I recently had the opportunity to be the guest on an amazing Podcast called The Unmistakable Creative. It’s founder Srinivas Rao has done over 400 interviews and has talked everyone from Simon Sinek of TED Talk fame to Tim Ferris Author of Two NYTimes Best Selling Books. What makes unmistakable creative so unique is the Srinivas draws out the interviewer and gets them to talk about what really matters to them in a way we so rarely here in today sound bite era.
In our interview we talked:
• My journey from the music business to the monastery.
• How to create space in everyday life
• The goal of meditation
• And how to deal with difficult and painful experiences.
I hope that when you listen to this podcast you will not only learn more about me, but that you will also learn more about what drive you to live a life the in unmistakably creative.
Below is a summary of some of the subjects we covered during our interview as well as the time code in case you want to skip ahead to the section that most interests you.
At 3:43 Srini asks me, how has your background in philosophy and the music business influence and shaped your life?
In response I talk about how philosophy taught me how to ask big questions, but also how it kept me focused on how to deconstruct the world without putting meaning in it. I also share about my experience of working in the music business and how it taught me about the importance of meaning and emotion in creating a fulfilling life.
At 8:00 Srini asks, how do you think we can discover or rediscover the things we want to do just for the sake of doing them?
I tell him about how we don’t create enough time to pause and ask ourselves the big and important questions. And even when we do, it can be scary because often that voice asks us to be something more than we think is possible.
At 16:20, Srini asks how can we overcome the things that stand in the way of us living a deeply meaningful life?
We talk about the complex nests you create for ourselves. And how while you might think it’s safer to stay in a job that you don’t love rather than do something new which comes with risks. In reality, it’s this sense of safety that keeps you from doing something you love.
At 25:20, Srini asks how we can create a container of practice in our lives?
I share with him that while the monastery was a great container for practice, it also taught me that a container of practice can be anything. It can be almost any place, a set of rules, or even a relationship.
We talk about various forms of containers from a community of others on the path, to the simple practice of removing distractions, to how you can use your morning shower as a place of practice.
At 29:30, Srini asks me to explain what a small self is and what we can do to help our big selves step forward?
I share an example of the small self that arises when we are driving. And talk about how this small self that has a set of beliefs about how people should drive, how fast a trip should take, and even what songs should be on the radio. And how when these rules are broken this small self gets upset.
Then I compare this with other times when we’re driving but aren’t in a rush or in a good mood. And moreover how in these cases, traffic is no big deal and if someone cuts us off, we don’t get upset. I go on to explain that the big difference is that in the 2nd case we are driving with out big self and also go on to explain a simple exercise you can use to access your big self in almost any situation.
At 34:39, Srini asks how do we take a challenging or tragic circumstance and hold it lightly?
I talk about how the first step is to accept and admit that you’ve been through a painful experience.
Then once you’ve given yourself some time to feel that pain you look at the sets of beliefs or assumptions that underlie that disappointment and ask yourself if these sets of beliefs are really true or not. And finally you work to accept what happened and come to terms with the fact that the only thing you have control over is how you continue to engage with your past karma.
At 38:46, Srini asks how do you use moments of great struggle as your greatest teachers?
I share that it’s easy to see big obstacles as things standing in the way of your dreams, but what you have to realize is that these big obstacles are the means for you to achieve your dreams. Without these big obstacles, you would never gain the strength or the knowledge to be successful.
At 41:39, Srini asks how has awareness changed your life?
I talk about how it used to feel like my brain was my enemy. I was always trapped in my head and always got caught in over analysis. But awareness taught me is that while my brain may have good intentions it very often it stands in the way of my happiness.
At 45:53, Srini and I talk about how many people think that meditation is all about stopping your thoughts.
We discuss how people often think that when I was at the monastery my mind must have been quiet all the time. But the truth is that thinking during meditation is very common for beginning and experienced meditators alike.
I share that the key to success in meditation is not having a quiet mind, but instead to notice your thoughts, without reacting and then doing your best to return to the object of meditation.
I tell people even if you meditate for 20 mins and are only present for two breathes that is much better than what most people do. You can’t be bad at meditation, it’s just sometimes meditation doesn’t match our popular image of it.
At 50:45, Srini asks what is it that makes someone or something unmistakable?
I share my belief that we all have access to this one bright mind, but what makes the world so beautiful is our individual expression of deep wisdom and compassion. What makes you unmistakable isn’t your perfection, rather it’s the struggle you endure as you try to bring forth the best parts of yourself.