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Confronting your beliefs about life is one of the most difficult (and rewarding) things you can do. Nobody likes being wrong, let alone admitting their wrong.

But what if your beliefs—whether in God, addiction, or trauma—are wrong? And what if admitting your wrong opens up a new possibility for life itself? One that can even grow you closer to God than you are now.

That’s what each of the people who have come to a Freedom Specialist retreat have experienced in some form or fashion. And that’s what Lee and I discuss in today’s show.

In this episode, you’ll discover how to question everything you know and how to remove the labels that are keeping you trapped in misery.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include

  • How using labels strips away your joy and fascination of life around you (5:13)
  • The weird way your ignorance can unleash a glorious rush of joy through every moment of your life (9:04)
  • How to exponentially increase your awe and wonder in life by acting like a toddler (12:41)
  • Why “losing God” can actually bring you closer to Him and fill your grayscale perspective with vibrancy and color (17:44)
  • The 3-second mindset tweak which forever obliterates your fear of the unknown (22:06)
  • The “question every complaint” secret which unlocks an opportunity to discover life’s beauty (25:11)
  • The “Birth Canal” method for never again letting your addictions and traumas haunt you (25:54)

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F word here. Freedom. We'll share straight from the trenches what we've learned from leaving our own addictions behind and coaching hundreds of others to do the same. And since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it.

(00:35): And welcome back to the Alive and Free Podcast. Last week, last couple of weeks, we talked about some heavier hitting things in terms of suicide, what's going on inside the mind of a teenager and whatnot. So today I thought we would change tax and look at what goes on inside of my mind. Not in a bad way, but in a way that actually has been helpful for some people. Now, a couple retreats ago, there was a guy there that handed me a book. He said, Bob, I've been reading this book and I've been here at this retreat the whole time. And I swear it's like listening to you talk inside this book. He said, why don't you just take this book, look at it, read it, take your time. No big deal. I think you'd enjoy it. So I opened this book, I opened the cover, and it's literally listening to myself talk through a Jesuit brain, which is fascinating.

(01:23): Jesuit being a Catholic kind of order, which is not necessarily the stance that I take on life. And yet many of the things that this man shared by the name of Anthony dme, they mirror and they mimic many things that I share. Now there's places where I disagree with him or where I think that he kind of gets into the weeds, but the basic premises of the book and the basic ideas are there. Now the guy's name is Anthony d Melo. He was alive in the second half of the 20th century, so he's not some old ancient Jesuit priest from some medieval order back in the day. No, he's like a new one. And he has an Indian accent and he lived in India. And so it's fascinating to hear because his book is on Audible. The book is called Awareness, I think it's called Conversations with Past Great Masters or something.

(02:10): It's titled Awareness And on Audible, it's literally just a recording of a seminar that he did with some dude interjecting chapter titles. And then the book is basically a transcript of that. And so it's fascinating to sit there and listen to him speak of God as the unknown and all of these different things. Well, I decided to hand that book recommendation over to Lee, who you've met before, and he's here with me, Ola, and we're, we wanted to talk about it because it was really significant to him for a long time. I've been sharing with him some concepts. Ideas have been challenging, some of the things that had kept him stuck in the trauma that you've heard about in past episodes, in case you haven't go back and listen to that. It was really, really phenomenal. But I've been challenging some things and there are parts of it that were really difficult for him to swallow just because they challenged some things that had helped him actually cope with his life in the past.

(03:06): And he thought that I was asking him to give up on those things, which I wasn't. I was offering some kind of different perspective on it, but it just didn't click. And sometimes you need to hear a concept from a number of different angles before it clicks. And so I'm gonna have him kind of share what started to happen as he read this particular book, see if it's of interest to you. And also we can start to talk about some of the things that come up in terms of fear of the unknown and moving into a place of change. And what are the obstacles that you might run into as you seek to find a better expression of life for yourself?, first of all, I didn't know that Anthony Dema passed away. So moment of silence in my mind, I was like, oh man, it'd be great to go hear him speak somewhere. , r I p, Anthony, Look at me taking things away from Lee all over again.

(03:58): Yeah, I would say that working with you and the freedom specialists all along the way, there's been a lot that's been challenged. And I thought the ultimate part of that challenge was to walk away from my own faith. And at the same time, I saw you experiencing things in a very genuine way and interacting with this creation not only within me, but in the world around us. And it was something that I was drawn to and appreciated. And so just this wrestling match of being like, if I'm to follow this, how deep does the rabbit hole go? And it was certainly caused some fear in me because we all have these constructs that we build security around and use to define life or define interactions or give direction and all of that. And so the part of the book that was, I mean, there's a lot of parts that were challenging, including things that we've talked around a lot and ideas of love and selfishness and why we do what we do.

