There are emotions inside all of us that can sometimes be difficult to fully feel — anger, sadness, fear and even joy often have an intensity that causes us to brace ourselves against them. What if instead of running away from a feeling, we leaned into it? How would it change our experience to turn towards the thing giving us discomfort, asking us to expand in some way? In today’s episode, we will explore how to embrace intensity in order to allow transformative change to flow into our lives.
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The Wisdom of Anger: Part I - Emotion Series #3
29:15It may be that the most misunderstood and hated emotion in our society is anger. At some point in probably everyone’s life, words spoken out of anger have cut us deep to the bone. Actions taken from a place of rage have broken relationships, door hinges and have turned families and societies against themselves. But where would we be without our anger and how can anger point to what we and others love and care deeply about? What does anger look like when we allow ourselves to feel it fully and cleanly?
Ant Taylor on Embracing Emotions
44:32Brett interviews Ant Taylor, founder and CEO of Lyte, on a profound self-reflection that changed his life and business. Ant discovered that shifting from living largely in his head to operating from a more intuitive and embodied space allows him to tap into the wisdom of his emotions. We will learn more about how he now embraces the ebb and flow of emotional intensity, resulting in the uncovering of deeper truths.
Embracing Intensity - Emotion Series #2
24:26There are emotions inside all of us that can sometimes be difficult to fully feel — anger, sadness, fear and even joy often have an intensity that causes us to brace ourselves against them. What if instead of running away from a feeling, we leaned into it? How would it change our experience to turn towards the thing giving us discomfort, asking us to expand in some way? In today’s episode, we will explore how to embrace intensity in order to allow transformative change to flow into our lives.
Stages of Emotional Development - Emotion Series #1
30:28Today's episode is the first of a new series on emotions. To kick things off, we’re going to explore the process of emotional development that we all go through as we start to work through each of the emotions that we’re going to discuss the next upcoming episodes.
39:11Joe and Brett jump into Brett’s background in extreme sports, business, and relationships to explore a key shift in mindset: from setting out to conquer our fear to welcoming it as a focusing and energizing force.
Group Cohesion vs. Cult Dynamics
23:57The essence of a cult dictates that you hand over your power to someone else, which is the antithesis of the VIEW mindset. Is there a way to retain autonomy and have individual needs met while also deeply contributing to the needs of a group? In this episode, Brett and Joe unpack the differences between cult dynamics and group cohesion. "I want to bring people to their own wisdom, and I don’t want to bring people to my wisdom, somebody else’s wisdom or a group wisdom."Brett: We were talking about the vow and cults and some of the people coming back into AoA from having done ESF and other kinds of work, and there is a tongue in cheek that sometimes people joke about. I am back in the cult. This is a cult. This is not a cult. A question for you that somebody asked that was tongue in cheek was what if you just stopped resisting that you are a cult leader. Joe: It is funny. As soon as you say this and I know it is being recorded, I become self-conscious, and I don’t even want to put that thought in anybody’s mind. I don’t know if it is a semantic thing. It is like when other people use the word cult, and in my mind cult means another thing. I don’t know if it is even generational. But to me, the essence of a cult is where you are handing over your power to somebody else, which is the antithesis of the work that I want to do in the world. By the way, I don’t think that all cults are bad. I actually think there are things that are cults that we don’t call cults. I mean I have definitely been in companies that have a very cult-like thing where it is very hard to leave. There is only one way of thinking, and dissent is not appreciated. I’ve definitely seen it in places like political systems, some deep cult-like behaviors, but it is such an antithesis of what I want to be doing in the world that I just want an association with it, which is there is something in it for me in that. Brett: For sure. It brings me back to something you said once. When we did our one-on-one session that was recorded, there was a thing that you said when I was feeling a lot of tension. You said if you took all of the tension out of a cell, it would die. Tension is part of the system. I am seeing this here. In any group, there is like a desire within the people of the group to start to surrender to the group. Please just solve my problems, meet all my needs, make my decisions, make life easy for me, and heal me, change me, especially in personal development type groups. There is that particular force that is kind of driving towards group cohesion and group healing. As it does that, there is some level of critique and critical thinking, or personal wants and needs can start to slowly fall to the wayside. Then there is this other opposing force, which is I think the one that you are living in a lot whenever somebody brings up this is a cult. You are like ooh, I don’t want to use that word, which is no, no, no, we want everybody to have their own autonomy and we want everyone to have their needs met and not sacrifice a large portion of their needs so that the group can as a whole can get a small sliver of needs met and then completely be unhealthy in other ways. There is this tension. Joe: I also see that when groups subjugate themselves for the group, there is no healing that happens. As people in a group subjugate their needs, it just creates trauma. It doesn’t actually create healing. I think there is a tendency for it. I think it is very similar to the same tendency that two people get into a relationship and both of them start making sacrifices to their authenticity to make sure the other person is happy or stays happy, walking on eggshells or saying the exact right thing or doing whatever they need so the other person doesn’t get upset with them or angry at them or get sad or whatever it is. I think it is the same thing that happens, and I think it is really unhealthy in a relationship. I think it is really unhealthy in a group. At the same time, there is no judgment towards it in my system, but there is a deep dislike for that kind, dislike as in I don’t like the taste of that. Just like I don’t like cooked fish, and I want to eat fish. I will eat raw fish. There is that to it. I think the other thing that bothers me about the cult thing, and I would love to explore this because, like I said, I know there is something in this for me. What I notice is when people get involved in these programs, they have a way of interacting with each other which is deeply fulfilling. People come and say I really miss doing the work. I really miss the groups. People who do this work together stay friends for five, six years, and they get to know each other. The community builds. There is nobody telling them what to do, no leadership in it. They just enjoy it. It feels to me that to say this is cult behavior, it diminishes it. It is saying we can’t be this way naturally. We can’t just be happy naturally. We can’t just be deep and intimate naturally. It is only okay because we are in this cult. There is something about that tongue and cheekness that I think dismisses the idea that this can be your life. This is my life. This is many people I know. It is their life and they have never done this work. There is something that is like hey, don’t dismiss. Don’t. That only can happen in Vegas. No, it can happen any God damn place you want it to happen. This is your life. There is something in that that I get a little defensive towards. I am like hey, no. Brett: There is this idea that can happen when you find a group and a set of tools that bring you a deeper place of self-acceptance and self-love, and your life starts changing. There is a stage where you believe that these tools and these people are either required for it, or just that you are far more likely to get it if you are with those people. It starts to create the sense that there is a boundary between us and then everybody else who is not on this page. That is a thing that just happens anywhere in any group, a sports team, fans of the Browns, anything. It is like these are our people. Those are the other people. Our religion is the ones that eat chicken. The other religion is the ones that eat pork. It starts to create this boundary. There is something in the way that you relate to this, which is even if we are playing with the idea that this is a cult or not a cult, letting ourselves play with the idea of letting the concept of cult show up in our jokes so that we are at least self-referential and self-aware of the tendency that we might have to become insular, but there is also still this. Joe: Hold on. I’ve never thought about it that way. Never thought about it that way. What you are basically saying is on some level potentially the jokes are a way to keep it in consciousness. It creates an awareness of it so it doesn’t get out of hand potentially. Brett: Yeah. Joe: That actually makes me really appreciate it in a different way. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Brett: I think it also puts a little bit of framing around the kind of behavior that might occur. For a group of us that moved to Hawaii recently, we have a particular way of relating to each other. We have these tools, and some people would come and hang out with us. They would see us doing things differently, like go deep into emotions with these particular techniques. We actually had a couple of people be like are you guys a cult. If we were just defensive, like no, we are not a cult, then that would be maybe a red flag. Joe: What’s the answer? What do you say? Brett: The answer is I don’t know. If things got out of hand, we could let ourselves accidentally devolve into a cult if we weren’t actually careful. It is easy to recognize this group has something that I need and that I want that seems to be filling my needs more than I have found other places. Then I start getting attached to the group. Then my fear and my control mechanisms start coming in, and then somebody might start trying to control the group. Then people might sacrifice themselves for the group cohesion because the group is so important and it feels like you aren’t going to get it elsewhere, which goes back to the thing you were saying, which is buying into the story that all of life can’t be the work. There is a tendency that that could just happen if you are not watching for it. I think there is a way that being self-aware of we have a different culture developing in this group of people than is the broad culture out there. That might mean others project cult onto us, and that might also mean that we accidentally start exhibiting those behaviors. Joe: What’s interesting to me here is that I watched the Vow thing. Some of the tools and values were similar to some of the tools that we use, and so I remember the immediate response. I watched it with Tara, my wife. Our immediate response was, mine more than hers, I just don’t want to do this at all. I’ll give up the business. Maybe I won’t even coach. I don’t want anything to do with this. I was having a hard time, and I remember watching it and I am like where does the cult begin and where does the cult end. Then I started doing the research on the cult stuff and how to control groups, and then I started seeing it everywhere. I remember this one scene in the Vow where the Dalai Lama is talking to Keith Raniere, and the Dalai Lama has a problem with the thing, and then everyone is like this is a problem. He gets talked out of the fact that it is a problem, and then everybody goes oh. I am like wow, it is like one cult talking to another cult. Now, obviously there are huge differences between the two. I really like what [unclear] and I like some of what [unclear] has done in the world, but I saw it in companies. I saw it in political groups. I just saw that this behavior is almost everywhere. I remember after watching it, there was kind of this thing that happened to me is almost like there is just no way to do this. It was kind of like a giving up or something. There was something in me that was just like no matter what you do, humans will make it a cult. No matter what, and by humans, I mean me. I am not excluding me from them. It was just like no matter what you do. This is what it devolves into or evolves into because people like to have a clear understanding of what’s going on. They like to have roles. They like to have hierarchy. That was the arc of my adventure watching that, and somehow or another in there, when I started to really research, I remember 25 things that let you know you are in a high control group or a cult. I was like we don’t do that, we don’t do that, we don’t do that, and we don’t do that. All of a sudden, there is a distinction, and this is the difference. That’s the only thing that actually I think got me interested in doing the work again. It was so much not wanting. I want to bring people to their own wisdom, and I don’t want to bring people to my wisdom, somebody else’s wisdom or a group wisdom. I sometimes don’t see my own wisdom. I see the group wisdom or someone else’s wisdom. It is something that it is impossible to completely let go of. It is an interesting journey for me. I wonder how much of the word is charged. I think about the word narcissist. The words narcissist and victim, they were bad words in my head. If you are a victim or you are a narcissist, and then seeing we are all narcissists and we are all victims. There is no bad word here. I haven’t found the place where cult isn’t a bad word. In my world, I don’t see the place where giving up your will to a group is not a bad thing. The funny thing, the thing that hits me first is that giving up your will generally is a beautiful thing. As a matter of fact, I think that level of surrender is like one of the most enormous gifts I have ever had in my life, but it wasn’t to a guru. It wasn’t to a group of people. I think about something Gareth, who runs this thing called Conscious Cult, and he says what happens if you are surrendering consciously with the full understanding that there is imperfection on all sides of it. Even there, I would say it is far better to surrender to the ineffable than it is to a person. Brett: The ineffable, that’s one of the things I can imagine someone hearing and being like what the fuck does he even mean with it. You said before surrender, but the way you have this feeling about this word surrender that is like I don’t like the way people use it normally because it is like what are you surrendering to. I’ve seen you make a distinction between surrendering to something outside of yourself that is not tapped into your wisdom and surrendering to whatever it is coming from within you and through you. That brings me into something that actually really relates this sort of unavoidable phenomenon of group cohesion into cult behavior that just exists in all humans even if you become part of the cult of personal development gurus who doesn’t want to be a cultist, which could be its own cult. Joe: No way out. Brett: No way out. On some level, there is this fundamental pattern in life to self-organize into structure. Structure becomes control, becomes rigidity. That can occur on a group level, but it can also on an interpersonal level inside us. That’s actually what a lot of this work is, to recognize where in some sense we are a cult of one with our own beliefs and our own sub selves and parts that are colluding in some cult-like way to be us against the world. The work itself is to be swimming upstream of that and finding what’s underneath it and relaxing those constraints and letting a broader intelligence come through. Joe: I have so much joy in me right now hearing that. I love that, how you have shown that the cult is a projection of the internal cult and how our internal structure is very cult-like. We have a guru that’s a voice in the head that says things and we believe it without questioning whatsoever. I just thought the whole thing. If I want to take the principle and say if my internal world is that of abuse, then I look outside and see the external world as abuse. If my internal world is one of love and I look outside, I see the external world is one of love. I see how love acts. The question I have for myself is if I am rejecting the cult externally, if I am rejecting the cult externally because I am not sure if I am entirely rejecting it. But let’s just assume I am. I am definitely rejecting one of those things. Then I am rejecting that in myself. What does it mean to reject the cult in myself? Because the fact is if there wasn’t that cohesion, if there wasn’t this is the worldview that I hold, then there would be like a deeper level of collapse. It would almost feel like you lose your center. Wait, hold on a second, which every major transformation has been a losing of the center or the fear of losing the center. Brett: There is some level that each of us is afraid of losing the center for a reason because we could just fully dissolve, and yet dissolving is exactly the direction that is most healing for most of us to go, not all of us. Joe: The way I think about it is I am a cult of one, and that’s okay. There is a tremendous amount of joy with that statement, and there is also a nervousness. I am a cult of one, and that’s okay. That’s like somehow I define myself incorrectly. Somehow I define myself incorrectly as someone who can almost entirely see through my own belief patterns. It is almost like an acknowledgement and an okayness and a love of the fact that I can’t see through my own. There are ways that I can’t. Maybe every way I can’t see through my own belief patterns. I am sitting with that. I want to see what that does. I am going to say it again. I am a cult of one, and that’s okay. What turns in me is like it is almost like there is no group of people who don’t have a set of beliefs. It is like seeing humanity of cult, and it reminds me of this thing when I saw it the first time or the only time. I remember thinking to myself a couple things, like wow, they get so much goodness out of this. There is so much goodness out of this. Then the next thought was why do you have to mess this up. What would anybody do? Then, the other thing that I saw was like everybody is in a cult. The cult of materialism, the cult of technology, there is just major thought processes. If you went out into society and said I am just going to give them all technology, the society would be like what the fuck, and they would call you a cult. They wouldn’t see they are the cult as well, and so I think there’s a freedom that comes with this of saying cults of one, and that’s okay. No matter how I try, I will never, ever be able to see the water that I swim in. Brett: A characteristic of the experience of being in a cult must be that there are parts of you that are aware that you are being controlled or that you are allowing yourself to be controlled, and those parts are being resistant, disassociated. I am curious in you, in this I am a cult of one, you have this belief that I will never be aware, or I don’t see through, but what about the part of you that does see through whatever sliver of the structure you think you have. Joe: That’s how I identify. It’s the destruction of that identity that is, I think, the cult, meaning I identify as somebody who can see through it. It is the death of that identity, and I agree. I mean I agree that all of us see through it, and I also agree that all of us are [unclear]. There is definitely just some stuff. We don’t know what life would look like if we didn’t have eyes or we had different sensory organs. We are limited in our ability to understand by the nature of our organism if nothing else, by the colors that we see. But that’s an extreme version. It is an interesting thing. Literally it is like the death of the identity. Yeah, I can see through stuff and I can’t see through stuff. There are ways in which I am open minded and ways in which I am not open minded. I can’t even see the ways I am close minded in some cases. I can see the ways I am close minded sometimes and then trying to ignore them. Brett: Which is a necessary thing to do in order to weave our experience together into any cohesive story that can have any consistent plot line at all. There has to be information that’s lost and that is essentially some micro level of cult behavior inside ourselves. Joe: Let me test it. Give me a cult joke or something like that about this work being a cult. I want to feel what happens in my system. Brett: We are getting a bunch of shirts made with your face on it, and we are going to save the world. Joe: You got the double duty on me, even the saving the world part of it. There is more humor in it, for sure. I can laugh at it. I couldn’t laugh so easily at it recently, so that’s a good sign. I had this idea that if we ever did have a center, if there was ever a place where everyone was coming together to do this work consistently, that we would have a picture of a guru on the wall in five or six places, but every month it would change. We would pick one of the people and put them in the guru picture. Brett: At least two of them would be cartoon or something mythical, an animal. That’s great. Joe: Thank you for that. Brett: I enjoyed it. Thanks for listening to the Life in View podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please subscribe. We would love your feedback, so feel free to send us questions and comments. To reach us, join our newsletter, learn more about VIEW or to take a course, visit view.life. References: The Vow, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10222764/
