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By: Stephan Spencer


Michael Roviello
“For a harmonious, balanced life, you need to understand where you invest your energy. Strive to distribute it evenly across the mind, body, and spirit to achieve fulfillment.”
Michael Roviello

What if we hold the power to heal ourselves by simply accessing Earth’s living intelligence?

My guest on today’s show is Michael Roviello. After years of pain and declining health following his deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, the Navy veteran declined a second neck surgery and followed his intuition’s call into the jungle.

Under the tutelage of Amazonian shamans, sacred plant medicines like Ayahuasca became portals for Michael to release old traumas, shift limiting beliefs, and reconnect to his life’s purpose.

In this episode, Michael recounts his profound healing voyages catalyzed by ritual plant brews and poisons. By surrendering to unconditional love and embracing all that arose within, he accessed the wisdom needed to transcend his suffering. Michael employed the Wim Hof Method, which involves cold plunges, breathing exercises, and a mindset shift, as tools for self-healing and a deeper understanding of self. Today, through Optimyze, his wellness center in Arizona, he offers modern biohacking informed by ancient indigenous techniques to foster alignment of mind, body, and spirit.

Michael reveals how when we align with our planet and how she provides what we need for self-healing. So, without any further ado, let’s go on with this fascinating episode!

In this Episode

  • [02:21]Stephan welcomes Michael Roviello as they tackle a journey to explore higher states of consciousness. Michael then delves into his own origin story.
  • [08:54]Michael shares his experiences in the Amazon jungle and finding the right shaman.
  • [13:01]Michael describes the profound cleansing encounter he underwent with Ayahuasca.
  • [18:03]Stephan and Michael discuss the types of ceremonies you can join in shamanism, and they also talk about the division between religion and spirituality.
  • [27:32]How do you become more sensitive to spiritual energy?
  • [32:14]Michael emphasizes the consciousness of native cultures.
  • [35:58]As Stephan shares some culture and belief systems, Michael discusses the traditions in the Amazon jungle.
  • [41:50]Michael explains his understanding of the universal collective.
  • [47:18]Michael emphasizes the importance of keeping a balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Jump to Links and Resources

Michael, it’s so great to have you on the show.

Thank you, Stephan. I appreciate it. 

Let’s start with your origin story of how you ended up becoming a biohacker and running a company that helps people improve their biology, performance, and longevity. What was the gift with the bow on the bottom, as my wife likes to say?

It took me a while to get here. Ultimately, I had neurological issues after the military. It started as me trying to find solutions to my problems. I was going through the VA Health Care System. I was going through a very Western model for solving pain.

It started as this throbbing neck pain, affecting other parts of my spine. Over the years, it did this interesting dance where it would be in a lot of pain for a long period, and then it would disappear for a while. I would numb it with some medications they would give me in the service, and then it would return. It just did this dance with me for many years that I didn’t fully understand. When I got out, it progressively started to get worse.

It got so bad that it got to the point where I started to lose feeling. When I started to lose feeling, the doctors became very worried. They started to run tests to see if I had multiple sclerosis. Many of the neurological symptoms I was experiencing looked like multiple sclerosis at that time. They found that my spinal cord was being pinched, and I was losing a lot of the energy from my brain to the rest of my body. I was losing strength that was atrophying. I was losing balance.

The way you live determines your state of being. When you’re disconnected from yourself, you’re in an earthly state. When you shift your energy, you heighten your state of consciousness. Share on X

I was doing all of the Western medicine and procedures. I was doing epidural shots. I was taking various medications, from pain to inflammation medication to muscle relaxers. Then, eventually, I got something called an anterior cervical, a spinal surgery where they will go in and fuse your spine with titanium. That freed up some space, and I started to get some energy back into my hands and arms, which were the main areas because of the neurological network that comes off your spine, especially your cervical spine, that controls your hands and arms.

About a year later, I started to have the same symptoms. Back to the doctor’s office to the surgeon, “Hey, doc, what’s going on?” I realized I had to go through many of these procedures again. We eventually reached the point where he wanted to do a second surgery, fusing above and below. Ultimately, that’s where I drew a line in the sand and decided to seek alternative therapy. That was my tipping point to explore other things.

