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At this altitude I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Can I ask you a personal question? What is it like to be. Cybernetic organisms living tissue over metal embryos go to Paris, so. Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs, this is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss show. My guest today is Dan Harris, who is Dan Harris.


After ABC News anchor Dan Harris had a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America in 2004, he knew he had to make some changes. He found himself on a bizarre adventure to reign in the voice in his head that provoked his on air freakout and found a solution in meditation. A lifelong non-believer, meditation was something Dan always assumed to be either impossible or useless. 2014, Dan published the book 10 Percent Happier, which takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America's spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives in 2017.


Dan followed up with meditation for Fidgety Skeptics subtitle A 10 Percent Happier How to book 2016. Dan launched the 10 percent happier company. That's No. One zero than percentage sign, with co-founders Ben Rubin, CEO, and Derek Haswell, VP of Product. The company then was rebranded to 10 percent happier, all spelled out in twenty nineteen. You can find Dan on Twitter at Dan B Harris. That is Harris with one S on Instagram at Dan Harris and Facebook at Dan Harris ABC.


Dan, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to dig into many, many, many things, and it's going to be non-linear because that is my want in terms of the Mentos style interview approach.


And I'd like to begin with something I found in the process of doing homework. And that is a quote, feel free to correct this if it's not accurate. But here we go. This is from you. My career has been guided by a motto bequeathed to me by my dad, who is a successful academic physician. And here's the motto The price of security is insecurity. Could you please explain what this means and means to you? Yeah, I have so much to say about that.


It really was my guiding light and still is in many ways. But in particular, as a young. Journalist who was extremely ambitious and again, I don't necessarily need to use past tense on all of this, some of it is his present tense. But in my younger days in particular, I really believe that any success I was achieving as I was working my way up the ladder at ABC News, et cetera, et cetera, was directly correlated to the intensity of my anxiety.


And that motto handed down to me by my father, who is an academic physician, was until recently until he retired an academic physician at Harvard and a varsity worrier. And, you know, long time handwringers himself was just my my way of kind of. Almost like venerating the constant worrying. I later found out from my dad that he made that expression up, not to put worrying on a pedestal, not because he wanted me to be worrying all the time, because if you think about it, it's maybe not the kindest thing to say to a kid.


He, in fact, made it up because he wanted me to feel better about the fact that I was anxious.


And I think that would give you permission to feel the anxiety, correct, you know, I mean, I was a really anxious kid and that carried into my adulthood, I would say now here I am, 11 years post beginning meditation. I still believe it is true that a certain amount of stressing, plotting and planning careful thinking. Is necessary if you want to be great at whatever it is you're you set your mind to your work, parenting, volunteer work, relationships, except what I've now started to see very clearly, and I'm imperfect at applying this, but what I see really clearly is that we take the worrying too far, we take the insecurity too far, and we cross the line between constructive anguish and useless rumination.


And really, the self-awareness that I have generated through meditation, imperfectly for sure, has helped me balance that much more effectively.


And we're going to go back to the scene of the crime or more accurately, the scene of the car accident, psychologically speaking, back on air. We're not going to revisit that just yet. But because you mention this line and I'm going to apply metaphorically here. But I had never heard of something called and I've only read this, I could not figure out how to pronounce it. But the Jerkies Dodson law that I believe Dr. Luana Marquez, Brazilian born at Harvard, had told you about perfectly or imperfectly, could you describe what the Yerkes Dodson law implies or claims to sort of describe in some fashion?


Because this is quite freeing to me. Yes, right. That I read it.


It really is.


So Lorena Marquez came on my podcast right at the beginning of the pandemic. And I want to do an episode about how to handle all of the stress that that I knew we were all feeling. And we're going to continue to feel for a while.


And she talked to me about this. I think it's called the Yorke's Dodson. Hello.


I was fucking that one up before I said, I mean, you can be forgiven.


It's a weird I think it's the name of two scientists hyphenated who came up with this idea that a certain amount of anxiety, a lot of Marquez, the aforementioned Harvard affiliated anxiety expert, was talking about a certain amount of anxiety.


You can think of it as like a curve, like a bell curve.


A certain amount of anxiety is useful in that. It gets us moving. It gets us protecting ourselves. It gets us doing the things we need to do. So that's the beginning part of the curve, the upward slope. At some point it starts to slope downwards. And you can think of that as the point of diminishing returns where the anxiety is no longer motivational, it's paralytic.


And so walking that line seems to be in my own life.


It seems it really has become one of the most important arts. And again, it's art, not science. And I have nowhere near perfect and I don't expect I don't think perfection is on offer.


But it also seems to showcase for me the fact that there is a an evolutionary value to anxiety, if we were to define it, is the ability to foresee future threats and perhaps forestall or mitigate them. But when it bleeds over into expecting catastrophe and wringing your hands and biting your nails at all times, then it ceases to be of utility. Right. It actually ends up being disabling. But the seeing it in graph form or in visual form with the Yorke's Dodson law.


Well, look, pedia there we go.


Correct to correct it on lucky number three was was really freeing in a sense, because there is a desire that I find myself succumbing to, which is to erase or remove all anxiety and vilifying anxiety is this sort of shadow that I can't rid myself of and.


I liked reading about it. I'll just put it that way. Give yourself a break on some level. Now, speaking of giving anyone a break, if. The price of security is insecurity was a motto that you kept in the back of your mind and assuming that you don't want your kids to have a motto like only the paranoid survive or something like that, what might be a motto you would want your kids to have in the back of their mind as they navigate their lives the first 20 years, 30 years, whatever it might be.


Can I give you two? You are allowed to give me three if you'd like.


I love motto's. I love little expression's mantras that you can use to kind of drop into your mind because it's so easy.


You know, you can listen to an inspirational podcast or read a great book or whatever and feel really like you. You're invigorated.


You're you're awake to some some important truth. But the habits of mind, the old habits of mind reassert themselves really quickly.


And so we need to find ways to to continuously wake up and to remember the our aspirations.


And so these little mottos, I think, you know, that can be a little bit cheesy, but but they're really helpful in my experience. So one of them that specifically applies to this question of how much insecurity or anxiety is too much. I got this motto from my meditation teacher, a guy named Joseph Goldstein. I've heard you talk on this show and I've heard you also talked the one time we met in person when you came on my show.


I've heard you drop the name of Jack Kornfield, who's a legendary meditation teacher and has had a huge impact on your life.


Jack and Joseph are old, old, old co-conspirators from the 60s and 70s when they met both of them, along with Sharon Salzberg, is another just meditative titan. The three of them all spent a lot of time in Asia.


And came back to the states and founded co-founded something called the Insight Meditation Society, and then Jack broke off and started something called Spirit Rock Meditation Center on the West Coast, EMCs on the left, on the East Coast.


And so they're really responsible for bringing mindfulness to the West in many, many ways. And so at one, the first meditation retreat I ever went on was at Spirit Rock, where I know you've done meditation retreats and or at least one, and you body nervous breakdown retreats.


I want to talk about that. So so I was on my first meditation retreat at Spirit Rock, and even though that's the place Jack founded, Joseph was teaching for 10 days there. And our mutual friend Sam Harris got me off the wait list for this.


No relation, I should note, no relation, although I wouldn't be embarrassed because I love the guy. So I'm at this retreat and I'll spare you the whole story of the retreat. But the key moment as it pertains to this question was toward the end of the retreat, Joseph is talking to the assembled yogis, the meditators, and he says something like, OK, we're heading toward the end here now. And you might find your thoughts. Start turning to the things you have to do when you return to your life.


But the best of your ability, you know, try to let those thoughts go. And I raised my hand because this was a Q&A. You were allowed to talk on an otherwise silent retreat.


And I said, well, wait a minute, dude, if I miss my flight. That has real life consequences, why would you tell me not to to think about that? And he said, no, you're absolutely right.


But on the 17th run through of all of the horrible knock on effects of you're missing that flight, maybe ask yourself one simple question. Is this useful? That is a great motto because, of course, we're going to do some worrying and I, as you know, a long time inveterate Fredd, I'm borrowing that phrase from the great meditation teacher, Sylvia Boorstein, as an inveterate Fredd myself.


I'm I'm cool with some work. I think you need to do some of that. But at some point maybe ask yourself, is this useful? And it's at that point, it's probably not. And you can, like, pay attention to what your child is trying to tell you or not mindlessly say something that's going to ruin the next 48 hours of your marriage or whatever, just live your actual life.


And so that to me is a really useful motto. I'll stop there before I go on to the second one.


Unless you have something you want to add or clarify, I have a follow up question, but I don't interrupt the flow to number two. So let's go to number two.


No, to go ahead, because the number two is so so it's kind of off on a different thing. And I don't want to. I don't want to. I don't want to mess up your flow. So go ahead.


Well, my flow as such is absolutely going to take us off on a wild tangent, but that's OK. So you mentioned a few names. You mentioned Joseph. Is it Goldstein or Goldstein? I always mix this up because there are so many different Goldstein and Goldstein. How does he pronounce his last name? He's a Goldstein, yes. OK, so Goldstein, Saltzberg and Kornfield. So I asked Jack at one point. Jack, I have to ask you, this is in private because, of course, this is not the kind of thing that you always want to ask in public.


But I said, Jack, is there any reason why all of these meditation and mindfulness teachers, these pioneers from the West in the 70s, are Jewish? And he said that's a really good question. And we talked about he said, yeah, it sounds like a law firm and I would just love to hear.


If you have any thoughts on why that is the case, is it just coincidental or is there something that maps from Judaism to Buddhism or otherwise, do you have any thoughts on that?


Because it is uncanny.


Yes, I was just going to say, as it happens, Tim Ferris, I have a lot of thoughts on this. So these these people are all like really good friends of mine now.


And they go there's a I don't know how they feel about this name, but there is a name for this whole coterie, which is the Juba's, the Jewish Buddhists.


And the prototypical Jew is actually a Jew who or so he's a Hindu, but his name is Ramadoss. He is. Yeah.


