Hello. This most recent podcast is too large to post on this site, (according to my admin page)! So please, if you would, locate the podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, or one of the many other places where podcasts can be found.
009 GuruMojo Podcast: Mark Salter
Hello and welcome to the GuruMojo Podcast number eight! I’m
your host, Kenny Jenkins, and it is my job to share with you the wisdom and
insights I have found on my path to becoming a happier and more compassionate
person. I want to help everyone to take responsibility for their own spiritual
progress. The idea with GuruMojo is that you can be your own guru and find what
works best for you. So if something resonates with you and you think you can
benefit from it, awesome! Give it a try and maybe share it with someone you
think might want to hear it. If you hear something that doesn’t sound quite
right, that’s ok too, just leave it. No worries.
Today I’d like to share with you a conversation I had
recently with a friend of mine, a great guy with a vast knowledge that spans
many topics as you will see, a quasi-brother-in-law, twice removed, Mark
Salter. In this conversation, Mark talks about such diverse subjects as gut-biome,
antibiotics, forestry and foraging and agricultural history, plant medicine, magic
mushrooms and ancient culture, mantra meditation, Japanese forest-bathing, we
talk about cancer and epigenetics, and much, much more…. we even talk about
Atlantis! I mean… it’d almost be easier for me to list the few things in this
world that we didn’t talk about! Also, I should mention that there is a brief
mention of sexual abuse you should be aware of, as well as some adult language.
All of this while we walk a nature trail at the Jacksonville Arboretum here in
Jacksonville, FL. We walked 3.9 miles through beautiful, natural Florida trails
with me holding up my mini-recorder and trying to keep up. That being said, I
think it sounds pretty good, you’ll hear me tromping around, (Mark was
barefoot), we pass some other folks on the trail and say good morning, some
planes fly over… It’s like you’re right there on the trail with us! There’s
even a little bit after we say goodbye when we were talking in the parking lot
and Mark was like, “oh, you should record this…” so listen for that… Mark is such
an amazing guy. I’m so grateful to him for taking the time to share his
knowledge. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
But before we dive into this conversation, I just wanted to
say that if you enjoy this podcast, please take a moment to give it a 5-star rating
on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts, with maybe a review? It helps
other like-minded people find the show and I’d be so grateful. Anything less
than five stars? I don’t know why you’d bother really….
Also, the best way to reach me with a question or comment is
on Twitter @gurumojome, also follow me on IG by the same name, or check me out
on FB at gurumojo. Also, there’s a Patreon if you’d like to show support there.
Thanks so much, and without any further ado-whack-ado, here’s my interview with
the amazing, Mark Salter….
Thanks again to Mark for sharing his time and wisdom! If you’ve listened all the way to the end of this epic talk, I’d love to hear from you! Just hit me up on twitter @gurumojome and say something like, “I listened to the whole thing!” It’s a lot to take in. Thank you so much for your time and attention! It is so valuable….
Hello and welcome to the gurumojo podcast number seven! I’m
your host, Kenny Jenkins, and it is my job to bring you the wisdom and insights
that I have discovered along my path to becoming a happier, more compassionate
On this episode, I want to give you a basic rundown of what
Buddhism is. For me, the Buddhist teachings have been the main practice, the
main influence that have helped me to grow as a more compassionate, a more
centered and loving person. And before I knew what Buddhism was, you know, I
didn’t know. It was off my radar. But then as I was starting my spiritual path,
in my early 20’s, I came across the basic teachings and they just spoke to me.
The Buddhist concepts just resonated with me as something that I already
believed without having already put it into words for myself.
So here’s the basic rundown, it surprisingly simple, call it
Buddhism 101, or Buddhism At A Glance. And let me offer this disclaimer: I’m
not a trained teacher, I’ve studied and practiced mostly on my own for around
20 years. I like the idea that a second grader can teach a first grader, I’m
just sharing what I’ve found. And let me also say that I’m not trying to be a
guru, gurumojo is the concept that we can all be our own spiritual guides.
Follow our own paths and find what works for us.
So what is Buddhism?
