what he’s going at, it’s a lot about what we’re talking about, same sort of thing. Just that idea of, can you allow yourself to see something and understand where it comes from?
That’s a great word. You just used judgment, right? We put our judgments on the things. And I think a common theme of all this is about moving away from towards liberation. Everyone wants liberation, true freedom. Right? And we’re going to talk a little bit about what that truly means, but you know, your judgments of things are what keeps you in your and being able to experience things as they are equanimity is the word, right? You experience everything the same, whether it’s pain, pleasure, love, hate, you know, joy or sorrow. You have to experience it from the same bus, right. Have the same experience of it versus letting those things kind of affect who you are. And that’s truly what your liberation is versus, you know, being bonded or enslaved to certain things. Right.
And the, the idea of, of judgment and letting go that’s a huge piece of, of being stoic, right? Like that’s one of the main tenants is can you, can you maintain your freedom of choice when the only choice you have is how you’re thinking about things. And I do not remember his name, but there was a person Note: James Stockdale! who was in a pow camp for a very long time and I’ll look him up for the show notes. But that was his thing. Like he knew that he was going to be tortured daily, as freedoms were taken away, but he maintained his mental sanity and, you know, maintained because he knew that no matter what was done to him externally, he could keep his thoughts about it and make his own choices there. Even though he was in captivity for years and horribly mistreated, it was that kind of freedom that he had because he was making the choices where he could. And that’s really all you get, but most of us never really see it that way. Right.
Yeah. He didn’t have like a, woe-is-me attitude. Right. And I’m going to jump quickly on the other side of the line here to bring up Epictetus, right? You talk about this a lot. And you know, he spent a good portion of his life as a slave, but he chose how he’s going to experience that. Right. And he wasn’t quite a misplace when he said, okay, well, I’m accepting of what’s happening around me. And I choose to experience life in a joyful way. Right. And versus being drawn down or depressed or sad about it, it’s just, it is, it is. And it’s a terrible phrase that people use, but it is what it is right at the end of the day, the idea behind that is that whatever’s happening around you is happening and it’s neither good or bad. It’s, it’s what you make. It’s like, your own psychological drama that makes something good or bad. Right. So if you can separate yourself from that, then you can experience anything in anywhere.
I think that’s interesting that a lot of the phrases that we use, we don’t really think about where they came from. That one’s a perfect example, right? Oh, it is what it is. And that has today a fairly negative connotation, but that it’s true. Whatever happened is what happened. You can’t change it. Right. Did you trip and fall and, you know, tear your pants. Okay, great. Did you bust up your knee? You bleeding. Okay. It happened. It is what it is. How do you deal with that is, is where your choice comes from. You’ve already tripped. Why make it worse? Right. That already happened. That’s in the past. How do you deal with it going forward is where your, where your choice comes from and your ability to have that freedom.
Yeah. You ever noticed with, with young children, especially like toddler age or younger than that, when they’re first learning how to walk. And so they’re not so stable on their platform there, and you know, they’ll fall and things like that. And often I’ve seen is still when they first fall, they don’t have suddenly react. They look up at the adults around them to see how they should react and based on what happens. And if, you know, some parents may be overly emotional about this and rush up and you’re like, Oh my God, are you okay? You’re hurt. So the child will react in that way because that’s what the parent has taught them. Versus, you know, I’ve also seen some parents that a child falls or something in a situation where you might normally expect them to start crying. And then we’ll just start asking them questions like, Hey, what did you remember? That thing we did yesterday? And then their mind is completely goes away from what this happened. And they don’t react in a negative way to that thing. Right. And so that’s kind of an interesting example of it.
