ATTENTION: This is an automated transcript for this episode of “People I Know Show”. It has not been edited or reviewed. It will have some mistakes and sometimes be unclear.
It’s like three o’clock in the morning, I was like, I can’t sleep. It’s cold. I can’t take a shit. I can’t do anything. I can’t leave. I’m completely stuck.
This is People I Know Show a podcast about influential people personal growth and being wrong. I’m Curt Carstensen. This is Episode 66. My guest is Gene Healy. I spent some time recently with Gene and a few dozen others at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona as Gene and I’ll get into in the conversation. It is the third time I’ve met him at an event and the more I’ve gotten to know him, the more his mind has fascinated me. And little did I know, prior to recording this conversation, all the ways that he is even more fascinating than I realized, for instance, later in the episode, he will tell a story of being at a Silent Retreat in Korea, his experience and it really blew my mind that he had been through something like that and several things like that. People like him that have lived this journey. Fascinating, clearly, and it fits right into my podcast, someone that I met that’s interesting, that is also helping people growing as a person aware of when he’s been wrong. He’s a great example of someone I want to introduce to you. Initially, I thought we were going to be on a time constraint for this conversation. As it turned out, we weren’t but then again, we were because his phone eventually died prior to the time that he did have Go. So I’ve edited out the final portion of the conversation prior to his phone dying, but for that if you want it, it’s on the YouTube video. The link is in the show notes. And you can watch right up until the feed cut out and you may enjoy that if you really are into this conversation. I would suggest doing that as maybe a teaser for the next time I have Gene on the podcast if that transpires. Also the show notes are links to learn more about Michael Bernoff and the events that we talked about. Michael recently started a podcast of his own the average sucks show. It’s really good. You might want to add that to your repertoire of podcasts you listen to subscribe to this show People I Know Show if you haven’t already in whichever app that you use. If it’s Apple podcasts. You can leave a rating into review there. I would love to see more of those. Tell me what you like. And if you have something you don’t like, that’s okay to maybe send me an email People. I Know Show At gmail.com as this episode drops, I am somewhere traveling around Europe. And that journey and those experiences and some of the people prominent on my trip will be featured in future episodes. Now, here’s my conversation with Gene Healy.
Episode 66 of People I Know Show Curt Carstensen, joined today by Gene Healy. Hello Gene.
Hey Curt, good to talk to you.
And you, as I know are located in Florida. Where exactly are you today?
I’m in Oldsmar, Florida but my practice what I always tell people is I live in Dunedin in Florida. It’s right next to Clearwater Tampa, St. Pete area.
I have been through there once in my life, I probably need to spend a little more time there because it seemed like a really nice place to be. Jean. We saw each other recently, I think for the third event of our life, third time in the last year. We’re involved with Michael Bernoff’s, communication events, as a few of my guests have been in the past. And I saw you there we learned again together. And every time I come back from it, I feel like I’m a better communicator. I’m way more positive, not that I’m a negative person normally, but I feel really good about what’s going on. And I keep building off of it. Why have you gotten involved in this? What are you looking for when you’re going to an event like we just were at with super hit?
That’s a good question. Can I tell you a little bit about the background? How I met Michael and my kind of evolution with him?
So I met him through a different group that I go to a healthcare group healthcare entrepreneurs group because I’m in healthcare. And when I met him, I could recognize that he was a wonderful communicator. He was a powerful individual and he was always really on, but I didn’t know him well enough. So he made me kind of nervous. I could see by the way that he interacted with the crowd that He could be persuasive and persuasion can be used for both a good purpose and a bad purpose. I didn’t have a good read on if I liked him as a person. So I took the the event and then we ended up having dinner that night with him and a bunch of us and I got to talk to him and meet him as a person. And I realized he was a really good person, genuine person good heart, a strong communicator Of course and really had a passion for teaching other people how to communicate with other people and also themselves so I decided to buy into his event. The first event you and I went to we went to core right yeah, and, and a core I had zero expectations. I hadn’t done his other things like called x action. And when I went to core I experienced
the experience of core Have you talked about core on your podcast yet?
Yeah, I have a different episodes and I’ll definitely within the show notes link back to some of those for people interested in and to get people to the the links To find more about Michael burn off, but go on.
So I thought core was interesting because it was completely unexpected. And what I realized about it we’ll talk about this later is I have quite a bit of meditation experience. I like those kinds of things. And a meditation experience or going for a retreat is the process of kind of breaking down your defenses where you start to relax and be open, and to be vulnerable and to kind of let yourself kind of come forth. So I realized about two days in about a day and a half into Michael’s event that it was kind of similar the structure and everything worked out. And of course, as you remember, for core, you relax and you start to reveal, you start to interact, and it can be very liberating, right? Yes. So I had a liberating experience, and it’s a bit euphoric after. So it’s like the buzz after a meditation retreat where you feel as if you kind of touched more of your true self and that’s intoxicating for a certain amount of time when you go back into the world because of that, went ahead and did HIV. And you and I were there for HIV and HIV is more like techniques, learning how to actually do things. And I never taken the time to really think, okay, I enjoy this experience, but how can I use it more professionally? How can I use it as a technique to work with substance and the function of the mind. So I started to use his techniques and found them really interesting and fast and engaging for people. So when we went you and I this last time to Super, which was a third event, once again, it’s all of those experiences of being in a community of starting to really talk and experience yourself how you want to be and learning more techniques to bring into the world. So I have found it to be really useful now. And now I’m actually using techniques and it’s to a degree shifted some of my practice and how I want to work in the future.
And we mentioned HR It human interaction technology, and then super HIV, super human interaction technology just continuing to build on what we learned the previous time, as you mentioned, let’s talk about your practice more. And week. If we get back into some of what we’ve learned together, that’s certainly fine. You’ve been running route healing wellness for how many years? And what it what was the focus initially, and I get the sense that it’s expanded since then, but perhaps not.
Yeah, it has expanded. I got back from South Korea, I lived there about 19 years of my life off and on. I have traveled kind of extensively in Asia and practice medicine throughout the world. I think I’m at eight countries at this point. So there’s a story I can tell you later, but I decided to come back to the states I got married. I had to put my big boy pants on and join the world and do make something
the big boy pants fit properly.
They were very loose in the beginning. I’m going into them though.
I decided to come back and establish a practice about seven years ago in the beginning, it was just an acupuncture practice with me traditional Chinese medicine that is and now it’s grown to include functional medicine and regenerative medicine with stem cell therapy. I’m doing some of the Michael burnouts stuff in the practice now. And I think I have a two doctors, two acupuncture positions and a do on staff.
I’ve never gotten acupuncture. I was about to do it one time, and then something came up, but I’ve never pursued it again. It’s something that for a long time, I didn’t really understand at all. And now I still am not sure I understand it. So speak to me and anyone else that is like me, what, what really is happening when you’re having a patient doing an acupuncture session?
Okay, I’ll try I try to use biomedical language or some kind of analogy that a patient can understand instead of using terms that you’re not going to get like she. So let’s say for example, you had a muscle spasm. Issue, okay. So when you actually have a needle insertion, what happens is is the muscle actually relaxes. So you release the muscle that we can kind of understand. When you release the muscle, you also release the connective tissue around the muscle. But not only that, what happens is is that stimulating blood flow to the area of the body. It’s also increasing nerve conduction. It’s a foreign body, so the body recognizes it as foreign. So it starts to do things like send an immune response, their white blood cells go to the area, inflammation reduces there’s endorphin release in the brain, and it starts to shift the body into homeostasis. So oftentimes, especially like American patients, we’re in this fight or flight response, hyper fight or flight and it settles you down and put you into a rest and digest. So all of that literally occurs while you’re on the table. Or normally after you finish the treatment, you lay about 25 minutes to kind of digest it.
That makes sense. I’ve never had it explained to me. But it sounds like you’re just it’s like a life hack. But it’s a technical one where you’re tricking your body to do things that would be good for it in that moment.
That’s correct in your guiding. So the thing about acupuncture and points and things like that is you can target organ systems, you can target certain functions, you’re giving it direction. So let’s say you had something like hormone imbalance or for you, you’re a man, let’s say you had sleep issues, insomnia. So what we could do is we can kind of target your brain help you with that rest and digest your insomnia might be caused by a variety of things. Say for example, it was caused by a cortisol response, then we can kind of target that system to relax. So the more skilled practitioner, they can actually kind of hack your body to help it do its job more properly. Because the problem is you’re in a disease state, and we need to put you back into a balanced state.
I’d imagine you get people coming into Practice for a variety of reasons and using acupuncture. What are maybe the top two or three that come to mind where you see people getting the greatest results really helping them improve in whatever way that they’re needing?
Probably top three, we’ll say the first reason why people come is pain because pain motivates people in acupuncture is quite fast, it can start to shift pain. Oftentimes, first day, you’ll feel some kind of improvement in pain. It’s just not completely resolved. You have to go through treatment like physical therapy, but we see a lot of patients for autoimmunity. We do particularly well with that. It’s not just acupuncture, we have to have functional medicine, lifestyle, nutrition, those kinds of processes without immunity, and we’re really quite good at that. We have a very special process with vision and vision loss if people are losing vision due to things like diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration. It’s pretty unique and about 85% of patients can have some of their vision restored. Within 10 treatments,
explained to me what else is going on there? If I’m not showing up for acupuncture then what else? might you be able to help someone with based on your years of training and being in all these different places in the world? What have you picked up on that you think you bring to the table especially? Well there because of all of this?