Well, let me tell you. Or rather, let me tell you what I
think it is. Does it really work that way? I think so. To start off with, I
don’t think Buddhism is a religion. It’s more of a philosophy. Buddhism is a
philosophy that describes the ultimate nature of our human existence. Yes! This
is going to be one of those talks! (Like, “oh brother, here he goes again about
the ultimate naure of our human existence!”) Yeah… Buddhism lays out a system
for living the happiest life possible. It includes a code of ethics. But
there’s no god to pray to or worship. There’s no dogma to subscribe to. In fact
the Buddha famously said often that you should not take his word on it, but
rather discover for yourself what you believe to be true. And who is this Buddha
character? I should probably start there. I’ll just give you the nutshell
version and you can take it from there if you want to know more.
Before he became the Buddha, his name was Sidhartha, and he was
an Indian prince who was born back in 623bc. He led such a completely sheltered
life in his royal palace that when he was a young man, he ventured outside of
the palace and for the first time encountered sickness, old age, and death. He
had literally never seen a sick person, an old person, or a dead body up until
then. Seriously… It hit him like a ton of bricks! Like, “What is all this
suffering? What is death?” Well, he left the palace and gave up his royal life
and became a wandering holy man in search of the answers to his questions about
suffering and the human condition. So to make a long story short, he came up
with the answer. He cracked the code. He had what could be described as a
moment of ultimate realization. An epiphany. An awakening to the true nature of
reality, also known as an enlightenment. What he came up with is known as, “The
Four Noble Truths.” This is the basis of Buddhism. And here they are….
The first noble truth is The truth of suffering, as in “to
live is to suffer.” As we all know, the deal with having a human body is that
for all the joys and happiness, you will suffer. You will hurt, you will
experience mental anguish, you will get sick and eventually die. Period. To
live is to suffer. Got it.
The second noble truth is the truth of the causes of
suffering. And this is huge. The cause of suffering is rooted in our
expectations and our emotional clinging to the outcomes of our expectations. We
think things are going to be a certain way and when it turns out different, we
suffer. We get upset at each other, we get down on ourselves, we resent the
universe for the crappy day we’re having. We experience mental anguish. If
someone is rude to you, it upsets you because you were carrying an expectation
that people would treat you with respect. If you truly expected that person to
be rude to you when you saw them coming, it would not upset you, or even more
accurately, if you were not clinging to the expectation of being treated a
certain way, it wouldn’t upset you when that expectation was not met. See? We
suffer because of our expectations. Ever hear that old pessimist quote, “Expect
nothing and you will never be disappointed?” They’re on to something…. It’s
just when they say it it has that
crunchy little eh- “Expect nothing and
you’ll never be disappointed…. Eh…” That’s the truth of the causes of suffering.
The third noble truth is the truth of the cessation of
suffering. It is the truth that says there can be an end to the suffering. Glad
to hear that! Check.
The fourth noble truth is the truth of the path to
cessation. It is the method to be used to end all that suffering. This is the
big one! This is what we’ve all been waiting for even if we didn’t know it!
Good lord, do you have any idea what in the world could possibly end suffering
of all humanity?! If you’re a listener of this podcast you might not be
surprised to hear that it is, you guessed it. Meditation! That’s right, good
ol’ meditation! Holy Moly Guacamole! Is that what this is all about? Is that
why I’ve been pushing this stuff on everybody who will listen? Ah, yes… The end
of suffering for all beings? That’s it. That’s my jam. Meditation…….. And what is meditation? Simply enough,
meditation is placing your attention on a single object and focusing on that
one thing for a while. Could be an image, a word, a concept, or most simply,
your breath. Breath meditation is what I practice most. Anyone can do it, and
here’s how, real quick. You find a place to sit quietly for ten, twenty, or
thirty minutes. Close your eyes and notice your breath going in and out. Don’t
try to breathe a certain way, just observe the breath. You can focus on how it
feels when it goes in and out of your nostrils, or the feeling of your belly
rising and falling. You will notice immediately that thoughts spring up and
distract you and all of a sudden you’re thinking about what you’re going to do
after you meditate, or tomorrow, or remembering something that happened to you.
