You may know Vishen as the founder of MindValley, but you may not know the spiritual side of him. In this episode, we sit down to discuss how to be both a Buddha and a bad ass. We discuss bending reality, past lives, shifting perspectives, his 6-stage meditation and his personal favorite practice to live a life in alignment. Come join us! Create your Lifebook with a refundable $500 deposit with this link: bit.ly/31z3ws6
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Episode 311: Bending Reality with Vishen Lakhiani
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you, your Soul’s Highest Evolvement.
How is butterfly August going for you? I told you a couple weeks ago on my Solocast that this would be the month that you really gain clarity on who it is that you seek to emerge as. You know, we’ve gone through so many shifts, and realizations, and fears, and awakenings, and all of the things this year, this incubator of 2020. And now it’s really the time that we emerge out of it and decide what vibration, what energy, what expression am I going to emerge as. So what has shown up for you? I am curious, let me know on Instagram.
And for me, it has really been cultivating more of my feminine, of my dancer, of connecting to my heart, really resonating from that heart frequency. I’m someone who can definitely get lost in my work. Having just finished writing “Discover Your Dharma” and being so deeply in that process for the past year, and creating all the content I create from the Podcast, Rose Gold Goddesses etc. and my intention is to really sink more into my dance and my feminine expression, particularly a style of dance called ‘Tribal Fusion Belly Dance’. And I have been doing it every single day, practicing; it is a spiritual practice for me, and I am grateful to report that I have stuck to that.
So, I am always looking for the most incredible leaders and having them bring their perspective with The Highest Self Podcast. And Vishen Lakhiani is someone that I have been for years and I was super-excited to read his new book “The Buddha and the Badass” which recently became a Number 1 New York Times best-seller; and to dive into his knowledge because I especially was curious about the more spiritual side of him.
So you might know Vishen, you’ve probably seen his Ads on YouTube or all over the place. He’s the finder of Mindvalley which is the biggest transformational course; educational system around the world. They have courses on so many things and what they’re so great at is taking personal development, making it very, very accessible just for the average person, and in so many different facets of your life from Memory to Meditation and so many things. So they kind of take Spirituality but kind of wrap it in this package that the average person who’s probably not like us, who’s always talking about these things – that average person would understand.
And also, especially for men, if you have a man in your life that you’re like “Oh I would really love for them to get more in touch with themselves” Mindvalley is that place, it definitely speaks their language.
So, I was very curious to dive into the Mind, the Spiritual aspect of Vishen, and that is exactly what we do in this Episode.
So we talk about what he was in his past lives and his experiences with that; what he sees happening for the world as we re-emerge out from this Coronavirus and what is coming next; how to bend reality, that concept of bending reality which he speaks about in his book – what that really means.
So, I’m super-excited to share his wisdom and work with all of you. He is one of the smartest people I know and I guarantee he will inspire you.
So, without further ado, let’s welcome Vishen Lakhiani to The Highest Self Podcast.
And before we get started, I’d love to share with you this special offer.
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[7:16] End Advertisement:
Welcome Vishen to The Highest Self Podcast, it’s so great to have you here.
Thank you Sahara, I’ve heard so much about you, I’ve been following you on Instagram. So, it’s a pleasure to be in your Podcast.
Likewise, same here. And I’m so excited to dive deep with you, especially with my audience who is so fascinated by all the concepts that you speak about.
And the first question I’d love to ask you is what makes you your Highest Self?
Well, I think what makes me my Highest Self is being really aligned, as much as I can, to, and understanding of why my soul chose this body; what I’m here to do; what resources are available to me; and then being clearly focused on what I believe is my soul mission and putting every other distraction on the side.
So beautifully said! And what I really admire about your work is you really bridge Spirituality and Non-Dualism, and all of these concepts that could just easily make someone just be like “Yo, I’m tapping out of the system, I don’t want to work, I just want to be.” But you’re also so entrenched in the creation process and really bringing solutions for people to build that bridge and help. You know, I just watched your recent Instagram video on how leaders create more unity, and you are a prime example of helping people build those pathways so we can have a more unified Planet.
Somewhat, I hope so, at least I try my best.
Yes, you’re killing it!
So, right now we are at a time with a lot of chaos and as you know, and from your life experience, that’s also a great time for opportunity.
So can you share with us the opportunity you see in this moment for people to really step into the highest selves; their Purposes; their Dharmas?
Well it depends on your world view. I believe that we are souls having a human experience. Mine and all my world views stem from that.
Now, I always, every morning when I wake up, remind myself that I am not human first, I am a soul experiencing the Art of being Human, first. In short, this is like a game; it’s a game of life. When you play a computer game, if everything is really easy, you get bored, and so the game needs a bit of a challenge; the game has levels, and every time you get to a level, the next level gets harder; if the next level did not get harder, the game would bore you out of your mind.
