How to cultivate childlike wonder?

The trick is to grow up without growing old.”

- Casey Stengel

Play is an extension of mastery

In every area of life, play is an extension of mastery.

Guitarists who have mastered an instrument can playfully and effortlessly improvise.

Athletes who master a sport can play with simultaneous ease and focus.

Dancers can move with true playfulness when at the top of their craft.

And when I think of the traits I truly desire to embody, play is at the top of the list.

Play is embodied joy

When we cut through the illusion that ordinary reality is devoid of a spiritual dimension, we can begin to playfully relate to everything we encounter in life.

But this requires a deep mastery of our minds and bodies, and a deep apprenticeship to life and spirit.

Play is the practice of attuning to a kind of consciousness that comes from releasing the grip of our egos and our attempts to coercively control the circumstances of our lives.

This creates profound safety. 

This kind of internal safety is untouchable because it is rooted in our innermost being. 

It’s not dependent on the fate of changing circumstances.

Creating a reservoir of deep safety within naturally opens us up to more authenticity, joy, and laughter, connecting us to the childlike wonder and unashamed exuberance of our nascent selves.

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Recover our innocence

And isn’t that what we all long for most deeply? To recover the innocence, play, and spirit of our childhood selves?

It makes me wonder if one of the highest forms of spiritual actualization is the capacity to continuously play in the face of all of the harsh storms life throws our way.

Like anything in life, facing our circumstances with a spirit of play and childlike wonder is a skill that grows with practice.

It reminds me of a favorite quote by G. K. Chesterton about fairytales:

These tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.

Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and present moment awareness.

That is why I’ve been inspired to curate a once-in-a-lifetime experience centered around reclaiming soulful living by cultivating childlike wonder, laughter, and play.

In some ways, awakening is really just about recovering our connection to the innate magic of the world.

When we wake up to our true nature, we remind ourselves that life is a great game that is ever-inviting our ongoing expansion.

The more we practice unmasking the illusion of reality and seeing life as a game, the more we relax into a state of play and recover these vital, exuberant, and wise childlike parts of ourselves.

And that’s exactly what this episode of Waking Up is about. My guest Indy Rishi Singh embodies joyfulness, exuberance, and playfulness like few people I’ve met.

He leads workshops on laughter and play with major companies and universities, in addition to his work with prison meditation, gamifying civic engagement, regenerative economics, and systems design.

In this episode, we discuss how to cultivate childlike wonder and laughter, the illusory nature of reality, play as a spiritual practice, consciousness as the fundamental substrate of reality, Western misconceptions of the meaning of karma, and how we can apprentice ourselves to the wisdom of children.

Indy is an exceptional human and an absolute blast to collaborate with. I hope you find this interview as delightful as it is meaningful.

I learned a lot and laughed a lot.

Check it out here:

Listen to this podcast on:


foreign [Music] hello and welcome to  


waking up with Brooke Sproul my guest today is  Indie Rishi Singh Indy welcome thanks so much 


Brooke go ahead and introduce  yourself to get started maybe   what if we introduce ourselves with sound so this 


is this is my introduction this is I’m going to  give you my pedigree Who I Am What college I went   to who I mentored with [Music] 


um did you get that that was beautiful so  you so you got my pedigree you know who 


I am what I am what I’m about there  interviews offer right I mean I you   know I at this point in my life I feel it’s I’m very wary about the people who talk  


about themselves too much and I need to  advertise themselves so much um versus  those who actually do and so I almost feel like  that flute right there what I just did that says 


much more than me telling you my journey  my story Bubba blood this is where this   other like that’s all great but we all have our Journeys but can we synthesize  


our journey into something that produces  Harmony for other people that’s the  interesting thing the Nugget that’s  so beautiful and I’ve really been  


meditating on the relationship between spirituality and play lately and as I   just see you embody this playful spirit  I’m curious you know tell me how you see 


that you can’t go through any sort of  um understanding without suffering like   real understanding true under authentic understanding without suffering and and  


it’s funny that the people in my life  who I’ve looked up to who I’ve mentored  from who I’ve learned the most from and  gained the most from were people who had  


developed a wonderful joyfulness about life and even about challenges like when  


challenges will come their way they  would be joyful about the challenge  rather than like reactive to it um  or reactive to a suffering right and 