That’s a good question. So we’re particularly broad based in our skill set most of the time, for example, acupuncture is just a single therapy and in America, acupuncturist will just do only acupuncture 50% of acupuncturist won’t even do herbal therapy, Chinese herbal therapy, which is stronger for an internal medicine process. If you had for example, lupus or hormones, you have to do herbs to really get a good result. So not only are we strong herbalists we’re very good at functional medicine, which means we read labs. We do very detailed labs. We look at targeted supplementation, nutrition lifestyle, so you can help people do things like weight loss, blood pressure, or get off medication. regenerative medicine is a very exciting and new field where people are actually regrowing new tissue for things like knee deterioration, degeneration of the spine, shoulder tears, things like that you can actually regrow tissue. It’s really quite interesting and amazing. So we do all three of those. Those are the main kind of physical medicine that I do. But I do have a strong interest in leaning towards working with the mind. I teach a meditation class every Wednesday. It’s not as popular I would say, like, if we talk about meditation, not as many people are interested in, it just doesn’t have sex appeal, right? If you go to a yoga studio, you got 100 people doing yoga, they offer a free meditation class, you have to pay, you might get five to 10 people come from that yoga studio to the meditation. People don’t want to just sit there and do the work of really being with themselves. That’s actually one of the reasons why I like Michael stuff because everybody resonates in response to previous trauma or the loop that we run in our head. And his NLP material is so fast for kind of breaking that loop and getting people out of their head. And it relieves trauma quickly. And I think it kind of sets the stage creates trust, so you can do the work like meditation. So I bring all of those things were quite broad in what we do. And I do have a lot of skill sets.
A main reason I have this podcast is as we’ll get into later, with the being wrong segment, I feel like I’ve been wrong about so many things in my life. And I really changed my mind and a lot of ways in a big shift for me was just when I recognized that I don’t know that much or not nearly as much as I once thought I did, and just allowing myself to be influenced by different people, different things that I hadn’t before because I think at a certain point in my life, I was pretty straightforward thinking I had all these great answers to everything and I meet different people every day. And I really think a lot of people are still in that place where they’re not. They’re not using their peripheral vision, I suppose, as a metaphor to really seeing what else might be out there or that other people have better answers than they have. So I see a real comparison to what you’re doing with your practice. And the reason that we go to the Michael burn off events, for instance, of just showing up and allowing people that see things differently, have done things a different way to influence the way we’re living our lives. And whatever shift that happens. Because of that, there’s a pretty good chance, there’s going to be a lot of positive that comes from it and just being open to some change that you’re not quite aware of prior to showing up.
Absolutely, I completely agree. This kind of narrow mindedness and rigidity, the inflexibility that we can all get into, I think it’s good to be exposed not just to new things, but if you can really open up your mind and heart to participate in something and really participate full out Then you can have tremendous growth. And without this stepping into the the nervousness and the fear and the insecurity of doing something new, then you’re never going to grow as a person. And the people that come to Michael burn off events or come sees me as patients, they’re willing to take some kind of step because they’ve suffered enough in their life that they have to find a solution. Otherwise, it’s just untenable for them.
The reason that when I first met you, and even now I have asked you to be on the podcast. There’s always a few reasons but I think the biggest one is when I first observed you, I think from a distance coming up on nine or 10 months ago when we went to the core strength experience event in Scottsdale, Arizona, that we had talked about earlier, is you appeared to be one of the most if not the most, like analytical person I’ve ever come across, like the way I could just tell your mind was working, and all sorts of ways that I felt like this guy is really smart. I’m not sure exactly. How I how smart in what way but the way that you were just trying to understand everything around you. I felt like I could relate to it because I’m kind of like that, maybe not to the degree you are.
Can you explain
if you’re able to like your thought process compared to what you see from the different people around you, how you go about making your decisions in and really taking in what you observe in the world?
Well, as I’ve gotten older and had the experiences that I’ve had in my life, I’ve become a little bit more dispassionate, this passionate, not in the sense that I don’t have passion, but meaning that I’m not attached to circumstances because I know circumstances constantly change. So most people live their life in a very reactive way. And it clouds their mind that clouds their ability to think through things or to see things clearly. I’ve had enough experience to be able to see clearly to a certain degree. With that being said what happens is the mind just gets sharper. The Less obstruction, it has the list, it’s caught up in the repetitive loops, it’s just able to perceive the environment better. So the thing about the mind though, is that the mind thinks through things rationally and logically to the best of its ability, but their shortfalls you cannot think your way through to the answers of life can’t be done. There’s no philosophy that conclusively proves anything through any kind of like if and therefore statement doesn’t work that way, the mind has limitations. So, with that being said, as you kind of reflect on yourself, then there is a process of then you have to engage and do something, there is this kind of almost a shift from an analytical mind to this kind of trusting, believing person who is going to let go that analytical mind and engage the rest of the unconscious mind which is emotional and everything else that goes on underneath the surface. So I do like to study it because people don’t understand for example, traditional Chinese medicine or meditation, they don’t understand it. They think it’s All intuitive but it’s actually very scientific. Specifically like the Buddha with his enlightenment experience when he was meditating all those years ago, he had supreme enlightenment. And then what he did was when he was sitting there, he retrace the steps and found out what it is that he did to accomplish what he did. And he organized it and systematize it and from that process, you got capacity meditation, things like mindfulness, meditation all come from that. It’s just the ability to analyze the steps. So the steps when it comes to any particular field of knowledge, you know what, you know, right? Okay, this plus this A plus B is going to equal C, you can outline and understand that as long as you’re dispassionate enough, but then there are the things that you don’t know. And if you’re honest about what you don’t know, and you don’t let your ego get engaged, is your ego wants to know wants to be the person who’s in the know if that ego doesn’t get it Engage, then you can see what you don’t know. And if you’re strong enough a person, I would say trusting enough a person you can let go and start to use different aspects of your unconscious to hopefully get past that plateau and analytical reasoning. I don’t know if any of what I said was useful for you, but it’s about clarity.
And I really think it is because I perceived you as being super analytical, but it seems like you let go of your previously very analytical part of your brain and maybe it’s the what you’ve learned through meditation, or perhaps some other things that you’ve done, has taken over and I am just misperceiving what you’re doing when you’re sitting there. taking everything in maybe you’re not thinking the way that I feel like I would be thinking of the way I’m watching you and you’re going through the process, as you explained, which is different than what I do, I think, and probably a lot different than the average person
which that integration Can I can I show you a picture real quick with my hands. So when I was in school, One of my religion teachers, they talked about enlightenment in ignorance. Okay, so let’s say we had two circles. I don’t know how this is going to show but we have two circles, and there’s an overlap. Okay? So the two big circles, one kind of represents complete ignorance. The other represents complete enlightenment. But what we have is we have this overlap in the center, okay? Where they crossover. So the mind, ignorance is this inability to kind of understand and perceive the environment. In light Mint is the ability to understand perceive the environment, and live it fully. And then you have this overlap where you can kind of go back and forth. So let’s say we had all analytical here and all intuitive here. Oftentimes, you see people that are good at one or the other, but they’re not good at both. They’re not good at the overlap or things crossover but to use your mind fully, to be fully realizing your potential is to be able to switch to have less and less interference and a seamless interaction. So you’ve seen me at a tip in superhuman where I’m analytical because I’m analyzing questions and I’m answering. But you’ve also seen me do a rap battle and things like that, which take no analysis, they take this kind of like, fearless jump into the fray, to just kind of do it. So if I get stuck in my analysis, I won’t be able to do those things. And I do kind of like to live in my analysis a little bit, as you can see by how you see me and how I talk, but I know that it does have its limits.
I was quite amazed at how good of a rapper you were and to explain this as a part of the the HIV trading that we were at. Somehow, I definitely did not advance a few individuals from larger groups got too advanced to be a part of a rap battle. I don’t think we even knew you’re going to be a part of a rap battle you were you were selected. You were there. And then it was tossed on you that you were a part of this four person rap battle. And everyone that was involved was pretty good. But you and I think one or two others were just blew me away at how good you were. But I don’t know if any of you have ever rapped before in your life. It was like, how is this happening? How is this guy this good at this without maybe ever doing it before?
I thought that experience is kind of interesting, because I was but I’m a bit nervous about public spectacle that could make me embarrassed. So I have hesitation. I’m not one to just quickly jump out and dance or do karaoke. Those are things that are gonna you know, make me pee my pants a little bit. But the rap battle process, one of the things we learned especially at a chai tea is how to get into trance quickly. And I kind of was able to tap into that I just had to stay there. I had to stay in trance is essentially just an altered state of consciousness where you’re able to hopefully direct your mind more efficiently. So I just had to stay in a trance state, not look up and engage the crowd too much. And then when I was called upon to do something just kind of release myself in an unconscious way, but where I still knew the techniques and everything and trusted like all this stuff that you and I had learned at work, so I just did it spontaneously. It didn’t have that much thought to it. It was my first time wrapping. It was a lot of fun. I haven’t looked at the tape. I’m a little too embarrassed to you. I might need a couple beers to look at it.
Well get those beers if you need them, but you should watch it it was really impressive. Have you wrapped since then? Have you tried it again since then, because of that experience.
Now if I wrap it might be like goofy stuff like making Dr. Seuss rhymes with my child but no.
