[00:01:29] Podcast Sponsors
[00:06:30] What's New In Ben And Luke's Lives
[00:21:46] Writing Books And Hosting Podcasts
[00:25:20] Living A Life Without Asking, “What Now?”
[00:40:24] Podcast Sponsors
[00:43:05] Rites Of Passage Into Adulthood
[00:56:08] Ben's Experiences With Plant Medicines
[01:06:29] How Luke Changed His Perspective On Psychedelics
[01:17:50] Luke Storey's Personal Spiritual Disciplines Practice
[01:36:08] Where Luke And Ben See Themselves In The Future
[01:44:14] Closing the Podcast
[01:46:23] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Sometimes it's not the fact that you're severely addicted to a substance as much as the fact that because it's constantly around you, it's a cue to partake in it.
Luke: Because I've accomplished so much spiritually that part of me that wants to keep improving has tended to want to seek out those experiences with pretty rapid succession.
Ben: So, my job is to go hike, learn, come back, and talk to a really cool person and then press “publish” and tell the world about it.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield, welcome to the show.
So, if you're familiar with my friend Luke Storey who is a fellow podcaster, a fellow, as much as I hate to use this word, biohacker, then you may already also be familiar with the wealth of knowledge that he presents on his website. And, I always have fascinating discussions with this guy. Last time I was down in LA, we sat down at his house and we had a really great conversation that was less focused on supplements and biohacks and fitness devices and tools and things like this, and instead kind of took a little bit more of a deep dive into the spiritual and lifestyle side of health.
And, I think you're going to like this episode, which is brought to you by something brand new. I just put together this thing called an immunity bundle. So, what I did was I took the three things that I use most often to support my immune system. Number one, it's a blend of vitamin C and zinc. It's called Kion Immune. We have a very special form of zinc in there that does not cause stomach upset like a lot of zinc does because the zinc glycinate if I can talk. And, we combine that with a really good dose of vitamin C.
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Alright, let's go talk to Luke. By the way, if you want the shownotes for everything that Luke and I discussed in today's episode, comprehensive shownotes with links to any books mentioned, podcasts mentioned, products mentioned, anything like that, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/benandluke. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/benandluke, Ben and Luke.
Luke: We're here again with Ben Greenfield folks listening and watching. Last time Ben was here, we had every intention of sitting down and having a proper conversation but then we ended up hanging out in the house and going through the supplement cabinet and the biohacking —
Ben: From room to room of your palatial estate.
Luke: It ended up being like a two-hour tour. It probably could have gone longer. And then, Ben's like “Dude, I can't record, I'm going to go.” So, that became the podcast. But, my original intention was to really sit and talk about some of the deeper life experiences with you and both kind of share our perspectives.
Ben: And, for the video version of this, it's almost like that's Funny or Die show, “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis because I don't think this is a fern.
Luke: No, it's not.
Ben: We're not sitting between it; we're sitting on either side of it. But, yeah, we've got a plant and a really shitty book.
Luke: A giant little, “Boundless.” This is the first book that's dwarfed the planet. Usually, there's a nice little symmetry here but–
Ben: All we're missing is a president or a celebrity who we can roast and ask stupid questions too. And, we'd totally be on Funny or Die.
Luke: That's true.
Luke: That is true.
Ben: Probably closer to die.
Luke: Well, we might be able to match that content-wise itself. So, before we start, what's new and exciting? You're in LA visiting, what's the latest in your life?
Ben: New and exciting is all different these days. New and exciting is being parked in front of my computer working on new book ideas. I just finished a cookbook as a companion to “Boundless” where despite me having imposter syndrome, meaning I never grew up as a chef and always feel like I'm really cowboying in the kitchen. I just want to take all these recipes from camel's milk, kefir with gelatin in it for the bedtime snack to my little coffee rums in reverse sear process I do on steaks to the little sprouts that I grow and how I dehydrate them and salt them for a snack. And, almost like a blend between really novice molecular gastronomy and kind of a whole foods approach to diet with a few little supplements and mushrooms and things like that thrown in to add in, even more, better living through science. And so, I put the finishing touches on the cookbook a few weeks ago. And now, we're working on beautiful photos and everything for that.
And now, I'm working on a book more focused on spiritual fitness and caring for our soul. And, aside from that, just a lot of time spent with my little boys out in the forest. They're unschooling. And, for me to be able to be home more present with them and helping on that front has been magical, not being on airplanes or in airports until coming down here to LA and then last week to San Jose has been absolutely wonderful. I'm probably fitter than I've ever been. I'm healthier than I've ever been. A big part of that is due to not having to engage in the so-called dark side of hypermobility. And–
Ben: I feel good. How about you?
Luke: Well, it's funny dude. Before I answer that, looking at your Instagram which I do periodically, I would never guess that you're not naturally a chef because I'm not a foodie myself, it's more of a utilitarian kind of like man, I got to get it done, got to get something in there. But, when I do actually sit down to a great meal at BelCampo or something like, “Oh, my god, I should do this more often.”
Ben: I went to BelCampo last night and had a greasy burger on the sidewalk at Third Ave with some of the tallow fries, big smile on my face, grease, and ketchup and their secret sauce dripping down my chin.
Ben: And, I was in heaven. I literally was just listening to music at the end of a really long day of podcasting, and traveling, and Ubers, just sitting there stuffing a burger into my face watching the cars go by. And, it was fantastic. You're right, they do good meat. And, I get what you're saying about the cooking and the food prep piece. I'm spoiled because Jessa, my wife is full-on, make everything from scratch. Not just food but furniture and campers and anything around the house, she just makes. And, I have been very self-conscious cooking around her and trying to make recipes around her.
And, when I first met her and for the first few years of our marriage, I was still steeped in whey–Well, typically for me it was whey protein shakes, a lot of whey protein shakes, a lot of microwaving. I would microwave hotdogs, microwave oatmeal, microwave pop tarts, full meal deal, but very kind of old-school fitness approach to cooking. Definitely, an IIFYM, If It Fits Your Macros, eat it. Not too selective on food sourcing, on food quality, anything like that.
And, she didn't really come at things from that angle just because she was so used to gardening and having fresh meat around to prepare and had a whole different perspective. But, then she, because she had some pretty concerning skin issues both acne and eczema brought home this little tattered coiled PDF printout book from the University of Idaho library home one night and it was called “The Dietary Cure for Acne” by Loren Cordain. This would have been probably 14 years ago. And, she read it. She implemented a lot of the insulin-controlling plant defense mechanism inhibiting type of aspects of that early version of a paleo diet long before folks like Robb Wolf, for example, came onto the scene and heavily popularized it. And, I watched her skin issues clear up literally overnight.
I read the book myself and that was my first foray into beginning to understand the more ancestral approach to nutrition. But, I still was microwaving hotdogs after that.
Luke: Well, I mean technically–
Ben: They're hotdogs, yeah. Paleo man would have stuck it in a microwave and be at it, we put them out on a cave in the hot sun. And so, yeah, I've come a long way since those days. But, that was kind of my initial exposure to a more ancestral approach to food preparation.
Luke: It's one thing, you're preparing food that is good for you and another thing entirely cooking food that is good for you and taste like food that you would get at a restaurant that is not good for you. Yeah. it's like how do you make healthy food? Actually–
Ben: There's a one-word answer to that. Salt.
Ben: Really good salt.
Ben: In my in my fanny pack I'm always wandering around, I always have some form of really good salt in a Ziploc bag. Sometimes I also, if I've remembered and thought ahead when I travel, have a little 4-ounce travel container of a really good extra virgin olive oil. And, if I wander in like I'm eating at some bistro tonight with a bunch of guys and I think they've got like wraps and kale salad, just kind of the usual bistro fair, I guarantee olive oil and sea salt will be coming out of my bag.
Luke: Yeah, wise. So, yeah. So, that's a lot of new and exciting stuff, books and all. After doing the book “Boundless,” which those of you watching on video, you'll see the book I'm referring to. It's literally the bible of all things, health, biohacking, better living through science and nature. After writing that book, I would have like taken a 10-year hiatus off trying to write anything.
Ben: You always do that. Have you written a book–?
Luke: I'm in the process of it.
Ben: You are?
Luke: I'm in the process of it. Yeah.
Ben: Tell me more.
Luke: Well, I don't want to give away the title of the book because for some reason it just feels like I shouldn't, but–
Ben: Plus it can get stolen until you actually copyright it.
Luke: This is true. This is true. So, I'm holding that one close to the chest. But, essentially, Ben, it's been, god, now 24 years that I've been on this journey of spirituality and what we now call biohacking which used to be just called being a health nut or into anti-aging and stuff.
Luke: And, along the way, I have picked up a lot but I think because I'm always learning from other people. And, especially having this podcast, sometimes I sort of discount the progress that I've made because when I started making content as you know, I was coming out of the fashion industry where all of the things I was doing in meditation and yoga and health and healing were all just kind of part of my private life, so I just considered myself a perpetual student and had neglected the fact that I'd actually learned a lot along the way. Having now been on a lot of other people's podcasts and spoken on a lot of stages over the past four years, I've realized, “Wow, [BLEEP], I actually know a few things myself.”
And so, figuring out what the first book would be was a bit of a challenge because I think a lot of what makes my perspective compelling is that I have a really crazy past and the arc of the hero's journey is pretty insane from where it came to starting in childhood, in the 20s, and just living through mostly self-inflicted hell and surviving to tell the tale not only surviving but now thriving and carrying that to so many people. So, the initial thought was, well, I guess it should be a memoir, this tale of triumph over one's difficulties and follies. And, that felt just too self-indulgent. And frankly, I didn't think I'm famous enough to pull off a memoir like, “Okay, this dude writes a memoir. Yeah, everyone's had a rough life. Who cares?”
Luke: That kind of thing.
Ben: Yeah, cry me a river.
Luke: Yeah. And, it just feels too like, I don't know, self-important or something. So, I struggle with that a little bit, but also just having a book that omits the story is just like, “Here's lessons of life. Well, whose life and why?” So far the book is shaping up to be kind of part memoir and part some tales but also teachings along the way. So, childhood trauma–
Ben: Yeah, the storytelling is smart.
Ben: And, I tried to do it with “Boundless.” I lead in every chapter if the astute reader might note with a personal anecdote, a personal story that is related to the topic of that chapter whether it'd be about I had with MRSA or giardia for the immune chapter or hefty periods of stress that I went through that I eventually tackled with breathwork practices in the stress chapter, et cetera. But, the storytelling is important. I even tell my kids this when they're working on a book report.