Seeing Through Family Dynamics
27:54Many of our beliefs about the way the world works and our role in it are formed in our early years of life. As adults, the family dynamics that we had as children can show up at work, in our relationships and other areas. Family dynamics gives us a chance to identify and heal patterns that are no longer useful to us so that we can empower ourselves to consciously choose how we show up in our lives. "My brain isn’t in a place where I can trust my thoughts, so I am going to go get my brain in a place and my body in a place where I can trust my thoughts, where I am out of my trauma so that I can think clearly because if I am acting out of the trauma, I will recreate it over, over, over and over again."Brett: So wow, that was quite an opening Q&A. Joe: Yeah, Art of Accomplishment is on. Holy crap. Brett: People went there. Joe: Oh my gosh, unlike any start of anything I have ever been in. It was amazing how vulnerable it got and how quickly. It was really cool. Brett: I remember the first Q&A after the first week of work went really, really deep, and we were all blown away. But this was just like the orientation. You are going through a bunch of PowerPoint slides, and it was like oh man, I can bet half the people here are probably bored to tears. Then, before you know it, a couple questions come through and it is straight to the core. Joe: Straight to it. Sara was saying to me. She said I was scared. Last year, we got lightning in a bottle, and it might not happen again. She says that fear is completely gone. First thing she said when I called, she said I miss AoA calls. This was great. It was awesome. Brett: Something I wanted to talk about today is something I saw today in this call. So many of the things we do in this work, so many of the times I see you work with people, it often boils down to some form of family dynamic. We have talked about this before. We have these projections we carry from our childhood, people who are caretakers, parents or family members, but also projections of society, projections of money. But in particular, there is something to this concept of family dynamics that just continually comes up. I have noticed it comes up in my life a lot, in my relationships. I have projected my mother onto basically anybody I have ever dated to varying levels of effect. I have projected my mother and my father onto the management in the company, in my company and in friendship groups. A lot of times when we do this work, there will be a group. It is often in a group setting, and I know that you size those groups such that family dynamics can come up and then be worked with. So let’s talk about that a little bit. Tell me a little bit about what family dynamics means to you, and what makes this important. Joe: Something that is most interesting about it is that family dynamics are cool in the fact that they allow you to see why things are coming up, and they are also cool in the fact that it gives you one way to heal patterns that are no longer useful to you in your life. That’s what makes them cool. If you look at Freud’s work or a lot of the early psychotherapy work, it was all very focused on that early family stuff. There are a lot of ways to have significant transformation without ever really going into it. I say that at the front end just to say that there is lots of avenues of transformation. There are lots of ways of healing. There is no one way, and so this is a cool thing to talk about but if anybody is listening and thinking this is the only way, please let that go in your head. The way I think about it, the best explanation I have ever heard is that our brains, there are many brains that hang out. There is delta, alpha, beta, and theta, and theta is kind of the brain wave that we get into right before we go into sleep or right as we are waking up. It is the brain wave that happens when you are under hypnosis, and it is the brain wave basically you are in basically from zero to seven, eight years old, for the majority of it. It is really a way that you are being programmed just like you would under hypnosis. As kids are young, they are in this theta brain wave. It is why fairies are real for them, and it is why they are in a magical reality. It is that dream state, between that dream and awake space. In the American Indian culture, it was represented by dragonflies, which I just think is a beautiful imagery of what that is. We are being programmed in that young age, and we are in that brain state that tells us what reality is. This is love. Love is what we experience mom and dad doing and how we experience their interactions with us. This is what money looks like. This is what power looks like. This is what nature looks like. We get taught this whole way of looking at the world in those young times. If you are three years old and you are scared and you run to mom, and she is like it is time for you to be strong, that’s what you are going to learn. If the mom pulls you up and holds you, that’s what you are going to learn. If the mom slaps you and says why do you always bug me, that’s what you are going to learn. That’s how you are going to react to fear. That’s the way I think about it. That zero to 8 years old particularly is very much your programming. I think it continues. I think we learn things. Traumatic events can teach us and unteach us things, so there are other experiences we can have. Therefore, that’s reality. If we stay on that path, whatever we learned in that time frame, even though it might be painful, it is very easy to stay there. It is when you move out of that path that it becomes challenging. The other thing about this, which is ancillary, but I think cool to think about is that most of the transformation techniques I have seen be very useful tap into the theta brainwaves. Oftentimes, when people finish Groundbreakers, that week-long course that we do very rarely, people are like I can’t remember anything that happened. I don’t know what happened. When you and I did ESF together, people were like what the hell happened. I spent 3 days, and I don’t know what the hell happened. Brett: I still can’t remember 95% of what happened there. Joe: It is because you are in that theta space, and that’s where you are doing the reprogramming. Brett: To bring some examples into this, in the Q&A today, somebody made a comment in a session with you. They were like I am enduring the storm. I am weathering the storm. You were like wait a minute, in that, there is still an enduring going on. You can see the whole fractal family dynamic show up of like I was taught that life is a storm to be weathered, and you could see how that might create a pattern. If I am carrying that belief, then I will be attracted to people who are also experiencing life as something to be endured, and then we find this thing where we are enduring it together. That could be one way. If my mother was that way to me or was that with life and taught that to me, then I might find myself in a relationship. If I am resisting that and I am like I don’t want to live a life that feels like enduring, then I will find myself living a life where I am resisting the perspective that it is being endured and finding others in my life to feel that resistance with. Joe: Yes. Sometimes you are finding people who are seeing the world that way you see it, but you are also finding people to prove the way you see it is right. If you are somebody who believes that the world should be endured, then you are probably also finding somebody who makes you endure life. You will find people who both become the thing to be endured and the people who you can say isn’t true we have to endure together. That seems to be the pattern that you recreate over and over again. Brett: Right. Let’s talk about a couple of other example patterns just to make sure we are not in one particular zone here. Another thing that might happen is that somebody might grow up with a father who is somewhat emotionally absent. They are always working, but they are providing for the family. Their role is creating space in the home, but they are not as present maybe because they can’t be. Then that person grows up, and then they find themselves doing the same thing or also just expecting the same of others. Joe: Or marrying that exactly. They might become the role of the father, or they might marry the role of the father and expect that is just normal. Brett: Maybe another example, to paint a third example into this picture, is a mother who has a hard time accepting the way that her child is different from her or following a different path and struggles with that, so then the child grows up with a belief and then dating people who have a hard time accepting parts of them and feeling judged. Joe: There is an immediate step there, which is mom doesn’t fully approve of me. Therefore, the voice in the head doesn’t fully approve of me. Therefore, I date other people who don’t fully approve of me. That’s all part of that scheme. We can find one of those for all of us. We can all find one of those, but there are also ones that almost pertain to almost everybody, not everybody but almost everybody. I will just give a really simple example of that. As a kid, one of the things that you learn is that there is a mother and a father. They are authority figures and they have control over your life. Most people walk around the world with a boss, who is an authority figure and who has control over their life. Not everybody, but most people walk around the world with that. Now, I will often tell clients you don’t have a boss. You have a client. You have a customer. Unfortunately, you are not diversified. You don’t have lots of customers. You only have one, but you have a customer. They are not your boss. They are not your authority figure. They are somebody who is a customer, and you can lose them or you can get another customer or another client, however you want to look at it. Just even the perspective that you have a boss who has some sort of control over your life is a projection of a family dynamic typically. Brett: Yeah, and that points to something which this family dynamic thing is, which is when you were growing up, it was real. Your parents had authority over you. You didn’t have certain kinds of power that you do as an adult, but the perception continues. Joe: Yes. Brett: That’s the way that the lives that we lived in our family become the lives that we recreate in subtler and subtler ways as we mature and develop. Joe: That’s right. That’s exactly how it works. Brett: What are some examples of how this shows up in the workplace? You just had the boss projection. What about in a team? What are some ways that perhaps some people’s family dynamics issues interact with one another? What are some examples you have seen?Joe: One of the coolest things, you just said in the team. One of the tricks I will teach to executives is that if they aren’t the authority figure in the room that everybody is reporting to, then a lot of these dynamics diminish. One really cool way to stop those kinds of projections that we are about to speak to is to make the team report to itself, meaning every time you have a team meeting, somebody else is responsible for holding accountability, meaning that the team when somebody fails, it is not the boss who says hey, what happened. It is the team that says hey, what happened. To really make the accountability to the team, which is really where the accountability lies. It is not to a boss. That’s just a cool way that you can create a structure inside of an organization and that changes a lot of this kind of dynamics, which is just a drag on an organization. The drag can be so many ways. It can be I project onto my boss that I need to please them. I project onto my boss that they are never happy with me. I project onto my boss that their opinion matters more than my opinion or that they have more authority than me. One of my favorites is I project onto my boss that they are a bad authority figure and I need to rebel against them. One of the more destructive ones I see a lot of is if I grow up with a father or mother who I always disappointed, I will recreate ways to disappoint my boss. You see that happening all the time where people are creating ways to disappoint their boss, but they can’t see that they are recreating it. All of that happens, and then the boss also has projections back, like I am responsible for these people. No, the boss is not responsible for them. Everybody is responsible for themselves. Or these people, I cannot depend on them. I have to do it all myself, or I can’t let them down or nobody can do it except me or I am necessary. That’s one of my favorite ones that bosses have. You see this especially at like not exactly the top tier of an organization, but that level below that. When I work with executives that are not quite at the C level, oftentimes those people, the big thing they have to do to get to the next level is learn that their job is to become unnecessary. They aren’t necessary anymore. They can create a structure that basically makes them irrelevant. When they do that, they just take it to the whole next level. It’s when they think they need to be needed or that they offer something special that the team can’t offer without them that they hold themselves back. All of those are projections of family dynamics as well. Brett: Absolutely. That kind of points to something you said earlier about how family dynamics is an interesting way to think about things and it can be useful, but don’t get too hung up on it. I can imagine some of these dynamics that come up, issues with authority, might not have actually come from your family. It might have come from your school. It might have come from a mixture of those things. Joe: There is a tremendous number of men in Silicon Valley who are in the top tier of their game who got bullied pretty heavily. These are a lot of the billionaires, a lot of the biggest players in Silicon Valley are men that don’t have an inherit large social intelligence that got fully bullied. They learned there is such a thing as power, and it is real. It is a dog eat dog world, and they need to be in the place where they have the power. They are incredibly smart and they can do it. That also in itself is a project. Obviously, it is not the only people who are near the top tier of Silicon Valley, but there is quite a few of them. Brett: Seems like a common cluster characteristic. This then also brings us back to what we can do about this. If we are using this kind of framework to start recognizing that a lot of the patterns that are occurring in our lives are being recreated from our family of origin and then kind of spreading out from that to our community or whether we were bullied or how teachers treated us, how church treated us, various things, and we are still recreating these patterns, let’s talk about an example of a team or a personal relationship or a group of friends. When people’s stuff comes up, they start to slide into these roles where one person will have a set of projections onto the group. Then that will just happen to click into place when someone else has their set of projects, and so on around the group. Joe: I would say it doesn’t click into place unless they meet the right opposite or right corollary projection. It is like they find themselves, and they are like click. This happens in almost every marriage I ever seen where their traumas overlap in this perfect way where they can play the opposite roles with each other where they can therefore learn to grow and transform because of the relationship. Brett: It is like people find each other based on the complementary surface area of their traumas, and that’s the thing that makes a team. Joe: And the best part is when they get into blame, one of the main moments when I am working with a couple where something gets undone is when they realize it’s perfectly matched. There is no one to blame here. I am holding my side. You are holding your side. That’s a great moment when people see that. It loosens the whole thing. Brett: Then the dynamic can change and loosen. The relationship can grow or develop, or they can move in separate directions, whatever is right. Joe: If they move in separate directions without healing it, they will most likely create another relationship that’s very similar. Brett: Yeah, that sounds right. It is interesting. There is almost this way that you could frame our family dynamics or our family projections as something that holds us back in the world, but it is also the exact kind of thing that is heat seeking, seeking us into exactly the kind of situation we need to solve those dynamics and grow through them in connection with people. Joe: The reason I said don’t make too much of the family dynamics is because knowing this doesn’t help you heal it very much, a little bit it does. But let’s take this exact same metaphor, but we will talk about it on an emotional level. Instead of saying family dynamics, we will say what’s happening emotionally. In your family, you were taught certain emotions you couldn’t have. Your body needs to get homeostasis. Just like if you were taught you couldn’t pee, you would be walking around trying to find a place to pee. Your body is trying to get the emotions to move through so that you can get back to homeostasis. What the subconscious is doing is it is recreating patterns where that emotion can come up so that it can be felt. As soon as you fully allow that emotion, you fully surrender into that emotion and let it move all the way through you, then you will stop recreating the pattern on an emotional level. The intellect, understanding it is useful. It loosens it up. Emotionally, feeling the thing that the pattern has taught you not to feel will very much loosen it up. That will change it pretty dramatically, and the other thing that helps on a nervous system level is that when you are in that pattern, there is a felt sense that is different. If you think about the time that you got most angry for no good reason, or felt most out of control for no good reason, even though you might identify the reason, you realize this doesn’t make logical sense that I would be this upset. That’s the sensation that you have, not the upsetness, but the sensation that’s carrying that upsetness. That’s how you know you are