We ought to try it again sometime. There have been several notes of things I want to talk about and I think we’ve kind of touched on a lot of it but let’s go to your your personal life if you will. You mentioned that after living and and studying or teaching or practicing in eight different countries in the world throat Look, it sounds like a couple of decades, you settled back to the United States settled down married kids now, explain what that’s like because I I’m 36 soon to be 37 not married virtually on attach just kind of doing my thing. Did you have a certain plan to do this? Or what happened that your life shifted in that way is is this coming for me gene?
Probably it comes for a lot of people because that’s just the structure of society. And oftentimes what happens is we just kind of ready. So probably for you if that’s something that you want, like human connection, and the way to kind of relate to someone really intimately is very well expressed in some kind of partnership. And what I know about you, Kurt, is that you’re a loving individual, you have a lot to offer. So I assume that you’ll want that at one day kids is a whole separate question. My evolution I think I thought I was reflecting on the show. Yesterday and actually this morning, nobody I don’t know about nobody but me. I never imagined my life to be what it turned out to be. And I’m quite happy and pleased and excited about what it is and all the opportunity that I have to develop more in the future. It’s it’s been meandering, but there’s always been kind of a straight line to it. So I did start and I’ve, since I was young, I was really interested in kind of religious topics as a little boy, and I wanted to do something in the church for a while. That was my kind of, I guess, earlier obsession. I had an uncle once and I thought he was neat. He, we were in Arkansas and he’s like a Southern Baptist preacher now, but he used to be kind of a, I guess a bad man. You know, he would drink and he had women and he would, you would not live the life of Jesus. And one day he heard a voice that told him to pick up a guitar in play, and he had never played guitar before. So he picked it up and he actually played the guitar. And this revelation changed his life and became a pastor. And that’s his job to this day. So those kinds of stories were really intriguing to me as a boy. But as I got older, I started to have, I guess, conflict with kind of a dogmatic approach to life. And I studied religion, mostly Buddhist studies in my undergrad, and I had kind of a 20 year fascination with possibly becoming a monk. I did actually take vows shaved my head and was a monk for one week when I was in India is just kind of like a trial period. So they I knew it wasn’t permanent. I just told him I was like, hey, I’d like to try it for a week and they’re like, okay, so I did it for a week and I was actually doing acupuncture at the time. So I was in a temple, doing meditation half day and the other half the day I would go and treated the local clinic like the poor locals, but this process of kind of deciding Am I going to be a monk Am I not does this kind of leap of faith to be a man of a religious vocation is that necessary in my life? It did kind of come to a head at one point. I had a few experiences in my life that had enough clarity that I knew that being a religious vocation a monk or something, it’s not a necessity. It’s just basically one way to live life. Right? an enlightened life is not a religious life. It’s not being a monk or not being a monk. It’s how you live your life into what potential you’re living your life. So I did at one point, I had a girlfriend, my current wife, and she was with me about four years. And if you know anything about Asian women, generally, they want to know when marriage is gonna happen. They got this birthday cake idea where the older you get the cakes going to get rotten, you’re not going to get married. They want to lock it down. So we were together. About four years. And I always told her from the beginning, actually the very first conversation we had, I said, Don’t get too fond to me, I might have just become a monk. And she thought I was crazy. She thought that that was like the most interesting pickup line she ever heard.
Was, didn’t notice that I don’t I have no game. I have no pickup lines. I can’t fabricate one if I want it. I just meant it. So after four years of kind of wandering around teaching, I spent a lot of time wandering around in Asia. I have a bit of wanderlust to me. The last retreat that I did, I had this very, very clear realization that I did not have to be a month. It wasn’t required and that I actually didn’t want to be a monk and the reasons for wanting to be a month for all the wrong reasons. They were for the reasons of escape, to be free from the pressures of life, having to earn money. Having to act in a kind of socially acceptable way, having to do these things that I found really impinging. So after I had this realization, she called, and she broke up with me. She broke up with me in the temple. Two days after I had this realization, and I left the tempo that day, and I went to seek her out. And I tried to get her back into my life. And she wasn’t having it. She made me work for it really hard. And it took me time to get back into her good graces and to have her trust me. And I had to start to think more practically because I was literally 100 bucks to my name living in a temple I had nothing. And it was a it was I’ve done that several times in my life. And I decided to do more practical things to create kind of like a life with a life partnership process. And that’s when we did the rest of getting married and moving back to the states and start reading open a practice and the things that I’d actually been avoiding. You know, most people might find like traveling a little bit aimless or looking for guidance or living in a temple to be harder things. But I actually find those to be easier than paying a mortgage, and staying in one place and doing those things.
And that’s something I think for people growing up in this country and people that have never left this country. It’s easy to look upon what we know about someone living somewhere else in the world, and maybe not having a lot and thinking that their life is difficult or not that great, but there’s a very simple life that a lot of people throughout history, as far as I understand, have found and really enjoyed because like you’re describing all these challenges that we really have in this country because he’s seen Have to make so much money to pay for everything and, and sustain a family and all this stuff that a lot of people in the world don’t have all those pressures, the pressures you were trying to avoid and realize you maybe shouldn’t try to avoid anymore. But that experience of being around the world I think is so valuable.
Yeah. There’s a few things, for example, about money in my approach to money that have really evolved since I’ve come back to the States. I grew up with very actually little kind of meager circumstances and it was uncomfortable for me growing up. So I had a very scarcity mentality with money, and I actually still do to a large degree, but I make a good living now. And I just started to understand to be more comfortable with money and to also just be comfortable with opportunity that money can afford I don’t have a greed for money. I don’t want to amass piles of gold, but I do want the opportunity and the ability to not worry about basic things. That being said, I remember reading this new york times article, they were talking about the study about how much money equals happiness. Did you ever have you heard about this study? I don’t know, it was an hour. Okay, how much it’s in the 70s. So they say, once you get into the $70,000 range, anything over that doesn’t give you any more happiness. And I thought that the reasoning was really quite interesting. So, when we’re unhappy if you look at the reasons why people commit suicide and things like that, they’re more often financial than not, by the way, and then after that, it’s going to be loss of loved ones. And then it’s gonna be things like drug dependency, alcohol, things like that. But people, tremendous amount of people stress when you have no money, like when I was younger, is being able to do basic things right? feed your family, get clothes, worry about basic essentials. So once you have that basic necessity taken care of, then you start to think about it. Other things like love I want to have this is kind of like a massless hierarchy argument where you want love in your life. And then after love, you actually want some respect some respect from people in your environment, you want to start to have some status before you move to a self actualization process, which is a realization of your potential. But 70 grand, you got your needs met, okay? You can’t control love that money can’t control that process. It does make it easier if you have some things you might be more attractive to people. That’s true. Yeah, but after 70 grand what happens is, is no matter how much more of a mass, you cannot get closer to self actualization. Or possibly, I guess you could get more towards respect because you could maybe be an influencer in society if you had more means and people would see you differently if you had a lot of money. So you might get some more on the respect ladder, but they said that it stops there. It actually when you get very rich, it actually decreases, that the amount of happiness actually decreases. Because you have less concerns, and you’re left to the devices of your own mind and starts to have higher rates of suicide and depression. The more and more money you have, have you heard Have you ever been like at a time in which you had no thing required of you? Like let’s say let’s picture it all the money you needed. You had all the things you wanted like a beautiful woman and all that lawyer man or I don’t know you’re leading to infer
women for me, but I whatever is available for whoever that’s that’s all good.
That’s good. And you’re living in whatever ideal circumstance eventually after a while, there’s an aimlessness and you start to really feel purposelessness and like a ship without a rudder. And that’s when people start to get more of a sense of depression and they lead more to their bad habits of drinking booze, gambling. Things that kind of take us down.
I can relate to that somewhat I don’t know that ever been so wealthy with with no particular purpose. But a few years ago before I started traveling maybe, and before I started the podcast, those are things that allowed for shifts in my life because I had a different career, left it and was really I started over at about age 29 or age 30 like okay, everything I’ve done doesn’t really mean that much anymore. It was it was kind of an odd space I wasn’t in any huge financial harm in any way I was able to, to get about my day, but there was a real search for what the heck am I doing like what what am I just it didn’t really make sense. And it’s taken a while to get where I’m at. I don’t know how far in this, this meandering straight line that I am for myself calling back to what you said earlier. But I feel like just having things that I desire greatly, will keep leading me wherever I’m going to go and I do feel like that My life is much more filled with purpose than it ever was when I was much younger. So I can relate to that. And going to this article or this study, I have heard about that. And I believe that be true and it very well could be true. But you’re gonna want to check, I listened to a podcast recently where they were describing a more recent study that that contradicted that saying that, mostly, it’s true. But as you get more wealthy, you get slightly you’re slightly happier. And it’s not a huge increase at a certain point is where you need to be that whatever that threshold say it’s $70,000 in this country. But as you get more wealthy, on average, people are slightly happier or their life is slightly better, but I do get it out for some people, depending on what’s driven them for that wealth that they’ve gained. How at a certain point, just trying to get more wealth for wealth, how you might be running into some roadblocks, that it’s just an endless path of What are they doing? What’s all that for I can, people are all their different spaces in life. And in, you know, no matter how much money you have or don’t have, I think you can find this place where you’re very content or happy or joyful. If you have those basic needs met, and I don’t, I don’t know that it’s a straight line of happiness in any direction, up or down at any point, as long as as you said, those basic needs are met, then once once you’re there, I have a hard time believing that anyone that doesn’t have a purpose is going to have the seamlessly happy life because it seems really purposeful that we need to have that purpose. And I think I found mine, at least for the short term and you seem to have found yours.
