In this Episode
- [00:49]Dr. John Demartini, a world-renowned human behavior specialist, philosopher, international speaker, best-selling author, and founder of The Demartini Method, joins Stephan in another powerful episode about balancing material and spiritual pursuits.
- [02:08]Stephan sets the tone by asking about Dr. John’s perspective of being a polymath.
- [06:23]Dr. John expounds on the dividing line between wisdom and knowledge in terms of subjective bias and objectivity.
- [13:28]What is the distinction between our imminent and transcendent minds?
- [15:59]When Dr. John was discussing position and anti-position, Stephan was reminded of Byron Katie’s The Work.
- [22:39]How does Dr. John perceive moments of grace, transcendence, and illumination?
- [25:20]Stephan emphasizes the concept of acquiring knowledge in order to create value, prompting Dr. John to recall a time in his life when he realized that different traditions have different values and that materiality and spirituality are inextricably linked.
- [31:25]What is the nature of our spiritual quest?
- [33:16]Dr. John recalls a lesson taught to him as a young boy by a special man in his life.
- [39:01]Stephan is curious about Dr. John’s most supernatural experience, which leads them to discuss randomness.
- [47:31]Did Dr. John experience a sense of deja vu?
- [51:54]Dr. John recounts his experience hugging a tree while Stephan shares about Tu BiShvat, a Jewish holiday that honors trees.
- [53:51]To get access to and information on Dr. John’s books, programs, and online materials, visit his website, drdemartini.com.
John, it’s so great to have you on the show, to actually have you back because you were a guest a few years ago, and now we get to have another conversation.
Yes, I was looking forward to it. It’s great to see you and for having me back.
I know that part of your typical bio—at least on your website—is that you are a polymath. I would love to know from your perspective what is a polymath and how do you resonate with that term?
I’ll share a little story on that one. I was 18. Before I was 17–18 years old, I had learning problems, and you probably remember. I learned how to read at 18 and overcame that. Once I did, I had a yearning to want to learn everything I could, to kind of catch up with all the other kids out there.
As a result of a meeting with Paul Bragg, I wanted to study the most in-depth universal laws that I could study. It sounded cool at the time. When I looked up universal law, it referred to natural laws by Aristotle. That led me to the term ‘logos’ which is reason, and the order in the universe.
So I made a list of all the different known -ologies or disciplines that one could study. I made a big, exhaustive list out of the dictionary and encyclopedia, and made a goal to study at least a hundred books in each of those areas. So I went on a pursuit to do that.
The objective was to try to find the most consistent principles or laws that I could study that were common to all the disciplines.
The objective was to try to find the most consistent principles or laws that I could study, that were common to all the disciplines, so I have the most universal principles that I could build a foundation on, to be able to disseminate and share with other people so they could build their life around something solid and not something fluffy. That was the objective.
As a neurotic guy of studying, once I’ve been doing that I went on to read and learned how to read faster and faster and faster over time, and just started reading 18–20 hours a day in many cases. As of this week, I read 30,606 books. I read a lot of the many different disciplines to try to condense that information.
And I get invited to speak on many, many topics, from anthropology to astronomy to mathematics, to personal development to finance and economics. As a result of that, that has been classified as somebody that has a diversity of information.
I was just speaking with a Yale professor at breakfast this morning and he says, you’re the broadest-minded individual as far as knowledge base he’s ever met. He’s a professor in socio-political philosophy, and I can discuss that with him; he likes that.
That’s why I’ve been classified as a polymath. As a word, people started introducing me by, I just like, okay, well it’s true. That’s why I have never been satisfied with just one little specialty only. Most people are not supposed to be able to do that because there’s so much information out there, but that’s what I do and that’s what I love doing.
I love coming in from a broader perspective, to try to hit topics from areas that maybe people aren’t thinking about. Most specialists are in that one area, and they’re not outside that box, they say.
You mentioned knowledge. There’s another term that sometimes gets mixed with knowledge, and that’s wisdom. But they’re very different things. I learned the difference in a pretty precise way from studying Kabbalah, which is an esoteric, mystical branch of Judaism. I’ve been studying for the last five years, or maybe six or so.
Knowledge can actually interfere with wisdom. Understanding can actually interfere with wisdom. Wisdom is something that you’re gifted with from above, from the other side of the veil, from the creator. Knowledge and understanding is something that you can strive for, you can work towards, you can read 33,000 books, but the wisdom part, that’s where divine providence comes in. What are your thoughts on that?
I thought that’s nicely said. When I was 14 years old, I was hitchhiking from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, well California, to go surfing. I was kind of a hippie surfer kid. I ended up meeting a gentleman in El Paso, Texas, who took me to a library and told me two things. He asked me to promise to never forget them and I haven’t.
He said never judge a book by its cover because it will fool you, and he says, and then gain the wisdom of love and the love of wisdom. Learn how to read and gain the wisdom of love and the love of wisdom—Philosophia. I was interested in that and my cufflinks say love and wisdom on them today.
There is a distinction between wisdom and what most people think knowledge is. If I could, I would like to elaborate a bit on that and put it into context.
