Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
So I felt kind of spacious and embodied kind of in this timeless here, almost like a cat. So I said, OK, let me do this when I play sports. And so the next time I went and played goalie, I said, OK, here we go. And I intentionally did this way of getting into the flow or zone. And then I was, you know, felt more capable and more like everything was enjoyable. I was interconnected with everything.
Somebody would take a slap shot from the blue line and then all of a sudden I'd see it for the first five yards and then it would get lost in legs and sticks. And then my hand would go out in the park would be in there and I'd be like, Oh, cool.
Welcome to the Knowledge Project. This is Shane Parrish, this podcast on our website, F-stop blog, Help Sharpen Your Mind by Mastering the Best what other people have already figured out. If you're hearing this, you're not currently a supporting member. If you'd like early access to the podcast, ad free episodes, transcripts and other subscriber only content, you can join at F-stop blogs, podcasts, check out the show notes for a link. My guest today is Locke Kelley, author, meditation teacher, founder of the Open Hearted Awareness Institute, and so much more.
In many ways, life is full of change and uncertainty and we're all doing the best we can. And yet most of us can't help but feel there's more a deeper connection, some wisdom that just seems to elude us or something just out of reach. So we explore the our thoughts and we get lost in thinking. In this conversation, we transcend that. You'll walk away with practical tools like how not to let your emotions take over in quick ways to access your hidden awareness, but also a better appreciation for putting your mind and effortless mindfulness.
It's time to listen and learn. The Knowledge Project is sponsored by Medlab for a decade, Medlab has helped some of the world's top companies and entrepreneurs build products that millions of people use every day. You probably didn't realize that at the time, but odds are you've used an app that they've helped design or build apps like Slack, Coinbase, Facebook Messenger, Oculus, Lonely Planet and many more.
Medlab wants to bring their unique design philosophy to your project. Let them take your brainstorm and turn it into the next billion dollar app from ideas sketched on the back of a napkin to a final ship product. Check them out at Medlab Dutko. That's Metal Abaco. And when you get in touch, tell them Shane sent you.
This episode is brought to you by Rabbitt er Ravid er producers, award winning air purifiers, some of the best in the industry. Everyday we breathe in nearly two thousand gallons of air and research shows that poor air quality impairs cognitive performance. To keep your air clean, Rabbitt Air offers high end air purifiers with customized filtration, smart sensing technology and advanced HEPA filters that can trap particles point three microns in size at a ninety nine point nine seven percent efficiency visit.
Rabbitt Eircom. That's our EBITDAR Dotcom or call them 24/7 to speak to a consultant.
The Knowledge Project is sponsored by Greylock. Successful families know that wealth can create a curious dilemma. It creates benefits. It secures the future and creates opportunities. But it also presents challenges. How do you stay true to your values and ensure that future generations use their wealth wisely? Gray Hawk is about helping you solve that dilemma by working with your family on both the financial and human elements that build long term well-being. If you value independence, transparency and authenticity and want to learn more, connect with them at great wealth.
Dotcom Lokke. How are you man?
Good, Shane. That's so glad to be here. This should be fun. It should be. I must say I've probably never spent so much time researching a podcast before and I'm a little bit intimidated to start asking questions.
That's pretty funny for somebody like you to be intimidated. I think it's it's just new, right?
Yeah. I want to get into the vocabulary, but before we sort of get there and I think that'll help orient the conversation a little bit. What early experiences got you interested in mindfulness? Yeah.
This initial experience may help people kind of get on board with a little bit about what this kind of effortless mindfulness is about, which actually isn't traditional mindfulness. It's a little more like what people talk about flow, consciousness or being in the zone. So. Probably, as I look back, one of my first experiences was living outside of New York City and playing a lot of different sports. I was playing ice hockey goalie and I was watching a football game on TV.
And the announcer said about the quarterback, he's got eyes in the back of his head. And I thought, oh, I know what that is like, I it doesn't mean you can actually see back there, but you have this kind of peripheral awareness that isn't just visual. It isn't just sensing or informational. Let me see if I can do that. And I literally started playing with my own consciousness and awareness, and I ended up finding a way to open my awareness around to the sides and my peripheral vision followed.
And then I kind of let this awareness move to the sides where sounds coming, going. And then somehow it's kind of like, I'm not sure what I'm doing. But the awareness continued around in this kind of 360 degree panoramic feeling that then just dropped me into my body. So I felt kind of spacious and embodied kind of in this timeless here, almost like a cat. So I said, OK, let me do this when I play sports.
And so the next time I went and played goalie, I said, OK, here we go. And I intentionally did this way of getting into the flow or zone. And then I was, you know, felt more capable and more like everything was enjoyable. I was interconnected with everything. Somebody would take a slap shot from the blue line and then all of a sudden I'd see it for the first five yards and then it would get lost in legs and sticks.
And then my hand would go out in the park would be in there and I'd be like, Oh, cool.
And so then the second part of the story is I was telling one of my friends after one of these games, he said, wow, man, that was so cool, you played so great. How did you do it? And I actually just went through what I just explained to you. And he kind of looked at me with his jaw dropped. I went, oh, cool.
And then walked away because it was like, what are you talking about?
I have no idea what you're talking about. And then but one of the seniors on the team, I was like a sophomore the next week, came and just threw me this book, said, here, kid, read this, and it was Zen and the art of archery. I picked it up. So it was kind of a Zen explanation through kind of sport that led to the sense that, you know, you and the target are connected and a little bit how to do it a little differently.
But it led me to say, oh, my God, there's people who do this and value this and are interested in this. And I think I'm going to check it out. So I started my interest in finding out what this was all about.