So you will be as because I know you're a real connoisseur of and supporter of psychedelic or plant medicine. And Ramadoss born Richard Halpert Alpert, rather Jewish guy from Boston, became a Harvard professor along with Timothy Leary. They got fired for, you know, running experiments on their students with either LSD or psilocybin. And he went off to India. Richard did and discovered a Hindu guru and named himself, changed his name to Ramdas and came back to the states.


And and there's lots of good documentaries on him, I think some of them on Netflix and was extremely influential. And the slightly younger generation included lots of people with like Chewey, Jewish names like Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Sylvia Boorstein, Mark Epstein, who's a psychiatrist in New York City. He's written a whole beautiful series of books about the overlap between Buddhism and psychology.


Daniel Goleman, who was a Harvard Ph.D., then went on to write, become a science journalist for The New York Times and then wrote a book called Emotional Intelligence, which is obviously a huge book on and on. Tabarrok is a slightly younger iteration of the same sort of trend on and on and on.


You have these great Jewish meditation teachers. So what's going on here? And I say this as a half true barmitzvah guy. What's going on here?


The Jews have a cultural tendency toward anxiety, which I would argue is well earned from the pharaohs through Hitler.


And you know, that yearning for some sort of remedy to this really difficult anxiety.


That plus the fact that Judaism in America is largely not entirely, of course, but largely secular.


I think created both a hunger for answers to anxiety and maybe a sense that there wasn't enough spirituality in their lives, throw in the 60s and all the psychedelics and the and the Vietnam and the and the searching nature of that era.


And you get the Juba's. That's my sense. Of course, they may all yell at me for being wrong about this, but that's my sense.


Well, you're entitled to your opinion and perspective on the whole thing. I certainly I'm not part of the club, so it's harder for me to have a strong opinion of any type about this. It's also been a long standing fascination of mine.


I have a lot of Jewish friends to observe this. What seems to be fairly ubiquitous anxiety in many of the families I grew up around, many of the friends I developed close friendships with in high school and college, how much of that do you think is cultural and how much of that is survival of the fittest in the sense if you think about Jews as having been persecuted for, like you said, you know, millennia since the time of the pharaohs, is there just a sort of selection process over time where the people who are the first to flee or sense, danger and move are the people who then end up producing sort of modern day Jews?


I mean, how do you think about that, if you think about it at all? I think the evolution produced the culture.


And so we have this culture of anxiety because those of the the Jews that survived learned to worry, you know, in another and this is skipping back a question, but I think another aspect of the the sort of causality that led to this remarkable.


You know, group of young Jewish people, mostly from New York and some of them from Boston who went over to India or Asia and learned how to meditate and came back and really became these John Cabot. Zend, I felt left him out. Who was it was the granddaddy of mindfulness based stress reduction. Without him, there is no secular mindfulness movement. In New York, Jewish guy went to MIT, studied microbiology and then found Zen and then invented Mbare.


I think another aspect of this is that all of these people, all of these names that I've listened and these are all people that I know quite well, they're incredibly smart. And I think if you add the anxiety, the spiritual yearning and the braininess, it all is a perfect storm for Buddhism because Buddhism is incredibly interesting.


There's the practice element which, you know, thinking can become can be a big impediment to the practice. But the intellectual infrastructure that supports the practice is dense and fascinating. And it's it's a lifetime's supply of ideas to wrestle with.


And I think that's another component of why these people found this teaching so irresistible.


I think one might also argue that being well-educated and having a lot of CPU cycles in your prefrontal cortex is also a perfect recipe for grist for the mill in the form of anxiety and rumination and open loops for the salve in the sense that then is mindfulness practice.


Let's let's dial up the volume on the anxiety to 11 to use a Spinal Tap reference.


I know you have told this story a lot, but there will be people listening who have no idea what the catalyzing event looked like, what preceded it, and so on. Could you walk us through your life from, say, 2000, 2004? Obviously, we're going to use a montage of some type or 2001 to 2004 to let's call it the event in quotation marks. Sure.


So in the year 2000, I as a as a twenty eight year old plankton from local news in in Boston, I had I'd spent like seven years in local news and and in Maine and Boston, ill fitting suits and way too much plaid. At twenty eight, I rode the escalator up into ABC News at the headquarters, the Upper West Side of Manhattan. You've been to our building because you you came on my podcast, so you know that escalator.


And I was terrified.


I had watched Peter Jennings my whole life.


He was the legendary anchor of World News Tonight until he died in the mid mid aughts. And I was just I was so thrilled but terrified. And this is where price of security is. Insecurity kicked into high, high gear. And I had gotten this job just complete luck that I had gotten this job and I just threw myself into it, skipped everybody, skipped all my friends weddings, worked seven days a week, just was clawing and scratching to get ahead in an incredibly.


Venomous. Really competitive, unsafe in many ways, psychologically environment at ABC News, it's it's improved vastly since then. I'm happy to report. And then not long after I arrived, 9/11 happened. And I again, driven by my anxiety and also my idealism about the role of journalists are our duty to sort of bear witness at the tip of the spear.


I raised my hand and volunteered to go overseas after 9/11, and I ended up in Afghanistan with the Taliban in Kandahar, their capital at the time. I think I'm one of the last people to get a Taliban visa before they were overthrown and just fell in love with combat reporting. Not because I like the Gore, but because there's just it felt so thrilling and so important. And of course, there is the ego aggrandizement of it, too, that you're doing this important work.


You're living in this hyper adrenalized way, and you're getting on TV all the while. And so I got hooked and spent so much time in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. I covered the second intifada in 2002. So Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and then Iraq happened, spent months and months and months and probably altogether like a year in on the ground in Iraq. And in the summer of 2003, I came home and I got depressed, but I was not self-aware enough to know I was depressed.


So I started to sort of I did something incredibly stupid, which is I started to self medicate with recreational drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy. So I was in my. Early thirties at this point, and I had never smoked weed and and obviously drank a lot of beer in college, but I never done any hard drugs and cocaine in particular, really, my depression manifest itself as a kind of low genius or low energy.


I had trouble getting out of bed, felt kind of vaguely ill all the time. And cocaine, this kind of synthetic squirt of adrenaline really fix that.


Of course, it had horrible side effects, like feeling awful the next day, et cetera, et cetera, and then an even worse side effect, which is the aforementioned event. On a warm June morning in 2004, I was filling in on Good Morning America, and at the time they had a job called the NEWSREADER.


So somebody would come on at the top of every hour and read the headlines. The person who had that job at the time was named Robin Roberts, who's now the main host of Good Morning America. They don't have that role anymore, but I was in a rotation of regularly filling in for Robin. And so I wasn't particularly nervous on this morning. But for some reason, when the main hosts of the show, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer, tossed it over to me to do my little spiel, I just lost it.


And you can see this.


If you if you if you type panic attack on live television, it's the first results. So go for it. You can see it has tens of millions and millions of hits.


So I start reading and then my lungs basically seize up and my heart starts racing, my palms are sweating, my mouth dries up and I can't talk, which is a prerequisite for anchoring the news, talking his.


And it was horrifying. And so if you watch the tape, it actually it looks like it definitely looks flustered and but a lot of people will say, you know, it didn't didn't look that bad. And that's because I had the luxury of being able to squeak out. Back to you, Charlie and Diane, and they took it back, but I had to cut the whole thing short. I mean, I think I had read like two and a half stories by the time the freak out hit.


And it was awful and really scary, not only because a panic attack is horrifying, but because I just thought, well, this is the end of my career.


And my mom was watching that morning and she and she called me backstage and said, oh, you just had a panic attack. And she didn't say, dude. But anyway, she said you had a panic attack and she hooked me up with a shrink. And the shrink asked me about your questions to try to figure out what was going wrong. And one of the questions was, do you do drugs? And I kind of said sheepishly, Yeah.


And he gave me I like to make this joke. He gave me this look, one of these shrinky looks. I'm sure you've gotten this look before, Tim, from the shrinks with whom you've worked. He gave me a look that communicated the sentiment of OK, asshole, mystery solved. And he pointed out that even though my drug use was pretty intermittent and short lived, I wasn't like, you know, I wasn't like one of the people from the Wolf of Wall Street or anything like that.


But it was enough to change my brain chemistry and make a panic attack more likely.


So that's the story on that day. Was there anything different about that day leading up to it? Anything at all that could have hinted that this was not a day like any other like itchy feet and your eyeballs feel too big? I mean, it was there. Was there anything symptomatically to indicate that something was just slightly off or more than slightly off or did really come out of left field, left field man?


I hadn't I wasn't high in the air. I hadn't been I don't think I don't remember definitely. I hadn't been partying the night before or anything like that, maybe in the week before.


But there was I had no reason to foresee what was about to happen and it sucked uncontrollably.


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So my understanding is, after all of this happens and we're probably skipping a few things to feel free to fill in the blanks, if you think that that we should. But you were then assigned to cover faith and spirituality against your own wishes. Right.


So you you began exploring mainstream religion, self-help, spirituality, neuroscience and so on, and somewhere in that sort of chopped salad of spirituality and so on was meditation like in there like a like a crouton? You found meditation amongst everything.


Before we jump to meditation, though, I'd be very curious to know, was there anything else that you got exposed to?


That was interesting to you, not because it was salacious or completely a hoax, but is there anything else that really seemed like it could be a value to you outside of meditation? First of all, the metaphor about the chopped salad is awesome.


The the the thing that's that really landed with me about.


Religion, the religions that I spent time, you know, sort of spent time marinating in, I spent a lot of time with the evangelicals, Mormons, Muslims, I as the child of atheist scientists, constitutionally, I just can't get myself to believe in things for which there's no evidence.


So I had a bit of an allergy that may maybe understating it to the dogma and to the faith claims, the metaphysical claims and all of that stuff.


But what struck me was that these folks were with regularity contemplating their place in the cosmos, which I was not doing.


I was utterly unreflective in many, many important ways.


And these guys on 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning or whatever time, you know, on a Friday afternoon, if you're a Muslim or Saturday for the Jews, like they were getting together and talking about the universe.


And that really hit me as somebody who I had a sense of my own selfishness and how that was making me unhappy.


I didn't know what to do. Based on what I was encountering from these folks of faith, because I found so many of their beliefs to be really hard to swallow, but I had this kind of I don't know, I'm going to use a word that I don't know how to pronounce. I think it's inchoate, this kind of uif this beginning. I know the words.


