In this episode, I’m joined by GuruViking aka Steve James, host of the Guru Viking Podcast and creator of the Movement Koan Method. Steve has extensive experience in elite athletic performance, contemplative and spiritual disciplines, extreme outdoor survival, the arts, and human behavior.
In this conversation, Steve and I talk about life in general, and how meditation fits in it. We discuss his goals and learnings in The Guru Viking Podcast, Steve’s upbringing and how he got started in meditation, his approach towards spiritual practice, the intersection between meditation, music and movement practices, The Movement Koan Method, and more.
0:00 – Episode Intro
2:10 – The Guru Viking Podcast: origins and vision going forward
4:45 – Steve’s learnings from conducting The Guru Viking Podcast
13:30 – Steve’s current main priorities, activities and hobbies
24:51 – The intersection of music and meditation
37:00 – Steve’s background and how he got started in contemplative practices
51:50 – Steve’s goals and intentions regarding meditation/spirituality
58:44 – How formal sitting meditation impacts Steve’s life experience
01:07:55 – Meditation in daily activity
01:17:35 – Steve’s current daily meditation practice
01:23:29 – Relationship with daily activities that can be detrimental to meditation practice
01:35:00 – The intersection of movement, somatic practices and meditation
01:47:55 – The Movement Koan Method: nourishing the joints and bringing awareness to subtle body sensations.
To learn and practice with Steve James, check his content, and live events on his website:
- GuruViking Podcast: https://www.guruviking.com/podcast
- Movement Koan Method: https://www.michaelaboehm.com/product/movement-koan-method-video-by-steve-james/
To support your practice, we have also created the following resources:
- Video Course Library: https://www.inner-craft.com/video-courses/
- Live Events (Workshops, Q&As, Peer Meetups, etc.): https://www.inner-craft.com/live-training/
- Guided Meditation Library: https://www.inner-craft.com/guided-meditation/
- Podcast: https://www.inner-craft.com/podcast/
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1632152067129586
Music by DJ Taz Rashid:
Speaker 2 00:01:22 Hello, Andreas.
Speaker 1 00:01:24 Thank you so much for joining. I’m very glad to have you here. I’m sure well, myself, and I’m sure most of our listen listeners have been following you and your podcast for a while, uh, getting a lot of inspiration and motivation from all the great people you’ve had in your podcast and from yourself as well. So again, thank you for that. Very excited to have you here.
Speaker 2 00:01:45 Well, thank you very much. I’m very pleased to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Speaker 1 00:01:49 Of course, of course. So, to start, I think would be, well, I have already shared, uh, your background with the audience, but maybe to start, since most likely people know you for your podcast, the Guru Viking Podcast would be interesting to hear a little bit more about it. I’m curious about how, what was your vision getting started in the podcast, why you were doing it, and how that vision has evolved over over time? Why are you doing it now, and what’s the vision going forward?
Speaker 2 00:02:20 Oh, yes, thank you. Well, Gu Viking Podcasts, um, as you pointed out, it’s an interview podcast. So the format is I interview the guests, whoever they may be, and the sorts of guests I have on, um, are within the general sphere, I think, of contemplative, uh, studies or contemplative activities like meditation, uh, religion, uh, et cetera. So some of them are religious practitioners or religious teachers, you know, like Zen teachers, Buddhist teachers, Sufi teachers, that kind of thing. Um, some of them are scholars or both, you know, they can be both, or, you know, some of them are scientists who are studying that, uh, area or attempting to innovate technologies or things in that area. Uh, so it’s that sort of range of people. So it’s a desire to, it began from, um, a desire to put some of the conversations that I was having personally, uh, out there and expose people to these remarkable, um, fascinating individuals in, in the field of contemplation, religion, philosophy, science, et cetera.
Speaker 2 00:03:35 Uh, that’s, that was the vision. And, uh, uh, so I started with some people that I knew per, and in fact, throughout the podcast, often I will interview people that I’ve met personally, um, et cetera. And, uh, the vision has remained more or less the same. I would say, uh, just I’m very curious person. I find people who are involved in these fields very interesting. And I find the subject interesting. And those are two different things. I’m interested in the subjects, yes. But I’m also interested in the kinds of people that are doing those things. So, uh, I, I just keep following my curiosity and, uh, trying to, uh, you know, ask a good questions, and I try to listen well, and, you know, therefore give the person a good platform to have a great discussion. So that’s, that’s the basic premise, I think, of Guru Viking Podcast.
Speaker 1 00:04:26 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:04:58 Yes. Well, many of my guests are experts in their field and in their areas. And so, of course,
Speaker 2 00:05:48 What’s their life, and what are, what else are they working on, and what are their interests and so on. So anyway, I wanna learn a lot of information that way. So I’ve learned, I suppose, picked up some information. Plus, um, many of my guests are very, very intelligent and, uh, clear communicators, you know, very good thinkers, clear communicators. And so listening to people like that and talking with people like that, also one learns a lot. Oh, that’s how they think. That’s how they categorize, that’s how they express. And some of that learning is conscious, and some of it’s unconscious, but being or hanging around those sorts of people, it’s a formal, it’s a formal interview, of course, but being associated with them for that, that brief period of time, I’ve learned a lot there as well, I think. And then perhaps being exposed to the range or a range, or how various, uh, people’s experiences can be fascinating. Accounts of childhood and, uh, and, and adolescence and adulthood, et cetera. Fascinating accounts of religious or spiritual experience or encounter accounts of people’s influential figures, people that have influenced them and so on. This just whole range of interesting human experience, hearing that from so many different people, so many different interesting people, I also find very enriching. Getting to know is broad. It’s broadened my view of, um, and my understanding of, of people, I think mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:07:26 Yeah. Yeah. That’s super interesting. So a lot of in interesting, relevant information, a lot of a diverse sort of broad human experience, You know, having all the guests from different backgrounds, sharing their experiences. Um, that’s, that’s really great. I’m, I’m also curious about the contemp or the cont let’s say, the contemplative aspect of that. Uh, a lot of these teachers, they seem to be giving some, some sort of point in instructions, sometimes even when they speak or what they are teaching. Somehow, I feel in some instances, put your mind in a different state. Uh, how do you feel about that? Uh, is that something you also feel that you have been exposed to with all of these interviews?
Speaker 2 00:08:19 Well, when you say pointing instruction, I think of two things. I think of, I think of a sort of dialogue process of, or mainly maybe a sort of almost Socratic process of pointing out spiritual truths or insights or experiences or something. For instance, pointing out instructions, pointing to the nature of mind, for example. That sort of thing is commonly discussed in, uh, say, Tibetan Buddhism. Right? But I also think of, so in that sense, um, that’s, that’s an interesting question. I also think of, uh, perhaps in a more broader sense, I try to enter the world of the guest. So I feel like, you know, and sometimes it can be quite a rollercoaster. I feel like I, I like to use their, use their words, uh, maybe as a pointing out instruction into their story and into their world. So in that sense, I think all of my guests provide a sort of pointing out instruction for me as the interviewer going in, you know, and learning about their world, and learning, uh, the way their world works, the sorts of way they language their world, the way they, the, the rules of their world, the beliefs, the assumptions, the tenets of their world, the way it works, the narrative structure and the patterns, uh, the tone, you know, the flavor of, of that person’s experience of their world.