There’s a thing called subjectivity and objectivity, or subjective bias and objectivity. Let’s say you meet somebody and you are conscious of their positive attributes and unconscious of their negative attributes. You have sort of an impulse to seek them out, to admire them, and infatuate with them. You’re blind on the downside. You’re ignorant of the downside and it’s a form of ignorance. It’s not wisdom, it’s ignorance. You will eventually discover they have the other side. We do that sometimes in new relationships. Michael Douglas had that (I think) in Fatal Attraction.
We can also do that on the other side. We can meet somebody. We can withdraw from them and have an instinct avoidance. We’ll be conscious of the downside and unconscious of the upsides and ignore the upsides, and have an impulse or instinct away from them.
Again, this is information that we’re gathering but it’s not whole. It’s part. It’s biased. And it’s a survival bias that tends to make us false positives and false negatives, confirmation bias and disconfirmation biases, and skew our reality.
Even though it’s information, and many people call it knowledge and they actually believe that’s true knowledge—that’s a bad person, that’s a good person—it’s not wisdom and it’s not true knowledge. It’s not objective. Many people confuse that with knowledge and have a subjective bias.
Zeno the philosopher had the idea of taking a proposition, which is an opinion, and an opposite proposition, an anti-position, and worked their way through the arguments that are dialectic, to try to come up with some sort of a synthesis. Edgily used that as a synthesis, and that’s a spiritual state.The journey of becoming is one’s personas being integrated over time into a full being. Click To Tweet
But true knowledge, according to some epistemological studies, is that objective state which is not biased one way or the other, where you see both sides mindfully at the same time. In that state, you now have a glimpse of wisdom.
It’s like the glimpse of the soul, that state of unconditional love, which is the mystical window into the mystical state, the divine providence state. We sometimes have a human in subjective bias, culled information or culled knowledge, which is a misunderstanding of reality and not seeing what’s actually there, actuality.
True knowledge and wisdom can blend, but most things that are described as knowledge aren’t real knowledge. That’s the distinction. It’s like becoming yourself versus being yourself. In ontology, the journey of becoming is the personas having to be integrated over time into a full being. And then you are now your full being, now you’re half being.
If you’re infatuated with somebody, you’re too humble to admit what you’re seeing in them is inside you.
The wisdom is the impure integration, pure reflection of awareness. See, if you’re infatuated with somebody you’re too humble to admit what you’re seeing in them is inside you. When you resent somebody, you’re too proud to admit what you’re seeing in them is inside you. And if you’re too humble or proud, you’re not being authentic. You’re not in being, you’re in persona’s mass.
When those are leveled and you have pure reflect of awareness and you own whatever you perceive and hear when the villain on the outside that you infatuate resent, and now own it all and realize it’s you—you’re not too humble or too proud to admit it—you see things as they are, you love the individual whole, and now you have a moment of love and wisdom. Now you see true knowledge, true wisdom, instead of the subjective bias.
True wisdom and true knowledge are not really separated, but most people don’t do it.
But some people call that knowledge, when in fact it’s just information. It’s incomplete. True wisdom and true knowledge are not really separated, but most people don’t do it. They’re having these oscillating approximations of that instead of actually getting to the pure state. That state of purity is grace. Through grace, you now enter into the mystical wisdom of the soul. That state of unconditional love where there’s no judgment, there’s not inequity. There’s equanimity within the mind.
I differentiate that as true knowledge versus the knowledge that most people are conceiving. That’s where even understanding, I call understanding as standing under the dance. You’re in a stance. You’re in a volatile stance. Taking a stance—that’s good, that’s bad—instead of actually in the dance. The dance of grace and wisdom.
That’s where divine providence and human sovereignty blend. Your human will and divine will are matching. There’s no paradox of free will and predestination oscillation. When you’re infatuated with somebody, you want to change you into other people and you have futility. When you’re resentful, you want to change them into you; it’s just futility.
When you love, there’s nothing to change in you or them, and your human will now is graced by the way it is. And now, human will and divine will are now matched, and the paradox transcended. Now, we see things as they are and we now have wisdom. And we also have true knowledge, if I use that term. That’s the epistemological epitome of the pursuit of the integration of opposites.
I should have made it more clear that I actually remember now. It’s actually understanding versus wisdom, from Kabbalah, not knowledge versus wisdom. Understanding. I love how you describe that. It’s standing underneath the dance instead of being in it.
I also want to point out that somebody from a technical standpoint such as myself studying search engines and how they work, my understanding or viewpoint of ontology was one of understanding of entities, concepts, and relationships between concepts, from an informational retrieval standpoint. But the ontology you were referring to is another definition, which is the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
Exactly. You pass through understanding to wisdom, I like to think of. That’s what I’ve been teaching it, anyway. You stand under your transcendence. Immanuel Kant describes that you have an imminent mind and a transcendent mind. The imminent mind is the one that’s subjectively biased and survival-oriented.
The phenomenal world was the world of the senses. The nominal world was the thing that transcended the senses.
The transcendent mind is able to access what was called the nominal world, not the phenomenal world. The phenomenal world was the world of the senses. The nominal world was the thing that transcended the senses.
Many mystics who do not have wisdom but they’re mystics, dissociate and create subjective biases. Even the mystic has to discern between misunderstanding of the universe and true grace, true equanimity and true wisdom. There’s true mysticism, true wisdom, and then there are also things classified that.