I came across Dr. John Sarno’s books Healing Back Pain and The Mindbody Prescription. That book opened my eyes to understanding what he called Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Ultimately, it was this understanding of psychosomatic pain and how psychosomatic pain can manifest into physical pain.

I had to go through this journey of the soul to explore unresolved issues emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. That took me down a lot of different rabbit holes. One of the rabbit holes was biohacking, which was helpful for the physical and biological aspects. I went down other rabbit holes, such as the Amazon jungle and plant medicine, to understand the spiritual aspect, learn the traditions of the native people, and a lot of emotional healing through various things, breathwork, plant medicine, and integration. I was just exploring everything, just trying to find what worked.

Are you pain-free now?

I had to go through this journey of the soul to explore unresolved issues emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Yes, I’m pain-free. I don’t have any back issues. I never needed to get spinal surgery, and I am working on corrective issues because when you do have a spinal injury, certain muscles will want to compensate for other muscles. I’m doing a lot of  Therapeutic Pilates and more flexibility and different things like Tai chi, which are softer on my body. But ultimately, no surgery, no pills, and no procedures—all that is left in the past many years ago.

Wow. That’s amazing. You had one spinal surgery, but you declined the second one. You never needed that second one.

I never needed it. They thought I was crazy. I remember having that last conversation with my surgeon was the last time I ever saw him. I had mentioned that I was interested in alternative therapies and would seek these out. I remember him smirking and almost giving me this look like, “That’s not going to work. I’ll see you soon.”’ I never saw him again. 

Did you ever contact him to tell him about your journey and how it turned out?

I never did. It’s funny that you said that. That would have been great to do. It’s been so many years now. It would have been great to contact him and show him what I’ve done. Or refer him to that book and say, “Hey, check out this book. It’d be something that you might want to give to your patients.”

Even if he’s retired, that doesn’t mean this is a wasted effort for you. If you contact him and he sees the power of looking inward and dealing with your inner demons as a way toward healing. He can see the physical manifestation, and you walk around pain-free, not having had that second surgery. That could be the tipping point for him to reconnect with God or have some sort of spiritual epiphany.

Indigenous cultures are globally connected.

Yeah, it’s good advice.

Let’s dig deeper into the Amazon jungle. Where did you go? How did you find the right shaman? What was the process like?

I was always interested in Native American traditions, anthropology and ancient history. I was studying this on my own mainly out of fascination with documentaries on the History Channel. I was always curious about the Native American people because I grew up in New York City, and you don’t feel much of that Native American spirit there. But when I moved to Arizona, although Arizona is a very western model and a big city, I still felt the spirit of Native American people here.

I’m doing a lot of Therapeutic Pilates and Tai chi, which are softer on my body—no surgery, pills, or procedures.

You can go up north, and there are reservations. I had some friends. I had interactions with people who are Native Americans who grew up on reservations. I was curious about how they lived and what they had to say about different things, whether origin stories, humanity, health, wellness, or where we go when we die. Where do we come from?

Mainly, I was brought up in an Italian-American household, which was all based on Catholicism. I was curious about their perspective. I always wondered why many of their teachings weren’t brought forth, so I started to dig a little and try to learn more about them. I realized that when you begin to study indigenous cultures, you see these connections all over the globe, regardless if it’s Native Americans in North America, Central America, or South America, they have their connections. But then, when you look at Native people of Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia, you start to find very similar connections when it comes to spirituality, health, remedies, herbs, and plant medicines.

It started out with documentaries for me, learning about it, and then I was introduced to somebody in Brazil exploring a plant medicine called Ayahuasca. This was back in 2014. I know a little about it because I have watched some documentaries. When I got a chance to go to Brazil, I had the opportunity to have an experience in a ceremonial type of setting. That experience was mind-blowing, very healing, very beneficial, and very applicable.

It wasn’t just one of those ceremonies where you have this mind-blowing experience. You come out of it, and you don’t know how to implement that or integrate that into everyday life, and you don’t know how to explain it to people. I was able to explain it to people. I was able to take practical lessons that I can apply to myself in my behavior and also take these practical lessons that I learned in that ceremony and apply that to my job at the time—I was working at a university—and how I was interacting with other people and how they were interacting with me. It was like this interesting truth serum that I had experienced. I decided to continue going back for more.