I I’ve always wanted to embody that myself  and I certainly think that we you know  


there’s something going on with our inner children where we are turned   off from play at a young age I mean  ironically right Brook I’m I’m curious 


what your thoughts are on this but you  know even adults play games right we go   to casinos we play games we have these like games on our phones now that  


everybody plays so we never stop being  our inner child right but what if like 


actually like leaning into play as a form  of therapy leading us a play as a form   of problem solving for our own lives and our Collective lives  


um what if that’s like a way that we can  move through really difficult stuff like  what if that’s a way yeah and the way  I see Life in some ways is it’s sort of 


like a video game and if I can see it  as a series of tests and challenges that 


are actually serving to ex help me  expand and actualize my full potential 


as a human being then I can play then I  can laugh then I can sort of embody that 


that Spirit of oh this is all just  a game this is this is not you know   the way that we engage with life so seriously can I think detract from the  


beauty the the joy of every aspect of existence and at the same time What I  


Really struggle with is you know how  do we play and also validate our own 


experience of suffering because the Suffering  The Pain um the struggle the you know uncertainty 


is all very real and so you know how do  we play without bypassing how do we play 


without dismissing or trivializing what  you know feels really powerful and and 


painful in moments do you have any  insight on that yeah that’s beautiful we 


are at this really powerful inflection  point where there’s there’s a multiple   varieties of bypassing right there’s spiritual bypassing right uh where  


people are like oh like you know I’m  I’m I feel too good to bother with the  suffering of others right or whatever is happening  


um and there’s economic bypassing  right we’re like well I’m  wealthy I’m fine I’m I got whatever  it’s whatever’s happening to poor people  


that’s on them it’s their fault right so there’s all kinds of different bypassing   that’s happening and ultimately what all  of that is it’s it’s a sad it’s a sad 


situation to not feel the interconnectedness  of things right and so when we don’t feel that 


interconnectedness how can you you’re  always going to be you’re always gonna   be seeking happiness outside of yourself you’re always going to be seeking wholeness  


outside of yourself if you  don’t feel interconnected   with everything and that being said coming back to play and as a form of bypassing well  


play doesn’t always necessarily mean that you’re just going to be   laughing and like silly all the time  sometimes we play so that we can feel 


the sadness right I mean I’ll give you  a a interesting frame when we watch a 


movie right or a TV show and it brings  us to tears right that that what’s 


happening in that show or that  movie is that happening to us   it’s interesting I was thinking of the word play like a play is a play so we’re yeah  


so we’re actually we’re playing with our emotions by watching somebody else go  


through something where so it is there  is play also in leaning in under and  connecting with sadness or loss or greed  grief or whatever right or or overcoming 


right you ever notice when you watch  something and you see a hero overcome   about the challenges and we feel that we  cry too in that moment of Triumph right 


so we we can play those emotions out as  well it’s not just all about being Giddy 


and happy and you know blissful and  yet you know I think about like the 


some kind of idealized version of like  the wise Sage who just like is always 


has that smirk always has that knowing  smile or that that laughter that that   childlike spirit of in you know regardless of the circumstances  


and I guess you know the question for me  becomes like how do you cultivate that  you know what practices what what can  we do you know to it’s like I have all  


these ideals that I want to embody and then I sometimes find myself struggling   with what practices can I use to really  facilitate the embodiment and enactment 


of you know my values do you have  any thoughts I mean I’ve got tons   of thoughts on that I forget thoughts I got feelings I got thoughts I got I  


don’t knows I got a lot of things for  that but I I you know I personally have  been practicing the the science of  laughter and I say practicing the  


science of laughter right because it is a practice right it’s like a muscle   um we kind of get turned off I mean  got to think about this Brooke how many 


times do and listeners out there how many  times do you think babies laugh in a day   like babies up to like one years old what do you think I have no idea  