It is. And it’s a big, it’s a very, wow. I mean, that’s super deep. When you think about what that really means, the way you, that, that environmental response that the child is looking for is what matters. Right. They fell that anybody see me and are they looking, you know, what happened? Was that the right thing? Like why did I fall? How did that happen? Cause they don’t know. And if the parents all look, you know, they are all gasping. Oh my goodness. And the child assumes based on, you know, facial cues, something’s probably wrong here. Right? Again, going back to that innate ability to understand some of your information. And I’m like, Oh no, you know, now I’m scared. Well, if you don’t teach it that way, right. The child learns differently. And it is a good way. It’s the same sort of thing with tantrums, right? When the child starts having a tantrum, you get up and walk away and they’re like, Oh, well wait, that, that approach didn’t work. Let me get up, walk to where they are again. And then flop down and start over and get up and walk away. If you don’t respond to it, that, you know, the, the feedback that they’re looking for doesn’t happen. And it totally takes the air out of that.
Yeah. Cause then it becomes a conditioned response over time. Right.
Right. And that’s, you know, we’ve talked about that before that, that your, your body looks for, for certain patterns, right? If if something happens and you get happy about it, you try to repeat it. If you get angry about it and you, you generate a lot of energy and a lot of emotion from that, your, your body will look to repeat that and you’ll, it’ll get easier and easier to do those sorts of things. Right. That email comes in and you’re angry when an email comes in, your body’s like, Ooh, yeah, we’re ready. Let’s get that up. That energy. Let’s get that anger. Come on. Let’s go, go, go. You build that for yourself. You have to let, you have to give yourself a moment to see it and, and accept that it came in and not. And, and really you have to fight that desire to just respond emotionally so quickly.
Yeah. Or even, yeah, it it’s, it’s a concept of neural pathways. Right. And I think the science of neuroplasticity is talking about how to change this because we used to think, Oh, once brain cells will set in a certain way, that’s just the way they’re going to be. Right. And we’re starting to learn through the science side of the intellectual dissection that, you know, that’s not always true. Right. and that’s where even, you know, in the, some of the law of attraction type teachings, and there’s a lot of different things that tell you to practice gratitude, right. When you wake up in the morning, you know, be thankful for something, be grateful for something, because, you know, if you’re always caught in negativity, like, you know, if you feel like venting is helping you, it’s really not. It’s just forming these wiring or the neurons in your brain to be wired for negativity.
And so the thing about the brain, it’s always about, you know, being efficient. And so once things get wired a certain way, it’s just easier to fall into that. And it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck there forever. You can totally retrain your brain. And that’s what things like the Lumosity and similar type tools are out there for is about retraining your brain in certain ways. And so that’s what, that’s what gratitude is. It’s, it’s rewiring your brain for positivity so that it becomes easier to be thankful for something than to be upset at something that’s happening. Right. You can always look at everything around you. And again, you choose how you want to look at it. And so if you want to train your body in a certain way, then you want to train your body to be grateful for the things that are happening around you versus the others. Your experience will always be
Right. And I don’t think most people spend time on that idea. Right? You’re just, no, it’s not my fault that my boss sent me an email that makes me mad. Right? Hang on. It kinda is right. Your boss sent you something that had a question. Your response to it is 100% on you. 100%, right? It goes back again. I’m talking about phrases that came from a long time ago, sticks and stones may break my bones, but no names will never hurt me. Right. You got a bad email. You got one and you read it. I shouldn’t say bad. You got an email. And it had things in it. When you read, you immediately jumped to, Oh my God, I can’t believe how could they so unfair stop and think about what’s that coming from? Where, where is that? Maybe I’m just gonna throw this out there.
Maybe you missed the deadline. Maybe you had something that was due. Maybe that person is just trying to follow up and ask something about it. Maybe not in a way that you liked, but again, that’s your judgment of what came in. Take a minute, read it for what it is. Don’t respond in anger or energy or passion, and simply take a moment to say what’s the right way to respond to this and respond. Let go of that. And it’s the same kind of thing that you’re talking about, right? If you practice that gratitude all the time, you’ll find ways that you, it gets easier. It gets a lot easier to see other things as they come in for what they are not for, how your, your emotional mind wants you to respond.