I have experienced these types of ceremonies. I went deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of trying a variety of medicines that they have, from Kambo—a frog medicine, to Rapé to Sananga, all different traditions that have been around for thousands of years. I experienced the Brazilians’ and the Peruvians’ perspectives, and then here in the United States. It was a wonderful experience for me overall. It ultimately helped me resolve what Dr. John Sarno says, which is the TMS syndrome.

Amazing. Did you have powerful visions, some downloads, or were you transported somewhere? Describe some of the experiences that were most healing and impactful for you.

It’s like you’re having a conversation with your higher self, potentially for up to five or six hours, depending on how long these ceremonies are and how much Ayahuasca you drink.

The way Ayahuasca has worked for me—and it’s different for everyone. Everyone has their perspective of how it works, but there are also a lot of similarities when you get into these discussions. You drink this brew. Ayahuasca is a traditional medicine in the Amazon basin. It’s a combination of a vine, which is beaten with a stick, put in a pot, and mixed with leaves called Shakuna leaves. Shakuna leaves have DMT in it.

The combination of the two makes this goopy, very thick soup, and they pray, and they make this brew over for two or three days, sometimes longer, and then you just drink a very small portion of it. It takes about 30 minutes to go through the digestion process when you drink it. Before you know it, you start to feel different.

When you start to feel different, what is happening is that we have something called the default mode network. It’s shutting down the default mode network. It’s pushing the ego out of the way. It’s like you’re having a conversation with your higher self, potentially for up to five or six hours, depending on how long these ceremonies are and how much of this brew you drink.

When you’re having that conversation with your higher self, you also tend to interact with others—sounds odd, but almost like other beings, in a sense. I think different religions have different names for these other beings. It gives you these visuals but also this audio. It’s almost like you’re hearing the conversation through your ear, but you’re also getting a visual description of what might be happening.

Some of the early things were how I was treating myself and how I was treating others. But when you redirect to some other person, it brings you to a scenario maybe where there’s some friction with somebody in your life, and it’s unresolved, but it’s showing you that, “Hey, this is unresolved, but it’s also still affecting you.” You should probably resolve it because they don’t force you to do anything. You’re getting advice, in a sense.

They will also show you the perspective of the other person. You can feel what that other person is going through and experiencing. Your ability to have more empathy for others is greatly increased. That was a really powerful and very interesting scenario. Also, there’s this purging process that exists.

The Mindbody Prescription by John E. Sarno M.D.

My understanding is based on my own experiences and talking with hundreds of other people who have done it since I’ve sat in so many scenarios and ceremonies. Collectively, we build up this energy in our bodies. That can happen from a variety of things, from trauma, it can happen from arguments, things that we’ve said that have hurt other people, things that people have told us that have hurt us, and things that we just hold on to. It’s making us sick, and we’re walking around sick, but you can release this energy. There are different ways to do that.

The shamans’ approach to releasing this energy is they call it purging. One of the things that Ayahuasca brings on is this purge. Most people fear this part of the ceremony because they say, “I don’t want to throw up. I don’t like being sick.” It’s probably one of the most refreshing types of cleansing experiences that I’ve ever had. It’s like this medicine is ringing you out like a rack.

As you release energy, some fluid is coming out, but typically very little. It’s mainly these sounds and tones that your body’s releasing. It’s like you’re getting a healing done. When you’re done with that experience, a lot of times and visually, what’s happening when you’re releasing this energy, you can pick up on what you’re releasing, old arguments, things that you said, things that were said to you, or things that you didn’t even know that were still there. The memory pops up as you’re going through this process. It’s a very interesting cleansing process that I don’t fully understand, but I have experienced it many times.

Were you in a group setting or one-on-one?

Always a group setting.

Here’s the problem I understand from this because I’ve never done Ayahuasca or plant medicine. You can pick up other people’s energies, especially since they’re purging themselves of many negative energies, old stories, and things that no longer serve them. You’re in a setting where all this energy is hanging around. You must protect your energy boundaries so you don’t pick that up. Being in a much smaller group or one-on-one with the shaman is better.

There are different theories on that. I’ve done small groups, I’ve done large groups. The purging is typically the same. A good shaman knows how to protect the room and use different traditional practices. Their main practice and how they use protection and their kind of cleaning is ceremonial tobacco. It’s really what they used most of. Even as you’re purging, they will cleanse you.  