(05:08): And I'm sure we could spend some time talking about that as well. But in particular, he was talking about labels and had this moment where he was describing when a kid first sees a bird, he sees this fluffy thing and it's like all these feathers and what is this? And he is never experienced a bird before and what is this thing he's just aw in wonder? And Anthony in essence said that when you say, well, that's a sparrow after that point, that's the last time that the child will see the sparrow in the way that it truly is. And he goes on to say that any label that we give to people, if it's Democrat or Republican or gay or straight or anything like that, any of those labels that we apply help us or cause us to stop seeing what is actually there. And so as I was thinking about our conversations around God and just even the baggage around the name of God, when I heard Anthony talk about the sparrow, I was like, oh my gosh, that's what Bob's talking about. And you can tell me if that's what you're talking about or not. But in my mind I was like, I have stopped seeing God. And there was a deep moment of, I don't know, repentance or regret or recognition, but it was also in the only word I know how to say, it was also kind of holy in the sense of, wow, I have dismissed who God is and what that interaction looked like in my life.

(06:52): So the quote comes, so Anthony Demme, yes, he did die in 1987, R I P R I P. The quote, he actually quoted from Jay Krishna Moti Krishna. And he had said that the minute you teach a child the name of a bird, that child will never see that bird again. And I have been around kind of looking at labels for a long time in the Dowing by Lasu, he says, the road you walk on is not the road you're talking about that they're different. And basically the sound is just, the word is just a sound flapping in the breeze. That's all that's happening. A tongue is inside of a mouth forming different shapes and the same kind of guttural noise is coming up from underneath from the depths. And because of the shape inside the mouth, different vowels are made and different sounds are made.

(07:41): And then those get made into meaning inside of the human mind. So the minute that you take any experience, any living experience, and we could say that God can be a living experience, so I don't have anything against that, but you take any living experience and then you put a sound to it that isn't the, like a train sound is obviously a train sound. So we're not talking on onia here, but you put a sound to it and then you teach a child or a person. That experience is that sound. The longer we go on referencing the experience by the label, the more often we cease to actually have the experience. We've transformed it into a concept in our mind and then it lives in that place. And so much of what I was taught about God growing up, all these concepts, all these stories, all these labels from my own particular upbringing about what it was a, it wasn't the sort of triune God of many Christian denominations without body parts or passions, but one that had a body and had a son and had all these different kind of concepts associated with it.

(08:46): And the more that I lived in that space, I was living with a fantasy. So I personally moved away from the concept of God because I found it was restricting. And if you listen to, I think it was episode three of this podcast long time ago, I think called Finding God was where that first started to get challenged for me because I realized I didn't actually know it. I had thought about God, I had ideas and stories that had been handed to me and I had had emotional experiences with those. But in terms of knowledge, I didn't know that the way I knew I had a hand. I know I have a hand because I could feel the hand, but I didn't know those stories that in that same way, even though I had said that my whole life. And so that got challenged and all of a sudden I realized I don't know anything about God.

(09:28): But then I had this glorious rush of life happen inside me and I was like, oh my gosh, this has been here the whole time and this is so much bigger than all those stories. And it is more intimate than anything I know of. And it is glorious and wonderful. And I started calling that life because all God had all this baggage to it and I didn't wanna bring that into it. And so every time I've talked about life, that's what I'm referring to, this something that I literally feel in a very direct way every moment that I'm not busy stuck inside my own head, that I'm wandering around the planet doing things and that particular experience, that feeling is what I've been referencing. And so when I'm challenging Lee about places where it feels like that's limited to him and there's a certain kind of expectation, I wanted to get him back in touch with the feeling.

(10:17): Obviously he felt like I was trying to get rid of that concept, but it's the feeling that's there and it's there all the time that kind of direct perceived this experience. And then if I wanna call that God, as long as I don't lose the experience in the concept, it's great. I mean, we gotta refer to it in some way. But that is indeed what I was referring to. This is a kind of bigger thing. So what happened with you, I mean you mentioned of almost a remorse in some holy thing. I remember we had conversations and you were in deep tears since you were like, I didn't even know, I didn't realize. So what started to happen and unfold in your life as that started to as that realization dawned? Well, it really well, one, just a deep appreciation and a renewal in some ways of my pursuit of God. Because I think that I had gotten to a point where, yeah, I've heard the stories. Yeah, I've done this. I've also done 30 years of Christian nonprofit work. And not that I thought I knew all the nuances of every Greek article and the biblical context of every archeological fine and why I didn't believe that I knew all those things, but I felt like I pretty generally had gotten the gist of it and well, this is all there is. And even as I'm before I met you, the place I was at that time was like, well, this is life and I just gotta live this life out and try to be as good as I can, but this is as good as it gets. And where scripture talks about the abundant life.

