Why you should listen –
Emily Fletcher comes on Bulletproof Radio today to discuss online meditation, how the right and left brain work, the “balancing breath” technique, and meditating for better sex. Enjoy the show!
Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation and the creator of zivaMIND, the first online meditation training program. She began her meditation training in Rishikesh, India and was inspired to become a meditation teacher after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits it provided her during her 10-year career on Broadway. She has taught at Google, Harvard Business School, Viacom, and Summit Series. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Huff Post LIVE and Mind Body Green.
What You Will Hear
- 0:15 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 1:08 – Welcome Emily Fletcher
- 5:21 – Performing on Broadway
- 11:01 – Right brain & left brain
- 15:18 – What is Ziva meditation?
- 20:10 – The balancing breath technique
- 28:48 – Understanding meditation
- 31:05 – Improving sleep with meditation
- 41:10 – Better sex tips
- 47:21 – The sense of intuition
- 52:36 – Burning Man 2015
- 1:00:32 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Questions for the podcast?
Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below. If you want your question to be featured on the next Q&A episode, submit it in the Podcast Question form! You can also ask your questions and engage with other listeners through The Bulletproof Forum, Twitter, and Facebook!
Dave: Hey everyone it’s Dave Asprey with bullet proof radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is, you probably already knew this if you’ve been with bullet proof for a while. Studies are now showing that pregnant women with a history of depression are 40 percent less likely to relapse if they practice mindfulness. That includes, meditation, breathing, and yoga or maybe in combination with cognitive therapy. The same researchers are now testing a drug free treatment on non pregnant women. I’m pretty sure that you can predict the results.
It’s also true, by the way, completely unrelated to the cool fact of the day, but this is just a knowledge bomb from the better baby book, that copper deficiency is also tied to postpartum depression. The gross way to fix that is, what they used to do, which is eating the placenta. The more common way to fix it now, would be take your copper supplements in the end of pregnancy and while you start nursing. Whatever floats your boat. Today’s topic is about mediation for productivity. You do less and accomplish more. Our guest is one of the world’s leading experts in mediation, which is kind of cool. She’s the founder of Ziva meditation and her name is Emily Fletcher. Emily, welcome to the show.
Emily: It is a real pleasure to be here. I was just telling you, I geeked out on all of your podcasts. I think I might have listened to about 90 percent in the past few months. It is a little surreal to be on the show.
Dave: I’m honored that you had that investment of time. One of the things that I actually hold myself accountable for is that given that there’s about 14 million downloads of the show now, and if you multiply that times a link to the show, that’s somewhere around 50 human lifetimes. If I’m producing bad content, it’s like I killed 50 people. I’m pretty picky about what comes on here, so I’m very high standard. No need to stress.
Emily: Thank you for that accountability.
Dave: One of the things that made me feel happy about inviting you on is, we’ve actually had a chance to hang out. You’ve also taught at Google, Harvard Business School, some series where we’ve both spoken. Viacom awesomeness fest, where we’ve both been relativity media, you’ve gone to Coca Cola, so you’re all over the place. You’ve taught with John Gabriel, and Eckhart Tolle who are serious A player meditation people. You’re up there. I’m actually honored to have you on the show because people who spend their life meditating generally are kind of hard to get a hold of for some reason.
Emily: Their eyes are closed and they’re wearing patchouli in caves somewhere.
Dave: I always thought it was because they had armies of meditation assistants keeping the world at bay. I have no idea.
Emily: No, I like to be in the land. I think you should meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation. I’m happy to be here.
Dave: That is super cool. You’re actually a 10 year Broadway veteran. How did you go from being on stage in a super high stress environment to being a meditation teacher? It’s a non obvious transition. What happened to you to do that?
Emily: It’s a pretty unlikely transition from Broadway show girl to meditation teacher. Like you said, I was on Broadway for 10 years and it was what I wanted to do since I was 8 years old. I really thought that once I got on Broadway, that my whole life was going to be sunshine and roses. I was picturing martinis with Liza at Sardi’s. Instead it was girls eating tuna fish out of a can and complaining about their bunions. I was like, this is not my dream. I had the very fortunate experience of getting to learn at a pretty young age that I was more interested in the happiness of pursuit than I was the pursuit of happiness.
Dave: That’s kind of deep.
Emily: Well I am a meditation teacher, so I try. I think, when you have big goals, and for most people it can take a lifetime to achieve them, it’s very easy to be under the illusion of, “I’ll be happy when.” I’ll be happy when I make a million dollars. I’ll be happy when I make this company. I’ll be happy when I have this kid or get married or whatever your fill in the blank is, because I was able to achieve this life goal at 22, strangely like 3 weeks later, it was the saddest I’d ever been. I didn’t understand then, the lesson hadn’t really set in. I just thought, well it must be the show, and then the next show, or the next boyfriend.
I did this for 10 years, and then my last Broadway show was A Chorus Line, you know the one with the gold and the kicking. It’s a show about a show, and I was understudying 3 of the lead roles, and I imagine that most of your audience doesn’t know what that means. It basically means you show up to the theater and you have no idea who you’re going on for. Sometimes I would start the show as one character, and then halfway through they would switch me to a different character. Or I would just be chilling in my dressing room doing my taxes and they would get on the loud speaker and say, “Emily Fletcher, we need you on the stage.”
I would start panicking because I wouldn’t know what costume to put on, so I grabbed 3 leotards, ran down 7 flights of stairs. One of the dressers would throw me in a costume, I would get out on stage, and I’m not kidding, sometimes I would be onstage before I knew which role I was going to play. Then you’re launched into a 6 page song, and it’s to be honest pretty terrifying. It’s not a complaint, but I’m not great at it. Some people are excellent at it, I was not.
Dave: All right, I have to ask, so you weren’t in meditation at the time, what did you do with that state of terror? Talk about stage fright, that’s over the top. How did you go out there and perform?
Emily: To be honest, one of the roles, I was very good at. That was the role I was hired to play, because they wanted me to take over for the role. One I was medium at, and the other one, I straight up sucked at. I was so bad at playing this role and it’s really vulnerable and embarrassing to be on a Broadway stage, in a leotard, with a down light and knowing that you’re sucking at your job. You doing your best, but it’s still not good enough. I remember, I went on the first time for this one role, it was Val if anybody knows the show, she’s the one that sings tit and ass.
Afterwards, I had a matinee and I was going to do the night show, and between shows, I’m sitting in my dressing room I’m listening to Eckert Tully’s, The Power of Now on repeat, rocking myself in a ball in my dressing room. I was like, wait a minute, this is definitely not my dream. Thankfully, this amazing woman was sitting next to me in the dressing room, and she was understudying 5 of the leads, and she seemed to be nailing it. Every song this woman sang was a celebration. Every dance this woman did was a celebration. Every bite of food she ate, she would say, “This is sensational.”
She was Australian, sorry, bad Australian accent. I said, what do you know that I don’t know? She said, “I meditate.” I didn’t believe her, because this was almost 10 years ago. I was like that’s just dumb and a waste of time. I kept having insomnia. I started going gray at 26-years-old. I couldn’t sleep through the night for 18 months. I was getting sick, I was getting injured, so finally it got so bad that I went to her and I was like I’ve got to try something. I went along on this intro to meditation talk. I liked what I heard. I signed up for this 4 day course, it was an hour and a half a day for 4 days.