A good shaman knows how to protect the room and use different traditional practices.

Everyone has their own style. I’ve even done some Santo Daime styles, a mixture of Christianity and native traditions. It’s a combination of the two where you were white, and it’s very much like a Christian type of setting, and you’re singing Portuguese hymns and all of that. You’re drinking the Ayahuasca brew instead of wine at a church.

I’ve tried a variety of them. In all my experiences, I’ve never had one bad scenario. Although I do know that many people are having some bad scenarios out there, mainly because they’re in the wrong hands of people who don’t necessarily know their traditions of the medicine, or they don’t have a good process for integrating this work into how you can apply it to everyday life.

I don’t like to consider it a magic brew, nor do I think it’s for everyone. My journey somehow took me there. It was a path I was willing to take, and therapeutic for me. I learned a lot from these people. They have a lot to share with humanity. The native people of South America have a lot of wisdom that we, Westerners and Europeans, are just starting to tap into because we’ve put these people in the corner.

Many people retreated to the Amazon jungle to escape Portuguese and Spanish colonization. They’ve kept most of their traditions really in secret. For some reason, in the last 30-40 years, they’ve started sharing their medicine and practices with Westerners. It’s an interesting thing that’s happening on the planet right now.

Was there anything uncomfortable or didn’t jive with you from a values or beliefs perspective?

After taking Ayahuasca, your instinctive default mode shuts down and pushes the ego out of your driver’s seat. This allows you a new and freeing perspective.

Not necessarily. I was surprised we have so much division when it comes to religion. Catholics think this, Christians think this, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhists like you just have all this division regarding spirituality on the planet. Looking back, there have also been so many wars over it.

When I was in the Amazon jungle, we were getting interpretations from the shamans because they would teach classes during the day, where they would teach us their songs. We would learn from them, then at nighttime, we would journey, and then in the morning, we would do an integration, where we would share. They would give us clarity and some understanding of what might be happening and how to approach the next ceremony to get more healing done. They brought up Jesus a lot.

Jesus was very much part of their understanding of spirituality. It wasn’t this like, “Oh, that’s your God, that’s separate. We don’t subscribe to that.” They looked at him as one of the Ascended Masters. He was very much integrated into that story. What I know about the Amazon basin is that black magic is still in practice, but it’s still in practice here, too.

There are a lot of energetic spiritual battles that are happening between different shamans, teachers, and tribes.

Most people think it’s this Haitian thing, African thing, or native thing that’s still being practiced, and Americans don’t dabble, and that’s something that is up past. But I believe that stuff is everywhere. It’s in our videos, and it’s in what we’re feeding ourselves energetically. It’s in music, it’s everywhere. Sometimes, we pretend that we’re clear of that, that we’re not participating in that.

They still practice that stuff, especially in Bolivia and certain parts of Peru. There are a lot of energetic spiritual battles that are happening between different shamans, teachers, and tribes. I don’t truly understand that whole world. But people can get mixed up in some of that and get very sick. I’ve heard stories I’ve never experienced myself.

It’s interesting. When I was in Belize a couple of months ago, it was a Maverick1000 trip, which is Yanik Silver’s mastermind. We’re in Genius Network together, you and I. I’m also in Maverick1000, which is similar to but different from Genius Network. It’s much more experiential, and you can get out into nature or a particular environment and do some trips.

We went to Belize on one of these Maverick trips. This was a couple of months ago. There were several ceremonies that we did with the Mayans. We went to a Mayan village. The first one I participated in was a Cacao ceremony. The second one, I got guidance from above. It was a water ceremony.

I got guidance from above to not participate, not pour the water that we brought from our lake nearby, not to do the prayers because they were praying to the four corners of the earth, these different gods, and so forth. I got very strong guidance not to do that, so I didn’t. I’m glad that I didn’t.

Untethered by technology and distractions, our ancestors enjoyed a profound connection to Earth's subtle energies, and enjoyed direct communication with plants and nature. Share on X

You have to be very careful about what you say yes to what you allow into your field because there is a thing called idolatry. It’s in the Bible. It’s real. Some people make their work their idol. Some make it a particular guru, and some make it a set of gods. Some even make it themselves. They’re so inflated with self-importance, their ego. Their inflated ego is their God.