The instruction is to just notice that you’ve been distracted and simply note
to yourself, “thinking” and go back to watching your breath. Don’t fall into
the trap of thinking, “Oh, meditation is not for me, I have too many thoughts.”
We all have too many thoughts, that’s the point, notice them and note them to
yourself and gently place your attention back on the breath. Begin again. And
again. After a while you’ll notice that it takes less time to realize that
you’ve been distracted by a thought, and that you start to get distracted by
them a little less frequently. That’s meditation.
The Buddha teaches us that when we quiet our minds and go
within, we learn to loosen the grip our mind has on our expectations. We learn
to realize the moment we start the cycle of being upset by something and are
able to take the time to observe those feelings and let them go because there
is no reason to allow ourselves to get caught up in afflictive emotions thereby
increasing our suffering. Even worse, when we suffer like that, we will usually
inflict suffering on someone else by either lashing out or turning away from
someone, or just moping around. There’s a million ways we spread our suffering
around to others. Misery loves company? You betcha! And so often we are so
self-centered that we don’t even realize that we are doing it.
So, yeah, meditation is the key. A consistent meditation
practice allows one to move more freely through the world. You’re more able to
take things as they come and accept your reality. It’s the serenity prayer,
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to
change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It’s about
having that serenity to accept the things we can’t change. And good lord aren’t
there a lot of those things?! And like the Buddha said, don’t take my word on
it. Try it for yourself and see if you find it helpful. That was so refreshing
to me as a young man in my early 20’s, after, in my late teens, having drifted
away from the Christian dogma that I had been presented with as a kid. Which is
normal at that age, I later discovered, to question such things, and now I
realize of course, that Christ’s teachings are wonderful and beautiful, and
full of truth. But to hear that the Buddha said, “Don’t take my word for it…”
was something I had never heard at my Southern Baptist church growing up in Jacksonville,
Florida. There it was literally, “If you don’t believe what we’re telling you,
you will burn, burn, burn, for all of eternity. Burning. Don’t ask questions.
We don’t do questions here. Believe or burn.” I’m 100% sure Jesus did not mean
for it to be that way, but that’s another story for another time. Turns out
that questioning and debate are a big part of Buddhism. They actually have a
tradition of debate among the monks and masters over the details of the
Ok. Four Noble Truths, check… What else is Buddhism besides the Four Noble
How ‘bout The
practice of “doing no harm.” That’s a good one. There’s the concept that
says if you can not help someone, then at least you should do them no harm.
Sometimes for me that could mean that if I don’t agree with someone and I think
they are being unreasonable, instead of trying to force them to see things my
way, instead of throwing it in their face about how wrong they are, I just let
it go. And I can never really know for sure if maybe I’m not the one who’s
wrong and being unreasonable. And what’s the harm anyway of who’s right about
whatever we’re arguing about. I mean unless we’re arguing about which wire to
cut to disarm the bomb in some mission impossible scenario. I mean that’s an
argument that’s probably worth having! But what are we really so upset about?
Help others if you can, if you can not, then do no harm. For heaven sakes, we’re
all suffering enough already as it is!
Then there’s reincarnation. Ooooh,
boy…. That’s big one. It took me a while to warm up to this one. And I’m not
here to persuade you that reincarnation is real. You don’t have to believe in
reincarnation to benefit from a daily meditation practice and the wisdom of the
Four Noble Truths. And really who can be sure? The real deal is that we all get
to find out when we die. So really, it’s neither here nor there, but it is a
Buddhist belief that I want to touch on here while I’m trying to demystify
Buddhism. I was finally won over on this concept by an eloquent and scientific
explanation of reincarnation by the Dalai Lama in one of his books. But the
essential line of reasoning is this: We can observe through meditation that we
are not our bodies. We have human bodies, but that is not who or what we are,
since we can observe our bodies, we are not that. We are not what can be
observed. We can also discern that we are not our thoughts. Again through
meditation, we can see that our thoughts spring up sporadically. We can’t
control them, we can either cling to them or not, but we can observe our
thoughts, so again, we are not what can be observed. We are not our bodies, we
are not our thoughts, what are we? We are pure awareness. We are that which
observes. Quietly, peacefully, watching the movie that is our lives as it
springs to life right before our very eyes. This awareness has also been referred
to as “the witness.” As it simply witnesses everything without judgement. Pure
awareness. And this awareness is part of a continuum. Every moment of this
awareness depends on its previous state, it is created out of and depends upon
its own previous state. Now follow me on this. That previous moment of
awareness depends on its previous moment, and so on. A continuum of previous
states. In that way, our awareness is timeless, it stretches endlessly back in
time and in the same way, it goes forward, endlessly. It can have no birth if
every moment is dependent upon the previous moment. And at this particular
moment it has taken up residence inside your human body. We don’t know how or
why, but it has. And when this body dies, the pure awareness will continue, and
it will continue to find its way into another form, another birth, and do it
all over again, just as it has already done countless times.
