What is true spirituality?

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

- Carl Jung

It’s trendy to be "spiritual."

Let’s face it. It’s trendy to be “spiritual.”

And while I’m glad we’re experiencing a cultural renaissance surrounding new and non-dogmatic ways to relate to the innate mystery of existence, we have to be increasingly vigilant around what kinds of spiritual ideas and people we allow into our lives.

Our spiritual lives should not feel separate from or be at odds with our bodies and minds. On the contrary, authentic spirituality transcends and includes every element of our humanity.

Engaging in spirituality that attempts to suppress elements of humanity is a form of denial. This is referred to as “spiritual bypassing.”


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Join us for a transformational retreat designed to cultivate awe, beauty, and presence.


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True spirituality integrates our humanity

As more and more people experience the life-changing benefits of altered states of consciousness, increasingly we find people who have profound spiritual experiences without doing the requisite shadow work to support and integrate these experiences in ways that are sustainable and embodied.

Profound spiritual experiences absent of rigorous self-examination and deep psychological work can lead to hubris.

As Plato said, “If we forget our transcendence, we become playthings of the gods. If we forget our finitude, we believe ourselves to be gods.”

More and more, I’m encountering folks who (typically as a result of regular psychedelic use) fail to appropriately acknowledge their limitations and finitude.

They wrongly see pain, trauma, and difficult emotions as enemies of spiritual consciousness.

A spirituality that cannot fully integrate our humanity is not true spirituality at all: it’s a kind of grandiose narcissism.

Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

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


The power of spirituality

A robust spirituality must afford us with the capacity to be truly present to what we encounter in our bodies, minds, and hearts.

The power of spirituality is not an obliteration of our humanity, it is a way of relating to our humanity that allows us to transcend our ordinary limitations and ways of being.

This is only sustainable to the extent that we have practices that allow us to integrate our shadow and continually make the unconscious conscious.

To the extent that we do not do so, our unconscious forces will be acted out against our will.

As Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

That is why I’ve been inspired to curate a once-in-a-lifetime experience centered around reclaiming soulful living by reawakening awe and cultivating true spirituality.

 

Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

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


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Reawaken your soul and your sense of awe.

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


Join Our Transformational Retreat

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


Tulum, Mexico - April 10-15

Reclaiming Soulful Living Retreat

 


Reclaiming Soulful Living:
Cultivating Awe, Beauty, and Present Moment Awareness

 

Tulum, Mexico - April 10-15​

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On this week’s episode of Waking Up, I had the absolute privilege of sitting down with Zen meditation teacher, author, and poet Henry Shukman.

We discuss topics such as the similarities and differences between spirituality and psychology, non-dual awareness and the ego, parallels between Internal Family Systems Therapy and mindfulness, Henry’s spontaneous awakening experience, spiritual bypass, and what it means to have an authentic relationship to spirituality.

Henry is one of those people who deeply embodies kindness and presence, and is also very open about his own struggles and difficulties. He’s exactly the kind of person I love to learn from, because it’s clear that he is truly walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

I hope you’ll enjoy getting to learn from him as much as I did.

Listen to this podcast on:

0:00

I just I just kind of disappeared and became part of the whole universe I knew

0:07

that that’s what I’d always been and it was it was a kind of infinite healing it

0:12

was it was indescribably beautiful and clearly you know without doubt I knew

0:19

like the most important thing that had ever happened to me to the point where I could have died that night and known

0:26

that my life was fulfilled [Music]

0:32

foreign [Music] up with Brook sprawl my guest today is

0:38

the wonderful Henry shookman Henry welcome thanks so much for having me it’s great to be with you yeah so lovely to connect

0:45

with you we have quite a bit in common from spirituality and meditation to poetry and psychology so I have a

0:53

feeling we’ll have a very rich conversation today so talk about your background with meditation and

0:58

spirituality I know you had kind of a spontaneous Awakening experience would you like to share about that when I was