And then how did you explore that interest? Yeah.
So then I would do more reading of different books. At that time there weren't a lot. And that's one of the amazing things today that a lot of these wisdom texts are just in the last really 20 years have become available. And I've continued to kind of update my reading. But then I did, you know, some sitting I studied with a guy, a Zen teacher, Philip Kapela, who wrote the three pillars of Zen. Then I did some time and then I kind of started just mixing the principles of meditation with my own consciousness, with psychology, with neuroscience, with so I never was like a true believer or going into the religious part of it.
But I felt like from the beginning it was this natural part of human experience that was a potential. And so I would, you know, try to find anybody talking about it. You know, someone like Abraham Maslow was talking about peak experiences and, you know, different. Oh, that's cool. That's that's that's similar but different than I'd always do this kind of. Well, that's similar. They've got that, but they're how do they get from here to there?
And so it's kind of almost like this scientific approach or curiosity, but always like then learning. How do you do it? How do you do that? And so I, you know, just continued. Through through college and then in graduate school actually went and studied psychology and spirituality and did two master's degrees and went over to Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and met some of these teachers. And, you know, would put my hand up and ask these questions that they'd look at me like, you can't ask that question, how do you do this?
What does this what how is it different than this? And so it just started to become, you know, going more into depth, you know, through practicing and doing it experientially.
I think the best place to start this is sort of to dive into some of the vocabulary around this, because that's where I think people get into a lot of trouble, myself included, which is.
Let's just start by defining some basic terms, what is consciousness? Yeah, so I'll I'll I'll play with, you know, again, it's almost like there's there are these words that are used in common culture and then they're used in psychology, academic psychology than they're used in psychotherapy. Then they're the translators from Tibetan Buddhism or poly Buddhism translate words and start using similar words. So so it's a quite a bit of a variety. And I've kind of taken them and defined them in a way that's about usefulness.
Or sometimes I call it the power of how rather how do how do you do this? So I would start with a definition of kind of different types of awareness and, you know, start with what we know as a tension. So tension is like a one point at a tension using your frontal lobe of your brain, bring your attention to your breath and then move to step up to mindful awareness, which is kind of the ability to not look from thought, but look at thought.
And the great revelation of the first kind of insight of mindfulness is, oh, I'm not my thoughts. Oh, my thoughts. Even when they start with, I am thinking this thoughts are coming and going and there's some awareness that's observing it.
So mindful awareness is like debugging your brain almost. You're watching the instructions go by. You're aware of what's happening and you see it.
Yes. And so you know that that really, you know, challenges what we've taken for granted. I think, therefore, I am. So here's the aim, the awareness that is watching thought come and go and is actually, as we start looking at that awareness, that's where effortless mindfulness starts. So in deliberate mindfulness or traditional mindfulness, you step up and look at the contents, oh, I'm not my thoughts. And then in effortless mindfulness, which is kind of the next stage, which is what I share with people say now let's look back at what's a where, where is it, where from, who's aware.
And then you realize there's an alert awareness that's not made of thought looking to thought, that's aware of thought. It's a kind of a contentless awareness. It's conscious meaning using the word conscious to mean it is alert and conscious of the room and conscious of. But it's conscious from not a thinker. It's conscious from what I eventually call awake awareness, which is kind of a pure, contentless, timeless awareness that then as that awareness comes into relationship, almost like the quantum field arising as waves and particles, it arrives into hearing consciousness and thinking consciousness as aspects of it, or kind of like an ocean of awareness arising as experience and then getting you can get caught back in a thinker or a judger or a sad part of you that you then identify with and take to be you.
But the usefulness of. You know, separating out awareness that's alert and clear and not orienting consciously to thought. And then opening it up, so is is what happens to people naturally when they're in a flow state, which is kind of the optimally functioning way that musicians, athletes, people that work, scientists operate, but they only can find it during the activity they're good at.
And so when you're in a flow state, is that sort of effortless mindfulness when they talk about flow state?
I distinguish two kinds of flow state ones and absorbed flow state where you're so interested in activity and you're focused one point at attention and you're kind of go into it and then time you look up and an hour's gone by. So you kind of enter that world and everything else is gone and they call that a flow state. But that's not as interesting to me as what I call a panoramic flow state, which is when similar to that initial exercise of opening your awareness around and feeling embodied, you're in the world connected to everybody and everything you're aware of being able to do kind of optimal functioning of complex tasks without thinking about thinking.
And then you feel in the now you feel selfless, a kind of sense of joy or well-being or ecstasy. Your implicit memory is you're thinking so you know how to do whatever you're doing and you're just operating from an awake awareness consciousness that's organizing your thoughts in a way that's effortlessly mindful.
And is this sort of available to all people or is this something that only a select few can have access to?
I mean, that's my that's that was my question. So it's a great question. You know, I heard these different answers. Now it's all you have to go through. If you go to any of the, you know, the religious institutions that teach us, no, you have to do it my way, you know, is usually the response, like Zen or Tibetan Buddhism or Theravada insight meditation. Well, you have to go through training or join a monastery or become an Olympic athlete or meditation or spend 30000 hours.
And yet there's always these what called direct path traditions that say this consciousness, this awareness based flow is already installed. And it's available to each of us, as each of us, and we just it's like a figure ground shift. So there's like it's in the background, in the foreground is. Organizing around, thinking parts and judging parts and emotional parts that are in like a little cloud of our mind, and if we just literally this is kind of one of the pointers and actually a little experience that you can have if you feel like you're trying to figure out your life in this cloud, either of your head or your body, and then you just shift out of that cloud and become aware of the sky or the space.