You know that word. Right. You see it in, like, fancy books and like, you never know how to pronounce it. But I had this kind of beginning inkling that, yeah, there's something here that I that I should pay attention to.


So as you're paying attention, then how does meditation first come over the transom? What was the first exposure that actually made you raised an eyebrow and go, huh, everything's OK? I should pay attention to here?


Yes, I'm a hard case. So it took me a while. But the first the first first exposure was I was shooting a story was went right after Sarah Palin was nominated by John McCain as his vice presidential candidate. And I was she's a she's a Pentecostal. So I was doing a story in Jersey City about Pentecostals. I was shooting at a street fair with some Pentecostals and trying to get a sense of like what that flavor of evangelicalism was like to educate the American public.


Sorry. Did you have something you want to say there?


I was just going to say, for people who don't know anything about Pentecostals, you should add some color here, because it is it is a fascinating flavor.




Yeah. So these are the folks that, like, speak in tongues. I mean, there's there's a I don't want to describe Pentecostalism as a monolith because there are flavors within the flavor.


But but, you know, when you and there are non Pentecostals who speak in tongues too, but they're sort of charismatic and and that's actually a term of art, that charismatic Christianity, where you some of them will will handle snakes during services or speak in tongues, which is a kind of like you're you're speaking in tongues, is like you're speaking a a non sense language that is in some way divine, that you're being taken over by the Holy Spirit.


So it's a really dramatic. And again, I think they'll use the word charismatic form of Christianity.


Thank you for the context. Please continue. I didn't want to interrupt too much, though.


You interrupt me any time because I. I like tangents. So anyway, I'm not shooting the story, the story. Pentecostalism has nothing to do with what is about to happen, which is that I was waiting. When you're shooting a story, there's like lots of downtime. And so I was chit chatting with the crew, the cameraman, the soundman and our producer, Felicia.


But Barika, who is still a actually she's quite senior producer at World News Tonight. At that time, she was a field producer. So she and I were covering the story together. We'd known each other for quite a while.


And she started talking about a book, a self-help book she was reading by a guy named Eckhart Toli, who I had never heard of. And Felicia said something like, Did you know you should read this book? It's all about controlling your ego. And me and the crew started laughing because it was clear to us that she was saying, you have an out of control ego, which, by the way, was true.


And so it was very funny, but it wasn't what she meant, what she meant and what Toli means by the ego. I subsequently learned because I went out and ordered his book and read it or one of his books and read it.


What Toli means by the ego is the non-stop conversation we are all having with ourselves, this inner narrator, this constant flow of thought and urgent urges and emotions coursing through our minds into which very few of us have any visibility.


And so I started to read Tolis book and at first I thought it was complete nonsense because he layers in lots of like, let's talk about vibrational fields and spiritual awakenings and all of this other stuff. But what I got to the stuff about the ego, which again, he has a much more expansive definition of the sort of inner ghostly sense of you that is constantly spewing sort of self-centered thoughts, hurling us into the future or ruminating about the past to the detriment of the here and now.


When I read his diagnosis of the ego, which is essentially just the human condition, that was a gigantic waking up moment for me because first of all, it was just like, oh, yeah, that is true.


And it also really explained my panic attack because it was my ego.


And again, not just the sort of stereotypical parts of the ego, the like self aggrandizing part, but also like all of the fear and idealism and all this sort of unseen mental machinery that propelled me to cover combat without really thinking about the psychological ramifications.


It was the ego, the sort of mindless inner conversation that allowed me to come home, get depressed, not see it, and blindly reach for cocaine as a as medicine.


And that all produced the panic attack. So it was reading eschatology. That was really the first step toward me getting interested in meditation. And the problem with Eckhart totally was that he didn't offer any actionable advice. Felicia and I ended up flying to Toronto to meet Toli.


He lives in Vancouver, but he was giving a speech in Toronto and he gave us an audience, you know, like Beig Hotel Room.


And and I interviewed him and I asked him, you know what?


It was actually the first interview I did with anybody in the faith world where I felt like I had some skin in the game because I was really interested and I tried to get him to answer, like, what do you do about the voice in the head? And I remember at one point he said, Take one conscious breath.


And my voice in my head was saying, what the fuck does that mean, like, what are you talking about? Give me something to do here.


A friend of mine has described totally as correct, but not useful.


And so he woke me up to a thunderously obvious but regularly overlooked fact, which is that we all have minds and our thinking.


But he didn't give me anything to do about it. Still very valuable to say, hey, bro, you got a huge abscess in your gums or whatever it is, right? Even though you might not be the surgeon or the orthodontist or whatever the specialty would be to take it out a helpful first step.


Correct. It was it was really helpful. First up, I'm thankful for what happens at that point.


You're like you've diagnosed. I don't see the problem, the condition, let's call it, to where does Dan Harris go at that point?


Shamelessly leveraging all the privilege of my journalistic perch. I basically started with the aforementioned Felecia. We started doing a lots of stories about self-help because I thought, you know, somebody in this ought to be able to tell me more about what to do about this. So I ended up doing all these stories about, you know, Deepak Chopra, who I think is on the FAAB. I mean, I make fun of Deepak, you know, with gusto in my book.


But nonetheless, I think he's on the far benign end of the self-help spectrum. And then we I did a lots of stuff on the folks who are way more questionable to sort of solve all of your problems through the power of positive thinking, through, you know, the secret. And I did a lot of stuff on James Arthur Ray. I believe his name is the guy who had that sweat lodge ceremony where people died.


And basically, I was completely, completely unimpressed, depressed, confused, didn't know what to do.


And actually, during this period of time, I came home one night to my then apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and my then fiancee and now baby mama Bianca gave me a gift. As I walked into the apartment that evening, she said, I've been listening to you talk about Deepak Chopra, Natoli and blah, blah, blah, and not making much sense as you do.


But it vaguely reminded me this is her talking or vaguely reminded me of a book I read many years ago. And here it is. And the book was by a guy I mentioned earlier on the show when we're talking about the Juba's named Dr. Mark Epstein. I liked him right away because he had actual credentials. He's, as I said, a shrink lives and works in New York City and he's written all these incredible books about the overlap between Buddhism and psychology, modern psychology.


And so I started reading one of his books that night. The book I started reading was Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, and it was the title.


It's a great title. It's a and it's a great book. I highly recommend it. And he was the first it was my first introduction to both Buddhism and meditation.


Did you begin some type of practice after that book? Did it give you the prescriptive how to in a form of self-help that you did not have anaphylactic shock in response to?


Yes, at hives on the regular when I was the conference on dialogical hives popping out everywhere is a really good phrase.


I might steal that still away. I have like five million milligrams of caffeine in my system, so I'm on fire. Please continue.


So yeah, well, as somebody who has a panic disorder, I can't have caffeine.


I'm just it's the poor man's caffeine to do so.


So I, I am a tough case as a reference before. So I read about Buddhism was really interested in Buddhism, but to talk about meditation, I found repellent and so I.


I was very, very resistant and what finally? Brought me over to trying it was it. So this is like 2009, I saw it as I started researching meditation. I came across some of the science that really strongly suggests that meditation can confer a long list of tantalizing health benefits. And at that time that science was not well publicized. And so I had this inkling of, oh, this is a huge story that people don't know about. And I had this kind of entrepreneurial itch of meditation appears to be really helpful.


And all of these books I'm reading or many of the books I was reading because I started reading a ton are really annoying.


And I could write a book that uses the word fuck a lot and tells embarrassing stories, and maybe that would reach people who otherwise would never do this thing. And so I started after really looking at the science and kind of reviewing it with my wife, who's a scientist.


I was really convinced that there was something here.


So I started doing like five to ten minutes a day and it really helped. And then after about a year of that, I met Sam Harris. I actually met him. I had met Sam once years before, and then I met him again. I was moderating a debate that he was in against Deepak Chopra and he actually dismantled them. You can you can see that on YouTube, too.


And Sam, I loved and I still love general rule. You do not want to debate Sam.


No, he's very scary, actually. The thing about Sam and you know this, Tim, because you know him is like he can seem very intimidating, but if you interact with him, especially if his wife's around and his wife is an extraordinary person, Monica Harris has written an incredible consciousness.


You know, he she can reduce him to, like, you know, giggling, you know, red faced ball, a puddle, which is amazing. And he's like he's really warm and incredible. And he told me about Joseph Goldstein and got me into this meditation retreat and that really crack things open for me. And I would say since doing that retreat for the last decade is just a non-negotiable part of my life.


Is it part of your life on the frequency of daily a few times a week? What is the current or when you were at your best? When you are your best self, let's just say, what is your frequency of practice? I said, I'm going to buy. Forget the answer here because I'll answer for me.


And then I do want to say a few things about, because I think the question that's probably coming up in the minds of some of your listeners is like, what's the least I can do to get all of the advertised benefits?


So I'll say I'll say something about that too.


But I don't want you to be discouraged by what I'm about to say, which is that for me, it's every day once in a blue moon, I will miss a day because something has, you know, like it's just gotten totally crazy or whatever. And I went through a period where I did two hours a day, which was way too much. Not in that it was it was nuts. It was it was just eating up too much of the rest of my life.


But now I do about an hour a day, but I'm much more relaxed about it.


And I kind of my rule has always been and this was true even when I was doing two hours a day is like, I can do it whenever I want, wherever I want and in whatever increment I want.


So it may be five minutes here, 10 minutes there on a really good day.


I'll get along set, you know, 30, 45, 60 minutes, but on many days, it's just like a succession of smaller sets and or I'll do a walking meditation.


So, yeah, I'm pretty consistent, but I don't think that's that's necessary for beginners. I really think the access point here is really easy and user friendly. And what I say for my two little mantras, little slogans, here I go again for for beginning meditators. One is one minute counts, I really think.


And we can talk a little bit more about how to do the practice, but I really think that even in a minute you can start to get a sense of, oh, yeah, I've got this inner cacophony and I don't need to be owned by it. So it's the visibility that is the kryptonite for the ego that's seeing it really defangs it, which is kind of amazing.


And that can happen in a minute. What I love to see you do five to ten. Sure. But we know that habit formation is really hard, diabolically hard.