(11:58): And I'm like, well, I can imagine more than this. And even at that point, it was kind of the same challenge of I thought I understood and I thought I had everything in line and I thought I just had the general precepts and whatnot. And so when Anthony DMA was talking about this and other things in the book, it was really challenging but also incredibly refreshing. And it has, even on my drive out to Utah for this last retreat, just looking at the landscape and looking at the sun and the animal, just everything is, everything has maybe a new death or a new possibility behind it. I can't define everything the same way anymore. And in many ways there's a return to awe in wonder, which I think is huge.

(12:52): In zen circles, they'll talk about the beginner's mind, which is the child's mind. And to return to that as an adult is really beautiful. Cuz obviously as a kid, if you become a little child literally, then you're not gonna be able to walk and talk and control your bladder , which some of us can't control our bladders anyway. So there's that. But you're not gonna be able to do a lot of things to think to consider. And these are all wonderful possibilities for humanity. But to return to that state of wonder, to seeing each individual particular experience as just that and not laden with all of the past experiences that you have now, we can't get away from labels, we can't get away from concepts because in one way it's difficult. You can't know something conceptually until you've had, you've passed through it until it has dawned on your senses.

(13:46): And then every time from then on, every time I look at something that's the color yellow, every concept associated with yellow, it has the potential to rise in my mind. So is it possible to completely get rid of all concepts, all labels? I don't know. I definitely think I've had moments where that happens where I'm just wrapped in this kind of wonder. So I think it is possible. Will it be a continuous living state? Is that continuous living state even useful all the time? I'd say no. If you read this, the stories of the Sages and Saints of India and other places that are just wrapped in this ecstatic bliss, they're also kind of useless in society in many ways. They're just sitting there as a possibility for human experience but not actually contributing. If you or someone is looking to drop the F-bomb of freedom in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or want some help doing it, head on over to the freedom specialist.com/feel better now and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for.

(15:03): I followed SUD Guru for a number of years and he's a very active social problems kind of solver, guru. He's not just sitting on his cushion, just diat thriving about all kinds of things, spiritual, he does a lot of that. People ask him all kinds of questions that are yogic in or in origin, and yet there's projects around raising awareness about the health of the soil and reforesting certain lands and doing education projects and health projects for the underprivileged and stuff. So he is very active and he's not able to be active while he's in this ecstatic label list bliss. One time he was up driving through the Himalayas and maybe we'll talk about my Himalayan trip on another podcast while he was up driving through the Himalayas, going to whatever space they were headed to. And one of the people that was with him are ruin that his super onion.

(15:53): She was interviewing him and collecting notes about Adi Yogi and all the things that they were doing. And at one point she was like, so are you just in yoga, meaning union with all things all the time? And he sort of paused and then smiled and he said, if I was, I wouldn't be able to drive this car. He said, you have to know when to put the hallucination on and when to take it off. And by hallucination he meant basically all of these labels that we put on things, all the concepts we use to plan for the future and refer to different things. And that's kind of the ability that I feel like is worth developing, the ability to take the label off and only put it on when needed. And I think that that's coming for me in huge ways. And so that's kind of where this leads is when you don't need to be labeling the landscape and labeling all the towns and labeling the roads and whatnot when that can happen as needed.

(16:46): And all the rest of time you're left in this wrapped wonder about what a breath feels like, about what the sound of your own voice feels like coming from your body about there is in a sense, there is God in that and people have lost the direct experience of God most of the time or of life most of the time because they're too busy thinking about it in terms of concepts. And when you put a label on a jar, the more labels you put on it, the harder it is to see what's in the jar. You may quote know what's in the jar, but you don't know it the way that Adam knew his wife. Eve. You don't know it in that direct perception sense. You now only know it as a thought and that a thought is not embodied life. And so would you like to know life as fully embodied? Like no God and your extremities, no life in every cell of your body, or would you only to know it as a concept that you store away in your mind and you feel really good about? And so that was the invitation.