I trained myself to be a self sufficient meditator and then I stopped getting sick, I stopped getting injured. It cured my insomnia, I’m not kidding in the first day. Then, I’m 36 now, and I don’t have gray hair, but I was legitimately going gray when I started and I was 27 when I started I think.
Dave: That is not actually your color hair?
Emily: No, I dye my hair.
Dave: I was like, come on, you have the coolest red hair I’ve ever seen.
Emily: Thank you so much, I wish it was my own hair.
Dave: I’m sorry, I know that was totally rude for me to say that, but I’m like you have the most awesome hair.
Emily: Thank you. I think it’s a legit question, because I do dye my hair but I just went to the salon 3 days ago, and they have to use a certain color if you’re gray and they have to use a different color if you’re not. As of yet, they don’t have to use the gray on me.
Dave: Your roots aren’t gray, I totally believe you.
Emily: When it grows out I’ll send you a picture. Basically, it cured my insomnia, stopped going gray, stopped getting sick, stopped getting injured and I was like, I don’t understand why everybody doesn’t do this thing. It’s relatively easy to do, it’s relatively low investment considering what you’re getting out of it. It made my life so much better. It improved my performance so dramatically that I said, I have to teach people how to do this. I left Broadway in 2009, I went to India, I went to Rishikesh, India which is in the foothills of the Himalayas. I began what became a 3 year training process to teach this.
I was not in India the whole time. I finished in LA which is almost like India nowadays in Venice, it actually is. I graduated about 3 years ago and started Ziva. I’m here at Ziva in New York City. I started an online meditation training, and to be honest, it’s the most rewarding, exciting thing I’ve ever done. I’ve taught over 1000 people to meditate and like you said, I’ve taught at a bunch of companies and schools. It strangely feels so much more creative and so much more rewarding than even doing what I thought was my life dream.
Dave: You’re enjoying being a meditation teacher, more so than yoga.
Emily: Yes, I am.
Dave: All right, why do you think you enjoy it more, versus what you did before? You were in front of large numbers of people both times, you were dancing and singing, what’s different now?
Emily: I feel like I’m more of service now. That’s not to say that performers are not of service. They are. They serve a really important function in our society. I think a good performance can heal people or give people a catharsis or make them laugh. It’s not that performance is not of service, but it does when you’re in it, it feels much more selfish. It feels so much more self serving. It’s my head shots, and my agent, and did I book the job. It’s very challenging to get out of that seeking mentality of this I’ll be happy when syndrome.
Now, it feels like I’m being able to share my unique gifts with a very relevant need at the time. I think that almost any of the world’s problems, if you boil it down, can be linked to a problem in consciousness, or an imbalance in consciousness. The people who are moving the money around the planet, if they’re addicted to money, then this is going to create this disparity in wealth. People who are creating the world’s seeds and food, if they’re addicted to money, this is going to allow them to produce a lower quality crop for a higher yield game.
We don’t actually have a hunger problem, we have a distribution problem. In my mind, I feel like if we can shift the level of consciousness of the people who are really making these decisions, I feel like we can have a very powerful and I would even say fast, global impact.
Dave: Less ego and more service made it more satisfying for you?
Emily: For me personally, yeah. Feeling like I was using my gifts to serve the need at the time.
Dave: The reason I’m asking that is, Steven Kotler, who wrote The Rise of Superman, one of the guys behind the Flow Genome Project, came on as the keynote speaker at the Bulletproof conference last year, as well as a guest on Bulletproof radio. What we talked about, how being of service puts you in a flow state more easily. I also imagine that being terrified, going on stage with all this stuff. Once you go on stage, you get past it and you kind of go to an altered state. You’re like, okay I’m dancing I’m moving, I’m doing it right. I might be second guessing myself, but somehow you do it.
This fear of death does that for a lot of people, and going on stage is equal to fear of death for a lot of people, especially with all the chaos. Are you in a flow state when you teach? Are you in a flow state when you create programs? Is flow a part of your life now that you’re off stage?
Emily: Absolutely. To me this is one of the biggest benefits of meditation, is that in the style of meditation that I teach, it’s actually a way to take your right brain to the gym. I know that right brain, left brain is a gross oversimplification, but I think that it’s nice to have a talking point. If we look at left brain being the part of you that’s in charge of the past and the future, your critical thought, your analytical thought, your fear, your fight or flight. The right brain is that flow state. Right brain is the present moment awareness. Your intuition, your creativity, your feeling of connectiveness, music, all of these things are right brain activities.
In the style of meditation that I teach, you’re quite literally taking your right brain to the gym. Just the practice itself has really helped with that, but they say if you want to master something, teach it. Every time I teach, I’m learning more about the subject itself. It’s lovely when the content is a right brain facilitator and the very active teaching can also be a right brain phenomenon because every student is different, every talk is different. I do feel like one of the big things that I, I want to say preach, but that’s not the word I want to use.
One of my big talking points is this idea of the power of surrender. I know that sounds a little hippie dippie, but really, that’s flow state. Surrender is sort of the feminine hippie dippie way of saying flow state. It’s you letting go of your idea of how you think things should go, so that you’re able to surrender to how nature wants to use you. Your right brain I like to think about it like the super computer, the right brain is the piece of us that plugs in to this giant cloud computer of creativity. The collective consciousness, or the super brain, whatever you want to call it.
Dave: There’s definitely some sort of connectedness to others that comes out of that part of the brain that you don’t get when you’re, if you think of yourself as a meat robot. I will be logical, you can do a lot with logic, but being happy isn’t something you do with logic right?
Emily: Also, your left brain it’s limited. It’s limited by the only information that you’ve been able to consume in this lifetime. The right brain, if it’s connecting to this collective consciousness or this super brain, then you’re going to have more information. You’re going to be able to operate on instinct and intuition. When you really start to talk to the worlds leaders, the CEO’s of the companies, the political heads, they’re often time operating on instinct in a way that people I think often try to emulate.
I have this video blog actually, called Are You Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock? I think that a lot of people are controlled by their left brain, and I believe that, Captain Kirk is the captain. You want your right brain, you want your intuition to be king. It doesn’t make the left brain or the analytical mind irrelevant, but ideally we want the intuition to be king.
Dave: When I had the chance to work for a little while in Sam Hill road as a VC, this is going back 5, 6 years. I did a bunch of reading about what makes world class investors and all that. It’s funny, the really, really good ones, even if they have MBA’s and spreadsheets everywhere, they talk about the gut. They just know. If you’re not meditating, you probably aren’t plugged into the place that your body knows stuff that your left brain doesn’t know. That’s one of the things that I got when I started doing meditation and breath work. There’s actually a signal in all that stuff I was ignoring before, and if you can play into it, it’s cool.
Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dave: You have a very specific way of doing it, and you call it Ziva meditation. What is Ziva meditation? What is it, what’s different about it, and how does it facilitate that plugging in?
Emily: At Ziva, we do use a combination of mindfulness and something called Vedic meditation. Vedic, which comes from the sanscript word Veda, which means knowledge. Vedic meditation, I’ll start with that, because that’s really the foundation and the base of what we teach. Then I incorporate mindfulness techniques so that people can use that in their waking state. Vedic meditation is a 6,000 year old practice. It comes from northern India. One of the things that I think makes it unique and special, is that it was made for people with busy minds and busy lives. It’s not made for monks.