Yeah. It’s about we, we learned about this when we start taking science classes in high school and maybe middle school and you start experimenting and it’s to look at things with a certain sense of object objectivity, right? Remove your personal opinions and your bias from the experiments. And if you truly want results, because you can always get the results you want. Right. And you see that a lot in scientific studies, if, if there’s a lot of bias and subjectivity applied to it. And so you kind of, your whole life is an experiment in that sense, because you know, you’re trying things out and you’re seeing what happens. And if you can be objective in the way that you approach it, then you can grow right from those experiences versus being a victim to them. Right. And, and your example there, it’s like, Oh, my boss always makes me mad. Or my boss always sends me emails and makes me mad. One thing that has always baffled me in life is how much control over the inner self people give to other people that they don’t even like that much. And it’s like, if you don’t like that person, why are you giving that person so much control over your emotions? Right. You’re losing. And that person may not even be up at night thinking about you, but you are, you are right.
Definitely not up thinking about you. Right. They don’t know it’s not it. And that’s I don’t know. I, I struggle with it, right. I it’s the same thing. You know, you can choose that, that reaction that you want and is it really worth the energy? And in most cases, I’d say, no, it’s not worth the energy to get all bent out of shape about it and be upset. What, what good is that doing your, why? Why are you letting that person, you know, have that much control? We care what we think about ourselves, but we don’t listen to our own opinion of ourselves. Very often, we look to other people for their opinions of us.
Right. And you know, it, it goes into this whole concept of identity and attachments, right. And, you know, we’re so attached to these things and we, we, with the wrong things in life, right. We talked about identifying with your body, identifying with your mind, your thoughts, right. You know, even your mind is just an accumulation of things. You know, the other, I guess another aspect of it, I didn’t touch on what we’re talking about. The layers is that, you know, your mind is constantly recording through the five senses, right? Even if you’re sleeping, your mind is recording, right. They’ve done experiments where they’ve said something to someone while they were asleep and then, you know, brought them into a hypnotized state and they could repeat what was said to them, even though they weren’t consciously awake for it, right? The subconscious is constantly recording information and it’s processing it.
And so again, your mind is accumulations. Your body is accumulations of food. And your mind is accumulations of information. That’s coming in from the five senses. You are not any of these things, you know, grabbed us the way Ram Dass, puts it in a, he it’s, it’s the recent documentary that was put out called Becoming Nobody. And at the very beginning, the way he starts it off, as you know, your body is like a space suit and you come into this space suit and just like an astronaut who’s in a space suit, you learn how to use it. You learn how to grab things. You learn how to move. You learn how to walk around, you know, your frontal lobe contains this whole control panel that you’re in and you’re learning how to operate. And then over time, you’re in this space suit. So long, you become identified with this space suit and you think, okay, this is me.
Right. And so now all the things that are happening to this body are things that are happening to you. Right. and, and so it’s, there’s a lot of different thoughts, you know, yoga refers to it as identities, even social roles. So now we’ll Ram Dass, the way he calls it as “somebody training”. And the reason why this is called becoming nobody is, you know, it’s being able to detach from all those identities. Right. And so, you know, he says his parents were somebody. And so of course, as soon as he was born, they went on trying to make him into somebody. Right. And then you’re you become somebody. And then you’re like, all right, well, you know, it rubbed us specifically. He was at the height of his career, you know, a really well accomplished psychologist. You know, Harvard professor had all the money, he had all the glory and, you know, in his day, but you know, he wasn’t really too happy, right.
There was like a sense of emptiness. So there’s like you go to a therapist or a psychologist for a nominal fee, he’s willing to teach you how to wear his suit, you know? And so then you do that. And so then you kind of go on, but then ultimately it’s, it’s really, you just truly have to get away from that somebody’s training and let go of all your social roles and, you know whatever it is, I’m a father, I’m a teacher, I’m you know, engineering director, I’m an architect. Right? All those things are just social roles and you can act in them as the moment calls for right. To get through life. But it’s the identity or identifying with, or being attached to those things that, you know, all ultimately is your. Yeah.