in your trauma. There’s a felt sense of going I am in my trauma. I am in the pattern here. I know this, and then that’s where the rational brain can be really helpful and say when I am in my pattern, I just can’t believe my thoughts right now. I can’t believe this. I remember in my journey there was this really wonderful moment where somebody came to me. It was in a business thing. They were like hey, what should we do. I said I can’t trust anything I think right now. My brain isn’t in a place where I can trust my thoughts, so I am going to go get my brain in a place and my body in a place where I can trust my thoughts, where I am out of my trauma so that I can think clearly because if I am acting out of the trauma, I will recreate it over, over, over and over again. Brett: Yeah, it seems like a great way for the rational, intellectual mind to be able to support the emotion and its process, and then on the opposite side of that, I can see that the thing you just said. My emotion that just came up is way more than it should be. I could also see that being a rationalization for I should down regulate that emotion and not have it because it is clearly too much for the situation. Somebody just looked at me a certain way and I am all upset. But another way to frame that is this is exactly the amount of emotion my system needs, and this thing brought up a bunch of bottled up, pent up stuff that maybe I don’t want to bring up right now in this environment and attack people with, but it is a pointer to the fact that it is there. Joe: Yes, and it wants to be felt, it wants to be processed, and it wants to be loved. That’s exactly right. That is beautifully said, better than I could have said it. Brett: Keeping on the topic of family dynamics, there is another thing that I can see that occurs. People will go through a story of life. This is maybe one of the ways this can be a trap. They will say I just keep dating my father. I keep dating my mother. Then that becomes a belief about themselves, and it becomes a learned helplessness within that. It seems like the emotional stuff we were just talking about is a way through that. It seems like there is something useful about recognizing that. I can see what is happening here because that might be one breadcrumb back to the thing for me to work with, the emotion to be felt. It also might only be a breadcrumb back to the thing next to it, and it might not have been a family thing. Joe: Intellectually, you can learn this thing. This is a family pattern, and then it can not change. Then you can start the belief system of I can’t change this, and then you can start the belief system of I am always going to be in this. Or you can notice the pattern and you can have the belief system of this is going to be really tough to change. Then you can say look, I have changed it a little bit but I am not making progress quick enough. All of those things are more of the projections from your early childhood. Brett: The belief that I am not quick enough. Joe: Emotions are hard. Transformation is difficult. I am not quick enough. I can’t do it. I am helpless. Mom was helpless. Blah, blah, blah. Brett: I will always be controlled by my emotions. Joe: Or I can’t trust emotions. Emotions can’t be trusted. All of these things are learned from somewhere in the childhood. What often happens is somebody sees the first thing that they have been working on, and they stick right there on that thing. But they don’t see it is held in place by a whole bunch of other ones. As one or two start falling apart, it is easy that the rest to start collapsing. Brett: If somebody is listening to this episode and they are starting to look for family dynamics in their life from the perspective of this might be interesting, might be helpful or it might be a trap, not to take it too heavily, and they start to see something. What’s the next step for somebody who starts to recognize I have had this pattern all of my life, I can see how it comes from some form of these dynamics. How can I start to see people as an individual, unique human that they are and not as the people that I was raised by?Joe: The next step to take outside of learning to recognize it, and the best way to do that is when you are triggered, to know that you are in it then and to feel through it, which is another great step. The other thing that is like a couple really cool tricks to play with are if you find yourself in an emotionally triggered space, stop everything you are doing, feel the emotion and without any intellect, just feel that emotion. Trace it back to the first time you ever felt it. That will really teach you where this thing came from. That’s a really useful trick. Sometimes just feeling where it came from, and this happens oftentimes with things you don’t expect. You might be triggered over a boss and you find out it has something to do with a babysitter, or you might be triggered over money and you find out it has something to do with dad. That’s a cool trick. Another really trick as far as next steps of dilapidating the program is to remember that all of these programs came for good reason. If you were striving your whole life to find your dad’s love and so you are programmed to strive for love, that’s your job as a kid is to make sure you are loved by your dad or you might not survive. It is instinct, and it is beautiful. Can you love these patterns? Can you respect them for what they tried to give you? Can you just help them find new ways of doing it more effectively rather than move into you shouldn’t be doing this? I keep doing that. What’s the problem here? Because that’s just more of the pattern. Learning what the pattern has done for, how it has served you, its intent even if it is mean and vicious, its intent is to take care of you. To see that and honor that also is really effective in allowing the patterns to become more useful and more effective and more functional. Brett: It is almost like honoring your path to have been perfect as it is, and your behavior to have developed according to very logical, environmental shaping. It makes it easier to step forward and say that my future behavior is also going to make perfect sense in some regard, and I don’t need to be self critical. I can just feel what’s true for me. Joe: I was just dealing with a person recently, an old friend who I love dearly, and just going through the heat. At some point, he looked up and said to me I realized that it doesn’t matter who would have been put into my position, this is what would have happened to them. He saw that it wasn’t personal to him. The life, the patterns, all of it wasn’t personal to him. Anybody put into that situation would have ended up that way. It was so much relief in that. Brett: Do you have any integration questions for us about family dynamics?Joe: Yeah, the first one would be what’s the pattern in your life that you most feel holds you back, and then the second question would be what’s the way you try to avoid it that is actually keeping it in place. What’s the way you are trying to avoid that pattern that actually holds the pattern in place? That would be the other way to say that. Then the third question is what is it about this pattern that has been serving you, has tried you and has served you in the past. Brett: Great questions. Thank you, Joe. Thanks for listening to the Life in VIEW podcast. 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It's All a Projection
38:19In today’s episode, we will be taking a deeper look at projections. What exactly does that mean? The parts of ourselves that we cannot own — either good or bad — are what we project onto other people. The concept of projection is rooted in the idea that we create beliefs based on our past experiences. We carry these beliefs with us into the present, where they subconsciously shape our current reality."People think somebody who really sees through projections is really smart because they come up with really cool, unique, innovative ideas, or they act in a way that is seemingly not normal but yet it works. It is not so much really that they are smart or not smart. It is that they don’t see the same level of limitation on everything that somebody who fully buys into the projections sees."Brett: Today we are going to talk about projections, so Joe, you have talked about projections a lot in our courses, this idea that from our past experience we create these beliefs that we carry into the present. This shapes our reality in the moment, and I would like to get into that a little bit further today. Joe, what are projections?Joe: It is such a complicated subject because the word “projection” is used for many things. There is the psychological projection, which somewhat stems from Young’s work and some other psychologists. That is this idea that the parts of ourselves that we cannot own, the parts of ourselves that are either good or bad, but that we cannot have full ownership over. We project onto other people. This is something that happens when you are deeply triggered. An easy way to look at this just briefly is you look at most politicians, and if you see them really just accusing somebody else of something, you can see a way in which that is true about what they are doing as well. If you are dealing with somebody and they are like they are so arrogant, that comment in itself is arrogance. It is as if you can presume to know what their reality is. That's projecting the unknown parts of ourselves, and it can be positive things too, like oh my gosh, they are so smart. They understand everything, and I don't. That can also be unowned parts of ourselves, positive unowned parts of ourselves that we then project on to other people. There is that. That is what we will call psychological projection Then, there is this projection onto the world, and that's more about how we lived our first eight or nine years of life when we are theta brain waves and where we are basically learning what life is. We might learn that love is associated with shame or money is associated with lack. Authority is associated with anger. Then we go and recreate those projections in our life because we are like that's what we learned it is, and so you go into the world. You are in your 20s, 30s, your 40s, and you find out that everybody who you choose to have a romantic relationship with has a tendency to shame you, or you see money as something there is not enough of and then you are not able to have the money that you want or need. There is that kind of projection onto the world. Then there is the projection of self, and the projection of self, which is closely related to the next projection, but I want to make a distinction between the two, the projection of self is that we don't really see the world. We see ourselves, or we don't really see reality. We see ourselves in reality. That would be like if somebody is a thief, they see the world as a world of thieves. If somebody has a deep relationship of self-love, then they see the world as love. Even when they see the atrocities of the world, they see it as people trying to love themselves, and they are not capable. The way that we see ourselves and relate to ourselves then is how we interpret the world. That's another level of projection, the projection of self. The final projection that I see is the projection of I, which I am making a distinction here though there is not a real one, but I think it is useful to make the distinction. That's just the idea that there is a you that is separate. We have this identity. The way humans work is we have a sense of identity, and we don't know if other animals have that sense of identity. But we have a sense of identity. At the very core of that sense of identity is the idea that there is an I that exists as separate, and a tremendous amount of spiritual modalities. Ramana Maharashi is the most known example where a lot of the work is really to see the self not as something to be protected, not as the body, not as an emotional state, not as something that has existed for 45 years or whatever it is, but as illusionary in nature or to see the self as the awareness of all of those things. That's the last way that I think about projection. It is those four ways I think about projection. Brett: You have got psychological projection where you are projecting onto essentially someone else’s psychology making assumptions about their intent or their experience. Joe: In that case, it is disowned parts of yourself, parts of yourself that you don’t want to fully accept about yourself. Brett: These can be parts that you judge about yourself, but also parts that you judge about yourself not having. Joe: Correct. Brett: Like in the case of admiration towards somebody. Joe: Specifically, they can be things that you don’t actually see in yourself. It is so disowned that you cannot even see it in yourself. If you see somebody as super brilliant, there is no person I have met that doesn’t have their own level of brilliance in some capacity. If you see that, admire that, put that up on a pedestal, it is a strong indicator that you cannot see it in yourself. Similarly, if you are like that person is a thief, and you cannot see that you also have in that in you and in your actions, then that’s the psychological projection. Brett: That’s the psychological projection, and then you have got the projection onto the world, which is sort of your baked in assumptions about how the world works from your early childhood experience. Joe: Yes, right. Brett: You have got this projection of self. This isn’t a projection onto yourself, but it is a projection of yourself onto the world, seeing the world the way you are internally organized. Joe: Correct. That’s right. I use the example of the saying in love, but if you think that it is really important to be dressed and put together, then you are likely to think it is important for other people to be dressed and put together. That’s the simple version of it. What’s good or bad for you is good or bad for the world. The way that you see yourself and relate to yourself is the way that you relate to the world. Brett: If it is weak for you to cry, then it is weak for others to cry. Joe: Correct, great example. Brett: Then the last one is the projection of I, which is you are distinguishing from the projection of self as this one is more of a meta projection that you are a separate self from the world. Joe: That you have an identity. Brett: There is some boundary that is you. Joe: If you think about that, if I cut you in half. If you think you are your body and I cut you in half, which half is you?Brett: Or a [unclear] experiment where they cut the corpus callosum and people had basically two very separate identities, each controlling half of the body and at odds with each other. Joe: Exactly, or people think I am emotional. You were emotional, but what happens if that emotion just stops? Are you still emotional? Is it essentially you? What is essentially you is the question? Ramana Maharashi uses language like who am I. The deconstruction work of almost all spiritual traditions are getting to the basic underlying question of what you are essentially. What is that you are that you have always been? From the moment of birth to the moment of death, what is the unchangeable, immutable part of yourself?Brett: Which I suppose is just a process of seeing through projections of the self, which changes our experience of the world as we do that. So as you mention emotions, how do emotions play into projections? How do they interact? Joe: When we have big emotions, we learn differently. Part of how people brainwash folks is that they create big emotional experiences for them, and then that’s what allows them to change habits. When we have big emotional experiences, it allows us to learn. If you want to redefine somebody’s idea of themselves or idea of the world, basic training is an example of this. You create these big emotional experiences, and then they have a different sense of themselves at the end of it. Emotions are useful in that way. They are evolved to do that. If I get bit by a snake, and I have this big emotional experience and a big physical experience, I am less likely to be bitten by that snake in the future. What this does is it makes traumatic experiences really key definers of who we are. If we have had long-term abuse or we had a car accident or if we have been in a war, it starts to define us because it upends our learnings from those early days or maybe it even happens in those early days of life. They are really important that way. I think the nuance that people often don’t quite get is that oftentimes people recognize when they have big emotions that they are out of control themselves. You could say they are acting in trauma, or you can say they recognize that when that big emotion takes control, they do stuff they don’t want to do. The natural movement when they see that correlation is they assume causation, and in that assumption of causation, they say I need to manage my emotions so that I don’t have big emotions, or I need to be in control of my emotions. What that path ultimately leads to is a level of disassociation. The emotions are still there. They are still moving us, but we disassociate from them. They become harder and harder to recognize. The other way to think of it is to assume correlation. These things are together, and my job isn’t to control them or suppress them or push them down. It is to learn how to surf them and to love them and to accept them deeply and to find the joy in them or to not resist them. If we take that step, then what happens is the emotional currents of our life become vitalizing. We fall in love with them. There still isn't control, meaning that we don’t find ourselves succumbed to these big emotional experiences because we start to see that that is just another level of resistance. But we don’t disassociate from them, and we don’t stop to see or recognize the massive impact that these emotional currents are having even if we have pushed them so far down that we don’t feel them anymore. If we don’t dissociate, we start to recognize that these big emotional currents in our lives are more like road signs rather than causation. Brett: It almost sounds like you are describing sort of chicken or egg thing with projections or emotions where the emotions we have in our early youth. Children are very emotional, and that correlates highly with their learning rate and how quickly they soak up information like a sponge. They create these projections, and then we carry these projections into our lives and tend to see the world as it was when we were kids, which will then tend to bring us back into those emotions we had when we were kids. If we let ourselves feel those emotions and process them, then being in this emotional state can allow us to shift our projections. Joe: That’s exactly it. I would say it is not that we only see the world. We create the world. When we are living through a projection, it is not just that we see the evidence that it is true. But you also attract the same experiences. You also manipulate events to create the same experience. On an emotional level, what’s happening is that emotion that wasn’t allowed to be felt all the way through, that wasn’t allowed to move all the way through you is looking to recreate circumstances so it can move all the way through you, and then the circumstances stop getting recreated. That's how it works on an emotional level. Brett: Then feeling the emotion completely allows the projection to shift into maybe some generalized form because it seems like a projection is a limiting perception on the world. Joe: Yeah, and that doesn’t mean they are bad or good. They are just useful or more useful or less useful, meaning I project onto snakes that they are deadly. Now obviously all snakes aren’t deadly, and I might find a snake and think it is deadly and jump away, but it is not deadly. The question is what the projections are that are useful, that create peace and joy, productivity, love in our lives, purpose, whatever it is that one thinks they are after. What are the projections that create the things that we are not after? When you are doing the deep work, the stuff that was programmed in the early days, like if you were lucky enough to have parents