I will say that whenever you’re too humble or too proud to admit what you see in others inside you, you have empty parts—kenoma by the gnostic writings—and the moment you see them with perfect equanimity, there’s nothing missing. In that moment, you have pleroma, as the Gnostics describe it. You have gnosis. Now you can know the divine nature experientially.
What’s interesting is the way our brain is set up, when things support our values and we’re infatuated with it, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system which activates flexures and internal rotators. And then when something challenges us and we resent it, and we’re too proud to admit that we own it, we activate the sympathetic nervous system—the fight or flight system, and we end up activating the extensors, the supinators, and the abductors.
These antagonistic muscles, if you have a perfect blend, you have pure heart rate variability, you have resilience, sure adaptability, and grace, your body has the muscles gracefully able to express itself. Grace is an expression of non-resistance in the flow of the communication with gesture and body language, as much as it is a state of mind.
A true flow state is where you’re most effective and efficient at being, and loving.
There’s a flow state. A true flow state. Not the manic flow state that most people are confusing with flow state, but an actual flow state where you’re most effective and efficient at being, and most effective and efficient of loving, and you’re most wise in the expression of your true being and nature.
I love this thread we’re going down. Now, I want to point out a couple of things that came to my mind while you’re talking. One is when you mentioned the position and the anti-position. I thought of Byron Katie’s work. It’s called The Work. There are four questions and then there’s the turnaround. The turnaround to me is the anti-position. Are you familiar with Byron Katie’s work?
So the four questions: Is it true? Can I know with absolute certainty it’s true? How does that thought make me feel? And if this thought didn’t exist, what would life be like? Then you run that thought through those four questions. But then, the most important part to me is the turnaround where you take the opposite or one of the opposites.
This person doesn’t like me, might be the thought. You run it through the four questions, but then a turnaround would be, well this person actually does like me. Or another turnaround is, I actually don’t like this person.
If those four questions actually kind of resonate more than the original thought, then you can get better insight into position and anti-position. That’s one thing that came to my mind while you’re talking, and I love to hear your thoughts.
The other thing I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, too, is the imminent mind versus the transcendent mind. Reminds me of the body consciousness versus the soul consciousness.
There are two similar concepts. Maybe you can weave them together into some cohesive model.
There are many philosophers, thinkers, teachers that have different wording for a similar principle. Equanimity which is an equal state of mind, objectivity which is a neutral state of mind, mindfulness, super consciousness, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment.
There are different writings and readings over the centuries that refer to basically the same state. Completely Homeostasis by Walter Cannon. So, grace. There are ways of saying the same thing by many writers, and they’re not wrong or right. They are just different ways of expressing the same state of being or consciousness.
Byron Katie basically has done a great job of asking simple questions—trying to keep it simple—to try to help people acknowledge both sides of their own nature to diffuse the elusive conflicts people create by their dopamine addiction to pride and being right but stops them from loving. And survival. It takes them to thrive when they learn to follow those types of questions. I have also an extensive series of questions similar to that, as you know.
I’m a firm believer that nothing is missing in a human being.
I was in Nepal many years ago. I had an opportunity to meet with the Bonpo Lama, who was a Lama prior to the Dalai Lama lineage in Nepal, well in Tibet at one time. We had a conversation for about an hour there at his place in Nepal, about nothing missing. I’m a firm believer that nothing is missing in a human being.
At first people were like, what does that mean? I went through the Oxford dictionary 37 years ago and I found something interesting. I underlined every possible human behavioral trait. Being a human behavioral neurotic guy that I am, I’m that kind of guy.
I literally went through page-by-page, and anywhere I saw a human trait that a human being can display or demonstrate, I underlined it or circled it. I found 4628 traits. And then out to the side I wrote down the name of an individual who I believed that I was aware of in my own life that expresses that trait to the fullest. Whether it be a trait that I initially thought was positive or negative—it didn’t matter—it is who displays that trait.
I stop there and reflect. And then go to when and where I displayed/demonstrated that behavior. We kept going and looking until I discovered where I did it as much as I perceived the individual that I selected was the most extreme.
I realized that I only judge other people when it reflects a part of that I’ve been too proud or too humble to admit that I have but I actually have. The see, the seeing, and the seen are the same. In the process of doing that, I identified where I had every one of those traits—all 4628—one by one over months I found within myself.
Now, it may not be what somebody projects onto me in that exact form, but they’re projecting. But I can certainly see that I’m nice, I’m mean, I’m kind, I’m cruel, I’m honest, I’m dishonest, I’m pleasant, unpleasant, caring, uncaring, integral, disintegral. I’ve found every possible trait within me at different moments in my life.
That diffused a lot of reaction to what everybody projected onto me. A lot of people project onto me things that they’ve disowned in themselves, but I’m reminding of them than themselves and what they’re saying to me they’re saying about themselves, and I was doing the same. It diffused a tremendous amount by doing that and allowed me to own it all, and realize there’s nothing missing in me.
I am kind. You support my values, I can be kind as a pussycat. You challenge my values, I can be mean as a tiger. I’m both. I found that that is way more liberating to honor that you have all the hero and the villain. The same to the sooner within you, the god and goddess within you instead of projecting it out there and living extrinsically, but allow yourself to govern yourself and embrace all of it.
If you’re trying to get rid half of yourself, you’re not going to love yourself. But if you embrace it all, you can start to love yourself. And if you embrace that in other people, you can love them.