And then you just curiously wonder whether you're aware from that open mind in that open heart and then feel like you include what's in the cloud, so you're spacious and pervasive in a way that's calm and alert, then there's this possibility to to begin to optimally function from there.
And so we can flip this on almost on demand. That's what we're going to get into glimpses a little bit later and maybe walk people through some of that. What is the most common reason people do this?
So, I mean, the amazing thing is, you know, the history of this is this is, you know, perhaps the most valued developmental stage of of human beings throughout history and throughout cultures, you know, what's called awakening or enlightenment or a sense of full being able to be fully human and particularly to relieve suffering. So that's the first half of it. Is this access to this greater capacity, this felt sense, open mind, open heart dimension, that's awareness based and embodied, has the capacity and the space to be with and to see thoughts, feelings, sensations and parts of us that are anxious, sad.
So we end up feeling, you know, I am sad or I am angry. And then you step into this and you realize, oh, there's a part of me that said, Oh, there's a part of me that's angry, who's aware of those two parts? And then you realize the parts are smaller. But those if we're operating from kind of an ego center, emotions are bigger. Then the ego center, so it's really upgrading. The operating system from a small sense of self to this transitional selflessness or no self, but then the key is in this particular method is not just deconstructing and waiting after you let go of or realize there isn't a self in the middle of your head, that's you.
But literally letting the awareness discover an already awake consciousness that's installed, it's able to relieve suffering. And it also has kind of embodied positive qualities that people will report. Like if I just walk into a room and say, OK, check this out and I just start with a glimpse, OK, do that. You know, just try this, try that, try this. What's here? People go love peace. Relief, Joy. Freedom and I'm like, how long did that take?
You know, what is what is it you've been looking for in your life the whole time? And could it really be like this far away? So then then the practices are these glimpses. So, you know, it's not instant enlightenment, but it's not long periods of sitting still that actually because of the flow kind of research and consciousness, it's just as easy with these glimpses to do them with your eyes open, moving as it is with your eyes closed sitting.
And you could start either one, but you can begin to familiarize yourself with this installed operating system and then like a developmental stage, it just takes like, you know, like a developmental stage from preschool to learning to read and write. So it just takes a little small glimpse as many times. And then you develop and all of a sudden you can read. You just pick up a book and you can read. Just walk out the door and you're living from this openhearted awake consciousness and you're responding rather than reacting.
I want to come back to something you said earlier about ego. What is ego and what does it mean to be ego centered? Like when you said egocentric view, what does that mean?
Yeah. So again, here we go with these. Multi defined terms, right, from 15 wise traditions and people egos, this egos that small self is this self is this, you know, so it's a fascinating play. And where I am now is that is that ego is kind of a function and kind of managing parts of us. So there isn't one ego. There's a number of these parts of us, like if you were to have one party, you say, well, I'm going to do it this way.
And then another part of you would say, well, do you sure you have to do it that way. You know, is one of them your ego or are they two parts of this kind of managing system or identified? So in terms of psychology, many of the current psychological psychotherapy healing models that seem to work are these parts based system. So rather than saying you're just, you know, you need to get yourself together and become strong and healthy and competent, you realize, oh, there's parts of me, there's a sad part.
There's an angry part. There's a hurt part. There's a judging part. There's a and who. And then the key is who's aware of those parts? And that first step is kind of basic mindfulness. And then the next step is this spacious and pervasive, open hearted awareness from effortless mindfulness. And then you realize, well, what has been called ego doesn't need to be killed or fought or gotten rid of or it's not who the little ego doesn't grow up to be the awakened sense of self either.
So it's it's a kind of a personality part, a functional part that has an opinion. And usually it forms around thoughts, feelings, sensations and views. So by stepping out, you can also see that many people are caught in this kind of like especially when they're very smart, like, well, this is the way it is and I'm just going to do it this way. And that's the way it's work for me. And I'm just going to keep doing it this way.
And, you know, and and that can be seen. So the what was the observer becomes observed and then can be dialogued with or seen as one perspective. So the ego is a function of the human psyche and consciousness. And the key is it's not the center, it's the one of the organizing principles of your body, kind of like your blood system is organizing of your body. The it's not the driver of the car and it doesn't need to be the driver.
And once you kind of. Dialogue with it and let it know that literally the ego or these ego managers that are kind of this roundtable of of this committee usually rather than one, will go like, oh, good, we can take a vacation or we can be part of the team. Oh, good. We don't have to, like, be anxious and feel worthless and not feel like we can't do everything perfectly. No you don't. You never did.
And then there's this kind of dimension of being that becomes primary that can be with. Your whole personality in a way that's so freeing and loving and and optimally. Functional, so it's not it doesn't lead you to join a monastery or sit on a couch, it actually brings forth this creativity and joy and interest.
So often we're taught to suppress those feelings or avoid them. The anxiety, the stress, the with distractions, we sort of like seek happiness outside of ourselves. Can you expand on that?
Yeah. So, I mean, a couple of the ways of dealing with them are, you know, from a strong ego, if you develop a strong ego and many smart people who are good at life can for a while develop ego strengths and ego defenses and kind of chug along and become successful. But usually they'll hit a wall at some point, whether it's in another area, like a relationship or. Become over, like get the motor running too fast, it's almost seeing it in the frame of there's a developmental stage, so there's different ways of thinking about it, but there's children or babies or talked about having primary process thinking.
And then the next stages you develop a secondary process thinking, which is conceptual thinking, comparing, contrasting, and then we stop there with the ego function and the smart parts of us. And so this is, you know, the tertiary or the third level of both knowing and identity that what has the capacity to bear what seemed to be unbearable and wants to do it and can do it, and that there's no small ego can live a fully intimate, happy life because it will always be dualistic comparing, contrasting, striving, feeling not good enough or can get into a kind of a role like I'm doing.