I agree. I think that purpose cannot be removed from the equation, otherwise, you’re just not going to get fulfillment. The Buddha even said that if you had if you didn’t have basic means, if you really couldn’t feed yourself and clothe yourself, you really don’t have any path, possible paths spiritual enlightenment because your mind is just so focused on those basic means. But after that, I think that there is something about human nature that craves to feel, I would call it your, your true face or your innate nature, which is how the human being the human mind, the human spirit works, and the inextricable relationship between us and all creation, that we’re not alone, and that we’re not separate and those are actually delusions. But outside of just kind of feeling what people consider to be oneness or this, this overarching term that sounds comforting, but doesn’t actually comfort you. There is not just the reality of interconnectedness, but there is also the potential ated creation that can evolve to be a little bit more clear about that. That means that you Just like me, just like every human being is unique, and does have something unique to offer. And when you get to be creative and host this podcast, it lights you up, you enjoy it. We’re connecting you and i right now. And you’re also getting to reveal a little bit about yourself, you’re getting to use your unique spin on the world, that kind of shape how this podcast goes, and you’re being creative and fulfilling more of your potential. And that is tremendously exciting. So being able to fill fulfill your own potential and be useful for the world, I think is the ultimate source of happiness. By the way, basically two things, find the interconnectedness that really exists, and then fulfill well three things, wake up, we’re diluted, wake up, experience, the interconnectedness of life, and then fulfill your potential creatively. So I would say that those are the three requirements for true happiness
Gene, you mentioned your
Your time spent throughout Asia and the great knowledge of seams of Buddhism. And I believe according to according your Facebook profile, which I went through to kind of get a few notes about you, you list yourself as Buddhists, but you also mentioned growing up in the United States a maybe go into a little bit more of where that took you and the fact that you had an uncle that became what Southern Southern Baptist or whatever the denomination pastor, that you’ve had these different influences throughout your life, it seems within religion or spirituality, spirituality, and then you studied religion at Florida State University. So these personal involvements, the textbook involvements, depending on how exactly they teach it at FSU. Where, where does that where is it taking you and where does it lead you and where do you stand today?
I call myself Buddhists just for kind of simplicity sake. You know, I didn’t really say it, but it’s but it’s just a Word, it’s a name. And it’s just easier for other people to understand. So when people ask me I just kind of like begrudgingly say yes. doesn’t mean anything to me to call myself a Buddhist or not. I just use that framework to understand and explain thing. But I was born and was very interested in a kind of a Protestant Christian process. And as I got older, I became less interested in that. And then as I started studying religions, I started studying very intellectually. So do you remember when you were younger man, and you were curious and conflicted in life was changing and you were in college and exposed to new ideas? Do you remember all of that happening? Do you kind of can you go back to that time?
Oh, absolutely. And, and for those individuals that have listened to most or all the episodes on my podcast, they’ll understand a bit more of my religious journey, but I grew up Catholic, and I started to have some questions about how that was being run somewhere in my early days. teams, which eventually led me to leave that and really have no religious affiliation. And now I’ve bowed out of all of it, and consider myself to be an atheist. But I still like to learn and understand all the religions and people and why they do what they do and why I do what I do. And I leave an open door for me to adjust it slightly as I move forward. But right now I, I just like to understand more, maybe more of what you’ve done, just understand more in the educational sense of, of why, why it exists, what exists, more so than taking it, necessarily believing anything. There’s so much to learn before I really know what I believe or don’t believe.
I think belief is sometimes the wrong word. It’s really necessary for a Christian context. But when you were younger and questioning just like when I was in college and questioning, I just I personally at that time, I started studying kind of textually and academically, and I was I didn’t know how to engage in it personally. I just looked at it from books. And I was a good student. But it actually started to crystallize in ego that thought that it knew things. So when I first started to go to like a meditation group that actually practiced, I was already cocky, even though I didn’t have meditation experience and like I know things. And these people hadn’t studied and they were meditating and they weren’t precise with their language. And I judged them as like, I don’t know what they’re talking about. This is hoo ha, blah, blah, blah. But I continued with it and I moved to Asia after college and I lived there for a long time off and on. And I started to get more contact with it. Personally, I started to go to temples meet monks started to do personal practice and things like that. And the intellectual study of it, the textual study of it was a hamper to me. It actually set me back probably 10 years, where I was judging it through these lens of academic study. I wasn’t making it personal, the whole point of anybody’s particularly spiritual path, is it it’s the path of transformation. Right? You can’t know the truth really, and you can’t know yourself into enlightenment. It just doesn’t work that way, then the intellectual mind has limits. So as I started to live it more personally and started to do like, meditation practice and other practices in Asia like bowing practices and things like that, then you start to undergo a process of transformation, you start to actually do something. My, I guess my largest experience when it came to meditative experience was when I went to this temple this one time I had done retreats before. And retreats always have a structure that I knew of like you go, and you let’s say you sit 15 minutes walk 10 minutes and then you have break. For lunch, you have a work period and then you have structure you have little ceremonies and you might meditate like nine hours a day and do different things throughout the day. Go to bed early wake up early. There’s like a structure, right? There’s someone telling you where to go at what time. So I had heard of this temple that was very strong practicing their Korean, there’s no English, no Americans or anything there. I was like, Alright, I’ll go check them out. They’re actually in my town that I was at. And I went to register for a one week or cheat day, hold them a couple times throughout the year. And as I went to register, and I was like, so what’s the structure? Like, how many minutes do you sit, blah, blah, blah, things like that. And she kind of looked at me and laughed and said, there’s no structure. She’s like, there’s no like time sitting. It’s like, you just sit all the time and say, What do you mean? She’s like, you just all sit in one room all the time for the whole week. And I laughed at her. I thought that was bullshit. I was like, come on, who does that excuse my language. So I thought she was full of it. And I left and I had registered anyway, but then I went to the retreat. And when I went to the retreat, she was right. There was no room aside. There’s no place to sleep. There had a room where you can put your bags and coats. it’s wintertime, it’s cold. We’re in Korea. And there was just a big room with 100 people. There were a few clergy, a few nuns, some old people, some young people, just a mix of people and just a few been non comfortable cushions on the floor. And the monk comes to kind of introduce and he stands up and talks and he gives us a little help I’m not going to give you the whole content. And then we literally are just left her own devices. So everybody just sat wherever they wanted. And there’s no talking there’s always somebody in the room like a monk in the room to kind of watch things in case somebody’s freaking out or, or doesn’t know what’s going on. And you just sat there 24 seven, with no technique, no structure, no shower,
nothing. 24 seven that to me, and I probably anyone listening to this? That doesn’t make a lot of sense. How would that even be possible?
Well, some people when they got tired, they just literally laid down in that big room and took a nap. Other people would go into the coat room which is smaller behind it, where we put our coats and bags and they would actually try to get several hours of sleep in the evening. And they would put blankets out there for people because it was cold, and but there were never enough blankets. So it’s never enough to cover all the people that were trying to sleep. So you tried to sit as much as possible in that room because it was the warm room. So it was literally the whole day you had breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And my first thought was, what did I get myself into? I was doing a little freakout thinking I am not prepared for this. It’s physically and mentally and spiritually the most uncomfortable thing I could imagine being in and my first thought was I need to stay here as long as I need to until someone boughs out and then I’m going to be the second person to leave Retreat. I was like, I’m too embarrassed to be number one, I’m going to be number two. So I sat there, and I had previous meditation experience before, but they strip you of techniques. So you don’t really just do what you had done before in your practice. He’s sitting there staring at this wall, without technique, feeling a tremendous amount of frustration. And nobody was leaving. Nobody was at first person. So I was sitting there for a couple of days. I was like, holy shit, nobody is leaving. What am I going to do here? And the only breaks are for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the monk would come twice a day to give a brief talk is what he would do, he would give some guidance. So I did this process. And then on the third day, the monk it said, He gives you a little piece of homework, kind of like a co op, if you know what a co op is a co op is kind of like a Zen riddle. It’s a The goal of it is to help the discursive mind and let the analytical side actually rest. So you can experience your true nature. That’s the purpose of it. Famous colons are things like what’s the sound of one hand clapping or? I like to use the one? What’s your original face before your mother was born? I like to give that one out to students. I see you shaking your head you don’t know your original face?
Or the one hand clapping I don’t know, I guess this I could you could probably spend a long time thinking about these things.