Mindfulness is actually derivative of a monastic practice. Meaning, it was made for people who live in caves and are reclusive and even celibate by nature. That’s less than one percent of the world’s population is celibate or monastic by nature. The other 99 percent of us are what we call householders, in India. Which basically means we have a job, so we have kids, we have stuff to do.
Dave: If we’re married with kids, isn’t that the same as celibacy?
Emily: I don’t know, I get married in about 27 days, so I’ll tell you then.
Dave: That’s awesome, congrats.
Emily: Sounds like I have a lot to look forward to. Basically, it means either you live in society, or you don’t. This householder style of meditation, this was big news to me when I first started learning about it. I thought, whatever monks are doing, it must be so much more powerful. It must be so much more beneficial because they’re monks. They must be vibrating or levitating or something. It’s actually the other way around. If you have a job and kids and stuff to do, you have less time in your day with which to meditate. You actually want to do a practice that is more powerful. You want to go in and really clean house. Get rid of the stress in your nervous system so when you come out of the meditation, you can perform at the top of your game.
In the style of meditation that I teach here, you’re doing a few things. The 2 most important are one, you’re giving your body rest that is somewhere between 2 to 5 times deeper than sleep. That’s not an insignificant point, because it basically means that a 20 minute meditation is the equivalent of approximately of an hour and a half nap. I actually think it’s a little bit more than, because the studies that they did to prove that, people had cameras on them and skin acidity thermometers and rectal thermometers. I’ve never meditated with a rectal thermometer, but it doesn’t sound that fun to me.
Dave: It’s not really the style. I think that’s a Russian style actually.
Dave: Sorry people from Russia, I love Russia.
Emily: I actually lived there for a little while. When you’re doing Vedic meditation, you’re resting somewhere between 2 to 5 times deeper than sleep. That means that on the other side of a 20 minute meditation, you’re so much more awake, you’re so much more revived, and it’s easier to tap into those signals that you’re talking about. The other thing that happens is that when you meditate, you’re de-exciting your nervous system. When you de-excite something, you create order.
Think about a drop of water, if you were to de-excite the molecules in and slow it down, it would freeze and turn into a snowflake and create this beautiful pattern and order. When you excite those molecules and heat it up and speed them up, then it gets quite active and, it’s not random but it can appear random. Same thing with our nervous system. When we’re excited and super stressed in this fight or flight stress reaction all the time, it’s very hard for the stresses that we’ve been accumulating to come up and out of the body. It’s also very hard to receive that download or that intuition from your gut, or whatever you want to call it.
When you’re meditating, 2 things. One, you’re going to be more rested on the other side, also, you’re de-exciting your nervous system in a way that allows the lifetime of stresses that we’ve all been accumulating to start to come up and out. It’s not just about, let me meditate so I can calm down right now. When you start to practice this thing regularly, you’re actually up leveling your seat of consciousness because you’re getting rid of the dog that barked in your face and the fight that your parents got into when you were 10. It actually starts to change your body pretty quickly and pretty dramatically.
Dave: That’s definitely a match with my experience. I’ve played with all kinds of meditation. I’m lazy, so I do it with a computer now. Every time I meditate wrong it shocks me, just kidding. It’s that sort of perspective, where different types of meditation do very different things. You feel different when you do them. One of the things that inspired me to want to bring you on the show is you talked very specifically about left and right sides of the brain at the same time.
In the last few episodes, I’ve been asking guests on Bulletproof radio about their specific favorite breathing technique. What works and what doesn’t work. I just asked Alberto Villoldo, who’s a shaman author, what’s the coolest one for you? Given that you teach breathing techniques, what’s the breathing technique that someone driving in their car right now listening to Bulletproof radio, might want to do to help them improve their performance, of to feel better or be happier or whatever. What’s the most important one?
Emily: Okay, so it depends on whether or not they can drive with one hand. If you can drive with one hand, which most people can …
Dave: If you have both arms you can do this.
Emily: If you have both arms and if you can drive with one hand you can try this one. I call it a balancing breath, you’re basically closing the right and left nostrils so that you’re starting to balance the right and left parts of the brain. Before I show you the breathing technique, I just want to elaborate on this a little bit. Why this is a cool thing to do. Like we mentioned briefly a second ago, left brain’s in charge of past, future, critical thought, analytical thought, balancing your check books, math. All super important activities, but for most of us, the left brain has gotten out of balance.
We’ve just been thinking, taking action, achieving, making money so we can be happy in the future. Our poor little right brain is atrophying. If you look at a human brain, it actually splits right down the middle 50, 50. I don’t think that nature makes mistakes, I don’t think that nature would have given us 50, 50 if it wanted us to use 90, 10. This breathing technique is an active thing. It’s not a meditation, it’s something you can do in your waking state, and it starts to balance this right and left hemisphere of the brain.
One of the cool things that happens when you practice this style of meditation that I teach, is that the corpus callosum starts to thicken. Now, the corpus callosum is this thin white strip that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This is valuable because the thicker your corpus callosum is, it means that even in a high demand situation, even when your boss is yelling at you, even when you’re in traffic, the thicker this bridge is, it means that you’re simultaneously able to access this right brain creative problem solving.
You know if you get in a fight with your significant other and then an hour later you think of all these amazing hilarious comebacks, you’re like, “Why couldn’t I do that in the middle of the fight?” This to me is the value of a fat corpus callosum. Also, incidentally Albert Einstein had one of the fattest corpus callosums that we’ve ever found. We like I was there at his autopsy.
Dave: You may know the answer to this, I don’t actually, and I’m interested, certainly you can get more gray matter in the brain. When you’re fattening the corpus callosum, are you actually fattening the insulation, the myelination of the corpus callosum? Or is it the corpus callosum, the nerve inside the insulation itself?
Emily: To be honest, I don’t know the answer to that, what I do know is that the corpus callosum itself gets physically thicker.
Dave: Okay, so tell me about that.
Emily: What meditation does, is that it increases neuroplasticity. All the folds of the brain, you’re starting to make those closer together so basically different areas of your brain can communicate more elegantly with the others. Do you know if this is true, this whole, I don’t know if it’s an old wives tale where people say that we’re using somewhere between 3 and 10 percent of our mental capability?
Dave: It is probably an old wives tale. I looked into that for the Bulletproof diet research. It’s, how do you even measure what percent of your capacity? Was that for memory or was that for active thinking? Was that working memory? It’s probably a wives tale. It’s true, there’s a lot going on, that we don’t know what’s going on, but it doesn’t mean we’re not using it. There’s this thing called the unconscious. There’s visual processing. I tend to think we’re using lot more, but I also think that there’s a potential to make it more efficient which is what meditation is going to do.
It also means that if our mitochondria are not firing at full capacity, that we’re almost certainly not using our brain. When I do things to increase mitochondria function. I’m like wow my meditation just got better, I can see my score on neuro feedback go up. There’s an energy thing. The energy that makes you who you are. I don’t believe most people are anywhere near their capacity from that perspective. Which means their brains aren’t either. 10 percent I don’t buy, 3 percent, I don’t buy, but who knows.