1:05

19 I had yeah this thing happened out of nowhere where

1:10

I just uh my ordinary sense of things just fell away I was looking at the

1:16

light of the Sun in late afternoon on the water and I I just um now stone cold

1:22

sober and uh it really never barely hadn’t been in my life you know and had

1:28

basically you know occasionally drank some beer as a teenager and stuff smoked some hash but no nothing beyond that and

1:36

no kind of really no interest in anything esoteric or mystical or

1:42

spiritual and suddenly I just was uh I just I just kind of disappeared and

1:48

became part of the whole universe and um I knew that that’s what I’d always

1:54

been and it was it was a kind of infinite healing it was it was

1:59

indescribably beautiful and clearly you know without doubt I knew

2:05

like the most important thing that had ever happened to me to the point where I could have died that night and known

2:12

that my life was fulfilled and and I um actually you know you know what in the

2:20

way of things I didn’t die and and life went on and I had a blissful few weeks

2:25

and then I went home I was I’d been away from Far From Home on a gap year when

2:31

when this thing happened and when I got home almost immediately I was really

2:37

kind of hammered by all the unexamined childhood trauma that

2:45

I’d lived with which was you know mostly about two things a very difficult

2:51

domestic situation you know with um well with parental and stuff and

2:58

secondly another chronic um rather severe skin condition throughout my childhood and and which

3:04

which had become free of while I was away and so I came home and suddenly you

3:10

know all the unfelt um feelings of my childhood that I’d

3:16

sort of managed to compartmentalize so I could kind of function when I was a kid

3:23

um I was so open that all of it just sort of swamped me and I had no

3:28

significant resources for dealing with it and I was completely overwhelmed and went into

3:33

a kind of deep despair which which I kind of lived I sort of kind of lived

3:41

with for a few years and then and then actually that’s when I started to meditate I in my early 20s

3:48

I think I was actually 24 I started meditating and that was the the way that

3:54

my sort of healing Journey really began because it it’s really fairly soon after

4:02

I started meditating regularly um I realized that I was something was

4:08

off I wasn’t happy and there hadn’t been for a long time and that I could do something about it and I I started doing

4:15

I started you know I started getting into therapy so how do you see the difference between spirituality and

4:21

psychology that’s such a great question the difference between psychology and spirituality I mean of course you know

4:27

they can mean a lot of different things and um undoubtedly there’s a whole lot of

4:33

overlap and in a certain way I mean I feel my journey has been and continues

4:39

to be absolutely about both of them and um I would say maybe it’s just sort of

4:46

almost for the sake of convenience that sort of in my understanding you know spirituality is

4:54

is can Encompass um for one thing non-dual experience it can

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Encompass what we call Awakening which is where you know our sense of self

5:07

isn’t sort of improved tended cultivated developed it simply is seen through it’s

5:15

seen the it’s always been an illusion and and we discover that when that

5:21

illusion is no longer kind of hooking us or capturing us

5:27

we’re we’re actually part of a great whole that is

5:32

everything and it’s you know it’s an incredible Discovery to make and I do

5:37

think it’s a discovery meaning that it’s kind of real because

5:43

um I I believe and there’s a lot of Neuroscience these days and other kinds of Investigation supporting you know the

5:51

sort of contention that the sense of self as we normally experience it as stable and fixed and

5:59

separate from all else is actually a kind of Illusion

6:04

but leaving that aside I also think it’s it’s it’s kind of terrible not to tend

6:12

our self I think we must I mean I certainly I’ve had to bring you know

6:19

learn to bring a loving welcoming attention and awareness to

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what I feel I am so that the sense of self that I can still plug into can

6:32

still experience is is cared for so you say I don’t really I

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mean some people you know hardcore non-dual folks would say

6:46

I’m wrong there isn’t a self just ignore it you know kind of thing but to whatever extent you’re getting caught by

6:53

things and having intense negative emotion that’s just the extent to which

6:58

you’re still hooked by this thing that you’ve got to get unhooked from but I actually

7:03

I mean I think they may be right I don’t know but um and I said I must say I’ve had