Speaker 2 00:09:57 Yeah. So I think in that sense, maybe I’m becoming a bit pretentious here, but I find myself really going into their world. I mean, that’s, that’s, uh, what I try to do. As for pointing out the nature of mind, I don’t think, um, any of the teachers that I’ve interviewed, of course, religious teachers often do that. Good teachers of of a subject have so many different ways, and they’re almost always teaching their subject, right? So religious teachers, uh, often always, almost always teaching religion, even when they’re talking about their own lives. If they’re from that persona, it’ll almost always be consciously or unconsciously infused with their religious perspective. And if they’re a teachers, then almost always an implication of teaching in it. I think that’s what you’re saying. Yeah. I’m not sure anyone’s ever stopped me in an interview and said, You know, let me point out the nature of mind to you, or something like that. I don’t think that’s ever happened. Maybe you can remember that happening. Um, but I don’t recall that happening. Are they hinting at it? Oh, I expect they are. Will I notice that? Probably not
Speaker 1 00:11:13
Speaker 2 00:12:08 Thank you. I ought to say, really as a follow up, my guests say things all the time that really change the way I see things. That happens a lot. I mean, I, I don’t know if that’s really strict pointing out instructions in, in the kind of talk chain, you know, sense or Mohammed or sense, but that happens to me all the time. Yeah. Guests will say something and it’s like, Wow. Especially within the context of everything else they’ve said. I think sometimes that I, I need that myself very often, perspectives or these little pithy phrases contextualized within a relationship, which is briefly established in an interview or within a story that the person’s relating. But yes, often my guests will say something to me that I, I go, Wow, I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it that way. And sometimes some guests, almost everything they say is like that. And then, you know, I I, I don’t even try to keep track of it. I, I, you know, Yeah. Just very, very amazed. So yes, in a broad sense, I think you’re right. It’s, it can be very transformative speaking to, you know, those sorts of people. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:13:14 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:13:42 Yeah. Well, yeah, like you said, Guru Viking podcast. That’s how we know each other, right? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:14:43 Or we go to Australia a couple times a year and teach there for a while, or teaching all throughout Europe, you know, that sort of thing. So, or other places, open center, you know, whatever. So we just do that a lot of the time. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:15:33 It’s not just a worse in person. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:16:30 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:17:11 Oh, certainly. Yes. I ought to mention, I, I should say that beginning of the pandemic, I also started a meditation club. Gu ICU meditation club, we call it mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:17:56 Um, and we address that as a particular style. It’s not for everybody. In fact, some people criticize it, but it’s mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:18:53 Just a style of movement that I developed and have some DVD downloads for. I do that every day, uh, as a, as, uh, you know, we could talk about that, if you like. And, um, I do other things too. I read, you know, I study, you know, I study intellectual things. I studied languages and things like that. I’m interested in outdoor survival. And I recently, uh, attended a one week tracking course,
Speaker 2 00:19:46 I guess. It’s up to you. They didn’t, they didn’t specify that part. Uh, but that was really fun. So we learned how to observe the, the surroundings using very interesting, all of our senses to, uh, notice that, noticed differences in the environment. How can you tell an animals move this way? What are the signs? And then having found that, how could you find, uh, follow the track through various different means, pace tracking and bounding, and other things of that nature. Um, that’s, uh, very interesting. At night, we would learn to move silently playing, um, games, sneaking up on each other. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:20:31 So I suppose it’s a sort of skill that’s shared by any interest. People who are interested in the outdoors, I suppose, you know, hunters or people who are searching for lost people, et cetera, et cetera. I’m not a hunter myself, and I don’t do search and rescue, but it’s a sort of core skill for those kinds of, uh, mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:21:17 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:22:16 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:22:18 Yeah. Yeah. Do you play life or do you play by yourself? How, how does that work?
Speaker 2 00:22:24 Uh, yeah. I used to, uh, in my twenties, I was a, what they call a session musicians, a freelance musician. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:23:06 Um, so I did a lot of that over the years. Um, I, I closed the door to a lot of those avenues, especially when I started traveling more for what I’m doing now. I felt actually that I’d, in a certain sense, ticked all the boxes I wanted to tick. Um, for me, I felt kind of complete in it. And so, uh, you know, uh, uh, I, I just went on to other, I went to onto other things. But yeah, I still play. Um, I don’t play live barely anything, barely any, any at all of these days. Occasionally though, um, something, but very rarely these days. And, uh, but still, my music is still used. So I, I compose music, uh, you know, for certain things. So that’s still used. We use my music in most of our things in recent, uh, group series on Netflix.
Speaker 2 00:23:58 Picked up a couple of my tracks and used that. Uh, recently, it’s a group series with some, uh, goodness, patro, uh, doing, um, things to do with health and wellness, and so mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:24:38 And when you were doing that, did you also have a meditation practice? Or were you able to sort of bring the mind aspect, all of the mental faculties or skills that you build in meditation? Were you able to bring those to your instrument?
Speaker 2 00:24:55 Yeah, you were, Of course. Yeah. Yeah. I think any activity of a high level that demands a lot, whether it’s sports or art, the arts, or many other, many other activities, um, depending on your orientation, things naturally suggest that kind of full engagement. Body music, for example, is of course, bodily. Um, you know, sound is, is a physical experience. And the, the mechanics of a musician’s technique are physical. Uh, also the expression of music in a performance context is physical too. It’s not simply about the sound you create in a live performance, for example. It’s a whole body, body. You could say if you wanted to yoga in the sense that you have to conduct energy or maybe command a crowd or include a crowd, you have to be a conductor and conducting, not, not necessarily the crowd themselves, but conducting through your own body
Speaker 1 00:26:00 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:26:01
Speaker 2 00:27:13 All these sorts of dynamics exist when you play music with other people, especially if you play with them lots and lots times. A lot of the, you know, guys I used to work with, we’d do lots of jobs together and lots of tours together and so on. So we’d have this kinda unit in a way, you know, some changing parts, but you get used to playing with certain people and you get a certain kinda sound together. So yeah, those, I think it is. And then you’re in the practice room, solitary, very often solitary, investigating your faults and flaws and polishing them and correcting them. Uh, strengthening your strengths. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:28:02 It’s kind of counterintuitive, recognizing that when you real, you think, you feel you’re getting better. Often you’re just outgrowing your current level of skill and you can see what’s ahead, but you, but you, um, so you’re dissatisfied with what you’ve got, but, uh, it’s actually a signal for an opportunity of, of, of, uh, of, of something you can actually see ahead of you. So, for instance, as a guitar player, I’d often have this experience of enjoying what I’m playing, enjoying the way I’m playing, and then becoming dissatisfied, feeling I was quoting myself or feeling a bit, um, what do they call it? Uh, I can’t remember the word now, but when you were sort of, uh, derivative Yeah. Derivative of myself or my influences and so on. And I’d just get to that stage dissatisfied. Right. Then often you don’t wanna play the guitar, you don’t wanna play it anymore, cuz it doesn’t feel good
Speaker 2 00:28:49 So, you know, but if you can recognize, ah, no, actually this is a sign that, um, what I’ve got has been recontextualized by what’s possible. You know, my skill or my art can be, can go further or, or go in another direction. So then you go, Okay, good. And then you go hunting for the, uh, for that open door. And that involves, you know, often just reexamining your core fundamentals or whatever the case may be, and then finding something, ah, yes, yes. Here’s a purchase, here’s something. Pushing that, pushing that coming into a new place, letting go of what was before coming into a new place. And, uh, that process is, uh, I think quite, quite, uh, evocative of meditation. So a lot of the lessons I learned as a guitar player and the way I approached it, which like I said, kind of of really intense, uh, way of going about it. You could say spiritual if you want. I wouldn’t have always said it that way, but a lot of those lessons pour directly onto me onto meditation. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:29:59 You’re talking about meditation, right?