I assure you, whoever you’re married to is going to have nice and mean and kind and cruel. When you support or challenge the values, they’re gonna display those behaviors. If you expect somebody to be one-sided instead of both-sided in all possible trades, you’re going to set yourself up for probably another list of expectations and let them. So I’m all the above.
Isn’t there a place, though, where you get beyond the duality of mean and nice, loving and non-loving, judgemental non-judgemental, to a place where you’re nobody? No thing, no time, no place? You’re simply are and all there is is love, everything else is an illusion?
Yes. I think we have moments of that. I’ve never met anybody that’s stayed there. Anybody that claimed to was usually elusive. I like to think of it this way, and pardon me for going off on a tangent. I have moments of grace, moments of transcendence, moments of illumination, but I don’t live there.
I’d like to think of it this way. We live on a planet that’s about 24,000 miles around. If you go one astronomical unit to the sun—93 million miles roughly—and you look from the sun at the planet without binoculars, you can’t see it. You need a telescope.
Here’s an insignificant thing called planet Earth just relative to our solar system. There’s some human being hamster cage going around this earth at a thousand miles an hour. They’re sitting in a lotus position somewhere, maybe under a tree. And they’re saying, I’m all-enlightened, I’m all-aware. To the sun, looking at that it’s an insignificant awareness. It’s a dot, not even perceivable.
Then we go 26,000 lightyears. Was it 86,400 seconds in a day times 24 hours times 365 days? You get an idea of how far that is, and that’s the speed of light—186,000 miles a second—and 26,000 lightyears away we’re in the center of the Milky Way looking at our sun through gas and dust which is not visible. And is there any planet going around it, with somebody going, I’m enlightened?
I live with holy curiosity because I can always learn another little piece of the magnificence of the universe tomorrow, so whatever I know is insignificant.
From the Milky Way, that sounds pretty insignificant. Of course, the Milky Way is in a local cluster inside a Virgo Cluster inside a Laniakea Supercluster, and that is just a little dot in the middle of a vast cosmic web.
So when somebody says they’re all-enlightened and all-aware, and they encompass it all, I have to go and retort to Einstein when he said, I live with holy curiosity because I can always learn another little piece of the magnificence of the universe tomorrow, so whatever I know is insignificant. It’s infinitesimal compared to what I don’t know.
Socrates says, “I have the least knowledge that’s made in the most knowledgeable.” When we go from that perspective, I realize that whatever I’ve owned is an insignificant thing and there’s a transcendent state to that. But we’re going to continue to learn tomorrow (hopefully), living with holy curiosity is the journey, and whatever you don’t know will always grow beyond it. That’s the beautiful walking into the mystery each day to keep adding more to what you know, and also become more humbled by what you don’t know.
There’s this important distinction about learning for the purpose of just acquiring knowledge, and learning for the purpose of applying it in a benevolent way. I’ve been on this quest in the last year and a bit after my latest spiritual awakening, to acquire as much knowledge and skill as possible. Taking everything from Akashic records, training to—I don’t know—clairvoyance, all sorts of different psychic things. Also, lots of spiritual studies.
What I found is that I was getting a little too up in the clouds and I was neglecting my business. I was neglecting my duties at home and I wasn’t staying grounded. So it’s very important to not just acquire knowledge for the sake of acquiring knowledge because it is a little bit addicting to do so. But when you apply that knowledge, you create value in the world and you assist others that that’s what knowledge is for, in my opinion.
Yup. I learned that when I was around 27. I devoured the Vedanta. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, I met a teacher there. He became a patient of mine and I became a friend of his. He gave me a set of about 76 books. I told him I would devour the books and we have a discussion, and I did.True knowledge and wisdom can blend, but most things that are described as knowledge aren't real knowledge. Click To Tweet
During that time, I realized that different traditions have different values that they were concentrating on. This particular one had a lot of austerity instead of prosperity. It was non-attachment austerity. I was noticing myself having less attachments to these things, but then I realized that it wasn’t practical in my daily life because I had a business to run, food to pay for the kids, clothes, and these kinds of things.
I had to balance the Eastern mystical, partly dissociated austerity model with a grounded, practical prosperity model. That was part of a duality that has not been transcended. If you study philosophy and religion, you’ll see that for every philosopher there’s an anti-philosopher. Saying something that’s counterbalancing it to, make sure the dialectic is there to synthesize.
I’m a firm believer that materiality and spirituality are entwined.
I learned that the same way. I’m a firm believer that materiality and spirituality are entwined. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a little second on that because I think that could be useful to people.
When you are coughing yourself up, exaggerating yourself and too proud to admit what you see in somebody else inside you, you tend to project your values onto them and expect them to live in your values. You get a bit narcissistic and think they’re supposed to live in your values.
You meet people like this that project, you should do this, you ought to do this, you’re supposed to do this. And you hear imperatives—got to, have to, must, should, ought to, supposed to, need to—from one person that’s projecting.
Pride before the fall.
If that’s your customer, you’re not listening to the customer’s needs and it kind of costs you. You get humble. Pride before the fall. If it’s your staff, they may have mentioned a credit union to counterbalance you because you’re not factoring in their needs. The customer rejection gives you some to humble the pride, to get you back and talk authenticity because you’re not being authentic when you’re in a state of pride. When you’re exaggerating yourself.