Emily: My teacher has kind of a joke, and he says that the very fact that we’re arguing whether it’s 3 or 10 percent suggests that it’s more like 3. Either way, let’s utilize the whole thing, right? We’ve got a hundred billion neurons in this thing, let’s use them.
Emily: Here’s the breathing technique. If you’re driving, you can keep your left hand on the wheel, you can take your right hand, and you can use your thumb and your ring finger. You can do this walking, you can do this sitting.
Dave: Am I doing it right?
Emily: That’s incorrect.
Dave: I just flipped everyone off, if you’re driving you didn’t see that effectively. Ring finger and thumb.
Emily: Thumb and your ring finger, and you want to use your right hand if possible. Close your right nostril with your thumb, and exhale through your left nostril, then inhale through the left.
Dave: When you say inhale through the left, so I don’t put my fingers yet?
Emily: Correct, and now move your fingers. Close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right. Then switch, closing the right nostril with your thumb and exhaling through the left. Good, inhale through the left, and switch, closing the left nostril with the ring finger, exhaling with the right.
Dave: I just got onto my thumb, not my finger, am I doing this backwards?
Emily: It’s all good. Let’s start over, because I imagine other people did too. We’ll just try it, we’ll do one more cycle. Just take your right hand …
Dave: Just tell us when to move fingers. Where to start and then when and we’ll try that.
Emily: Good, I’ll say change and that’ll be our cue to switch sides. We’ll start with our thumb and our right nostril. Good, and then exhale through the left. Inhale thought the left. Now change. Closing your left nostril with your ring finger, exhaling through the right. Inhale through the right. Now change. Closing your right nostril with your thumb, exhaling through the left. Inhale through the left. Change. Out, you can start to do this in your own time. On this inhale, I want you to inhale all the way until your lungs are at their full capacity. Float there for just a moment and then change. Exhaling through the left side, letting that air fall all the way out until you’re totally to empty.
Again, at the bottom of the exhale, let yourself float there and then change, and let that air float back into your lungs until you’re all the way at your full capacity. You can do one more cycle. The next time you come to an exhale on the left hand side, we can drop our hands and move on. The thing I like about that technique is that you can do it fast or slow. If you’re feeling a little tired and you need a little hit of energy and you need to focus, you need to energize. You can do it fast.
It’s the same exact pattern, it just looks like this. It’s out in, out in, out in, out in, out in. If you’re pretty amped, and you’re feeling super nervous and you have a talk to give, or if you want to sit down and meditate but you’re feeling too amped to meditate, you can try this slow meditation. It’s almost like pulling the bow back on your bow and arrow so that when you go into your meditation your body can really surrender and let go. Even just doing the breathing by itself, it’s helping to balance right and left brains, it oxygenates your blood, your organs, and it’s quite good for you.
Dave: The way that worked was, whatever nostril you started on, you go out and then in on that nostril then you switch. You go out in, then you switch, out in, until the very last breath, right?
Emily: Yep, and ideally you want to start with an out on the left and end with an out on the left. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. It’s basically just out in on the left, out in on the right. Out in on the left, out in on the right.
Dave: I may have to ask you to write a quest post on how to do that. I’ve done that in yoga classes lots of times, and different teachers have that, you start on the left, you start on the right, you start going in you start going out. I’ve never seen convincing science about this is superior. I think it may be a teaching style thing. It’s actually a powerful thing. I actually felt that. There’s also a, I believe it’s every 19 minutes, your dominate nostril shifts.
Emily: Cool, I didn’t know that, but I love that.
Dave: Yeah, it’s something that you would never notice but someone noticed. Don’t ask me to cite the study either, that was a long time ago when I learned it. I was in some yoga class somewhere. It’s kind of an interesting thing because your taking over control of your nervous system. It’s doing that anyway. It’s some sort of rhythmic thing that you can graph out.
When you do what you just taught us to do, then you’re saying, I’m going to control that and of course it’s going to have a biological impact. It actually makes sense from a science perspective, even though some people are probably like, I feel skeptical of this, well try it, do you feel different? In that case obviously it’s placebo and everything is crazy.
Emily: Sure, and here’s the thing is that the reason why so many meditation teachers and yoga teachers use breath work as a doorway in is because your breath and your thinking are 2 body functions that are both autonomic. We have some say in what’s happening. You’re going to breathe, basically involuntarily all the time and we can get in there and slow it down, speed it up, change the nostril that we’re breathing through.
Same thing with the mind. The mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily. We can get in there and monkey with it to a certain degree. I’m on a bit of a soap box and a bit of a life mission to let people know that the point of meditation is not to stop your mind from thinking. So many people, this is what their whole meditation career looks like. They’re like, okay, I hear meditation is good for me, I hear that Dave Asprey meditates, I’m going to try it.
Then they sit down in this chair, and they close their eyes, and they go okay brain, stop thinking. I’m hungry, maybe I would like some coffee. Nope that’s a thought. Wait, no now I’m thinking and now I’m thinking about how I’m thinking. Now I’m thinking about how I’m thinking about how I’m thinking. I’m pretty sure I’m a failure, and now I quit. Then they never try meditation again.
Dave: That’s how I started meditating. My God I’m a failure, I thought about something. Then thinking about not thinking is a terrible strategy.
Emily: It is, and it feels like torture.
Dave: If you succeed in turning off your brain, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Emily: Then you’re dead.
Dave: We’ve seen with the 40 Years of Zen, when we’re measuring brainwaves, a few people who’ve done very long periods of meditation where they’re teaching themselves to suppress brain activity, their brain is nearly turned off when they’re in a quote, meditative state. They’re not in a high alpha state. They’re not generating beta or delta or any of the brain waves associating with different meditative states. Their kind of flat lined.
If you spend 20 years teaching yourself to flat line, you could have spent 20 years teaching yourself to be in a high performance state. Off is not high performance. It may be restorative, but even when I sleep, I’d rather be in very deep sleep, which is delta, not off. Or in theta, which is dream state, not off. Those are the 2 places where you want to be, and if you’re awake and you want to go there, go there, but don’t just go off.
Emily: Totally, and I think you might find this interesting. I taught this CEO in LA to meditate, and he had one of the body data monitoring bracelets. This particular one he was using was UP by Jawbone. He had it for 10 days and then he took the meditation course. My course it’s an hour and a half a day for 4 days, that’s the in person one. I have an online one too. He took the in person one and he was checking his exercise, and then also his sleep.
He took the course and the bracelet broke. He sent it off to the manufacturer, it came back and then he started using it again. He had 10 days of data premeditation, and then 10 days of data post meditation. Before he started meditating, his sleep cycle went like this, it went light, medium, deep, wake up for 18 minutes. Light, medium, deep, wake up for 18 minutes. Light, medium, wake up. That took him about 8 or 9 hours, and when he woke he was not that rested, he was still pretty exhausted. Then he started meditating, and on the second day after he had the bracelet back, his sleeping pattern went, light medium, deep for 6 hours, medium, light then wake up.
He shaved 2 to 3 hours off of his sleep, but it was a deeper form of rest, so he was much more rested when he woke up. That’s been my experience as well. My insomnia was a result of my body using that sleep time as a time for stress release because I didn’t have any other tools to get rid of the stress in my nervous system and I was in a high demand situation like most people are. The thing I like about meditation is that you use these little chunks in your day to get of the stress in your nervous system, so that you can actually use your sleep as a time to sleep. It becomes much more efficient, and you’re so much more rested on the other side.