that just deeply loved you and were attuned to your emotional experience and wanted you to feel safe and protected and weren’t emotionally trying to cajole you into certain emotions and not other emotions. Then, it is really easy for you to reproduce that kind of love in your life. But if you didn’t get that, it is more challenging. It is those early projections because we have a rational conscious mind, we can say that is the world I want to live in. Do I want to live in a world where love is conditional, or love is shame or love is control? Do I want to live in a world where love can be different?We have the choice, and then the work is not just feeling the emotions but falling in love with them on an emotional level. Intellectually, to be able to just see them, to just identify them can be incredibly freeing, and then to work with them and say wow, I am in a projection. What if I take a contrary action? Intellectually, that is that way to work on them. Brett: It also sounds like falling in love with the projections is part of this path, too. I’ve definitely seen and experienced in the process of discovering that projections exist and that everybody is doing them, there can be a process of I’ve identified a projection. That’s bad. Projections are bad, which is just another way of disowning yourself. The only way you can navigate a chaotic world is to create some kind of sense-making system of projections. Joe: I have never thought about it as falling in love with projections, but it is beautifully said. Fighting against your projections is only a way that increases their stability. Brett: I imagine going birdwatching, but you don’t like birds. How many of them are you going to find? If you love finding a projection, it is like wow, I am projecting right now. That might be useful. Also, it might be useful to do it a little bit differently or experiment with it a little bit. Joe: That’s great. When you say how many birds you will find, it is like proof. For instance, if you talk to somebody and you say tell me about a trauma that you had, and let’s say their trauma was that when I was a kid, I had a dad who would always yell at me. The lesson that I learned was that I had to be quiet to not get yelled at. Let’s just say. Let’s keep it simple. That’s the data they picked up. The data that they didn’t pick up was the ways that they still asserted themselves even by not speaking up. They didn’t learn that wow, I can survive a tyrant in my home, not that I have to, but I can. The information that they didn’t pick up was that mom was actually loving me the whole time, or I didn’t pick up the information that dad did love me from time to time. There was this love that was available. What’s interesting is our brain is adapted to pay more attention to the negative things, and so oftentimes one of the ways we recreate these things is to only see the evidence that supports the pattern, the projection. Brett: What is the practice then of becoming more aware of these projections and reengineering them? Joe: I mean it is different for the different levels of projection. In the psychological projection, everywhere you are triggered, you are triggering an unknown part of yourself. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be triggered. It doesn’t mean that you are not right. It just means that you are also projecting it on to somebody else. Every time that you are triggered is a great example of how you are projecting a disowned part of yourself or anyway in which you idolize somebody, you are projecting a disowned part of yourself. That’s a good way to work on the psychological projection. The projection on the world is just a really easy thing to do is just list out 10 things that are important to you, like money, love, authority, decision making, whatever they are. Then, ask yourself what the essential learning was you had from your childhood about money and love and authority, and notice how you are recreating those things and notice how you are manipulating the world into it. I’ll give you an example in a second here. How you are attracting it and notice how you are proving it. An example of this is just like almost everybody at some point in their lives, you keep on dating the same person with different names. I used to attract or create this world in which I was going to be emotionally abandoned. One of the things that I did was I attracted people who were more likely to emotionally abandon me. I was attracted to them. The other thing I did was I manipulated the world to do that, so when I felt unheard, instead of saying ouch, I feel unheard and I would really like to be heard, I would get angry. You are not hearing me. Because I was in my trauma, and then that of course would push them away even further. Then I would look around the world and I would say that person emotionally abandoned me, and that person emotionally abandoned me, but I wasn’t noticing all the people who weren't or who really wanted not to, and I wasn’t allowing it. I was abandoning them. That’s the way to look at it as far as that level of projection. Then on the projection of I, I mean the easiest thing to do is say what I am, and really sit in the question rather than to look for an answer. But there are other things you can do as well, which is just notice the part of yourself that has always been there or put your attention on to a tension. There are lots of things that help you see through the false sense of identity, the kernel of that identity being that you exist as a separate thing or as a non-separate thing even. The kernel of the identity is that I exist. Brett: Another area that I have heard this concept, kind of a metaphor, is something called object fixation or target fixation. If you are flying a parachute and you want to land in a field, but there is a tree in the field, if you look at the tree, you are probably going to hit the tree. Driving a motorcycle around a corner, if you look into the ditch, you are going to go into the ditch. Joe: That’s a beautiful metaphor. I really like that metaphor. Brett: There have been lots of times in my life when I have seen some kind of disaster coming in business or in a relationship. I am like not wanting it, but I am scared of it, which makes me think of it more, which makes me see and look for the evidence of it more and not see the other paths available to me, and then the thing happens. I am then surprised for some reason. Joe: Right now, I got in touch with an old friend, and he is in a state of believing that he is bad and incapable. You can watch this reality that he is living in create itself. He needs to do something at his job, and he doesn’t want to feel the anger of his boss, so he doesn’t need to do the thing that he needs to do to make sure that job is done right because he is trying to avoid the anger. Then, by not doing the thing he needs to do, he has got more evidence that he is bad and incapable because he is trying to avoid the feeling of being bad and incapable by being yelled at by his boss. That’s how the whole thing moves. It is like as we see ourselves as a certain way, subconsciously or consciously, we are recreating that over and over and over again. Brett: So that’s how that ties into this projection of I being the base level projection of all of these really. Because the more you see yourself as any certain thing defined by any particular characteristics or identity, then that’s going to set the context for the projections you are going to have in your relationships, in the world and upon yourself. Joe: That’s right. Unfortunately, even if you see through the I, it doesn't really resolve the emotional stuff. You can have a lot of cognitive freedom. You can have a lot of intellectual freedom when you see through the personal I, when you have that kind of awakening, but it doesn’t change the emotional experience of stuff. In fact, it can make the emotional experience harder to access because it starts operating at a more disassociated way or in a lower-level way harder to recognize way. The freedom of the intellect is great, but it is far more productive to meet it with the emotional freedom as well, with the loving of all of the emotional experiences that are happening. Brett: That’s really interesting to me. I am very intellectual, heavily weighted on the intellectual, personally, and so the more I start to recognize some of my own projections, they can easily just become a way to be not good enough. I am still living in this. I don’t know how to get out of this particular projection, but I see it. I am frustrated by it now. There is this layer of frustration as an emotion to feel on top of whatever emotion is driving that projection to begin with. Joe: That’s one way it happens. Another way it happens is the emotional scenery becomes more and more in the background, but it is still driving you. I know we have talked about this. We cannot make decisions intellectually. All of our decision making is emotional. If you remove the emotional center of a brain, then a person ceases to make decisions even though their intellect, their IQ is still operating at the same level. The emotions are still moving us, but they have become so far in the background. There is this kind of way of saying nothing is real, nothing is true, there is no I, and yet all of these emotional decisions are still happening. Still there is this level of drama and chaos in life even if you go and move to a monastery. It is still there. Brett: What then is the way to take the information from this episode and understanding this existence of projection become more aware of them and use that as breadcrumbs into the emotional experience underlying them? Joe: On the intellectual level, I think the underlying problem that people experience when they start to recognize projections is they will be confronted with a reality that everything is a projection. There is nothing that we see or do that isn’t a projection. If you want a direct experience of this, just look at a tree. It is better if you look at like a living thing and see it as a tree. This is a tree. I see it as a tree. Then, see it not as a tree. See it as this is just this thing that’s in front of me, no label, no projection, no need to identify, classify, and just be in the presence of the tree. When people talk about deep presence, this is what they are talking about is to have a moment or two without the projection operating at full speed. Not that it is not always operating, not that it is not accessible to us at any time, but to really just be in what is in this moment without any of the labels and stuff. You can get that really direct sense of being more in projection and less in projection. The issue that arises, like I was at least trying to say, was that at some point you see the whole world as a projection, the whole thing. There is no thought you can fully trust. There is no emotional experience you can fully trust. There is no body sensation you can fully trust. It doesn’t mean you can’t trust, but it is literally like the world becomes a kaleidoscope. That’s some scary shit. Because if you interpret it as I am in control, oh my God, it is a kaleidoscope, I don’t know what to do, I am out of control, it can be very, very scary. It can be something you really, really want to avoid. The idea of projection itself is something that often people will accept and embrace very slowly because they have to confront this thing. If they do it really quickly, it is just really important. If you really can all of a sudden just see this whole world is a projection, it is really important to see that essentially that’s not going to stop you from operating at any level at all. It just is what is, and there is this huge freedom to it. Oh wow, I don’t have to take anything seriously, and yet I can still enjoy myself and yet I can still have purpose and yet I can still be productive. But I can take everything with this light-hearted joy that comes about. So that’s the intellectual issue is that at some point you come across this idea that everything is a projection, and you are like crap. There is this fear. As far as the emotional part goes, it is kind of different for people who haven’t had the kind of identity of self switched to awareness or to the infinite and those who have had that switch happen. If the switch hasn’t happened, then leaning into your emotional states, loving your emotional states, inviting your emotional states, seeing the emotional states when they are out of control is just another form of resistance. Allowing them to move through your body, looking forward to them, that’s the work. That’s the really powerful work. If it is afterwards, that’s the same work, but you have another step on top of it, a step for the before, which is to dig them out. It is to really deeply go in and look for the most nuanced little emotional shift and plumb the depths of that and almost magnify it. One of the people who taught me about this stuff, he used to work with monks. I think he worked with Trappist monks and Tibetan monks, all sorts of monks. He said when I do the work with them, it is like dragging them back into hell because they have to go back into the emotional experience they had pushed so far into the background. When that is happening, the thing is that you see people who have that peace but without the joy, when they have calmness, but they don’t have the exuberance of life, like if they don’t laugh easily, that’s a pretty good indicator that the identity has shifted but the emotional experience has been suppressed. Brett: A lot of this conversation is reminding me of this psychological test that can be conducted. You think of an object, and then you have 10 minutes to write down how many uses for that object you can think of. Let’s say for a brick. Your projection would be this is a brick. It is used for masonry, and you could build a wall with it. But the more you start to see the brick just as an object, as just something that it is not a brick, then you could start to see other purposes for it, like counterweight for an elevator or you could break into sand and make play doh out of it, or a million other uses. I think the same thing can be true for an emotion that a projection might come from. I am angry. That means somebody else has wronged me, and it is their fault. That’s one projection of this emotion, but if I just go into the essence of the emotion and feel that, then what else might that mean for me. What other richness might there be in that experience?Joe: That’s cool. First of all, never heard it explained that, and I am really digging that. Second of all, I thought you were talking about something different, which it also applies to. Let’s start with the emotional experience. That anger could be an indication that I haven’t drawn the boundary I need to draw. That anger could be an indication that I am not taking care of myself. That anger could be an indication that somebody has wronged me. You are right. All of that is levels of projection. The thing I thought you were talking about, which also seems like a really cool idea to me, which is the brick could be this, the brick could that, it is the same with projections. Oftentimes something that happens when people start seeing through their projections, they have a lot more opportunity in front of them. They see a lot more options. The array of possibilities opens up to them, and so a lot of times people think somebody who really sees through projections is really smart because they come up with really cool, unique, innovative ideas, or they act in a way that is seemingly not normal but yet it works. It is not so much really that they are smart or not smart. It is that they don’t see the same level of limitation on everything that somebody who fully buys into the projections sees. Brett: Right, that is something that I meant by that as well. I went the emotion route, but really I think this applies everywhere. This is really kind of the core of how VIEW can change our lives because particularly impartiality and wonder but also vulnerability for other people to have this experience with you with getting more information and empathy, being curious about other people’s experience and being with them in it. These characteristics or these traits lead us to have a more granular awareness of reality beyond the initial assumptions we might have had even though those initial assumptions still exist, and they still can guide our behavior and allow us to act quickly and effectively. The more we can become aware of them and the more we can see them for what they are, as projections, then the more granular our awareness of the world around us can be and the more we can start to see other possible interpretations of the world than the ones that we have started with. Joe: Again, that is the third time on this podcast. I have seen it that way, and it is such a beautiful articulation of it. It is such a great story to build around it because that’s absolutely how it works when you look at it that way. Brett: Of course, that’s also just a projection. Joe: Of course, that’s also just a projection. That’s the thing. That’s another thing that’s really cool about this work is I know you have seen this in my work, but I will go and pontificate on something because that is what I am asked to do. Then, they will say you are totally wrong about that. I will be like yeap, that’s true. I can absolutely see the world in which everything I am saying is incorrect because I can see that there is some correctness in every point of view and some fallacy in every point of view. The fear for me when I was entering into that way of looking at the world was oh shit, I will never be able to act. How will I act if I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong? How will I be able to act if I know that everything is and isn’t true and act the same way that you would if you were an animal or a dragonfly? Actions still exist, and you are still processing information. You are still having emotions, but what happens is you start choosing the projection that serves you best, the projection that allows for more freedom, that allows for more love, that allows for more joy. You start choosing it, but you can’t stop seeing through it. You just realize at some point if all of it is true and not true, then I actually just get to be who I am, who I want to be. Brett: I think the more that you accept all of your projects rather than labeling some of them as good or some of them as bad, then the more all of them can kind of be present in each moment and your entire past experience can sort of average out to one statistically most likely scenario, one specific next step from each scenario that is likely to have the better outcome, but nothing is guaranteed. Joe: Yeah, and you don’t really give a shit if it is guaranteed or not because whatever shows up in your field, it is not resisted and it is not labeled. If I was to choose, do I want to go to prison and love myself or do I want to stay out in the free world and hate myself? Consequences become less important than the actual freedom to see yourself in the world in a way that is enlivening, that is joyful. Brett: That seems like a great stopping point for this episode. Do you have any integration questions for us, Joe?Joe: One question that arises is if you write down four of the things that trigger you most in the world, in what ways are you judging or disowning that part of yourself. In what ways are you judging or disowning that part of yourself? Second question is, if you are looking deeply at who you admire or who you put on a pedestal, what are the parts of them that you admire and how do you not own that aspect of yourself? The last question is, what’s looking out behind your eyes? Brett: That’s a good one. Joe: I encourage you not to answer that question, just be in it. Brett: Wonderful. Thank you, Joe. Joe: Thank you, Brett. Brett: Thanks for listening to the Life in VIEW podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please subscribe. We would love your feedback, so feel free to send us questions and comments. To reach us, join our newsletter, learn more about VIEW or to take a course, visit view.life. References: Ramana Maharshi, www.sriramanamaharshi.org
Who is the Voice in Your Head?