7:09

periods of time when I might have even said that myself but I I really don’t

7:15

see it that way now I feel we we’ve got to a well-rounded kind of um unless I’d

7:22

say wholesome and sort of integrated um spirituality actually must include

7:30

psychological tending as well and I I sort of feel um

7:36

I don’t really want to lean on one side and exclude the other

7:41

yeah familiar with Ken Wilbur’s work at all yes some of it I’ve read oh man he’s

7:47

great I’ve I’ve Loved I haven’t read a whole lot but I’ve read bits in pieces I

7:52

mean man that whole pre-trans fallacy thing is brilliant she’s talking to John verbiki about that

7:59

last week I think we could dive into a little bit

8:04

but there’s a few different things I wanted to touch on from what you shared you know Ken Wilbur talks about

8:10

transcending and including so it feels you know at the higher levels of development we don’t simply go to the

8:16

next level and then disown the previous level that’s not an authentic developmental process and that’s not a

8:23

sustainable developmental process to the extent that I’ve done that you know kind of working with my own say narcissism

8:28

it’s like there was a time when I was like oh I’m not a narcissist but all those people are narcissists and now this is dangerous and now this is this

8:35

part of me is bad now I’ve disowned it now it’s you know kind of cut off in some way and of course then I found that

8:42

everywhere around me and it didn’t feel safe and then when I was able to go back and kind of get to know that part and

8:47

find empathy for that part as just the little girl who’s just struggling and didn’t get enough you know didn’t feel

8:53

self-worth and needed to get a sense of self from the outside world as I was able to find just compassion for that

9:00

all of a sudden other people with those traits didn’t feel threatening and I was able to transcend it in a more authentic

9:07

and grounded way where it’s still a part of me I’m not trying to get rid of it it’s no longer dangerous or a threat and

9:13

so it does feel like there’s a necessity to you know not simply transcend but

9:19

also to include the lower levels of development and you know there’s a lot

9:25

of you know there are people in the spiritual Community who have reached a kind of Awakened State of Consciousness

9:31

without doing the accordant spiritual work and that’s where we see all of these kind of cult leaders who are very

9:38

corrupt as they have these very mystical um I mean I I’ve never encountered you

9:45

know firsthand these kind of leaders who have actual Powers I don’t know if you

9:51

have I’d be very curious but I’ve heard stories like Michael Singer talks about you know certain experiences he’s had

9:57

with gurus who have you know the ability to kind of I don’t even know I I don’t

10:02

even know that I could describe it but in some way move energy or heal or you know kind of

10:08

um cultivate these certain States and I don’t know if I fully believe in that but I’m I’m I hear that there are people

10:14

like that who have these at least magnetic presences you know they’re just captivating they’re embodied they they

10:20

exude unconditional love but then there’s like the oceans of the world where they they have those traits and

10:26

then there’s all of this corruption and all of this exploitation and so that’s where this apology piece is so important

10:33

to integrate the shadow so it’s it’s interesting because I’ve always had the assumption that if you’re enlightened in

10:39

that sense if you reach that level of Awakening that you aren’t prey to the

10:45

psychological vices and the ego temptation but what I’m recognizing is in some ways they’re separate and in

10:52

other ways I think spirituality can be a natural kind of um expression of the Continuum of you

10:59

know like psychological development but in some ways you know they can be

11:05

separated um and and but as you say I think that

11:11

finding the wholeness and it is the the kind of truly enlightened State requires

11:17

us a level of integrity and Shadow integration there’s a way in which

11:23

people aren’t truly Reckoning with the Shadow and the pain and the trauma and

11:29

spirituality can be used as a way to gloss over that and I would argue that’s not a healthy relationship with

11:35

spirituality um you know it sounds like you would agree with that by and large I totally

11:41

agree with everything you said but then I think of like one of my teachers in particular who’s a zen teacher in the UK

11:49

I write about him in my book actually and he’s God he you know he’s just such a kind

11:55

man and he was is so deeply enlightened and so unassuming and you know hardly

12:01

anybody kind of knows about him you know he’s very quiet under the radar he’d he’d be he’d