Dave: Before I had kids, I’ve always been, still to this day, my most creative intuition, do things hours are from 10:30 to 11, until 2 am. No one bothers you, there’s night energy, whatever it is. A lot of writers and people, that’s their creative time. It’s not necessarily circadian alignment, but I use red lights at night and I make it work. That’s my high performance zone. I decided I was going to change it and I woke myself up at 5 am every morning for almost 2 years. I successfully became a go to bed early, wake up early. Don’t actually like it, but I made it work.
The reason I would do this is I cut my sleep by 2 hours. I’m still kind of a night person, but when I woke up at 5, I would meditate for an hour. I would do breathing exercises, I would do an art of living sequence, a Akria it’s called. Then I would do a bunch of energy body fields meditation. You can replace 2 hours of sleep with an hour of meditation. That’s something that some of the more advanced people in meditation circles have done for a long time. There’s a book called, something about Tibetan sleep yoga. The guy’s like, “I came into this life, I had a lot to do, I’m too busy. I do all of my personal growth work while I’m asleep.”
He goes to sleep. He’s consciously asleep. He does all his meditating in a sleeping state, wakes up and then does teaching people or whatever. I think there’s some room for meditation to improve sleep, because I’ve felt it and the masters have written about it, and you’re talking about it because you see it in your clients.
Emily: In myself.
Dave: That was my next question. Cool you read my mind. What do you see in your self? How much sleep do you need now that you meditate versus before?
Emily: We’re on that flow state with each other. Even across continents, or not continents, but the other side of the country. On the first day of my meditation course, and I know this sounds dramatic, but the first day of my first course, I was meditating and then I didn’t know what that meant, but I was doing something different than I had ever done before. I was accessing a state of consciousness that was different than waking, sleeping, or dreaming. I liked it. Then that night, I slept through the night for the first time in 18 months and I have every night since, and that was almost 10 years ago.
If the only thing meditation had done for me was cure my insomnia, I would have been in. Then all those other things started happening, and I started to enjoy my life and things. Imagine that. For me, sleep-wise, I just lead a retreat this weekend and we would get up to greet the sun. This is a very lovely thing to do, to meditate and sunrise and to greet the sun. Almost every civilization has done this since the beginning of time. Probably because there’s a lot of science behind when you sleep, that it’s better for you. The rest you get before midnight is more restful for you than the rest you get after midnight.
For me personally, and to be honest, I’m naturally more like you, 10 pm to 2 am is my go time. The reason why that happens is that, I’m sure there’s more specific science, but the ayurveda philosophy, which ayurveda is kind of the sister science to the type of mediation that I teach. ayurveda, again, is a Sanskrit word that means knowledge, IR means longevity. ayurveda is simply the science of longevity. The knowledge of how to perform at the top of your game for the longest amount of time. In ayurvedic medicine, there’s something called a dosha. A dosha is like a body type. There’s 3 main types of dosha’s and everyone has all 3, but we’re usually dominant in one or the other.
Just like every person has all 3 dosha’s, every day also has different time zones a day where the dosha’s more dominant. 10 pm to 2 am is called pitta time of day. Yeah, it’s the ass kicker. We’re very similar in that. It’s pitta, it’s why we both are drawn to the orange. That’s why both of our logos are orange. It’s that fire inside of us. 10 pm to 2 am is pita time of day, so what most people find is if they’re not already in bed or reading a book or starting to dial it down by about 10 or 11, then they’re up and they are performing until about 1:30 or 2 am and then they crash.
To be honest, I’m working on that. I still, I like to go in that time. On my retreat, I was getting up at 5 and 6 to greet the sun, and I felt so much better. Yeah, I felt so much better and I was so much more energized, and I needed less sleep. That’s the one thing where I’m like please do as I say, not as I do. I tell all my clients about it, but I personally have not been great at the go to bed early, get up early. For the meditation, it does make me need less sleep.
Certainly in the times where I have a cross country flight, or I’m doing speaking engagement after speaking engagement, if I’m not doing much sleep, and I meditate, I perform so much better. I would say 60 percent better for me personally.
Dave: Just because you meditate, regardless of when you go to sleep you’re saying?
Emily: Yeah, and I found a little bit of a reduction. I used to need 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Now I can rock about 6 to 7 ish. My teacher is 71 years old, he’s been meditating for 43 years. He has 8 kids and he’s taught like 80,000 people to meditate, and he only sleeps for 3 or 4 hours a night. It’s just a lifetime. The thing about meditation is that the benefits are spontaneous. Your body’s going to heal itself in the way that it needs to heal itself. The benefits are also cumulative. The more you do it, the more benefit you get.
That’s a lot of my job, is being almost like a cheerleader and a meditation personal trainer to help people stay in the saddle. Especially through the first few weeks and months of learning a practice. Most people experience something called unstressing. It’s not that nice. Most people get a little tired, they get a little cranky, they get a little sad. It’s kind of like the stress, is at the same flavor on the way out as it does on the way in. To me it’s like Listerine. You know how you put Listerine in your mouth and it burns? You’re like, I know it’s working because it’s burning. That’s a little bit like what the first few days and weeks of mediation can be like.
Dave: You said something really interesting there, about, the more you do it, the more it accumulates. It’s kind of like exercise for the brain. We already talked about that. Exercise, it’s not just the more you do it, it’s the better or the more intensely you do it, the more you benefit. If you’re doing squats, if you’re doing the correct form, you get more benefit than doing the same amount of squats with improper form. That’s why having a meditation teacher is so valuable. If you’re leaning to do meditation with correct form, then the time you invest in it provides more cumulative returns over time.
I’ve learned so much from teachers, not just from reading a book or something, that’s valuable, but if you have someone watching you going, do it that way. You’re doing it wrong is very precious knowledge.
Emily: Also, the techniques themselves are very different. Mindfulness, like we said, is very different than meditation. Mindfulness is more like a waking state practice. It’s where you’re directing your focus on a certain thing. Either you’re looking at a candle or you’re counting your breaths, or you’re thinking about your chakras, or you’re bringing your awareness to the present moment. Which are all very powerful and beautiful exercises, but it’s more of a waking state practice. This is interesting, when you look at brain scans of people who are practicing mindfulness versus the style that I teach is that in mindfulness, a very small part of the brain lights up very, very bright. In the style of meditation I teach, the whole brain lights up, but not as bright.
It’s more of a whole brain experience, more of a brain cohesion. What people notice of the effects are different, is that mindfulness tends to make your ability to focus and your ability to stay one topic for a long time in your waking state improves. Whereas as, what I teach is a self induced transcendent style of meditation. You’re sitting down and you’re inducing this fourth state of consciousness that’s very restful. On the other side you’re more awake and actually able to hold many things in one awareness at the same time.
We’re not that interesting in focusing, we’re interested in the single sanity of consciousness. This increased creative problem solving, and this intuition tends to be more of the benefits of the style that I teach.
Dave: There’s 2 other things I want to talk about. I’m looking at how much time we have left before everyone’s going to get to their office and their commute. I know at least half of our listeners are not on iTunes watching video or on YouTube where we’re going to have all of the cool where to put your fingers at the right place. Sorry Emily. I have to ask you, 5 ways meditation can help you have mind blowing sex. I’ve talked about this before, I know people want to know this, so you’re going to have to tell us.