A really beautiful concept relating to reincarnation says
that we have all been reborn so many countless times, that everyone you meet,
at one time or another, was your mother, (and you have also been their mother)
and by that notion, every person deserves your love and compassion and respect
as your mother does for having loved you and cared for you. (They go on to say
that even if you don’t have a great relationship with your mother, that at the
very least, she loved and cared for you enough to make sure that you were born
and cared for properly because you couldn’t have made it this far otherwise.) So,
And there’s the concept that we are reborn through the whole
gamut of lesser animals so that when you finally achieve a human birth, this is
your big chance to become enlightened, so don’t screw it up! Other animals
don’t have that chance.
So yeah, reincarnation. Take it or leave it. It either is or
karma. Ohhhhhh, karma. So misunderstood. The word Karma literally means
action, and that’s physical or mental action. And all the actions we take leave
a sort of a mark on our soul if you will, a residue that has come to be known
as karma. We accumulate of karma, both good and bad, based on our thoughts and
actions. Karma is like your spiritual credit report. If you’ve ever checked
your credit report online, which of course you have, (or else what are you
doing with your life?! Check your credit report!) If you’ve ever checked your
credit report, some sites have like a little gas gauge that has colors on it
red to yellow to green. I wish you could check your Karma report online! On
second thought maybe I wouldn’t want to see it. Anyway…
There are three components to how karma is created. The one
most people are familiar with is the physical action. When you do something,
either good or bad, it creates karma. Whether you’re robbing a bank or helping
an old lady across the street, you’re accumulating karma.
The second aspect is your intention. Whether or not you did
something on purpose or by accident, whether or not you just had the intention
but did not follow through, also influences the old karma-meter. Like if you
had the idea of robbing the bank, but didn’t actually go through with it, you
will still get some karmatic residue built up depending on if it was just a
passing thought, “Oh, I might want to rob a bank someday,” or if you spent
months planning it and obsessing over every detail only to chicken out at the
last minute. That has an influence. So that old saying about the road to hell
being paved with good intentions? Not true. It sounds cool and snarky, but
having good intentions is very important.
The third aspect of karma is how you felt after you did the
act. If you did rob that bank, but deeply regretted it afterwards, you would
incur slightly less bad karma than if you robbed that bank and were super
stoked about it afterwards. And I’m oversimplifying to illustrate, and for
sure, I don’t mean to belittle any bank robbers out there who may be listening.
I know it’s tough out there, and things are complicated, but at least you’ve
found this podcast and maybe that’s a good thing. So there’s intention, action,
and then how you felt about it afterwards. The actual Buddhist teachers say that the effects of karma are
reflected through many, many lifetimes, and that “instant karma” is not a
thing. Like if you’re walking down the street and you say something mean to
your girlfriend and immediately trip over something. That’s not a thing, but I
don’t know, it seems to happen all the time, doesn’t it? Or is that just me?
It is believed that your karma influences you next birth and
what kind of life you may be born into. Like if you were greedy and
self-centered in this lifetime, you may be destined to be very poor in the
next. I’m really simplifying it of course, it’s not just some cosmic cookie
cutter stamping out lifetimes, but who am I to say?