Well, the goal is to burn it out. There’s like all these thoughts and these ideas you might have in the intellectual arguments and traps that you could make for yourself. They’re all wrong. So you keep bringing it up to kind of burn out the intellectual mind to lead you to this point of complete don’t know as they say, this don’t know mind which has focus and openness and intensity by behind it. So this was starting to be cultivated in me as I was sitting there, and I’d been lucky. So every night I’d go and I try to sleep at night a little bit for a few hours. And it was I was always able to get a blanket. So that was great. And then the third day, one kid, he’s a young kid. He had this major freakout in the middle of the set, he was sitting like six feet away, maybe 10 feet away from me to my left, and he just started screaming at the top of his lungs, not fearful screaming, but he was screaming with the smoke, the most soul piercing kind of how that I’d ever heard. It was an unabashed, howling beer regardless of 100 people being in the room, nobody stopped him. Nobody came up to him. And he did it for like 10 minutes and it was striking in the beginning because is completely quiet, everybody was startled. I looked over a little bit, but then it just kept going. So we just let it go. And after a while, he just stopped. And then the next day, every time the month comes in, he would say, does anybody here finish their homework? Because if you finish their homework, you’re allowed to leave the temple. Otherwise, you got to do the whole week, you got to come to an answer that the monk can say that, yes, you’ve you’ve essentially solved it, which means you’ve touched your true nature. So that kid, he was like 1821 years old young kid, he raised his hand and he’s like, I saw my homework. And what the month does, he’s like, okay, we’re going to talk after he pulls you aside into a different room after his talk to check you to see if you’ve solved your homework. So he checked them and he was allowed to leave three days in. Sounds like well, god damn, you got to go. And he didn’t have to quit. And nobody’s quit. And I’m really stuck. I don’t know. What to do here so is getting tremendously frustrated. And that evening I went to take a nap again to go to sleep and there was no blanket. So I went there and it’s cold I had my winter jacket on and the floor is cold and there’s no blanket or the floors hard and I was tremendously frustrated I couldn’t get a few hours sleep to kind of rescue me. So I was like Jesus This sucks I feel completely stuck. And then I went into Have you ever felt completely stuck in your life Kurt like completely stuck never knowing which direction to turn knowing that going right left straightforward up or down are not going to get you there you prefer
that? I don’t think to a degree anything close to what you’re describing I stuck short term with a freedom to feel like I wasn’t constantly stuck. But no, I don’t think so.
Let’s explore this idea a little bit because everybody I think in their head We make rationalizations and we try to understand the world and our options and we entertain ourselves and delude ourselves. So we never truly let ourselves be stuck. It’s a fearful place. It’s a place of uncertainty. They call this place of stuckness kind of this don’t know mine, they call it. They they liken the fear surrounding it to the fear of death, because that’s the ultimate uncertainty. So people and we all experienced to some degree, this little inkling of fear of uncertainty. And we also experienced the running away from that uncertainty. And if we’re honest with ourselves, if we just took a second to touch in touch base with ourselves, we would know that in our heart, when you drop all of the ideas that you think are real, and all of the things that we think are the way things work, that your heart, you are not 100% certain that there is a little bit of volatility there. So this process is actually trying to help that volatility grow. Not volatility so much, but try to be very, very honest with this uncertainty. So I needed some kind of release. I was sitting there. I think this sucks. You feel so stuck and so frustrated that I went to take a shit. I was like, at least I can take a shit. I have control of my bodily functions Can I at least take a shit to have some kind of release? So I’m sitting there in the toilet, I’m trying to take a shit and I couldn’t take a shit. Like three o’clock in the morning. I was like, I can’t sleep. It’s cold. I can’t take a shit. I can’t do anything. I can’t leave. Like I’m, I’m completely stuck. So I’ve had this experience a couple times earlier in my life. They involve different things but I always knew when I got to the edge of the abyss so to speak. When you get to your stuck point, I knew that I had a place I could run away to I could run away to a friend that could Run away to distraction TV right way to you know, have a drink right away to sex you can run away. But I was in a place where I could not run away, there was nothing to run to I couldn’t even take it shit. So I just said, Oh my god, I am at that place again that I had been trying to avoid for so long. And I just got really, really focused. And I said to myself, I just said to myself, so be it. No matter what, at this point is going to take I am going to finish this process. So I went back into the room and I just sat for about like six straight more hours. And I had a big experience and I was able to confirm with the teacher and I was able to leave the temple. And that experience the reason why I don’t it’s cost you have to be cautious talking about these things because it can lead itself to like kind of a spiritual pride Or ego or you can build up a story around that experience and think that it means something and you can brag about it and all of these things, and those are dangers or pitfalls. But the reason why I bring it up because there is something really useful about, as you asked me before, like, what is this analytical mind you have you analyzed the process, I will deconstructed what it was. So the deconstruction is getting a person to a place of being completely honest, sincere and vulnerable, with their stuck point. Whatever it is, that takes it that it takes for that person to get their, this uncertainty at the core of life. And then to have them be there. And then once you’re there, at that point, there’s actually no causal mechanism, which means there’s no thing we can do to have you leap into the abyss. I can’t push you you can’t actually jump you actually have to Fall. I’ll tell you a story about that later. But there is if you stay there long enough, something will trigger a release. And you’ll see your original face. And then once you see your original face, the importance of that is there is no going back. You’re might not be done with your homework of life. I’m still working on my homework of life. I’m not abiding and enlightenment yet, but you cannot lie to yourself fully ever again. Because you know that all of that stuff, the stories we tell our stuff ourselves. We know that that’s just not real. It doesn’t have enough weight anymore.
I’d like to tell you one quick story to kind of help you maybe understand this falling in process a little bit. Yeah, do it was at Florida State and around Florida State 30 sinkholes that people like to go swim in right They’re springs and sinkholes and I went with a friend and we’re going to go swim in the sinkhole is huge, is really dirty water is scary, like big black pit. And we had to swim across like Jesus Christ is very scary to swim across You have no idea how deep it is. But there was this tree on the other side that a lot of the locals were at and they were jumping off from the tree into the water. So we got over there. And we were going to jump off from the tree into the water. So I climbed up the trees actually kind of high, like 343 stories up. And I looked down at this big black pit and all the locals. They had already jumped before and they saw me I’m a college boy. And all these locals look up at this college boy and I’m frozen at the top of this tree. I couldn’t jump. I have a fear of jumping into black holes. Like most people have a reasonable fear reasonable. I stared down at that thing and then the boys There’s locals are taunting me. They’re calling me names or give me a hard time and I was starting to feel super self conscious and super frozen at the same time I was literally stuck again. And I stared and stared and stared down at that thing, I don’t know, probably 1020 minutes and everybody’s giving me a hard time after a while I really taunting me. And something just happened. Like I literally just fell into the water and I have no remembrance of jumping. I have no feeling of fear or willfulness, there was just a falling. I literally fell in hit the water with zero tension. With the most peaceful one of the more peaceful experiences of my life when I just floated up, I didn’t swim up. I just floated up to the surface. And it was with a complete sense of ease. So I bring up the story to kind of help give a corollary maybe a visual analogy of this process. So, finding and really piercing the veil and seeing your true nature is like falling into the abyss, there’s no causal mechanism. There’s no thing that can be done. There’s technique that can be given. There’s environment that can be constructed that pushes you closer to the edge of your edge. And then you have to stay at that edge with honesty and openness and sincerity. And you have to wait
they woke me up out of my trance, I think
listening to her for some
So from these experiences, from being at these edges, like the two that you bring up, and perhaps there’s there’s others to really feeling at this edge. Once you’re there, once you’ve had that edge is the rest of life. Maybe not get easier but having those experiences, challenges that you come up against now. Or they just don’t seem as challenging compared to the other experiences in the past.
Now they’re more like, waking up is the easy part, actually. Oh boy, you wake up because Well, me personally, I just had a tremendous amount of suffering. And I and I really, really wanted to let it go. So I was able to have an experience of awakening. But after you wake up, then you’re tremendously open and you can’t lie to yourself. So all the stuff that’s inside you know, Buddhists call it karma. You’re lingering attachments in the stories and everything that we believe in and our reactions to life. You have to be honest about that. So that means the stuff of your life becomes the stuff of your moment to moment constant awakening. So, fear of rap battles, a fear of being put into trance by somebody else. Right, you’ve experienced that a fear of failure with your marriage. The fear of your child whom you’re completely attached to and love being hurt when they get their first fever. All of these are tremendous opportunities to lean into and let that karmic attachment, let that unfold and blossom and relax. It becomes to a degree more satisfying and fulfilling and it permeates your life. But there’s always things deep in the well, that are lingering until you empty that well out. And those things are things it’s like when you beat the first monster in the video game. You get to the first boss and you finally beat him and took you forever. You think you’re done in the eye? Holy shit. There’s a whole nother level with a bigger boss.
It’s like Super Mario brothers had the whole world figured out when they that game was created.
I guess a couple follow up questions on that. One is you mentioned not having almost any money to your name when you were wandering throughout Asia. So just I guess for a quick thought, if someone is ever to do this, when you’re signing up for a retreat, that they’re giving you a few meals and nothing else, it seems it’s something that expensive, is first and you didn’t really seem to have a lot of money at that time. Or maybe that wasn’t the same time. But doing the things that you’ve done, participated in that.
That me and many others have not. How, how do you afford it?