Speaker 2 00:30:03 I was talking about music, but my point is that all of those things, I think, are they sound? I could easily be talking about meditation. Couldn’t I
Speaker 1 00:30:34 If that’s the case, why did you stop engaging that match in, in music? Why not, let’s say, replace your meditation practice for this very intense, uh, very sort of profound music playing.
Speaker 2 00:30:53 I think that kind of profound music playing demands everything of you. Hmm. And so if you’re going to do anything else as well, um, it’s not, uh, it’s not quite what I’m saying. Um, so, you know, I started saying no to music gigs and music calls. If you say no long enough, people stop calling you back. Or they keep calling you and eventually say, Look, you know, I’m in the states now, or I’m doing other, you know, I’m not able to, uh, you know, make the dates that you’re asking me to make. Uh, you know, you say to sometimes to your loyal friends who call you, you say, Well, look, you know, I think it might be time to, you know, find another guitar player or, you know, start calling someone else now because, um, I appreciate you keep calling me. But, um, you know, I’ve said no three times now and you know, it’s okay if we break up
Speaker 1 00:31:59 Right, right.
Speaker 2 00:32:00 Uh, but yes, basically, so when I said yes to other things, other professional opportunities, uh, which I was always sort of also doing, but when I said more and more yes to that, giving myself more and more to that mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:32:20 My apologi for pushing in this topic, honestly. That’s fine. Personally, I’m not, I’m musician. I think this is something that for some reason most of my life, I mean, music has been in the background. Uh, I wasn’t, I mean, I didn’t start a meditation practice until six or seven years ago. Something that that opened up for me, I think is the appreciation for music that way. I’ve never experienced before. Uh, it’s quite amazing. And it’s quite, now I find it quite also, uh, weird that I wasn’t that interested into it before. So now I would love to learn an instrument, but at the same time, there are so many other, other responsibilities, but, Well, I guess I, I talk too much about that. But the point is, I’m not a musician and that’s why I am, I’m asking more questions about this. Um, wouldn’t you sort of be able to experience all of what you told me, your experience with music, maybe not that dynamics, that group dynamics that you talked about, but you being immersed in the, in the guitar, let’s say, and learning from your flows, uh, working with your sense of dissatisfaction, um, being one with the instrument, being the instrument, being the music and all of these things.
Speaker 1 00:33:43 Wouldn’t it be possible to do that maybe at a lower level by yourself, uh, without needing that much, that many hours or that much of a, you know, of a support group or sharing group, let’s call it? Um, would, would that be possible?
Speaker 2 00:34:02 Yeah. Yes, certainly. And of course I still play the guitar. Um, and so yeah, I still access that in that way. But it is much less than what is demand was, is demanded of you in your entire life, is, um, essentially singularly available to that artistic or creative endeavor. And that performance too. There’s an aspect of performance to it. Not only performance of technical skill or performance on stage, but a kind of, um, you know, uh, you know, you be, you become, rather, you become second
Speaker 2 00:35:07 But yeah, I still play the guitar and I still go there, you know, but it’s an echo of, it’s different now. It’s basically, it’s just different, you know? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:35:51 Of course, there are very important differences mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:36:28 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:36:29 Yeah. I don’t know. I’m really kind of, uh, should we say shooting from the hip here? It’s very interesting the line you’re going. I’m, I’m enjoying it. But, um, uh, that’s the best I can answer that, I think.
Speaker 1 00:36:41 Yeah. No, that’s very insightful. Thanks, Steve. Um, and since we’ve been talking a bunch about meditation already, and that’s probably what more, most people are interested in hearing about. Yeah. And certainly myself as well. Uh, let’s talk more about it. Uh, I’m wondering what got you started in the, you know, in meditation practice, in the contemplative path in general? Because obviously it seems that you pour sort of a little bit of meditation and mind into everything you do. So how did you start?
Speaker 2 00:37:15 Well, the short version is when I was a little boy growing up on the Shetland Islands, about five years old. I, there were two main influences at that time that are relevant here. Although I will preface it by saying, I think, uh, you know, maybe I won’t bother with that. Okay. So the two main, I’ll give you the super short version, which is I was an al boy from five, and I, we would, I was an older boy in the early morning MAs for some years actually. And in that early morning mass, that’s Catholic ritual, the mos mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:38:04 And that silence and that ritual repetition, uh, is it could be a tremendous portal of potential for all kinds of things. And so my mother’s influence was strong at that time in the sense that she used to describe it as a sort of private faith, should advocate a private faith rather than coming together in, into the mass to celebrate a common belief with other people. Uh, we all believe the same thing. We think the same thing, et cetera. We’re part of a group, rather an opportunity through the ritual for one’s own private, um, activity, whatever that might be, uh, relationship with God, or, you know, could be Mary or it could be, you know,
Speaker 2 00:38:54 And the priest also was a Jesuit priest, God father Hay, who was also very deep, uh, kind of a person. Didn’t, didn’t say much, but, uh, anyway, very influential. So there was that. And then also that time I began martial arts training, uh, starting karate at five years old. And I just fell in love with it as young boys are, uh, often do fall in love with things. I fell in love with it. I totally got it. So we do sort of meditation things there too, like hold the arm out for, you know, I dunno, probably only two minutes, but it felt like really intense to hold the arm out, like in the movies mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:39:34 We do that sort of thing. And of course, so I was super into it. So I’d read about it. And then from there, of course I’d read about, um, you know, karate. Okay, that’s the karate part. And then there’s the dough part. There’s the philosophical or, uh, religious context of it. And so, and the cultural context of it. So I begin to read more about that and read about, and all sorts of things from yoga. But there’s, um, you know, Daoism, et cetera. And I, I saw that as a whole sort of tapestry of fascinating areas that didn’t necessarily conflict with each other. I know the different religions and philosophies have different ideas that are contradictory in many ways, but I enjoyed the, the variety of diversity of it. I didn’t feel necessarily, Oh, this isn’t the same as that. I just, so I loved it. So I just sort of drank all that up and enjoyed it. And so that, those were my, I think my initial starting influences. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:40:25 Yeah. That’s, it’s super interesting to me, uh, to hear that, uh, I had thought of a similar background, if you see the structure of it, but very different outcome out of it. I also was, uh, raised Catholic, Well, I was raised Catholic. I also went to mass since I was a kid. But it was the, the other thing you described, it was a shared belief, uh, there, the contemplative aspect was missing completely.