I remember reading Neil Donald Walsh’s work “Conversations with God” and in that beautiful book he asks God “If Heaven is so amazing, why is it that Souls choose to come down to Earth form?” And God said something really funny, God said “Well, can you imagine being in an orgasm that never ends? You would be going “Oh this is so good; Oh my God; Oh yes! Yes! Yes!” And then one year later you’re probably going “Yes, this is so good but God, can we stop now? Damn it, I can’t, I need a break! Stop” Stop this!” The orgasm wouldn’t be an orgasm if it never ended – you get what I’m saying?
And so, the human experience is this space where we are meant to challenge ourselves, to push, to go through some form of suffering so that we can grow as souls.
Now, I believe that souls are here for two reasons:
1. The first is growth – to discover themselves, to grow, or as Neil Donald Walsh says “To remind yourself of who you really are.”
2. The second reason souls are here is to re-create the movement towards Unity. If souls are a fragment of a higher intelligence or a higher force, one of the best things that souls can do to discover themselves is to experience the human world, to go through trials and tribulations so they grow, but also, as they go through this journey that we call life, to come closer and closer and closer towards Unity.
And so it’s all a game, but the point of the game is two things: grow and become the best damn soul having a human experience you can be. And number two, move yourself and everyone else towards a greater, greater unified whole. That’s how I see the game. That’s how I live my life. And everything I do is based on these two principles.
Thank you so much for sharing that, and I’m sure a lot of listeners are nodding along like “Yep, I see it that way too.” And you know, at times of a lot of suffering, so, so, so much suffering – we just had the bomb in Beirut, and you look around the world and you’re like “What is this?” You could easily create the story that things are getting worse, suffering is increasing, we are in the most dualistic times than ever before.
So, what is your advice for someone who’s kind of looking at the world around them and feeling almost like “My Purpose must not matter because the world is seeming like it’s getting worse and worse place every single day?”
Well, firstly, statistically, data, historically – the world is getting better and better. Yes, awful things do happen; this pandemic is awful, but again, it’s not new, it happened in 1968, it lasted two years, I believe in 1968 about 100,000 Americans died from the Hong Kong Flu, and we survived and we got past it. And today, most people don’t even remember 1968. The same is going to be true for this pandemic, at least I hope so. Now, of course, it’s proving to be a lot worse, especially in America because America is led by a mad man (let’s just be honest) but all of this is also an opportunity. The Rumi said “Oh, ye, who cannot take a good rub, how will you ever become a polished gem?” There are so many opportunities for us as souls to discover transformation, to discover just what our abilities are, to grow and evolve, and there are so many opportunities for us as souls to move towards Unity. ‘Black Lives Matter’ was a Movement towards Unity, it was people of all cultures, all races, all religions standing up for Black Lives – that is Unity. The ‘MeToo’ Movement, as people came together to unveil to the world a new way to treat women was a move towards Unity. The protest and the backlash against Trumpism is a Movement towards Unity. All of these things that you see happening in the world today is our souls collectively coming together towards Unity.
Unity is one of the highest ideals of advanced civilizations, of advanced species, and this is a really, really important journey that we need to go on. And so, we are simultaneously witnessing two opportunities for us to evolve into ourselves.
– The first is to go through suffering knowing that there is a light at the end of that tunnel; that that suffering is going to make you stronger.
– And the second is to go through division knowing that we have a role to play to create a more unified planet for the next generation.
Both of this make the game so much fun, but it’s how you look at it. I’ve been broke, I’ve been homeless, I’ve had businesses fail. What people are experiencing right now I experienced in 2001 when I moved to Silicon Valley, the ‘.com’ bubble burst, I lose everything. I was renting a couch from a Berkley college student because I couldn’t afford rent. I crashed my car because I couldn’t afford to fix the brakes, I owed money to the insurance company, I worked in a dead-end job, I was struggling to survive, and it was one of the greatest damn growth periods of my life.
And so, there’s something really important here – suffering is suffering only when you choose to forget who you really are. In reality, when you go through suffering, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Do you know that when you walk out of a gym your body is basically worse off than when you started your work-out; you created micro-tears in your muscle; you’ve probably caused a build-up of lactic acid – you feel crap, and you should, you’ve just lightly broken your body, you’ve put your body through suffering. But nobody steps out of a gym and goes “Oh my God, what did I do to myself? My legs hurt!” They embrace that pain because they know that in 24-48 hours those muscle tears are going to rebuild and they’re going to have more solid muscles; that their endurance is going to go up; that them pushing their heart is going to make their heart stronger. You walk out of a gym proud of yourself because you know that you just went through suffering that’s going to lead to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now what if we can do that with the pandemic; what if we can do that with Trumpism; what if we can do that with the looming recession – that is the Art, and that is what we are here to remember.
So beautifully said! Suffering is only suffering when you forget yourself, your true essence. And I think what makes it difficult is when you’re in the experience. It’s always when you’re out of it it’s so easy to see “Oh that shaped me to be the person today” but when you’re in it – I remember for myself in my more suffering years, I thought that there were certain people who made it out and had the success story – the least and the nickels of the world and there were the rest of us who never made it out.
And what do you suggest for someone who right now who is fully in it; maybe they’re just having a divorce, a job loss, something. What is a little mind shift they can just do at this moment to help bring that ‘walking out of gym’ feeling into their life at this time?