When I, when I think about those sorts of things in the roles, in your attachment, I think about things that the Marcus Aurelius wrote in his time, he was probably the most powerful man in the world, you know, leader of Rome, massive empire. And he, he wrote things and I probably won’t get this quote. Right. But he talks about Asia and Europe as distant recesses of the universe, that the ocean was just a drop of water. And that you know, mountain that’s right near them was a mole Hill. And the present time, like thinking about where you are is just a split second, when you think about it in terms of eternity, that was his whole way of, of reminding himself and really helping us think about it, that what we, how we identify ourselves and where we are, were much smaller pieces of something much, much bigger than us.
So being so attached to who you are and trying to always go get more in chasing the next thing, the next title, the next job, the next, whatever it is, those are, I mean, maybe a compulsion there, there a need there a goal and having goals, I think is a great thing, but understand what they’re there for and what are you, what are you trying to do at what point can you take that step in your own life? Like Ram Dass, says, I have enough, what I have I’m I can, I can be happy. I don’t need to go get a brand new BMW to be happy. Sure. It might look nice. It might drive around really great, but it also comes with a huge payment and it means that I can’t do something else. And I can’t then find the stillness or I can’t take a break or I can’t take a vacation, or I can’t go to a, you know, a hockey game because with my kids, because I have to go keep chasing something else. How do you, you know, how do you let go and be not so attached to that identity?
Yeah. I mean, how many times in life, and you know, this is just not specifically at you, but in general to listeners is have you thought, all right. Things aren’t well right now, but if I, if I achieve this next milestone, then that’s it, everything’s going to be perfect. Right. Whether it’s like, all right, I’m going to, once I pay off my house, I’ll be happy. Right. Or, you know, once, once I get a new job, you know, then I’m really going to be happy and that that’s, what’s going to take it right. Or I got to get a new car or I’m going to have a new spouse or partner or a new mate. Right. And achieve those things. And you realize you’re, you’re still pretty much where you were, you know, if anything, you know, they may be more or less of a different burden on you, but, you know, it’s just that, that wanting or looking at that goal and say, okay, yeah, this next thing is going to be the thing that gets me, my happiness, or that that’s it. Once this happens, I’m ready and I’m done, you know? But then, like you said, you’re always chasing what, what’s the next thing after that?
Yeah. You rarely get, you know, that, that piece, you you’re, you’re driving your brand new BMW. Right. You’ve got the, I don’t even know what they are anymore. I don’t follow cars. But the you’ve gotten it. And then all of a sudden a new one comes out and you’re like, Ooh, Oh man. Oh, that’s, that’s the one. Right. I I’ve got to have that. And it’s funny as we’ve been talking today, I, I, the, the phrases that we all have internalized, right? The grass is always greener. Well, isn’t it. The grass is pretty green where you are, you’ve got a beautiful car. Just gotta be able to see it. Can it be enough? Can you allow that to be what, what you needed? Probably not. Right. If that’s what you’re chasing, that’s probably not it. But can you find the, the ability to sit down and enjoy your family play cards?
Right. I, I took the family on a, on a trip, you know, a few months ago we went to see Mount Rushmore. Well, around that time, it was, it was around Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving day watching movies together, playing board games. And we taught the kids how to play hearts and spades. I didn’t need any more. Right. But that was, that was the definition of enough. I was surrounded by my family. We were having a great time. We did not need anything. It was simply being there and being together as opposed to worrying about what are we going to do next? Or is this perfect? Or is it, you know, everything just right. We were in the moment and we enjoyed, you know, our collective company.
That’s awesome. You know, it takes me to a quote that I like to say a lot. And I may have said it more than once on our show, but you know, if you’re not happy with what you have now, what makes you think that you’d be happy with more?
Yes, you, you do remind people of that. It’s one of my favorite sayings, because how, right. If, if what your soul focused on is more, your you’re not looking for happiness, right? Again, it comes from your ability to understand where happiness comes from. And my guess is if more is your target, there’s probably something inside that you need to come back in and, and focus on. It’s not, it’s not that
Yeah. You know, you have this drive and where that comes from is, is a drive to be limitless. And limitlessness comes from letting go of attachments and truly realizing the being that you are, because you’re the whole universe. And so you don’t just need another car or another material thing. You know, you can experience the entirety of the whole universe within yourself. And there implies you’re limitlessness otherwise you’re going to keep craving for more, without realizing that you have it all, you know?