Anytime you have an intermediary between you and God, it’s very dangerous. That’s my understanding, at least. I’m curious to hear if you had any nudging from your higher self, from God, from your angels, from your spiritual support team, on what directions not to go as you explore this rabbit hole.

Not necessarily. My angels were very supportive of these types of ceremonies. Mainly, what they would do is come and help guide me on how to help other people. Most of the things I’ve learned sitting through the ceremonies have taught me how to approach and help others. There’s not a lot of differences. What I’ve learned about spirituality is everyone’s like, “Oh, this is my spirituality. This is what I know.” But from the universal collective, it’s all the same. We’re all just basically having different interpretations of what we call it.

Most of the things I’ve learned sitting through the ceremonies have taught me how to approach and help others.

Some people call it spirit. Someone with a scientific mind might call it energy. Many different terms have been around for thousands of years to describe these transcendental experiences. But ultimately, we’re all talking about the same thing. The native people are talking about the same thing.

If you look in the old books of Christianity, whether it’s the Gnostics and their teachings, even the old books of Judaism, the Kabbalah, or the old books of Muslims, which is the Sufis, you start to explore that. You’ll see a lot of similarities and interpretations of how all these things work.

What I’ve experienced with understanding shamanism, and that’s just one aspect of one rabbit hole that I went down, was the same protection and love I feel for the divine. What I refer to in Western thinking is angels. Whoever those beings are, I felt them very much around me, guiding and supporting me.

Do you feel them regularly, or do you need to be in the jungle doing plant medicine to feel them or receive their messages?

It depends on my state. For example, if I’m working a lot, if I’m not connecting with myself, if my attention is outward, if I’m eating a lot of high-density types of foods, maybe I’m more in that earthly state, where I’m just very much in the human form. I’ve learned how to change my state and vibration over time. If I start to fast, if I start to eat lighter foods, if I start to do more inner work, whether it’s through meditation and breathing exercises, then I become more sensitive to the things that are not necessarily in my vision. It depends on how I’m living.

There are certain times in my life when I need to be in a strong, earthly, powerful body, where I’m eating a lot of meat and my attention is outward. I’m very productive, and that is serving me that time. But for four years, I was very much tuned to a different vibration, fasting consecutively. I was doing what they call diatas.

To become more sensitive to the energies that are not necessarily in my everyday vision, I first need to start fasting, more prayer, meditation, inner work, and disconnection from physical things.

The big part of shamanism is not all about Ayahuasca. Most people think that it’s all about Ayahuasca. You drink this brew, have this psychedelic trip, and stuff happens, and then you return. The psychedelic trip or the brew you’re drinking brings on these visions so that you can learn, but most of the healing is done when you’re done with Ayahuasca when you’re outside of the ceremony. Most of it is done through fasting, spending time alone, and then drinking these plant brews, which are non-psychedelic. You would just call them teas, essentially, a different herbal type of tea from different plants.

In those stages of my life, I was very sensitive. I’m more connected than when I’m behaving differently. I now know there isn’t a right or wrong, and I don’t necessarily need to be one way or the other. There are certain ways that I am a being that is more functional for what I’m trying to achieve depending on what’s happening in my life at that time.

I have the ability now to shift as necessary. I know one of the first things I need to do when I want to become more sensitive to the energies that are not necessarily in my everyday vision is to start fasting, more prayer, more meditation, more inner work, more disconnection from physical things, whether it be technology and different things like that, that keep all of my attention outward. Mainly, I work on getting my brainwaves much slower, whereas when doing stuff like this, podcasting, and working every day, my brain waves are just faster, and my attention is more outward. We can shift depending on the type of lifestyle that we’re living.

I just watched a video last night, coincidentally, on what you’re describing of being in these different states of either productivity and just getting stuff done, in a place of eating junk food and being lethargic, or just disconnected. That connection in Hinduism is known as sattva. That’s goodness, calmness, and harmoniousness. 