So one of the best things that you can do is understand the difference between Kensho and Satori. In Zen philosophy, as articulated by the Reverend Michael Beckwith, we grow through Kensho or grow through pain; or we grow through Satori, or grow through insight. Most people though, grow through pain. Our soul needs to slap us at the back of our head every now and then to wake us the fuck up, so, a business fails, or we lose our job – and we learn from that, we learn how to work better; someone breaks our heart (I mean, who hasn’t had their heart broken at some point?) and we learn from that, we learn to love better, to be, to show up as a better partner; we go through a divorce – we learn through it, we discover ourselves to channel love from within; we end up in hospital – we learn to take better care about our health. I’ve been through all of that and I bet many people listening have too, and I bet you, in any case it was a Kensho moment, a moment of pain, but you emerged better off. So that’s the first way we grow.
The second way we grow is through Satori or insight. Satori is that ‘Eureka’ moment in the bathtub; Satori is an intuitive impulse that comes to you when you’re meditating; Satori is growth when you’re listening to your soul, and our soul whispers to you and puts an idea in your head, and you come up with a new way of looking at the world – you grow in wisdom by going within. So you can choose to grow through Kensho; you can choose to grow through Satori.
Now, the trick is to have contemplative practices; to go on spiritual journeys so that you give your soul more Satori opportunities. You’re giving your soul better access to your brain, to yourself. Every time you meditate (and that’s probably one of the first things you’ve got to do, have a meditation of contemplative practice), every time you meditate; every time you journal, you give your soul a chance to speak up. And if you don’t, like a stubborn child, your soul’s going to have to smack you and to grab your attention. But even when that happens, Kensho has its place as well. Even when that happens, when you learn to embrace the suffering, in the words of Rumi “The wound is the path through which the Light enters” when you learn that, every time you go through that dark tunnel, you go into this state where you know there’s something on the other end. Now, when I go through suffering there’s a part of me that’s “Oh shit, not again!” but there’s a part of me that goes “Gosh, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.” When you live like that, you become what I call ‘unfuckwithable’ – pain, inconvenience, failure doesn’t touch you, at least it doesn’t give you the negative emotional pull that it gives most people. You have made yourself ‘unfuckwithable.’ That is part of the journey; that is discovering your spiritual call.
Yes! I love that word too and that’s it – we’re constantly choosing do we want to learn through suffering or do we want to learn through flow and moving towards that path that the Universe is propelling us into but sometimes we need to face those blockages; the Karma, to bring us back into alignment.
So, I would be curious what your take is on Past Lives and whether you believe that our souls have actually incarnated in different human lifetimes before this?
Well, the answer is – absolutely, absolutely I believe in Past Lives! And I believe in it because of the overwhelming scientific evidence – but we choose to ignore that. There’s a famous book called “The Conscious Universe” by Dean Radin, PhD. Dean Radin did a meta-analysis of all the scientific studies on extra-sensory perception and other things that we sometimes label paranormal. And in the starting of the book he did say “Look, there’s a lot of hocus; there’s a lot of BS out there, but there are four phenomenon that deserve greater scientific scrutiny.” And among that four phenomenon were things such as Astral Projection, and Reincarnation was one of it. The other one was Mind-Body Healing, and Intuition.
Reincarnation, there’s a lot of evidence for it, countless moments (of children in particular) remembering their Past Lives. Now, I believe in Reincarnation – and sometimes the soul chooses it, and sometimes it’s something that you’ve got to heal.
So, I want to tell you a funny story. In November last year, I had an experience with, I guess what you can call Karmic Healing, so what happened was – one of the teachers (So Mindvalley for of those who don’t know me, I built one of the world’s fastest growing personal growth companies which is about to become the world’s most advanced education technology company. We are just about everywhere, working with major government organizations, with companies – and we bring; we’re making personal growth mainstream). Now, one of our teachers is the legendary Marie Diamond. She’s a European Feng Shui Master and a Spiritual Teacher who works with Energy.
So, Marie Diamond was on stage at a Mindvalley in LA, and there was a major celebrity in the front row, and we had to create this whole security experience so this guy could come, sit in the front row and see Marie (he’s a wonderful man but I can’t share his name). And so, after she gave a talk I turned to her and I’m like “Wow! That was pretty huge! You have that massive singer there. Why is he such a fan?” and she goes “Oh, I’m his coach” and so I said “Well, what do you coach him with?” and she mentioned that she’d been coaching him with a form of Karmic Healing – in other words, healing the pain that he had gone through in past lives. And she said that through healing this, he had seen his songs explode on Spotify, he had signed new record deals, his career had just expanded. So I asked her “Well, so you can see that in someone’s energy?” and she goes “Yes” and I said “Well, look at me, what do you see?” and she goes “Oh, Vishen, do you really want to know?” so I’m like “Yes, because now I’m curious” and she says “You have issues with power” and I’m like “What do you mean” and she says “You give away your power. You have issues with power” and I go “I don’t understand” and she says “Okay, here’s what you have to do. You have to come and meet me in France, in the South of France.” And so she said “Find a date, meet me in the South of France.” Now, several months later, I happened to be asked to speak at the Global HR Summit which happens to be in the South of France, coincidentally about a 30-minute drive away from where Marie Diamond lives (so that was a beautiful moment). So I showed up (this was like three months after we had had the conversation) and Marie takes me on a journey, and she unravels to me these Past Lives situations I’ve had (and Marie didn’t know a lot about my past) but she told me that in my past life I had two lives in France, and in both of these lives I served a Master, and in both of these lives I was betrayed in some way by my Master. I lost my family; I lost my wealth because of my dedication to protecting this Master. One, she said, I was a soldier in Napoleon’s army, I knew Napoleon was going to lose when he attempted to invade Russia, so I fled the army and became a deserter. I couldn’t go back to Paris, I left my children and my wife behind. I settled in a nearby part of Russia, which today, is Estonia – it’s interestingly where I am today.