When you minimize yourself, and now you exaggerate the customer, which I’ve also done in my life—celebrity or something, somebody that I thought something had something I didn’t have—I didn’t sacrifice for them. I injected their values, sacrificed for them, and became more altruistic in giving away services, and of course I’m not having any profits. And that I don’t mind it too.
Anytime I was exaggerating myself or minimizing myself, I wasn’t receiving any money or I was giving away money or services, and neither one of them were leading to productivity and sustainability, because if I’m altruistic I don’t want to do business with them again because I was not winning. If I’m a narcissist, they don’t want to do business with me because they’re not winning. I realized that’s not sustainable.
The universe, in its wisdom, offers feedback in your customers, employees, and environment to let you know whenever you’re not authentic and not centered. It’s trying to teach you how to be. It’s a feedback mechanism. It’s a homeostatic socio-feedback system trying to guide you to be authentic, sustainable.
But the second you realize that the customer, the employee, the shareholder, and whoever else is involved are equals, their values are equally as valuable as yours, and you’re not here to be a superior or inferior—those are facades, personas, masks—but to be yourself, and the moment you do, as Schopenhauer says, we become our true self to the degree we make everyone ourself.
In that state we have sure intimacy because there’s no missing parts. We’re not too proud or too humble to admit what we see in them inside us. We are owning all the parts. And we’re now having equanimity and objectivity because we see just the pros and cons in us, the pros and cons in them for what they are bound to.
At that moment, we now have a sustainable fair exchange. The transactions are complete. You’re not trying to get something for nothing or give something for nothing. You give something for something that both are agreeing to. You have now a non-zero sum game instead of a zero sum game, and you’re now in equanimity. You want to continue to do business, they want to continue to do business, so you now have a sustainable, stable, non-volatile growth of business that has prosperity and income.
The universe rewards people who are authentic. That’s our spiritual quest. I believe that everything in your physiology, everything in your psychology, everything in your sociology, and into your business, is constantly there to try to get us to be authentic and put us under a spiritual path, as our spiritual path is half of authenticity. We’re in grace and we’re not judging. We’re in a state of full awareness of things.
You can master economics, master business, master any area of life, and still be authentically inspired and spiritual in your expression.
I really believe that mastery of economics, wealth, business, and spirituality are inseparable. They don’t have to be separate. But if we think that we’re superior and in an in-group, they’re in the out-group and we’re superior, we get into a false idea of what spirituality is. My in-group not your group, my little form of religion and belief and my tribal thinking is better than yours. We can get into a pride state and undermine, and then think that somehow there’s a separation between these aspects of life. You then just dissociate from the material world.
But I’m a firm believer that you can master economics, master business, master any area of life, and still be authentically inspired and spiritual in your expression. I think they’re one and the same thing.
I would agree, and that we are all equally important. When you see the divinity in every single person, whether it’s the server at the restaurant where you’re eating, or the homeless person you’re walking past, or the competitor that has given you a lot of grief in the business world. They’re all equally important and they all have the spark of the divine within them.
Just everything shifts.
Can I share another story?
You brought this up. It made me think of a story. When I was a young boy, my dad started a plumbing business. He had some plumbers, laborers, ditch diggers, pipe layers, all kinds of things, construction people. One day, my dad said, now Jay—he called me Jay instead of John—I want you to go out and spend the day with Jesse. I said, okay. Why Jesse? He said, because he has something to teach you.
I want to be with the plumber not the ditch digger because that was a little less laboring and a little less sweating and dirty. I went out with the truck on this gentleman named Jesse Carter, the special man in my life. We get to this house and our job is to create a new waterline from the main—the source of water between the curb and the sidewalk—take it all the way to the house, and put a new waterline in. The house is about 35 years old and is rusted, rusty pipe.Never underestimate where you get the information that can change your life, whether from a scholar or an imbecile. Click To Tweet
What he did was he took this T-bar. First, he drew a line from where it needs to be the nut, and he went it down T-bar and he measured and made sure there are no roots, no rocks, nothing in the path. That way, he knew what was there. Then he watered the thing and made sure the water sunk down on the ground. He knew exactly how much water to put in there to sink it down a foot or foot-and-a-half.
Once he did, he then put a line between two sticks exactly so we had a perfect line. Then he laid newspapers along the side. A roll of newspapers all the way along the line. I’m just watching and doing what he says.
Then he showed me how to cut a sod. It’s a six-inch sod and it turns over onto the paper. Then you cut another six-inch sod and you turn it over on the paper, the whole thing. If you have just the right amount of moisture, you can get the entire length of a sharpshooter shovel to turn the entire thing over. And he showed me how to do this. We had perfect laying sods one over the other, with the least amount of disturbance of grass, the least amount of mud.
Then what he did is he took a level and he leveled the grade, because he said if there are any imbalances in there, water will sit there, it will rust faster there, and they won’t get the value of the pipe, so we have to make sure it has a grade so it has a flow.
Well, he did that, we did it, we marked it. We made sure that it was exactly the right length. We put the pipe in there. Then we put and attached the pipe perfectly. Made sure it was sound, made sure it was solid. Then we put the sods back one by one in perfect position, and laid the pipe, laid the sods, patted the sods, watered the sods, fluffed up the grass. When we finished you had no idea that we had been there. There’s no way of knowing we’re there. We then got in the truck and left. Brand new pipe is in place.