Yeah. You mentioned something interesting there, you know, the, the whole universe, and I know from stoicism and what I’ve read, you know, of, of yoga, there’s that idea of, you know, you’re, you’re a piece of this. You’re more than what your body is. You’re more than what your mind is, but there’s also that idea that there’s something bigger than you, right? You’re not the end all be all of it. Your, your body is transitory, but there’s, there’s more, what, what are your things, what are your thoughts and your thinking on that idea of having something larger?
Yeah, that actually, I mean, it takes me to the concept of devotion, right? As we look at it in yoga and, you know, a devote T is really just someone who experiences something greater than themselves. Right. And, and you really have to look at it and this kind of ties into ego, but you know, this is a thought exercise. So imagine yourself standing in the Coliseum, right. Such a vast thing, or Texas stadium, right? Whatever, whatever your mind can wrap around that you can relate to. Right? Imagine yourself standing inside a big football stadium and the proportion of you to that stadium, right. You’re, you’re just as tiny. You’re like a fly compared to a human, right. You’re not very big. And then now imagine yourself compared to the whole city of Rome, right. Or imagine yourself compared to the whole continent of Europe or to the whole planet or, or to the whole solar system, to the whole galaxy, to the whole universe.
Right. As you get to this grander and grander scale, you become a tinier and tinier.to the point where you’re not even on the map anymore. You’re not even visible dot on the map yet in everything. You’re such a big man and that, you know, something happens to you and it’s, it’s the end of the world. Right. or it ruins your whole day, you know, just one bad thought can ruin your entire day. Meanwhile, you have to kind of look and see the sun Rose this morning. That’s, that’s a vacuous thing. It could easily not have risen and we’d all be dead, you know? And you know, there are probably a billion people who didn’t wake up today. Right. And that means there’s probably about 10 million people who lost someone close to them. Right. So first thing you gotta do in the morning is make sure you’re there, right. And then call the people you love and make sure they’re still there. Holy. It’s already a wonderful day. Right? Because all that things are, and it just kind of understanding that greatness and being able to see that there are things that are bigger than you and understanding your place in it. And that you’re just kind of this tiny speck, a blink of an eye and the grand cosmic scale. And that can give you such a sense of awe, such a sense of devotion to things that are around you. Yeah.
Yeah. When we were, when you and I were talking, you know, prior to this, this episode, we, we talked a little bit about the idea that your, I don’t mean you personally, but you don’t have to believe in God. Right? You don’t have to believe in the Judeo-Christian God, you don’t have to believe in the Buddha or anyone else. Right. It doesn’t matter to me who you believe in. I want you to just acknowledge that there’s something bigger than you, because it does change your perspective. Right? You, you just nailed it.
It's Not About You
, right? Yes. You, you went around a corner, you stepped on a Lego and it hurts like, hell great. That happened. Move on. Let it go. Right. There’s so much more going on around you. Can you then maybe say, well, while I’m hopping around, can I look out the window and spot, you know, A Cardinal on the fence and see something that I guess if you like, Cardinals would be beautiful, abstract, beauty, can you look out and enjoy the fact that, you know, there’s vegetation around you or that you’re in the middle of a bustling city, because that’s what is important to you.
That’s what you enjoy. It’s bigger than you. There’s more going on than just the fact that you stepped on a Lego that got left out. It’s it doesn’t have to be so small and so specific. And, and I don’t want to use the word insignificant because stepping on a Lego certainly hurts or whatever that activity is, but there’s a lot of other things going on. And how do they all relate to what’s happening? And can you just, I don’t know. I shouldn’t use the word just either. Can you allow that input to come in and measure your own reaction to it going out while you’re understanding that there’s something bigger, right? You don’t have to dissect it. How did it happen? Oh my God. Why did this get left out? All those different things. Just let it be.