Speaker 2 00:40:51 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:40:52 Uh, something that did resonate with me is everything, all of the things Jesus was doing seemed like the right thing to do. And Jesus seemed like a great guy, you know, like, Oh yeah, I want to be like Jesus. But then nobody was actually doing what Jesus was doing. Right. So
Speaker 1 00:41:12 There was sort of a contradiction there didn’t resonate. I just went because my family went there. So unfortunately I wasn’t able to get much out of it. Uh, at least maybe unconsciously I did. Uh, because there are great teachings in, in, in the Bible and in all of, of the tensions that were, were told at the time. But yeah, uh, definitely didn’t see it as a contempt that I’ve thing at that point. I also did karate too. Uh, I started around six years old. I, I also loved it, did it for around 10 years. We did SAA a little bit of meditation or periods in silence. A lot of focus on discipline, on, Yeah. Doing it. I mean, always taking a defensive approach, not harming others on purpose, using it maybe to know for, for the right things, whatever the right things are. So, but again, I didn’t get that much contemplation or meditation or mental aspects out of it, but I think I did it maybe unconsciously.
Speaker 1 00:42:23 Maybe a lot of those things stayed with me. And after officially learning how to meditate, I, I realized I had it in me, and that’s why it was easier to pick up meditation. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting. I wasn’t thinking at all about nothing contemplative at that point. Um, I wonder if it was the, the cultural environment, which was different. Um, I was raised in Peru and in Lima, which is a very conservative, let’s say, Well, it was, it’s becoming less now, but it was a very conservative seat at the time. And yeah, like Catholics beliefs are usually firmly held or firmly held. So maybe that didn’t allow me for much challenge in those things, you know? Uh, I wasn’t in course to challenge those things at all. Did you have a different experience in that way? I’m, I’m just trying to figure out why, even though the experiences were similar or, you know, like church and karate and all of these things, the outcome was so different.
Speaker 2 00:43:35 Hmm. When you say challenge, you weren’t encouraged to challenge, do you mean intellectually challenge the doctrines, that sort of thing?
Speaker 1 00:43:41 Right. Uh, yeah, Definitely not. Uh, if, if, I mean, I probably had those ideas in my mind. Uh, it doesn’t make sense why then.
Speaker 2 00:43:52 Right.
Speaker 1 00:43:53 Somebody elder would say, because it’s like that, that’s how it works. Don’t even question it. And most people wouldn’t be interested in questioning it either. So that’s, that’s what I meant. There was no support, you know, for, for exploration or contemplation.
Speaker 2 00:44:08 Yeah. I see. Yeah. Well, if I was to contrast it, which, which is what I think you’re asking me to do, it was the absence one at one contrast is an absence of doctrine. Hmm. Um, so we didn’t go, my brother and I to Sunday school or catechism, which is where they troop the, as you know, of course, they troop the kids off to another room, like during the mass sometimes or after, depend, you know, afterwards, whatever. It depends. And you go in there and some volunteer will explain, go through some textbooks. I don’t know. I never went. So I, I’m not sure, but they’ll explain mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:44:58 There’s a joke about politicians that, um, if someone wants to be a politician, that should disqualify them from being a politician. It’s sort of
Speaker 2 00:45:42 You go in there and you put on this sort of outfit and you follow the choreography of the mass. So it’s a choreograph thing. Uh, you always go through the same sections, and depending on time of year, certain sections may change or rotate. But fundamentally, it’s a preset menu of things that occur in this mass. And so, and that involves certain readings, perhaps, uh, certain, uh, call in response sections, perhaps a, a, a sermon or a teaching. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:46:36 And then time, time you have to get up, take a candle from over here, put it over there, uh, take a cup from over there, give it to the priest. Wait, take the cup away, put it over there again. Now get a candle or a big cross. Now kneel down in front of the altar, but opposite the other altar. Boy, do that for a little while. Stand up now, walk over there,
Speaker 2 00:47:26 I’m not needed for carrying a candle or ringing a bell or something like that. Or, you know, cleaning a cup or something. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:48:28
Speaker 2 00:49:07 Well, you know, when you, when you read, um, about those subjects, which I was very keen on doing at the time, it’s inextricable martial arts, for example, let’s talk about that, is inextricable from meditation. You have things like, um, the high states of concentration that are calls for in martial arts training. You know, that kind of single point of focus. Of course, very influence, isn’t it? Japanese martial arts culture by Japanese religion. And, you know, we can’t escape zen in that, in that context. It’s one of the, one of the main influences. So a lot of those ideas are, are there taking martial arts as a spiritual, if you want practice, or perhaps that saying spiritual is almost too limiting. But there is an aspect of it that’s like that. I think everyone kind of knows that, Right? It’s almost cliche. So if you take that really seriously in the way that a naive boy does
Speaker 2 00:50:15 So, uh, I would do that sort of think. But I think, you know, it’s, it’s because of perhaps my naivety and my enthusiasm unchecked, You know, young boys often have an unchecked enthusiasm unchecked by cynicism, unchecked by it, Right? Cuz you’re a little boy. And so you just go for it and you go for it in, in ways that are unique, I think, to little kids. You know, you go into your own thing. So I would do all sorts of stuff. Of course, it’s not a form of practice, but it’s an enthusiastic scatter shot investigation. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:51:06 But I would lay there and wake up in the morning and turn the TV on, and I would try to turn it down. Right, right, right, right, right down to not totally silent, but just loud enough to hear it. And I noticed that if I tried to, if I, if I had any thinking going on, if I tried to translate what I was hearing or allowed to sort of produce associations, um, of meaning, then the activity of the, of that would drown out the sound. I couldn’t hear it. But if I let go of all of that more conceptual meaning based activity and tuned into the sound and let it sort of pour in, I found it could sort of just of grow more directly, you know, kinda directly. And I could hear it. So I would play that game of making the TV just, you know, for the morning, morning TV show, just loud enough that it required that sort of, I dunno what, I wouldn’t say empty mind, I think, but a sort of less conceptual activity going on in the mind, something like that.
Speaker 2 00:52:07 Right. And I would play that game a lot. I don’t know why, but I was reading all those sorts of things. So maybe I had some, you know, I got some kind of idea about something I read and I iterated or expressed it in that, in that sort of situation. So I do things like that later on. Um, I was, uh, apprentice to, uh, Christian Mystic. So he was, he’d come to Shetland for a little while to, uh, with his wife and family to finish some books he was writing. And his wife also had a job there locally in the hospital. And, um, I was his sort assistant. So he hired me to, you know, work, work for him initially part-time and then, and then more full-time. I’d with him for say about three years or so, entering in the corrections. He’d, he’d correct all his manuscripts by hand.