When the owner came home, they immediately called my father and said, “Why didn’t you send your person out to use? Claimed that they’re going to come today?” He said, “Well, actually, it’s all laid. You have a brand new water pipe now.” “But there’s absolutely no disturbance in our yard. It looks the same as it was. How could you put this thing in without having a mess?”
As I was leaving that day, Jesse said to me, “I have the greatest job in the world.” I said, “how so?” He said, “because without me, people don’t live. They require water to live. I bring water to people’s lives every single day. It’s the most important job in the world.” He was a ditch digger, an eighth-grade education.
If you’re going to do something, do it well and do it in a way that’s inspiring. If you’re doing something that’s not inspiring to you, it’s not meaningful to you, you’re in the wrong position.
He said, “the thing that inspires me most is to find out that they actually had water when they complain they didn’t, they discover it’s perfectly done, and it’s done because I did it. I want them to complain thinking I never even showed up, because I want them to think, “I can’t believe they didn’t disturb my yard.”
So here’s a ditch digger teaching. My dad wanted me to go out with him because he said he’s going to teach you something that will be valuable for the rest of your life.
How’s that lesson show up in your life?
Very easily. If you’re going to do something, do it well and do it in a way that’s inspiring. If you’re doing something that’s not inspiring to you, it’s not meaningful to you, you’re in the wrong position. He raised eight kids. He grew and inspired me. And when he passed away he had an impact on my life, this “ditch digger.”
What I got out of that story is do everything—if it’s your life’s work, your career—with passion, with intentionality, with precision, with a light touch, and know that you’re impacting the world.
Yeah. “Don’t underestimate the significance of a small group of people from making a difference to the world,” Margaret Mead said. It’s the only thing that ever did. Here’s a gentleman that made a difference. He’s now impacted me, and that’s impacted me and I’ve impacted others, so it’s a ripple effect.
We sometimes—what’s the old saying—never underestimate where you get information that can change your life, whether it be from a scholar or from an imbecile. If the information changed your life and it’s just as valid and it impacted you, be thankful for wherever that source is.
Well, the Source is always ultimately the Creator, right? We all work for him. Including the dark forces. Everybody works for him. I’m curious. That was a transformational moment for you. What would be something that I would maybe deem a supernatural moment, where it seems outside of the realm of feasibility, of natural laws, how physics work and all that sort of stuff, like our normal conception of reality? What’s the most supernatural moment of your life?
If the information changed your life and it’s just as valid and it impacted you, be thankful for wherever that source is.
I can’t say that it’s supernatural, because it could be natural and I’m just ignorant of it. A very simple thing happened to me when I was 18. I was hitchhiking back from California to Texas. I got dropped off from the freeway and out of Los Angeles by a lovely woman that was the mother of a man that I happened to meet and I stayed with for just one night. Well, a friend.
When they dropped me off, it was a cloudy, rainy day. Los Angeles doesn’t have a lot of those but this was definitely one of those. I could see rain literally heading my way. There’s a wall of rain. You’ve seen it. When you see a wall of rain coming, you just see it. It was just a matter of minutes before I’m about to be drenched. I have a surfboard, a duffel bag, a headband on and about to be drenched. A couple of drops were starting to fall. I think I was probably 20 seconds max before drench time.
A police car pulled over and said, “you’re going to get soaked out there if you don’t get in. Get in quick and stick the board through the side in there, and we’ll take you a little further to get you out of the rain.” This lovely policeman helped me. He gave me a ride about four miles, then he had to get off and turn off. I got out of the car and thanked him, and as I was doing it, the rain’s coming.
It wasn’t too much longer before the rain was coming, the same thing happened again. All of a sudden, another person came and picked me up just as the water was starting to drop. I raced this cold front across America, quite to Texas, never got wet, and was by the chin-chin-chin (as they say) I escaped the rain going back to Texas. I think there were 17 rides in all, but somehow I made it across.
There’s this cold front that was coming across America and I never got wet. It’s just one of those synchronicities. You kind of felt like somehow, something’s watching over me and making sure I’m okay. I couldn’t help but think someone’s watching over me and keeping me in check.Knowledge and understanding can interfere with wisdom. Wisdom is something that you're gifted with from above. Click To Tweet
I can’t say that’s supernatural. It could have been just because I happened to synchronize, one of those things that just happen to get the right ride at the right time. But I never got wet going across America, and 17 episodes of that kept occurring. Although there were a couple of times I got a ride that there wasn’t a real threat of the rain at that moment, but at least 10 or 12 of those were exactly, synchronously timed. I really believed that somehow I was being guided and watched over because I kept thinking, whatever’s happening here, thank you.
Shortly after that, I had another one. It was a freakish one. I didn’t ever finish high school, and I ended up taking a GED—high school equivalency test—because I had learning problems. When I finally got back to Texas with that surfboard, I went to my parents’ house and my parents talked me into taking a GED (General Education Degree) for high school equivalency.
I said, what do I need to do? They said, you just go sit and take a test. I didn’t know and told me how to take a test. I wasn’t good at reading. I had a very limited vocabulary because I was a dropout. I took this test and the gentleman in Paul Bragg that I met when I was 17 years old, when I told him I had learning problems, he said, just say to yourself, ‘I’m a genius and I apply my wisdom,’ everyday, and don’t miss a day for the rest of your life. Sooner or later the cells of your body will tingle with it, and so will the world.