At home, every week, I let them select a book or I help them select a book that they write a book report on with the general overview of that being that I figure if they have the mentality growing up that they can easily go through and assimilate one book a week. That's going to really train those muscles for them going into life just being able to digest information at a reasonable pace and then be able to teach others that information.
Ben: And, I always tell them to weave their own personal anecdotes and stories into each book report because people don't want to read facts, what people resonate and connect with our stories. But, I'll tell you, as you work on your book, probably the most difficult aspects at least for me of writing that you may find is, A, it's hard to write an entire book while keeping everything that you're writing held. As you noted earlier including the title close to your chest.
Luke: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: That is very difficult for me, which is why often when I'm writing a book, I will take pieces and snippets and put them out as tweets or blog posts. It's something that's just too good to wait for two years until it hits the bookshelves. I got to get this information out to the world now giving yourself permission to do that rather than thinking, if it's been out there and then the book gets published and it's already been out there, people aren't going to like the book. But, taking some of the really important stuff and just giving yourself permission along the way as you write to put something as a blog post or an early draft of the chapter out as a few paragraphs on Instagram, et cetera, I find that kind of fuels my fire giving people an insider sneak peek of the book as I'm writing it.
Ben: So, that's one thing that I found to be helpful.
Ben: There's probably two other things. One is the organization component. Meaning that as you gather data, as you research, as you find articles, books, interviews, podcasts, et cetera that are related to a chapter that you're working on or a chapter that you're creating a skeleton for because every chapter you must skeleton. Before that, you don't just sit down and write a chapter start to finish. You're always bouncing around typically laying out the framework, laying out the foundation for that chapter, but figuring out a way to assimilate all the data, all the research. It can be very daunting.
And so, many authors will use a platform called Scrivener for that. And, while that software is very useful for being able to organize what you're writing, the problem is it's not designed for a cloud-based interaction around anything that you're writing. If you have a scientific editor, if you have a research assistant, if you have a publishing editor, et cetera, then they can't be seeing and editing chapters as you go. You can't just share a chapter in the cloud.
So, what I do when I write now is I start a separate Google Drive folder for each book. And, that Google Drive folder has a folder for each chapter. And, that folder for each chapter has all the links to research, all the links to interviews, the chapter itself, and your revisions of the chapter as they're ongoing so the previous versions of the chapter don't disappear and get deleted forever.
And so, I found Google with as much heat as they're getting today right now, the alternative health community, selective censorship.
Ben: I haven't found a more convenient solution than that yet. So, organization and specifically cloud-based organization for collaboration and writing, I found that to be very important.
And then finally, the last is that, at some point, especially when you're writing a book about science or a book that might incorporate a lot of advances in biohacking technologies or new research on things that might assist with supporting healthy immune system or new compounds that have been discovered that might heal the gut, you get to a point where you simply have to say “Stop.” You get to a point where even for your editors and your publisher's sanity, if you're going through a traditional publisher, which is not necessary these days but can be convenient for bookshelf space, you have to get to a point where you just say “Okay, that's good enough.” This needs to go in the sequel or this is going to get added to the eBook or the Kindle version, which is far easier to edit, or this is going to go in the special bonus chapter of the website. But, that's a tricky part too. It's just freaking stopping and saying “Okay, I'm done now hit ‘publish' and send.”
Luke: Yeah. That's really good advice. And, I'm seeing that come to fruition now as I'm pulling together all these different elements. There is sort of a narrative of a story that's coming together and then there's punctuation points throughout the story where huge insights or lessons have been learned, but it's almost as if each chapter could be its own book. As I start to really dive in there, I'm like, “Oh shit, I'm 49 years old, man.”
Luke: Even if I just went from the past 24 years since my awakening and things really change and have this pivotal spiritual experience that just transformed everything, it was like I was born again at 26 years old, even from 26 to 49 is a lot. So, I think what I'm doing now is it's fun because I'm in this sort of archaeological dig where I'm just pulling everything out and just putting it where it needs to go. And then, I think that what's going to happen is there's just going to be a lot of fat trimmed as I go.
Ben: You definitely find that. And, it will feel like kissing your babies goodbye. But, what I kept myself saying was I actually retained a full and complete version of each chapter in “Boundless” with everything that the editor cut that I simply made a special hidden resources website. You go there and you type in your receipt number, your Amazon number, or whatever, and then it unlocks all. There's over 600 pages that I cut from the book that still live on or could be turned into additional books, et cetera. But, I don't know if you fancy yourself as this, but I think I do. We are storytellers. There's probably a reason that we are drawn to podcasting that I'm drawn to books and that you're now in the process of writing a book.
We perhaps would have been in ancestral times, the people who passed on either wisdom or stories or advice to future generations. I don't feel as though I would have been a gladiator or a warrior or up at night protecting the camp. I know I would have been doing that because I love to sleep, but sitting around the campfire, sharing stories, and finding out cool things, and passing on wisdom. I think that being a storyteller is a fun thing to do. And, I just feel incredibly blessed to be able to do that whether it'd be at podcasting, or writing, or producing books, or whatever the case may be. I think this ability to be able to pass on wisdom to future generations and the current generations if you want to call what I do wisdom, you might just call it random, random piecings of crazy biohacking knowledge. But, I think it's a really cool thing to do. I don't know about you but I feel blessed just to be able to be in a position where I can in a very amateurish way of phrasing it, find out cool shit and tell people about it.
Luke: Absolutely. I'm shocked continually at the fact that this is actually my job.
Luke: I parlayed my passion into a career. Me too–
Ben: I mean, when I tell my boys, dad's going for a 3-hour hike, I have an audiobook I need to listen to because I need to interview this person on my podcast in two days. He's a really smart doctor who would probably not give me the time of day at all, otherwise, if I didn't have a podcast for him to come out to talk about. So, my job is to go hike, learn, come back, and talk to a really cool person, and then press “publish” and tell the world about it.
Ben: It's a fun job.
Luke: Yeah, it is. And, to be able to continue to work on oneself and discover what works, what doesn't, and then share with people. And then, I realize like not everyone is like us where they want to research and try everything. That's what I'm discovering the feedback I get from people that follow the stuff that I'm doing is like thank God, people like you are doing all this because I just want the results, I just want to know what the net value is and what I can skip and just get to the point. And, I understand that. I'm just not that way, I want to try everything and really dive into how everything works. And, I think it's just part of that innate curiosity.
Ben: Yeah, it's a consequence of being supremely curious. And, I think you're right, some people want the convenience of getting all the best information, already been filtered right now. I like to dig into 100 research studies on carnosine and whether transdermal versus oral administration is best And, which different supplements have the best versions and what form of exercise at what intensity for what duration is actually going to help you to reduce the burn or whatever the case may be and then say “Okay, here's what I've found.” And, I think the world needs people like that and the world needs people who are out doing other things. Whatever. Protecting our country's borders or making food or being in any other position in society and they can simply take what we produce and have access to the good stuff in a short period of time.
Luke: Well, I want to talk about you kind of alluded to it and that you're writing a book about spirituality. And, I think for people like you and me to some degree, people get caught up in kind of the low-hanging fruit of, “If I just get healthy enough, fit enough, have good enough sleep, lose that weight, find the newest biohack, the newest supplement, the newest gadget, then I'll feel this sense of completion and wholeness.” It's like I go to these health conferences sometimes and I look at the crowd and I think, “What's the why here? So, you're fit, then what? So, you optimize your brain function, then what?” There's then what, then what, what's the end goal? And, ultimately the end goal is I think for most people a feeling of purpose and a feeling of–
Ben: So, you're 160 now.
Luke: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: Then what?
Luke: Yeah. So, you're 160–
Ben: You made it. You made it longer than other people. You hacked that. Then what? And, the way that C.S. Lewis described this was a God-shaped hole, an abyss deep down inside each of us that no matter how many fancy cars, and how many bank accounts, and how many houses, and how many attractive partners, and how many noble and laudable things like children or good relationships that we pour into that hole, it will never be full, and it will never feel fulfilling because it's a God-shaped hole. And, deep down inside of every one of us, there is a yearning for something bigger that goes beyond us. And, I think that that is a relationship with a creator God.
Augustine wrote about this. He also described it as something like a hole, something like an abyss. So, he actually called it never-ending yearning that would not go away until the day that you die. Blaise Pascal long time ago in the 1600s, he wrote a book called “Pensees.” It's actually a collection of writings. They're kind of a defense of the Christian doctrines. But, he has a lot of why sayings in there. And, I don't have the quote memorized but you could find it if you were to google Blaise Pascal's “Pensees” P-E-N-S-E-E-S. God-shaped hole, you'd probably find something like that. And, he noted the same thing, people are searching, people are striving, people get to the end of their lives and still feel as though they never reach that peak of fulfillment, never filled that hole.
And, the people who actually do, the people who actually find that that vibratory frequency that David Hawkins would refer to as peace or even enlightenment are the people who have discovered that that hole can be filled by a deep spiritual connectedness to God and a practice of the spiritual disciplines just as much as the physical disciplines or the mental disciplines, caring for one's soul just as much as one would care for one's bank account or fitness. And, really I think that that is the key. That is a God-shaped hole that will never be filled until you figure out a path to God to fill it.
Luke: Yeah, well said. I know in my own experience; it's been early in life due to childhood experiences that were traumatic and painful that caused a further separation from that relationship with God. Even though I wasn't conscious of it, I think that all babies are born connected. And then, we have experiences, even circumcision and traumas that happen at birth. I was put in an incubator seriously.
Ben: Yeah, birth is fun. You get slapped in the face, your penis cut off, and then your lifeblood core tied off and tied not.
Ben: And then a tit shoved in your face.
Ben: One of the one of those things is okay.
Luke: Yeah. I was thrown in an incubator for the first week of my life and cut off from all human contact.
Luke: It seems like, “Oh, poor me.” But, looking back at different patterns that have manifested in my life, there was a real disconnection there and then things that happened that shouldn't happen to kids happened. And, my refuge from that was seeking some kind of connection. And, I was able to find a facsimile, the connection to myself through drug abuse, and started that when I was really young.
And, people like me in recovery that have made it out the other side of that know or at least at some point will learn that we were trying to fill that God-shaped hole with that feeling of being satiated or soothed, self-soothed by changing our chemistry. And then, you, at least I won't project on any other former addicts and alcoholics listening, but if you're so lucky you don't end up in prison or a cemetery, you realize, Oh, shit, what was missing was this relationship with God.” And then, there's a lot of missteps typically in trying to fulfill that with the partner, the supplement, the job, the money–
Ben: Right. When in fact–
Luke: Losing the weight, gaining the weight, all of the things. You might be doing something so self-destructive in that escapist way, but you're still looking for something that seems to be elusive and it's that connection to one's true or higher self which is at one consciousness like speaking with God. It's like the god within you kind of gets lost in the chase after that feeling of existential loneliness or separation.