41:49Most of us have a voice in our heads constantly narrating our experiences. Have you ever noticed what yours is like? How it talks to you? How would you feel is someone else spoke to you the way that this voice speaks to you? Would you speak to someone else this way? Today we are going to explore how the voice in our head influences what we say, do and feel. We will learn how we can develop a new relationship with it. "You have this deep, critical voice in your head. It is like you are living with a horrible, micromanaging boss all the time. We know what that's like if we are actually sitting next to one of those people and they are constantly barraging us, and yet we just think it is normal when it is coming from ourselves." Most of us have a voice in our heads constantly narrating ourselves [Whispers: Why did you say that? She hates me. Get it together. Get it together.] Have you ever noticed what yours is like? How it talks to you? How would you feel if someone else spoke to you the way this voice speaks to you? Would you speak to someone else in this way? Today we are going to explore how the voice in our head influences what we say, do and feel and explore how to develop a new relationship with it. Joe, what is the voice in the head? Joe: The voice in the head. Let's make a distinction. There's a voice in your head, which is the thing you can hear talking to yourself. It´s kind of the editor that's constantly happening, that's judging your situation, wondering what people are thinking about you, telling you what to do, telling you how to do it. I would make a distinction here that there's the voice in your head that is repetitive, and the voice in your head that is unique or inspirational. Neurologically speaking, they say that we have about 50,000 thoughts a day that happen. That's the voice in your head. Most of those for most people, the voice is saying the same thing over and over again. You should lose weight. You should lose weight. Or why are you drinking so much coffee? Stop drinking so much coffee. It's a repetitive voice in the head. When I am speaking about the voice in the head in the context of working with people, I am talking about the repetitive, bossy, critical voice in the head. Brett: Let's take a moment to help tap into their voice in the head right now. If it is 50,000 thoughts a day, it must be accessible at any time.Joe: Yeah, that's great. So a wonderful way to do this is to just be silent for the next, say, 20 to 30 seconds and stop thinking. [silence] In that time period, a thought arose, and maybe the thought was how long will this silence last or this is stupid. What makes us do this? Or I hope I didn't forget the eggs in the oven, whatever. That's the voice in the head. That's what it is. It's the constant thinking that goes on, and for most people it is very auditory. It is very word focused. For some people, it is more somatic. It is more body focused. But the grand majority of people, literally it is like they can hear the voice. Brett: I felt both. As the silence went on, I started to feel a little bit of tension in my body, and then the thought that popped up was I wonder how much dead space we should have in a podcast before we lose people's attention. Joe: Perfect. Both are always happening. There's somatic. That's not exactly true. There's always the somatic experiencing that's occurring. You cannot stop that, and then oftentimes there are thoughts that go with it. The tricky part is that the more you become aware of the voice in your head, the more you become aware of what it is saying. Oftentimes, when people first get confronted with the idea, they might not think they have many thoughts in their head and the voice in the head isn't very active, and then the more they pay attention to it, the more they realize it is constantly humming along back there. Obviously, there are people who do a tremendous amount of meditation or different practices where the voice in the head is far more silent, particularly the reoccurring voice in the head is far more silent and quiet. That in itself is an interesting thing because the somatic experiencing hasn't stopped, and so to some degree it is harder to find the pain that's occurring. The voice makes it much easier to feel that pain or to see the dysfunction of the way the voice happens. It is harder to understand it or see it or work with it if it is just a somatic experience. What I notice is the more you become aware of it, the more sensitive you are to it. The more sensitive you are to it, the more you realize what it is saying and how it is saying it. A great example of that, I did a ton of meditation in my earlier years. A point came along where the voice in the head cut by like 75%. I felt like it was gone for a while as far as the recurring negative, looping thoughts. Over time, I have noticed oh no, there are still things there that took me a while to notice. Just the thing that's always saying have you done this, have you done this, have you done this. It's just a matter, like anything, it is subtle until you see it. The more sensitive you become to it, the more you become aware of how much it is affecting your day to day, minute to minute life. Brett: What makes it important or interesting to become aware of it? I imagine if I had a roommate in my head just constantly talking to me, ignorance would be bliss. What makes it worthwhile to start paying attention and noting what it is saying if what it is saying can be so self-critical and distracting?Joe: There are a couple of reasons. One is because it is the first step to a different relationship to it. In my first experience of really becoming aware of it, I was reading a psychology book on Gestalt. It was Fritz Perls, I believe, and he was talking about how there was an upper dog and an underdog in your internal dialogue. The upper dog was like the bully telling you what to do, criticizing you, and then the underdog was the one rebelling against that, which is a much more subtle, quiet voice that it often takes years for people to get in touch with and experience. Just being aware of it, just being aware. For me, in particular, it was the should thing. I think he called it out. When you tell yourself you should do something, that's the upper dog. Just by recognizing it and seeing it every time it came, it just started to become quieter and quieter. Just the recognition of the voice in the head can change the way the voice in the head dialogues with you until you resist it, until you are like oh man, I have got to change that voice in my head. Then the voice in the head is now telling you to change the voice in your head, and that resistance makes the voice in your head persist. But just the simple awareness of it, just like the gentle, there it is doing that thing again, can reduce it. So then the question of course is why would I want to reduce this voice in my head. There are a ton of reasons for that. A very active, negative voice in the head is in the DSM called dysthymia. The definition of low-level depression is this constant, negative self-talk. That' s one reason. Another reason is because life is just far more enjoyable and sweet when your consciousness isn't a horrible boss. On one level, you said if my roommate was like that, I would rather just not hear them. The truth is when you have this deep, critical voice in your head, it is like you are living with a horrible micromanaging boss all the time. We know what that’s like if we are actually sitting next to one of those people and they are constantly barraging us, and yet we just think it is normal when it is coming from ourselves. Just the joy and bliss of life as that voice changes or as your relationship to it changes, it totally can transform how much joy and happiness and easy and clarity you can have. Brett: Somebody I was talking to recently about the voice in the head, they said their voice isn't a self-critical voice, but what they do is they rehearse conversations they could have had. It seems like that is a way of being self-critical. The fact that you would rehearse a conversation you have already had about how you could do it better comes from self criticism, and then self-criticism is shaping the thoughts of what you thought you should have said. What are some of the other ways that the voice can show up in people if somebody is listening to this and they are not connecting with this idea of their being a voice in their head that's critical of themselves or the upper dog, as you put it? Joe: Constantly telling you things to do, shoulding you, wondering about what other people think of you incessantly or even just more than once, rehearsing and trying to make sure you get perfect at something before you actually go and live it. All of those are great examples of how the voice in the head can work. There's a multitude of ways it can work, and it is quite cool in the way that it finds its new home when you have spotted one. Like I said before, you can be saying the should thing, I understand that. I don't want that, so I am just going to be aware of it. Then pretty soon the voice in the head becomes the aggressor to the voice in the head itself. It's amazing how it can just find it's new natural home. In Zen, they talk about trying to use the voice in the head to get rid of the voice in the head. I am paraphrasing here, but to use the voice in the head to get out of the voice in the head is like asking a thief to be the security of your house. It doesn't work. Brett: Yeah, the voice isn't you, and the voice speaking to the voice is also not you. All of it is just in the way of your impulse. What that kind of brings me to is one of the characteristics of the voice is that it seems to be slowing us down, either by pulling us out of the present into the past or the future, trying to solve some unsolvable puzzle, or the self-criticism in it can just inhibit us from taking steps that may be imperfect but are steps or speaking what's true for us in the moment without imposing a lot of restraints around what people might think or what might be wrong about it. Joe: Yeah, I mean just a great way to think about this is so the voice in your head has worried about how some future things are going to go, maybe a job interview or maybe a first date. If you think about all the worrying that you did and all the scenarios that it went through and all the things you thought you were going to say and all of the ways you were going to behave, how much of that was actually pertinent, how much of that was actually useful energy, how much of that actually helped you prepare, and how much of it just did nothing and was just a waste of time. How much of it actually hurt? I see oftentimes when people are rehearsing things over and over and over again, it builds up such an anxiety around the actuality of the thing happening that they are not there in present with what's occurring in front of them when the time to rehearse is over. Brett: My experience of that is it also sets up for major disappointment and a shame spiral after the conversation doesn't go anything according to your rehearsal. Joe: That's a characteristic of the voice in the head, actually, to create the reality it is trying to avoid. Give an example of a perfectionist, and having the voice in the head trying to convince you that you need to be perfect about something. That incessant nature makes it very hard to even do something really well. That's why you see so many artists get hooked on heroin or alcohol, anything that just silences the voice in their head so they can be in that flow state so they can create their best work. It's no different than doing a PowerPoint presentation or making a speech, or having a great first date. It's about being present in the moment, and being true to yourself in that moment. Brett: In an even more diffuse way, just sitting down and looking at a blank page or a blank canvas and feeling just that slight negative emotion of like uh, whatever my brushstroke is about to be is going to be wrong. Whether or not that's even a voice. I've always felt that present in anything that I am doing to some extent and most of the time just didn't notice it, and many times just didn't take action on things that I wanted to do or would have loved to have done but just didn't notice that I didn't do them because I avoided feeling that feeling. Then I avoided feeling that I had felt that feeling, and that's why I didn't do the thing I wanted and then justified it for some other reason. I just didn't have time. Joe: That's a great example. It could just be a feeling. Then if you stop and say hey, what's the message behind that feeling, then you will be more aware of the voice. Oftentimes for different people they will be more aware of the feeling or more aware of the voice, and they are often in concert. The voice can be really subtle, or the feeling can be seemingly very subtle, just like the voice can seemingly be very subtle. Brett: When you start noticing this voice and you start paying more attention and noting it, what are some tips for not getting into a resistance battle with it but also not buying into everything it says, which is I guess is what we do by default when we are not noticing there's a voice_ Joe: That's the thing. The thing about having no awareness of the voice and it is happening. Even in this moment, I have awareness of the voice happening. In this moment, I don't. When we are not noticing it is happening, it is far more likely to control what we are doing. That's a really good point you just made. There are so many ways. There is a plethora of ways of working with the voice in your head. One whole category of ways to work with the voice in your head is just to ask how you relate to it. Voice in the head says you should have done better in that project, so some ways to relate to it would be okay, fine and then a subtle fuck you in response to it. Another way to relate to it is I see that you really care that I do a good job and I would love to ask you to use better management techniques with me. Another way to deal with it is to practice silence. Another way to deal with it is to love it. Another way to deal with it is to tickle it. Another way to deal with is it to really get in a massive fight with it and then see what happens when you are exhausted from that fight. The main thing here that I really recommend is to play and to experiment. Oftentimes the underlying assumption is there is this voice. A, it is never going to change, and B, there is nothing I can do about it. C, it will always be there. What if it is like I am going to do a series of experiments with the voice in my head? I am going to play with it in different ways. I am going to laugh at it hysterically one day, and I am going to just notice it another day. I am going to love it the third day. There is so much flexibility in it, but there is something in our system that is so scared of having that voice in the head go away or to change that it convinces us that we have no flexibility or no options around the voice in the head. Brett: When I have heard other people describe this in other books or other work, and there is even a little bit of it in this conversation, there is an assumption that the voice itself is not valuable. It would be better if we didn't have it. Here's a bunch of strategies to get rid of it. But I am curious what value there is in that voice because often the self-criticism that I experience of how I could have done something better is real. It is just that I feel ashamed that I didn't do it that way the first time, but I actually could have done better. Maybe the voice has something valuable to say. Joe: There is a way of hearing the voice in the head and hearing the intention behind what it is saying, and that's almost always valuable. If you assume for a minute that the voice in the head loves you and it just really has a whole bunch of crappy strategies to love you but it really loves you, then there is a way of listening to everything the voice in the head says has a deep care. It is just not doing it really well. If I told you you are messing up this podcast, hey, you are messing up this podcast, hey, you are messing up this podcast, look. You are still being silent. You are messing up this podcast. Why aren't you saying something, Brett? You are messing up this podcast. That's not going to make a great podcast. But the deep care behind that is it really wants you to be successful and so getting into a war with the voice in the head is you can't ever win that. The question is what relationship you want with it. Another cool thing to think about is oftentimes the voice in the head is talking to itself more than it is talking to you. I am going to let that one sit for a second. It's almost projecting on to you. When the voice in the head is saying you are messing up this podcast, you are messing up this podcast, is it you or the voice in the head that's messing up the podcast? Brett: There's something interesting in that where the voice in our heads often seems to map onto an actual person in our history or some blur of many people in our history that were caretakers or parents or teachers. A lot of the things that I say to myself in my head are things somebody else might have said to me in the past, and so I've just internally learned to say it to myself first before somebody else does it. Joe: That's part of the care it has. It is trying to keep you out of trouble. It is trying to keep you from not being insulted, not being chastised, not having to feel the way it felt when you were three years old and being chastised. It often mimics very important figures in our life or it is reacting to very important events in our life. That's definitely how it goes, which is interesting because oftentimes if we had, let's say, a really critical mom and the