I started saying it at age 17, November 18th, I’m a genius and I apply my wisdom. I get in to take this test. I would say I understood probably 3%–5% of the questions and I can answer very simple. A lot I just had absolutely no idea. I couldn’t even read the words. I would have to have a dictionary.
I closed my eyes and said, I’m a genius and I apply my wisdom, and I just filled in a little black pencil circle. You probably remember what I’m talking about, those little test things. I miraculously passed this test. I had a high school equivalency test all of a sudden. I know I guessed on 97% of that test. Just closed my eyes, said I’m a genius and I apply my wisdom, got really present, and somehow intuitively were led to the right little dot to fill in, and I passed that test.
Now, I later became a scholar after overcoming my learning problems. At that moment, I can only say that was just somehow some sort of a very intuitive guidance, some sort of a lucky guess, whatever you want to call it, but I really did believe it. Those two events all within a matter of a couple of weeks, there was a higher guidance on my destiny and things were making sure I followed this path. Almost like the universe was rewarding me along this path.
Now, it could be my delusion. It could be just a synchronicity or some sort of coincidence, but I didn’t feel that way. I felt it was sort of a higher source, a higher force, a higher order guiding me to fulfill what I was thinking was my destiny at the time. I’m grateful that I was in that mode at that time because it really served me at that moment.
Either everything is random or nothing is random, and I completely subscribe to the philosophy that nothing is random. I know in my bones that to be true.
We sometimes think that things are random, but even Boltzmann who was involved in thermodynamics and Boltzmann’s equation—gas laws and things, and thermodynamics—there is so-called entropy, the tendency to have disorder.
But Claude Shannon in his information theory said that entropy is missing information, things we’re unconscious of. Suggests because we have a subjective bias somewhere—having confirmation and disconfirmation bias, false positives, false negatives, and our awareness—doesn’t mean information is not there for us to eventually discover and discover the hidden order in the apparent past.
I’ve never been satisfied with the idea of a random universe. I know that some people say the anxiety of that random universe pushes people to want to find false orders in things and make up order.
I believe there are people that make up false orders about things to justify their anxieties, but I still believe at a deeper level of the matrix.
I believe there are people that make up false orders about things to justify their anxieties, but I still believe at a deeper level of the matrix. There is a hidden order, and my job has been for the last 50 years (almost) to try to probe and find the hidden order in the apparent chaos.
You have not lack of information, not subjective bias with ignorance, but full awareness and wisdom where you see them in order and you become a prophet of your destiny because you’re seeing what’s there and not having to live in anxieties or fantasies, which are incomplete awareness.
That’s a great synthesis of everything we’ve been talking about. Really beautiful. I know we only have a few minutes left, so if we can maybe go on a lightning round mode where we spend maybe a maximum of one minute answering each question, we can go for maybe three or five minutes. How does that sound?
Cool. Have you ever had any experiences of deja vu? And do you want to share any insight into what deja vu is from your standpoint?
There are two that just bump into mind. One was, I was meditating in Pasadena, Texas when I was going to professional school. In the meditation, I saw this car crash and it took me right out of the meditation. I thought, woah. Right in the middle of a meditation what kind of thing like that would pop in?
I stopped my meditation and I’ve decided that I’m now hungry. I decided to go down my steps, through my apartment complex, and over to this little UtoteM to get some peanuts. As I did, I looked down the street and I saw all these sirens, red lights and everything else that was not in any way visible from my apartment.
I had this hunch that I needed to go and see what happened here. When I got down there, I walked into an image of what I saw in my meditation. So it’s a premonition or a simultaneous awareness of something that was not physical, not sensible. It spooked me because I was going, I just saw that in my mind. When it must have happened it popped into my mind.
I wouldn’t call it deja vu exactly, but it was beyond—
A premonition.Grace is an expression of non-resistance in the flow of communication with gesture and body language, as much as it is a state of mind. Click To Tweet
Yeah, it’s a premonition of something that was absolutely spot on when I got there, and it was spooky. I also had a very interesting flight from Toronto to Dallas on the way to Houston. I had stayed up all night consulting and working with people. I quickly got on the flight. I was just going to rest on the flight. I was sitting on the front seat of the…, not the first class but the one behind it. I’m sitting there, my legs are out, and I’m crashing.
I remember somebody jumping over me and sitting on the seat next to me, but I wasn’t even going to look. I go into a dream state and I’m now riding a horse through these rolling hills with these big oak trees there. I’m thinking, this is interesting. All of a sudden, I woke up and I found myself drooling, and I went ugh.
There was this beautiful girl next to me, dreaming in her sleep. I go back into my thing, and all of a sudden this girl is now riding a horse with me. We’re both riding a horse in the same place. I go right back to the dream but now the girl’s with me.
When I come out of that dream, I’m leaning to the side without realizing it. The girl’s leaning and she opens her eyes at the same time. I said to her, “I was just in a dream,” and she said, “riding a horse in rolling hills?” And I said, “exactly.” I said, “you’re in the dream,” and she says, “you’re in my dream.” It was one of those instant connections that you couldn’t describe.