Yeah. That’s, it’s funny. You mentioned the Cardinal. My wife loves cardinals and there is a Cardinal on the fence. I fact I can hear one of a patio. I know we threw a bunch of bird seeds in the, and the patio there. And so that’s like one bird. I totally recognized because of her, but yeah, a cardinal on the fence makes her day, you know, and it’s just the most beautiful thing ever. But you know, you can find, and you can find devotion to blade of grass. You know, you mentioned it, it doesn’t need a God right. To get you there because if you really think about it, the blade of grass understands life better than you do, right. It, it knows how to live. And outside of thrive, you know, just about every animal out there in the world, understands life is in tune with themselves and is in tune with the earth.
They know what it’s going to rain. They know what the moon phases are. Like. They know what the magnetic pull of the earth is because the birds know which direction to fly. They don’t have campuses and Google maps. Right. You know, a bear doesn’t need to go to 15 years of school and four years of college to learn how to live and make a living and raise kids. And so the basic, the basic things of life just about everything else out there understands better than, you know, most people do. Right. And so to truly understand that and then say, okay, well then what does it make me different to be a human being, right? Is because that’s survival. We’re all working really hard at survival right now. And literally just about everything out there knows how to survive better than we do. So you can find, you can find devotion in that. And just kind of think about that and put yourself in that perspective. And, you know, look at things with some off,
I have a feeling that our listeners are, are scratching their heads right now. Right? That’s the, the idea that you just threw out there that, you know, a lot of things are better at living than we are, is that that’s going to be hard to receive hard to hear, but take a moment. Right? Think about that. Right? You’re the Bayer did not go to school. It knows what to do. It knows where to find food. It learns from its parents. It learns from its biology. It, it understands, you know, innately what it needs to do. And we spend a lot of time. How long is it before a, you know, a child is born that they can feed themselves. It’s a while. Right? They, they, they need that help. We, we tend to, I think because we, we see ourselves as so much more and so much bigger to over-complicate a lot of things, right.
Going out and finding, and that idea of chasing more is built into us right now. I’m guilty of it. I’m asking my kids now because of their ages, where do you want to go to college? What do you want to study? What do you want to do with your life? And I remember my, my older son, when he was much younger, we would talk to him about that. You know, what would you like to do? You know, there’s firemen, there’s this, that, you know, he loved dinosaurs. He loved big trucks, all these different things. And he got really upset one day and I’m like, well, what what’s the matter is like, well, when I grow up, I just want to be me and I, that you don’t expect that he was probably five or six years old at the time. Not at all, man.
I want to be an astronaut or this, that, no, I want to be me. Oh man, well, here’s a five or six year old. That’s got this figured out way better than I do because here I am trying to get them to figure out what else he wants to be. What other role does he want to play? What other suit does he want to wear? And he’s already realized that the most important thing to him is being himself. And I’m sure that I ruined that for him. You know, because of the way that, you know, that I was conditioned in the way that I think about things and needing to understand that. But as I, as I think about where we are in that continuing education and where he’s going to go, I want to know what, what are you thinking about doing in college?
Are you thinking about going to college? Right. My younger son, same sort of thing. He’s, he’s kind of gone from place to place. Things that he thinks might be fun that he might want to go do, and maybe it’s college, maybe it’s not, and it’s really hard not to put our, our desires as parents and as people onto, onto them to try to get them to go live out something and take advantage of, of the, the experience that we have that we know going to college will likely make your life better, but maybe where your path is, has nothing to do with that. And it’s, it’s hard. It’s hard to accept for sure.
Yeah, definitely. Wow. we talked about a lot today, Steve. I mean, you know, we went over the body and, and kind of how we look at the body, mind, intellect, ego, identity, and attachments, and, and even touched a bit on devotion there at the end. I think this is definitely gonna, as I look at the outline we had prepared for today, this is probably another three or four part series. It’s great. We certainly have a lot to talk about. I think, you know, the next episode, we’re going to try and touch on concepts like food, and compulsion’s talk more about freedom and liberation and hopefully get to some stillness and responsibility. So yeah. Thank you for the wonderful chat today. Steve,
This has been great. For everybody that’s listening, please, you know, keep reaching out share like, you know, comment that, that sort of thing. We love the interaction with all of you and have a great day.
All right. Take care.
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