mom just really criticizes us, at some point you are like you are full of it. You don't know what you are talking about. But you don't question your head that way. If your mom is constantly like you should shave more, you should shave more, you should shave me, you are like you are the wrong generation. You don't know. But if the voice in your head says you should shave more, you should shave more, you should shave me, you are far more likely to buy into it. But you didn't even choose to program it. You didn't even choose what reality it agrees with. That was chosen for you, and yet humans constantly believe what's going on with the voice in the head, which is another way to relate to it. To actually see through the false logic of the voice in the head. The voice in the head is always contradicting itself. You were too cocky there. You were too humble there. You spoke too much. You didn't listen enough. You listened too much. You didn't speak enough. If you really start looking at how the voice in the head operates, it doesn't give you actually a place to succeed often. There's no way out. There's a problem with everything, and yet we still buy into it. To really look and find out that there's a little bit of untruth in everything the voice in the head says, everything the voice in the head says, and to find that, it gives you a lot of freedom and perspective from the voice in the head itself, the recurring negative voice in the head. Brett: What about the truth in it? What about the times where if I did say the thing I thought to saying, then I might have lost a client or a partner or angered somebody or gotten judged? How much of it is untrue? How much of it is true? Joe: This is an interesting question, right? So let's say you have done something that insulted a client, and let's say the best thing is to say hey, I am really sorry about that. I did that. It's not what I wanted to do. It's not how I want it to be with you, and I apologize. Then that thing you did wrong can build trust, and can actually make your relationship deeper. If you are in your head saying, wow, you screwed up with a client, and that happens once. It's not a reoccurring negative thing, and you immediately take action on it. Then whatever is happening is an effective, efficient cycle, but if you are saying it multiple times and doing nothing about it, or you are saying it 20 times and then doing something about it, that is not an efficient cycle. That's just self-abuse. There's is no need for that. It doesn't make you happier. It doesn't improve the relationship. It doesn't make them happier with you. It doesn't build trust. It doesn't add anything there. The important thing is it is reoccurring, and it is negative self-talk. Brett: Something I have noticed is when it is reoccurring, there is often some kind of double bind. There is like I really screwed that up. What I need to say is this, but I already said the other thing and I cannot go back on my word. Now there's sort of a fight between the different versions of the voice. Joe: Yeah, exactly. How efficient is that? How is that helpful? Exactly. And there is a wisdom to it, and it is like what is it that you want. I want a better relationship with him, and I don't want to look like I am inconsistent. I want to be respected by this person. If you get in touch with that and you just name that, put it in a VIEW frame of mind, it is amazing to say wow, I noticed that I was being inconsistent here. It´s now how I want to be you. I always noticed I am having a hard time saying that I was inconsistent because I am scared you are going to look at me this way or this way. It is more important for me to be in my integrity than to try to look good in front of you. I apologize, and how can we proceed to build trust from here. When the voice in the head is abusing like that, what's occurring is you are creating fear in your system. It is creating an anxiety, and then that anxiety makes you think in a binary way, either apologize or don't apologize. It doesn't give you the whole, vast array of opportunities in front of you at any moment. Also, that anxiety puts it so that you have like a false end. The only moment you can see is that moment of apologizing or not apologizing. You are not seeing the whole relationship and how it can get better over time. That abuse, that self-abuse, turns into anxiety, and the anxiety prevents us from learning. The anxiety limits our options, the options we can conceive of. The anxiety stops us from seeing a very particular moment. That's another reason why an abusive voice in the head is not effective. Brett: That thing you just said, that scenario where you were just speaking to the client was beautiful and I could imagine being. This has happened before where I am like what would Joe say. I am like I can't come up with what Joe would say, and I am like oh. What would I say if I was speaking so clearly from my truth that I don't feel like I have access to because a barrage of all these different voices. Then nothing gets said. The thing you said to me the other day, which was like life is really great once you realize you are already wrong. Joe: Yeah, there's another thing. What I did when I said what is it that I really want, and then I spoke the want. What you are doing is some version of what's the right thing to say whether it is through the projection of me or being completely high integrity. Doing the right thing, trying to make it right, is part of the anxiety. Brett: That is the voice. That's what the voice is trying to do. It is trying to make you right. A fear of being wrong. Joe: And that's how the voice gets more and more subtle. It sounds like a great thing. What would my highest integrity self say? That sounds like a great thing, but it is still trying to get it right. That's why I said to you that life is great when you know you are wrong because then you don't have to try to be right. Then you are just operating from that place naturally, that place of integrity naturally. I find the much neater trick is just to say what do I want, and then speak into that want, which is far more vulnerable than trying to be right. Brett: Absolutely. Being right is trying to say or do the thing that is perceived by both the voice in your head and others as everybody agrees that it is right, which is an impossible task. Joe: Totally impossible. Brett: What you want is something that can flow and change, and it can be true in the moment and you get what you want or not what you want and then learn more. Joe: That's right. Also, there is this total freedom in identity. If you aren't worried about being right, then you don't need everyone to think you are right and you don't need to be right. There's a huge freedom in that. There's this amazing freedom in it. What's cool is that if you are there and every time you worry about being right or every time you are wrong and somebody is chastising you for being wrong, and you let that emotion move through, it disintegrates more and more of what some traditions would call the ego, but I would call just limited perspectives. It just starts to disintegrate your limiting perspective, and it allows your identity to be an internal experience of identity to be far more expansive and to need a lot less protection. [BELL]Okay, so this is the time in our podcast when we do something just a little bit different. We take a break from the intellect and incorporate our bodies and emotions into the conversation. We do this because it helps us integrate the information better, and usually it is a bunch of fun. We crowdsource these exercises from our community, so if you have a good one, please share it with us. When doing the exercise, take it as a treat and as an experiment. Just do the activity and see what happens. As always, enjoy yourself. [BELL] Woman's voice: Hi everyone. This is Tara. Take a big inhale. You are going to keep your eyes open for this one. Our attention is going to be on our eyes this time. On your next inhale, you can use the inhale to sort of scan if you have any tension around your eyes. You can use the exhale to release any tension around your eyes. See how much you can let your eyes just rest in their sockets. Many of us carry a lot of tension around our eyes. You can use your breath to continue letting your eyes relax. You are going to let your vision go soft so you are not going to focus on any one thing in front of you, just see how much you can let your vision go soft. Everything may go a little fuzzy. That's okay. Take another inhale. I am going to take it one step further. With your eyes deeply resting in their sockets, see how much they can just receive the visual field in front of them. The visual field comes to them and all they have to do is they get to receive the visual field. Just notice how you feel different at the end of this than when you started. [BELL]Joe: Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the exercise as much as we did when we found it. Before we go back into the episode, I wanted to thank all of you who have been sharing the podcast and signing up for the VIEW course. The interest and support you guys have shown has been both overwhelming and humbling. It is a pleasure to know that we have something to offer that has been so helpful to you. All right, now let's get back into the conversation. Brett: I can observe that any of my internal thoughts are actually trying to avoid feeling something. The thought might be self-criticism, which is trying to gain control over myself to avoid feeling whatever I felt by not getting it right in whatever sense. But also rehearsing a conversation or just overthinking about something a project that I want to do, if I find myself in a circle or a cycle on it, it is often that I am just trying to collapse the discomfort of the unknown into some framework of known. If I am trying to do that, to some extent that's impossible. It will just be an unsolvable possible. I will just keep doing it. When if I just let myself feel the powerlessness of the unknown, then all of a sudden those thoughts go away and I am actually freed up to take action. Joe: What's cool about what you just said is that's a fractal or a micro version of a major thing that happens, whether it be the fear of death or a fear of taking a risk. To be okay with that feeling of unknown, to be okay with I don't know what's going to happen next, which is true. We think we know what's going to happen next. We get taught over and over again. We don't. We create our world so that we think it is predictable, and then something very unpredictable happens. Brett: Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face. Joe: I haven't heard that one. Brett: I think it was Muhammad Ali or somebody. Don't quote me on that. Joe: There's another one. I think it was John Lennon, which is plans are what you do while life is happening. That generally is to be in love with the feeling of confusion and mystery and unknown, and like all emotions, it seems like if we do that, then we don't make plans or if we do that, we won't be prepared. If that's happening, then the voice in the head has convinced you of that through some wonky logic. What actually happens when we get good with that is that plans happen far more naturally, organically. They flow far easier. Brett: This brings up something else, another way that this has shown up in my life as stopping me from moving forward. If I get to the point where I am rehearsing a possible conversation, and then I feel like I have actually fully rehearsed it and then it was perfect, then all of a sudden it becomes completely uninteresting to have that conversation. A, I don't want to break its perfect image in my mind, and B, it becomes boring because there is no unknown in it. C, sometimes I will actually trick myself into thinking I actually had the conversation. It could be disastrous. Joe: Yeah. Brett: I can't count how many times I've been like wait a minute, didn't we talk about this. No, we didn't talk about this. Oh no. Joe: Those are all the more subtle ways the voice in the head operates. You just kind of described maybe the voice in the head doesn't want to feel or the system doesn't want to feel rejection, and so the voice in the head starts with, let's rehearse so that you don't experience the rejection. Then the voice is like this is boring, and then the voice is like you probably had the conversation. That's how the whole thing works. There is always a way for it to insinuate itself, and the more you become aware of it, like I say, it is subtle until you see it. The more you see it, the more depth there is available. All that is needed is to relate to it differently, and to love it and to be aware of it and not have a fight with it. Then you can moments that happen in your life that feel like big moments. Sometimes and sometimes they don't. All of a sudden, you realize the voice in my head is so much quieter. There is so much less of it. Brett: What happens when you get to that point? What did it feel like when you had that 75% reduction of the voice in your head? Joe: It's different from different people. For some people, it is hardly noticeable. It is such a slow progression. What I notice is people that were like really deeply depressed and then that kicks in, and then it is just like this life changing, holy crap what just happened. Some people resist it. There is this whole thing called depersonalization disorder. The Zen call it Zen sickness It can happen, and people are like wait a second, where am I. This isn't good. I need that back. You can have all sorts of reactions to it. When it happens and you are aware of it, and you are not fighting with it, it is incredibly joyful. Your car has just become 75% more efficient. Your energy is far more aligned with the way you want to be going, and not second guessing yourself. It is more enjoyable, and you are more in the present, all that stuff. Again, to have a goal to get rid of the voice in your head is to not love the voice in your head, and therefore, it is a very slow process. It is far better to just love the voice in your head as it is, and not try to get rid of it and not reject it. Brett: It almost sounds like the framing of getting rid of the voice in the head is creating separation from it, but what we are actually going for is developing such a relationship with it that it is communicating with us so cleanly that it is just part of us, instead of compressing itself down into words and then hitting us in our logic battlefield. Joe: Yeah, it is an interesting question. Eventually, that question comes up as you are talking about what is the voice in the head and what's you. What's the difference between them? I think that's a great question to be sitting with but not to be answering. To be in that question, what's the different between me and the voice in my head actually? That in itself can change your relationship with the voice in your head. Brett: With that to sit with, what's another practice or maybe a homework assignment to develop this relationship further with our voice? Joe: There's an infinite amount. They work differently for different people at different stages. When I see somebody, I can point more directly to what might be useful for them. Generally, there are two that come to mind. One is just tell yourself that you love yourself, maybe in a mirror, in a camera, and then listen to the response to you loving yourself, all the ways it makes you uncomfortable, all the things you say that you are not loveable for. That's all the voice in your head. if you want to excavate it, that's a great way to excavate it. Another one, which is a more subtle trick is just to ask the question what's looking out behind my eyes right now. You'll notice that that often quiets the mind. It also kind of puts you in where your identity has moved from the voice in your head to awareness. Are you voice the in your head that's constantly talking or are you the awareness of the voice in the head talking? It asks that question, and you can do it at any time. It is a great practice in the fact you can be in a meeting, you can be in a fight, you can be going to the bathroom and you can say what's looking out behind my eyes. There's a ton of versions of that question. The most common one is who am I or what am I. That's not a question to be answered. That's a question to be in wonder. It's to be in wonder in that question. But there are a ton of little hack questions like that that are available, but I would say start with one of those. Brett: What about journaling? Writing down the voice in your head. Joe: I don't have any problem. It is a great thing if you want to write what the voice in the head is saying to you. Great. Bring it into awareness. Even better, once you have done it, be an argumentative lawyer to it. Not an adversary, but an argumentative lawyer and find out what's a little untrue in each of the statements. Someone says I should lose weight. You should lose weight. According to who? What do you mean by should? Shouldn't you be the weight you are because the definition of should is what is, right? I have to lose weight because if not, I'll die early. What makes dying early bad? Who is to say that the best thing isn't for me to die early? I know that's crazy, but look for anyway in which the logic might be. Also, I should lose weight. I've been saying it for a decade. It doesn't work, so what makes me keep on saying I should lose weight. Maybe I should say I want to lose weight. What's the response to I should lose weight. Most people's response is rebellion. They don't do it. There's all sorts of ways to just start looking into and analyzing and bringing a fresh perspective into the voice in your head. Brett: It seems like the example you just gave, somebody asking those questions would get themselves more in touch what they are actually afraid of underneath the judgement the voice had. Joe: You can bring VIEW from the first podcast and from the course. You can bring that same methodology and point it towards the voice in your head. Being vulnerable with it. Ow, it really hurts when you tell me I should lose weight. Being impartial with it, I am not going to try to get rid of you. What´s going on? What do you really have to say? Being empathetic with it, how scared is the voice in the head to be shouting at you like this? What is it so afraid of? To feel that, to bring wonder to it. You can bring all of that VIEW to your voice in your head, and you can dialogue with it in a journal. It is a great practice. There´s really infinite ways to deal with it, to play with it, to have fun with it, and I just encourage people to experiment, play. Brett: It seems like a great internal playground for VIEW, and then you might find that the same kind of VIEW conversations you start to have with the voice in your head are going to probably be somewhat similar to the conversations you might have with your first VIEW conversations with your family or your parents or your family of origin where many of the voices come from. Joe: It will also affect all of your relationships. If you see through your own shoulds, and somebody says I really think I should, you see through their should, whereas if you believe your should, then you believe their should. If you believe your sense of rigid morality, then that is inhumane, then you will believe their sense of rigid morality that is not humane. When you see through your own voice in your head, you area bastion of freedom for people because when they are talking to you, you don't buy into their limiting perspectives. Brett: To wrap this up, can you ask a couple questions for our listeners to ponder, to integrate this conversation. Joe: How do you want to relate to the voice in your head? What's the most fun experience you can think to do around the voice in your head? What would it take for you to enjoy the voice in your head just as it is without want it to change? Brett: Perfect. Thank you, Joe. I really loved this conversation. Joe: I really liked it. It felt really alive. Thanks for listening to the Life in View podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please subscribe. We would love your feedback, so feel free to send us questions and comments. To reach us, join our newsletter, learn more about VIEW or to take a course, visit view.life