The idea is there are three aspects of creation or reality. It’s called the Gunas. Sattva is one of them. Rajas is another one. That’s where you’re in productivity mode, getting stuff done in action, in your passion, and so forth. It’s probably a beta brainwave state. And then Tamas, which is that place of ignorance or inertia and laziness. Are you familiar with those concepts?

Yeah. I’m familiar with Spirit Science. Those guys are great. The cartoon is what you’re talking about, right? I’ve watched many episodes over the years. When I say native culture, I mean everybody. It’s a collective. We’re all one. We’re all from this earth, is what I believe. What happened in Europe is identical to what happened in the Americas.

If you look at the rise of the Roman Empire and how they started to move throughout Europe, colonized, conquer, basically look at, say, the Germanic tribes at that time as native scum, essentially, they wanted to force their ways upon the tribes of the Celtic people, Germanic tribes, the French tribes, and all the other native people who are living throughout Europe. They forced their will upon them. Eventually, waves later, they did the same thing to the Vikings.

This rise of Christianity in the name of Jesus Christ was basically, which I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ didn’t want to happen that way, where people were dying, being murdered, and burned at the stake in his name. That’s just probably a man and their ego. That wave happened to the European people. Eventually, the landscape changed in Europe.

Our ancestors adapted to their surroundings and reached high levels of consciousness. They practiced hot and cold therapy, breathing exercises to experience somatic states, and fasting for spiritual reasons. Share on X

They took those same behaviors: the Portuguese, the French, the Spanish, and the British. They did the same thing to the native indigenous people of the Americas in almost identical types of scenarios. How they changed their schooling system, they killed off their food supply. They used psychological tactics to break their will in many different ways. That just stopped happening not that long ago in both Brazil and here in the United States if you study some history.

What you’ll learn is that native people are native people. They behaved very much in very similar ways. We can learn a lot through their experience. I’m learning a lot from biohacking from their experience because these people were very strong and resilient.

Over thousands of years of evolution, they have all of these different software programs that have been able to adapt to the environment, whether it be hot and cold therapy, which is something that I practice today, whether it be breathing exercises, which were practice very much in India, in Asia, to get into these somatic states. You have fasting, which all native people practice in some way, shape, or form, mainly because it is a spiritual practice. Not only spiritual, but they didn’t catch anything from their hunt, so their bodies are designed for fasting.

We have the ability to tap into this software of native people from whatever clan.

We have all of these programs installed in us that have been written for thousands and thousands of years. We have the ability to tap into this software of native people from whatever clan. My ancestors are mainly from the Mediterranean. I’m majority Italian with some Persian. I did some DNA testing with some Persian. Most of my lineage exists in that region of the planet.

The native cultures are also very conscious in certain ways that I found very impressive, such as asking permission before picking the leaves, the vines, or whatever they were going to use for medicinal purposes or for just consuming the nutrients. Asking the plant for permission may not be embedded in its DNA over thousands of years, but it is passed down as a behavior. I find that to be very conscious.

There are physical manifestations of that, such as higher nutrient density, retention of medicinal properties, etc. There’s Dr. Emoto and his water experiments, how he crystallized these water crystals and showed the change depending on the vibration or the intention of the person sending that energy, whether it’s apathy. These messed up-looking water crystals of love, joy, or peace exist. These were very beautiful crystals.

When somebody prays over their food before they eat it, it physically affects your body and the food you’re praying over. It makes sense that it would matter how you pick the vines, the leaves, or whatever, with consciousness or lack thereof and its effect on the person consuming it.

Yes, they have a lot of traditions. I’ll share with you that when we were in the jungle, we were in a village type of setting. Now and then, we would take these small groups and go into the jungle, where they would teach us about different trees, and they would source some of their plant medicine from a lot of tree bark and other things.

Before we crossed the line of going from the village into the thick parts of the jungle, they would make an offering to the jungle and usually leave some sort of tobacco because they were asking permission to go into that space. It was very intentional in everything they did. They used up their version of prayer before they ate. They were very intentional.

You mentioned the word culturally, and this might be a practice that is done because it’s been passed down for hundreds or thousands of years. But consider this: the earlier ancestors, when there were no technology and distractions, were so much more connected to the Earth and the subtle energies. They may have had more direct communication with plants and nature than we can even fathom.

When I started to go through these processes with them, I understood at a much deeper level they were directly communicating with the consciousness of plants.