Speaker 2 00:52:56 And then I’d enter those in and we’d discuss things now, sort of his, you know, run around, uh, slash you know, input monkey kinda person. Uh, but it was also explicitly a spiritual mentorship in an Elijah Elisha kind of style. That’s a biblical reference of classic biblical reference of mentorship that was he evoked. So it also had that spiritual component, um, and some other components as well to do with teaching me a little bit how to think and maybe even teaching me how to navigate as a freelance, um, person in that sense, uh, in that field. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:54:11 And, uh, so that was, um, a formal practice. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:55:26 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:56:11 I think it’s fundamentally the same, which is curiosity. And, you know, it’s like curiosity. It’s like if you’ve fall in love with somebody and someone says, Well, why do hang out with them? Or why do you like hanging out with them? Well, you can give reasons, but fundamentally, there’s just, it’s just sort of, you know, because you’re in love with them,
Speaker 2 00:57:19 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:58:36 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:59:06 Hmm. Yeah. That’s very interesting. So if we to define formal practice now, maybe we’ll define it really strictly as sitting practice, right?
Speaker 1 00:59:14 Yeah. List of that. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:59:16 So you, you sit down to specifically for the purpose of meditating for a period of time. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:00:05 And then other times I might collapse back from that expansion contract back to a sort of more of a minimum dependent. A lot of things like interest, energy level, circumstances, uh, et cetera. What’s coming up in the practice. Often I flee from what’s happening in my practice.
Speaker 2 01:00:58 Yeah. Or maybe sometimes more integrated or, I dunno. So I’ve noticed that. So in other words, if, if I find, if I do lots and lots of practice, sometimes my functionality is impaired, can be a little impaired temporarily. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:02:06 Yeah, that’s, Sorry, I don’t want to interrupt. Keep going.
Speaker 2 01:02:10 Well, I, maybe you have to rescue me from my poor answer.
Speaker 1 01:02:13 No, it wasn’t, It was,
Speaker 2 01:02:15 I, I feel like I’m saying obvious things. I think it’s
Speaker 1 01:02:17 Quite the opposite actually. Uh, you gave oh, the opposite sort of answer. I was, I guess I’m, I’m used to hearing, which is the more you practice, the more beneficial it is, um, for yourself and for others around you. More awareness, more capacity to love, uh, more freedom less. And also like seeing the relationship with your ego or personality more seen usually is perceived in, they say spiritual talks as a positive thing usually, you know, when Yeah. When it’s not too much, You know, like there’s again, more, more room for everything to just be, for you to just be with, with others. But it’s interesting that it’s, it’s, you didn’t focus on that part, at least on those, let’s say, let’s call them benefits. Um, well first I’ll, I’ll let you answer that and, uh, or not answer that, but comment on that. I have some thoughts like why that could, could be, but I, I’m curious to
Speaker 2 01:03:28 Hear from you think, Well, please. I’m curious to hear your
Speaker 1 01:03:31 Thoughts. Yeah. Uh, well, a hypothesis, uh, maybe at some point when your minimum practice, daily practice, it’s already a lot of hours and most of your activities are very aligned with your practice as well. Uh, maybe that’s not where most people are at. Uh, maybe at that point, I don’t know. There’re, there’s a, there’s sort of really forgetting about your personality or ego or transcending it to some point where you actually can function well, uh, in things or activities that require somehow that ego structure to be there. I think that’s not what most of us experience in daily practice, but maybe when you’re practicing a bench a lot, you’re having a lot of insights, uh, or you’re already sort of stable in that sort of non-dual state, let’s call it. Maybe at that point things change a little bit. Uh, you have the hypothesis, but here’s about your thoughts on, on all of that.
Speaker 2 01:04:51 Yeah, that’s interesting. I wouldn’t say I’m, uh, stable in a nondual, at least not in any kind of attainment. I don’t experience myself as having any kind of attainment such as, um, realization of nonduality or, uh, stream entry or, um, you know, awakening or kundalini rising or, um, epiphany of various kinds. Um, I think that’s, I don’t relate to that personally. So, you know, probably those that, you know, I interview people on my podcast that do claim to be enlightened. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:06:15 Uh,
Speaker 2 01:06:15 And when I don’t meditate for a while, I find myself that to be the case. Yeah. I, I hear people say that all the time. So I think that must be true. Why did I focus on the dissolving, um, effects of deep practice? I don’t know.
Speaker 1 01:07:04 Right. Right.
Speaker 2 01:07:06 That hasn’t been my experience. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, yes. Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe. But more loss and opening and softening and recontextualizing, those sorts of things. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:07:27 Think. No, no. It, it’s all very interesting stuff. Uh,
Speaker 2 01:07:31 You’re a very kind interviewer,
Speaker 1 01:07:33
Speaker 1 01:07:34 About what you said. No, I think we’re, yes. Very interest interested about these topics. Uh, oh. Yeah. And yeah, you have a lot of interesting things to share about them too. Uh, so when you mention about you don’t take the practice that, let’s call it formal practice into daily activities, uh, you, Well, I don’t, I don’t know if you exactly said that, but sort of I got that, that sense. It’s interesting, many traditions sort of that the whole point of practicing formal practice is that at some point, there’s no separation between formal and informal practice, but like, life just is, uh, is basically functioning in what is, let’s say, an output of, of everything being integrated or practice and non-practice being one, and you being able to function again, let’s say, say, uh, with whatever traits or with less, I guess, self acquired or traits and more natural traits that go along the lines of anonymity and compassion.
Speaker 1 01:08:48 Most, most traditions talk about, uh, a lot of traditions to us, you already know, of course know, uh, they have sort of formal, informal, informal practices. So sort of ways that you can actually keep practicing in daily activity so that there’s no much discontinuity between state of soma or mind unification. And when maybe actualizing, uh, non-dual estate or something I learned of lines. I know it can mean different things in different traditions, but something I learned of lines also being able to sort of keep, keep that ball rolling in daily life. And not only in sitting practice. I’m curious about how you relate or yeah. How you relate, uh, meditation and practice in daily activity. How do you do anything specific to try to integrate both, to just let, let it be, uh, Yeah. Wondering what are your thoughts about that?
Speaker 2 01:09:59 Yeah, That’s a very interesting question. I ought emphasize perhaps that I’ve been answering your questions as personally as I can. Uh, not, you know, in any kind of, I don’t know, explanatory capacity. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, yeah. I think that’s the frame, right? So you’re asking me about my own. I
Speaker 1 01:10:16 Appreciate that practice in my own a hundred percent. Yeah. So that’s,
Speaker 2 01:10:19 That’s what I’m trying to do. And so that’s also perhaps why, uh, so I’m ex I’m sort of, you know, ex trying to be very direct about that and, um, uh, transparent, essentially, I suppose. Um, uh, you, you’re right. Yeah. A lot of, a lot of, uh, traditions say things like, uh, so, uh, the reason I point that out, by the way, is because of course, I’m not trying to give a lecture on these sub subjects, Right. And, uh, you, you know, we’re not doing that. So, but you’re right. If we refer to that, lots of different traditions have various different means of blending or taking what you get in your practice into your life. So if we take informal practice to me sitting there doing your meditation practice, you know, on your cushion or whatever the case may be, then okay, that’s formal practice.