Then there’s Enlightenment. Now we’re
talking! What is enlightenment? The term “Buddha” means “the awakened one” When
the Buddha had his realization about suffering and the human condition and the
Four Noble Truths, that is considered to have been his enlightenment. But it
goes deeper than that. Included in that realization is the fact that we are all
one. We are not only interconnected socially, but we are truly one, not
separate. It’s the concept that we are not our bodies, we are not our thoughts,
we are pure awareness, and that pure awareness is one thing, we are not all
separate pure awarenesses. I’ve heard it described this way. Picture a bright
light, like a bare light bulb, and imagine you’re holding a piece of cardboard
in front of it blocking the light. Then imagine that there are a bunch of tiny
pinholes in the board letting through little beams of light. We are like those
little beams, appearing to be separate, but we all come from the same source,
in fact we are all the same light, only appearing to be separate. It is the
concept of nonduality, and it pertains to every single thing we can perceive.
We are not separate from anything or anyone. A beautiful concept that I love is
that when you are lying to someone, you are disrespecting that person by
pretending that you are separate from them, so really what’s the point. You are
really only lying to yourself. And because of this concept, I’ve long held the
idea that if you lie to someone, they know they are being lied to. They may not
call you out on it, and they might not be sure of it themselves, but on some
level, they know. So stop lying everybody! Sheesh… And speaking of being one
with everything, I’ve heard Jack
Kornfield quote Alice Walker so many times, “But one day when
I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come
to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at
all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried
and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it
happen, you can’t miss it.” Yes. That
really is it! We are all one thing. And there’s also the joke about the Buddhist
monk ordering a hot dog and he says, “Make me one with everything.” Yep, a
buddhist dad-joke. Who knew?
Now, Speaking of Enlightenment leads us to
Nirvana. Nirvana is the release from the cycle of reincarnation. They
say that after you finally awaken to the true nature of reality, that when you
die, instead of being reincarnated once again, you instead return to the source
of pure awareness. That’s Nirvana. Now there is the option of becoming a Bhodisattva.
Not to muddy the waters too much, a Bhodisattva is someone who has taken a vow
that upon their death, they will refuse Nirvana and instead choose to be reborn
so that they may return to help others become enlightened, over and over again
until all beings have been awakened. That’s a lot. There’s many different
versions of the Bhodisattva vow, but it is basically something like, “Beings
are numerous, I vow to save them all.” Funny part about that is, as Jack
Kornfield like to point out, you pretty quickly realize that they don’t want to
be saved! Especially your family and friends! It’s so true, the best you can
really do is to work on yourself and be kind to people, be compassionate and
available, and that helps them. If you can ease anyone’s suffering even a
little, that helps. That’s why I’m doing this podcast.
Another remarkable thing about the Buddha, is that he was
able to teach for so many years. While we don’t have exact dates, it is
generally agreed that he started teaching around age 29, and died in his
eighties. So right around 50 years of teaching, which is remarkable when you
think that Jesus was only able to teach for a few years before he was killed.
Also, it is believed that there are and have been many
buddhas, and that this particular buddha just happened to be the one that
brought the teachings this time around. And as I like to say, since a Buddha is
an awakened being, that Jesus is one of my favorite Buddhas. Likewise, having said
that Buddhism is more philosophy than religion, it just so happens that a
meditation practice and an understanding of the Four Noble Truths will not interfere
with any other religion you may already practice. The Dalai Lama says to stick
with your own religion, it is important. You can still benefit from a
meditation practice without being a Buddhist, and “do no harm” is pretty
And as a side note, since I’m trying to demystify Buddhism,
I should clarify who the Dalai Lama is. You hear it all over the place and I’ve
made a couple of references to him on this podcast . The Dalai Lama is basically
the head-Buddhist monk of the Tibetan people who have a very rich Buddhist
history, he is their spiritual leader. He has written a lot of great books that
I recommend to anyone.