That’s a good practical question. So every I just know about Buddhist temple culture, because those are the places that I’ve stayed at. So sometimes you can just make a relationship with people there and you can just stay in the temple. Literally for free and you might work. You just might do manual labor as your exchange. Sometimes if you go into a structured retreat, you might spend some money, like let’s say you did a month or three months or something might cost you these days. Like there’s one retreat in America, just one that actually does three straight months with a Zen retreat. It’s affiliated with the quantum School of Zen, I think it’s the only one I’m not sure. And let’s say you did three months there, because that’s considered a full retreat. If you did that probably cost you I don’t know a couple thousand dollars, and then they would house you and feed you for that time. So there’s an actual charge. The one the week that I did in Korean that Korean retreat, I think it was either free or I probably paid like 150 bucks. So it depends, like you can go to posh places and you can go and do your spa and do your yoga retreat and you can pay $10,000 per week, you can go see Deepak Shoko for $25,000 for a certain amount of time for question. You can do all of these things, they all exist. So there’s a menu. But what I would tell people who are interested in it, this is a good question because it’s hard to say what is authentic? What is real and how can it be? Will it help you or are there spiritual charlatans out there? Hell yeah, there are. Indians know that, like, let’s see it 100 spiritual guides, like 90 of them are going to be fake. And 90 out of 100. And it’s often the case there’s people that take advantage of people, it’s mostly ego, right? There’s people have ego, you could start it in some kind of, we’re just using the word spirituality, for lack of a better word. But you get started on a path and then you start to get a little bit of power sub self mastery, and everything is seductive, and there’s just more and more temptation. And then you could start to use that to be a bad person. So are using person a manipul To person. So there are, I guess, not dangerous, but pitfalls or diversions along the way. So when people go to investigate, you can kind of look people’s credentials up, right? You can do a Google search now and say, How did this person come across his learning? Do I feel like I trust him? Then you go meet him and then you go, see what it’s like and see if it has anything to offer for you. And oftentimes, you might not find the right people, you might wander around a lot. Like I don’t have an official teacher that I followed for 20 years. That’s my teacher, I wandered around a lot and studied samples from many different people. And you do hear bad stories of people that have studied with bad people that have actually gotten into trouble and things like that kind of cultish things. That portion, it’s harder to say, but I think that when you kind of interview somebody if they’re going to be a teaching figure in your life, even when I went to school, Michael, all right. I just wanted to see if he’s good guy, if he was, had a ego that he was trying to use for self gain, or if it was really using his skills to help other people, and it’s okay to make money in the process. You know, Michael makes a good living and has a good business, and I’m happy for him. We shouldn’t all sit around and like, in fact, people that just sit around and want to be spiritual gurus and are penniless and bored on the streets, they just don’t have any followers anyways, they’re not doing any good for the world because they don’t have any means of connecting with people. So it requires an apparatus that requires people and money and structure and all of that. But that’s a complicated thing to ask how do you find a good teacher, but it can be very cheap. If people wanted to learn the specific things that I know, you know, like I’ve studied with the quantum School of Zen for a bit and they’re a good school, they do strong practice there. Have 100 centers throughout the world. And they have good teachers and you could go literally like for smaller retreats, you can go for free. They say they have a an expected amount, but they say money is never an issue. If you can’t afford you just go.
I think the way you’re describing that, and kind of touching into other more common real world circumstances in this country, for instance, like, you go get your car repaired at a new place every time I go to a new place, and I haven’t done that lately. It’s like they because it’s happened before or I’m pretty sure they because they don’t think I know that much. are having me get some service that maybe my car could use but doesn’t really need and it costs a lot. And having a couple of those experiences I now kind of look at everything I’m involved with in that way like, is this person trying to screw me over? Maybe not necessarily the intention to screw me over but they are they’re needing to make their Living and they they feel they can offer this and they think it’s worth this. But is it really worth it and trying to get that value and trying to assess the people that we come across? What are their intentions? Are they good? Are they somewhere in the middle? Are they bad? And I think I’m a really good judge of this there’s a chance I’m way off and I think most people probably think they’re a good judge of this however, we there’s many contradicting opinions on the same type of thing and the st summit two people might see someone totally differently is are they both right? Is one of them definitely wrong. And and how do you prove that? I don’t know. But it’s a it’s a thing that I consider kind of deeply when I’m coming across someone that is asking for money from me for something. And I imagine you you’ve taken this thought process I don’t know how seriously other people always take that thought process or just pay by cut sometimes call it a ransom they just pay the ransom and and do it Don’t know it’s a strange thing of life that not everyone’s intentions are as pure and honest, as I have like to be. And you just explaining that process is just brought that back to mind if 90% of those types of places in India are trying to screw you over in a sense, then that’s that’s probably happening all over the world.
It is but let me ask you, even those mechanics you went to we all kind of can relate to the mechanic story. We’ve all had that story, right? They made you wiser. So they were useful for you and your life. Any experience we have can have if we see it appropriately can have a usefulness and suffering and meeting the wrong teachers is actually part of the process to meeting the right teachers later. So to a degree that’s necessary. In America, we’re kind of the most oversold country on Earth now. And we have so much direct to consumer marketing that it becomes very complicated. And I have that problem all the time with what I do with medicine, because people don’t understand it. And people just assume every patient that comes to my door is 99 out of 100 is assuming I somehow and trying to pick their pocket. It’s true and it’s very uncomfortable for me. Hopefully you get a sense for from talking to me that I have their best interests at heart. But I have to go through this whole process of one showing them benefit and garnering trust. Okay. So this is really interesting. When you work with a spiritual teacher or go to a mechanic or go to a health care practitioner, there has to be some kind of process of getting trust. Okay. All of our cards are really up which makes the process very difficult. But I think that there’s something that becomes more and more poignant about someone who could speak more More and more directly to you. So now what I have to do in my practice is I just have to be very real with people. very poignant and very real, and have hard conversations, things that that doctors won’t have. Like if you go to your doctor, for example, and let’s say you have a bad knee, and they’re going to give you a cortisone injection, right. So the reality is, is you’re in pain, they don’t have an option, they want to give you cortisone because it’s anti inflammatory, and it could stand up to 8% of your bone with that one shot. That’s the truth. There’s a reason why you can only get three of those in six months, because you’ll break stuff. But they don’t tell you that. They don’t say okay, I’m gonna put this in because we really don’t have anything better. I just want to help you get out of pain. I have 300 patients waiting behind you. And I will make something off of this because I’m actually giving an injection I’m making more than an office visit, it will send your bone 8% which means the likelihood of you getting a knee replacement is actually increasing with this shot, but here we go. Boom. That’s not communicated to you, right? I doubt it. It’s not. But that’s the reality. Doctors are bad people, by the way, and some of them that a lot of people get cortisone shots just because there’s nothing else they don’t know of a better option they don’t know to kind of send somebody for acupuncture or stem cell therapy or things like that. They just have PT, cortisone, some other smaller injections these days and pain meds, things like that, or surgery, right. So when I have to speak with patients, I have to find a way to connect with people. And that’s why emphasizing the necessity for good communication skills is really, really necessary. I spent a lot of time studying that, to be able to be a better communicator, and some people, but not just that, I spent a lot of time just kind of being really comfortable in my own skin. So I can speak to people hopefully, directly and sincerely and poignantly in a short amount of time. That’s my particular process. But every particular person like you, when you saw your mechanics in the beginning, you’re just nervous, you were new, you were a rube, fresh off the turnip truck. And now you’ve fallen off a couple of times. And now you’re a little bit more cautious about falling off. So when you need a new mechanic, you’ve studied and you’re like, maybe I don’t want this air filter replacement to cost 25 bucks when I can go buy one for $2 and put it in myself. You’ve learned these things, but also, you know how to ask the right questions. Okay, you know how to shop around, compare prices, you know, how to be your own advocate. And you’ve learned that process through being burned a couple of times. So fires necessary, it’s necessary to be burned for us to learn those lessons.
That’s true. And I guess in brief explaining the mechanic stories that stand out for me one time I was in a city a couple hours away from where I lived, had some car trouble, I think my car stall or something, went to the local mechanic. They said it was This belt here and then they fixed it and maybe fix something else. And then I’d brought it to my normal mechanic just to have them look at it. And they said, they replaced the wrong belts. And then they replace the right one. And I’m assuming they were correct the one that was used to because I built some trust with them. So I had this trusting place that I’ve gone to. And then I became an Uber and Lyft driver. And there was a short list of mechanics that I had that I that I could see the only ones I could see, to get approved to drive within the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, St. Paul area. So I chose one of those went there, and they weren’t going to approve me without this $800 fix. And then like, why is this even worth it? Because I didn’t know I needed this and I went back to my mechanic said You do not need this. And it’s like, from those experiences. I it’s just like, okay, maybe they’re trying to screw me over. Maybe they just don’t know as much as the next person. And maybe the person that I think knows the most sometimes doesn’t know as much it’s really confusing. I think sometimes Think you know something and think someone else knows something and really put your trust in someone else, because I think at a later bad experience with the mechanic that learned to trust it. So I don’t know, I’m just probably more confused than ever right now Gee,
what I think was neat is you had someone to go back to to ask that you trusted that you’d work with in the past. So that’s like having a support system, people that you meet that you trust enough that can kind of be eyes and ears for you having a network of people, I think that’s really interesting, and really useful. I can’t do my taxes by myself too complicated. I guess I could, but I wouldn’t do a good job. And I’d have to break things to get it done. But that’s why I have a little trust in my accountant. And I offload that stuff. Other things that I can’t do, I will farm out and you build a little network of people that you can trust and are you going to get burned along the way? Yes, that’s going to happen. But the only way to expand is to find a network of people that you can trust to offload work and start to really dive into thing that you do. The best, the real uniqueness that you have. So you can focus on your gifts. If you try to do all of it and you’re always wary, then you’re never actually going to succeed, you’re never going to move forward, you’re going to have paralysis. And they say one of the marks of successful people is actually quick decision makers.