Emily: Okay, so nobody’s talking about this, which is why I wanted to bring it up. I think nobody’s talking about meditation and sex because I think for so long it’s been associated with this monastic practice where I’m not allowed to think about sex when I’m meditating, because the style that I teach is made for people that live in society who busy minds and busy lives, I just thought it would be an important conversation to have. Number one, actually statistically the most common reason that couples do not have sex is that they’re too tired.
We’re all working, working, working and then we get home and we’re exhausted. If the meditation that you’re practicing is going to give you rest that’s deeper than sleep, it’s like, at least for me, when I do my second meditation which I try to do somewhere mid afternoon, early evening. When I come out of it on the other side, it feels like I’ve taken a vacation from my brain. It feels like I have this surge of energy on the other side which gives me so much more energy and so much more creativity to come home and make dinner or enjoy dinner or hang out with my fiancé, and yes, have sex.
If you work until 9 o’ clock at night and then you come home and just crash on the couch after watching just one episode of Game of Thrones …
Dave: Who watches just one episode of Game of Thrones?
Emily: Now all of us because we have to wait until the next one. I listened to the Tim Ferriss episode where he says he just let’s them all accumulate and then he binge watches them. I think you guys have inspired me. Then, the thought of waiting for 3 more weeks is really hard for me.
Dave: I got you. Now I believe you.
Emily: Okay, the idea is that you meditate, it’s like a power nap for your brain, but on the other side you don’t have this sleep hangover. Very simply, if you meditate, you’re going to have more energy for sex. The other reason that a lot of people don’t have sex is the old cliché of, “Not tonight honey, I have a headache.” Meditation is actually proven to cure something like 80 to 90 percent of migraines, if they’re stress related. Obviously meditation is a stress relieving tool. If you start meditating, it can release your stress which reduces a lot of migraines.
This next bit goes for men and women. Women, when they’re cortisol levels get over a certain amount, which cortisol is obviously one of the number one stress chemicals that gets released into your body when you launch into fight or flight. When female cortisol levels get over a certain point, women are physically incapable of orgasm. It doesn’t matter how good your partner is, it doesn’t matter how many fancy tools or tricks or toys you have. If your cortisol levels are above, I think it’s 40 percent, you can’t orgasm. That to me is sad, because most people are really, really stressed.
Dave: It’s the same for guys by the way. If their cortisol is too high, they can’t get it up.
Emily: Yep, it’s erectile dysfunction. Men are not off of the hook. That’s 4 I think, what would be the other one? This is one of my favorites, is that your lover is going to think that you’re psychic. The more you meditate, the more you increase your mirror neuron focusing. Here’s the Broadway show girl’s description of mirror neurons. You might be able to elaborate on this more scientifically than I can. The Broadway show girl’s description is, it’s like your brain has boomerangs, and it goes out and your lover has boomerangs in their brain. These boomerangs come out and they dance with each other, and then the boomerangs go back into the brain.
Dave: What style of dancing, no.
Emily: Tap dancing. Or tango, probably tango is way sexier than tap dancing.
Dave: That works, a little hot tango.
Emily: Yeah, a hot tango. Basically, it’s like this sixth sense. It’s like you have this intuition. It’s like you can intuit what your lover needs or wants before they even know it. They’re going to think you’re psychic because you’re going to be so much more keyed in, you’re going to be so much more present and available in the experience. Talk about needing to be mindful. If you’re having sex, and I know everyone’s been here, where you’re having sex and you’re stressing about work and what you’re going to do tomorrow or are the kids in bed or are the kids listening. You’re not present in the right now, you’re setting yourself up for failure, versus meditation gives you this ability to surrender, to let go, to be in your body in the right now.
The mirror neuron phenomena is a relatively recent discovery. They’re saying that mirror neurons are going to do for psychology what DNA did for biology. We’re just on the precipice of really understanding them. It’s one of the reasons why porn is a multimillion dollar industry. When you watch someone having pleasure, it brings you pleasure. This is the same thing. You’ll become a more altruistic lover when you’re meditating because just watching your partner having joy and having fun, this is going to be more fun for you.
Dave: If you do it right, you’re amplifying, essentially mirror neurons are you’re copying the other person, they’re copying you and you get more and more synced up. This is why, I believe it was like one in 5 people report having full on spiritual transcendent experiences during sex or orgasm. Often times they don’t tell their partners or their partners were like was it good for you and they’re like, “I just met God.” They’re not necessarily matched with that mirror neuron magnification effect probably has something to do with those weird states.
Emily: I mean, they are meeting God, not to get too hippie dippie, but I mean any act of real creativity, and I believe that sexual energy and creativity are the same thing. You talk to great athletes, you talk to great performers, great singers, when they are really in that flow state, a lot of them say, “I don’t remember singing the song, the song was singing me.” “I don’t remember playing the game, the game was playing me.”
We can absolutely access that in sexual situations as well because, really, we think we’re falling in love with someone else, but we’re really just falling in love with ourselves in the disguise of being someone else. I think it can be a very sacred act, and the meditation gives you a really fast window into that.
Dave: I would agree. When you meditate better, you’re a more intuitive lover. Let’s go beyond the bedroom. What about just intuition in general? What does meditation do for that? Full disclosure, I’m working on software that teaches intuition and there’s brain state things you can do there. Whenever that comes out, it’ll be ready if it’s cook. What does meditation, what does your teaching do for people that want to be more intuitive? What is intuition? Do you have a good definition for that?
Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I believe that the present moment is the future in the making. The present moment, is the future in the making. If you’re not present in your body right now, then you’re not going to be very available for what the future is. If you’re planning very stressy, nervous seeds in the right now, then this is going to impact your future. Intuition, I would define it as the ability to cognize how nature wants to use you in this moment. Right? That might sound quite esoteric, but I would define it as being able to move beyond your left brain critical voice and to be able to tap into that still, small voice inside.
The thing is that intuition whispers, and criticism screams. It’s very challenging for non meditators to understand the difference between their critical mind and their intuitive mind because they’re either the same volume or their critical mind is so much louder. When you start mediating, you start taking your right brain to the gym. It doesn’t clear your mind, it’s not about clearing your mind in the meditation itself, but it does turn the volume down on that critical voice, and then you can actually hear that little tiny whisper of an intuition. Then the more you cultivate that, the more you listen to it, the louder it gets.
Everyone does this in different ways, and I’m fascinated to know how you start to develop it and how you start to teach it. In my experience, meditation is not necessarily going to turn up the volume in the sitting itself, but as a means by which you’re clearing out all the stress in your nervous system so that in your waking state, that right brain channel is much more open.
Dave: That made sense. I don’t know that neuro science has fully demonstrated the existence of intuition, or that they’ve quantified the stakes, some of the people that I work with certainly have quantifying stakes that they correlate with a sense of intuition. I think the whole jury’s out. Anyone’s who’s experienced intuition and used intuition in their decision making knows. We have these weird things. Where we our body knows things are going to happen before they happen.