So setting the bar really low I think is very helpful.


And then the other little slogan is daily ish, you know. Yes. Would it be great if you were doing this every day? Sure. But if you grit your teeth and tell yourself you're going to do it every day, the first day you miss, which inevitably you will, the voice in your head will swoop in and tell you you're a failed meditator. And then, like Deuce's, you know, you're out.


And and so I think daily ish has like elasticity and flexibility and in it that I really like.


Yeah, it's like brushing your teeth, right. You miss a day or your your teeth aren't going to disintegrate. You miss 20, 30 days, then you might have an issue that starts to crop up that back to the abscess, back to the abscess.


I don't know why I'm so focused on dentistry today, but the question for you about the subjective experience of. This is a regular practice for me in my own personal experience, the value of meditation, which I can find tremendous benefit in 10 to 20 minutes a day, done consistently, I find tremendous value.


The value is not always obvious when I am doing it, but it becomes more obvious if I suddenly stop for a period of time. I would just love to hear. What is done with meditation look like compared to Dan without if you suddenly go cold turkey for a period of time, for whatever reason or however you'd like to tackle that just so people can get a grasp on the benefits as you experience them.


That was just really well articulated when you talked about your own practice, because this is perhaps the hardest thing to understand about meditation, because all of us I'm making an assumption here that but I think it's safe for your audience. We're all type A people. We do something and we expect to succeed. We expect to win. So we we go into meditation with expectations, which are the most noxious thing you can bring to the party.


So in a in individual sitting or walking meditation, in an individual session of meditation, the goal is not to feel any certain way.


In fact, going into it, if you're expecting or hoping to feel a certain way. It pretty much blocks you from getting there.


The goal instead is to feel whatever you are feeling clearly so that you build the muscle of not being owned by your feelings.


Let me just say that again, because it's a little hard to understand when you sit and meditate, you really don't need to, like, kill yourself into a bulletproof bliss bubble. Instead, you should just be noticing whatever is coming up. You know, I'm planning lunch. I'm planning a homicide.


I'm you know, I'm I'm jealous of like I'm remembering primordial anger toward my younger brother, whatever is coming up. And that is correct.


Meditation, because the visibility is the kryptonite, seeing clearly the cacophony of your own inner landscape. Is how you are no longer owned by it and over time, so you can have a whole week of quote unquote bad sits where you're totally distracted or, you know, you're restless or you're sleepy.


But over time, the net effect of it is that you are more self aware and therefore less yanked around by the malevolent puppeteer of your ego.


And so for me, what I notice and actually this is why falling off the wagon can be really helpful, because it can increase your faith in the practice.


What I notice is that if I miss a few days, my inner weather becomes much more, you know, stormy and I'm likelier to eat too much or to, you know, make a nasty comment or be impatient, beat myself up more, be more judgmental when I look in the mirror, et cetera, et cetera, I can just really see the venom quotient increase when I'm not doing this thing. You used the word weather.


I can't remember who. Shared this imagery with me at some point, but they said, you know, the difference between experiencing as you experience without meditation and with meditation is like standing outside in the rain in a storm versus standing inside, looking out the window at the storm. And there are a bunch of other analogies that I like. I mean, one would be to being 18 inches outside of the washing machine, looking at the clothing versus being inside or sitting in the audience watching the movie of your emotions versus being in the movie.




Are these all these analogies or metaphors that imply a level of observation and detachment, although I'm sure some psychologists would take issue with that term? What is the practice look like? What is your actual practice look like?


Because there's so many ways to meditate, right. It would be like saying I do sports. It's like, well, what are we talking about?


Racquetball, swimming, you know, curling. What are we talking about here? So in meditation, what is your particular format? What does it look like?


That's exactly right, that there are many, many forms and people can get pretty dogmatic about, you know, their support for whatever meditative team they've chosen, the kind of meditation that I generally talk about publicly and that, you know, we teach on my app and everything is called mindfulness meditation, which is derived from Buddhism. But and I talked about John Cabot, Zen before. This was his innovation. He was this MIT whiz kid who discovered Zen.


And then it was on a meditation retreat, a Buddhist meditation retreat, and had this insight that like, oh, if we strip this of its religious lingo and metaphysical claims, we could teach it in secular contexts such as health care. And people who otherwise would reject it might embrace it. And he invented an eight week protocol for teaching what's called mindfulness based stress reduction and secularising it and giving it a structure of an eight week teaching program. That is what allowed for science scientists to come in and say, OK, well, we can this is replicable now.


We can run this on a bunch of different populations and measure their cortisol levels and look at their brains, et cetera, et cetera. And that's what's given us this in large measure. That's what's given us this explosion of research into what meditation does to the brain.


So that's the kind I was initially attracted to and the kind of meditation that I now evangelize for I have over time.


And this is totally optional. But for me, I've over time gotten more interested in the Buddhist antecedents. And so I would describe myself as a Buddhist, but in the sense that as a great author named Stephen Batchelor, who wrote a book called Buddhism Without Beliefs, and he describes Buddhism not as something to believe in, but as something to do. And in that sense, I'm a Buddhist in the maybe in the same sense that I'm a journalist, it's like it is something that I do regularly.


But I'm I wouldn't sit here and pound the table on behalf of rebirth. But I do think that the Buddhist practices are just a revelation. And there's like just a vast treasury, really. So what is the practice look like beginning? Mindfulness meditation really is very simple. You just find a reasonably quiet place and sit with your spine reasonably straight. You don't have to be uptight about that. In fact, being uptight is not recommended in any aspect of this.


If you don't want to sit, first of all, you don't have to be and you don't have to fold yourself into a pretzel.


I don't you can sit in a chair. You can also lie down. If you're feeling sleepy and are worried about falling asleep, you can stand up. By the way, falling asleep is not a problem. Very common and actually a good sign that maybe you need more sleep.


So that's the first step. Find a reasonably quiet place, comfortable position. Close your eyes. If you don't like to close your eyes, you can kind of just gaze softly at a neutral spot. Second step is bring your full attention to the feeling of your breath coming in and going out. Pick one spot like your belly or your chest or your nose, just kind of commit to feeling that. And and that's the key word here, feeling because we do we spend most of our life trapped in thought.


But actually we're in this practice kind of dropping below the level of thought and tuning into the raw data of the physical sensations of the belly rising and falling, the chest rising and falling, the air entering or exiting the nostrils. And so that's step number two, just oh, by the way, I should say that some people find the breath to be anxiety producing, and that's actually not uncommon, especially now with a covid has a pulmonary implication, obviously.


And BLM has a lot of stuff about not being able. You know, people I can't breathe has become a really. Really resonant in a difficult way phrase, so if the breath is hard for you, you can just focus on the feeling of your body sitting or lying down or standing or pick one spot on your body like your hands, whatever they're touching and just commit to that.


And that's the third step is as soon as you try to do this thing, which is going to sound reasonably simple, you'll realize it's infernally difficult because your mind will go into mutiny mode. It's like it's like trying to hold a live fish in your hands, like it's just slipping away from you all the time. You know, it's like you're planning lunch or you're planning some expletive filled speech you're going to deliver to your boss or, you know, like random.


What was Casper the friendly ghost before he died? Or just like your mind's all over the place.


And that that is the moment most people. Think they are failed meditators, but I'm here to tell you, that is the moment when you notice you've become distracted, even if it's for the whole session.


Just noticing that you've become distracted is proof that you are meditating correctly, because as I said before, the goal here is not to. Actually, I haven't said this yet. This is really important. The goal is not to clear your mind because clearing your mind is impossible unless you're enlightened or you have died. The goal here is instead to focus your mind for a nanosecond or two on on something like the feeling of your breath or the feeling of your body sitting.


And then every time you get distracted, you start again and again and again.


And that act of noticing the distraction and starting again is like a bicep curl for your brain. And this is what we see on the brain scans of meditators. This is the mechanism by which we're training your attention. We're boosting your ability to focus. We're boosting your self awareness. And that's self awareness, that regular sort of systematized collision. We're engineering and meditation with the voice in your head. That is revolutionary because as soon as you start to see how chaotic your mind is and I know I'm banging on about this point, but it's just you can't say it too much as soon as you start to see the chaos of your own mind, that's the first step toward not being owned by it.


And, you know, I just think that's you used a bunch of analogies earlier.


Another analogy that John Captain uses is that you could think of the mind like a waterfall and the thoughts and urges and impulses. That's all the water flowing ceaselessly down the waterfall. Mindfulness, which is the self-awareness that we're generating through meditation, is like the crevice in the rock face behind the water that lets you and now I'm mixing my metaphors kind of step out of the traffic and to view the contents of your consciousness with some nonjudgmental remove. And this is not New Age nonsense.


We are classified as a species, as Homo sapiens sapiens, the one who thinks and knows he or she thinks. And yet that capacity, this birthright of yours, is atrophying for many of us, because in our culture, at least nobody points out that we have this bonus level in our in our brain. And so that's what you're developing, a meditation. I want to come back to the bicep curl because I think it's a helpful way to view the practice, at least it's been helpful for me, and that is I'll pull from a different type of meditation for just a second, because for all its all the criticisms levied against him, I do think that some transcendental meditation teachers, which is a mantra based practice, have a way of setting the pass fail bar very low to help you.


Practice consistently in the beginning, and I think that's really important. I mean, if you decide as a type A person like anything worth doing is worth overdoing, therefore, I'm going to sit in for Lotus two hours a day, five days a week. That's my resolution. The likelihood of you failing is almost a hundred percent. Right. But if you instead come into it, as I was advised at one point when I practiced TM, is if you say your mantra once, I mean, this is like one or two syllables.


If you say it once in a 20 minute session, that is a successful session. Right then for someone who's accustomed to trying to put points on the scoreboard and compete, it's the proper sort of mental contortionism and trickery to get me to do it two or three days in a row. And I found that extremely helpful. And the I can't remember if it was Tarbuck or Sharon Salzberg who said to me, I think it was one of the two who said the bringing the attention back from Casper the Ghost to your breath even once.