In another life I was part of the Carthars, I was the Duke of a place called Monsignor, protecting the Cathar Queen. The Cathars were a religious sect that were prosecuted by the Christians, it was the first crusade, it happened in Europe and 200,000 Cathars were dead and I, apparently, was burned at the stake.
Now, what was really interesting about these past lives is that what Marie did not know is that, obviously she knew I was (I’m an Indian, I’m an Indian heritage; I grew up in Malaysia; I was in America for about 10 years but I’ve not, until recently, lived in Europe). Marie didn’t know a lot about my history but as she told me about my past lives in France, there was some weird things that started to dawn on me.
You see, when I was 12 years old, as an Indian kid growing up in Malaysia, which is in South-East Asia, for whatever reason, I decided that (so I went to a British school because Malaysia was part of the British Empire. In British history books they don’t talk much about Napoleon because the Brits hated Napoleon) and for some weird reason, when I was 12 years old, I went through my history book and I had known about this character called Napoleon and I wanted to learn about him (this was pre-Internet, there was no Internet). I went through my history book, I couldn’t find anything on Napoleon, so I traced down an encyclopedia (and again, because I was a kid, I didn’t have access to a photocopy machine or a computer) I memorized, word for word, the chapter on Napoleon in this encyclopedia (I was 12 years old). My dad took me on a trip to Paris that year, and I remember walking down the street in Paris and my dad said “Vishen, are you talking to yourself?” I wasn’t, I was reciting, word for word, the entire encyclopedic entry on Napoleon. Again, why, as a 12 year old kid, was I obsessed with Napoleon? But it went weirder, at 13 I decided to study French in Malaysia. I mean, no one speaks French in freaking Malaysia, I decided to learn French (French became my third language) I knew English, Malay and French. And I studied French for 3 years, I eventually forgot it because nobody else spoke French. But this was the weird thing, an obsession with Napoleon when I was 12 years old; a desire to learn French; and then me here learning from Marie about my past lives in France. Now, it turned out that I had Karmic Healing to do in those past lives; I had to forgive the deserter for deserting Napoleon. And because that created a weird dynamic on power, I had to forgive that part of me that was the Duke of Monsignor who was burned at the stake for protecting the Queen that he served.
And so, as I did this forgiveness, something shifted in me. The first one month, I felt nothing, but shortly thereafter, my entire dynamic of how I operated as a CEO began to change. The rules I set in my company began to change. The people I hung out with began to change. And what happed is that in a span of six months I started to go through the biggest business success I’d even gone through in my entire life, in my entire life. And it just exploded, and I can’t share all the details, but I can tell you that in the next six months Mindvalley Group, so massively, all of a sudden, investors came to us, offering me hundreds of millions of dollars. The company went through its most amazing growth period, and my life has become (in six months) something that I’d thought would have taken me 10 years to reach.
So do I believe in Past Lives? I think I just answered it.
Thank you for sharing that powerful story! And I think that so many of us can relate to, as a child, resonating so deeply with different cultures, or historical periods, or historical figures etc. I’ve definitely have experiences like that as well, and then again, bringing back to your point of being souls in a human body, of you re-healing that of whatever was happening (Karmic tie on a soul level) actually shifted the current day reality you are in, in ways that are completely unrelated. And it really brings it back to the concept you speak about in your book of being able to bend reality and things don’t have to go in this linear way that we’re taught in school systems; corporate ladders etc. but sometimes something like a Karmic Healing can be that thing that can, within six months, shift things in a way that you would’ve never been able to create on your own.
Right! Right! Absolutely!
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So can you share more? Because you talk about this in your book “The Buddha and the Bad Ass” of being able to bend Reality. And I think for a lot of us, we’re like “Woo, that’s sounds like a really cool super-power that I want to have” but what does that actually look like and mean in my daily life?
Right! So, I believe that the world is an illusion (I think we’ve established that) and I’m guessing many of your listeners do as well.
The problem with many people who go deep into spirituality is that they fall into a trap – I call it ‘the current reality trap’ – they live too much in the now, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but simply living in the now often takes away your ability to dream about the future.