Allowing Yourself to Change (Joe Coaches Brett)
42:07This week’s episode took an unexpected turn after co-host Brett Kistler had a difficult week, prompting an unplanned one-on-one session where Joe coaches Brett. In this session, we dive deeper into exploring how the relationship with self is reflected in the relationships with the people around us. "My mind is flitting around in a million directions, going down rabbit holes, and my body is like hey, we have something important to do." "Yeah, that's beautiful. That's always the way it works, right? The relationship with the self is reflected in the relationship with the people around us."Brett: Okay, so this is going to be a really interesting episode. We started the call intending to dive into an episode on attentional black holes or perhaps on engineering our own heartbreak. But I have been having a rough week, and we ended up diving into what turned out to be a session with Joe coaching me. Here it is, raw and unfiltered. I hope you like it. So throughout my life, I have this pattern of diving into something really, really deeply and hyper focusing on it, and then it starts to become hyper focused to the exclusion of other things and then ultimately to the avoidance of other things. Then, I build competence in the thing that I am getting hyper focused in until I start to get a little bit complacent, and then that thing ends up crashing and then I am left seeing the consequences of all of the avoidance in the rest of my life. Somehow, this has usually ended up happening in such a way that has left me better off than I started over time, but it really just feels like extremely wild swings, big ups, big downs. Joe: Can you give me an example from like two years ago?Brett: Yeah, an example from a couple of years ago was in 2017 I started getting, had been interested in, but started seeing a lot of people get interested in crypto, like cryptocurrencies in investing. I started to see all kinds of opportunity, and I just became very deeply interested in it. That seems like a good thing, being interested in something that's new and exciting, and potentially world-changing even if it is such early stages that it might not be world changing for years. But I, like many other people, got really focused on this possible future and kind of hanging my hopes on the financial gain that I was imagining I was seeing and the numbers in my financial accounts. Also, at the same time, I was starting to feel like they become more important, higher priority to me than what was going on in my life. The numbers and the financial gain became much bigger than the numbers in my business financial gain. Also, the excitement of it became much bigger than my excitement elsewhere, and this has also occurred in other areas, like with base jumping. Just really getting into something that's super, deeply exciting and enlivening for me, or in a relationship, just getting fully swept up in it and disappearing attentionally from other areas of my life. Joe: What makes you say disappearing intentionally?Brett: Not intentionally, attentionally. My attention draws away from places that it used to be. Joe: What would you make you just not say I was disappearing into it? What makes you give the caveat of attentionally? Brett: I think I have a little bit of a self judgement around my attention. Throughout this process, there is a part of me that's like no, don't fully go here. There are other things you care about, and then there's sort of a negative feeling associated with not paying attention to the things I care about or finding that I care less than I did a moment ago about them. Joe: How does that tie into, say, commitment? What's your experience of commitment? Brett: My experience of commitment has over the course of my life been something that generally starts in the same way as I just described with a lot of fire and a lot of excitement. I am a very flowy person. I kind of go from one thing to another thing, and I am following some threat that just cuts across all these different areas of life. Very commonly, for me, the thing that I am following shifts or changes shape, and that doesn't mean that I am not interested in the thing that I was interested in before. But I start to feel like obligated not to change, like put myself into an obligation not to change in order to keep the commitment. Joe: I see, so what's the difference between what you are describing as far as going down an attentional rabbit hole and being committed to something?Brett: I mean going down the attentional rabbit hole is being committed to the exploration of that rabbit hole. It also feels like a disowning of other commitments, and there is shame in that. Joe: If we were to ask, let's say, any woman in your life over the last 20 years, what would they say your relationship to commitment was? Brett: That's a really good question. You would have to ask some of them. Joe: If you had to guess, maybe they even said something to you at some point. Brett: I mean they say various things. I would say they say I am a deeply committed partner, and also that I change. Something that they have said is that like when they are with me, they feel the commitment really strongly and then when I am not with them, then they feel the lack of it. Joe: So this is the thing you are pointing to. You get into something. You are fully in it. That's all you are focused on. It's like a strong sense of an immediate commitment, but then the things that you have already started to some degree fall by the wayside. You don't feel the commitment towards them in the same visceral way, and they don't feel the commitment from you during those times of going deeply down the attentional rabbit hole. Brett: Yeah, which then creates shame around that rabbit hole itself. Joe: If you take the shame out of it, what's the problem with all this?Brett: I guess the problem is that it just feels unstable, and that also looking back through my life, the consequences of it have been just these wild oscillations, which is something that I actually really enjoy. I do really enjoy having a life that just varies wildly from thing to thing, and I just go super deep into a direction that and go farther than most people might go in that direction. Joe: Separate for me the difference between what you like about having a highly varied and I will call it intense life, and what you don't like about having a highly varied and intense life. Brett: What I like about it is that I learn a lot, and I collect a wealth of different experiences. I grow. What I don´t like about it is there are these periodic tectonic shifts that I experience as painful where there is just a lot of resistance and I go into a period of perhaps months of feeling disconnected but not noticing how disconnected I am feeling until all of a sudden it just shows up, and I recognize how I disconnected I have been from things I actually do love and how much I have actually narrowed into a stressful relationship with a thing I am focused on. Joe: Aha, so the thing is, what I am hearing you say is that you love going down these rabbit holes and the fact that you learn and you grow, but somewhere down the rabbit hole it moves from passion to stress. It moves from passion to obligation, and then in that you start becoming so single minded that you forget to live a life that's enjoyable through balance or through some of your other commitments. Is that what you are saying? Brett: Yeah, absolutely, and I find myself unaware of basic logistical things that are important for kind of keeping my life together. Joe: Right, and I am just curious. What if nobody ever gave you shit about that? What if like you did this and everybody was like that's cool, that's Brett being artistic or that's Brett doing his thing, that's Brett providing for the family, whatever? Whenever you did all that, nobody guilted you or shamed you or said you weren't there for me. How would your relationship with this cycle change?Brett: Interesting, it's hard to even imagine separating those things because I believe that my doing things this way leaves people kind of left in the dark. There's a way that I am taking responsibility for other people depending on me, and then me going off in a new direction. Whether or not they even shame me about it or even show hurt at me, there is a way that I just project it or there is a way that I just take responsibility that they are experiencing of disappointment or abandonment. Joe: I know your childhood enough to be able to point something, so I am going to point directly, which is. Maybe I don't know it well enough. Let's see if I remember correctly. How similar is this you going down a different rabbit hole than your family did on a religious basis?Brett: Yeah, wow. I had not thought of it that way, but it does feel very much like that. Joe: So stop talking about it for a second, and just feel that. Feel that place that you felt when you diverted from the rabbit hole that your family was in and stayed in around religion and you went looking somewhere else. Brett: I felt very much like I was letting my mom down, and the pain that she would feel about my afterlife was my fault. I resisted that following, but also still bought into it. There are also other layers. Throughout my religious upbringing, there were times that we changed churches, and reasons that might happen was because we or my mom or I, however it was, would diverge from the prevailing opinion in the church or the group that we were in. That led to a lot of disconnection from friends and people that were really important to me. I am seeing now ways that I have recreated that my whole life, too. Joe: As well as the obsession. I would assume that at some point you were obsessed with the religion or God or whatever that relationship was, as a kid. Brett: Yeah, I went deep, and it was the basis to my youth group band. I went on revivals. Joe: Here this is repeating, and if you feel that feeling in your body of that moment of recognition that you were causing your mom pain or at least that's the way it was told to you, that you were causing your mom for not believing in this and that whole feeling, where in your body does that sit?Brett: There is an anxious tension in my chest and in my arms. Joe: How similar is that feeling to the feeling like you have to do the thing that you are in the rabbit hole with? You have to focus on cryptocurrency over your relationships. You have to focus on air sports over. How similar are those two physical feelings?Brett: It is the same physical feeling. It feels like the thing that blocks me from sitting down and doing my taxes or registering a car, things that are very mundane. I don't feel. My body doesn't feel in a mundane state to be doing them. It feels like I have to get up and go jump off a cliff. Joe: Right, so in a weird way what happens is this natural passion shows up, and then as you start to relive the trauma. Maybe it's happening. Maybe it's not, of disappointing people around you. That creates an anxiety in you that then gets transferred probably both to them, which makes you want to not be around them and to your work, which makes you get more hyper-focused and stressed. Is that what we are concluding? What am I missing there, if anything?Brett: That sounds very right. One way that I have continued to recreate that is by finding communities and go deep with those communities as I travel the world or whatever and sort of becoming a part of the community, but then also being like I am kind of not going to be there. I am only sort of partially in this community, but I've got all these other communities. I´ve got this other thing I am doing. I might just get up and go to the Arctic for a month. I won't be around, so don't depend on me too much. Joe: Right. How much of that commitment or lack thereof is based on the fact that you also learnt as a young kid that you can't trust community? To some degree, there is a way of saying we can't trust you because you left the church, but the other way of thinking about it as a kid is community is stagnant. It can't meet me as I grow into my truth. Brett: Right, or that community, there is another mirror to that where I see communities as tending towards homogenous group think and then I want to get away from that or at least keep distanced from it. That relates to something else that is a pattern to me. I really love to be a contrarian and feel very right when I think everyone else is wrong about something. Joe: Right, all of this early childhood patterning as if there is a right and a wrong. So today, how does this whole thing cause you pain? From this perspective, from seeing it this way, how does it all cause you pain? Brett: One way it causes pain is that this anxious feeling in my body is. I guess avoiding that has made it difficult for me to sit down and do basic things. Joe: What's the anxiety avoiding? If you couldn't feel anxiety and you couldn't stay busy, what would you be left to feel over this situation where you are changing and the loved ones around you aren't meeting you? Brett: I would have to feel the heartbreak of that I change and I am not stable. I might be a different person than I am today, and other people might be different than they are tomorrow and that I might feel abandonment or that they might feel abandonment. Joe: I don't remember if we recorded the very, very beginning of this when we said hey, let's press recording, but you said engineered heartbreak. Brett: Yeah. Joe: What would be making you engineer heartbreak to avoid heartbreak?Brett: I think there is a way that. This might be related to something that I do, where I put myself through difficult things to prove I can handle it. It almost seems like there is something subconscious in me that does that with this engineering of heartbreak. Joe: I know in other podcasts this is the coolest thing. We have spoken about the thing that I am about to speak about I think at least three or four times in the podcast along and countless others, but when we are in it, when we are reliving that trauma, it is so hard to see it. But that whole idea of we are creating the thing by the way in which we are avoiding it, it is the way in which we are avoiding the emotional experience that we are recreating it in our life. It is the same thing we have talked about of the cell wants to get homeostasis. The body continues to produce these early childhood patterns until we can finally feel the thing that we couldn't feel as a kid. Brett: A layer on that is one of the things that I feel is shame around not feeling the thing, especially now that I intellectually know all of this so well. My body just feels not fully up-to-date on this. Joe: You are engineering heartbreak that you then avoid, is what you are saying, and then you get to feel heartbreak/shame for avoiding the thing that you created to feel that it is not easy to feel. Brett: It is almost like it's the shame I am creating. It is almost like I've learned to be very okay with the heartbreak itself, but I am not okay with the shame. Joe: Yeah, it is beautiful. What's wrong with shame? Literally, how does shame feel in your system? What is the discomfort of shame in your system, physically?Brett: It feels like resisted fear, which feels like cowardice. That is something that I have judged myself for my whole