Like, that's the bicep crawl. That's the repetition. That is the practice. The practice isn't sitting there like a body in this single pointed experience of universal consciousness for 20 minutes, the practice is thinking about PornHub or different strokes or like Dunkin Donuts and then coming back to the breath once, like that's the rep. That's when you earn the points, which was just incredibly helpful. Reframe for me. You can have an incredibly messy, seemingly messy meditation practice and still consider it successful, which was difficult for a sort of compulsive type, a personality like yours truly to get a toehold on in the beginning.


Amen to everything you just said.


That was just all perfect and and difficult for me to. And which is why to me, the biggest revolution in my own practice and this is just goes back to me being a hard case, because this is recent for me. When great meditation teachers give the beginning instructions, they often say, you know, it's not a cold clinical detachment with which we're viewing the contents of our consciousness.


It's actually a bit often use the word which I've traditionally found quite overwrought, but like a loving awareness.


And I completely ignored that part of the instruction.


And over time, what I have found this actually will bring me to the second slogan I was going to try to get to at the beginning of this conversation earlier in this conversation. Over time, I've really started to add into the mix.


Instead of like a cold, maybe you might say journalistic remove on the various machinations of my ego that I'm witnessing when I sit in meditation to bring a warmer, friendlier, again, maybe even loving sense as I'm viewing, you know, all of my ugliness, that has been a revelation. And what. Which brings me to the slogan, which is and I think in our Western individualistic culture, we think of spiritual, Quest says, like a slaying the dragon, which is pretty violent.


And so I actually think it's more like hugging the dragon and that that is like a radical disarmament, because I've just noticed, as I see, like, my own selfishness or my own jealousy or my own impatience, my own self laceration, if I can see that as like ancient. And you I heard you talk about this recently on that incredibly brave podcast you did about the childhood abuse you suffered, if you can start to. View these storylines as their ancient storylines, their ancient inner characters who are trying to help you, and they made sense, they were adaptive at some point in your life, but they aren't working now.


But instead of, like, slaying those dragons, which, by the way, will only make them stronger. If you hug them, if you give them a high five and a seat at the table on a party hat, they will quiet down and you can then make a better, smarter decision.


You? Yeah, totally. For whatever reason, I was thinking of this tiny, huffy bike that I had as a kid, Whuffie.


Some people recognize that name, but I did this tiny huffy bike with like the padded handlebars, BMX with training wheels, and that's a great bike when you are the proper size. But if you're still trying to ride that, when you're in your 20s, 30s and 40s, that is you're going to have some panty pinches that's very uncomfortable, whereas it was perfect for a time and is no longer the right tool for the job, but doesn't mean you have to throw it in a trash compactor and write cursus all over it.


It also brings up the memory of a pin that my mom bought for me. It was last summer for my birthday, which says sometimes I wrestle with my demons, sometimes we just snuggle. And I thought that was a pretty good reminder for mindfulness practice.


What is your relationship with anger? And that could be past tense and present tense. But I have read that one of the let's call it difficult emotions that you still experience regularly.


This was at least in an interview in 2000. Eighteen was anger.


Could you speak to your. Relationship with anger or how that has been a presence in your life, a prominent inner player, and I'm still like kind of working on this. So what I'll say is, because maybe I'm going to be not polished just as a joke to start a Chris Cuomo who used to work at ABC News, and we became friends back then, but he's now a CNN primetime host.


He wrote an article years ago for some Men's Health magazine or something like that, and he talked about his emotional landscape, having to Geer's anger and self-pity and which was just so great and so perfect for me in some ways, because those those two emotions are just so prominent for me and particular anger.


And it's a not man. It's just a you know, I I will get angry because, you know, just say I get angry at somebody I'm working with because if they're not doing a good enough job, it threatens my high standards for my work, which then threatens my safety. My you know, it triggers my anxiety and I will lash out and then I'll lash back at myself for being such a horrible, mean person. And that is really hard to untangle.


And this is where the hugging the dragon becomes really useful to see. At the root of that is fear, right? Anger is often described as a secondary emotion. It's usually something that happens as a knock on effect of a more primary emotion. In my case, over time, I've just seen the emotion that seems to be at the root of so many of my problems is fear. Anxiety and so it can lead to as a knock on effect, this anger at other people, but primarily it's not so much blowing up at other people going on in my life now, but a lot of anger at myself.


I could get into a whole loops around. I'm I'm approaching 50. And the abs that I had in my mid 30s are now not visible in any way unless you have a high powered microscope.


And, you know, I can get onto a whole thing around that. And it's like this anger at myself for being sloppy or not being up to my old standards or whatever. And the same thing can happen around my productivity levels. There's a great phrase I heard from a podcast store named Jocelyn K. Gly.


She has a phrase productivity shame, which I just love that, you know, like I know you're writing a book. I'm writing a book right now. And like, if I'm not hitting my cadence for completing a chapter, it's just there's there's just so much anger at myself. And so it's been really useful.


I've worked with this coach who I know you know, Jerry Colonna. Yeah. And I've been working with Jerry for years. He's an executive coach. But in many ways it's like very close to therapy. And so he I've been working with him for years. And, you know, really, he definitely helped me attune to a the fact that there was, notwithstanding my meditation practice, quite a bit of anger and B, that beneath that was a lot of fear since you invoked the name of the coach with the spider tattoo.


I'm going to use that and ask you a question that I'll paraphrase. I'm sure I'm not getting it entirely right. But the question the jury often asks is, how are you? Well, he encourages you to phrase it in the first person. So how am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don't want?


Yes, that is that is a Kelowna ism. How would you answer that? Or actually, how would you have answered that? Say, the pre 2010, and has the answer changed? I suspect it's funny, that's not a question. I've heard him ask that question, but it's not one we've worked on a lot, so I don't have a ready answer. So I'm going to have to process it a lot.


You know, in real time, I suspect it all comes back to the fear and anxiety to.


That in particular, pre 2010 or whatever, before I started getting really serious about meditation, but even after two, because it doesn't solve all of your problems, hence the whole 10 percent schtick, the the I would say the anger that flows out of the fear was creating a lack of collegiality for me and my work relationships and could sometimes be a really tough thing for my wife to deal with as well.


And I want to be clear. It's not like I was a rageaholic or anything like that. It's more just like I could go inward, I could withdraw. And that was hard for people to that is hard for people to read.


But nonetheless, I could also lose my temper, and that would be scary or annoying for people.


And I think now so back then it would if I felt like I had too much stress in my life, too much conflict in my life, I think I was complicit because I hadn't taken a look at the sources of my own fear and anger. And I would say now the answer would change to be more around the anxiety, which I worry.


And one of the things I really learned from Jerry and why Jerry focuses on the leadership in organizations is that a primary thesis of his is that when you have unexamined baggage as a leader in an organization, you pass your pathology along willy nilly throughout the rest of the organization.


It just starts to mirror your idiosyncrasies.


And now that I'm, you know, helping to run an organization, I mean, I guess I have a kind of a leadership role at ABC News, but within the 10 percent happier company, you know, I worry about and Jerry and I have talked a lot about my anxiety leading, you know, bleeding out into the rest of the organization.


And I really have to watch that.


You mentioned long ago in this conversation, actually, let's not go long ago. There is there's something that I've bookmarked for later discussion. But the withdrawal, the not in the drug sense, but the emotional withdrawing is something I'd like to dig into a little bit. So I'm looking at some of my notes and one says that you've had the experience or the habit of tending to avoid social engagements.


Is that related to you withdrawing or are you more of would you consider yourself an introvert? I ask in part because I. Generally withdraw from social engagements, I find them more depleting than reenergizing, generally speaking, particularly if it's a larger group, particularly if it's people I don't know very well from the outset. Could you speak to any aspect of that non question that I just threw? No, it's not a non question.


That was super redundant when I just said not a non question, but it's a real question. And I, I think actually the reason why I've had a big shift on this, I was not very good at. Keeping up with my friends and prioritizing social engagement for a long time. Largely. Well, it started a little bit when I stopped doing drugs, and that had a could have a negative relation, you know, relationship on your friendships with it can have a negative impact on your friendships with people who are still partying.


So there was that. And then I as I started to write, 10 percent happier. And then all of the stuff that happened after 10 percent happier, like launching a podcast and a company, all that stuff, I was just I told myself I was too busy. And so I was really like letting my friendships starve. I am not an introvert, though, I actually get an enormous amount of energy. I think I have some introverted tendencies.


Annika and I started Nonaka Harris and I started talking recently about this and we never finished the conversation yet.


I think she might have a good diagnosis for me, but I have some introversion in me. But generally speaking, I really love seeing my friends. And there was an episode a couple of years ago with my wife and my son and I went to a rooftop party. It was a goodbye party for two of my colleagues at ABC News, and it was just a small group of my ABC News colleagues and was so much fun. And I got in the car afterwards and I was like, why am I in such a good mood?


And I realized it's because I don't do this anymore. I'm not making this a priority.


And so over the last couple of years, I've completely switched that and which is hard during covid. But, you know, we we moved out of the city. We had the incredible good luck to be able to our lease was ending in the city. So we were able to get out of our apartment in the city and rent a house up in the suburbs and has a pool.


And so over the summer, we're able to, like, bring our friends over all the time.


And my happiness level went through the roof from regular social engagement. And this actually speaks to a huge issue in our culture, which is the lack of prioritization of social connection, which has led to a pandemic that predated the current pandemic, which was the pandemic of loneliness, which is a major contributing factor from the evidence I've seen to depression, anxiety, drug abuse, suicide. You know, there are many contributing factors here from the way we live, you know, the way our societies are structured, the myth of individualism where we think we could do everything alone, social media, which is further sort of taking us out of, you know, seeing each other in person.


And I think this is a gigantic social issue. And on an individual level, to be practical about it for your listeners, I think being deliberate about cultivating interpersonal relationships will pay unbelievable dividends.


You know, we've talked a lot about meditation, but I'm not a meditation fundamentalist. I think there are many, many, many levers to pull here.


And there's that one incredibly powerful one is just having good relationships. It's just right there in our evolution.


You know, we evolved to be social creatures. This is how we survived. We killed the mastodon as a group.


And yet we have, as the great writer Johann Hari has written, we're the first generation to voluntarily dissolve the tribe, but we need the tribe.