So, I mentioned two massive reasons our souls are here – to push towards Self-Growth and Evolution, and to push towards Unity.
But there’s a third reason. And that is something I call ‘Envisioning’ – our souls are here to build a better, and better, and better, and better world. If our souls are particles of God and God is the great Creator, then we are mini Creators – we are here to build confidence, to write books, to create Movements, all the great spiritual sages and saints of the past (according to philosopher Ken Wilber in a phenomenal essay called “Egolessness” we’re not, said Ken, feeble minded milk toast, they will move us and shake us from wool bits to the temple to subduing entire continents,; they rattle the world with the force of their ego and instigate it revolutions that last thousands of years. To be spiritual, we often think is to do nothing but sit under a Bodhi tree; is to go into endless introspection – bullshit! To be spiritual is that – it’s to be in the moment; but it’s also to have one foot in the future, and to know that you are going to create a better world for all who follow – Mohammad conquered continents; Jesus started massive social movements and brought a bull with to the temple; and the Buddha didn’t just sit under the Bodhi tree, the Buddha protested against the unjust Government of his time and stood up for the poor. To be spiritual is to not just be fully present; it is to be present in the future, and to bring that future into the present. It is to create – this is the Act of Envisioning.
Now, when I talk about ‘Bending Reality’ – ‘Bending Reality’ is an art form that I play with. As an entrepreneur, I have been meditating and bringing spirituality into my work, so that as I create, as I build my companies, I’m able to do it in a way where the odds seem completely aligned in favor of me; where probability seems to bend towards me; where luck seems to be on my side; and where it almost seems as if what I touch is blessed by magic, and all of us can do that. And when you do that, life becomes easier – you succeed at your career – what you want to experience in the world comes to you; synchronicities, coincidences, all manner of different gifts arrive at your doorstep, but, there is something else you’ve got to be moving towards – you’ve got to have that vision for the future that you are pulling into the present. That could be a book, or a Podcast that inspires millions; it could be a new product that betters the world; it could be a way to save the Environment; it could be a way to bring Unity into politics – you must have that as your compass, as your direction. The Art of ‘Bending Reality’ is to move beautifully towards that vision that compels you, and to do it in a way with a grace, with a presence, with an ease of flow, where it seems that reality bends in your favor.
I’m snapping along with you because I had that exact same realization you’re speaking about being in – I lived in a spiritual community in Bali and I was like “I feel like this is mental masturbation” that’s what I was calling it; you feel so good; and you’re in a circle; and you’re in an ecstatic dance; and then you’re not doing anything, you’re not creating anything, you’re not sharing it with the rest of the world. And I think that, especially when we first learned about spirituality and learn about operating from a soul level, it could be very, very easy to disconnect and get this feeling that “I figured it out, so everyone else should figure it out too” so I love how you’re sharing that. Buddha didn’t just sit for 40 days; then he went out there and brought about pathways towards alleviating suffering towards for the rest of the world. And then, on the other hand, there’s so many, which is the mainstream society, the culture escape that you speak about that has no sense of presence, no sense of operating from a soul level, Karmic level etc. So, I think this New Earth is really going to be that balance and also dropping the shaming of thinking about the future. I remember in Bali they called me ‘Cerebral Sahara’ because I was thinking it (as if thinking was this horrible thing) it’s like “Why are you doing so much, you should just be.” So it’s like finding that balance of being, and doing, and letting your doing be your meditation; letting it be your being.
That’s great, thank you for saying that.
Yes. And I think that creating companies like Mindvalley are giving other people to tap into that and make that be their reality as well, so it’s not just like “Okay, I’m good, you guys figure it out” being like “Here’s a community that we’ve already created and you get to be a part of.” And I know you speak a lot about creating company culture too in your book which I think right now a lot of people are feeling very disconnected from wherever they’re working because they’re working online.
So how can we bring about company culture, feeling like we’re comrades on the same team when we are all physically isolated?
Well, you know, that is a very different conversation and I would lie if I said I figured it all out. The pandemic is very, very, very new; there are still so many things that we are still trying to understand. I’ve 300 employees and I had to change countries (most of my team is in Malaysia) but the schools in Malaysia are closed and my children (their mother is Estonian) so I changed, I moved to Estonia so that my kids can go to school here – and I’m adjusting, it’s not easy, I’m staying in an AirBnB, I’m thousands of miles away from our office spaces in Malaysia. A lot of our staff no longer want to come to the office and are choosing to work from home – it’s a wild ride, we’re figuring it out. I wish I had the answers, I don’t right now.
Yes. I think we’re all learning through Zoom parties, Slack chats of trying to figure it out, but as I was reading it I was like “How can I create more of this company culture as we’re isolated?” So, as you get more insights please share it on your socials because we’re all waiting for it.
And another thing that you talk about is not falling into the trap of working so hard and feeling like you need to work so hard to get to where you want to be in life. So, how can we actually create progress; go towards that North Star that we have, while not losing complete balance of other areas in our lives, even though we feel like to get there we need to cut ourselves off from our social lives, exercise, etc. Is it possible even to stay in balance when you’re pursuing a big goal like writing a book etc.?