12:07

been a lawyer he retired and and then ran to Charities for

12:13

severely disabled people and towards them and he he you know he really

12:20

he hadn’t done a whole lot of psychological work he may have done a bit here and there but it wasn’t like he

12:26

was somebody who come through tons of therapy and was really well versed in it um but he he just uh

12:36

exuded peace and love in a very sort of humble unassuming kind of way

12:42

and lived this very humble um simple life of service that you know

12:51

and I really um so somehow I think he probably

12:57

the language has sort of hadied down all this Shadow integration of the Shadow I don’t know because I always think of

13:03

like in the realm of spiritualities there’s always sort of caveats and exceptions and sort of so I think it’s

13:10

very hard to say anything categorical in this realm like I mean I’ve known people who you know they just had one powerful

13:18

Awakening experience and it just sort of melted their life like a hot knife through butter in the most beautiful way

13:26

and you know I’m meeting them 25 years later and they’re they’re still sort of

13:31

radiant and quiet and it just you know and and leading exactly

13:37

a life that sort of suited them there was great peace around them and and you

13:42

know and not not in positions of of authority like teaching people or anything like that just just quietly

13:48

embodying a spiritual

13:54

experience that they’d had that just sort of they’d allowed to gently kind of

14:00

radiate through their being more and more I think and again who weren’t

14:05

particularly I mean dare I say a sort of sophisticated in the language of psychology or even spirituality and yet

14:13

worth it you know of course there could be a little bit of projection here too but seem to

14:20

reside in a kind of I don’t know radiant warm loving way that you could feel

14:26

around I don’t know I’m just saying it’s not it’s not I don’t know I’m hesitant

14:32

about you know kind of legislating how it must be because it’s such a weird realm I

14:39

agree with you and I think not everyone is as neurotic as everyone else not everyone has the same degree of trauma

14:45

as other people so there are I think for some of us like my path because I’m high in eroticism and have you know some

14:53

stuff that I’ve had to work through in terms of my own trauma um I had to do that work it was it was

15:00

inevitable you know for me to survive and to be able to integrate anything

15:05

authentically spiritually but you’re right there are some folks who they have these Awakening experiences and it

15:11

perhaps doesn’t require that same level of Reckoning and and I don’t feel skeptical of that when people are deeply

15:18

embodying love and kindness and you’re not seeing any of the kind of red flags

15:23

in terms of corruption then you know I don’t feel skeptical about that the people I feel skeptical about are people

15:30

who are over emphasizing that everything is love and light and that there’s not there’s no space for Shadows so for

15:38

example I uh had a friend a kind of new friend a few years ago who I really

15:43

liked and and um really connected with and she was very spiritual and I was going through

15:49

something where I um I had a stalker and this stalker was like threatening me and

15:55

and saying they were gonna you know come to my house and I was really afraid and

16:01

then I didn’t feel like I was getting the support that I needed for my family and I was telling my friend about it and

16:06

she said something about me playing the victim and I was so angry I was like

16:11

excuse me I’m being victimized currently I’m terrified I don’t feel asleep in my

16:17

home and you’re gonna say you know just put positive energy in the universe and don’t play the victim like I expressed

16:24

you know I hurt and I tried to work it through and she didn’t have any interest in you know kind of recognizing where I

16:31

was at that I was in pain and and and that I needed kind of just holding in that and so I think there’s and that now

16:39

if I’m 10 years later I’m still just stewing and victim event mentality and

16:44

and blaming and feeling powerless if that’s a theme in my life where I’m I’m engaging with the world from that place

16:50

I think there’s a proper invitation to step out of that and different ways to look and frame your experience but when

16:57

you’re in the midst of of acutely being you know of an acute trauma to be told that you’re playing a victim just feels

17:04

really antithetical to what I would consider authentic spirituality those

17:09

are more than people that I feel um skeptical of as folks who are just

17:15

you know oh just positive thinking all the way down you know there’s no room

17:21

for anything other than that and I just I just don’t I think that I’m robust and

17:29

um authentic spirituality has to Encompass everything that that doesn’t mean every person has to be doing deep