Speaker 2 01:11:05 And then informal practice would be maybe applying a meditation technique when you’re doing anything else. So you’re walking the dog, you’re doing the dishes, you’re taking a shower. Yeah. Lots of meditation, uh, traditions have methods to do that. Some of them are just, do whatever you’re doing on the cushion, just do that while you’re doing other things. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:11:51 There’s a mantra for cleaning the, you know, shed, Right. There’s, everything has a mantra, Right? Everything has, or you, you know, so some people have that mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:12:58 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:12:59 Yeah. So it’s like falling in love again, that if we use that example, you may have a date night where you’re formally relating to your loved one, but then you could still, you know, you’re walking along and you, you think of them and, you know, experience your relationship, perhaps when you’re alone in the forest walking through the forest, you know, somehow you think of that person, right? And it’s there, Right? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:14:02 I think that’s what most of us do, Unfortunately.
Speaker 2 01:14:05 Is it though,
Speaker 1 01:14:07 Uh, I mean, it
Speaker 2 01:14:09 Maybe,
Speaker 1 01:14:09 Maybe not, uh, most practitioners or serious practitioners, but I think most people who are not meditators or have no interest in the contemplative path, let’s say, I think, and that’s, that’s sort of the default these days in, at least in some pockets of the world, high-paced cities, uh, people are with, their phones are always busy. So even, I mean, even walking sometimes, and that’s what I used to do as well, I mean, was just a way to get some exercise and maybe listen to a podcast and maybe answer, answer some emails while doing it. Not appreciating and not enjoying, not actually walking and being in the work, you know? Um, just being in my head most of the time. So, yeah. I mean, I, I don’t think it’s, it’s for granted or like it’s, it, it’s is the default to do something that is supposed to be the default and so natural. Right. So, yeah. So natural. But anyways, um, I, I got your point though, Steve. Uh, anything else you want to add on that before I jump into the next question?
Speaker 2 01:15:30 Well, yeah. I, I think every sense experience is, is, um, is it an opportunity mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:15:58 Uh,
Speaker 2 01:15:58 Yeah. But to me, that’s what meditation for me is about, really, is that intimacy with life, enjoyment of life. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:16:14 I agree. I agree. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:16:16 And so then one doesn’t necessarily have to a technique, therefore isn’t a kind of a way of, it’s, you know, just a method of, of connection or communication Yeah. Rather than, uh, rather than the step ladder to the thing.
Speaker 1 01:16:31 Right. Right. No, I, I totally understand. Uh, I do think, though, uh, and just to add to that, I think some people, uh, or some of us can use that method or can use methods or techniques even for those situations where we are so used to not being in our bodies or not being present in activity, or maybe, you know, so overstimulated by sensory experience from our media or phones or, you know, whatever. Uh, I think for those situations, maybe a method or technique even for walking would be useful. At least it has helped me, but
Speaker 2 01:17:17 Yes. Oh, it’s certainly very useful. I think it’s a wonderful method and a wonderful training tool. Hmm. Yeah. Awesome. It is certainly that. Yeah.
Speaker 1 01:17:27 Uh, yeah. I’m, I’m curious what formal meditation you’re doing now. Uh, I guess that should have been my, my first question. What, what sort of practice are you doing these days?
Speaker 2 01:17:40 Well, my, I suppose, of course, I don’t know how much you know about the people that I mentioned, I learned a lot from, but you know, they do different sorts of meditations, and so there’s a whole range, really. But one of my favorite ones, a couple of my favorite ones, and now we’re talking about formal practice, Right. Sitting on the meditation cushion. Um, I really like, uh, body sensations, just sitting there and just feeling the body sensations. That’s really nice. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:18:42 That’s very nice. Sometimes tracking the contour of certain sensations. So tracking the expansion and contraction and disappearing of sensations. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:19:20 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:19:20
Speaker 1 01:19:30
Speaker 2 01:19:31 Um, yeah. And sometimes meditation’s involving, you know, breath control or, uh, visualization or, uh, chanting, uh, et cetera. I enjoy those sorts of meditations as well. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:19:55 Uhhuh,
Speaker 2 01:20:12 Yeah, I think it’s in many traditions, perhaps it’s one of the most basic ones. Meditations in some ways, in certain traditions. So feeling the body sensations. Yes. You find that in, uh, many Buddhist lines. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:21:05
Speaker 1 01:22:07 I was just gonna say, he has many interesting books, as you may Well, uh, taxonomies, uh, I, I was just reading one of his books, uh, or PDFs, See, hear, feel. You’re probably familiar with that one course. Super interesting way of categorizing and making sense out of so many different practices and experiences and mind capacities. Very, very useful. But please, please keep going, keep going.
Speaker 2 01:22:32 Well, I mean that, I’m just taking a long time to say, uh, say when I’ve, a very basic thing, which is that I learned it from, you know, those teachers, the way I applied, I learned it from those teachers. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:23:14 Right, right,
Speaker 2 01:23:15 Right.
Speaker 1 01:23:16 Makes sense. So, Steve, something you mentioned that, let’s say it’s important or one of the reasons why you meditate is just for your natural sense of curiosity and you enjoy the practice, allows you to feel more, uh, according to what I, I understand. I understood. Uh, how do you relate with activities or experiences in life that could be detrimental to your practice, that dull the sense of curiosity, maybe dull the clarity or the capacity to feel. Um, some examples of that could be drinking alcohol or any sort of intoxicants, uh, or maybe indulge in yourself in sense of activity of any kind, you know, uh, binge cheating or watching too much tv or whatever things you know, that are sort of detrimental, that could be detrimental to practice. How do you relate to those things?