Ben: Right. And, I don't mean to vilify nice cars.
Ben: A great wonderful family, a lot of money in your bank account, drugs, supplements, gyms, gold spandex leotards, and bench pressing. Whatever it is that that you derive joy from, different people are wired up in different ways. But, like we were discussing in the kitchen before we came in here and I was telling you I recently had this Dr. John Lieurance on my show and he sent me up some of his Zen spray, this nicotine-based hapé extract from the Amazon. I just took a couple sprays up my nose and it kind of clears the head. Maybe you blow out all the snot, it induces. And, it can be addictive as we were discussing. Nicotine can be addictive. Ayahuasca retreats can become an escape rather than a connection to yourself or to God. Cars can become something that you define yourself as being attached to rather than a passing pleasure in life.
And, even when we were in the kitchen, I mentioned this, as Anthony de Mello says in his book, “Awareness.” We should be able to look at all of these things, all of these things that surround us in creation, whether things that humans made in God's image have created or whether God has created, whether a plant extract of psilocybin or LSD produced in a laboratory, whether a fancy Ferrari or a big oak tree providing shade in the backyard. We should be able to look at each of these things and recognize them as pleasures, things that caused this dopaminergic response that's built into us. It's a fantastic response. And, you and I were talking briefly about this. We call it addiction in many cases when we like to do something repeatedly over and over again.
But honestly, human beings from a biochemical standpoint were created to take a great deal of pleasure in many things that we come back to over and over again for another hit of pleasure, coffee, exercise, nicotine, sex, you name it. And, that doesn't mean that the thing that produces dopamine is bad. That doesn't mean coming back to it repeatedly is an addiction or at least should not be vilified if it is an addiction. But, you should be able to take anything in your life that you're throwing into that God-shaped hole, and say, again, as Anthony de Mello would say, “You are something I derive pleasure from, but I am not attached to you, I do not depend upon you for my happiness.” If you can't say that to all of these fancy tools, and toys, and gadgets, and supplements, and drugs, and medicines that surround you or any of them, or there's a certain one that you can't say that to without cringing or feeling a little pit in your stomach, then that is a sign that you do have an unhealthy attachment, that you do have potential for an addiction to something.
And, I like to paint it in. I'm going camping now with my backpack scenario. You should be able to just go off and camp for three to five days without any of these things in sight, extract yourself from them and not feel as though you're supremely unhappy because they no longer exist in your life temporarily. And, you would be surprised, we were talking about this with nicotine, how, sometimes, it's not the fact that you're severely addicted to a substance as much as the fact that because it's constantly around you, it's a cue to partake in it. And, I've found that if I'd simply remove myself from an environment where I might have access to something like food, or kettlebell, or caffeine, or whatnot, and it's no longer around, it's not that hard to become detached from it.
Luke: Yeah. Well, it's funny you frame it like that because I think my view of all human pathology is really a deviation from nature and natural human ways. So, the hunter-gatherer connectivity, and intimacy, and human support, and love, and affection, physical touch, all of those things combined with the loss of our connection to the land, I think that's at the root of all pathology, both emotional, spiritual, and physical.
And so, a good experiment would be to actually go immerse yourself in nature with no props, alone, I guess, would be the real warrior's way to do it, but with a couple of loved ones. You have family, kids, and whatnot, to go out there and really experience what it's like to be in true wholeness and completion in the way that we were designed.
Luke: It seems like as we've deviated further from that, that all of these props become necessary. And, I always say to people when they write, because people writing are like people that have this scarcity mindset often that are like, well, I can't be healthy because I can't afford the BioCharger, or the infrared sauna, or whatever. And, the first thing I say is like, “Yes, you can.” If my ass can figure this out, like I didn't even graduate high school, and I'm doing it. So, it's just a mentality thing more than anything. But more than that, I always say, you really don't need any of that shit if you have the discipline to align yourself with nature. Sun gaze at dawn, sun gaze at dusk, getting some cold water, get hot, move your body a bit, do some breathwork, meditate, most of the things that really move the needle are free, but people don't want to do those because they want the quick fix.
Luke: It takes more discipline to do that than like pop some modafinil and drink with all the other things.
Ben: I would never freaking want to be a caveman, nor would I want to live in a tent. If I had to choose, I would not want those things because our modern life is pretty freaking magical. We live like kings. And then, sometimes, we find in our hole, especially if you're steeped in the paleo, the ancestral community. Ancestral man or woman wouldn't have done this. They wouldn't have done that. They wouldn't have gotten on an airplane. They would have traveled by covered wagon across the US and half the family would have died as they travel 3,000 miles to go see grandma. But, I'm not going to get on an airplane because that's unhealthy and subjects me to radiation. I have an entire emperor's worth of library at my fingertips, but I'm not going to access it that much because I don't want to get irradiated by Wi-Fi.
You have to draw a line somewhere and accept the fact that a lot of the conveniences of modern life, despite having a few biological downfalls in terms of them being evolutionary mismatches, that perhaps our cell membranes and other parts of our body have not yet been able to fully adapt to present a wide range of blessings and conveniences that, I think, sometimes because we have this nostalgic view of how good ancient life must have been, we neglect to appreciate. And, I've certainly been guilty of that on my own show and in teachings or speaking, saying that we need to be as close to earth as possible and as ancestral as possible, when in fact I think that you can, to a certain extent, have the best of both worlds.
You can marry ancestral living to modern science, make some good, educated decisions. Yes. Don't strap a Wi-Fi-enabled meditation neurofeedback device to your head and sit there for an hour with rampant levels of EMF floating around your brain. But, if you got some Bluetooth-enabled Muse headband or something like that that you're putting on for 10 minutes a day because it's assisting you with steepening the curve or lowering the steepness of the curve of your meditation practice or something like that, go for it. Embrace technology, embrace something that our caveman ancestors wouldn't have done. And, I think that many of us would be healthier and better off because of that.
Luke: Yeah, that's a really keen observation. Someone was asking me yesterday if I do like backpacking, legit, not like put on a backpack and hike a mile up a hill, but like go out for nine days with your backpack. I would rather do anything other than that. It's like, well, where's my chiliPAD? I mean, what if it's too hot or too cold? What if I'm uncomfortable for just a few minutes? So, I am absolutely guilty of–
Ben: Excursions like that do help you appreciate the chiliPAD.
Luke: Yeah, yeah. The ground's too hard. Are you kidding me? I value my sleep, but it is about for me also a balance, but also acknowledging that the reason that so much of these props and things like that are needed in order to just sustain and evolve in a new way is because the deviation from our natural life way is so far off, but there's also no going back.
Luke: And, if you become domesticated like I absolutely have, I'm not going to live in the woods in a cabin with no electricity. It isn't going to happen.
Ben: Hey, I hope you're enjoying this episode. But, I've got something else that you will also enjoy and it is something that is a culinary treat, beef sticks. Now, before you kind of cringe at the thought of what is it, Oberto? I forget the stuff you get from the gas station. It was nasty beef jerky full of crap preservatives and artificial compounds from CAFO feedlot beef. This is grass-fed grass finish, the beef stiffs I'm talking about. They're also fermented. That's very uncommon to ferment beef. But, when you do that, it creates naturally occurring probiotics which are wonderful for gut health and it amps up the flavor of beef jerky through the roof. You've never had fermented beef sticks or fermented beef jerky, it's a whole different experience.
And, my friends at Paleovalley have cracked the code on making an incredibly tasty beef stick that is not only fermented but uses all organic not conventional spices sprayed with pesticides or natural flavors made from GMO corn, but all organic flavors and spices and they taste really good. You go to paleovalley.com/ben to get 15% off of these bad boys. That's paleovalley.com/ben, will get you 15% off.
And then, one other thing that I would also like to offer to your pallet is the Organifi Red Juice. Now, here's something interesting. So, this is a blend like reishi and cordyceps and ginseng and then tons of red stuff rhodiola, acai, beets, pomegranate, raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, strawberry, but with almost no sugar like most juices have but a wide range of flavor, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And, here's the deal, I actually made a meat marinade out of it. I used it on some liver that I made and it was fantastic. So, there's an uncommon use for this stuff. You make yourself the red juice, make it really thick and dense and then you can actually use it as a meat marinade. I discovered this a couple weeks ago and it is definitely something that I'm going to repeat. So, for those of you who are carnivorous out there that is a little tip for you to just bathe your meat for 24 hours in Organifi Red Juice and it actually worked out really well and made some really, really fantastic ribeyes.
So, anyways, you can go to organifi.com/ben for 20%. It's called Organifi Red, Organifi with an “I”.com/Ben for 20% off. And, remember, everything that you hear in today's episode in terms of comprehensive shownotes and resources, you can access at bengreenfieldfitness.com/benandluke.
Luke: It would be like the life of the renunciate, the monk who just drops everything. Like, we spoke of David Hawkins, he did that, he left a huge practice in New York City as a psychiatrist of 50 years, and just abandoned all his finances, and everything, and just moved to Sedona with the old pickup truck.
Luke: And, that's one path. But then, eventually, you're going to have to start building a life back up, probably, and reentering the world in order to carry whatever it is that you learned.
Ben: Many people have that all or nothing approach. They say, well, I need to go live in a cabin in the woods forever or sell all my belongings and become a monk forever. And, I do think that brief excursions here and there into those uncomfortable scenarios are very developmental for character and do really help you to appreciate the pleasures in life that you might have lost your full mindfulness around in terms of appreciating and being present with them, that piping hot cup of coffee in the morning that you grab and suck down while you're hunched over emails on your computer that you barely appreciate anymore, even though it arrived to you from freaking South America, selectively roasted, and handpicked, and all the jet fuel that got burnt to bring it up to you, and you just suck it down morning after morning after morning without being aware of it. You go camping without any coffee for a week, you come back and you might be a little bit more appreciative of the cup of coffee.
And so, I think that for self-awareness and for appreciating a lot of these modern pleasures in life, that extracting yourself on a regular basis. There's a wonderful book that I'm taking my family through right now called the “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.” And every two weeks, we visit a different topic within that book.
The topic last week was teachability. The topic this week, fittingly enough is unplugging. There was everything from charity and service to worship to self-examination, and a host of other topics that came before that. But, one was a retreat at the value. And, we see this over and over again in great philosophers, and thinkers, and authors of having some structured, scheduled retreat each year, in which you do escape a lot of the modern conveniences of life. And, in many cases, it is accompanied with things that go quite well, that pair quite well with the retreats, particularly fasting, prayer, silence, solitude, study, these things that a retreat better enables us to do when we are free of distractions.
I especially think that anybody who is attracted to this new sexy world of plant medicine and fast-tracking the self-discovery process through ayahuasca or through complete ego dissolution via whatever, psilocybin, or MDMA, or anything else, needs to take that route first, needs to go off by themselves and experience what a plant medicine or a drug-free journey of self-discovery is like. In other words, do the hard [BLEEP] first before you pop the pill.
Luke: Or that pill-popping could be a lot harder than it needs to be.
Luke: Because all the [BLEEP] that you've been suppressing and repressing by not wanting to go just face silence and face yourself is going to be shoved into your face like a giant funhouse mirror.
Ben: I know many people who have gone off in plant medicine immersions and couldn't even handle a weeklong diet going in, couldn't handle restricting meat, restricting alcohol, restricting the use of other compounds that they've become attached to, doing at least a 12 to 24-hour fast beforehand because they really had never put themselves into that scenario. If a week before going into a ceremony like that, you can't even do that, it's a pretty good sign you're not prepared to do it.
Luke: You just reminded me of one element of that, is the character building and discovery of one's self-reliance, also. There is a lot of value in that. I'm thinking about where you live in Spokane. I think I've told you this before, but I went to a boarding school there that was like this quasi-reform school sort of very cult-like bizarre place in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Ben: Oh, jeez.
Luke: Yeah. Right. It's not a stretch you can imagine. It's like 30 miles south of Canada or so. But, I remember telling you, I was like, “Oh, Spokane, that was the big city for us.” Every once in a while, they would set us loose in our little, short bus and take us to Spokane.
Luke: It was like being in Manhattan.
Ben: The moms, they're not driving minivans, they're driving pickup trucks with 44s holstered to their hip.
Luke: Yeah. But, at the school, it's called Rocky Mountain Academy. One of the beautiful things that they did for us is they sent us out on a vision quest so they'd give you like a 50, 60-pound pack. I'm 14 years old at the time. God knows how much I weigh, but it's probably double the pack of that. You hike up into the mountains, 3 feet of snow, snowshoes, the whole deal, and then they give you a tarp and teach you how to build a little ice shelter or snow shelter, and they're just like, here's your journal, and a canister now, and some beans, bye.
Ben: Oh, they gave you beans. There's that.
Luke: Yeah. At least, you didn't have to go out and find your own food, but yeah. Of course, it was extremely challenging and scary. You hear noises at night. I'm 14. I'm from California. Like I miss my skateboard, and my Walkman, and my Black Sabbath tape, and here I am, and it was challenging, but man, coming down that mountain, I was a different person. It really was like a coming of age, rite of passage kind of thing. And, I was like, “Holy [BLEEP], I did that.” And, it gave me a lot of confidence as coming out of that afraid little boy, this kind of afraid of the dark. Man, I hung out here for three days and nights with just myself, and a pen, and a journal, and lived to tell the tale.
Ben: Yeah. Well, you had very irresponsible parents to allow you to do something like that. There are people jumping through the radio waves right now.
Luke: No, this was under supervision at the school.
Ben: No, I'm joking, actually. I think that more boys especially should go through a rite of passage like that.
Luke: Oh god, yeah.
Ben: My boys, they'll have kind of a four-day group wilderness survival next spring. They've been doing camps with this same facilitator for the past six years, so they've already built up their spear-making, and their bow drill, and their sheltering, and their plant-foraging, and their general survival tactics. And then, that four-day immersion will be finished with a 24-hour solo. River will be cut off from his twin, Terran; Terran from his twin, River. They'll, similar to you, have a backpack, a journal, wool blankets, a knife, and be forced to fend for themselves for 24 hours.
And, when I say forced, this is not like dad is [00:49:56] _____, but it's one of those things where I'm setting it up, and should they choose to swallow that pill, that's all there for them. When they're 13, the following year, when they are 14, they will go through from that rite of passage into adolescence, through another rite of passage into adulthood where it will be four days solo. And, during those experiences, they will experience loneliness, they will experience ego dissolution. They will experience a greater connectedness to God because there isn't a whole lot aside from that to connect with once you've been inside your head for that long, out by yourself, usually hungry and undergoing some element of hardship, and fasting, and thirst.
And, I truly wish that I had done something like that when I was 13 or 14 because my rite of passage was about 20 years of Ironman triathlon, and Spartan racing, and death racing, and adventure racing, and bodybuilding, and kettlebell swing, everything else to prove to the world that I was a man. And, I think that had my passage to manhood been more clearly recognized as an adolescent, and I think this would be the case for many men out there who are still searching and who still deep down inside are boys. They're not fathers. They're not leaders. They're not kings. They're still boys deep down inside.
Luke: You're talking about Antifa?
Ben: Antifa. Yeah. No.
Luke: Sorry, couldn't resist. Totally off-topic, inside joke.
Ben: They need that. And, I think that culture would be better off for it. We would have stronger fathers and leaders, and kings if rite of passage was built into our westernized culture in the same way that it's still built into many indigenous hunter-gatherer cultures. It doesn't have to be evil, and wicked, and vehement, and overseen by elders who lack humbleness and meekness. It doesn't have to be like the “Wild, Wild West” storybook I was reading to my boys last year where they take the youth, and they put holes in their skin, and hang them from hooks from a ceiling, and twist them in circles while they attach buffalo skulls to the chains that hang off the hook so they get heavier and heavier.
And then, once they drop down, they have to run those buffalo skulls through the tribe while they're getting kicked, and punched, and scraped. And then, those who still have the buffalo skulls attached to their height after all of that, they then have to drag them out to a field and just live out in the field until the skin rots and the skulls eventually get detached because the rotting skin has allowed the cable hooks to come free. And then, whether you go through that long route or whether you go through the route where you're dragging your buffalo skulls through the village and all of them eventually just become detached from the skin, you then return back, you get one of your fingers cut off to signify that you've made it to warrior status, and then you are a man. I don't want my boys to do that.
Luke: Damn. Who is this?
Ben: Maybe they can carry a buffalo skull up a steep hill, I forget the tribe. It's a “Wild, Wild West” storybook I was reading to my kids.
Luke: Oh, my god. So, Native American tribes?
Ben: Yeah, it was Native American.
Luke: And, this is real?
Ben: Oh, yeah. This is all real.
Ben: That's a little extreme.
Ben: But, we do need our adolescents to have a little bit more of a remarkable recognition of their passage into adulthood and a recognition of their increasing responsibility in society and contribution or potential for contribution to society recognized. And, I think that's wonderful that you did something like that in Bonners Ferry.
Luke: Yeah. I mean, it was part of the journey and I think that whole two-year stint there really was the pivotal experience that changed the trajectory. Even though I came out of there and still became an incorrigible drug addict, it did stop me from committing crimes against other people, which is a pattern that had developed up until the time I was 14. And so, after that, not that I never committed any crimes, but they were just crimes around breaking drug laws, basically, not breaking into people's houses and all kinds of things that I was getting into when I was really young.
So, yeah, definitely, that sense of self-worth and of self-empowerment was huge. And, there's a lot of stuff like that there that just made you tougher. You mentioned indigenous peoples. And, I think it's been really interesting over the past two years, specifically, of going into different ceremonies with people of different traditions and just being curious as guys like us are and asking them questions, and in some cases interviewing them, but what was it like for you growing up? And, tell me about your lineage, and when you came into this life and started doing medicine.
And, I was actually shocked to find that many of these indigenous peoples that practice the use of plant medicines start really young, and their initiations often include the use of plant medicines with their kids. Obviously in our culture, that's not something that would be kosher in most cases. There's a technicality of the–
Ben: It's not legal, of course, in most situations with most compounds, unless your kids get the first glass of wine or something like that. They've been ceremonially inducted, but I actually am not opposed to the use of plant medicines, especially in a ceremony that's taking place during the rite of passage or after. I think that that's something that just further allows for a dissolution of the ego and a greater connectedness to self and to God. And, I'm certainly not tabling the idea of that for my own voice, again, although at that point, we have to be careful with anything we say because I don't want social workers showing up at my door, digging under their beds for their cup of ayahuasca or something like that.
Luke: Hypothetically speaking, one could consider that as an option.
Ben: Yeah. Hypothetically speaking, my boys will have a very responsible attitude towards and use of plant medicine probably by the time they're 15.
Luke: Yeah. Speaking of plant medicines, what was the first experience that you had and what different experiences have you had? Like, what different compounds have really moved the needle for you or had an impact?
Ben: Well, as with many of the forays that I take before I fully understand the power of something, I cowboyed a lot in the early days of my use with some of those compounds. And, my early day is not very early. I didn't really touch anything except alcohol until I was 31, and I am 38 now. I had smoked half a joint in a parking lot once, and I'd certainly drank a lot of Everclear, and beer, and wine in college, and went through a stint where I was a bit of a wine aficionado, went everywhere with my wine bible and did wine tastings.
But, for me, it was pretty much all alcohol, and the occasional cigar, a little bit of a joint here and there. And, I started to look into a lot of these compounds that are so-called lysergamides or variants of LSA or LSD for enhancing cognition or to be used as a microdose for left and right brain hemispheric activity, started to look into psilocybin just based on a basic Stamets protocol of psilocybin, and niacin, and lion's mane, again, for nature immersion or for a day of creative thinking, did a little bit of microdosing with MDMA and with ketamine, primarily for sexual experience.
Luke: Oh, interesting.
Ben: Yeah, a little oxytocin usually along with that [00:57:50]_____ connectedness piece.
Ben: And, did my first ayahuasca ceremony here in the US with a very good facilitator, who a lot of people are probably familiar with, and that was paired with DMT and went through that for a few days. And, that was my first realization of how deep–
Luke: So, you're smoking DMT while on ayahuasca?
Ben: Yeah, how deep one could go in terms of what I would consider to be a very intense journey into pure light, and love, and a connectedness with God. And, I've never had that much baggage in my life emotionally or even from a relationship standpoint. I lived a pretty clean life as a young Christian kid. I never went through a whole lot of trauma. I haven't had a lot of baggage that I've needed to deal with, so I never really approached plant medicine from that perspective. Thus, most of my experiences have been pretty dang pleasant and full of just light, and love, and bliss. And, from the ayahuasca and DMT ceremony, did a few other ayahuasca and DMT experiences.
Luke: Are you doing the Bufo toad or the synthetic DMT?
Ben: Both. I made a few orders from, it wasn't Sigma Laboratories, I think it was Lizergy at the time. And, these are like synthetic variants of DMT, synthetic extracts of psilocybin, et cetera. And, just kind of cowboyed around with it for a little while, but even still didn't have until I was 36 years old, a great deal of intentionality, a great deal of sentence setting built up around some of these immersions. It was more just sheer curiosity. What does this one do? What does it make me feel like?
Ben: What different things do I see when I use this? How does that make me feel? Which one makes you feel you get run over train the next day versus having a super clear head and happy-clappy the next day?
Ben: And, I, a couple of years ago, began to work with a facilitator who uses about 60 different Amazonian plant medicines and decided that after having seen my father go through what I would consider a mid-life crisis, he became a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
And, I love my dad. I don't want to talk down on him on the podcast, but he seemed to go off on his own journey of self-discovery. He moved to Vashon Island to live with some monks for a while. He traveled to the east to study Eastern Orthodoxy there. He began to have his own private prayer practices, and icons, and began to go to different church, and eventually divorced my mom and left the family. And, I think that a great deal of the journey that he went on actually made him, to a certain extent, a wiser, more enlightened individual.
He did change. He released a lot of judgment, a lot of shame, a lot of ego. But, at the same time, the journey also left his family in the wake, left the whole family behind. And that, in and of itself, can create a lot of trauma, especially for my younger brothers and sisters who were still in the house at the time and had to deal with all of that. You never want to see your parents split up. And, of course, you never want to hear them blaming each other or shoving each other under the bus, and all of that happens as parents are going through a divorce, inevitably. At least, I've run into very few people who still don't badmouth someone they had a divorce with, or claim it was someone else's fault or whatnot. And, that's hard on the kids.
I did not want to begin delving, because I found my consciousness expanding, I found my ego was somewhat dissolving, I felt myself becoming a different person when it came to the way that I approach my spiritual practice, enhancing my own breathwork, my meditation, my yoga, my journaling, my delving into scriptures, everything began to change. It was as though my consciousness was expanding to a certain extent, which I think is one of the beneficial effects of these type of compounds. But, my wife, Jessa, had no clue about any of this or how it worked. All she knew was, “Ben's getting a little different. He's not as in like riding his bike down the highway super-fast and spandex anymore. He's getting a little bit more into meditation, and journaling, and these weird forms of breathwork down in the basement, in the sauna.” And, I could see that it was taking us in two different directions.
So, two years ago, I began to work with this facilitator who primarily works with couples. You're doing a ceremony together. You're in the same place after you've gone through a series of different medicines and soundtracks, et cetera, that he chooses for you. You then face each other in bed for a good five to seven hours, talking about life, about family, about relationship, still in the medicine space, but looking deep into each other's eyes. We have done that six times just in the past two years. And, it's been transformative for our relationship in terms of journeying together rather than me going off on my own journey.
And, I have to tell you, for legal reasons, my facilitator will not even tell me what he is using. I can tell you, it's both synthetics and plant medicines. Having experienced all that stuff kind of individually on my own, LSD, ketamine, MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, iboga, all this, I can kind of tell. I'm like, “Oh, I think he just injected this into my shoulder or I'm pretty sure that last capsule I took was this or that. There's even a microdosing protocol that he puts me on in between our sessions where I'm taking these little pills on one day. One's called Creativity, another is called Focus, another is called Compassion, and you kind of weave these into the month on a certain scheduling basis to kind of keep you in the space to a very small extent, so to speak, so you continue to get downloads and continue to merge left and right hemispheres, and continue to be in kind of an ego-dissolved state.
And so, it's a really, really interesting approach. And, that's pretty much for me. I'm good with that, quarterly plant medicine retreat with my wife overseen by a facilitator with a little bit of a microdosing in between, like it's working extremely, extremely well for me, with the only exception being that early on in the process, the physiologist in me was always aware, just like I just described, “Well, what's that?” Or, “Could you change the soundtrack?” Or, “Hey, I think I'm too lucid.” And, I pay attention to sounds in the room and kind of self-analyzing. And, my ego is just so big, it would not turn off. And so, I did go through. This was a-year-and-a-half ago.
I've had a lot of comments from people actually since I did this, that even my personality changed, and my writing changed, and the things I would say on stage or in podcast began to change. But, I went through about a 27-hour very, very unpleasant experience that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy with vomiting, and urination, sweating through the bed sheets and crapping my pants. It's just deep, deep into very uncomfortable medicines in order to kind of crack open the ego to allow myself to release the built-in belief that I've grown up with, that I am the hero, that I am God's gift to mankind, that I am the truth, that I am the Jesus, that I am the savior. I really had that complex just spinning away at the back of my mind. And, that ceremony just ripped all that wide open.
And, since then, I've realized, frankly, in a nutshell, that I don't need to be the hero, that any shame I project on people, any judgment I project on people, none of that is necessary because we are all saved by the death of Jesus. We're all there for accepted. And, at our death, we can pass into eternal bliss with God, the Father. And, who am I to tell anyone that they are on an equal footing or that Jesus didn't die for them? Who am I to say that I'm so powerful, I can be the hero, I can save the world? That's already been done. My only job is to just tell people the good news. And, that was really transformative for me. So, yeah.
Luke: Yeah. The medicines have a way of changing one's perspective powerfully and profoundly. After I was sober 22 years, and I'd heard about psychedelics and plant medicines with done intentionally, whether in a therapeutic setting or in a shamanic traditional ceremony, and I thought, that's great for you, people, but I can't do that because like I'm not allowed to do anything mind-altering as a practice of self-preservation. Because historically, had I thought, whoa, I've been off drugs for a little while, I could probably drink couple of beers. Then, there I go again. It's just like the pattern is so obvious every time, going back into my 20s and stuff.
But, after I started to explore a bit a couple of years ago, I started to remember that even before I got sober, when I was just using psychedelics to escape, a couple of times, I did have experiences similar to what you describe that helped me to see myself in a way objectively that would have been impossible had I not had the assistance of that change of consciousness. And, in one particular situation, I had totally forgotten about this. I took a bunch of mushrooms because I used to sell mushrooms as for a living back in the day here in Hollywood, these big 5-gallon buckets, and I used to buy like 5 pounds of shrooms at the time.
Ben: My mom, actually, she sold a lot of shrooms before she moved from Detroit to Moscow. She was deep in shrooms.
Luke: Yeah. I mean–
Ben: And, she was pretty much on shrooms. She told me this last year pretty much every day.
Luke: They're a good business because the mark-up, your margins are good, but you can still offer value. You could basically double your wholesale to retail price and still be solid with your customer, so I liked it. But anyway, I digress. One time, I don't know, I probably took 5, 7 grams of mushroom or something just because I was depressed, and sad, and anxious, and suicidal, and I thought, “Well, if I just pour mushrooms on this, I'll feel better.”
Ben: Of course.
Luke: That didn't happen. What happened was I had this experience in which I was able to see what a train wreck my life had become at maybe 25 years old. And, it was just the clarity that I was given, even though I was drinking with them, and stuff like that, and was trying to party, I had this basically like a nervous breakdown. I was just sobbing. And, my buddy, Ripo, was his name, he's the drummer in my band, he's like, “Dude, you're a bummer, like you're the worst guy to shroom with” because I was just melting down.
But, what happened was I just realized like, man, I think I identified there was this seed of potential in me and the mushrooms helped me to see that, that if I could just get sober, ironic as that might sound, that I could have a life that could actually contribute something to the world, and then I could make something of myself. And, I forgot about that for a very long time. And then, shortly after that, I did. I checked myself into rehab. And I, for the first time in my life, started praying to God just in a nebulous vague kind of way, just creator, whatever you are, I mean, I don't care if you told me to be a Hari Krishna, to become a Christian, Judaism, whatever, I would have done it, but I didn't really have any specific path. It was just like, “God, help me because I can't help myself.”
And, it came, and it happened, and it did. But then, it took 22 years of just doing things on the natch, and just looking at myself in the mirror every day, and doing all of the meditation, all the work going to India and all that before I finally did the medicines again. And, I have to say, man, it's like the rewiring of my brain that has taken place through the experiences I've had, a few with peyote, a few ayahuasca, one Bufo, handful of mushroom journeys. I was thinking about it yesterday, I'm just going, I don't get triggered anymore by the shit that I used to get triggered for. It's like even after 22 years of just digging and digging, and working and working, and growing, and surrendering and surrendering, and all of that, there were still just pathways, I think, in the mind that just couldn't be reached.
Luke: Where a certain experience, or especially in romantic relationships, just things that would happen and patterns that I was acting out that weren't productive in various ways that I could see, but I still couldn't really stop. I'd be like, well, I'm never doing that again, and then, that neural connection would draw me back into that felt sense of experience or the pattern that results from it. And, I swear, those medicines, man, have just like gone into my psyche and rearranged things in a way by me just voluntarily letting go and trusting that process, and trusting God and God's creation, and working through those medicines and the various very talented facilitators and therapists that I've worked with. It's like, I can't imagine where I would be right now if I hadn't made that decision and followed my intuition two years ago to Costa Rica, and do my first series of four ayahuasca ceremonies.
Luke: It's just a completely different world. The thing is, though, and you mentioned this earlier, is that I made very sure I did my research that none of the things I was taking had any potential for addiction. And, still to this day, I've never heard of someone like smoking Bufo toad, and be like, “I'm going to do that in a couple hours.”
Ben: Yeah. If you take 8 grams of psilocybin, you don't want to see psilocybin the next day, for sure.
Luke: Actually, I do.
Ben: Oh, my.
Luke: Yeah. The last time I did that, the next day, I was like, “That was awesome. I should do that again.” But, point being is I did research. I'm talking about cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, alcohol. That's how I roll back in the day. I'm not proud of it or ashamed of it. It's the medicine I needed to not kill myself, basically. And so, I researched all this stuff to make sure that I wasn't going to like put my toe in the water and fall in the pool again, so to speak.
And so, after talking to so many people that had been sober, that were rendered sober, even by these profound experiences, I went into it and I don't feel at all that anything has become habit-forming at all. But, I have noticed, because I've accomplished so much spiritually in those experiences and I've overcome just such deep-seeded wounds, and as I said, broken those patterns, that that part of me that wants to keep improving, and keep merging with God, and keep growing has tended to want to seek out those experiences with pretty rapid succession.
Luke: And, thankfully, dating a woman who's a shaman and a spiritual teacher is wise, and I trust her wisdom. And, she pointed that out to me. She's like, I know you're not getting addicted to this stuff, but I don't know if you're realizing like you're going to the ceremony pretty often with a lot of different things, and that's cool, that's you, that's your path, but there's something in it to her, she communicated, it feels off to me.
Luke: And, I'm like, “What? I'm not addicted.” But, what I realize is it's what you mentioned earlier it's kind of like, it's not addiction but it's the attachment to those peak experiences is the potential risk there, I think. And, the attachment to those peak experience, for me, I think I'm more susceptible to that because the benefits of those experiences are so profound and so obvious to me, and I'm not delusional. So, if I do a mushroom journey and like have some deep healing or realization, like a lot of my book came to me in the last MDMA psilocybin journey I had, it was just like, boom, this is what happened.
I was going to write a book just so I could get paid more to go to public speaking, to be like, I'm an author, to put that in my bio. I mean, it's literally self-serving just 100%, just for my career. Took the mushrooms, and I was like, yeah, “What's up with the book? What am I supposed to do?” And, it's like, boom, “You're supposed to do this for other people,” and then the whole thing unfolded.
Luke: So, when I have something like that, I'm drawn like, well, [BLEEP], if that happened last weekend and it totally changed the trajectory of a huge component of my career, then “What could happen this weekend?” So, it's like, it's an attachment to the experience more so than, “I hate my life, so I want to escape, so I'm going to go do coke and hang out in a strip bar tonight.”
Ben: Yeah. I have two observations, and then one question for you. My first observation is that you do need to be cautious because I view something like a plant medicine experience from a neural health standpoint as being similar to a TBI or concussion in terms of the potential for neural inflammation in neurotoxicity that it can produce. This is why many people going into and coming out of such a ceremony will use antioxidants such as glutathione, and acetylcysteine, and vitamin C, will replenish serotonin with things like 5-HTP, or S-adenosylmethionine, or amino acids. They will often benefit from things like ketone bodies, high-dose fish oil, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the laser lights that you wear on your head, those Vielight devices.
I treat a ceremony, which for me would be quarterly maximum as something that really beats up the brain, similar to the way that I would not do an Ironman triathlon six times a year without accepting the fact that I was going to damage some joints and result in some endocrine disruption, overtraining, thyroid depletion, et cetera. I would be cautious with hard and heavy use of higher dose levels of these plant medicines for those reasons. I also do not want to give people the impression that this is for everyone. I think that you need to be ready. You need to have already implemented the spiritual disciplines in your life. You already need to have a fasting practice. You already need to be able to have had released your attachments from a lot of the pleasures in life that you might be addicted to from a negative standpoint.
There is a lot of preparatory work that goes into even being ready to consider something like this. And, if you're not willing to do that prep work, it's probably not for you because you don't do this work to enable yourself to do the prep work. You do the prep work first to then allow yourself to get the most benefit out of a medicine. That's very important.
Luke: One hundred percent.
Ben: You must do the hard work first.
Luke: One of the first chapters I wrote in my book was like a check yourself, the set and setting thing. It ended up being quite a dance piece because I realized, especially for people in recovery. I would 10x your statement of prudence and discernment there, but yeah, I've been invited to ceremonies like here in Hollywood. “Oh, my friend is doing an ayahuasca thing next weekend,” I'm like, “Oh, no, it just doesn't feel right.”
Ben: No, I've been part of a session like that a couple of times, actually, and it's a complete waste of time and waste of medicine, in my opinion. It's kind of an excuse to party with something that might be considered noble and laudable, but out of context is just not something I think most folks are going to get much out of aside from a pleasant conversation with friends in a more openhearted scenario than you might normally be in. But, I don't think it's worth it.
And then, a question for you is, I know that you have your own, I guess, I would say spiritual disciplines practice, whether it'd be journaling or meditation, and when I did the home biohacking tour with you, we went up to your Zen den where you'll combine things like a Dispenza meditation with NuCalm with a BioCharger. And, I'm just curious, for you, boots on the streets, when it comes to your spiritual disciplinary practice, what things look like for you these days? What are some things that you do that you think people could or should try themselves at home that don't involve some $15,000–
Luke: Yeah. I mean, I've gone through so many iterations. When I first got sober, as I said, I wake up in rehab, 26 years old, burnt my life to the ground, not that there was a lot to be burned there in the first place, but what little there was has just been decimated, suicidal at death's door, yellow, 135 pounds. And, I said the first honest prayer of my life, and I was just, God, I don't know how to live life, you got to help me, I can't do this. And, that was the beginning of my spiritual path and it was just such a surrender moment.
When the arrogance, and bravado, and pride that I had propped up with all of the shit in my life had all crumbled, it was just me and the creator there. And, in that moment, something happened to me. And, for the past 24 years, Ben, honestly, all I've been doing is just exploring with curiosity what was that thing and who did it, because it warmed me, you know what I'm saying? Like, I could not release myself. And, for anyone that's not had that experience of acute addiction, I think some people think like, well, just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, just self-discipline, just let it go, just stop. And, it doesn't work like that.
Ben: The jackal approach.
Ben: How do you tough? Just be tough.
Luke: When you're 26 and you're addicted to heroin for five years, it's not just like, I'm going to wake up tomorrow, and not do this, and think positive, it just doesn't work like that most of the time. So, that was the beginning. And, really thankfully, and I'm so grateful that I had that experience because there was no choice but to pursue a spiritual way of life. It wasn't like because I want to meet cute girls at the yoga class or at the breathwork class, it was like, I know I'm going to die if I don't build a relationship with that thing that came into my heart and mind, and released me from that bondage. And, there was just no denying it. I don't care. You could held a gun to my head, and said, you have to disavow God. It's not real. It was a fantasy. There's just no way. When you know, you know. And, I'm sure you've had these experiences.
And so, because my pathway to a spiritual life happened to be based in addiction, my entry point was the 12 steps. And, the 12 steps are loosely based on different Christian principles actually.
Ben: That's the AA, right?
Luke: Mm-hmm, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, this has to do with acknowledging that you, in and of yourself, can't solve your problem, that there is a power greater than you, call it what you want, that can solve your problem. I'm kind of running through the steps here.
Once you've identified that you can only go so far on your own, that there is another power available to you, and you open your mind to that, then you make a decision to turn your will, like what you want in your life, your desires, and the result of your desires, which is your life, the outcome over to that power that you call God, then you go on to inventory, all of the things within yourself that have blocked you from God and that experience of wholeness and completion that you were innately born with. You make restitution to the people that you've harmed along the way and you make that a habit. You learn to pray and meditate. And, you build this life of observing your character defects as they arise, and having self-honesty, and building a life of humility and a life that is truly surrendered to a higher power.
And, as you've lived that, the purpose is to remove everything that's blocking you from the relationship with God. And, when that's happened to a point where you can be functional and carry that into your life, taking those spiritual principles and applying them into the fabric of your character, then you've got something to offer other people. And, you come to understand that life is about serving others.
And so, the whole foundation of my path was so simple and grassroots. It's just 12 spiritual truths. You apply those to your life in earnest, at first, out of desperation because you're in so much pain. Then, as your life starts to improve and you realize, wow, it feels pretty good to actually contribute rather than just be a deficit on my environment and the people in it, then you're driven to pursue that further. And, that's in kind of deepening the relationship with prayer and meditation. And so, out of that foundation, when I realized something had happened to me and for me, and I start to build a little foundation and get a bit more solid, then I went to India and studied meditation and something called “diksha” there, which is an energy transmission, and got into Kundalini yoga, and did that. I still do, but really devoted for about eight years.
Luke: And, included in the Kundalini yoga path is they don't call it breathwork, but many of the kriyas involve all kinds of different breathing patterns, as I'm sure you're aware.
And then, I learned Vedic meditation, which is I'm going like the no bells and whistles, and I'll work my way up into the experimentation and complexity, but in Vedic meditation, that's out of the TM lineage. They kind of split off from the same teaching and took on two different brand names, but essentially your teacher gives you a mantra, which is a Sanskrit sound or word you repeat effortlessly and silently kind of in the back of your mind. And, it has the net effect of distracting your awareness from your thoughts so that you can transcend into that kind of theta space, which I love, my favorite brain state to be in.
Ben: Yeah. I know you're a true TM practitioner because you didn't reveal your mantra.
Luke: No, no, no.
Ben: Which is a big no-no.
Luke: Yeah. I follow tradition. I do and did that for years and still sometimes do. But, I think what the Vedic meditation did for me is allowed me to identify when I've hit that spot, like “Oh, yeah, here it goes,” and the nervous system just goes, and just winds down, and you start to watch those thoughts go by like grasshoppers on the wheat field.
And so, once I started to be able to do that just on the gnats, just by sitting there and being quiet even I used to meditate in the middle of New York City in Union Square, be like, 6:00 PM, time for my daily 20 minutes, the afternoon one. And, I could do it there. Then, I started to discover things like NuCalm and the Fisher-Wallace device and–
Ben: The Circadia.
Luke: Yeah, the Circadia, the SOTA, the S-O-T-A, SOTA, the little electrodes that go in your earlobes and hop in the hyperbaric chamber.
Ben: Yeah. Well, a lot of things that stimulate the vagus nerve.
Ben: Yeah. Although I appreciate the simplicity and beauty of so-called stripped-down meditation, back to the better living through science piece, I have found myself able to enter into much deeper delta and theta brainwave production, much deeper state of relaxation, much greater feelings of refreshment afterwards, particularly with the use of the NuCalm device I absolutely love.
Ben: And, people will jump into the comment section, and they'll say, “Oh, Ben's getting paid to wrap some device or this is yet another passing trend, but I use that every day, every single day. When I'm at home, I always do it in the hyperbaric chamber, because as you have experienced, that shoves you even more deeply. And so, for me, perfect afternoon meditation at home is essential oils, like lavender or bergamot, et cetera, sprinkled into that hyperbaric chamber.
Luke: Oh, that's a good idea.
Ben: Yup, and then the NuCalm.
Luke: Never thought of that. You could put them in the little canula thing, too. Oh, that's cool.
Ben: Yeah. I just wrote a big article about this on my website, kind of detailing the entire stack. But, in essence, if you have a hyperbaric chamber, great. If you don't, just find a quiet place, if you have like a grounding mat or a BioMat, any surface that's different or even just going outside on a rock or under a tree. You put on the headphones, you put on the little NuCalm disc right above the acupressure point on your wrist, and then you put on a noise-blocking headphones and a mask. I will either use the Mindfold mask and some good Bose-wired noise phones, or I've been using lately a device that is called a Silentmode mask, which is a full wrap-around cocoon over your face, which is absolutely stellar because it doesn't have to operate on Bluetooth. I can wire it straight into my phone.
And so, I'll play the NuCalm track on that, typically, just one of the 20-minute power nap settings, or if I have a longer period of time to meditate, the really long, brand new Delta recovery session.
Luke: Yeah, that one is insane.
Ben: I did that. So, I woke up about 5:00 this morning, but I got out of bed at 5:50 because I ran that session. And, oh, my gosh, it's amazing. I go off to another planet. I don't fall asleep, but I'm almost subconscious. It's very, very odd. It's hard to describe the feeling, but you just completely lose connected with your body and I always wake up with drool coming out of the core of my mouth.
Luke: I was about to say, if I ain't drooling, it wasn't a good meditation.
Ben: Exactly. And then, on top of all that, usually, something that I'll take internally to relax, I find reishi mushroom to allow me to get through a session like that and not be groggy afterwards. So, usually for me, it's just a little bit of mushroom, reishi mushroom. And then, I wear that Apollo ankle band.
Luke: Mine just broke. I'm so bummed, dude. I love that thing.
Ben: And, I put that into relax and unwind mode, which I found to be the best, even though I think they have a meditation mode, relax and unwind seem to work best. And, that is my afternoon meditation. When I travel, I do all of that, except I'm just laying on my back on the hotel bed or in the back of an Uber, if it's a long Uber ride, or at a park, if I'm walking to an appointment, I'll just stop off in the park, go under a tree, pull that on my bag, which is the wristband, the headphones, the mask, the app, boom, go.
And, I pair that with a morning practice in which I wake up and I do this with my whole family. I gather the whole family on the back porch and we do a quick five-minute meditation, the whole family. We use an app called Abide. It's a Christian meditation app that starts with scripture, brings you through prayer, and typically, has some kind of lesson and a little bit of breathwork as you go through it. They have 10 and 20-minute options. But, because we're doing this as a family, everybody's making breakfast, and getting ready, and then some people have half their clothing on, and it's just like, boom, “Go, Dad.” Somebody has to be a leader. So, I'm the leader.
And, I just walk down, and I'm super rude, I just say, everybody, drop everything, be ready, here we go. And, we go out on the back porch and we all sit cross-legged on the back porch. We listen to that, and then we take out our journals and we write down one thing that we are grateful for, the one person who we can pray for or help that day. And, that is a foundation for the Greenfield family every single day.
And then, in the afternoon, that meditation, then in the evening, we all gather in the bedroom. We sing for, typically, about 10 to 15 minutes, play hymns, spiritual songs, and we all sing together as a family. We're starting to harmonize. I'll usually play guitar. The boys will play a little bongo drums or hang drums, or whatever. So, we all sing, and then we do the second part of our journaling. So, the first part is gratitude and service in the morning. And in the evening, it is self-examination. So, we answer what good have I done this day and what could I have done better this day? So, we identify not only the things that really helped us live our lives' purpose, but that also equips us with a little bit more insight into how we failed and what we could do better to improve that. And then, finally, what is one way in which I lived out my life's purpose fully today.
And so, those are the four journaling questions. What am I grateful for, who did I pray for, help, or serve in the morning, then the evening, what could I have done better and how did I fully live out my purpose today? What's one way I fully lived out my purpose?
The other elements are that we say a really good prayer and do a lot of breathwork before every meal that we're eating together. And then, we always read a psalms, or a proverb, or a scripture before dinner. And, I've found that weaving those into the day, the morning journaling, evening journaling, the morning, quick five-minute meditation, my own personal 20-minute getaway in the afternoon, and then the evening songs, journaling and scripture reading. That's pretty much the Greenfield family spiritual disciplines in a nutshell. And, every day is magical. Every day is magical because of that.
And, aside from that, there are, of course, the quarterly plant medicine retreats with my wife. And man, I'm very, very happy with the way that life is right now. I just–
Luke: Your boys won the karmic lottery, honestly. Can you imagine? It sounds like your childhood was fairly stable. And I, too, I love my parents. I always say that. They know that they had their challenges. Most people I know, I think it's because I roll with people that are pretty deep and have been through some [BLEEP], most of their parents were nuts and keeping this highly dysfunctional environments and things like that. And, I think that there's a certain karmic gift in that, because then your ground floor gives you a lot to work with.
You have a lot of grist for the mill as Ram Dass used to say, and that's a beautiful path, too. But, I hear the story about that and your kids, I'm like, “Oh, these kids scored, man.” It's like, to walk into life as adolescents with that kind of a framework where you're learning universal truths not just as a construct mentally but how to apply them to make them actionable and actually integrate them into your character. And, that's the fiber of who a kid becomes. It's incredible.
Ben: Yeah. I've told my kids, “I don't care if you are the star of the football team. I don't care if you take your little tennis career, and begin to play club tennis, and rise to the ranks, and decide you want to go into pro tennis. I don't care if you're a famous artist or an author,” which is what they want to do right now. One wants to be an artist, one wants to be an author. And, I tell them, “Dad would be just fine if you guys had sandals on, you're traveling around the world as prophets, spreading light and love to the universe.” That's what this world needs way more than some muscly hunk throwing around a pigskin on a football field on the gridiron.
We are living in an era now where we need prophets, we need world changers. And, the best I can do is not to live life carelessly through my kids, to go be a prophet, in my stage, on my podcast, in my writings, continue to steer my direction towards deep, fulfilling, and meaningful messages. But, if my children can follow in my wake, in whatever way that God has given them to live their purpose best using their unique skill set, and my wife, who, she doesn't like the limelight at all. Her purpose statement is that, I forget exactly how she phrases it, but she loves hospitality and ministry. She just wants to be a hospitable and a ministering godly woman, and just support her men at home.
And so, she almost fancies herself as the armor-bearer for one big warrior and two little ones. And, that just makes me incredibly happy, if my kids can go forth and spread a message of light and love throughout this world with their lives. And, the best I can do is give them an example of how best to do that.
Luke: Yeah. They're very fortunate indeed. I like the part you were saying earlier about you having those ceremonies with your wife, Jessa, periodically throughout the year. And, I think back to some of my prior relationships that didn't work out for whatever reason, I think, God, man, if we had both been in the place to have the understanding of ourselves, and also, of the use of tools and support from shaman, counselors, medicines, et cetera, to be able to use those as tools by which to understand ourselves and one another and really to use them as a bond. And, I've experienced that with Alyson. And, we were really brought together in a peyote ceremony.
We were friends and we've been friends for a few years, and that was that. And then, we had gone in a couple of dates, and went and had an experience, and it's just like, you know how it is that for the right people in the right time, again, always the disclaimer there, not a blanket recommendation, but just where I was at in my life emotionally, and in terms of romantic relationships, and wanting true love, and longevity, and intimacy, and really wanting to build a life with someone. And, I don't know that it would have happened in the way that it did hadn't that door just been slammed open by the peyote, in our case.
Ben: Full openness and transparency.
Luke: Yeah. So, just like opened my heart and allowed me to let go of some of the constructs that I had had in place to what I thought was protect myself from being hurt or from hurting other people. And, that was just like barn doors being blown off by a raging bull, just like, “No, Luke, your plan ain't happening.” And essentially, she was seeing that there was potential there and had feelings for me, and it was just like, “Dude, I don't know what you're up to here, but I'm ready if you are. And, if you're not, that's fine, but here I am.” And, I was like, “Oh, shit, I got to jump.”
Ben: I should connect you with our facilitator. I think you guys would really dig the experience with him. It's pretty cool. I mean, maybe later, if you remind me.
Ben: Wow. Well, there's a lot that we've dipped into.
Luke: Yeah, I'm stoked.
Ben: Is there anything else that you think that people would really like to know about your spiritual disciplinary practice? We had a whole bunch of questions that we wrote down. I think we fit in maybe, what, 10%, possibly 11 of the questions we wanted to ask each other. And, we covered a lot in our last biohacking episode. But, I would like to ask you one last question, and looking over this entire list of questions.
For me, it's not really something that appears on this list, but I'm curious because I often ask myself this question, what is your vision? Where is Luke Storey in five years or in 10 years, besides a world-famous author having published a massive tome on spiritual awareness or we don't know the title, you're not going to reveal it, so close to your chest, but where do you see yourself?
Luke: That's an interesting question. And, I guess if one doesn't have that answer, they're going to end up wherever the tide takes them. I think for me, Ben, the relationship I have with my girlfriend, Alyson, is so solid and feels so right, and she's just amazing. And so, it includes her and it includes a unified vision of us having a home together, possibly a family. For me, the sense of having a home and having those healthy, close, interpersonal relationships is huge because it wasn't really part of my life experience up until now. It allowed me to explore other areas of life, but that has always been one that's really been missing even as a kid.
And so, now that I've really found a home within myself and I know that I'm also okay by myself, having someone else in my life that is able to be with me in a way that's mutually autonomous, if that makes sense. She has her life, I have my life, but we also come together and share this beautiful space. And so, a big part of my vision is just continuing to explore the intimacy, the closeness of the mutual, healthy dependence of that relationship, and to not only grow together in relationship, but also share some of the things that we've learned on our journey to get here together and some of the things we're learning together.
I see in our future definitely some things that we can share as a couple because she does very similar to what we do, I mean, in a different lane, but she's got a lot of wisdom and experience, and shares it for a living as well. And then, really, the element of just building a home. I haven't been to your house, but I've seen pictures and heard you talk about it so much. But really, just having a place in nature that is a true refuge for me and my family, that is closer to nature and out of a city where I can just really have some space to think and space to breathe.
And then, as far as career, I mean, I'm doing exactly what I want to do, and it's not even necessarily that you want to scale it, per se, as in like, I need to be more famous or make tons more money, it's more about like–
Ben: Start a series of grocery stores called Storeyville and retire.
Luke: Yeah. It's more about, I think, where I am right now in seeing a vision is how can I really refine the systems that keep me free of stress and employ other people to be in their zone of genius, in a way that makes sense, that keeps me in my lane, in my zone of genius and having a life that is as free of frustration as possible by not doing the things that I'm not good at and don't like doing.
And so, right now, as we speak, I'm just in the middle of kind of rebuilding my org chart and SOPs for my team, and like really wanting to refine things so that I can employ the right people, and have the right people in the right seat on the bus, and have them doing something that they're passionate about on the mission, which is to help alleviate suffering and help people to really find a God of their understanding, and to optimize their body to the point where they have the vitality and energy to go out and actually find and fulfill their dharma.
In order to do that, it requires a structure and a support, and I'm not a guy that typically gravitates towards structure. So, in the vision, I see a life that is more structured in terms of my career so that I can really focus on the one thing that I'm good at, which is doing what we did here today, and that is sharing my experience and the nuggets of wisdom that I'm able to pick up along the way and have–
Ben: Well, I hope for you that someday you'll be able to write CEO on your business card.
Luke: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ben: Stoke that ego.
Luke: Oh, man. Yeah.
Ben: That should be, I think, every entrepreneur's goal to be able to reach the day where they scratch CEO off their business card.
Luke: Yeah. I don't want to be a CEO. It's funny. I have this other company called School of Style. And, I'm in the process of making some changes with it. But, I've owned that business for 11 years and I'm so grateful for it. It's been like a kid that's grown into an adult and taking care of me. And, we've helped thousands of kids that have been sort of outsiders from this elitist fashion industry. And, we've helped all these kids from the inner city and stuff get into the industry. And, just people that we've never had a way to crack in, and that felt so good. But, it only felt good when I was passionate about that particular path, which has been a very long time.
And so, the opportunity to kind of move on from that soon is really exciting and really focus on the thing that I'm most passionate about, which I have been all along, and having a life of simplicity. So, it's like, how do you scale your mission, and also keep it lean, and streamlined, and not too complex?
Luke: And, that's really, I think, the challenge I see now. And, when I go into my Joe Dispenza meditations and you're envisioning the future, it's like I'm helping so many people, but it's done with simplicity, and clarity. And, it's a streamlined machine that's able to contribute content and information in a way that keeps everyone on the team in their lane and their zone of genius, and not stressed out.
Ben: I love it. I'll drink a little coffee, MCT oil, and stevia to that.
Ben: There we go.
Luke: Yeah. And, you seem to be doing a good job, too, of it, of being extremely productive in your zone of genius. And, I know you have your systems in your team and stuff like that. And, every time I see, we talk about other shit, and I'm always like, “So, how do you manage your this and your that?” So, just like, as the thing grows, I never intended it for it to become a thing so much, and it is, and I'm kind of like, “Oh, shit, wow. I am a CEO now. Oops.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Luke: How about you? What's your vision moving forward?
Ben: It's very simple. To become, each day, less of a boy and more of a man, to be the very best father that I can be, to be the very best leader for my household that I can be, to wake up each morning and do the very best that I can with whatever God has put on my plate for that day, and to never go to bed at night feeling as though I have wasted the day, feeling as though I have embarked upon 24 hours that involved wasting one's life. I live to make impact on this planet, and each day, that yearning grows deeper, and I realize it's very esoteric.
And, we can talk about business, and Kion, and the supplements company, and books, but ultimately, that if I am a father, a leader, a king, a man of God, I can live out my life's purpose in full excellence and selfless love in full presence for every human being that I come across, then I'm happy.
Ben: That's the big vision. And, I know that folks might wonder where they can get some of the books that we talk about, and some of the devices that we've discussed, and the other podcast episodes that we've done. And, I know you always put together amazing shownotes.
Luke: Crate Media, my team, give them a shoutout. Yeah.
Ben: So, Luke's got lukestorey.com. You can find my stuff at BenGreenfieldfitness.com. I will be giving you guys a handy dandy link that you can use for access in the shownotes of this podcast. I would imagine you might be doing that as well.
Luke: You know what's sad about that, when I listen to your podcast, in the middle, you'll be like, yeah, and you can find this on BenGreenfield/LukeStorey, or whatever, and I'm like, I never know what my link is until it comes out.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Luke: But, that's really smart. I've always admired that. As a listener, it makes it really easy, because on your iPhone, you can just be like, “Oh, I want those shownotes right now,” bang.
Ben: Yeah. And, I tried to link them in whatever app that you listen to a podcast on. There should be a clickable link to the shownotes there. But, man, it was cool sitting here and getting to know the other side of you.
Ben: The side that goes beyond subjecting your glasswater bottles out in the kitchen to laser red lights, and jumping up and down the trampoline, and getting the ice baths. Although I might actually go jump on your trampoline.
Luke: The ice bath is nice and cold right now.
Ben: I've got a dinner after this, so I'll do trampoline and ice bath. If time permits, I'll hit a NuCalm session and restart–
Luke: You can do a hyperbaric and go get the BioCharger do the whole thing.
Ben: I'm tempted. I'm tempted. Well, it's fun, man.
Luke: Yeah, likewise. I'm glad we've got to have a deeper conversation and something I've been wanting to do with you for a while. I've watched your messaging kind of move more in this direction over the last couple of years. I think I saw your Paleo f(x) maybe two years ago, and I stumbled into part of your talk, and you were like, “You guys, all this stuff's cool, but we really need to do the inner work.” And, I was like, “Right on, Ben. Cool, man.” So, it's been fun to dive into this. I appreciate you stopping by.
Luke: Alright, brother.
Ben: Thank, bro. I love you.
Luke: I love you too, man. Thank you.
Ben: Thanks for listening, you guys. Full shownotes are at BenGreenfieldfitness.com/BenandLuke. Have an amazing week well.
Thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldfitness.com along with plenty of other goodies from me. Including the highly helpful Ben Recommends page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormones, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more.
Please also know that all the links, all the promo codes that I mentioned during this and every episode help to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
My friend and fellow “biohacker” Luke Storey and I recently had a chance to sit down at his home in Los Angeles, the same home that you may already be very familiar with if you heard my previous epic episode with Luke entitled A Crazy Biohacking Adventure With Luke Storey & Ben Greenfield: Smart Drugs, Sleep Hacking, Infrared Light, Cold Pools & Beyond!
However, rather than discussing supplements, biohacks, nutrition, fitness, and “the usual” topics we so often geek out on, we instead took a deep dive into spirituality, lifestyle, parenting, productivity, the spiritual disciplines, and much more.
In my wide-ranging and thought-provoking conversation with Luke, you'll discover:
-What's new in Ben and Luke's lives…6:05
- Just finished cookbook as a companion to Boundless
- Struggling with impostor syndrome
- Upcoming book on spiritual disciplines
- Fitter than ever due to not traveling on planes
- Consciousness of diet around wife Jessa began Ben's ancestral approach to nutrition
- Book: Dietary Cure for Acneby Loren Cordain
- Always carry high-quality saltand extra virgin olive oil while traveling
- Whenever possible, sit down to a great meal at BelCampo
- Working on first book, name to be announced soon
- 24-year journey of spirituality, biohacking
- Part personal memoir, part sharing what I've learned along the way
- Difficult aspects of writing the book:
- Writing while keeping everything close to the chest (tweet snippets as a sneak preview)
- Organization, gathering data related to the book
- Knowing when to say “stop”
-Why Ben and Luke are drawn to writing books and hosting podcasts…21:20
- They're both storytellers
- Speak to fascinating people you ordinarily wouldn't be able to speak to
- Listeners are enamored with the innate curiosity and willingness to self-experiment
-Living a life without asking, “What now?”…24:55
- S. Lewis: “We have a God-shaped hole in our lives…”
- Augustine: “A never-ending yearning”
- Blaise Pascal's Pensées
- We're born connected and experience trauma; cut off from God
- Filling that hole with poor substitutes: drugs, porn, etc.
- BGF podcast with Dr. John Lieurance
- Book:Awareness by Anthony De Mello
- Remove yourself from potential addictive elements; amazing how it won't affect you
- Scarcity mindset: it's a mentality issue
- Don't need expensive biohacks if you know how to utilize the free things nature provides
- We neglect to appreciate our modern world while enamored with the past
-The need for young men to undergo rites of passage into adulthood…34:25
- Beware of having an “all or nothing” approach; brief excursions into seclusion
- The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (coming soon)
- Do the hardship before popping the pill
- BGF podcast with Tim Corcoran on Vision Quests
- Need for a conspicuous recognition of passage into adulthood
- Embrace a healthy view of plant medicines
-Ben's experiences with plant medicines…55:30
- Began investigating plant medicines late in life (31 years old)
- MDMA and ketamine
- First ayahuascaceremony paired with DMT
- No intention or specific purpose until 5 years into the journey
- Did this without informing wife Jessa; began to drift apart
- Quarterly retreat with wife, overseen by a facilitator
- 27-hour experience that cracked the ego; releasing messianic complex
-How Luke changed his perspective on psychedelics…1:05:05
- Would not partake due to previous alcoholism
- Viewed psychedelics as a means of seeing unused potential rather than an escape (when it was addictive)
- Rewiring of the brain after purposeful use of plant medicines
- Ensure no compounds consumed are addictive
- Attachment to peak experiences (not necessarily addiction) is a potential risk
- Must detach from pleasures, embrace self-denial before partaking for any spiritual benefit
-Luke Storey's personal spiritual disciplines practice…1:17:15
- You don't will yourself to a spiritual way of life
- 12-step program (AA) was the gateway to the spiritual walk
- Studied kundalini yoga, meditation while living in India
- Vedic meditation
- Transcendental meditation (TM)
- NuCalm device (discount applied at checkout, 65% off the first month of any new monthly subscription)
- Circadiaby Fisher Wallace (use code GREENFIELD to get free shipping)
- Sotadevice for the ear lobes
- BGF article on spiritual disciplines “stack”
- Reishi mushrooms
- Ben's spiritual practice with the family:
- Abide app
- Morning journaling: gratitude, one person to pray for
- Evening journaling: self-examination, how did I live my life's purpose today
- Family dinner, singing, read Scripture before eating
-Where Luke and Ben see themselves in the future…1:35:50
– Luke Storey:
– BGF podcasts and articles:
- The Crazy Future Of Medical Biohacking: Skull Resets, Suppositories, Nasal Sprays, Nebulizers, Sound Therapy & More With Dr. John Lieurance.
- How To Go On A Vision Quest & Embark Upon A Rite Of Passage With Tim Corcoran.
- Transcendental Meditation: Cult, Quackery, or Science? With Philip Land.
- How To Simulate A Full Sleep Cycle In 20 Minutes, The Best Stress Biohack That Exists, Vagus Nerve Stimulation & Much More! With Jim Poole.
- A Whole New Way To Deal With Stress, Trauma & PTSD In Just Seconds: The First Clinically Validated Wearable That Helps You De-Stress, Focus, Sleep, Stay Energized & Remain Calm With Dr. David Rabin.
- Ayahuasca 101, Tripping Out On Nutmeg, Magic Mushrooms & More With Dennis McKenna.
- The Most Important Muscle You Own (& Exactly How To Train It).
– Other resources:
- High Mineral Sea Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Reishi Mushrooms
- NuCalm (discount applied at checkout, 65% off the first month of any new monthly subscription)
- Circadiaby Fisher Wallace (use code GREENFIELD to get free shipping)
- Abide App
–Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations, Kion blends ancestral wisdom with modern science. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, receive a 20% discount off your entire order when you use discount code BGF20.
–Joovv: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed. Order your Joovv today and receive my brand new book, Boundless as a free gift.
–Paleo Valley Beef Sticks: 100% grass-fed AND grass-finished. Keto friendly and higher levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Receive a 15% discount off your order when you use my link.
–Organifi Red Juice: Enjoy all the benefits of the 11 superfoods and their micronutrients that help increase resting metabolism, support cardiovascular health, and remove toxins to turn back the hands of time! Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code BENG20.