300 times a day okay did you know that babies laugh even if they’re deaf and and blind  


oh so so we’re not learning to laugh it is actually a physiological action that we’re  


doing the deaf and blind baby is not hearing it or seeing it   right they’re laughing because it’s a part  of our innate physiological structure right 


so we laugh for a lot of reasons and  there might be profound reasons for   that because when you study laughter you’re like wait it improves your immune system  


improves your endocrine system improves  your you know it it brings down your sub  your your wanting of dopamine so you  release your own dopamine so if you  


have substance abuse or social media abuse so all these different things laughter is hacking  


all those by the way laughter makes  your sex better too because if you  laugh more you’re gonna have  better blood flow you’re also  


going to be preventing maybe premature  ejaculation I saw another conversation  but throwing out a lot of those things  laughter has to be practiced so what  


you’re saying is like hey if you’re going through stuff okay one day   laughter might work because you feel  good but another day you might be faced 


with some challenges question is can you  then practice when you get faced with the   challenges can you practice laughter or some sense of just laughing at the  


problem before you address it it’s not  ignoring the problem but maybe you laugh  at something that bothers maybe somebody  cuts you off on the road and you laugh  


and you make a joke out of it you be  witty about it and you’d be like oh that  person probably has to go take a  poop really badly that’s why they’re  


cutting me off right we’re such creative Innovative Innovative beings and we’re  


and some of us are funny Brooke they’re  funny right other people are funny we  can make a joke when a lot of times we  are just angry and we use our intellect 


to her like hurt ourselves but we’re  not actually like transmuting this   it’s nothing to do with this maybe it’s not even that important but we take on so much  


by not turning it into a joke and  laughing about it in fact now we’re  overly sensitive about jokes you see in  the world how people are like not being  


able to laugh and then now they’re being  controlling and demonstrative and oh my  God weird stuff happens when we don’t laugh  um well how powerful I had no idea all 


those health benefits what you said  about dopamine was really interesting   and I’m also aware that it increases Bagel tone to laugh so that’s you know  


help helps with trauma and resiliency uh so very cool hearing about that now when  


you talk about practicing the science  you know the science of laughter but  practicing laughter tell me what you mean by that  how do you practice how do you build that muscle  


well before I even answer that I I do I have started something this year that I   would love for you and your followers  that kind of you know tune in if you 


want to now if it’s kind of weird it’s  okay I get it it’s kind of weird but   I’m I’m one of my mentors encouraged me to start hashtag 2023 year of laughter that  


let’s make this year a year that we practice laughter and we do it use   it in different ways and we’ll explore  what happens let’s see how big it gets  


I don’t know it might be super small it might turn into something really big but   um laughter you know in that way like  practicing laughter it’s it’s about like 


finding different ways to access  laughter you know when I get in   groups and we I do I do these laughter um I call them neuroplasticity meditations right  


neuroplasticity laughter play shops and I’ve  done it with like corporations I’ve done it with  non-profits I’ve done it at conferences  and everything and what happens is I  


love to create a space where people also add their practice of laughter or their   ideas of laughter and it’s so fun to  like to like hold space for creativity 


around ways for us to be resilient that  being said you know a great practice 


that I like is when you’re late like you ever  you ever you ever get late for Stuff Brooke never 


you’re never late I’m always I’m always  late I totally I totally am always late 


I’m really bad I’m notoriously bad about being  on time so the question Brooke is when we’re 


late and we stress out do we go do we  get anywhere faster does this time speed 


up when we stress out but what happens to our  body and our mind when we stress tension pressure 


stress and friction do we make better  decisions when we’re stressed no   so that’s why sometimes people get crashes or maybe they forget something at home  


or whatever like the stress actually  messes makes the whole scenario worse   right I was just thinking about like the God’s eye view of our lives and how silly  


like we get so stressed out about being 10 minutes late to a meeting  


um you know and it’s like just the  absurdity of the things that bring us so  much suffering really I mean suffering  may be a little bit strong but just like  


the things that deprive us of the beauty and presence of our lives are so trivial  


and we get so wrapped up in the drama uh and the meaning that we place on these  


things that it’s just really I think one practice that I’d like to you know  


Implement as I’m talking is just kind of  zooming out like 10 years from now is it  gonna matter that I was late for this  meeting so so let’s actually practice  


that all your listeners can try this out  too okay right let’s do it let’s do a  practice of laughter that we can practice  right so it’s not it might not be perfect  


right now we’ll practice have to say that when you know when   you have a jump shot a three-point shot you  don’t just automatically make three pointers  


you got to go in practice to be good at it right so let’s practice this laughter   for being late and by the way put a pin  in it what you were just saying right 


now put a pin on where to come back to  this unnecessary suffering versus suffering 


unnecessary suffering okay put that on  the side okay so let’s say we’re late   for something let’s say next time we’re 10 minutes late Brooke all right we’ll  


let let’s track this let’s open up our  vote chords and we’re just gonna laugh   at the situation of being late so here’s what you’re going to do you go like this  