17:36

Shadow work to be awakened but I think a truly enlightened person has the space

17:41

to hold people at different phases in their process you know otherwise I I

17:47

don’t know if I trust you you know yeah no I I totally agree and I think um

17:52

having you know the a kind of flexibility in our in our spiritual

18:00

practice you know that that can totally Embrace pain trauma when necessary

18:07

whether our own or that that of people we meet is I I

18:13

couldn’t agree more it’s totally healthy and it’s I I think you know you get especially in spiritual communities

18:18

you’ll get sort of that spiritual communities that work on transcending

18:24

self you know they’ll you know they’ll have implicit sort of hierarchies based

18:29

on how they can do on how much somebody has tried is free of self you know so that

18:35

anytime someone says pain oh you’re just you’re just being hooked Again by yourself I mean I I agree that can be

18:43

really counterproductive and unhelpful and even sort of cruel and abusive in worst case scenario and so I I I like

18:51

the idea of a you know if we’re gonna if we’re gonna Venture into spirituality

18:57

that has got to be kindness first really and it’s got to be compassion kindness

19:04

and and inclusiveness I I think you said that beautifully earlier the way I see it actually these days in my mind

19:10

there’s a there’s an old um rather kind of little known Chinese

19:15

Buddhist document that about practice you know that that says this is from the I think

19:24

it’s from the late fifth century in China so it’s pretty early you know for Chinese Buddhism which only starts about

19:31

second century BC uh sorry CE and um it says something

19:37

like um the path of practice is like a cart track which has two ruts

19:44

you know one for each wheel of the card one rut is mindfulness and the other ra

19:51

is Awakening so they make this sort of distinction between mindfulness meaning the practice

19:59

of gradual tending cultivating developing healing the human psyche and

20:06

then Awakening as you know Awakening to what they call the

20:12

way in Chinese Buddhism meaning sort of the way of all things the

20:19

arising of everything as one as empty as appearance or whatever you know and what

20:24

we awaken to an Awakening sort of thing but they’re saying you’ve got to always have both

20:29

uh wheel ruts of the track I love that I I live by that now actually so I I you

20:37

know I I can I can say quality at certain point in my training in in actually in Zen I went through a deeper

20:45

kind of experience that really didn’t leave me for 12 years and then and then

20:51

I had some traumatic stuff go on and in my life the people actually have

20:57

somebody very very close to me and um it it uh you know really it that experience

21:04

that experience which I’ve been living very naturally and easily and just this sense of everything always being arising

21:12

out of out of this Wonder a mystery you know it’s always present for me actually I mean maybe not absolutely always but I

21:19

could always access it anytime but actually after 12 years something happened that changed it and I

21:27

couldn’t access it and actually I didn’t want to I wanted to just be totally

21:34

grounded in my human heart and helping the best I could and and I needed to

21:40

help my own heart as well as you know the hearts of those immediately

21:46

around me but I feel it seems like it must be wise to always be open to new

21:52

growth and development and yeah and if there’s a model of you

21:57

know you can hit a real Awakening and there’s no going back in a certain way

22:02

does that close the door on you know New Growth so maybe it doesn’t

22:08

have to but perhaps it can you know it feels like with any Mastery there are

22:14

layers and dimensions that you gradually step into and awaken and flush out and

22:21

you know things that at the beginning you don’t even see because you’re not even awake enough to have a vision for

22:29

what those might be so it just sounds like you’re stepping into a new phase of your Mastery and it looks a little

22:35

different but you’re integrating new aspects of your Humanity into your spiritual practice and that sounds

22:41

really rich and um kind of deep so

22:46

well let’s hope so I wouldn’t call it my master it’s more like my studentship I suppose you know or Mike just my

22:53

learning my learning you know it’s one thing well I do say one of the nice things about having a real serious

23:00

spiritual practice is it makes you a lifelong learner which I think is a really good thing to

23:05

be like in and it you know of course there’s so many different traditions and the one that I’m most deeply versed in

23:12

Zen it’s not particularly popular these days but it has some really good things in it one of which is it’s got this map