Speaker 2 01:24:22 Yeah. Well, I have two answers. The, uh, if you want say the answer and then maybe a more honest one. Uh, Oscar Wild said everything in moderation, including moderation,
Speaker 1 01:24:35
Speaker 2 01:24:36 I think that’s it, basically. Yeah. But, um, I think, uh, I do engage in behaviors as that dull or dampen or, uh, diffuse or dilute, uh, sometimes, you know, and sometimes I’m aware of those and others I’m not. There’s a, I think quite a lot of, uh, activity that I speak very personally that I found myself in engaging in, which is almost a recoiling from the kind of unvarnished contact with life experience, uh, that sort of unvarnished contact with life and experience. It, it decimate oneself. There’s, you can’t hold on to anything in that kind of an unvarnished. It’s really, uh, feels like that to me sometimes. Anyway, so
Speaker 2 01:26:04 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:27:00
Speaker 2 01:27:56 Right. And maybe underneath that is maybe, uh, something, you know, some fundamental alienation, I don’t know, separateness, you know, I mean, I’m just, Right. So yes, there’s a layer cake of, um, of, uh, experience that is rationalized at the top level is something quite reasonable, like having a bag of chips or something. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:28:52 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:29:49 I think this is, or sometimes they will quote cre wilber and talk about accesses of development. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:30:35 Right. Right. Of course, they say that. But I think it can be a mistake for the mystic to take subjective experience as synonymous with objective truth. So I experience, let’s say, I ha, you know, I’m not living in a state of profound ity, but let’s say I was, you know, I experience oneness. That means everything is one. Uh, no, it doesn’t, not necessarily, it means you experience oneness. Right. I experience, um, no self. That means I haven’t got a self. I mean, I understand that’s, that’s of corruption anyway, of the no self doctrine. But our, I experience the mind is without limit. Well, or you haven’t had, you haven’t found a limit. You, you’ve experienced no limit. Doesn’t mean there’s no limit. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:31:41 Yeah. I agree a hundred percent. I think e even more important than whether or not you subdue all the cravings when you’re enlightened or you are, you perfect, your personality or whatever that means for me at least, is, uh, what can I do about now in my, in my unenlightened state, uh, so that it serves whatever my priorities are there, which is, well, I don’t know, could be practice your, your service people in your life, whatever that is. Uh, so I guess I was going more around that element of it. And so something you mentioned that I think it’s, it’s, it’s, yeah, it’s very valuable is just keeping the, the, you know, the habit of curiosity, even in those activities, not taking them from granted, maybe not pushing them away with all your mate necessarily, but observing what’s in there. Why are you doing, what’s driving it, and what’s the outcome of it as well? Um, I find that helpful at least. But yeah, I mean, what else can we do? Right? Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:32:57 Well, you’ve actually raised an interesting point. There is the view that one should simply experience one’s cravings and urges. And, you know, of course those are considered to be bad in say, Buddhism. Right? Uh, so I think that, you know, that’s, that’s the Buddhist view. So, um, anyway, so your desires, et cetera. Right? So one view is to, oh, witness that, observe that, um, uh, and come to know it’s anatomy and it’s structure and its habits, and how, how, how such urges and things move, and how they don’t, how they appear to reach, how they sell you on a false idea. If you get this, you’ll be happy. Right. Or if you don’t get that, you’ll be unhappy. Right. You know, et cetera. This sort of idea and see through it by experiencing it a lot, Um, and without acting on it, without necessarily getting drawn into it or following the thread of it, I think that’s very valid.
Speaker 2 01:33:48 Other people say, Well, you should also, you should not do that. You, you should, whenever you feel something like that, you should immediately reorient to a positive state and fixate on a positive state when you get drawn away into one of these hindrances or one of these, uh, Right. Other kind of states mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:34:34 We could see them as two different techniques. Um, but certainly I’ve had dialogues on my podcast between, um, religious teachers who take each of those positions as they’re as the correct position and we’ll mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:35:21
Speaker 1 01:36:20 What have you been doing? And I think most importantly, how did you relate at different stages of your life to it? Why was it important to you doing this physical activity? How did you bring your mind to it? Maybe at some points you predicted your practices just as ways to feel your body, maybe ways to build muscle. Maybe that’s something you care at some point, maybe ways to keep the practice going and intensify it. That meditation practice. Sorry. Um, yeah, interesting to hear. That’s a broad question, and we can dive deep into different topics afterwards, but interesting to hear your thoughts about that.
Speaker 2 01:37:00 Yeah. I think all, all of the above. Perhaps physical practice, you know, like exercising or for health and fitness reasons, or vanity perhaps, um, trying to look good, whatever, you know mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:38:02 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:38:46 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:38:49 Which is inevitably the entire endeavor. Inevitably, you can’t go far with that meditation involved there. I think somehow it’s there. The same stuff that you’re engaging with in meditation is right there when you’re exercising. So, to me, I don’t see much, much of a difference. So of course, I recognize the difference between sitting in meditation and doing a bench press. I recognize the difference. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:39:17 Yeah. Being deeply involved with the senses, with your feelings and emotions. Well,
Speaker 2 01:39:23 Yeah. Engaging and self cultivation. Self cultivation, self aggrandizement. Right. Self improvement. These are all motivations. Vanity, um, insecurity. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:39:40 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:39:42 Um, the, the, these are all motivations that apply. I think perhaps meditation practice as well as physical exercise. That’s
Speaker 1 01:39:51 Interesting.
Speaker 2 01:39:53 I’m not suggesting that I’m actively pursuing those rather macve and sounding motivations, but I am suggesting that, I mean, it’s gotta be in there somewhere,
Speaker 1 01:40:07 Know, But there’s, I think there’s a degree too, right? I mean, I can tell myself when I was in my early twenties, the reason why I work out was completely different. Not completely different, different than a bit different than today. Uh,
Speaker 2 01:40:24 Bit,
Speaker 1 01:40:24 A bit. I
Speaker 2 01:40:25 Mean,
Speaker 1 01:40:26 Maybe the insecurity driving it, the desire to look better were way higher and dominant at that point. Maybe now it’s, it doesn’t drive the activity that much. Maybe it’s there, but it’s, it’s not 80% or 90% of the reason why I’m doing it. Maybe it’s five or 10% that is there a missile working to uncover it more and more. Uh, but it has changed for sure. Um, have you experienced something similar to, uh, that sort of evolution of the why?
Speaker 2 01:41:05 Yeah, I expect so, but I, I think the basic drives are the same. You
Speaker 1 01:41:10 Know, red, red,
Speaker 2 01:41:12 Uh, evolutionary psychology would say survival and reproduction.
Speaker 2 01:42:01 Yeah. The important thing, I think is to do it though, if one is, uh, training, uh, physically or in meditation or doing whatever else, uh, then once motivations and drives are exposed and worked with, um, in the, in the process of doing it, I don’t think there’s a necessarily too many bad reasons to do a practice like meditation. You know, a lot of people who meditate trying to, they’re trying to become better, you know, aloof from protected against suffering. Yeah. You know, they want to escape or become so enlightened or so progressed that they don’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt anymore. Such a lot of people are doing it for that reason. Is that a good reason or a bad reason? Well, I dunno, It’s, it’s a reason some people, they’re trying to become better than themselves yesterday or better than others. Um, is that a good reason or a bad reason? I don’t know.
Speaker 1 01:42:57 Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:42:58 I’m not, I’m not sure that that’s not what the religions are also right. Doing.
Speaker 1 01:43:03 Oh,
Speaker 2 01:43:04 I, I’m not entirely sure.