Well, I'm positive thinking, but.
There's a feeling of being that we've all felt when we're relaxed and at ease.
And what if that wasn't related to the conditions like, oh, I'm on vacation or I'm climbed up this, you know, beautiful hill with my friends and now I'm at the top and I'm looking over this beautiful space and this view, and I'm feeling that I can let go of seeking and be connected to nature and people and this sense of well-being and freedom. And then you go back to work and say, oh, my God, I don't have a vacation for six months to be able to go back to that place because that's where it is.
So what if that were actually just a background foreground shift that was done through external events, people, places and things. But if it didn't have to do with. People, places and things that that same sense of well-being was our essential nature in this next phase of development.
So maybe walk me through what that looks like. Like if I if I come to you and I'm maybe let's do some common scenarios. Right. Like, I'm I'm anxious. I'm feeling super anxious. What what would you advise me to do?
Yeah. So there's there's two, two approaches. One is one is the the basic training. So I have, you know, kind of bunch of hats that, you know, I'm interested in the. As a psychotherapist, kind of an awakening teacher or meditation teacher, neuroscience and bringing in neuroscience and from the meditation awakening, it's really about, OK, let's not deal with the symptom, let's train you over time to not focus on what's arising. But who are what is it arising to?
That's that's the key. We're not going to focus on changing your thoughts or trying to mitigate primarily. I mean, you would always start with things that, you know, are basic, calming and soothing practices. So there's ways to just. You know, I work with kind of a simple set of practices where you do kind of a three part breath and then breathe out a little slower. And what that does is it addresses the autonomic nervous system and you're probably vagal nerves.
And it also gives you one pointed attention and it oxygenate your system, you know, so there's certain preparations to get you out of that initial anxiety. But primarily it's finding that which is already here that isn't anxious. And then as that, go back and check out what that part of you that's anxious. Is worried about so it's upgrading and then, you know, there's a psychotherapy version of that that I could go through as well, which is starting starting with the anxiety and locating it, physicalize it and saying where in or around your body are you anxious?
And then rather than saying, what are you anxious about, because some people are like, I don't know, I think it's maybe this. Maybe that, maybe this. Soothing, calming the body, nervous system, chattering, mind relax, then finding this so someone might say their throat, I'm anxious. Where do you feel that? It's in my throat right here. What's its shape, size, color? What is it communicating to you? So you really, like, give it a voice, give it a felt sense of location because you're developing it as a part of you and noticing, oh, it's somebody might say the cortisol and adrenaline is running through their whole body.
So when my whole body is anxious and you could find a center of that, or sometimes I'll use the whole body. OK, so is it is it outside your body? No, I guess it's not. So OK, so then your body is a part of you. Can you ask that part to give you some space and then can you open into that space and be aware of that part from this? And then how do you feel toward that part from this more spacious awake.
Consciousness, not from just your head, but from kind of an open heartedness and that if I say who who's aware of that part, people often say. Well, I am. What do you mean I mean, you know, like the real me, like like the me, like the me that I knew when I was four, you know, like like or when I meet really me or something. So that feeling of being. Is here, we've all tasted it so that starting with that feeling, that and then feeling like, oh, there's a part of me that's anxious, I'm with it.
Is there anything that needs to be known? So then the, you know, in intelligence can then be specific, you know? Oh, I'm afraid of. What might happen with the situation at work? OK, so then you're then you start working with it both in terms of intelligence and flow and kind of openhearted presence, and it starts to be part of this bigger team that has some help rather than one part that's anxious and the other part that says don't be so anxious.
Another part says, well, I'll tell you how not to be anxious. Just be positive. Another part that says, well, you know, I'm you know, you have a right to be anxious. Let's, you know, prepare by staying up all night and writing the report. You know, it's like all those parts from this bigger no SS or openhearted awareness or. Awake consciousness, whichever you want to call that, but you'll feel it, you feel that is is not a part of you, it's this conscious.
You know, some people call it consciousness itself. It isn't a new location, even when it's called self with a big S. It feels like me, but it's also if you look at it, it's like, is there a location? No, it's everywhere. Nowhere in here. And that's the. But that feels safe because you're interconnected. And kind of there's a new ground. Feeling that isn't in thought and it isn't just in your body, so it sounds like the levels to sort of exploring that are, you know, the first level is recognizing that it's happening.
Most of us sort of suppress at that level. I would imagine.
The second one is this sort of like effortful brain debugging where you're sort of like exploring it a little bit and you're reasoning with yourself and thinking through the problem in a very logical structural manner. And then the third sort of level, if I'm understanding correctly, is more of a you're letting all of that go and you're trying to see everything almost as a 3D hologram, if you will, and feel everything at once. And by doing that, it becomes something that you can explore without consciously exploring it.
I mean, the thing about it's almost like it's another level of knowing.
It's like that the paradox makes sense in some ways because it kind of feels like that when you say that consciously without consciously, like consciously without words or consciously without concepts. Like it's it's almost more it's not it's not an intuition. It's almost something different than intuition. Everyone's experience it, but it's not on any map in the West. That's why the language is so hard. But those kind of paradoxes are almost show that that's. Yeah, that's right.
You're in the right territory consciously, but not conceptually or something. OK, so I would say maybe if I were to put a third one there that you're saying I make that more a mindful awareness. So from mindfully mindfulness based psychotherapy or mindfulness based insight, you've kind of established this mindful witness and now you realize, oh, that's a thought feeling sensation is coming and going. It's not me, but you're still in a detached, disembodied witness position.