(17:43): Yeah, I was talking to one of the freedom team at this last retreat and Jeff Wa was saying to me that he thought that he was being asked to give up God as well. And he said, what I have for something better, for a bigger understanding of who God is, and that's always been there. But if he had not been forced to challenge those preconcept, and I'm speaking for Jeff, so Jeff, I apologize if I'm not filling in the blanks correctly, but if those things had never been challenged, then he would've been left with this very much weaker, more bland, more gray scale perspective than the vibrancy that he has now. And I'd say that the same is true for me. Yeah, it's just so much bigger, so much more. And as I sit in that space and experience life and God and stuff is just like it's in color.

(18:48): And I'm sitting here thinking as you're talking too, we're sitting on this carpet, and if I were to try to describe this carpet to the people that are listening, I would say, well, there's yellow and there's blue and there's these flowers and it's got this really innate, intricate pattern. And yet without you looking at this, what version of yellow are you thinking of? What version of blue is it? And as I look at this, it's more aqua, but were you thinking royal blue or were you thinking golden rod? Were you thinking of rust, yellow and all those descriptions and labels? What kind of flowers were you thinking of? Did you see roses or, I don't even know what these flowers are, but the problem with labels is just what I'm describing now is you have a concept. I have a concept. We assume that we have the same concept and we're not actually talking about what actually is in the process. We're talking about our understanding of those concepts and not even talking about the real thing. And it just gets, it's, I guess I'm just understanding that it so quickly gets convoluted with all the labels, and then you start to talk about God , like how many different concepts of God are there ? And are we talking about the same thing? And Indians would have a very different concept than what we do in an evangelical kind of society. So anyway, that just off the top of my head. Yeah,

(20:22): The what's fascinating about that is even vision itself is you and, and the rest of the people listening, we're sitting here and even if we sit next to each other and we look at say, that flower pot over there that's yellow, and I say yellow and you say yellow, our experience of it could be that I'm experiencing orange and that he's experiencing red and that somebody else experiences it more of a purple. But because we're all used to calling it yellow, however our brains have put things together, we just think that we're having the same experience and we're actually not having the same experience. And that's the difficulty of I, the reason that labels are there is to be able to point toward an experience. And yet we can never forget that none of us will ever have the same experience of something. And so using labels as a helpful pointer or as a finger pointing at the moon, the Buddhist would say, right, we get so busy arguing about who's cuticle he , they'll look better.

(21:18): And who has the best nail polish? And so many of us don't even see the moon that they're pointing at because the reality is, unless you are my eyeballs, you're where my eyeballs are. When I point at something directly, the only person who can see directly what I'm pointing at is me. Somebody else would have to be behind my arm and whatnot. So when I point to things for my children, I actually sort of try and triangulate, okay, how far off of the mark do I need to point so that they can see the thing that I'm trying to get them to see? And that points also to the difficulty of having any consistent set of teachings to point people just to a kind of experience because you would have to point differently for every person. And that also is being lost in this society.

(22:02): But I want, what I wanna get back to is the sort of challenge of labels here. When we're challenging labels, what starts to happen is people start to experience this sort of fear of the unknown. There's this fear of like, oh, but if I don't have that, then what do I have? And what I'd like to challenge here for a second is this notion that, because what I see is you can't fear the unknown. You don't even know the unknown. It's impossible to fear something that you don't have a concept about. And your concepts come from what you do know or what you have experienced or what ideas and thoughts you've created. So it's not that a person fears the unknown, they fear losing the known in favor of something they made up about the unknown. And that has zero to do with what actually is unknown. What is unknown is a new possibility that cannot be experienced directly in any kind of imaginary way. It, it's impossible to fear it. It's impossible to be afraid of something because you literally don't know what it is. And what you're dealing with most of the time is a fear of what is known. And so what I would question is what if losing what is actually a step in a better direction than clinging to it, thinking that that is the only thing that will save you.

(23:19): A friend of mine, his daughter has sensory issues and they have a cat and she a barn cat, a barn cat, . She does not understand her strength in what she's doing to this animal. And so the cats always like, well, yeah, and then she lets it go and it tries to take a deep breath and it's choking the life out of this thing because she doesn't understand. And I think that's what our labels do, is it actually chokes the life and the awe of what actually is and what could be if us losing our concept of God actually opens us up to more awe and more amazement that we get to experience everything every day and truly be present to what is. And just to see that again for the first time, I don't know, it is changing a lot for me. And for me, it changed a ton. I remember when I had that initial experience with it was the thought that rose to my mind was, I will never be alone again.