That was one thing that was interesting for me to understand. I always used to hear these tales of them having communication with plants. They used to call the plants their teachers. That was an interesting way to describe something, and it sounded good. But when I started to go through these processes with them, I understood at a much deeper level they were directly communicating with the consciousness of plants. That was hard for my Western mind to understand, but they are way more connected to Earth and what’s going on in nature than we can even understand.

If I took, say, myself, maybe I was put out in the jungle and had to live there for a year with very little communication with other people, I would be a very different person in just one year, from my experience. I’d be way more tapped into the subtle energies of the planet. Today, I might be thinking about five other things, emails, and everything I have to do. I’ll be walking and hiking here in the Arizona desert, but my mind is very much somewhere else. They’re very present, from my experience, especially the people living in a very traditional way.

Other cultures, belief systems, and religions are connected to plants and creation. For example, in Judaism, there’s a holiday called Tu BiShvat. That’s celebrating the trees and being grateful for the trees and the plants. 

On Tu BiShvat a few years ago, I learned from my sister-in-law that trees have souls. That’s something you know in Judaism. There are spiritual explanations of how this all works. Once you start digging into Kabbalah, which is Jewish mysticism, I found it to be powerful and transformative to learn at the time. I feel much more connected to the plant kingdom, the trees in my backyard, etc.

They’re very present, from my experience, especially the people living in a very traditional way.

The holiday was really meaningful. You consume things like tree nuts and different kinds of fruits. You have different prayers that you say to thank God for the abundance of the plant kingdom that sustains us. Every prayer is heard. I feel a difference from having that kind of awareness. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that holiday.

I haven’t, but I’m not surprised because as I started to go on this path and learn about other cultures, religions, and native tribes, it didn’t matter what continent. I kept coming up with the same scenarios, where they were doing the same thing the people were doing in South America. They had no contact. They had no way of communicating, but they were behaving in the same manner.

What’s happening in the Jewish culture through this holiday is identical to what these people do in the Americas, Africa, and the Aboriginal people. They all have a variation of that same example you just provided, that holiday. That’s the most fascinating part to me because it helped me to understand the universal collective and stop having me divide up humanity in these different pies of, “Oh, these people did this. This group does this.”

It started to show me, “No. Everybody’s doing the same thing and calling it slightly different things.” It’s been going on for a very long time. But there’s also this energy and this force that has been trying to shut that stuff up for a long time. It ends up crucifying these types of practices for some odd reason.

That part, I’m still gaining some clarity and understanding because you see it. You saw what happened in Europe and how the tribal people were converted by force. Then you see that same behavior happen in Africa and Aboriginal people in Australia, mainly from the British and Irish people. Then you see that same behavior happen in the Americas from the Portuguese, Spaniards, French, and British. You just collectively have seen this going on.

Live intentionally.

I don’t know where it started. I know the Romans were doing it, but it happened even before the Romans. It’s been a very interesting thing that happened on this planet in the last thousand years.

What comes around goes around. If we zoom out far enough, everything makes sense, but we only get a small glimpse of the bigger picture. In Kabbalah, I learned about the 1% and 99% reality. We’re in the 1% reality. We see this tiny little sliver.

It’s so overwhelming with all of quantum physics, biochemistry, all the different sciences, all the arts, and everything we could learn. We know that there’s stuff we don’t know, but we also don’t know what we don’t know. That’s where the 99% is. It’s good humility to remember that there’s a 99% reality daily, which we just don’t have any consumption over. We can pray to God for a glimpse into it so that we can appreciate that we’re in the toddler stage. It’s fun.

Healing Back Pain by John E. Sarno MD

We are just finding our way around.

Just as Ram Dass said, “We’re all walking each other home.”

That’s true.

This is a great way to end the episode. If our listener is interested in learning more from you and doing some of the amazing biohacking therapies at your locations in the Phoenix, Arizona area, where do they go? What’s the next step?

I appreciate that. Yes, I have a place called Optimyze. We are in Arizona. We have multiple locations, and we’re expanding into other parts of the country. We do everything from breathing exercises, cold therapy, infrared saunas, PMF therapy, and a full immersive experience. The symbol in our logo is the four elements of nature.