It is absolutely possible to stay in balance, but you’ve got to go a level where balance isn’t even necessary. Now, what I mean by this is, in our education system, the reason this whole conversation on balance comes up in the first place is, because the American education system is badly tilted towards overwork.
So, I’m now living in Europe, and I can tell you, over here people really get balanced. The quality of life is so much better; people really get balanced; and the economies here are rated (more competitive than the United States). I’m in Estonia, just a short distance away is Finland, (Finland I believe is the most competitive country in the world) and one of the most unique things I notice about Europe is that nobody, literally, the only people I talk about here with balance are the Americans and the American expats that I meet over here.
You know, here in my office, when someone, let’s say a woman or a man needs to go on maternity or paternity leave, it’s 18 months paid for by the Government and the Company, and that’s such a good thing. People have a chance to heal; people have a chance to recover; people have a chance to give their best selves to their kids. In the US, what do you get? Like 2 weeks?! Here, today, two of my key employees went on a 2-week holiday. They did enough overtime because the law over here says “Okay, you work 40 hours a week and that’s it, anything above, you can claim overtime” so they did; they’re using their overtime; they’re taking the summer off so they can rejuvenate; so they can get healthy. And I know when they come back they’re going to be hyper-performance at work.
I see that over here all the time – people understand that to give your best at work; to create incredible new things, you have to be taking care of your soul; of your mind; of your body. Estonia, which is where I’m in right now, as I’m giving you this interview, I’m looking out into the streets of Tallinn, and it’s beautiful. People are in cafés, people are walking, having a stroll, drinking wine outdoors; yet this city (and it looks like no one is working) but this city has the highest number of start-ups per capita. The entrepreneurial momentum here is huge – every single day I meet people with genius ideas in cafés; I get business pitches. In this tiny city of 400.000 people, there are four Unicorn companies, that means $4 billion dollar tech start-ups – can you believe that? Yet, everyone over here is so healthy; you do not see – literally, if you see an obese person in Tallinn, Estonia, they stand out. In the US it’s often the opposite, and that’s because the American way of life is broken. And that’s why we have this conversation of balance.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am American at my core. I lived in the United States, I’m the CEO of an American company; I love freaking America – but if we don’t face reality – American; America; our way of life; the way we design work is fundamentally flawed. Now here is how we have to re-jig it; here’s how we have to re-invent it:
– The first step is a concept called ‘Life Book.’ Life Book is an idea created by two remarkable American entrepreneurs (John and Missy Butcher). They did founders of multiple companies including a massive doll companies called Precious Moments. I learned about Life Book when I attended a seminar by them 12 years ago. Today, I license Life Books, so it’s a part of Mindvalley (full disclosure). It is one of the most important programs you can take in your life (mindvalley.com/lifebook). Now what you do in Life Book is, John and Missy guide you at looking at through your life, through 12 dimensions. Most Americans learn to look at their life and set goals only on career and finance. They forget that there are 10 other dimensions of life we’ve got to pay attention to our relationships, our body, our spirituality, our intellectual life, our character, our persistent emotional states, there are multiple other categories. And then they guide you through a process to question the conventional rules of society and create a new vision for your life in each of these categories – that’s the Life Book process. So, when you take Life Book you end up with a 75-page book of your life; a 75-page manual of what your life should look like. And this is one of the first steps to bending reality. When you start creating this manual and you go so deep into crafting a detailed, well-rounded vision of your life, you end up living a life that seems blessed by magic. Now, the problem is, some people can succeed at their career but they have ruined relationship or their health isn’t working for them; or some people could be big on Spirituality, but they could be broke, we all know those people. But what if you can truly crush it in all 12 areas of life? Balance is no longer an issue, work, play – they all become one, and you call it living. This is how Masters truly live.
Now, Life Book is, you can take it free; it’s actually a program with an optional payment, if you can’t afford it, you don’t have to pay it (mindvalley/lifebook). Go through the process, it’s a $500 deposit, and 1 in 3 people at the end of it, they take their money back, they’re allowed to, because we want to make it affordable to people in China, to people in India, so definitely check it out. It changed my life, and now I work with John, and this is one of the many world programs that Mindvalley prints in the world.
So look, I don’t like to give simplistic answers to questions such as ‘how do we have balance’ because, often, those questions stem from a world view or way of living that you don’t have to have a plan to you in the first place, you can transcend that, and that’s what I’m trying to say. Transcend the conventional model of work culture, of American work culture, embrace Life Book, look at your life from 12 dimensions and then watch yourself bend reality.
Yes, I think it is so important to even have that vision of what it is that we’re going for and so many of us, I think, feel resistance to writing it down because we’re like “Oh, what’s the point? It feels so far away; it feels like it’s never going to happen, so what’s the point? It’s in my head.”
So what do you do to actually get those? Let’s say you write down “I live on a beach. I have a million dollars in the bank account” all of the things that you want, then how do you go about making that actually step by step become your reality?