(24:35): And I was in tears when it came because I had spent so many times in my life feeling completely alone. And did I feel alone after that? Yes, I did because I got lost in my head and lost in my labels again. It didn't happen overnight where I was suddenly like, oh wait, does a label again? Took some practice. And yet that feeling of being completely held and not alone and totally taken care of by life, since I'm not the one that's digesting food and making breath happen all the time, that's still there. Anytime I pull off the labels and look directly at what's there in life, Lee and I have a mutual friend who's been going through a rough, rocky part in their relationship. And the husband reached out to me recently and he was just having a rough time. And he is like, man, I'm just at low.

(25:23): This is a really difficult point in my life. And so I challenged him to challenge and question his own narrative about the situation. He's like, what does that even mean? And I was like, everything about the notion of being a man, of being divorced, if that happens, of being a single dad, of being retired, of being all of the things that he has been handed as a label for his life to question all of them. Because inside of that, to question every complaint he has, because inside of that is a possibility to discover something different. And I said, just remember that birth is a process that starts with a squeezing of a skull and getting stuck in a birth canal and possible suffocation and racing heart rate and a little bit of pain and screams and whatnot. But then as you leave that place, then all of a sudden there is the first feeding from mom and there's the massive oxytocin release of skin to skin contact, and there's all of the other stuff that starts to happen.

(26:21): And this bonding that starts to happen with the baby when it's in an entirely new world that it doesn't know anything about, and yet a whole new experience can happen. And the only thing that stops that really is getting stuck in the birth canal, which most people do because they're unwilling to let go of their little amniotic sack of safety. So I just challenged him to do that. That is what I did with concepts of addiction, with concepts around trauma, with concepts around depression and anxiety. It's not to take away the fact that people are stuck in the birth canal, that they're having a rough time, that there's a little bit of pressure going on. It is that is their experience, and yet labeling that experience as a disease that they will forever hold onto when they don't actually understand what's going on or what are the things that are actually making this experience show up is the thing that keeps them stuck in the birth canal.

(27:08): They can't experience a life without depression if their belief is, I will have this for life and I genetically inherited it in my family is predisposed this way. And that's a challenge because in many, many ways to challenge the idea that your and my narrative is correct is to admit that we're being wrong. And that's embarrassing. It's to confront the idea of how many years and how much time we've spent buying into something and in a sense, creating it for ourselves and perpetuating our own problem. I did it for decades, and the notion that, oh my gosh, I've the one that has made this last longer than it has. It was really hard for me to swallow. And yet it's also very empowering because finally you can leave that little tight space of the birth canal and then through an entirely different world with all new sight and sounds and wonders and all kinds of other things just by starting to question the narrative of being stuck, of forever stuck for a lifetime of being a victim to circumstance, of being limited, of being, this is my lot in life kind of thing.

(28:15): And I guess I'd just say, what if we all stopped white and knuckling the flow of life, the flow of blood, whatever it is, what if we all stopped doing that and opened our hands and actually just received without trying to control or secure, but just receive what actually is. I think that's what's happening for me. I don't have this death grip on anything anymore, but just like, okay, let me see what's actually here. And that's all we're trying to do with people at these retreats. It's to strip away all the things that are preventing them from feeling this glorious rush of life inside them and all of the possibilities that are there in, and at the same time get them in touch with that sensation. So four days is an incredibly compact amount of time that we're doing, but it's so that they leave in direct contact with that thing that some people call God what I tend to call life, whatever that is, and so that they can leave with something to build on and not having just had something ripped away and then to be left floundering like, oh no, I don't know how to live my life. But rather having been served a bigger dish, a bigger meal that they can go and feast on. So if that's something that you would like to experience, obviously we have retreats and they may be filling up a little bit quicker as the book comes out, which is coming out soon.

(29:42): And so stay tuned for that one. And so if you would like that, by all means, we have retreats for men and women. It is not for only people struggling with addiction or pornography and sexual stuff. It's not for people struggling with just food addiction and meth and alcoholics stuff. It's not just for people with depression and anxiety and trauma and ptsd. It is literally for everyone. We had teenagers come who are struggling because they're at school and they're dealing with suicidal ideation because that's all they know and that's being imitated to them. And when you talk to them as you listen to in the last couple weeks, they're just dealing with expectations. And how many of you struggle with expectations and feeling like you'll never measure up? And that's sufficient enough to say, you know what? Maybe there's a better way to live where I can do what's needed without constantly having be to be motivated by stress and worry and anxiety. Does the world tell you otherwise? Yes, they do. They tell you that those are a fact of life. But anybody telling you the nature of life is somebody that can only actually be speaking of the nature of their life. And what if they're wrong and what if you and I are too? What else might be possible?

And that's it for today's Alive and Free podcast. If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom Bombs landing in your earbuds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcast from. And while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus it's just nice to be nice.

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