look at your phone look at your watch  or your phone or whatever let me see let   me see you look at your phone or your watch or whatever you’re like oh open up your vocal  


cords Brooke oh oh you want me to do this right now yeah yeah okay  


yeah yeah look at your watch okay then you’re gonna run like this  


ah let me see you run [Music] I just throw it away 


all right so you got it I got it so so  the next time when you’re late right 


make this whatever you want it’s  a practice maybe you don’t want   to throw your arms maybe you want to go like  this maybe you want to do some other action 


but my encouragement is to like it’s  almost like a psychic release too   because when we’re building up stress and tension we’re getting more rigid  


our bodies are getting more firm in fact  we’re restricting our blood vessels so  that’s where heart attacks might  generate from right okay yeah it’s  


a fact check that before you can see it’s really important I heard a TED talk about   this and it’s actually a myth that  stress causes health issues it’s only 


what this researcher found who was who  was advertising that for many years she   actually found that stress only causes health issues if you believe it causes  


health issues and so it’s really uh  destructive actually to perpetuate the 


myth that stress causes health issues  because then people believe it and it   actually comes true uh so I just wanted to inter interject that but the question  


question of is when we do when we are engaging in some habit or practice that  


is hurting ourselves and it’s not really  improving the conditions of what we’re  in the situation we’re in of course  it might be wise to try something  


completely on the other end to see to see in yourself does that actually bring  


you to a place of homeostasis because  ideally we want to be in homeostasis and  Brooke would you would you agree I think  so yeah I think and I often think about 


the relationship between nervous system  regulation and spiritual awakening 


awareness it’s like is you know being deeply   present and spiritually connected is  it just a function of mastering the 


nervous system and being really  grounded and centered in our being   sure yeah and a part of mastering that nervous system might be that when  


you are getting scared or angry or  frustrated or whatever that you have  something you can use you could to a  tool or some tools you can use or adapt 


in that moment because it might never be the  same moment again it’ll just be a different   situation but can you adapt your tool for them exactly  


um a collaborator who I speak to a lot is John verbatian he talks about having  


a an Ecology of practices I think that that’s beautiful it’s like how do we   develop this diversification of the ways that we can relate to life in ways that  


are Nimble and you know like different tools for different things and I think   that that’s one of the damaging things  about the self-help culture is that each 


modality just wants to paint such a  broad brush because that’s what you   can sell because here’s this one thing  here’s three steps to transformation and 


this is the way and this is the only  thing you need it’s really about   developing this like robust anti-frame fragile ecosystem of practices that we  


can you know draw from at different points in time and then learning what   is most effective and when and and  practicing and what you talked about 


about the you know shooting  three-pointers and and Mastery it’s   like it’s something that’s so endemic to our Western culture is this myth that if you  


just understand something intellectually  you should be able to just get it and do  it wait I got certified though Brooke  I got certified I think nothing works  


nothing works like that it’s like you don’t show up to your first piano lesson   and expect to you know play a complex  Symphony you don’t expect to start you 


know to do a sport the first time and be  a master I’m more alluding to this idea   that we think that oh I understand these spiritual ideas so now I should just be  


able to to live and embody them and it’s  like no spirituality is like anything  else it’s a you know skill it’s a muscle  that builds over time with practice and 


I for one I know I’m so guilty of just  wanting that quick you know a way to to 


Enlightenment and it’s like no this  is something you have to master over   a lifetime how ridiculous that we think and this isn’t just for spiritualities  


for psychology too like people think oh  I understand my problems so I should be  able to break all these psychological  patterns it’s like these things have  


been you know practiced and embodied and acted for you know however old you are  


you know for for decades for most of us  and we expected to snap our fingers and  and be rid of them like it just doesn’t  make any sense and yet that’s how people  


think and that’s part of what’s so self-defeating in people’s approaches is   if they have that mentality then they’re  going to give up before they even start 


right exactly and you know I’m glad  you’re saying that too because there   is an a funny element here you said the word spirituality several times right  


so you know their spirituality but when you come from the Eastern perspective like especially  


where I’m from in India whether you come from  the sikki perspective The Vedic perspective  spirituality talks about the  interrelatedness of everything the  


interconnectedness of there which is a very ecological way of thinking right   like we are literally sharing we’re all  Stardust we’re all eat the same we eat 