One of the best proofs of intuition I’ve seen is they have a machine that generates random images. Either puppies or murder scenes, the experimenter doesn’t know what’s coming up next, the person watching these doesn’t know what’s coming up next, but you can see your brain waves turn stressful, your neurons, when you see something horrible. What they found is, I don’t remember the number of seconds, but 100 milliseconds before the image comes up, the nervous system responds with stress. It knows what’s coming when the experimenter doesn’t and it’s using a random number generator.
What the hell? Stuff like that is kind of creepy, but it also means that maybe your body is telling you some stuff if you can learn to listen to it. That is part of the sense of intuition. It’s fascinating stuff because we’re wired that way and meditation is a pathway just learning how to listen to the signal that’s always been there.
Emily: Absolutely, and a couple things I want to share because a lot of your audience is so interested in diet and food. A lot of what my clients report after they learn to meditate is that their ability to eat intuitively goes through the roof. If you’re stress eating, if you’re just eating as a means by which to fill yourself up, it’s not a great plan and a lot of us will end up over weight. When you start meditating, you start to feel satiated internally, you start to feed yourself with this primary food so that the secondary food becomes a little less important.
Also, because it’s not this, oh my gosh I’m going to die if I don’t eat every thing in front of me, this fight or flight panic eating, you’re able to intuit, what does my body actually want right now and do I need a little coconut oil or should I have an avocado? Do I want some coffee? You’re able to intuit it instead of it being a place of addiction.
The other thing I want to share is that 3 weeks ago I was the maid of honor for my best friends wedding and everyone called me a ninja. They called me a ninja maid of honor, because they said that every time she was about to request something, I had it in my hand ready to give it to her. Before there was a tragedy, before something went haywire, I was right on it the second before. That has nothing to do with me, that just has to do with 10 years of meditating. The present moment is the future in the making. If you have the ability to be present in your body right now, you’re able to intuit the future in the making.
Dave: Speaking of the future in the making, are you going to burning man this year?
Emily: Yes I am. Are you going to burning man?
Dave: Yeah, I’ll be at burning man this year. It’ll be my second time. I was there in 2011. It’s kind of hard to go when you have kids and stuff because it’s time away from family.
Emily: Sure. Are you going to take your kids?
Dave: I don’t think so, my 5-year-old alkaline dust in your eyes, whining the whole time, sounds like the opposite of burning man to me. Maybe later when they’re 10. You’ve written, things you can learn from burning man. Why are you going to go? What are you going to learn from burning man?
Emily: To be honest, my fiancé and I are having to make the decision of are we doing an official honeymoon or are we going to burning man? We decided we wanted to go to burning man just because it’s so much fun. The reason, this will be my third year. What I love about burning man is a, it’s fun. B, it’s creativity on a scale, that I’ve never seen before. It’s not only creativity, but there’s a generosity and a creativity on a scale that I’ve never seen before. There’s this funny saying, I’m sure you’ve heard this when you’re there, but people say the playa provides. The place where burning man takes place is called the playa, it’s like the secret, if you’re into that, or the manifestation.
The second you’re like, I would love a cup of coffee and then you run into Dave Asprey on a bike, handing you a cup of coffee. I would love, some sunscreen. Then someone walks up to you and massages sunscreen on your shoulders. The second you even have a desire, it shows within seconds. I have this theory that the reason my manifestation occurs so quickly there, because most people are getting on board with the whole thoughts become things. If you are thinking about something, I actually believe that manifestation precedes desire.
If you have the desire, it’s already on the way to you, but we can talk about that on another podcast. I have this theory that the reason why it happens so quickly there is because almost everyone is in this right brain. They’re not there to make money, they’re not there to close a deal. They’re not there to get through the week. They’re there to celebrate the right now. The whole thing, for those of you that don’t know burning man, it’s this festival that happens in the middle of the desert, every year they build this giant man and at the end of it they burn it.
This festival itself is celebrating the temporal nature of art, and I would say life, because there’s no cell phone service, it forces you into the present moment. There’s no texting anybody, there’s no getting someone’s number to connect later. If you want to connect, you have to connect right now. The combination of present moment awareness, creativity, and generosity. It allows you to get into the, talk about a flow state. That’s why I think the manifestation thing happens so quickly there. I’m just interested in playing more with that. I actually want to lead big group meditations there, so maybe this will help that. We should pick a date and a time, just like, we’ll do a giant group meditation Thursday at 11.
Dave: Absolutely, you should do that. Just put it out there, and there you just stated the desire, so apparently you already manifested it so you’re ready to teach.
Emily: I’m ready.
Dave: All right, I think we have time. This will be a little bit of a longer episode, but I think we have time to talk about some of the metrics of meditation. I actually wrote them down if you don’t have them all memorized. Can you talk about some of the numbers? What does meditation do for your accuracy, speed, things like that?
Emily: Here’s the thing, nobody loves soft science more than the meditation community.
Emily: It depends on what type of meditation you’re talking about. As a general productivity, I’ve heard anywhere between 3o to 40 percent increase in productivity. I liken this to a cell phone. If you have 100 apps open on your cell phone and then you go to type an email and the cursor is way behind, you’re like stupid phone can even type an email. It’s not really the phone’s fault, you’re using so much of the computing power and the battery life to run all these old irrelevant windows. What we do when we meditate is closing down those windows so you have more battery life and computing power for the task at hand.
Emily: Let’s hear your metrics.
Dave: I think, actually, this is just from checking out your work. Some of these things I’ve seen, like improved immune function, less depression which I talked about. 27 percent less chance of being hospitalized.
Dave: That 90 percent insomnia reduction.
Dave: Something that I’ve seen specifically with a computer driven 40 Years of Zen stuff that I do with CEO types, a reversal of body age or brain age. I think actually from your website you talked about one study that says up t 8 years. Literally, you can take people who are in their 80s and when you get them the signal, their suddenly people who are 60 or 50 again. Which sounds like a giant claim, but that’s actually happened. There are people who are 80 who’ve done the intense neuro feedback thing, which is a form of meditation, it’s just high intensity.
Emily: Meditation on crack.
Dave: Let me stuff it down your throat. It’s really strong. They’re like, I think I’ll go back to college. You’re 80. You’re not supposed to be going to college, it’s awesome that you’re doing it. That whole reversal of brain age is something that I wish we were teaching meditation in retirement homes.
Dave: My anti-aging non profit work for 10 years I worked with older people who were reversing themselves biologically. Even in that community, only a third of them are probably open to meditation. The rest of them are sort of like, you know I was born in 1930 and basically meditation’s for the hippies.
Emily: Exactly, patchouli people.
Emily: I thought it was a big claim too. It sounded like a fountain of youth hooey dooey. Then I started thinking about it, and it’s not that meditation’s reversing body age. What meditation is doing is that it’s slowing down the acceleration of aging that stress has on the body. If you want proof that stress ages the body expeditiously, look at any president the day they take office, and that same president 4 years later. They all age a decade in 4 years, sometimes more, and that’s not a coincidence.
Emily: Also, I started meeting women who are 60, 70 years old who have been meditating for 40 years and they look like these radiant porcelain beings. I was like, can I just take your picture and say she’s 68 who wants to learn? I won’t even talk about it.
Dave: You can almost do a side by side of which of these 2 people meditate? You can spot it, someone who’s spent a lifetime doing that. I don’t know if it’s in the eyes or it’s in the skin or it’s biology. I believe there’s great value in it. Learning it from a teacher is more efficient than learning it from a book. Learning it from a book is more efficient than just sitting there trying not to think. Which is generally the way to piss yourself off.