So what effortless mindfulness does is actually opens up and looks through the meditator who's behind the camera of the the looker who is detached and mindfully witnessing so that we don't get caught in what I call the mind the witness protection program. So then open to what seems to feel like.
A kind of awareness that's always already been aware without our help, so that's kind of this move that you're like, what? Wait a minute. It's like. There's kind of an effortless and that's what the word effortless is pointing to, it's like it seems like behind all this, without concentrating and trying, there's a kind of a natural alertness that has a softness. And a wisdom to it, that is. Already aware and when the awareness rests into that, it actually.
Isn't spaced out, it actually is interconnected and it rises like a quantum field as thoughts, feelings and sensations in a in a kind of embracing connection rather than detached.
So it's with the part that's anxious and it's open and bigger, hasn't created a new thinker, but it's like and it's not just an emotional heart. Presence. It's what's called heart mind, so it has this intelligence available if needed, if there's a specific, but it's also. Kind of resting as this. I mean, I think what I'm emphasizing here is this interconnected feeling of rather than detached witness, it sounds like that would work for stress as well, right?
Especially in a highly changing or uncertain environment. Yeah.
As soon as you I mean, the main thing is what you're doing is you're realizing, OK, there's this other operating system that I've been trying to work just with the interface here of the computer programs.
But there's a. A whole nother new operating system that has a greater intelligence capacity and soothing, loving, and it isn't in its essential nature. It's never been anxious. It's not afraid. It's got non fear, non worry and non shame in its essential nature. And then it comes into it arises as thoughts, feelings, sensations, so it can be with worry, shame or fear from. Noname Lanphier. So and it's so much bigger, it's like a deep ocean that's with these waves of anxiety, but in being the ocean and the sky, it's like, all right, so what's up?
You know, it's kind of like let's, you know, stuff happens, you know, and I'm living a human life. So I guess that's going to happen. So.
So to continue continue the operating system sort of theme, I guess, how do we create an interrupt in the moment? Like somebody cuts us off and we're driving and we instantly get hijacked like our brains or some biological hierarchy thing going on and we lose control. What can we do in those moments to make better decisions and ground ourselves? Yeah.
So now we're kind of get into maybe a little of of the unique glimpsing method which you learn ahead of time. And then, you know, once you've learned it and it, you know, takes interestingly the same amount of time having taught deliberate mindfulness or basic mindfulness, the same amount of time to learn this glimpsing practice or effortless mindfulness as it does. Deliberate mindfulness, but it is a unique way of finding the identification with the thinker or the warrior or the.
Part of us that's in fight or flight or freeze and then unhooking the awareness and either having a drop from head to heart space and then open up and include or move from thinking to seeing to hearing to open. Effortless awareness that's inclusive and operating from a bigger. A bigger field of consciousness, that method it you know, once you learn it, I'm you know, I'm doing like a. A four month course where now I'm meeting with long time students who meet every other week with me, and then they have their own support groups in between, they're teaching each other.
And, you know, the reports they're making are you know, that they're stabilizing this. So they learn the basics of glimpsing, which is not like much else that there is in the world.
So that's the unique thing.
Let's go through the basics of glimpsing. I think that would be helpful for us to orient around this.
You know, so just starting with going back to the first thing we talked about, which is the way I learn I learned this without knowing what glimpsing was was. Hearing he's got eyes in the back of his head, oh, I know what that is, how do I do that? And so one way I know some people are listening to this rather than watching it, but I have YouTube's of this, too. But you can also just kind of let your eyes be soft and kind of take in the not just pinpoint one thing, but kind of look at a little wider, like all the things on a table.
And then I almost feel like you can feel like a circle of a soft lens of a camera and then feel like. Hearing you're receiving, hearing. And then just somehow actually realized that seeing as receiving light reflects off of objects and comes to your eyes. So just resting and receiving and then you're going to have your awareness move itself, so you're not doing it, but awareness starts to move from something in front of you to the space. Little more to the sides, then you're going to feel your peripheral vision, follow an open, but your eyes aren't opening, but this having awareness start to open to the sides.
And then moving itself to. The side of your head in which sound is coming, going and then somehow letting your awareness. Open all the way around. Just curiously wondering, feeling that open view and then just noticing, are you aware of that spacious awareness of what's it like when you're aware from that? Awareness that's equally inside and out, both open minded, openhearted and embodied and feeling. Kind of dropped. Down, so you're aware of your body from within.
And you are able to respond. From a more open, non thought based alertness, so just noticing as you open and feel both embodied, what what is it like to have the potential to move your hand or to use thought? But just rest without orienting to thought and without going to sleep. To rest and just notice this kind of freeing, it's kind of like looking standing on a beach, looking at the ocean, or if you added activity, you could do stuff from here.
So that glimpse is a way that you're not just using thought to do something, but you're actually starting to shift your consciousness by moving awareness. In this case, it's opening awareness around which changes your perception, it changes your way of knowing and it changes your center of identity. And it actually when you're in an fMRI, which I've been, it balances if you keep going, it'll balance your default mode network and your task mode network. It will open your parietal lobe.
It'll not only come. You moving you from. Beta to Alpha, but it'll actually start putting the synchronized gamma creativity open up so that you're more creative and related, it'll kind of drop you into this compassionate, intelligent field.
So for those of us who are more prone to instruction, I think in the book you layer seven steps starting with unhook. Yes. Can you walk us through those? Yeah. So so that one I just did as kind of a. You know, a quick. Way of starting from seeing so the premise is that awareness is our primary way of knowing is like a. A feeling of open. Spacious and pervasive, and it isn't doesn't have to be identified with thought or creating a thinker, and we can see that when we do do basic mindfulness, which is just step back.