And so making your own tribe and if you're introverted, you know, for you, Tim, it might be about like smaller, close knit group of really, really powerful, intimate relationships. But we need those relationships. And I would recommend to people like being super deliberate about keeping those up even in a pandemic, maybe especially in a pandemic.


Yes. So the 10 percent happier.


Stick your words, not mine. Those earlier. I have a comment and then a whole slew of questions. So the comment is, I think you called it the 10 percent happier shtick because you were alluding to the fact that many of the emotional experiences that you had before meditation, you still have post meditation. And it made me think of I'm going to paraphrase here, but a parable in a book called Awareness by Anthony DeMello, who is a Jesuit priest.


And I suppose you call him a psychotherapist therapist, but tells his parable of this enlightened master who says before enlightenment, I was depressed. After enlightenment, I was still depressed.


But he goes on to say that the relationship to the depression changed. And I'm going to take some creative liberties here. But in brief, effectively says, you know, before enlightenment, I was depressed. And then after enlightenment, I continued to experience what we would call depression. But it was more of a there is depression or I am making myself depressed. And it was that level of.


Observer status that allows you to or certainly facilitates decreasing the half life of depression, right.


Sam Harris has talked about the half life of anger.


And if you can reduce that from like two hours to two minutes or five hours to one hour, the benefits are are huge, even if the subjective experience at times can still feel the same kind of pre and post. So I just I thought that was something very important that you alluded to when you were calling it the 10 percent hyper shticks. Let's talk about that. You publish 10 percent happier. Excellent title, by the way. Thank you. And it does very well.


It spawns all of these various businesses, apps and so on, that both contribute, I think, incredible tools to those who are open to them and is also made you into. I'm going to use a little bit of hyperbole here, but a very unlikely self-help guru.


So you have spent a lot of time as and probably still do as the the skeptic, the debunker of self-help pundits. In a sense, when you were writing or were contemplating writing, what became 10 percent happier. How did you approach it? And I think there probably quite a few things that I'm digging for here. And one is, how did you create a book that were think about creating it that ended up being very successful in a hugely crowded category?




Because I would imagine at the time, if you said to some of your friends, like, hey, I'm thinking about writing a book on meditation, they're like, well, yeah, if you want to be number five million, six hundred and seventy six thousand on the list of meditation books, knock yourself out.


Nonetheless, it cut through the clutter. So. How did you think about writing this book, I mean, you mentioned a little bit in brief earlier, but it really cut through and stood out so effectively in a crowded category.


I would just love to hear anything that you would have to say about that.


But I mentioned to Barbara Walters one time that I was working on this book. She turned to me and literally said, don't quit your day job.


So I, I know this was a completely I say this as somebody who's already outed himself as an atheist or an agnostic or whatever, but like I this was a complete leap of faith.


I had no reason to believe this was going to be a success. I did not think it was going to be a success. I thought it was going to be mildly embarrassing and then go away.


My publisher pushed back just for a second, though. A book is a hell of a heavy lift like that is not an easy thing to do. So what what were you hoping this book would do? Because as we both know, book economics, if you are a huge outlier, can produce some income, but they're not the best. It's like relying on music royalties or something like that. Why do it? You might not have had high expectations, but maybe you had some hopes relate to it.


So the right amount of work there was the fantasy, which I really was aware that was was a fantasy. And then there was the thing that kept me going day to day. So the fantasy. Yes. Was that I was kind of like a man. I still am like A, B or C level network news person who, you know, I worried about ever, like, really cutting through in that industry. And, you know, also could see quite clearly that it's not an industry that's kind to its senior statesman.


So, you know, what was my future here?


And so, like, my fantasy was that I would create a whole new brand for myself in some ways, and that it would really help a lot of people who would reflexively reject meditation in the ordinary course of events. But if talked about in the right way, would really embrace it. And so that was my fantasy. But I didn't allow myself to indulge in that that much because all the messages I was getting, including from my own publisher, were that this was not going to first of all, I couldn't sell the book.


I had a fancy book agent and he couldn't he got me one meeting and I and that one had a lot of eggs in one basket.




And that one editor bought it, but for very little money. And was the title 10 percent happier?


Well, OK, so he said they then tried to bargain me up to 20 or 30 percent happier. And I was like, you don't get the joke.


And they also at one point tried to get me to change the title to be happy now, which I did have like a real temper tantrum about that.


And so it was not good. I mean, the initial print run was 15000. I really didn't think it was going. I honestly didn't think it was going to succeed. But of course, I had the fantasies.


But the the thing that got me going from day to day because I had many conversations with people in my life, including my brother, who's really like my closest adviser and probably the smartest person I know.


And I remember him just kind of marveling at like, dude, you are. It took me five years to write that book, and he was just like, you are spending so much time on this thing and you have no idea. You know, if it's going to be published or whether it's going to be a success, what are you doing this for? And I think it was because I needed to figure this stuff out. And I know, you know, this time because you've written so many books like.


There was a great expression I heard once that you should only write a book if you have to.


And I felt like I had to write this book because I was trying to figure out these incredibly important issues to me around anxiety and ambition and and this the voice in the head and the remedies for that or the ways to work with it.


I only fully started to get some level of understanding as I was writing.


And so that's really what kept me going. Five years. That's a long time. When did you have the book?


I'm writing now is much to the consternation of the people in my orbit is going to take me at minimum for what are you working on right now, can you say or undercover?


I think it's similar to what you're working on in some ways, because I know you're writing a book about healing. And I would say I've only recently started using this formulation of I think it's a book about love.


Which is and I think love has gotten a really bad rap because it comes down to us through Hollywood movies, love songs and all you need is love, which I love that song, but like, definitely not true. Like, you also need to brush your teeth and whatever. There are lots of other things you need.


And I also think we don't think about love in the right way. Our understanding is kind of limited to the romantic or maybe the, you know, the way we feel about our kids. But in a lot of Buddhist circles that you can think about love as kind of anything north of neutrality, just like the human capacity to care. And you can also think of it as omnidirectional, which I think is perhaps the most interesting aspect here, which is in this gets to the hug the dragon aspect of it.


It's like if you can start to love yourself and I don't mean love yourself, like you're walking around giving yourself hugs or talking about how great you are, but like have some warmth towards your own inner ugliness.


Or as Ramdas has said before he passed, he said it's not about defeating your neuroses, it's about becoming a connoisseur of them. Like if you could think about, like, self-love in that way, well, that's like the unlock that can improve your relationships and lead to a really virtuous cycle of your inner, whether it's balmier, then your relationships get better. And as a consequence of your relationships, getting better, because we know that relationships are in many ways like the apex predator of like self care techniques or self care like aspects of self care, then then your inner weather gets better and then your relationships get better, and then it goes into a virtuous cycle, upward spiral.


And so for me, like that's what I mean when I'm talking about love. I wrote a subsequent book to 10 percent happier called Meditation for Fidgety Skeptic's, and I wrote it really quick and I made myself and everybody around me miserable.


And in the end the book was fine, but it wasn't like it's not as impactful, I don't think, as as 10 percent happier. And so my goal for this next book, and I may fail, but I'm willing to make the leap of faith and the investment, largely because I'm trying to figure this shit out for myself. And so it's going it's going to take me a long time books.


What a what an Everest the books are.


And I'm on the fence. You know, I have I will be honest. I have God knows how many words.


I mean, 50000, 100000, 150000 words gathered largely in the form of notes and rough drafts and so on for this healing, this book about how I should personalize it, because I don't think it's one size fits all but my own healing journey and I'm not going to lie that I have become. Largely demotivated, which is not necessarily a bad thing after releasing this podcast about the childhood abuse, because that was the big reveal that was going to be, in a sense, the nucleus of this book.


And I feel like the live dialogue with my friend Debbie Millman was a a more suitable format. In a way, it was a more emotionally charged appropriate format for that reveal than text. I'm not saying that's true for all things. I think that many, many things are better explored in the printed word. But since releasing that into the wild, I have all of these notes and I'm not. I've lost a bit of the the internal pressure and the there's going to be really dramatic, but sort of the like the devil worshipping me at my back to get that out into the world, if that makes any sense, which I think is is a good thing in a sense, because I'm.


Having not having to, but I'm choosing to leave more slack in the system, which I have done for the last month or two, and it's deeply uncomfortable, deeply, deeply, deeply uncomfortable.


It's like, you know, if you're thrashing around in the kiddie pool together, you don't have to look at the stuff that's at the bottom of the pool, but is creating so much surface froth with frenetic activity and lots and lots of projects and so on, which I've always not just done, I would say, to cover things, but because I enjoy that like the.


Kind of park or sixth gear to borrow from your from your friends, to your analogy.


When do you feel most? At ease and expansive, where would do you feel the greatest sense of spaciousness? I'm going to answer that, but can I just go back to your book for a second and I and I don't say this to be a devil whipping you, and I think it's totally fine if you never write the book and because the service you provided by releasing that podcast is already immense. So I say this very gingerly because, again, it's not to apply pressure, but it's maybe to it's a perhaps weak attempt at motivation, if that's even appropriate with it, because I think there's a difference because the podcast was stupendous in many ways, because, you know, of course, for people who suffered trauma and as you guys exposed on their, you know, or described on there, it may be as high as one of every three women and one in every six men and perhaps even higher, given the shame around reporting it among men.


So that's a huge population.


But beyond that, there were the themes that you describe that really resonated with me who who luckily didn't suffer any childhood abuse. There are the themes you described in there that are very similar to the themes that I'm describing, which is, you know, viewing these adaptive. Patterns, behavioral patterns and storylines that we adopt in childhood. You talked about sort of a dissociation which made a lot of sense, was a group as brilliant as a kid, but not so useful as you got older that the universality, I think, of bringing some warmth, exploring through various modalities.


You've described therapy, CBT in particular, but also psychotropic drugs and meditation, hearing you walk through that narrative in a much more granular way and letting us watch your process.


I think there there is an enormous amount of value you could provide there. Again, I'm not saying you're fucking up if you don't do it, but I could see how it would serve a lot of people if you did do it.


I appreciate the pep talk then. I it's not it's not absolutely off the table.


It's not absolutely off the table.