Dave: All right. Emily Fletcher. There’s 2 questions I have left for you. One of them is where can people find your work? Where can they find you online?
Emily: I actually created a little special something for you and for your peeps. They can find that at zivameditation.com/bulletproof. Zivameditation.com has my video blog and all of our social and everything, but zivameditaiton.com/bulletproof is a special offer. I actually created the world’s first online meditation training, which I’m really proud of. It’s 8 days of video training and guided visualizations in a really interactive online forum.
I think the best way to learn meditation is face to face from a teacher, but a lot of people don’t have that. If you don’t, this is why I created, it’s actually called Ziva Mind. It’s designed to make you a self sufficient meditator to where you don’t need me anymore. I’ll be there in online form to help support you when questions come up. You can find that at zivameditation.com/bulletproof. There’s a special offer for Bulletproof listeners.
Dave: Thank you.
Emily: My pleasure. Then I’m all over social media just @zivameditation.
Dave: Okay, that’s easy to find ziva. The final question of the show, since you told me you’ve listened to 90 percent of the episodes, you already know what it’s going to be. If you want to kick more ass at life you’ve been preparing these answers for weeks. What are your 3 answers? You want to perform better at whatever it is you’re going to do, what does a famous meditation teacher say? No pressure.
Emily: The first and very obvious one is meditate. I want to clarify that. I was surprised at just how many of your guests said meditate. People who I didn’t even know were meditators. Almost all of them said some flavor of meditation. I just want to clarify that.
Dave: Let’s face it, ass kickers meditate the cat’s out of the bag, right?
Emily: That’s right, that’s right. I think RN Huffington tweeted from Davo’s last year that all the big news was that all the CEO’s were outing themselves as meditators. I just want to build on that a little bit. It’s not just meditate, but I would say, like you said, find a teacher, become a self sufficient meditator so that you’re not reliant on a YouTube video or an app or even my online training. Learn in a way that you can do it anywhere anytime. The more you do it the more you’re going to kick ass at life. That’s one.
Thing 2, would be, you can’t move away from the negative, you have to move towards the positive. You can’t move away from the negative, you have to move towards the positive. So often times I’ll hear people say New York is just so stressful, I can’t handle it anymore and this, that and the other, I’m going to move to LA. It’s like, you know you’re going to have the exact same problem in LA right?
Dave: I’m confused because isn’t can’t a negative thing? If you can’t, which means can’t … that’s a double negative. Are you saying focus on the positive not the negative?
Emily: I’m saying move towards the positive, and not the negative. I actually came up with this, well it’s not my saying, but I used to teach acting classes and talk about a flow state. So many times the actors were, actors are the only people who, they want to be sad, they want to be angry. Humans want to be happy, actors want to be sad. What we do in life is that we’re constantly moving towards the positive. We want to feel better. Sometimes when people have problems, they spend so much of their energy trying to solve the problem. It’s like they’re watering the weeds.
Instead of watering the weeds, you want to water the flowers. You want to put your attention to what you want to grow in your life. This goes with dieting, this goes with exercise, this goes with dating. Instead of saying I’m not going to eat this thing anymore. I’m not going to do this, I’m not going to do that, which feels like you’re depriving yourself and you’re like I’m going to sit down and meditate, I’m not allowed to think. Instead of moving away from the negative, instead we move towards the positive. You’re incorporating healthy things in your diet that you look forward to. In the meditation you get a technique or a tool that you like that works for you instead of trying to punish yourself for having thoughts.
Dave: It’s totally true. The fastest way to fail is to focus on not doing something because you’re nervous system doesn’t believe in not. It just focuses on doing the behavior you don’t like. I don’t think anyone’s ever said that before, but I fully agree with that one.
Emily: Then the third one would be incorporate more raw fats into your diet.
Emily: The moment I knew I loved you is we were sitting down next to each other, we spoke at the Harvard Business School, biohacking conference, and we all went out for dinner afterwards, and Dave pulled out a giant thing of butter and put it on his grass fed steak. I had a thing of butter in my purse at the same time.
Dave: We’re closet butter people.
Dave: You know what’s happening at Davo’s next year? All the CEO’s are going to be outed as butter eaters.
Emily: Yes, that would be so amazing, I would love it. I find that for someone like me, when I get imbalanced, I tend towards insomnia and I talk very fast. I tend towards nervousness, you can see from my Broadway career. The meditation helps to ground me but so do the raw fats. As you know, the brain runs almost exclusively on EHA’s and DHA’s and so when you start to feed the brain what it needs, it’s so much easier for the body to fall into line. It’s been pretty regulatory. Coconut oil, raw butter, raw cheese. I have a dairy dealer that comes to my house and gives me unpasteurized dairy. Which we can talk about more later.
Yeah, I would say incorporate more raw fats, avocados, raw nut butters, coconut oil, brain octane. These kinds of things to help ground your body and fuel it the way that it needs to be fueled.
Dave: That also means, by the way, if you take something that’s nice and fatty, like a grass fed steak, and you cook the crap out of it, that the fats are no longer unoxidized. It’s the unoxidized state of them that matters. Thank you for bringing that one up too, because it’s so important to not have those free radical fats in the brain, and when you want to get into those really altered meditation states, I think if you’re eating tempura or french fries, you’re just not going to make it.
Emily: Yeah. Often times people are like, “Emily, I’ve been meditating twice a day and I don’t feel the change,” and I’m like, let’s talk about everything else. They’re like, “Well I’m drinking diet coke and I’m eating Taco Bell.” I’m like ding dong head, you can’t do that. Your body’s a chemistry set, the whole thing’s interacting with each other.
Dave: I love those answers and they’re even cooler than I would have hoped.
Dave: Thank you for being on Bulletproof radio, and we’ll manifest a way to hook up on the playa and hang out. That would be a lot of fun, I’ll come to your meditation class.
Emily: Yeah, I would love that, and then I’ll see you at the conference in the fall.
Dave: Absolutely. I’m happy that you’re going to be there speaking.
Dave: By the way, if you’re listening and you haven’t heard this, go to Bulletproofconference.com October 23rd to 25th in Los Angeles is when our conference is going to happen. Check out the new Bulletproof conference. Last year it was 500 people, it will probably be bigger this year and all sort of adult toys. It’s going to be awesome. Emily Fletcher, thank you for being on Bulletproof radio have an awesome day.
Emily: You too, by friends, bye Dave.
Dave: If you like this episode, you know what I’m going to ask you to do, head on over and check out Emily’s work. It’s good stuff or we wouldn’t have had her on Bulletproof radio. Head on over to the store because we have something new. We have Bulletproof activated charcoal. We had it before, but not it’s in a 90 count bottle, which is a little bit more portable, a little bit more accessible. If you just want to try it you can try it. I swear that when you try activated charcoal, and you’re meditating you will feel a difference in your meditation if you take a capsule, because it helps to pull toxins out of the gut. Which frees your brain to focus more on doing what it does.
Sounds weird, I give it to my kids when they’re cranky and they get uncranky. It’s kind of funny what toxins do to those little nuisances during meditation. It actually is very directly tied into what we’re doing here. Bulletproof Upgraded Coconut Charcoal, check it out in the store new size.