So the first thing is it’s not just about writing down ‘I live on a beach, I have a million dollars in my bank account’ No! For every goal that you put down, there are different nuances, there are 4 questions you have to answer. By the way, there’s a free class on Life Book – for those of you who are listening, go to mindvalley.com/lifebook sign up for the free Master Class and John and Missy will guide you through the process.
– Now, the first question is ‘Why do I want this?’ So when you set, for example, your vision for your relationships – Why do you want to be in love with someone special? Why do you want to marry? Why do you want to be single and dating? You first answer your ‘Why’.
– The next thing is – you address your beliefs. You go deep into a form of critical reflection and you identify what you truly believe about love. It’s important to know and have awareness of your beliefs because your beliefs will shape your experience of reality. Do you believe that love is painful? Do you believe that there’s a soul mate out there for you? Do you believe that you need someone to love you? Or do you believe that love can be generated just as powerfully from within? So, again, the first question is the ‘Why’, the second is the ‘Belief’.
– The third question is the ‘Vision.’ Most people go straight to the vision, but that’s a mistake. The ‘Vision’ is now, how do you want your love life to show up? Who would you be with? What type of person would they be? What would you do together? What vacations would you take? How would he or she treat you? How would he or she support your career? How would you support theirs? You go deep into the ‘Vision’.
– And then the final question is the ‘Strategy’. The ‘Strategy’ is – what are you going to do to make this happen? This is where you put down your action plan to find that love of your life; your action plan to be in that ideal relationship.
And so, when you put all 4 of these together and when you go through the Life Book process, it’s almost about 3.5 hours per category, that’s how long it takes; so it’s a deep dive. And then Life Book, as they are all connected on an App and they all share strategies and advice with each other – and Life Book is part of the larger Mindvalley ecosystem, once you’re in Mindvalley, you’re life just transforms, because Mindvalley is the collection of all the best personal growth programs in the world, all connected to each other. So once you get into Mindvalley, you cannot help but see every aspect of your life transform. So that’s how the whole process works but the Life Book is simply that. But from there, everything starts unfolding.
That is so awesome, I am so excited to try. And do you find that people should focus on a certain area of their life that they know they need help?
Let’s say for example, if they’re very into Spirituality but their financial, abundance life is not quite in that level that they want yet. Do you think that they should take a year to just dive into business and learn about that and just focus on that, or do you think it should still be simultaneous with learning about everything else?
So, everything has to be simultaneous. Now, one of the first things you’ve got to is – you’ve got to have a way to measure your current state. So when it comes to personal growth, you have to be well-rounded; you cannot be in incredible health but be broke; you cannot have an incredible relationship with your partner but have a sucky relationship with your kids, and have a low degree of emotional awareness.
So one of the things we did with Life Book is we created a simple self-assessment, it takes 22 minutes, it sort of gives you a set of score of where you are thriving and where you could focus on, where you need to grow.
So, it’s free; it’s at life.mindvalley.com. Take the free assessment, it’s 22 minutes, and you will start to see how you can make your life rounded. And then, once you have this awareness, you now have an idea of what books you should be taking, what programs you should be listening to, who you should be following, because you know the area of your life that you are actually falling behind, relative to the rest of the population. And it is an assessment designed to ensure that all areas of your life are thriving.
Yes, I love that so much! And you know, so many times I’ve gone back at just my journals and looked at things that felt like these lofty dreams and ambitions, and being in the experience now. I think it’s so important to have things written so you could actually go back and have gratitude for where you are. And I think, we as humans, love to constantly progress, and move forward, and grow, it’s hard for us to be happy where we are while also reaching for the future.
I really love your 7-step Meditation that you teach and how it has these different elements to it. Can you share a little more about what that is?
Well, it’s called ‘The Six Phase Meditation’ – there are six steps, not seven. So ‘The Six Phase Meditation’ has become really popular with American sports stars; it’s been written about it in billboard in New York Times; it’s completely free (get it at mindvalley.com/learn-meditation).
So, what ‘The Six Phase’ does is, it combines spirituality with modern science and it teaches you a based form of meditation, where in 50 minutes you do 6 different practices that basically put you in the optimal state for happiness, for bliss and for manifesting.
– The first is a practice to increase your level of compassion.
– The second is a practice of gratitude.
– The third is a practice of forgiveness.
All of these are focused on present state. Remember, many spiritual people want to be blissful in the present – Great! The first 3 phases are about the present.
The next 3 phases go beyond where many meditations start, and that is where we get you envisioned in the future.
– Phase Four – you see your life 3 years ahead.
– Phase Five – you see what you’re going to do today for that vision to take told.
– Phase Six – is where you ask for support from a Higher Power.
So ‘The Six Phase Meditation’ puts you in an optimal state to really nurture your spiritual core and live life in a way where things move in your favor and you are able to bend reality.
So good! I’ve done it before and I absolutely love it. And I love how it integrates that “What can I do today for that future” and balancing that long-term/short-term vision.
And I would love to know what is your vision for the future? What’s your vision that you see Humanity moving into, and what is your vision for yourself?