23:18

known as the ox herding pictures it’s like 10 pictures that set out this kind

23:24

of map of spirituality and you know the third one is is is having an Awakening

23:30

experience and the fourth one is kind of uh integrating Awakening in our in our

23:36

daily life and but then at a certain point we’re supposed to just forget about Awakening all together and just

23:42

lead a normal life without any hint of Awakening in it you know but but they

23:48

say it’s rather hard to get there but but that’s the aspiration to kind of folded it back into the soil

23:55

you know what’s the thing where’s then the

24:01

yeah yeah we’ve that would be very relevant exactly before then or before the beginning in Zen or something a

24:08

mountain is a mountain during Zen a mountain is not a mountain after Zen a mountain is again a mountain

24:18

yeah there’s something about the hero’s journey in that you know like ordinary

24:24

mind kind of confrontation with the unknown Awakening

24:29

um shift in perception of what the world is and then returning home with this

24:35

newfound dimensionality of Awakened awareness in ordinary life and ordinary

24:42

reality yes yes and I think it’s you know it’s interesting for me having had

24:49

some very profound kind of Awakening experiences there is a part of me that

24:54

kind of has a little bit of a perfectionism like I’m supposed to always be walking in both worlds you

25:01

know simultaneously so in my ordinary life always be awake to all this dimensionality and and other kinds of

25:08

ways of seeing and relating with the world mystically and you know perhaps there’s you know time and a place for

25:15

that um but in so many Traditions it seems like the remembering is essential and in

25:22

some ways the forgetting is part of remembering do you have any thoughts on that

25:28

wait when you say remembering just let me just get clear what do you what are you referencing by that I’m thinking

25:36

about the the Hindu conception of you know we’re all basically I I don’t know

25:42

if I’ll be able to articulate this properly but my understanding is you know the Hindu concept is that God

25:48

um in his limitlessness uh kind of got bored there was nothing for him to do

25:54

and so he had to gradually begin to play hide and seek with himself by limiting his own powers and awareness and he had

26:02

to go go further and further as time went on to forget that he was God to

26:07

play this game with himself and then come back to remembering and so we have

26:13

in these Awakening experiences these oh this kind of remembering of our infinite

26:19

nature are you know Consciousness that is universal um and that that’s you know in some ways

26:26

built into the game yes gochi gochikochi yeah I would say it

26:32

very much like that I think there is a as as far as like sort of a

26:39

spiritual perfectionism or something you know I I actually feel quite sure that there is there

26:45

there is a sort of a something that can happen where we it’s it’s not that we stay in some

26:54

Transcendent state but the thing that differentiates the transcended state from an ordinary State can drop away I

27:01

know that can happen and it it can get knocked out like um like I don’t know what would be like a window pane or

27:08

something and and we we’re just no longer um

27:13

we no longer feel that sort of a quote-unquote or Transcendence state is

27:19

different from a most ordinary state that that can happen and then it’s the most amazing thing because then we’re

27:25

it’s just normal it’s just absolutely ordinary but what ordinary is

27:31

is endlessly sort of soaks the heart in a kind of love in a just ordinary and to

27:39

me that’s that’s getting well it’s it’s a it’s a it’s a it’s as

27:44

far as I’ve gone and I and to to live there is very possible I I know that

27:49

from personal experience and it’s so beautiful this it’s uh but it still doesn’t mean that there isn’t there

27:56

can’t be psychological things that come up and little of course blind spots and

28:01

little um you know patterns that we get caught in that can all still happen I and I’m

28:08

sure there are people who go beyond all that because a lot of people report that there’s a phase in uh

28:14

spiritual practice where they’ve kind of seen it and then they’re back to this you know neurotic self and then they see

28:21

it again and they’re sort of flipping back and forth between something that seems more awakened and

28:26

something that seems more I don’t know what do we call it non-awakened you know but actually and

28:33

I’m in a course I’m very familiar with that myself and as a yeah again I talk about that a lot in my book but a point