the soil the air we breathe the  breathe out like I mean we’re literally   interconnected from a scientific point of view not even from a spiritual one  


right so that’s what we mean in the East  or in indigenous communities in the west 


spirituality has been kind of more connected I’m  clearly generalizing but like there’s a little   bit more connection to like like religion and like that kind of structure now if we come from  


that space of spirituality  being interconnectedness  interrelatedness here’s a crazy hack for  you Brooke and not just for you for your  


listeners out there anybody out there who’s struggling with mental illness   or mental health right if we are  interconnected from a scientific 


perspective anyone else is suffering is  also our own suffering so you can’t be 


comfortable sitting anywhere in a place  of comfort and if there is anywhere   there’s unnecessary necessary suffering happening it’s not like oh it says the  


animal eating another animal because they eat it  but there’s actually suffering happening because   there’s a system that’s causing suffering there is no way you’re not going to feel I’m God Dr Gabor  


mate talks about this John verbanki  you brought him up talks about  the systems problems there’s a few people  now are starting to finally speak up that  


the system itself is causing so much suffering that if we don’t   impact that system we’re even if we’re  comfortable we’re still going to be 


experiencing some sort of weird thing  because we’re connected to everything   now that’s we can go and dive into that deeper but that’s a hack for everyone  


that if you want to feel better go and  be of service for those who are less  fortunate and see what happens just see  for yourself how do you feel absolutely  


and you know I think a lot and talk a lot about this relationship between   self and other that really there’s not a differentiation that that so much of that  


is taught it’s a it’s a learned way of  perceiving the world and just as you  can learn it you can unlearn it and  and as you begin to unlearn it and  


mask you know the fundamental nature of reality and Consciousness and being you discover  


that you know you’re not separate from  anyone else and so as you say you know 


anyone who’s suffering is contributing  to your suffering uh there’s not this 


kind of false dichotomy between people  or between us and the world that we’ve 


learned this kind of Cartesian  you know mind-body dualism 


um self other dualism self life do  itself World dualism you know the these 


kind of uh this this myth of Separation  that most of us in the west have been 


you know unconsciously indoctrinated  into and that we live out 


um and it’s it’s you know what’s interesting to me  is that the materialist frame is being just proven 


by people at the Forefront of physics  I’m not talking about like the new age   people who I don’t know actual Quantum science Donald Hoffman who’s yeah and  


and and what physicists are saying is that like there’s not actually a way   that that space-time can exist and so  what Hoffman is doing is he’s trying to 


find a way which is just sort of Bonkers  to me that this is even possible but   he’s basically finding a way to map out what’s beneath space-time which how do  


you how do you measure something outside  of space-time but somehow he’s able to  measure like and I don’t understand this at  all um but like some kind of offshoot of it 


and his and his his you know model he’s  what he’s hoping to create is something 


that in which we can predict Consciousness so  his idea is that Consciousness is the fundamental 


ontological substrate of reality and that  space time is actually a projection that is   you know and and it’s like he’s doing the math on this and he’s  


trying to create predictive models of  Consciousness where he’s like if this is  to be scientifically rigorous we have to  be able to have a predictive element to it  


that also doesn’t lose our previous models of reality and the way that   you know relativity in Einstein’s work with special relativity doesn’t negate  


Newtonian physics it’s it transcends and  includes newtonians right and so that’s  kind of his idea and it’s just like wow  that’s so beautiful because that’s what  


all the ancient spiritual Traditions that’s what the neoplatonic that’s what   the the Buddhists have have talked about  maybe the Egyptians before they got you 


know take you know maybe the maybe the  the vedics maybe the Mayans right sure   I just I’m not familiar enough with all these different Traditions to speak to  


them I’m absolutely I’m sure but it’s  like this is what you know spiritual uh 


Traditions have been talking about for  centuries is that this is an illusion   what we think is real is not real shamanic Traditions non-ordinary  


reality versus ordinary reality I love  I love that terminology as someone who’s  passionate about words too I feel  like you could appreciate this you  


know I love the terminology of non-ordinary  reality because it’s not saying you know  it’s it’s saying that that’s equally  real it’s not it’s not like this is real  


and that’s this even words like imagine will sort of make it sound like that’s  


imaginative that’s the not real place but actually there’s an inversion I   think for people who talk about no edit Consciousness for example that this is  


the dream and that’s reality right  I like the ordinary and non-ordinary  reality that’s cool I like that because  I like it’s like they’re both real and  