We were about to land when this was happening. Then we got off the plane, there was something I would like… who are you? I got to know who you are. She didn’t know who I was so we sat there. She was married and I was married, so there was a part of us we didn’t want to go there, but there was a part of us who were curious. What was that about?
I just said, “I’m not going to go there because that could cause a challenge.” She walked off. A minute later, I said “no, I got to have her email address or contact details, and I never found her again. It was one of those things where we entered into the same dream at the same moment. At least we believed it did because she finished the statement. Somehow, she was in some sort of dream that was similar to mine, were the same dream. I don’t know. All I know it was her and we were—
It sounds like an astral projection. You guys were in the astral field together.
We were definitely in a conscious experience together. It was spooky and both of us were a bit startled by it, didn’t know what to do with it and what it meant when processed it. But it was definitely one of those somewhere-in-time kind of things, if you will, like the movie, Somewhere In Time.
Yeah. Very cool. We only have time for one more question and this is an easy one. Do you hug trees?
Do I hug trees on a regular basis? No. Have I ever hugged a tree? Absolutely. I had a giant pecan tree in the front of our yard. I don’t know how old. Somewhere 100–200 years old. I don’t know. It was a massive, big pecan tree. I used to climb it and I love this tree. It’s like this wise, old tree kind of thing. I started climbing when I was about 9, until probably about 16 (I think). On a really cold day one day, standing behind the wind, I felt love and warmth from this tree, and I just gave it a big hug. So I had hugged a tree before, yes.
I just found out last year that trees have souls. There’s a natural holiday in Judaism called Tu BiShvat where trees are honored for their souls. It’s a little celebration. It’s not a terribly huge, well-known holiday not like Passover or Rosh HaShanah, but it is a holiday that people in Judaism celebrate. It’s pretty cool.
I didn’t celebrate the holiday but I did love the tree that day. It was a majestic, fatherly kind of figure that was there. I can almost feel it reaching down and giving me a hug back, so that was good. It’s just the fling in my mind but I definitely appreciated my tree.
And it appreciated you back. Awesome. If our listener or viewer wants to learn more from you and get some transformations, where would they go? I know you get so many different things. All your books, programs, online materials and so forth. Where should they go?
They could simply go to drdemartini.com. There, they can spend the rest of their life keeping up with all that’s there because there is more going in than most people would keep up within a week. It’s an ongoing educational and inspirational site to do what I set out to do when I was young, to try to learn as much as I can and share as much as I can as a teacher.
I believe that it’s got a lot to do, particularly the value determination process to help you determine what’s really important to you so you can structure your life by design, not by duty. Not subordinating to the world around you, but—
I have a lot of my candidates, when I go down to the finalist level and I want to see if they’re a good fit, I have them take a bunch of personality assessments, and one of them is the value determination process. Really, really helpful.
Awesome. Well, thank you, John. This was fabulous and inspiring. You’re just an amazing human and soul. Thank you for joining us and thank you for what you do in the world. You are a bright light.
Well, thank you, Stephan. I appreciate it. Enjoy.
And you, too, listener, are a bright light in the world. Catch you on the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
Dr. John Demartini
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The Breakthrough Experience
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Claude E. Shannon
Checklist of Actionable Takeaways
Never stop learning. Wisdom is the key to making choices that bring joy. In addition, it allows me to contribute better to my community by balancing my needs and boundaries with those of others.
Question my thoughts. In this episode, Stephan and Dr. Demartini talked about Byron Katie’s four questions to every thought one has. The four questions are: Is it true? Can I know with absolute certainty it’s true? How does that thought make me feel? And if this thought didn’t exist, what would life be like?
Be authentic. Being my true self is the best way to form meaningful relationships, which are integral to career success and growth. Always remember that the universe rewards authentic people.
Trust, have confidence and pride in myself and my abilities. Practicing self-love means setting boundaries, being mindful, and removing toxic people from my life.
Treat the people around me as equals. Their values are equally as valuable as mine. No one is superior or inferior to others.
Aim to live a life that can be inspiring to those around me. Inspiration awakens people to new possibilities by allowing them to transcend their ordinary experiences and limitations.
Add affirmations to my daily routine. Affirmations can motivate and help me concentrate on achieving goals in life. Doing so gives me the power to change my negative thinking patterns and assist me in accessing a better belief system.
Be mindful and in control of my perceptions and actions. Observe how I react to situations and ideas, whether I agree with them or not. Every effort I put out affects me and my surroundings.
Be mindful of the upsides and downsides of every decision. There will always be consequences to whatever I do. I have to make sure it’s all worth it.
Visit Dr. John Demartini’s website to determine my values, discover what drives me the most, and learn more about Dr. Demartini’s events and courses.
About Dr. John Demartini
Dr. John Demartini is a polymath and a world-renowned human behavior expert. His work has been described by students as the “most comprehensive body of work,” and “an extensive library of wisdom”.
Dr. John Demartini’s mission and vision is to share knowledge and wisdom that empowers you to become a master of your own life and destiny.
He’s an internationally published author, a global educator and the founder of The Demartini Method, a revolutionary tool in modern psychology.
His education curriculum ranges from personal growth seminars to corporate empowerment programs
His teachings are the synthesis of knowledge and wisdom from the greatest minds through history, and his curriculum is designed to help you empower and inspire all 7 areas of your life.
Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments, or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Stephan Spencer, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.
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