It is also said that says achieving Buddhahood is often
mistaken for gaining something that you do not already have, because actually,
you already have Buddha-awareness, you have always had it, you just haven’t
realized it yet. In meditation, you can shift your awareness to what I like to
call, “resting in the witness.” Sometimes I’ll use a mental cue and say to
myself, “May I rest in the witness.” Or simply note the word, “resting”. There
you can be with your own buddha nature, which is pure awareness, you merge with
it. The trick of it is that it turns out to be simple to achieve, even if just
for a short time. A meditation practice helps you get there and to sustain it
for longer. You can sometimes try real hard and never get there, but then you
can relax and all of a sudden kind of fall into it, or notice it, and realize
that it was always there, always available, ever-present. The more you
experience this vast expanse of awareness, the more you let go of things that
are much less important. Like somebody cutting you off in traffic. That person
is suffering, let’s get out of their way and do them no harm. They’re having
quite a day. The more you experience your true nature, the more available you
can be for your friends and family and coworkers who are also suffering. If you
can be a calm presence for them, just that can help sometimes.
If any of this resonates with you, it’s because you already
know it to be true. So often when I’m typing out what I want to say on these
podcasts, I realize that I’m really trying to remind myself of these truths. We
need constant reminders of these things or they tend to fall by the wayside,
forgotten, replaced by the constant demands of our daily lives. There has been
for me a cycle of finding these truths and living them every day, studying,
practicing, and for years, it slowly slips away and the books gather dust on
the shelves, and I forget. But as I was told early on in this journey, you
always come back. And I have, over and over again. So keep that in mind if you
find you have drifted as well. And gently remind yourself that it’s ok, this is
all part of a cycle. You come back, you begin again, and again. In this
lifetime as in all the previous lifetimes. And perhaps in the next.
All of these teachings I have received from great teachers
and any of the mistakes I’ve made in relating them to you are my own. Please
take from this what you know to be true, and leave the rest. I like to end
these podcasts with the word, Namaste. It simply means, “the spirit in me
recognizes the spirit in you.” Thank you so much for your generous attention.
Hey, before you go, I’d like to let you know that if you
would like to support this podcast, you can head over to patreon.com/gurumojo.
Most patreon projects offer lots of different levels of support with different
rewards, I’ve set it up with just one level. Two dollars a month. That’s all.
I’m looking to build this into a community of like-minded people. Two bucks a
month gets you early access to podcasts, guided meditations that are not
available anywhere else, and some other surprises along the way. I would really
appreciate it if you’d like to support me in this project. And thank you so
much to my current patreon supporters! You’re the best! That’s
Also, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or wherever
you get your podcasts and consider leaving a review, it helps to spread the
word so other people can find it.
And check me out on Instagram and Twitter as gurumojome, and
on FB as gurumojo.
Welcome to the GuruMojo podcast episode number six! I’m your host, Kenny Jenkins, and I’d like to invite you to join me as I try to unravel the mystery of this incarnation, and get to heart of what really matters for us in this lifetime. It’s my job to share with you the wisdom of the great teachers I’ve come across in my search for what is true and good. I’m so lucky to be able to experience so many different things that bring me peace is this life and it would just be wrong for me to keep it all to myself. You know, if I can share just one thing with just one person and they can benefit from that, then I consider this all worth the effort. I’m no expert or zen master by far, by far-far. I don’t consider myself a teacher except that in the sense that it has been said that a second grader can teach a first grader. So basically, I feel like I can tie my own shoes, spiritually speaking, (most days) so maybe I can show you how to tie yours. And to go even deeper, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. We all know this stuff, it’s just that we may need a reminder from time to time.
Hello! I’m so excited to bring you episode number four! I talk about a couple of really great, inspiring moments from podcasts I love. There’s a bit from James Altucher interviewing Tony Robbins that blew me away, as well as a really touching moment from The Tim Ferriss Show when he interviewed meditation master, Jack Kornfield. I also tackle the question, “Is meditation for me?” Can you guess my answer! lol…
Thank you so much for your time. And don’t forget to breathe…
All right! Podcast episode 003 is here! I recently tried out sensory deprivation via float tank! In this episode I’ll talk about the experience, spoiler alert, it was amazing! I’ll also discuss my vision for the future of Meditation. Check it and let me know if you’d like for me to cover any specific topics or questions.