they’re but they’re just different kinds  of reality and that really resonates  with my experience yeah and it’s  interesting too from um from I can’t  


speak to the other indigenous cultures but I do find myself uh quickly making   relationships with people from other you know traditions because we have shared  


perspectives on reality which is kind of  cool but this idea that um that actually 


all the information in the universe is  already inside of us like you don’t need 


to act you don’t need to go to a book or  you need to go to the Internet even you   don’t you don’t need to go find make it develop an instrument to like look what’s  


out in the stars or look what’s  in the in the molecules between us  actually you can access that information  if you sit still and you listen and you 


really go with it and you get out of the  external sensory world and you go within   and then you can access a whole database that has always existed and maybe even  


what’s going to exist as well like maybe  maybe if time is also relative maybe we 


can access time Future Past everything  as well I don’t know I don’t know though   I’m not going to say listen Brooke I’m  not certified so I can’t say anything 


I’m not certified this other Collective  of physicists are doing some research on 


what’s called emergence Theory which I discovered  because I originally called my model emergency   Theory and so someone sent this my way and  


there they talk about you know this model of space-time that is again I  


can’t even like explain this stuff because I’m not a physicist at all   um but they basically talk about the  illusory nature nature of time which you 


know Einstein said for those of us  who understand physics time is but   a stubbornly persistent illusion Brooke  what did one Adam what did one Adam say 


to another atom that was kind of  feeling a little depressed and sad what   you matter [Laughter]  


um do you are you familiar with David bone um we had hosted this panel uh uh  


infinite potential you should watch this documentary it’s called infinite potential   David was it a few scientists in  the 30s 40s 50s and 1900s who was 


against the nuclear proliferation nuclear  bombs and he was like outspoken about it   he kind of got like shoved to the side because the military  


industrial complex was like no we want to do  this stuff so he even though he was one of  the top physicists in the world setting  incredible stuff about potential like  


how like the power in every in every atom and the power that’s existent all   around us and kind of tesla-esque right  um but you should watch this documentary 


I recommend infinite potential  as somebody who loves physics   um here’s like and he’s not he wasn’t like he was friends with you know  


um friends with Einstein and everything  so uh we hosted this panel and we had kids  on the panel the scientists  neuroscientists and physicists  


and we and we had kids on the panel as well because you know in my opinion I feel kids   to have we don’t give kids enough  credit and enough love and enough 


attention um especially right now with  what’s going on around the world in our   own communities not even not even in other places but like in our backyards but also  


that maybe the wisdom of children  is more profound than the wisdom of 


potentially of phds and experts right  um there’s sometimes there’s some   Simplicity in their wisdom uh before you even go dive that dive down dive down that  


thing Brooke I got a question for you um it why are there no why are there  


very few child or kid um wisdom leaders in the  


west um in in India you know in I’m sick  in the city tradition we had a guru that 


was a seven-year-old Guru right who was big  into ayurveda and he like was a big time   healer we had there are many bodhisattvas who were kids  


um there were many Buddhas right The  Reincarnation Buddha that were kids uh  Krishna was a kid right and there’s a  lot of stories of him doing a lot of  


stuff so there’s a lot of Mythology  around the power and the wisdom of  children and why we need to respect them  and love them where is that in Western  


Traditions or Western psychology that’s such an interesting question and I you  


know have no idea to be perfectly honest  and yet I could speculate uh it seems 


like probably it might be related to kind  of some of this Western stuff that that  


we were speaking to earlier in terms of how we frame the world   so if you know knowledge Edge and and intellectual understanding if that’s the  


premise of what we think is wisdom which is certainly not you know in fact it can  


be at odds with true wisdom and embodied wisdom and and living our values right   that that intellect can actually I mean  it can’t facilitate it but it can also 


impede it right and so but mostly in  our culture we think of these things as 


related and so of course we’re going to  dismiss children who don’t know anything   about you know these complex philosophical ideas  


um and I love what you’re saying and I  love that you had children on the panel  because there is such a purity and  innocence and wonder and joy that it’s 


like if we’re being real that’s all  we’re all trying to come back to like   that’s if I had a definition of self-actualization it would be to  


recover my childlike in a sense perhaps like that when we’re talking earlier   about spirituality and play and  Mastery and you know it’s it’s like 