We work with water, fire, air, and earth medicine—all of it combined. Our website is You can find me mostly active on Instagram. It’s where I do most of my daily stories and different things like that. It’s @michael_roviello on Instagram. It’s the easiest way to find me.

Awesome. Also, you can be found at Genius Network in some of the meetings where I found you.

I’m local, so it’s easy to hop, skip, and jump to get to Joe’s place.

Joe Polish is amazing. He’s been a guest on my other podcast, Marketing Speak. I plan to have him here on this show, on Get Yourself Optimized. Amazing human.

Awesome. What a great conversation we had, Stephan. I didn’t expect us to dive this deep into spirituality. Typically, when people have me on their podcasts, it’s a lot about biohacking and a lot about the physical and biological benefits and science of how these things work. Today, it took a very different twist, talking a lot about spirituality, culture, and shamanism. It is something that has helped me on my way.

Transcendental experiences may be seen as spiritual or as purely energy-centered, but the transcendence experienced is universal. Share on X

It’s our why, right? Why keep this suit of clothes called our physical body in tip-top shape if we don’t have a spiritual mission to accomplish here?

Yes. I liked that you said that because that’s a missing part. Out of all of this exploration and learning that I’ve done, from understanding shamanism to biohacking, cold therapy, becoming a certified Wim Hof instructor, and all that kind of stuff, the most important thing is that I tried to maintain balance in mind, body, and spirit.

Maintain balance in mind, body, and spirit.

There are aspects of my life where I put so much energy into my physical body, working out, and being strong. Mentally, I was going to seminars, learning, and reading, but then, spiritually, I was doing nothing. I wasn’t meditating. I wasn’t connecting.

I said a lot in my workshop that, spiritually, I was zero. I was putting no energy into that bucket. Now, I always try to evaluate where I am spending too much energy and how to spread some of that energy equally over all three buckets to be more balanced in life.

Amazing. That’s a great way to end this episode. Listener, go out there and make a difference in the world. Have some conversations with your higher self. Try to see from the other’s worldview.

With or without plant medicine, you can achieve that kind of empathy. Learn and grow because that’s what we’re here for, and connect with the Creator. We’ll catch you in the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.

Important Links


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Further Resources


Checklist of Actionable Takeaways

?Embrace my mind-body connection and understand the concept of psychosomatic pain. Explore how emotional, mental, and spiritual factors manifest as physical pain.

?Recognize the importance of releasing built-up emotional and energetic blockages in my body. Consider engaging in practices like purging to release stored energy and promote emotional and physical healing.

?Be mindful of energetic boundaries when participating in group settings or ceremonies. Protect my energy field and avoid taking on others’ negative energies.

?Pay attention to my intuition and inner guidance when navigating spiritual experiences. Trust my instincts and inner knowledge to make decisions aligned with my beliefs and values.

?Approach my spiritual journey with an open mind and a willingness to learn from different traditions and perspectives.

?Prioritize the integration of new insights into my daily life through transformative experiences. Reflect on the meaning of my spiritual experiences and seek ways to make them applicable to my life.

?Adjust my lifestyle to elevate my consciousness. Experiment with fasting, consume light food, and practice meditation and breathing exercises to increase my sensitivity to unseen energies.

?Slow down my brainwaves to tap into higher states of consciousness. Engage in activities that promote relaxation such as meditation, deep breathing, and disconnecting from constant external stimuli.

?Acknowledge the impact of intention on the physical world. Remember, my consciousness and energy can influence my experiences, health, and surroundings.

?Learn more at and connect with founder Michael Roviello on Instagram for daily insights and updates.


About Michael Roviello

With years of conducting helicopter search and rescue missions deployed around the globe as a helicopter rescue swimmer, combat search and rescue crewman and anti-submarine warfare operator deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. After many bouts with cervical spine issues, neurological pain and degradation, Michael turned to natural /alternative methods after fully exploring Western science medical practices, spine surgery, pain management, pharmaceutical intervention and advice. Michael’s journey took him to the Amazon jungle, exploring healing modalities that indigenous people of that region used medicinal plants, diets and ancestral practices to explore the mind, body and spirit with great results.

Michael also found the Wim Hof Method, using cold water, breathing exercises and a change in his mindset, as a tool for self-healing and a deeper understanding of self.

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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