Speaker 1 01:43:05 Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:43:18 It’s very, it’s very important. You need a why, but do you need to know what your why is not necessarily, not you, unless you have a motivation problem. If you have a motivation problem. Right? Right. Then one of the exercises I have people do is, um, I say, Okay, you wanna meditate and you’re having a motivation problem, uh, practicing, for example. Yeah. Um, okay, let’s clarify your why. So I might say, Okay, that’s right down five reasons why, uh, five good things that you think is gonna happen to you when you meditate. Um, and, you know, they have to be emotionally charged. So it matter if you think that they’re the right good reasons or not. Mm. So you might say, Well, if I meditate, I’ll be, you know, really, uh, present. And so I’ll have an advantage in social or business situations, or I won’t get so stressed out.
Speaker 2 01:44:08 Uh, you know, I’ll be like totally peaceful or something like that. Or if I meditate, then whatever it is, articulate those reasons and let them be your, you know, what comes emotionally. That’s the important thing. But then of course, when you look at your reasons, you might think, Gosh, I don’t wanna be the kind of person who wants that kind of thing. Well, nevermind. That’s what’s in there. And then you say, um, okay. Now I might say to them, Okay, now do 10, we did this in the get a daily practice course, for example, at the beginning. Now write 10, uh, bad things that you might happen if you don’t, if you don’t practice meditation, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. What do you think? Well, I can imagine not meditating, and people come up with very interesting answers. Let’s say, Well, I can imagine if I don’t meditate and I think about myself in 10 years time, what kind of person would I be?
Speaker 2 01:44:53 Well, and then you’ll say all that sort of stuff. Well, I’ll be still stressed, you know, I’ll be angry like my parent, or, you know, I’ll be, um, lonely and, uh, that loneliness will really get to me. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:45:38 So I know I have those basic qualities. So I’m, you know, so you’re trying to then build a bridge as to, from the identity of one who doesn’t meditate to one who does. So these sorts of exercises can be useful, clarifying, cultivating your wine. Yeah. And then those whys once, once clarified, that can be really rocket fuel. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:46:56 Right.
Speaker 2 01:46:58 You know, And as you correctly point out the why does change.
Speaker 1 01:47:01 Yeah. Well, that was a great, people hear that. Great take on the why. I, I love it. Okay. Thanks. Uh, yeah. Yeah. What were you gonna say? Sorry?
Speaker 2 01:47:10 Uh, nothing, Nothing that would add anything. So please continue.
Speaker 1 01:47:14 Uh, well, thanks for that. Yeah. Um, it’s,
Speaker 1 01:47:19 Uh, yeah, I also find it super important to have a clear why doesn’t matter what’s the why, but to have it clear at least so that you do the practices. And that I guess, applies for habit building. Even in general, any, anything you want to do in life, anything skill you want to pick up, uh, out of those things are critical it seems. Um, so if you, if you don’t mind, I would like to talk about now the, uh, movement slash contemplative method you developed, uh, the Goan movement method. I watch a couple of videos, I read a little bit about it, but would love to hear your take on it.
Speaker 2 01:48:00 Sure. Well, you, like you mentioned, it’s called, uh, Movement KO method, and there are a couple of DVD downloads on groove viking.com about it. Two, two volumes. Um, yeah, it’s like the mo mike, the, the name suggests the movement part is joint nourishing movements of various kinds. Um, and also movements that challenge the nervous system in various different ways, such as moving limbs in different directions. For instance, when I’m forward or when I’m back mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:48:48 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:49:42 So minimum possible muscular activation, you’d be totally relaxed on the ground. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:50:31 Um, you feel it more. So sometimes we use tension in that context to anesthetize mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 01:51:31
Speaker 1 01:52:50 Yeah. Yeah. That’s super interesting, Steve. Um, I, I, I can relate to a lot of that. I started a handstand practice three years ago, more or less, and I mean, it’s balancing basically. And all of the things you mentioned about minimal tension required to hold it, I mean, from a physical point of view, you do need to have minimal tension and the right, or the flexibility for the skill to be performed without wasting too much energy, without overtaxing your body. And then the sense of balancing also mean, uh, well, moment to moment, if at some point you are thinking about the next moment you probably fall, you have to be so present. Or if you obsess about a specific part of your body, you fixate on your shoulders, then you miss your, uh, all of the tension that leads to in the legs and the other way around.
Speaker 1 01:53:47 And that happens like so quickly, but so often too, I, I found these sort of practices so, so well rounded, you know, uh, you get your workout, you get your field to feel, your body to be very invested in it, but at the same time, you are discovering or exposing a lot of insights related to mind and how mind body work together and everything else. So I, uh, I’m very interested about, about your methods. I, I find that there’s, well, for me, there’s two different ways to progress in my handstand practice, and one is to discover all the insights myself. And that takes time, and it’s very rewarding and sometimes penetrates deeper. But then when I also read or hear or learn from somebody else, concepts or insights that I have not already digested in my personal experience, a door opens for me to explore those. And actually, yeah. That accelerates the learning process by a lot in my view. So that’s, that’s super, super helpful and interesting too. Do you offer those online or in person? Oh, well, do you actually teach that, uh, in person? Because that’s my question.
Speaker 2 01:55:05 Yeah, Yeah. Uh, well, you know, of course these last two years have, have been right. If we accept that, uh, except the last couple of years. Um, yeah. When, that’s one of the, that’s one of the things we do. Uh, McKay and I, when we’re teaching together, we do that, or running retreats, for example, I or I, if I’m doing one of by myself, we might, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll do that kind of thing. Yeah. We’ll use those, those movement techniques as well as, for example, if it’s a meditation technique, I did a used to run a technique by used to, I mean, I will do it again, but there was a bit of a gap these last two and a half years, um, meditation, uh, movement and nature combined. So lots of sitting, lots of strong determination sitting and yeah, lots of movement games like movement, crime method, et cetera, as well as, um, nature related, uh, activities, bringing together some of my own enjoyments, build a retreat that you want to do yourself,
Speaker 1 01:55:58 Yeah.
Speaker 2 01:55:59 And then, you know, then is that at least it’s, it’s, it’s, that’s how I prefer to do retreats if practice retreats in general mm-hmm. Is, um, practicing with, you know, there’s practice together. Of course, there’s the teaching role, of course, there’s the holding of the context role, and that’s very specific. Mm-hmm. You know, here in this interview, we’ve been talking very personally, and so I haven’t had the teaching persona Right on. I, I haven’t had the here’s advice for this, and here’s advice for that. I haven’t been answering from a place of giving advice. I’ve been answering from a place of exploring your questions as they come straight towards me. Uh, I don’t know if that’s been successful or not, but it almost inevitably comes to this place of don’t really know, don’t really know. Um, a lot of my practice is also simmered, uh, uh, soaked in that of just don’t know.
Speaker 2 01:56:48 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 01:57:36 Awesome. So, Yeah. Sounds great. I will make sure to include it in the show notes. Uh, is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience, Steve, where, well, obviously in your website, guru viking.com, they can learn about your events podcast. Is there anything else that you are doing these days that you’d like people to know about?
Speaker 2 01:57:56 Yes. Well, thank you. It’s all on gu viking.com, the relevant things to this conversation. There, you can find the podcast, the
Speaker 1 01:58:39 Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your time, your experience in a very vulnerable and straightforward way. Uh, really appreciate it,