you know if we can look to Children if  we can become like children and that’s   actually a very you know New Testament idea right from the mouths of babes  


and become like a child yeah you know be  like a child and you shall enter Heaven  right right so I think it’s beautiful  what you’re sharing and I had no idea 


about these child leaders and and  gurus and and other cultures so that’s 


fascinating to me and you know I think  about you know one of the things that I   meditate on quite often is my uh four-year-old niece who I just  


adore and love and um as I when I think about  


cultivating Joy I just imagine her running  around giggling at the top of her lungs just 


you know so just uh so just delighted by  simple things in life and uh I want to 


be in Greater study of that so I  appreciate the invitation uh to think 


about how I can Apprentice myself more  to Children you know really like like   who do we who do we aspire to be like and then how do we Apprentice ourselves  


to them how do we learn from them  because often I find that the people I  study are not people who are embodying  the values that I set out to live so 


it’s like why am I studying from people  who are telling me something with their   minds but I don’t actually see their  kindness I don’t know you’ll feel it I 


don’t yeah I don’t experience their  play I don’t experience their Joy   um that’s that’s kind of interesting to me it’s like well what are you doing  


Brooke why are you putting your energy  into trying to you know because it feels 


like a red herring perhaps yeah okay if that’s  the right way to think about it it feels like   a diversion like oh here’s my comfortable  


um here’s my comfortable approach to  spirituality let me listen to this you   know totally intellectual and I think that those Phil that philosophical  


inquiry can afford a genuine spiritual experience I think it’s one approach and  


yet again it’s like sort of the  comfortable Western intellectual  approach that I find very  non-threatening to my actual like daily 


habits and I’m noticing that I want to  be a little bit more disciplined and 


diligent about you know how do I actually  get more comfortable being uncomfortable and 


changing changing how I spend my time  each day because if my if my daily life 


isn’t reflective of my values of how  I spend my time isn’t reflective of   what I say I value yeah I am fundamentally living I don’t want to say a lie that feels  


a little strong but living in common  alignment with my yeah I’m living in  Conflict out of alignment with my my  true authentic expression so that’s a 


big part of what I am constantly looking  at is how do I kind of you know reorient 


recalibrate integrate you know more and  more of what I value into my daily life 


and how I spend my time yeah and you  know if if you were to title this   episode anything I I what I would love to explore more and maybe we can keep  


having these discussions but I I find  it quite troubling in our Zeitgeist of 


psychology and therapy in the west um  which is a very Colonial patriarchal 


like substantially lots of blind spots  right in therapy um and one of the 


problems I find is there’s a clear lack  of appreciation acknowledgment of karma 


like or karma is the right word Karma  right and Karma is not just a negative   thing it could be a positive thing but we often don’t account like we’re sharing  


for interconnected and there’s any  unnecessary suffering happening out  in the world you could talk about values  as much as you want but if the outside  


there’s homeless people and there’s  children suffering and whatever it is  whatever you care about whatever  whatever triggers you you know and  


you’re not leaning into that trigger by actually being of service you’re actually   building up Karma because you have  if you have if you’re intelligent 


and you’re intellectual and you have  resources and you have connections you   could do a lot I mean there’s people who  don’t have anything that are doing stuff 


so people who have resources and  contacts and pedigrees holy cow you   could you could like you can like reverse the course of hundreds of  


thousands of people with that power mind  you you don’t know what kind of karma  your ancestors have been carrying whether  they’re whatever side they were on maybe  


they sold out their family to slavery or maybe they harmed  


other communities right you’re also  carrying that inside of you we know  epigenetically we carry the trauma  but we could also be carrying  


and antagonism also within us right we could also be carrying apathy within   us we’d also be carrying Bliss and  Ecstasy with us in moments of incredible 


chivalry and incredible Humanity those  are also in our genetics right so by   accessing these truths about Humanity that have cultivated us to survive and  


exist and be resilient these Community  Health Collective Health uh Collective 


Liberation right those things are not  separate from our individual Liberation   right we’re just a one drop of the ocean right so if we’re not if we’re ignoring  


government psychology we’re like  ignoring cause and effect we’re ignoring  physics you know like no you yeah a  simple kind of way to think about karma 


from my perspective I don’t this is  probably incomplete but is just the old   idea that you reap what you sow right it’s not people think of it as like  


punitive often yeah but that’s like one  that’s only one side of it right well  it’s a western you know bastardization  of you know the idea when actually 