28:40

can happen where that Duality between sort of Awakened and very much not

28:46

awakened actually that can drop away

28:52

and it it’s not like it then means we’re in some totally mind-blowing you know

28:57

blissed out Transcendent state or something it’s actually it’s not that it’s called better than that it’s just

29:04

ordinary but but somehow so whole and so peacefully

29:12

total or something it’s it’s it’s a that’s to me that’s that’s the

29:18

that’s one of the great great fruits of doing it that’s when we’re really starting to integrate it actually I think

29:24

yeah it reminds me of that uh quote by Yates the world is full of magic things

29:29

patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper and uh oh oh that’s wonderful oh

29:37

loneliness is sort of a hidden portal into the Divine and that part of the

29:44

difficulty with accessing that state of peaceful magic of the ordinary daily is

29:54

just that we move so quickly and I think I I often wonder about the relationship

30:01

between nervous system regulation and enlightenment because my sense is that just getting

30:09

our systems calm is what wakes us up to these this other dimension of being

30:18

that’s beautifully put I totally agree I mean that that’s I guess why so many of

30:24

these Traditions have all this emphasis on being still and quiet and settling down

30:30

yes and you’re absolutely right oh man beautiful yeah one of the things I’ve

30:35

found in my practice is that you know I would try to like insert meditation or

30:40

mindfulness or different practices in my overly programmed schedule and I didn’t

30:48

have this breakthrough I was like oh like the slowness has to be there needs

30:53

to be a bird’s eye you know component to this where I need to actually create space in my life metaphorically to

31:00

breathe as well as you know specific times of practice and of course the goal

31:06

is to practice mindfulness and and these states in our daily in every moment of

31:13

our day and at the same time you know just like if you’re learning a sport you need practice periods to really focus

31:19

those skills in order to then you know more naturally have that muscle memory to play properly if you need those

31:27

practice periods because we can’t efficiently integrate mindfulness uh

31:32

into our day unless we can practice it efficiently in isolation and isolated

31:38

periods and so I’ve often kind of fallen into thinking like oh I’m just going to be more mindful in my daily life and

31:45

there are little things I can do that help but if I don’t have those practice periods that are highly focused I find

31:51

it doesn’t take and it doesn’t integrate as easily it’s so easy to kind of just forget

31:57

yeah I can totally relate to that and I think another piece for me is like when the momentum has kind of taken over you

32:05

know and I’m actually kind of rushing inwardly as well as outwardly without recognizing it

32:12

um I suppose for me the you know the mindfulness piece then is to just

32:17

be cognizant of this momentum in my body you know and not try to stop it but just

32:24

be cognizant of it and feel it and feel there’s usually some pain in there actually there’s usually some little

32:30

twist of distress and little maybe a little knot of distress and to feel that

32:36

and to be kind to it and kind of bring I suppose a kind of loving awareness to

32:43

it um can make all the difference so it doesn’t it actually sort of

32:49

I guess I’m just I’m I’m really reinforcing and agreeing with you and just I’m adding this other thing that I

32:57

find really helpful which is like okay it’s not like I’ve got to totally slow down now Henry you know it’s more like

33:03

okay let’s just let’s just know what’s actually going on and yeah I may need to I may need to

33:09

stop physically be still for a moment to get a chance to actually

33:15

know what that is and then but then just to find yeah there’s this there’s this uh

33:22

yeah kind of like a momentum in my body you know like a flywheel or something wants to keep turning and uh I very much

33:30

relate to that yeah yeah and it makes me think of you know

33:36

if the way that you were speaking about you know just getting to know this part and we don’t have to you know slow it

33:41

down necessarily it’s just bringing kindness and awareness it reminds me of some of the work I’m doing in ifs right

33:47

now where you know we presume that every part of us has a positive intention and

33:53

there are no bad parts of us they all serve a purpose um and by getting to know them by

34:00

listening by asking them questions by giving them the attention that they need they can integrate in a more balanced

34:08

fashion whereas if we ignore them or we try to make them go away um we we think they’re bad then they

34:14

become more extreme and there’s this kind of paradoxical nature to you know like the paradoxical theory of change is