And be aware of thoughts coming and going. So just that move, which many of us have done. Just being aware of your thoughts is a way of unhooking or stepping back. To another center. Or observing. Point of view, that is not your. Thought base self. So I think most people can feel that so that's the. Just giving kind of some references that some people may have done, the the feeling, whatever it is biologically, you know, you can't exactly say you can't you can't say, oh, I thought we were aware from our brain isn't.
You mean that's not true? Are we aware from the universe or something like that? I kind of don't deal with those questions. However, these. You know, direct practice wisdom traditions, when you open your awareness to what feels like a spacious view that's embodied, everyone reports that's true, and then your brain shows results. The. The ICC, the entire interior singular course cortex, which is the self referencing part of your brain, relaxes. So the results are clear.
And the felt sense is clear, so unhooking feels like you're unhooking into this. Open mind, open hearts. Mind, which is spacious and pervasive, so so we can try it here if you're not driving by feeling weak.
So what we'll do is we'll we'll drop we'll unhook awareness and drop it down to fill our job for more than fill our throat from within, feel our upper body from within, and drop into what's called a heart space or heart mind, as if that's the new open location. From which we're aware. So this is just one way of kind of beginning to feel what that's like. So just feel this sense of your awareness being identified with this location of where you're hearing from, where you're trying to understand what am I talking about from.
So then. Not just what is he talking about, but where are you aware from where you live? Where is the Hewar? Where's the looker? Feel that and then just assume that awareness is actually the intelligence that can step above or drop down. And feel as if awareness somehow can unhook. And kind of step back. As if it's stepping out of the cloud into space. And it's as if you didn't do it, but awareness actually is moving itself.
And then feel as if this awareness can move itself down. To your smile and your jaw to feel your jaw directly from within. And feel as if the awareness can drop. Into your throat and your neck. And just check that the subject and the object. Are now located in the same place, so you're not stretching attention down from its usual center behind your eyes. And you don't have to go back to thought to check that you knowing so feel that the awareness space and kind of an effervescence aliveness.
Are directly perceiving. From your throat and then notice that this kind of bubble of awareness can drop. Below your neck, into your upper body, just feel your upper body so it can get a little bigger. Directly from within feel that aliveness, space and effervescence. And then feel as if you can drop kind of into the middle. Of your chest into kind of a heart space or a safe open space, they go deep into the space within the atoms and feeling as if that's.
Subject and the object are now located in this open heart mind. So they are aware of the heart space and somehow you're aware from. This Artspace. And just notice a quality that feels open, so it's as if once you go deep within, it feels like it opens to a more open mind, open heart all around. And within and notice how you can be aware from here without orienting to thought. As if you're located, as if the files in the office of your head could come down by wi fi to this home in your heart space if needed, and then just notice the location to see where you feel.
Your phone number are rising. Whether it can feel like it's a rising to your heart's space. And then let it go. And just notice a kind of alert. Potential to know or do so, spacious and embodied alert, resting. Deeper than sleep as that which is wide awake and safe. OK. So that's a sense of. One little beginning. Method of unhooking, and you can do that once you learn to do that, something like that.
That's just one door. So I have like. Fifty doors. Four different types of people and then different ways to continue. So you find your right. Glimpse door. Some people are more kinesthetic, some people more visual, some more auditory. So I found that different learning styles, you know. Did that one work? No, no, no. Oh. Oh, wow. So then just finding a glimpse practice and a kind of a.
Way of shifting. That works for you. Thank you for that. Yeah, what was your experience of that? Well, I'm simultaneously trying to keep track of sort of the conversation and also be in the moment with you. And those two things don't necessarily aligned super well. So I will go back and listen to this again. Can you talk to us about the three levels of mind?
The the three shifts are the shifts from small self to no self to this kind of true nature operating system. So that's the shift of identity. And there's a shift of knowing from thought based knowing that creates a thinker. To not knowing. Or nonconsensual knowing or don't know mind, and then to kind of a not knowing that knows, which is the way that this awareness based knowing that's arising is thought can. So that's a shift of identity, shift of knowing and then the shift of perception, which is moving from using attentional system and mindful witness to perceiving from a spacious, pervasive, interconnected awake consciousness that isn't just limited to your body or detached witness, but it's perceiving from this that has markers that most people have felt if they really, you know, have been in a flow consciousness or have been in the zone or have been just walking in nature, you tend to feel the results.
Oh, I feel good. I feel relaxed. But if you really felt into well, what's your relationship? Where are you aware of the forest from? Well, from me. Well, but just look feel back that way. And then people who I'm walking with will say, oh my God, I'm like connected to the trees and I'm not in my head. So that's what we're doing. We're looking to the type of consciousness that is shift the perception, shift of knowing and shift of identity.
That's the theory. And so so then the five levels of mind is kind of where we we go through. So the first level of mind is the everyday mind or thought base mind or ego center mind or the thinker, a small self where most people live. And then the second level of mind is the mindful witness that what's called subtle mind or subtle body, which is dropping out of your everyday mind into more body based hypofrontality where, you know, when you go running or do yoga or do chanting or say ohm.
You drop out of every day based mine and into this. Subtle body. Or if you step up and watch your thoughts coming and going, your subtle mind and most meditation systems stop there. So most meditation systems do, you know, move from everyday mind to either subtle body or subtle energy. She got, you know, first levels of practice dropping in exercise, yoga or just basic mindfulness, detached witness. So then the third level of mind is this.