Very good question. Well, Mindvalley is focused on two things right now.
So, on the surface we are a personal growth company – nope, that’s only on the surface. What we’re actually building is the world’s most advanced education system. We’re building a layer (a tech layer) across the entire Planet that is designed to bring out the best of our species.
Now, the vision what we are aiming for (a twenty year vision) is this:
– Step number 1 – make humankind net positive to Nature. What this means is that for every year that human beings are on the Planet, the Planet gets better off (not worse off). Today, we are negative to Nature. For every year we exist Nature suffers. We need to be integrated in a better way with the Planet so that for every year that humans are on this Planet, all ten billion of us which is the peak number we are going to hit, Earth gets better off.
– The second thing is to bring forth, and this thing, some people are going to disagree with me, but that’s only because there are looking at it from a current reality, I’m looking 20 years ahead. The second pillar is to bring about Earth Identity. What this means is to ensure that every human being on this Planet sees themselves as a member of Planet Earth first; a member of their country second. When we colonize other Planets, it shouldn’t be the American flag on those rockets; it should be the Earth flag. So the kid Mexico, or the kid in Afghanistan, or the kid in Thailand can look up and go “I belong!” The American flag, and any other flag that took part in that rocket, it’ll probably be hundreds, secondary. Earth Identity is essential right now. Most people would disagree with me on this one, and that’s okay, but Earth Identity was predicted by Charles Darwin in 1872. I believe, part of my soul mission, is to being it forth, because only when we get to Earth Identity, can we create a world where we don’t waste trillions upon trillions of dollars on bullshit weapons of war to defend ourselves from each other, when the real enemy might be a pandemic, or it might be politicians like Trump who arouse fear, or it might be the fact that we have billions of people homeless and hungry, and we pretend that they don’t exist. That is what Earth Identity does.
Mindvalley is a Trojan horse – what we are doing is embedding these ideas into our curriculum. Our curriculum is going to be everywhere. Your children will go to schools powered by Mindvalley. Your Governments will be powered by Mindvalley. Future companies will have Mindvalley for all of their employees. That’s where I’m playing. But the reason I’m doing all of this is for those two reasons. If we don’t change the story of our species and the trajectory of humankind, we are done for! And so, this vision is so important to me; this is what I’m obsessed with.
It gave me chills just hearing that because it’s exactly what we need, and it’s also so inspiring to hear someone really claim their sovereignty, and their power, and their abilities, and it inspires all of us to think so big. And also, there’s a sense of comfort to know that there are people playing at this level who want what’s best for Humanity because I think we constantly hear about the mega-corporations, this and that, but they don’t have that same agenda.
So thank you for stepping up into your Dharma, for having that vision, we need it on all levels from our school system, to our Government, to our interpersonal relations, and I am excited to see this world unfold and this be a regular part of our lives where we’re really asking ourselves how we’re here to serve and then going out there and doing the thing.
So where can listeners connect with you further; get your new book “The Buddha and the Bad Ass”? And of course, I will have the links for Mindvalley, but any place that you suggest that they start there.
The best place is just to go to mindvalley.com – all the information you need is over there.
They can also follow me on Instagram – @vishen – I’m extremely active on Instagram.
Yes, I love all of your IGTVs and the insights that you share there, they are super bad ass. And thank you for incarnating on this Planet at the same time with all of us, and being that bridge, and being that Trojan horse, and making the world a better place.
Thank you, I appreciate that Sahara.
Thanks so much for being on.
[56:14] End of interview
How wonderful was that Episode! Vishen is so intelligent and it was such an honor to have him here.
So keep anchoring into what that butterfly you is; who it is you seek to emerge as; what practices resonate with you; what outfits you would wear; what music you would listen to; what intentions you would have; who would you surround yourself with; what education you’ll be taking with you. You get to create that, you get to choose that, so when we say choose your reality, your reality is a response of all of these micro decisions that you make on a daily basis. So choose them! And I’m not going to say choose them wisely because I feel like that puts some pressure on us, but choose with your heart, listen to what you heart is guiding you to, because your heart is naturally wise; it’s in fact much wiser than your mind. So let your heart guide the way and you will always find your way to your Dharma.
If you loved this episode, I would love to send you a free gift which is the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type“. This is a different book than “Eat Feel Fresh“. My first book ever which is not released anywhere, and I am gifting it exclusively to those who leave a review of my Podcast in the iTunes store. So all you’ve got to do is head over to iTunes where you’re maybe listening to this podcast and leave a review, take a screenshot that you’ve left it and email it over to me at [email protected] and I will send you back the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type“, which goes all into Ayurveda, Doshas, Plant-Based Nutrition, Body Types – all of the things in a really fun and engaging way. So this is my gift to you for free for supporting the Podcast. Every single review I personally read. It really helps the Podcast be listened to by more people so we can raise the vibration of the planet together, and I am soul grateful to have you on this journey.
Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you on the next episode. Namaste.
Episode 311: Bending Reality with Vishen Lakhiani
By Sahara Rose