34:21

the more we accept ourselves as we are the more we could change and so there’s that kind of Phenomenon with this is

34:28

like the more I go oh Brooke you need to slow down then I make myself bad I exhale that part of myself I create this

34:34

tension that what makes me want to keep going fast to avoid conflict so there’s

34:40

this kind of you know confounding process whereby we try to change ourselves and it actually Stokes the

34:46

fuel exactly problematic you know ways that things that we’re trying to avoid it’s sort of

34:52

like a an alcoholic a shame cycle they feel terrible about themselves so they

34:57

drink and then they drink and they feel worse about themselves so then they need to drink more you know that kind of it’s a similar phenomenon these these cycles

35:05

that we have of sort of self-rejection um that only feed more self-projection

35:11

more anxiety more conflict more disowned parts and splits that the problems that

35:17

we have in our lives and so the antidote rather is to welcome in these parts get to know them listen to them so that they

35:24

can integrate and and be part of our Board of advisors without calling

35:29

without any one part calling the shots in isolation and so I love how you know

35:34

ifs and mindfulness go really beautifully together because it’s just a systematic way of getting to know the

35:42

different parts of ourselves that’s almost just a a slight Twist on some of

35:47

the mindfulness practices where you’re actually speaking to these parts instead of just noticing them and I find that

35:53

really rich because I think that these parts do need to speak and we need to listen to them and that’s a part of what

36:00

helps us heal is really understanding all of the different you know unconscious parts of ourselves that

36:06

we’ve disowned and denied I I couldn’t agree more and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things

36:12

actually is when we um when we feel the pain of a part that

36:18

we don’t want to own and and welcome and then that shifts into loving it I think

36:24

that’s one of the most beautiful things and then and then the very pain becomes very beautiful you know it’s all about a

36:31

heart so we we’re recovering our more and more terrain and territory of our own heart

36:38

as as I feel it you know and I love ifs by the way it’s a great system it really

36:45

is I I feel yeah that’s beautiful recovering the terrain of our heart

36:50

reclaiming more and more territory ex broadening the expanse of our internal

36:56

Horizons and you know capacity of what we can hold uh as a really beautiful

37:02

note to end on thank you so much for your time it’s wonderful to be new and

37:08

connect I’m so grateful I love this conversation any final words that you’d like to share before we we say goodbye

37:14

well I want to thank you very much and I I you know it’s so great to talk with somebody like you Brooke who’s really

37:21

interested in exactly the same sort of area of human development and or areas

37:28

that I am it’s lovely to connect like that thank you so wonderful I feel like

37:33

will have many more conversations on the horizon we didn’t even get into poetry today so I kind of like a different

37:39

podcast on that well um thank you so so much Henry and I’ll we’ll do it again soon okay thank you so much

37:46

[Music]

38:03

thank you

Writer Bio

My LA Therapy - Brooke Sprowl (slider)

Brooke Sprowl is the Founder of My LA Therapy, a concierge therapy practice. With 15 years of clinical experience as an individual, couples, and family therapist, she is trained in a wide-range of approaches, from evidence-based therapy practices to peak performance and flow neuroscience techniques. Brooke is also the host of the podcast, Waking Up with Brooke Sprowl. She is passionate about writing, cognitive science, philosophy, integrity, spirituality, effective altruism, personal and collective healing, and curating luxury, transformational retreat experiences for people who are committed to self-discovery and using their unique gifts in service of the world.

Writer Bio

My LA Therapy - Brooke Sprowl (slider)

Brooke Sprowl is the Founder of My LA Therapy, a concierge therapy practice. With 15 years of clinical experience as an individual, couples, and family therapist, she is trained in a wide-range of approaches, from evidence-based therapy practices to peak performance and flow neuroscience techniques. Brooke is also the host of the podcast, Waking Up with Brooke Sprowl. She is passionate about writing, cognitive science, philosophy, integrity, spirituality, effective altruism, personal and collective healing, and curating luxury, transformational retreat experiences for people who are committed to self-discovery and using their unique gifts in service of the world.

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