[00:00:46] Boundless Book Launch
[00:02:11] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:19] About This Podcast
[00:06:47] Why you should value spiritual disciplines in the first place?
[00:12:54] How Ben has educated himself on spiritual disciplines
[00:19:23] Morning Spiritual Disciplines
[00:29:14] Podcast Sponsors
[00:31:51] cont. Morning Spiritual Disciplines
[00:37:39] Sauna Practice
[00:44:37] Managing Stress During Busy and Intensive Workdays
[00:47:23] End of Day Spiritual Practices
[00:57:48] Spiritual Lovemaking
[01:09:03] Areas for Improvement
[01:14:32] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
You know that this pursuit that a lot of us engage in to go climb our own personal Mount Everest, man, it can get empty just because you're just so incredibly fulfilled when it's a deep spiritual connection between you and another being. And that's really a difference between animals that have sex and humans that have sex, right? I talk to God and my exact prayer every day is this.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Today is a solosode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. I hope you enjoy it. Before we bounce into what I would consider to be a topic very relevant to the holidays in the new year, I want to tell you about partying because there's some big, big parties coming up. If you're anywhere near the New York City or the L.A. area, the big “Boundless” book launch parties are happening. So, in New York City, it's going to be at the assemblage on January the 16th. And for those of you who are in L.A., I've got a party on the 29th, I've got a party on the 30th, and I've got a party on the 31st.
So, if you go to boundlessbook.com, you can pre-order the book and get all the cool bonuses that are in there. But if you want to see where all the book parties are and the time of each of the book parties in New York City or L.A., you're welcome to bring cool people. We'll have wonderful drinks, food, prizes, speeches, Q&As with me, bunch of goodies. It's going to be a party. You can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/calendar. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/calendar to see where all the book launch parties are happening. Just navigate to January on the calendar. You'll be able to see where the New York City parties are and where the L.A. parties are. Come join me. It's going to be fantastic.
We also have the big Kion Fasting Challenge started for this upcoming new year. So, after the holidays and after you've gorged on your Christmas cookies and your eggnog, it is time to clean out the body. We've got thousands and thousands of people joining for this free five-day fasting challenge. Wonderful book called “Fasting Decoded.” That's part of the challenge and it starts on January 6th. That's coming up. So, you can get on the fasting and then come party with me a few days later if you go to getkion.com/fasting. That's getK-I-O-N.com/fasting.
This podcast is also brought to you finally by Organifi. So, