The One Component Of Fitness Most People Neglect (Meditation, Plant Medicine, Yoga, Sex & More: How Ben Greenfield Trains For The Spiritual Disciplines).

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spiritual disciplines
Lifestyle, Podcast

Correction note: I said “Richard Dawkins” in this episode and meant to say “David Hawkins!”

As I age, observe great thinkers and philosophers, and continually seek wisdom, I've become increasingly convinced that caring for one's spirit is as important—no, more important than caring for one's body and brain. After all, long after our muscles have atrophied and skin has sagged, long after our brains have degraded and accumulated with plaque, long after our blood vessels and nerves have become clogged and weak, and long after our relentless pursuit of fitness and longevity has become a vain effort, our spirits can be just as strong and bright as ever. Yet, sadly—especially among those immersed in physical fitness and biohacking—it seems that the spirit is the most oft-ignored component of our human vessels, quite frequently shrunken and shriveled from a near-complete neglect of the spiritual disciplines…

…disciplines such as meditation, gratitude, prayer, fasting, study, fellowship, celebration, charity, and all those elements that most of us know are important but somehow shove to the side because, let's face it, life gets busy and it just seems far more practical and immediately useful to go hit the gym rather than sit cross-legged on the floor meditating, breathing, spending an extra ten minutes in bed journaling, or prioritizing a family dinner. 

As I mention with increasing frequency the importance of the spiritual disciplines, I'm often asked how I personally incorporate these practices in my own life. So, similar to how last week I shared with you the nitty-gritty details of my own nutrition supplementation program, in this podcast I'm going to delve into how I weave everything from yoga to breathwork to plant medicine into my own life. I in no way profess to be an expert in these matters, and although it is my goal over the next ten years to become as spiritually fit as I am physically fit (and to focus perhaps even more on the spiritual disciplines than I currently do on the physical disciplines), I hope that a few of the insights I've incorporated into my own life these past several years may serve you well in your own pursuit of spiritual greatness.

During this podcast, you'll discover:

-Why you should value spiritual disciplines in the first place…6:40

  • Focusing only on physical health and wellness can be quite shallow
  • Spiritual exercise/discipline is just as real and vital as physical
  • Caring for our spirit is just as important, if not more so, than our body and brain
  • Attachment exercise from Awareness by Anthony De Mello
    • Think of something or someone to which you're attached
    • Say, “I really do not need you to be happy; I can be happy without you”
  • Happiness is a state of non-illusion — the absence of an illusion

-How Ben has educated himself on spiritual disciplines…13:00

-Ben's morning spiritual disciplines…19:27


-Ben's sauna practice…37:45

Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you
Turn me into the father and husband you would have for me to be
Into a man who will fulfill your great commission
And remove from me all judgment of others
Grant me your heavenly wisdom
Remove from me my worldly temptations
Teach me to listen to your still, small voice in the silence
And fill me with your peace, your love, and your joy. Amen

-How Ben manages stress during busy and intensive workdays…44:45

-End of day spiritual practices…47:28

-Spiritual lovemaking…57:50

-Areas for improvement…1:09:00

  • Participating in local charitable causes
  • Share your gifts — make your service enjoyable
  • Strengthen connection w/ local church community

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Book: Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster

– Book: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

– Book: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele A. Calhoun

– Book: The Jesuits Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ

– Book: Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter by Philip Koch

– Book: A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor

– Book: Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton

– Book: The Simple Life by Charles Wagner

– Book: Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites by Lynne M. Baab

– Book: The Sacred Art of Fasting by Thomas Ryan, CSP

– Book: Awareness by Anthony De Mello

BGF podcast with Der. Andrew Weil

– Book: Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler

– Book: Healing and Recovery by David Hawkins

– Book: Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David Hawkins

– Book: The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about the spiritual disciplines? Leave your comments below and I'll reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question


27 thoughts on “The One Component Of Fitness Most People Neglect (Meditation, Plant Medicine, Yoga, Sex & More: How Ben Greenfield Trains For The Spiritual Disciplines).

  1. Judy Stewart says:

    Ben. I loved this podcast. Praying for you. In Jesus’ name.

  2. Kim Austin says:

    So very, very grateful for this episode. I have been struggling with weight (emotionally, spiritually, and physically). I have switched my mentality in 2020 after listening to countless health podcasts. I believe every one of those podcasts have led me to where I am today. I have neglected my spiritual relationship, and this podcast came at the most perfect time. Such a perfect time, I signed up to sit on our Youth Advisory Board at our church last night. I too have been sitting passively in our Church every Sunday, and want to help our next generation grow spiritually. Thank you!

  3. Michael Workman says:

    Awesome podcast Ben. Thank you. As usual, great thoughts, advice, and resources.

    A few other resources for those interested in Christian Meditation:

    1. One Minute Pause. Free at app store. Guided 1, 3, 5, and 10 minute long meditations. Focus is on detaching, uniting with God, and receiving His love and life.

    2. Encounter Peace. Website with daily meditations via an rs feed. 15 to 20 minutes. Focus is on breathing, practicing the presence of God, and hearing God through meditation on scripture.

    Both have been game-changers for me. Hope others find it to be the same.

    Good trees bear good fruit. Ben, keep up the great work on staying rooted next to the stream of life.

    Love and Respect,

    Mike

  4. B says:

    Excellent podcast!!! Really enjoyed this one! And a gold mine of nuggets of wisdom. Will be incorporating the tibetan exercises in my practice for sure!

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Marissa says:

    Thanks for being a whole-being and not a meathead trainer. Great episode and very humbling for you to disclose all this to us. I appreciate it all and you for the weekly insight I gain (for free -thank you for that) and look forward to more in 2020.
    You seem concerned about your giving back…. It’s been brought up a few times in the past months, don’t forget how much this podcast is a generous gift. It is up to us to buy from your sponsors, not a requirement. Thank you and trust this gift is being received.

  6. Josh M. says:

    One thing to study/think further on if you are interested: a biblical word study on the difference between “spirit” and “soul”. From this and other podcasts, I have heard you (and many others) use them interchangeably. This is not so. Our constitution, what we are comprised of as creations, is very simply body and spirit. The combination of the two is what defines a unique soul. “Soul” is the reference to the totality of a being. So we don’t HAVE a soul, we ARE a soul. You, Ben, ARE a unique soul made in the image of God, the combination of a unique body and unique spirit that He has given you. When you endeavor to exercise and maintain health for BOTH your body and your spirit, one could aptly and appropriately call that practice “soul health”…an approach to strengthening the totality of your being. Hope this has been edifying. God bless.

  7. Pat King says:

    Thank you Ben! Awesome podcast to say the least. Maybe the best one of yours that I’ve heard. This was very helpful to me as a coach who focuses on spirituality/higher consciousness as the foundation for all my clients. I’ve found that its the most difficult component to our overall wellness to learn, incorporate and be consistent. Anyone can exercise and eat good most of the time. Spiritual discipline is the ultimate discipline and everything else will flow from that.

    Thank you for all the value you continue to give. Much appreciated!!

    Pat King

  8. Sylven Claessen says:

    One of your best episodes so far. Thank you Ben!
    Do you still practice Transcendental meditation (TM) or have you found other meditation techniques to be more effective?
    I’m asking because I am considering getting initiated into TM.
    Thanks!

  9. Bill Montgomery says:

    Ben,

    Enjoyed the podcast. You said you wanted to hear what we do so here goes.

    I get up at 2:00 AM, meditate for 10 minutes, read the Bible while the coffee brews, read a book while I do my Kegel exercises at “Sex With Emily” I think you had someone on your podcast that talked about those. It helps old guys with prostate problems. Then I journal. I have been journaling since about 1986. I now use the “Warrior” format of ideas from books, feelings, strategy for the day, gratefulness list and “download” which is writing about whatever I want. Then I go to the gym for an easy half-hour on the Elliptical. Then back home to take a cold shower and get to work. I do my heavy workout in the afternoon three days a week and in the morning four days a week.

  10. Becky H says:

    Great Podcast! Love hearing about your Spiritual practices. God has great things planned for you. Praying for you. Love Our Daily Bread it’s been my morning devotional for 25 years.

  11. Perry says:

    Thanks for responding to my other questions.

    I’m curious what you see as the ultimate purpose of your spiritual practices? Are you more aligned with historic Christianity and the need to escape an eternity of torture for your sins? Or are you more in the enlightenment camp where one is looking to refine one’s consciousness to stop the perpetuation of suffering? Or don’t these big questions matter, so long as whatever you do makes you feel good and uplifted in the here and now?

    1. I’m really not focused on my own “feelings” as much as fully equipping myself as much as possible to bring light and love to my fellow human beings and to bathe in the love of God.

  12. Richard Henderson says:

    Appreciate your transparency and vulnerability and sharing you and your families spiritual disciplines.
    Couple books to consider reading if you haven’t already
    Francis Chan Crazy Love , David Platt Radical.
    Something to consider adding to your families spiritual disciplines that my family has done is yearly family mission trips. We have been to India, Tanzania, Morocco, Costa Rica, and this summer Mongolia probably our best trip to date . Creates a lot of life long memories, grow closer as a family and learn to grow and trust in your relationship with God.
    Also consider a gap year for your kids. My 2 oldest kids have done a gap year with YWAM Youth With a Mission.
    You do classroom work then go out into the world to apply what you have learned my daughter went to Maylasia and Vietnam, my son did Australia outback adventure camped in the outback spear fished in the ocean etc and also went to Indonesia. Great learning experiences.

  13. Perry says:

    I’m wondering how as a Christian you square the Romans 13:1 directive to be “subject to the governing authorities” and your relationship to prohibited schedule 1 drugs. Also Ephesians 5:18 says not to be drunk on wine and most Christians would see cause to apply this more generally to the mind altering substances you partake in. What is your take?

    1. Anyone who has used plant medicine with intention knows it is FAR different than getting drunk or getting high. You will know the good of something by the fruits it produces, and the fruits it produces for me have always indicated to me that the vine is good. I am also on the board of several foundations committed to pursuing increasing legality of these compounds (such as UnlimitedSciences, FieldTrip, etc.).

  14. Jonathan says:

    Big fan of the podcast as always. It’s comforting to hear another person who grew up in a Christian household being open to mushrooms and other substances with the goal of self-improvement. I was a little caught off guard though when you started naming off gram dosages you take. I recommend nobody try to mimic Ben’s dosages because he’s either taking very weak mushrooms or had a strangely high tolerance. 6-8 grams he says is his tripping dose would be an out of body experience most likely for anyone else. And while he says 2 grams is a non tripping dose in his experience, that would definitely be a trip dose for 90% of folks. I find lots of benefits from the 200-333mg level for social or work functions and consider above a gram as a beyond threshold dose and to be ready for anything.

    1. My tolerance is thru the roof.

  15. Caroline says:

    An amazing podcast. So inspiring and generous! I am truly grateful.

  16. Dena says:

    Sometimes when you’re talking about trying psilocybin and experimenting, I wonder what experiments you’ve tried that have resulted in negative results: bad trips, nightmares, poor sleep, whatever. Have you ever done an article on that?

    Also, I just got done reading your book “The Forest”- I enjoy young adult fiction even though I’m far from a young adult. At times it seemed like you were channeling your inner George RR Martin with the high mortality rate, ha. I enjoyed the books but did you have kill the donkey? Looking forward to the next one and hoping I get to find out what ever happened with the son of the king.

    1. Ha! Sorry about the donkey. :) And really no bad trips, just careful to replenish 5HTP, SamE etc. after…

  17. B. says:

    Funniest mistake here is attributing “Healing And Recovery” to Richard Dawkins instead of David.

    Something tells me Richard would hate this particular podcast ;)

  18. J RANDOLPH HARRISON says:

    This has just become my favorite podcast of yours. With all of the problems that I am facing in my life, you have inspired me to change myself for the better, and live each moment. Thank you and God bless

  19. Manal says:

    This podcast is one of the most powerful things I ever heard.

    I’m not even christian, but believing in having a great power in our lives, being religious and practicing it’s religion is a life changer. Because it is what make us different from animals f.i. like Ben said.

    I believe that God created us intelligent to be mindful in what we are doing.

    It may seem a lot of spiritual things to do, but it makes us live in peace, and feel peace in a world full of chaos.

    And If you ever read this, Ben, Thank you for this podcast. I noted everything :-)

    And happy birthay/holidays :)

    Ps. Loved your post ice bath prayer. It’s wonderdul

    1. Ben Greenfield says:

      Thanks!

  20. FYI this podcast is no where to be found on my podcast app….
    Why the long long delays?

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