I have a stat, you know, Seth Godin would sort of give me a stiff drink and give me another talking, too, if you heard me saying this. But I have this, I think developed certain apprehension around writing because I really haven't written a monster book. Not that this would need to be a monster book, but it probably would, knowing me and my my tendency to write phone books was two thousand eleven.


So it's been a long time.


I mean, you have tools of titans which did have quite a bit of original writing, probably 150 to one hundred and fifty pages original writing.


But it was connective tissue for the rest of the book Tribe of Mentors, which was like one of the incredible demonstration of efficiency and having other people write a book for you, which I can't recommend highly enough.


So there's some apprehension around it. But I'll be getting back into the writing game and I think I need to sort of sharpen up my ice skates and take a bunch of shots on goal that are in a practice setting before I get back to real live gameplay.


But I suspect I'll get there very early on in this conversation you mentioned I don't want to say reverence that's too strong, but an appreciation for how adherence to these various religions you were exposed to through your assignments had regular regular cadence of contemplating their place in the cosmos, contemplating the universe in whatever capacity. Have you found an opportunity or a vehicle for doing that yourself, or is that still a non essential or non present at least element in the puzzle that is Dan Harris?


No, it's totally essential and it really comes in the form of Buddhism. And it's not just Buddhism. I don't want to be too sectarian about this. It's just living in exam and examined life generally. And so for me, that can happen in the form of my meditation practice and going on meditation retreats. But it's also, you know, hosting a podcast where I get to interview all of being all sorts of people, including you. It's listening to other people's podcasts, yours, Samms, our mutual friend Peter Attia.


It's reading books. So it's walking in nature.


It's it's anything that can jar you out of the constricted sense of being an ego, being a small self, peering fretfully out at the world through your eyeholes and more into.


God, this is where you get into this sort of cliched stuff, but like feeling connected. The and so I haven't toyed much with psychedelics, although I'm very interested in it, but, you know, you can get that in psychedelics. I can get it pretty easily in meditation.


I can get it in socializing with my friends, I get it with I have a five year old and a son and he is just like just a constant source of this and also, like worry and frustration, too, in engaging in the lifelong exercise and project of being in a marriage.


So there's so many for me that seems like such a target rich environment for contemplating.


Externally and internally, I mean, that has been just such an incredible shift in my life since. Those days when I was reluctantly exposed to, you know, the faithful and had that inchoate sense of maybe there was something I was missing, but I didn't want exactly what these guys were doing. I feel like I figured that out. I mean, I've figured out much, but I figured out the various access points for me to start this this investigation.


Just a quick side note on psychedelics for people who may not have any exposure to other conversations about them. This may seem odd, but I just pulled it up because I thought it might be fun. And instructor for folks. There's a book called The Island written by Aldous Huxley. Yeah, I've read it. And. OK, so Aldous Huxley also wrote Doors of Perception Considered the island.


His most important work was a novel about polla this utopian island. And there's this psychedelic brew, you know, psychedelic medicine called Moksha Moxham. And there's a there's a portion, if you don't mind me, sort of indulging myself on this podcast. I'll just read this real briefly. So here we go. This is a dialogue between two characters in the novel. The Moksha Medicine takes you to the same place you get to in meditation. So why bother to meditate?


You might as well ask why bother to eat dinner? But according to you, the moksha medicine is dinner. It's a banquet, she said emphatically. And that's precisely why there has to be meditation. You can't have banquets every day. They're too rich and last too long. Besides, banquets are provided by a caterer. You don't have any part in the preparation of them for your everyday diet. You have to do your own cooking. The moksha medicine comes as an occasional treat.


In theological terms. The moksha medicine prepares one for the reception of gratuitous gracies pre mystical visions or the full-blown mystical experience. Meditation is one of the ways in which one cooperates with those gratuitous gracies. How? By cultivating the state of mind, that makes it possible for the dazzling, ecstatic insights to become permanent and habitual illuminations by getting to know oneself to the point where one won't be compelled by one's unconscious to do all the ugly, absurd, self stultifying things that one so often finds oneself doing.


And I think that's a great, I suppose, description, narrative painting of a scene to compare or put side by side psychedelic compounds and experiences with meditation. Because I think the tendency among also many type A driven personalities when they hear the description of, say, a very strong psilocybin experience or ayahuasca experience as 15 years of therapy and two nights, they're like, great, I've been looking for the short cut.


Let me go do this and get on the front lines and take a thousand bullets to the face in a short period of time to get this over with so I can move into my more enlightened phase. And that's a very problematic approach and can backfire, can destabilize, can really untether people. Also, I use the expression ontological hive's earlier in the conversation, which I don't know. I'm not sure where that came from.


But there is a term that I don't know if the scientists would be comfortable with me using his name, but very well-known scientist would call ontological shock where people come out of these experiences.


So I'll just use the same word destabilized because of the richness, vividness, comprehensiveness of their experience under psychedelics, that they lose their faith in the fidelity and the realness of this. Let's call it ordinary reality. And that may sound like word salad to some, but it is it can be a not just terrifying but persistent issue for some folks. And, you know, there is a reason that psychedelics prior to that becoming the default term were called psycho memetics.


They were used to instigate what clinicians at the time assume to be psychotic episodes, even though neurobiological they're actually quite different. If you were to look at a functional MRI or or the activities are quite different, but subjectively they can seem quite similar. So that is that is not something you want to do on a daily basis. It may be something you never want to do, but meditation allows you to sort of access many of the same channels without having it at Spinal Tap.


Eleven of volume. So that's soliloquy complete.


But if we flashforward see. Three years, like three years for this kind of thought exercises for you to be. In retrospect, looking back at the past three years, this is three years from now, what would you like to see in your own life? That's deliberately very broad.


But if we were to flash forward to Dan Harris three years from today and ask, are you happy with the last three years? Are you satisfied? You content, pleased, choose your adjective. What assessment would you would you run? One of the things you would look for, anything in particular. Well, look, there's a superficial level that's not unimportant, but the superficial level of, you know, I'm really focused on professionally on building a brand and a company that is going to help a lot of people and grow and be good for our employees.


And, you know, writing the book is part is, you know, sort of related to that. And so all of that stuff, which I would put on the more superficial end of the spectrum. Well, again, not being unimportant that's there. I would say deeper is is this stuff, again, just to invoke this cheesy little hug, the dragon phrase, you know, like that seems to me like to be incredibly. Onward leading and to have.


Profound ripple effects for like every aspect of my existence. The more I can switch my response to my own. To use this phrase, again, sort of inner ugliness from anger or just sort of blind obedience to a sort of slightly amused warmth. That just strikes me as like really consequential in terms of how I'm treating myself and then how I'm treating other people and then all of the ramifications of that dynamic.


And so it will show up in lots of ways, like how am I about, you know, my own feelings about like my own body or toward food or toward productivity or how am I in my marriage?


How is all of that modeling, which, of course, your kids going to see? How is that all?


Impacting him and what kind of human he's going to become and all of the ripple effects of his actions in the world. So, yeah, that seems like the project to me. And it's not just as simple as, you know, you talked before about like kind of and I didn't respond to it because we moved on. But there was you were talking before about like selflessness or not self, the the the idea in Buddhism that there is no solid self here.


So instead of saying I'm angry, you can just say there is anger. And I see that is related to the it's not just that you have a warm relationship to your anger.


You see that the anger isn't as solid, like identifying with it as my anger instead of seeing it. And this is kind of radical as nature. We again think of ourselves as atomized individual egos. Right. Just nature is outside of us. We're looking at it through this lens of me.


But absolutely it can't be true to go to the cliche about, like you're the the atoms that make up your body or from the first exploded stars. You are part of nature. And so therefore, all of the horrible little things that you're thinking, all of these things that you feel so much like you.


That's nature to. And and that helps you not identify with it not it doesn't have to be your anger anymore, it can just be anger.


And so the combination of viewing it with some warmth and then viewing it as just nature, as a selfless phenomenon that you don't have to claim. That project seems like a I would love to be further and further along in the development of those twin mutually reinforcing capacities over the next three years.


Me too.


You mentioned the weather patterns earlier in the conversation in getting I very rarely, I would say, never get angry at the day for being overcast or raining or the black rights of getting closer to that level of equanimity, detachment, slash connection with the occurrences of emotions and viewing them. Similarly, that's something to aspire to.


You can view your emotion as a weather pattern. This is not my analogy, because I can you can view the what is a hurricane or any storm. It's a confluence of meteorological atmospheric events that come together to create a storm. But you can't find any core to the storm. There is no essential nugget of storm. It's a coming together of a variety of phenomena. And the same is true for your anger. But we just don't see it that way.


And so starting to just play with the idea of like this anger may just be a naturally occurring phenomenon, just like a storm, as Joseph Goldstein often says, takes the nutriment of I out of it and makes it so much less loaded. The question that keeps popping to mind for me, I don't know why I want to ask, but I'm going to ask if I were to ask Dr. Beanca, your partner in crime partner in life or not.


I if I were to rather put her in a situation with you where she is saying to you, Dan, I am so proud of you for Dot.


Just looking back over the last to be last few years. Could be last week, could be anything but what might she say to you?


I don't have to guess, actually, because Jerry Colonna, not that long ago, he and I were having a Skype session and he asked me something to the effect of like what would be a similar question to what you just asked, like what would be OK? And I said, well, we don't have to guess. Let's bring her in. And she she's pretty shy. So she was mad at me for doing this. But I pulled her over in front of the camera and he asked her about she loves him, so she was happy to see him.


So she asked him a bunch of questions. He asked her a bunch of questions and and she said the following, which was. So just by way of background, I got involved with Gerry because I had a 360 review, this was two and a half years ago for those of Rudel. Yeah, OK, so have you ever had one? I have. OK, it took me a while to recover from it. OK, so I'm still recovering.


This was like two and a half years ago and I had a 360 review.


I did it as like a cute little thing that I thought might be like a good element for a book that I was writing.


Now let's do you want to just for people who don't know what it is, describe what this is. Yes, I will. So a 360 review is a corporate thing, mostly where you where you hire a company, an executive will hire a company or the executives boss will hire a company that comes in and interviews said executives, superiors, peers and subordinates. So you get a 360 view of how they're performing in the company.