Hey, check out podcast number two! (Click to play below). In this episode I rave about the Headspace app, and talk a bit about the awesome book, Tools Of Titans, by Tim Ferriss. I also hit upon the book How To Practice by the Dalai Lama, as well as talk about navigating levels of consciousness and Integral Theory. Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory Model has had a huge impact on my life, and I wouldn’t be meditating daily if I hadn’t found it. Check it out! I’ve also upgraded my audio equipment since episode one, so it will be a little easier on the ears.
Quick note: I have no affiliation with the people or products that I talk about or link to on this episode. I like them and benefit from them, so I want you to know about them. I am not compensated in any way for these endorsements.
Hi everybody! Here’s a quick guided meditation I did as a Facebook Live. It’s only two minutes and this version has been edited down to the essential meditation, and is a higher sound quality that the FB version.
And don’t forget to breathe!
Thanks for taking the time.
Great news! We can actually make ourselves better! It’s true, you can be better than you are now. Better in what way? By evolving your level of consciousness. That seems vague, so I’ll unpack it.
There have been discoveries in developmental psychology that have revealed actual stages of consciousness that all humans evolve through starting the day we are born. Depending on which model you look at, there are roughly eight to ten stages available to all of us. Some people evolve further than others during their lifetime. Each stage is more complete than the previous one, therefore each new stage is better than the last. What I’m presenting here is a very basic overview. There are several excellent sources that delve deeply, I’ll mention one below.
A simple example would be to consider a three-stage model: egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric. Imagine a newborn. They are totally submersed in their environment. They don’t know that everyone else is separate from themselves, they don’t know that we all have independent thoughts, wants, and needs. A baby is completely concerned with its own wellbeing. This can be considered an “egocentric” stage. Me, me, me! I’m hungry, I’m wet, I’m tired! Me, me, me, me, ME! Then when that child is a little older, she will realize that we are all individuals. She will begin to empathize with others and start to care about her family’s feelings and wellbeing. That’s more of an “ethnocentric” identity. At that stage our primary concern branches out to include our family, group, or tribe. It can be an identification with a religious group, an ethnic group, or one’s country. Then further down the road of life, some people, (but not everyone) will evolve to a “worldcentric” point of view where the individual cares about everyone in the world regardless of whether or not they are in the same family, tribe, nation, etc. These three basic stages, egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric illustrate pretty well how this works. The model I’m describing here is known as Spiral Dynamics, and it is part of the foundation of an amazing concept called Integral Theory.
It’s also worth mentioning that our cultural groups, tribes, and nations likewise evolve through the same stages, as a group, more or less together. The level of consciousness of the majority of members of a group generally dictates the level of that society, nation, etc. Detailed examples are beyond the scope of this article, but for instance, we can recognize that a democracy is more advanced than a dictatorship.
This fascinating subject goes further in depth to include the fact that certain aspects of our being can evolve through these levels separately as well. It can be that you are a level three in ethics, but your interpersonal relationships are still at level two. For a righteously in-depth look at Spiral Dynamics, which in-turn leads into Integral Theory, check out the book A Theory Of Everything, by Ken Wilber, (Click Here to See or Buy the Book). Ken Wilber has been called, “our greatest living philosopher.” I’ve ready many of his books, and can say that his work is life-changing.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is that the goal of humanity should be to get as many people as possible to evolve through the highest stages possible so that we can live in a more peaceful and just society. Our human potential is just now being tapped, this is truly an exciting time to be alive! Most importantly I have to point out that a daily meditation practice will get you moving through the stages faster and further. So work on yourself. Improve yourself. Study. Meditate. Exercise. Because when you experience the world through the lens of higher consciousness, you become kinder and happier, and people notice. It rubs off on them. They want to know how they can be happier. They see that it is possible to live a richer life. Then as the individuals go, so do the nations and then the world.
“Yesterday I was clever,
so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise,
so I am changing myself.”
Please use the comment section to ask questions or to let me know of any related subjects you’d like to see covered here.
Episode 001 of The Gurumojo Show. Hey, It’s my first podcast! Here’s a quick run-down of some of the key information in the first few blog posts. I discuss why we meditate, giving examples of its benefits and naming some highly successful people who meditate from different walks of life. I also describe simple instructions for anyone to try and begin this life-changing practice. Thanks for tuning in!