And a term that I was familiar with that I’ve now come to really appreciate better is a term sunk cost. Like once that money spent and whatever is spent on no longer concern yourself with necessarily the value you’ve gotten or what’s happened because the focus just ends up being in the wrong place. And I think it stops the process for whatever growth that I’m working on or someone else is working on. If you’re concerned with money spent not spent well, their focus is just not placed in the right direction.
A couple more topics here as we wind towards the end of this conversation, we’ll call it and I know if you’re a horse racing, if there’s like horse tracks around there, but it’s
One five minutes from my house but I never go.
Well that if I ever come visit Eugene, I’m going to go to the horse track and we’re going to head her head towards the the homestretch here. I had one more thing I picked up from your Facebook profile. It said my not high school and the only might not I know is in Minot, North Dakota. You had mentioned Arkansas. You currently live in Florida. You mentioned your some of your stops in Asia. Did you once live in the frigid North here and further north and might not North Dakota and where else in the United States have you resided?
I did. I lived in mine out for junior high school. I had about a year and a half there. Those were good years. I’ve lived in Arkansas when I was young, in the early 70s when Arkansas was a different place than it is now. And there was like more racial tension and things like that. I’ve lived in countries in Asia, and I’ve been to most of the states of america probably I don’t know 42 out of 50 states. So I’ve traveled around quite a bit. My time in most of some of that traveling was in the military because my father was in the military. That’s why I was in Minot, North Dakota. But it was interesting because I was in eighth grade at the time, eighth and ninth grade. And those are interesting years, those are transitional years, you’re like getting into puberty, you’re starting to have a different experience with girls and peers and friends become more important than everything else on earth. And me, I was actually getting into a little bit of trouble. So as it’s starting to see a little bit of rebelliousness and a little bit of freedom because I could kind of wander around a little bit more. I didn’t have to always be under my parents. You remember a time in which you could actually bike and go around in the neighborhood without your parents watching you that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Because we helicopter parents, our kids and they can’t do anything without us anymore. But there was a time when we could just kind of go and bike in our bed time. Our time we had to be home was when the sun went down. So in my not North Dakota in the summertime, that could be like 11 o’clock at night.
We are from slightly different generations, I think Gene or maybe it’s just me being different than you. At a certain age, I think it was like eight years old, my parents would always give my siblings they gave my siblings their bicycle. At age eight, when I could have gotten a bicycle. I instead chose to get the Sega Genesis version of NBA Jam. I was much more interested in playing video games and going on bike rides, and I’ve had an episode with one of my friends, Kim Ramirez a few months ago, that gets into my history of cycling. I didn’t really learn how to ride a bike much as a kid and then didn’t go for about 20 years. And now more lately, I’ve I’ve taken on some bike trips, and it’s been fulfilling, but I was not biking around the neighborhood. I was I was upstairs playing video games.
And that’s, I think a bit of a shame because everybody’s connected to electronics these days. We don’t see sometimes outdoors as much as we used to we don’t have that sense of adventure of just biking around the neighborhood and that was a lot of fun. I’m glad you’re biking now though.
Yes, it’s I’m trying to acclimate towards it. It’s still not necessarily My favorite thing but I like to be pushed in that direction by people that really enjoy it so I can gain more and more enjoyment out of it. I had another question that came to me and then they say okay, this is what it is. I think of it now with a father in the military moving around, and I guess I noticed with your time in Asia I don’t know your ethnic background, but you seem to be pretty comfortable you describe you must have known how to speak Korean if if no one else spoken anything but that and you’re there. What What is your ethnic background if you’re willing to share and how has that impacted your journey if it has,
I’m half Korean on my mom’s side. My father he’s mostly English Irish makes my name is 100% Irish Gene Healy I didn’t, I did speak some Korean when I was really little. But I lost all of that when I came back to the states and I spoke only English. So I had to start learning Korean again in college like formally and then when I went to the country I learned by being on the ground, and I’m married to Korean woman and I speak really good Korean now verbally. I have good speaking sense. I don’t read and write as well, because it’s so practice those things. So I speak well, it has, it did influence a large portion of my identity and how I saw life when I was younger. There was people racism is a hot button topic in America. And we talk about it a lot and it divides people and unifies people. But I experienced quite a bit of racism when I was younger in Arkansas, because it’s more culturally conservative place. So the fact that I was Asian and, and we didn’t have money, it did really kind of identify and pigeonhole how I thought about myself when I was young. As I got older and I moved to Korea, the interesting thing is when I lived in Korea when I was younger is Koreans don’t think it means Korean. They think it means white American. So I didn’t have a real resting place there either. And I didn’t speak the language well, and we were very different. So we still had this sense of other traveling around and living in different places because my father was in the military that always gives us a sense of not having close friendships for long periods of time and, and isolation. And I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced because you’ve had electronics, but there was a time before electronics. If you didn’t have friends and things in the summer vacation where time was so heavy. It was like a damp, syrupy fog that just drenched you and it was hard to make the day’s move forward. Have you ever experienced that?
Yes, I did. experience that that seems to have gone away by the time the smartphone entered my life but Prior to that, I that was a real experience. I don’t think it really happens anymore. If you have a smartphone, because there’s endless amounts of whatever, just mindless entertainment or whatever you want to research or learn or communicate with everybody. I don’t know how people get bored anymore. But certainly there was a many times in my childhood where I had that sense of boredom, like what am I going to do with my time?
Yeah, but I think there’s because of that there is this disconnection with real intimacy and relationships with people because we’re so electronically engaged, but everybody wants it. Just learn, I don’t know, but but I see maybe maybe kids, I don’t know, I don’t have a teenager, we might have a harder time kind of engaging with people personally because everything is so online these days. So there’s complications, but everybody yearns for it. we yearn for that kind of connection. So one of the the steps of, I would say spiritual progress is this ability to kind of step in To boredom, to step into that discomfort of not having the distractions in these days, you have to make a conscious choice, right, you have to go to like an electronic free zone to do it. Or you could be in weird circumstances you can be tricked into it like I was like maybe your cell phone gets thrown in the lake and you’re camping and then all of a sudden you have to kind of be there.
So that could happen.
But this kind of isolation and traveling around and all of that did kind of informed my younger years, you can see as I talk about out tear up or anything, because I’ve pretty well digested that process. I’m okay with that. And they’re important for kind of making me feel a lot more comfortable in my skin. But there is still this lingering. Remember when you went to Core i was there with you at core. And there is a process where you’re starting to just admit to yourself and others things that you really want and it’s often different than what you think you want. We have this idea of the things we want Right, whatever shiny house car, perfect bride fan, you know, like, like an influencer of 10 million people, whatever your idea of success is. And then when you get down to brass tacks, what you find out is it’s really much simpler. And it’s much more real and vulnerable. Like you just want love. You just want acknowledgement. You just want security in these kind of like primal drivers. So we won’t say those things because it’s uncomfortable to admit that right? We can say I want a new wife, but that’s not saying that I want love, which means that I’m not feeling love. It’s a different kind of experience a different kind of admitting. But once you admit that kind of process, it’s really interesting because then I think you can reach into that tender spot of insecurity, to try to connect from there to another person. So when I came back from Korea, Guys, think about Michael burn off a lot with you because that’s our background together. But I do like the experiences that I’ve had there, but it doesn’t have to be Michael burnouts even though I think he’s a really good at what he does and I do support him and I would tell anybody that I know that he’s a really good choice to learn from. But um, whatever experience that kind of blows you open, then if you can have the bravery to get back into the world to kind of make connections from that place, you can really start to see what’s possible. Like you and I are friends now. Because of our experience of being open together. may say a few personal things I recognize about you. Yeah, go for it. Are you okay with that? This is your podcast.
Oh, yeah. Let everybody know about the things about me that I don’t know. I want to learn with them.
Okay. So Kurt at every event that we’ve been, you’re very guarded in the beginning. Okay, that’s kind of the same with everybody, including myself. You’re guarded and There’s a little obvious kind of like a, what I could see is this like sense of introverted ness or something. But then as the event unfolds, you become much more extroverted. Okay, much more playful, much more joyful, and at the same time, much more powerful in the way that you talk to people to talk less with reservation, more with this force of who you truly are. So you need a couple days to be in a place where you can trust it, just like we all do would be around enough people that nobody’s going to judge you to kind of expose yourself to really just speak from your heart. But when you did that, I could just see kind of the real resonance of who you are. Okay, probably on your podcast, because you’re the host, and I’m the guest. You have to ask the questions you have to help guide keep it interesting. Engage. You can actually Be more of who you are without needing like a whole follow up. You don’t need to work yourself up into a state to talk to me on a podcast. But if you met me as a stranger and we’re having coffee, it might not be as comfortable for you. Am I right about all of that?
I think you’re correct on everything. If but if you went back and listen to the first few episodes of the podcast, I think I, I would say the same types of things, but I came to it with much more hesitancy. So even the first X number of episodes was that that opening a couple hours or a couple days or whatever you would use to describe these events. And my goal or my objective, my outcome is to continue to shorten that timeframe everywhere I go. But I realized that is a part of me, that my concern for how other people might see me It used to be huge. It was a really big thing. It’s lessening, I can tell that it’s less than that. But still it exists. And relieving myself of that. I do feel like I am myself fully. It’s, I guess it’s it. It allows me to be in the present in the moment, the less I’m concerned with what people are thinking about me and how I’m being perceived. If I’m giving that little to no thought, then I’m finally meet. But until then, I’m the version that you notice on the first day of these events, that I’m just so not just true aware of my place in that event, rather than just being in the event.