I with Jerry, did the colonoscopy version of this where we interviewed 16 people, both from my professional life and my personal life.


So like my life, my brother, they're against OK, exactly. There be dragons, which, by the way, I've learned how to hug.


But I didn't I didn't know this. I didn't have a lot of sort of warmth toward my inner dragons in the when we did this two and a half years ago. And the results were devastating. Devastating.


I mean, I was because everybody the feedback is reported anonymous.


Yes. Yes. That's a key point key. It's like basically I got to eavesdrop on a conversation that's 16 of my closest colleagues and friends and family members had behind my back.


And and all the feedback was anonymized. And it was I was sick for days. And that's the book I'm writing now is that's that's the panic attack of the book I'm writing now. So the first book began with a panic attack. This book begins with a 360.


And so I thought it was going to be like a cute little device I would use for a book. It turned out to be so devastating that it became the whole book, my sort of dealing with what I learned in this 360. And it's the best thing that ever happened to me as horrifying, one of the best things that ever happened to me, as horrifying as it was. And so anyway, Jerry called back over and she said that she was incredibly proud of me for dealing with all of the contents of the 360, which she has read.


First time she read it, she cried.


She said she was very proud of my dealing with it forthrightly and really digging in. And I said at the moment, well, Bianca, you know, like I'm writing a book about this. So I'm essentially getting paid to do this work. And I don't know, like I have trouble giving myself too much credit. And she had. She's had to say this to me time and time again, and it's really a relief, she's like, I don't care why you're doing it, you're doing it and you can't fake the doing of it.


Whatever your motivations are like, if you're really doing it, you're really doing it. And the benefits for her, for my son, potentially, if I do my job correctly and write the book well, the benefits for other people should be real.


So that was I was just I audio record all of my conversations with Jerry because I often write about them and I was just listening to that the other day. So your question is serendipitous because I haven't happened to have her words fresh, fresh in my mind. And yeah, it's very moving for me to hear. Well, I don't care why you're doing it. That's a good partner right there. That's a good intervention. Just a few more questions and we'll still do a couple overlearned on some some candy, some shorter questions.


Although the answers don't have to be short books, you've gifted the most to other people outside of of your own. What books have you gifted the most to other people? Anything that comes to mind and why. Yes.


Are the books that I most recommend are won't surprise you all going to be with one exception, they're all going to be sort of meditation books, although the one exception has some pretty strong ties to it too.


For people who are interested in learning more about this, I recommend Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright Waking Up by Sam Harris Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg.


And now there's a new entrant, which would be You Belong by 70 Selassie the the non meditative book I would recommend, but it actually has some pretty strong Dharma overtones is perhaps the best novel I have ever read. And it was sent to me by seven SLAC who I just referenced, who wrote that book, You Belong. She's a meditation teacher and she her love language is to send people books. And so she sent me a book recently and it was called The Over Story.


Did you read it? This is where I'm going to I'm going to drown in my own productivity shame because this book has been recommended to me so many times.


It's on my Kindle and I haven't yet gotten past page one, so I need to read it. But please describe it for people.


Well, page one is tough, actually. I can see why you wouldn't get past page one, because it's a barnburner of a story.


And so, in fact, you don't need to look at this as homework because it's in a massively pleasurable read.


The only warning I would give you is that as a fellow writer, I found the book to be utterly humiliating because I realized that he has more skill in a single paragraph than I will ever muster in my entire writing career. This guy is a force of nature and the book is about nature. The book is is ostensibly about trees, but it's really about humans and their relationship to trees. And he is able to render these incredible characters and create this really page turner of a book that is, again, sort of ostensibly about trees, which makes it sound very boring.


But now I'm fascinated by trees.


And I loved the book and I just couldn't believe I still can't believe how much how talented a writer he is.


It's just it's not fair.


I will just say I will just finally say that one of the great joys of my life recently has, you know, has been having a son and or a child, but he happens to be a boy. And we moved to the suburbs and we're doing the most quintessential cheesy suburb thing, which is he's a Cub Scout now and he loves nature. So we will like we have these like Cub Scout pamphlets and we walk around the yard trying to identify trees.


And that has in part been fueled by the reading of the over story.


Any favorite documentaries or documentaries you most recommend or tend to recommend? A lot. And I also have a question about, well, very personal, I suppose, approach to documentaries. But how would you answer that? I love I'm a sucker for a rock doc, so I will watch pretty much any rockumentary that comes out. So I'm obviously the king of of them is The Last Waltz, which is a Martin Scorsese movie about the final concert put on by the band.


There actually is a new documentary called Once We Were Brothers, I believe.


And it's also about the band, Robbie Robertson.


It's on Hulu right now and I loved that. But I will watch like my wife and I just watched a Showtime documentary about the Go Goes, and that was amazing. I watched a decidedly mediocre Netflix documentary about the K pop band, Black Pink, but I loved it anyway, even though it wasn't really that good. No Direction Home about Bob Dylan Song Exploder, which is the new Netflix show where they they do a half hour on like a song that I watched one last night, just last night about losing my religion by RTM.


And it's basically a little mini documentary about how they made the song and ended up telling the story of the band as part of that. And so, yeah, that's what I find myself watching when I'm looking to relax.


So perhaps people are not looking to relax necessarily. But could you please describe Guardians of the Amazon? I feel I would be remiss not to bring that up.


I did a documentary like an hour long documentary about this Amazonian indigenous tribe. We finished it and posted it in February. It's on YouTube. You can watch it there. It's also on Hulu. And I went followed this indigenous tribe. They started their own paramilitary organization to go out and do this incredibly dangerous thing of arresting illegal loggers. Illegal loggers are basically the tip of the spear when it comes to deforestation. The way it works is the loggers come in, they take all the valuable trees, and then then people come in and flatten the whole part of the forest and turn into grazing land for cattle.


If you want to know why we have so much deforestation, you can largely blame your cheeseburger.


The tribe, though, is incredible. And we embedded with them on a mission and they we were right. It does like so much action unfolded in front of our lenses as they went out and found these loggers. And they're armed with bows and arrows. Machetes, muskets, rifles, pistols is extraordinary.


It is visually and emotionally arresting. If people just watch the trailer for Guardians of the Amazon, my reasons for saying that will be extremely, extremely clear. You've given a few motto's. If few mantra's, if you had a billboard, metaphorically speaking, to reach billions of people, message to put up could be a quote. Could be a word, could be an image, could be anything at all.


What might you put up on that billboard?


I don't know if this is if this would work on a billboard, but the most exciting idea I've ever encountered. And I think it's now my job on the planet to spread the word about this, which is in part why I was. Badgering you about writing your book, because I think your book makes this point, will make this point in a beautiful way, the most exciting idea is that the mind is trainable, that we are not stuck with.


All of the things we don't like about ourselves that you can, through various modalities, including meditation therapy, psychedelics, walks in nature working on your relationships, there are so many ways that you can train your mind. I'm obsessed with music. And I used to back when record stores were a thing. I would always go to Newbury Comics in Boston and spend an hour or so flipping through the new records, and they would had this like white board that listed all of the upcoming releases when I was so interested to see, like, what new records were going to come out.


And and there was an expression above the list and it said, all dates can change.


So can you. That is the truth, dude, like you can change in like you've demonstrated, this is why I was so sort of galvanized by listening to your podcast and I knew some of it because you when you came in to do my podcast a while ago, you actually I think we had stopped rolling, but you had told me some of the story. And so I was aware of some of what I was going to hear on the podcast.


But just hearing more about the work you've done to recover from this grievous injury. Makes that point that we can change.


It's not I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but it is doable. And what are the options?


Yeah, all dates can change and so can you. I like it. And that's stuck clearly. I mean, that that that I guess. What was it?


Sign poster board the letters that fit into those grooves. I'm just imagining one of those announcement boards in high school. All dates can change and so can you. I think that's a good place to start to wrap up.


Dan, is there anything else you would like to say, request complaint's comments, anything you would like to posit or request of my audience listening? No, I'm very grateful to you for having me on.


Thank you. And it was actually it was really fun. So that's all I have to say, is this has been a whole hell of a lot of fun.


And I always enjoy our conversations and can't wait to see the new book when that is done.


And people can find you online quite easily, they can find the book 10 percent happier. Also, the follow up meditation fidgety skeptic's a 10 percent happier. How to book. You have the 10 percent happier company with the app and so on Twitter at Dan B Harris one s Instagram at Dan Harris, Facebook at Dan Harris ABC.


Is there anywhere else, any other you URLs or anything that that might be helpful to mention for people who want to see and learn more about what you're up to?


I mean, you can check out the podcast.


We've had illustrious guests such as Tim Ferriss and many of the all of the meditation teachers who've been referenced in the course of this show. Our regulars on the show, on the show, we post episodes twice a week. So basically it's a fiesta of if you enjoy, if you like, thinking about human flourishing.


That's that's all we talk about. And just like Tim and Sam and others do as well. So that's what you check that out. What is the name of your podcast? Also called 10 percent happier. Easy to remember brand continuity.


You know, you I know you're a big investor and in companies. And so brand continuity is reasonably important.


Yes, very important dates can change and so can you, but your branch shouldn't change every Tuesday. That is something that you probably want to keep more constant. Dan, once again, thank you so much for taking the time.


This was just a great way to wrap up this week. We're recording on a Friday and really appreciate also what you're doing in the world and what you're sharing. I think it's incredibly valuable and incredibly practical. Also coming at it from the perspective of a skeptical investigative wartime journalist who is loathe to believe in any mythologies or fairy tales.


I think that appeals to an entire large segment of the population who would otherwise not be open to even test driving any of these these tools that can so demonstrably help. So it's it's a it's quite a service that you put into the world. So on to thank you for that. And to everybody listening, everything we've talked about will be linked to in the show notes. So you can find all of that at Timba blog.


Fortgang podcast. Until next time. Thank you for tuning in. Hey guys, this is Tim again. Just a few more things before you take off. No. One, this is five bullet Friday. Do you want to get a short email from me? And would you enjoy getting a short e-mail from me every Friday if that provides a little morsel of fun before the weekend and five? Black Friday is a very short email where I share the coolest things I've found or that I've been pondering over the week that could include favorite new albums that I've discovered.


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