um it’s really just you know you you give what  you get it’s really I call it the reflection 


principle it’s like you know everything  outside of us is reflecting something   inside of us and that there’s kind of this constant feedback from life that  


is showing us about how we’re showing up and who we are and is giving us constant  


feedback that we can look at and  integrate you know to expand our  awareness to you know and to continue  growing and to continue kind of shedding  


the layers and dying to you know the you know damaging ideas or the ego or you  


know all of this this false stuff that  gets in the way of us understanding our  true nature and um our our related you know  our interconnectedness to the world yeah  


and you Karma Yoga like my greatest download in my life is my my family   my my mom who’s like a saint and my dad  who is no matter what he was going even 


though he was like an alcoholic he  did embody those values of Karma Yoga   proactive go to my yoga like that’s what I witnessed in my life that if you’re  


proactive about serving other people  that are less fortunate if you’re  proactive about giving if you’re  proactive before taking right if  


you’re proactive in these spaces you get beautiful things back to you like it’s   not it’s not extractive like to be practicing Karma Yoga in a proactive way  


doesn’t actually detract from your your abundance it actually gives you the  


kind of abundance that also includes the  community that also includes safety that  also includes like you feel better  holistically right like that’s why it’s  


quote you know the old saying it’s more blessed to give than to receive it’s   actually that giving is an act of  generosity to the self you know there’s 


something so beautiful and Rich about  you know being about offering yourself 


in service about giving generously of  your time resources attention you know 


whatever it is that you have to give  there’s something deeply Rich about that   when it comes from an authentic and present place and so yeah I’ve been  


thinking about you know really really  wanting to start volunteering again  because I stopped because I was I was  volunteering before covet and then I stopped and 


um you know because everything was  closed and it’s like now it’s not built   into my schedule and uh I just realized that there’s something so pure in just  


connecting with people who are in need and being and offering yourself in   service and it just reminds you of what  matters like when I do an exercise of 


you know if I had all the you know money and time  in the world um if I if I didn’t have any sort of 


constraints around resources how would  I spend my time and I’m like I think it   would just be volunteering like it would just be I mean not not only like I would  


also do some things with friends and  family or but but really like I’m like  wow I think that would be a lot more of  how I spend my time so how can I instead  


of thinking oh I don’t have enough time how can I you know build this into my   life because it is a value and sure  we can see we could see it also in our 


personal relationships with people just  individual really like when we are in that   space of like loving the person by like just being of service to that  


person how beautiful is that how  beautiful does that relationship   grow when it’s reciprocal right it’s like this incredible infinity loop of Love  


um you know can we create that with the  people on the street can we create it  with the children can we create it  with our brothers and sisters that  


might be going through some trauma maybe even some difficult things right now you know all   around us Well India it’s been such a pleasure  to have you I’m so glad you’re able to to 


join me today and I’m looking forward to  continue conversations have a wonderful   rest of your afternoon thank you Brooke thanks for having me on appreciate it God  


of my yoga practice y’all foreign [Music]

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Author Bio
My LA Therapy - Brooke Sprowl (slider)

Brooke Sprowl is an industry-leading expert and author in psychology, spirituality, and self-transformation. Her insights have featured in dozens of media outlets such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Spectrum One News, Mind Body Green, YourTango, and many more.

As the founder and CEO of My LA Therapy, she leads a team of 15 dedicated therapists and wellness professionals. Brooke has been a featured speaker at prominent universities and venues such as UCLA School of Public Affairs, USC, Loyola Marymount University, the Mark Taper Auditorium, and Highways Performance Gallery, to name a few. 

With a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Welfare with a Mental Health Specialization from UCLA, a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from USC, and certifications in peak performance and flow science from the Flow Research Collective, Brooke has helped hundreds of prominent leaders and CEO’s overcome anxiety, relationship difficulties, and trauma and reclaim a sense of purpose, vitality, and spiritual connection. 

With 15 years of experience in personal development and self-transformation as a therapist and coach, she has pioneered dozens of original concepts and frameworks to guide people in overcoming mental health challenges and awakening spiritually.

Brooke is the host of the podcast, Waking Up with Brooke Sprowl. She is passionate about writing, neuroscience, philosophy, integrity, poetry, spirituality, creativity, effective altruism, personal and collective healing, and curating luxury, transformational retreat experiences for high-achievers seeking spiritual connection.

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