Right. But that was the same with me, too. I can’t say that I was an exception. But just like you say, let’s shorten that time. So our future interactions and our uncomfortable situations are not just you and me but with the Starbucks barista, or the waiter, or the Uber Lyft driver or our children and spouse, can we just do it faster. To where we can close the gap and stop wasting all this time life is more precious than we realized.
It is. And I think the thing with me when it’s just a few people around one person, two people, that gap that time isn’t really there. I’m, I’m I come out as I am very quickly. It’s when I’m in a room of a certain size group that I think I don’t know what the number is, maybe it’s just like four or five or bigger. But if that number is small right now, it’s me and you, I know people are going to be listening to this later. But at this moment, it’s me and you. So the concern for how anyone’s hearing this is not as active maybe in some way, or maybe it doesn’t matter because I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m super comfortable. Just saying whatever. And however, someone receives it cool, good, bad. Otherwise, I hope it’s good. I hope there’s something to be gained for everyone that comes across anything I ever put out. But I know realistically that it’s not always going to be that way. But I do know that there’s at least One person, probably many people that are hearing you and I talk and there’s something about you, that’s striking them in a way that they’ve never really heard anyone talk the way that you do, and they’re fascinated by it, that I believe that’s going to be the case. I’m fascinated by it. I’ve heard people kind of talk like you before. But I think what has attracted to me the reason why you were someone I wanted to have as a guest is just this mind of yours. Now I finally understand it a lot more. It’s just it’s something the way you come out in these groups in the way that you speak. It’s different, everyone’s different, but you are different in a way that I just have seen so little of in my life, that you stand out, not necessarily different. Everyone’s different, but you’re different. Beyond the room, beyond everything, you you really have this way about you now I understand, Oh, you’ve traveled around Asia, and you’ve been to these retreats and you were a trial monk, and all these things. thing this is unusual for people that I’ve met. And I love it. I think it’s fascinating Your mind is, is excellent in all these ways I want to take in. And I think you to this point for sharing all this with me.
Thank you. I appreciate you saying all that that’s very flattering to hear.
Let’s move to the final two segments of the show. First is the personal growth segment. I’ve briefed you on
this. What is it? You’ve shared some stories already a personal girl so we could just skip it. But do you maybe have one more to go? A story about growth in your life that you think is going to be useful for someone else to hear.
I kind of tried to use my my marriage story as the story that I was going to talk about for this particular section. But personal growth, we’ll just say something new, we can talk about, maybe what I’m going to try to do probably anyway, so it’s still in formulation. Right now. I have a Practice does well, I could literally just stop advertising and be a doctor and make a good living and raise my family and retire and do all those things. But that’s just not, it’s not the full realization of my potential. So I’m probably going to take some time off soon, like a year or so within the next year, and I’m going to do a little bit more study. I’m gonna try to do more Zen study, see if I can get some certification, start to incorporate more of what I do with Michael stuff and LP, and also the medicine that I already do. And I want to make something different. I want to make a different kind of project and have a different kind of reach. So, one, there’s a physical ability to work with the body and then there’s the ability to work with the mind, but then there’s also the ability to work with the spirit, but I want to put all that together. And I want to start to have not just Patients or clients, but students and start to have reach across multiple platform, arms. This is all kind of vague and not direct to your point. But the point is, is that it’s uncomfortable. To put yourself out there in front of people is uncomfortable. It requires you to find the edge and to kind of lean into your edge and to be uncomfortable with it. To feel like I might take a year off to do some more study and to let my practice be run by other people to take a huge salary hit all of these things and travel with my family to another continent to do these things. It’s uncomfortable. So it has to put me in that place where I have to lean into my edge and do it anyway. So do you remember the last exercise we did at the superhuman event?
I’m sure I’ll recall it if you bring it up.
We were sitting there and Michael said that we went to sleep and then in the middle of the night there was a miracle and everything that we ever want. actually physically materialize. It’s all there for you, right? And then we had to say, What would we do? How would we experience life the very next day and people, they were doing this whole exercise kind of, I don’t know about incorrect, but they were describing, like, what their house looked like, what their wife looked like, what their job was, like, like the exterior circumstances. And then it took us a while for someone to actually chime in, I would wake up with utter disbelief and shock. And that experience of Wow, this is different than how I see myself and how I see my life. But, Michael, at that point, he kind of stopped and he said, Okay, this is what you’re actually going to experience tomorrow. Because what we’ve done for this number of days is we’ve started to actually talk and live and be in the space where we could make and do everything that we wanted to do. And we started to embrace it. But the next day when you go into your life, you’re going to have all the momentum of your life. All the people that you see in your life and everything is going to hit you like a wall. And all of this desire to do something outside of your average might fade, it might be like a wilting flower that never got water. But the vulnerable thing, the answer to your question, now that I’m speaking kind of elliptically, is leaning in to that edge. And that discomfort once again, it’s the uncertainty, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have an idea of things I want to study and I have an idea of a project that I want to create. But I don’t know exactly how it’s going to happen and manifest and I have to take a family with me if it were just me, I wouldn’t be afraid I just do it because it’s just me. I’m not afraid of failure, not having money. I’m used to those things. But I’m not used to that with a family. So I want to put myself in a position to really exercise my true potential. whatever it is that’s inside me that wants to come out. Just like the novel inside the novelist that’s just urging and just kind of yearning to come out. dislike for you in the creative aspects of your personhood that just wants to leave out. I want to give it a platform.
And you’re doing this, it’s going to be something different than you’ve done before. And tell me if I’m wrong. My impression is, you’ve not done this, this this way before. But you’ve, you’ve taken these leaps before and life is for anyone that really has a sense of direction and wanting more. This is going to be endless happening in life. It’s not going to happen the same way. But you’re going to hit somewhere near the end of a certain process where you feel like you’ve done enough in this area, and then the searching and seeking begins for more, and it sounds like and maybe this happens once every few years or a decade or a couple decades. Were you but it’s happening and you’re about to enter this endeavor. And it’s going to take you somewhere you don’t know. But you believe it’s worth it.
Yeah, that’s correct. To be more concrete. I currently do medicine, I’m going to continue to do that. I’m going to incorporate some of this NLP stuff to kind of work with people’s traumas, I want to become a meditation teacher, essentially a Zen master, where I can start to work with that space, do Cohen trading with patients and people. So I want to incorporate all of those elements. And I want to put it in a center where it has unique offerings. I even want to offer like an apex practice, like the week that I had to experience with no schedule, no rooms, just people in a room dealing with their shit in a white wall. I want to put that out there and create a place where people can do that and help facilitate that. I want to other platforms your thing for the future, whether it becomes like on the internet, or the And that I don’t know. But I really want to have more of an expression of all of those things. So right now, we’re speaking kind of, it’s not really a personal Converse. It’s personal. You and I were talking a lot about things about me. But if I were to be speaking with you, and you had things that you needed help with, you know, let’s say you came to me as a person. And you said, Okay, I back pain. I say, all right, we would treat your back and you say, Okay, I have this previous trauma. It’s like, okay, we would do some NLP try to help you over that problem. And you say, Okay, now I’m really searching. And I know that ultimately, I’m lost. And I’d say okay, and then we would start to work with you, kind of in a meditation and a Zen koan kind of way. So I would work with a person through that whole range of experience. I have a lot of broad skill sets, and I want to get really good at them and help people in that way.
You mentioned a reference NLP a couple times. It’s neuro linguistic programming. And that’s what Michael burn off is an expert at and really impacts people and helps people and seeing him do it. This and that. He teaches us in these advanced courses, he teaches it to us, it clearly is something that takes time and practice. And we all get a good start on it, but to implement it into life, into your practice, for instance, it’s something I know you can do and something and know you will do. It’s just it takes time and effort and practice and you will succeed in this. It’s just that there’s so much more to learn and get better at and that’s just one example. And I love that you’re going to be able to you have a space that’s already created where you can immediately help people already helping in more ways and that’s, that’s really brilliant than I’m pleased to hear that you’ve found a an immediate use for that they’re going to put into your practice.
Do what to do what to work on something on your podcast so all your viewers and listeners can see you work through something
I can’t say no. So,
no, I can’t I mean at this point, and I, I was when we started this conversation, or when I thought we were about to start, I thought we’re gonna be in a time restriction. And so I have a different type of conversation with someone who I know there’s like an in time. And when there’s not necessarily a
hard end time, it just kind of
goes and goes as long as as we’re enjoying ourselves. And so I can’t say no, because for every individual that has listened or watched to this point, I have no reason to stop. If you have no reason to stop
then I feel it’s my obligation to keep going with it. They’re fascinated. They’re interested. They made it this far. Let’s continue. Good morning. Oh, we weren’t in the homestretch. Apparently we’re taking another lap.
Actually, we are because my phone will run out of battery soon. But let’s do the last thing.
Thank you for listening to People. I Know Show link are in the show notes. For the People I Know Show Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages where this episode ended. It does continue. On the full video on YouTube, you’ll see the link that sends you directly to the moment this audio podcast ended. And that video continued up until Jeanne’s phone died. If you love this, if you liked a conversation like this, please tell me either leave a review on Apple podcasts, connect with me on any of the social media pages, or shoot me an email at People I Know email@example.com Thanks for listening
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