Unique, effortless, awake awareness, so this is called very subtle mind or. Nature of mind in Tibetan, it's called rigt per. It's called, you know, the Dow. It's called Toria in in Hinduism. So these are these are, you know, given names. But we most of us haven't heard of them. But these are practices that have been done for thousands of years. And this is the model that says there is this nature of mind that doesn't deny thought, isn't anti intellectual, but it is a flow consciousness.
That you can either train in a progressive way or there's these direct path ways to recognize this awake awareness which is contentless, timeless, boundless, equally inside and out. And then the fourth level of mind is the unity of awake awareness arising as sensation, thought, feeling, vibration and the world. So this is where the word this is the difference between if you go into pure awareness or kind of a mindful witness, the experience is as if you're the screen of a movie.
And everything's coming and going within it, or you're the big sky mind and thoughts, feelings and sensations are rising and passing so that. That's the meditation's state, but from awake awareness to this next unity of awareness and aliveness. Is what's described as emptiness, so emptiness is a strange word for most of us in the West, but what it means is there's no thing in itself that has independent existence. So a flower, there's no such thing as a flower.
That can be referred to. Independent of sun, water, earth and air, there's no thing that separate a separate object and subject every everything's connected. So this is the interesting thing. What are we using the word emptiness we should use interconnected. So so when I say that to people, because the word that's translated even in the Theravada tradition inside meditation's interdependent and I'm like interdependent, you are interconnected is what we are symbiotic, like we are so that everything.
So what if we were to use that, like, you know, or unity, you know, everything is interconnected. So when we go out to this awake awareness and then the awareness is like the quantum field arising as particles and waves. And then we feel, oh my God, I'm being embodied, is connected, knowing my body from within and being connected to everybody. And then there's the safety when you feel that rather than sky with birds and clouds of thoughts, an ocean.
Arising as interconnected feeling of flow. Then you feel this sense of like everything's OK and and being and that's the magic move from awake awareness, which is a new concept. To what's called the inseparable pair, it's called simultaneous mind because it's simultaneously awareness and aliveness, and then there's one more level beyond that, right?
That was level four.
Yeah. And then the fifth level is true nature often translated as boatie cheetah, which is translated as heart, mind or openhearted awareness. So this is that this is the place where you start to feel not only is everything interconnected, but there's a little like positive qualities are flourishing. And it's where your new operating system of flow feels like it's a compassionate flow. So there's like a compassionate wisdom, a kind of non reactivity of feeling of like safety and friendliness, that even though stuff is happening in the world and you get triggered and everything, there's this greater almost like something greater than you yourself that's supporting you.
And then you're kind of flowing out with more natural, loving kindness. That isn't something you're kind of. Thinking about what is just like comes from that ease and well-being. So if I were to sum up our conversation so far, I think it would be that we try to change our thoughts and beliefs instead of trying to change the level at which we're accessing the mind.
Is that correct?
Yeah, that most people, you know, most philosophy, psychology, even, you know, meditation starts, you know, then we got meditation where you kind of go one level of consciousness and you get some relief and you go like, OK, that's enough. That's just stress management. I'll stop there. Whereas this is there is I mean, this is the thing that, you know, it's hard hard to say because it starts sounding like but there is like an awake consciousness that is so freeing and so loving and so.
Available and it's just beyond the point when most give up rights, because that was level three and level two, you said, is where most of us get to and then sort of like, stop. We don't push through that.
Yeah, we don't, because there's some kind of letting go. And and then the subtle so all the strengths that we've used from our mind. Can get a little vacation in level two, but then we come back to functioning from a calmer ego and then we're like, oh, that was good, but this is the upgrade. You have to go from kind of the old orientation to a little disorientation, like, where am I? I'm not a self.
There's nothing here. And then the system one is saying like, don't go out of your mind, stay in control, avoid the void, you know, is like now you've got to go. But in this method of glimpsing, it literally takes three seconds to three minutes to let go and then tune in to the already awake awareness that's timeless, boundless, contentless. And you feel almost like you're plugging in or handing off a baton and then you're like, oh, like plugged in.
And now, like, OK, now include everything. And then it's like, wow. So that's that's the amazing thing that I, I'm convinced that it is this amazing potential that's learnable and teachable and a developmental stage. And I'm just very much, you know, more of an educational approach, scientific approach than a teacher guru or something. I'm just like, OK, let's see, let's get a group of people together. Let's test it out, give me some feedback.
Let's keep keep getting change. But I'm pretty like, what do you guys think? And so somebody like in my course that I'm doing said, you know, I just felt so stuck and couldn't do any of the spirituality. So I went down to South America and did ayahuasca and it really changed my life. It's just been amazing for the last year. Everything's changed. And then it started to fade and I was about to go back. But then I took your course and it's like now I can access the positive qualities of it.
So I'm not I'm not going back. That's the potential of this, is that it's like. This is this is crazy. This is like and I'm very, you know, kind of humbled by it all. I'm like, whoa, this is crazy, but I'm just doing the work of translating experientially and trying to get people on board to try it out and give me feedback and say what's true, what's real, what's true, is it working?
Does it really work? Are we kidding ourselves? So but it does seem remarkable. I know my life is you know, I wake up, my wife says you have a smile on your face when you're sleeping.
You know, like, yeah, it's just the background. You know, sense of freedom and as you can see, I live in New York City and talk fast, you know, even for for meditation teacher, you know, I'm very much involved in, you know, more flow optimal than passive and and just escaping life. What is happiness to you?
I mean, you know, there's you like small H happiness, which is the attempt to find some kind of pleasure or satisfaction. Right. So, you know, and that's good. But can become an addiction. And if we only know that level, you know that happiness of some pleasure, having, you know, even just a basic good meal or something, then the endorphins and the and then the, you know, you know, filling up of a biological stomach that was craving something and then feeling OK.