life. Joe: All of that was in your head, in your body, when you feel shame, what's uncomfortable?Brett: There is a numbing. Joe: Numb is comfortable. They even wrote a song about it, Comfortably Numb. Brett: Let me get into that and see what I am actually numbing out. There is a feeling of curling up in a ball. There is a slight sickness to my stomach, a tightness in my chest, and an anticipation of rejection or pain and a hopelessness. Joe: Just feel all that for a second, like allow all of that to be felt just as it is. You don't have to manufacture anything. You don't have to try. Just as it is, feel it. Brett: How did you know that I started manufacturing it?Joe: I refuse to answer intellectual questions right now. Notice what's happening. Notice what's happening to the discomfort of shame. Brett: There is a slight shaking in my stomach, in the midsection. Joe: How much more comfortable or uncomfortable is it becoming if you stay with the shame?Brett: It is becoming a little bit more comfortable, but then my intellect comes in and is like it is just because you are not feeling it enough anymore. You are avoiding it. Joe: What happens if feeling it is all that is required? What if it is just like you are a little kid that felt shame? Like when your mom told you you were responsible for her emotions and that her punishment for you going to hell was somehow your responsibility. What did that kid just need at that point? Brett: I don't know if it is fair to say that she told me that. I am just a kid assuming it. Joe: She was worried for your soul. That was happening. Brett: Which is love. Joe: Exactly, but the point is what did you need then? What would have made it different for you, better for you in that moment? Brett: I don't know. It is hard to say that what I needed was for my mom to happily accept that she believed that I was going to hell. Joe: How about just loving attention? How would that have been as a kid? Brett: Yeah, my diverging beliefs being given loving attention or being given loving attention in my beliefs. Joe: What makes you think that giving loving attention to your shame right now is somehow not enough, but it would have been enough as a kid? Brett: I mean it feels. This is interesting. It feels like when I try to give my shame loving attention, it somehow misses. The attention misses the shame in some way. The shame manages to wiggle out from under the attention. Joe: Yeah, chase it around the room. I know that sounds weird. Chase it around the room to give it love. I am going to love you. You cannot get away from me. I am going to love you. Brett: I can feel it there subtly. Joe: It is what kids do, by the way. It is totally what kids do. Kids feel shame, and you go to give them love. They just fucking hate it. No, no, no. Like little ones. They will fight you tooth and nail over it. Brett: It is like hiding underneath the couch and peeking out under the skirt. Joe: Exactly. Brett: When I try to do this on my own, I immediately think I am just not doing it good enough or I am not finding it or that I must not be finding the root of whatever my feeling is. Joe: That's the pattern. That's not the truth of it. That's the pattern. Literally, were you finding God? Did you get to the root of it? Did you feel like you weren't quite getting the whole thing? That's the relationship that you were taught to truth, to love, to feeling life. You weren't quite getting it. Brett: Yeah, and that's what I feel with everything. I was just not quite getting it. Joe: You are also not quite getting it as compared to other people. I think there is some reality to all of us not quite getting it. It would be impossible, but in your mind I've noticed that it is not like you are not quite getting it, like everybody is not quite getting it. No, you are special and you are not quite getting it. Do you know what I am saying?Brett: This feeling I am special and I am not quite getting it. Joe: I am special in my not getting it. Brett: Special in my not getting. Also, I was in gifted in classes in school but also I just didn't do the homework. I just somehow managed to barely be scraping by in those classes, and everybody else, even people who seemingly didn't get the material as much as I felt I got the material, had their shit together in a way that just had them be doing the thing, doing the school, not getting talked to about being behind. Joe: You are like recreating this pattern of not quite fitting into the social fabric. Now you are in a social fabric full of a whole bunch of people who are really smart and not motivated to follow all the rules and have done a whole bunch of creative things and are living, and you still feel like you are not a part. Probably all of them do as well. Brett: Yeah. Joe: You are not alone even in that. [BELL]Okay. So this is the time in our podcast when we do something just a little bit different. We take a break from the intellect and incorporate our bodies and emotions into the conversation. We do this because it helps us integrate the information better, and usually it is a bunch of fun. We crowdsource these exercises from our community, so if you have a good one, please share it with us. When doing the exercise, take it as a treat and as an experiment. Just to the activity and see what happens. As always, enjoy yourself. [BELL]Tara: Hi, everybody. My name is Tara Howley. I am going to lead you guys through some nervous system exercises. Go ahead and close your eyes and take a big inhale. You are going to put all of your attention in the souls of your feet. You might notice the texture of the floor under your feet. You might notice the temperature. You might feel your pulse. Just see what you notice with all of your attention in the souls of your feet. That’s it. Go ahead and open your eyes, and just notice how you feel now compared to when you started this. [BELL]Joe: Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the exercise as much as we did when we found it. Before we go back into the episode, I wanted to thank all of you who have been sharing the podcast and signing up for the VIEW course. The interest and support you guys have shown has been both overwhelming and humbling. It´s a pleasure to know that we have something to offer that has been so helpful to you. All right. Now let's get back into the conversation. Brett: A question that routinely comes up for me is how does it anybody continue to put themselves in a position of working with or relying on me. Joe: That's the pattern. There's no truth to that. However you have done it, you have shown up in your business. You have shown up here. You have shown up in your relationships, many of them for years and years. You can say that, but the paper, the data is different than what you are voice is telling you right now. Brett: That brings me back to that piece where I can intellectually know a thing, intellectually know what I even on some level want, and my body doesn't line up with it. There is a feeling of despair in that. Joe: Prove your body is not lining up. That's the story. Prove it. Your body is stressed when you are ignoring the commitments that feed you, that nourish you. Your body is aware of the shame that's happening. How is your body not participating fully here? Brett: So there is a way that I feel that being true. The more I get off track, the more avoidant I am of the things that I care about, the more stressed I feel, so there is a way that my body is guiding me back towards my truth in that way. And yet, there´s something in my body that if that's not happening, there must be some opposing force. What is that? How is that my body being in alignment if there is an opposing force pulling me away from what the rest of my system seems to think is alignment. Joe: I think I am a bit confused in the fact that it is opposing forces that keep everything in balance. So what am I missing?Brett: Maybe there is one of the opposing forces that is getting too much weight in the decision. Joe: Prove it. There is this idea that you are stuck on. Maybe it's your mind that is the opposing force. There is this idea that you are stuck on that somehow or another that your body isn't with you. Brett: Maybe it is the inverse. Maybe it is my mind that is not with me. Joe: In the moment of freeze, what's off line, your body or your mind?Brett: It's hard to say which, but it does seem like it is true that one of them was offline. It feels like my mind is doing the thing that I describe myself doing to others to my body. My mind is flitting around in a million directions, going down rabbit holes, and my body is like hey, we have something important to do. Joe: Yeah, that's beautiful. That's always the way it works, right? The relationship with the self is reflected in the relationship with the people around us. Right now I can sense a desire for resolution. Brett: Yeah, there's a strong desire for resolution, which I am recognizing is wanting myself to change. Joe: What's the resolution going to get you?Brett: Alignment, joy, accomplishment, connection. Joe: How is that not here right now? Brett: Stories in my head prevent me from seeing it. Joe: I feel connected to you. I'm enjoying the conversation. Brett: I feel like I showed up to do a podcast, and then we just like dove into a session. Joe: That's what happened. Brett: Because I don't have my shit together enough to do the podcast. Joe: Right, but there is a tremendous amount of connection and joy, and alignment in it. So what's the problem? Brett: Because my head said there was a thing I was supposed to do. Joe: Would it have been better than this? Brett: I don't know. We could have had a really vague podcast discussion that I felt like disconnected from and judged myself for not being vulnerable in. It could have been that. Joe: Right, exactly. So since the resolution isn't going to give you anything that you already have, what is it that you want the resolution for? Brett: To feel like it is done, like complete, like I did it. I got there. It's all better now. Joe: What if that never comes? What if there is no complete, no done, no heaven?Brett: I mean it would be boring if everything was done. Joe: I mean it even back in the day. The thing that you dismissed is that there was a finish line when you dismissed the religion. Brett: And there was also a way that in the religion I was holding on to this idea of a finish line.Joe: That's right. Brett: When I was a kid, my logical brain was like well, I am a Christian. Ideally, I could just kill myself right now and go straight to heaven. Why not do that? Joe: What if this is just the rest of the letting go of the story? The finish line part of the story is now gone. Brett: The finish line part of the story has continued to be there all along. At any moment, I'll arrive. Joe: What happens to your sense of self if you deeply accept that there is no finish line? You are never done. Brett: I just feel a lot more relaxed in my body now. There's a way that doing work and taking on challenges doesn't feel like the last final sprint before the finish, so I feel less pressure. Joe: What's left to do about this perceived pattern of abandoning your mom through cryptocurrency and air sports since you are never going to completely resolve it? It's never going to be completely done, what's left to do. Brett: It feels okay to follow rabbit holes now. I feel less shame now around rabbit holing. Joe: I don't know any human who doesn't rabbit hole. Sometimes it is the post office for 33 years. I don't know any human who doesn't do it. We are creatures of habit. Brett: That's an interesting one. I consider myself. There's a way I shame myself for not being a creature of habit. I see people having structured habits in their lives that support them and create consistency. I see myself as not having that. Joe: But you do. Brett: Despite us having regular podcast recordings. Joe: Even outside that, you regularly go down rabbit holes. You regularly get stressed out. It regularly serves you by getting you money, knowledge and wisdom. Brett: I regularly create heartbreak by crashing and burning in ways that somehow I survive. Joe: Exactly. Regularly recreating the circumstances for you to allow deep heartbreak and shame that's never been allowed before. Brett: I feel clear. I am not having like squirmy, shame feelings popping up in my body, and I am not having running thoughts about this. There is a way that feels disorientingly serene. Joe: That makes sense. Brett: There is nothing to do, but that is in contrast to the story of there is always a million things that I am not doing right. Joe: Where it gets even weirder is that the nothing to do does so much stuff. Brett: There is a way right now that I have your voice in my head from another time of being afraid something will go away is the first way to make it go away, so I am like don't be afraid this will go away. Joe: That is being afraid it will go away. Brett: See, I am getting it all wrong. Joe: Me, too. It is the fear that the serenity could go away. That's a possibility. All we did was see what was. We didn't do anything. You didn't become a different person. All you had to do was just see what was actually happening, and the serenity came in. Brett: But isn't that in some way the state I was experiencing before going away? Joe: Yeah, the difference is there is not a doing. There is an undoing. It was like I did something and I need to keep it. It is very different than I undid something and saw the truth. Brett: I see. Joe: What do you have to do to keep it? Brett: There is a way that my way of trying to self explore this previously was a stack of doing things on top of doing things to get myself to feel whatever it was that was unfelt. That was just a stack of layers pushing back and forth on each other. Joe: Yeah, they were all just in the way of the truth of what you are. Brett: I don't have to do that. Joe: Right. Exactly. Brett: What's going to happen next? Am I going to do my fucking taxes, or what? Joe: I have no idea. I don't know. I don't know what I am going to do next either, so it works out just fine. So just notice that all of the movement, so as you feel the serenity, this is just myself uncovered rather than something that I have created that I need to keep. Notice how much stuff. It is just automatic ways in which we cover ourself, and they are just showing up. That's the really cool part about this process is that you can just start to see, especially in these moments of clarity, you can start to see all the ways that you want to cover yourself up. You just found one of them, how do I keep it? That's one of the ways you try to cover yourself up, and then you just found the second one, which is like will I be able to get shit done. I have to get shit done. Think about mice or rats or beavers or dogs. They never have to tell themselves or be worried about getting shit done, but they are always doing shit. If they are not sleeping, they are doing something. Brett: But none of them are building companies or promoting podcasts. Joe: Yeah, but you aren't licking your balls. Dogs are. Brett: We are not on video. Joe: Yes, they are not doing as complicated things. They are not capable. We think we would stop doing the things that are interesting to us. That's silly. Brett: I guess the most complicated things I have done have been things that have fallen together as I have been doing whatever. Joe: Yeah, exactly. Brett: Even the planning that brings me to places that I couldn't just wander to. Joe: Just notice every one of these things, and they will come with a little visceral sensation with them. I am making the noise of the sensation. It's [breathes in]. They will each come with that, and that's the habitual way to cover ourselves up. Brett: There's like a tensioning that comes with it. Joe: Exactly, which is awesome. They are going to come, and then you get to see them and see through them. What if you just sat for the next three weeks because I know you create a life where you can do this. For the next three weeks, just watch them come and see through them. Brett: Oh, but Joe, I create a life where technically I could do this but what I have actually been doing is thinking about all the things I am not doing. Joe: Just to say one other piece to it, which I think is important. There is a nervous system piece to this, which is if you are operating under stress for an extended period of time, your body will go into a physical depression and not be motivated. That's natural. If a deer gets chased by a tiger for 20 days straight, it's going to definitely need to sit down and do nothing for a bit. There is a physical component to it. Brett: Yeah, that's interesting. There is this like sitting down and doing nothing but being stressed about it requires that release, and then the depression. It's like see, I am doing nothing. That's why I am depressed. I've got to do something, and then it loops back on itself. Joe: That's exactly how it works. You see this with like big time CEOs and when they sell their company, it is like bathrobe for two years. You see it all the time. It is like it would be a bathrobe for three to six months if they weren't telling themselves they should be up and doing something all the time, but because they tell themselves they have to be up and doing something all the time, it takes three times as long to recover, four times as long to recover. Okay, enjoy the serenity. Brett: I am just going to take today to do that. Joe: What a total pleasure. Brett: Thank you, Joe. Joe: Thanks for a great time. Thanks for listening to the Life in VIEW podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please subscribe. We would love your feedback, so feel free to send us questions and comments. To reach us, join our newsletter, learn more about VIEW or to take a course, visit view.life.