Then when that fades, whatever that is, whether it's food or or drugs or sex or. Exercise of some pleasure, then what's revealed is what's the baseline? And then it's like almost like go up and then go down and then it's like, oh my God, my anxiety or depression. So most people because of the small. Ego center, as the operating system will either their energy and emotions, they either have to be anxious, which means too much going on to try to manage it or they depress it.
So most people are anxious or depressed or they're like in a role of like, go, go, go, work, work, work, go to sleep, get up, do it again. So those are like the three. Modes that most and then people, you know, get to anxious, all of a sudden something happens, then they get super anxious, then their body breaks down or their emotions break down or too depressed because overwhelmed or stressed out or worried.
So happiness with a capital H is our natural condition, which is this kind of openness and well-being from this essential nature, which kind of feels like it's OK, I'm here and someday I'm going to die. And it's not. And I'm aware of the part that's afraid of death. And I'm afraid and part that feels like I'm not good enough and I should do something to be OK. And there's an essential well-being of kindness that comes into these positive qualities that arise that has this low level of bliss and kind of friendliness toward people and things, even even things seem like they're lit up from within.
And it's really this hidden jewel or this. Dimension of consciousness that's hidden in the background, but it's already installed. And if you if we learn how to make this drop or openness or background foreground shifts or becomes primary as soon as it becomes 51 percent primary, it's like relief, joy, happiness.
Bubbling freedom, because there's there's no fear, it's kind of a it can't be hurt, you know, that the image they use and the wisdom traditions is the way. Awareness is like shooting arrows through the sky. You just feel like, all right, everything's everything's essentially OK. And there's a human being that's. Bumbling through life with pleasant and unpleasant experiences, trying to do the best we can with ups and downs, but the ups and downs are so small compared to the new baseline.
How would you describe love? Yeah, so that's again, it's like love is almost the fabric of of this dimension of self that feels like the primary dimension. So the love that you feel isn't even just compassion. It's literally like unconditional love. So it feels like who I am is love, what everything is love and unconditional means. There's no conditions. It's literally something that is not gotten through, something outside of myself or ourselves. And it's not a it's not a mental state.
So that's the key to this. Also is this what I'm describing is not a meditation state. That's a question often asked. People say like. OK, shift drop open include in these glimpses now what's here and is this a meditation state or does this feel like essentially who you are to which other states can come and go? And when you start to realize that this is your foundation or ground of being and you start to be able to slowly, optimally function from this in a way that you're more creative and related, there's a kind of love and a joy in, you know, chick set by the guy who did the research on flow, called it ecstasy.
You know, he said it's you know, there's a quality and flow of ecstasy or bliss or love that feels like a. Palpable, like what we've looked for, you know, there's still other lines and levels of love, you know, types of love, there's. You know, friendship, love, romantic love. Colleague, love, you know, like that are different, almost like lines. But this is the foundational, unconditional love that we are that isn't something that comes and goes.
I appreciate. Yeah.
What do you think is the hardest skill about what you've learned to transfer to other people?
Certainly the the the language of it is the first first one, because as many smart maps as we have from psychology and even even reading the poetry and the wisdom traditions, it just seems like we're filtering it through our secondary process, thinking from a thinker in a subject object way. And so we're taking in information and trying to understand it based on. Thoughts, concepts and experiences that we've had, whereas moving from that, knowing to not knowing to this new wordless awareness that could use words that doesn't have a center in our head, but has a feeling of clarity and openness so that so even people who experience that inflow haven't looked that way.
They haven't looked at that to say, well, where are you? Where from, when you know, I'm in flow, I'm so connected, everything. So they they have the qualities. But they can only get into it through, OK, will I do it through playing the violin so I haven't played the violin so miserable. I better go play the violin. So this is like, no, when you're there, look to see what is looking like.
Don't just feel the results and the expression and the symptoms of of qualities. Look to the looker. Look, look, to find that where you're aware from. And so if we start with that, let's just unhook from the small self and have a little simple map, OK? And then there's no self and then there's consciousness itself. Which is spacious, pervasive, interconnected, openhearted. And can now begin to walk and talk and type and create and then lose it, and then I say no big surprise, just recognize and then you just recognize and start again and bring it into action and activity, you know, getting that started and then being willing to stay with it so that it becomes the new operating system takes.
It's more because the old operating system is so strong. It has such a. Habitual like pops you back in there like, well, you know, but don't you think I should be thinking about this? And from here I've always thought about this way, and it's been presented in a way that it is this meditation state or it's this, you know, time apart or you go on retreat. And so so teaching that to do it for small times and then retrain your brain to remain like that for I think that's a great place to sort of end this conversation.
I really appreciate you taking the time. Like, where can people find you online? My website is w w w lokke chilidog. That's l.l.c. h klfy dot org. And then I have a bunch of good, you know, YouTube's that are available of doing some of these glimpses and then SoundCloud if you want to listen to them. So that's all free and then you'll see my books and other things on, on my website and events. So a lot of online events where I go through glimpse after glimpse.
Thank you so much. All right. Thank you. Appreciate. Hey, one more thing before we say goodbye, the knowledge project is produced by the team at Furnham Street. I want to make this the best podcast you listen to, and I'd love to get your feedback. If you have comments, ideas for future shows or topics or just feedback in general, you can email me Ashin F-stop blog or follow me on Twitter at Chainey Parish.
You can learn more about the show and find past episodes at First DOT Blogs podcast. If you want a transcript of this episode, go to F-stop blogged Tribe and join our learning community. If you found this episode valuable, shared online with the hashtag The Knowledge Project, or leave a review until the next episode.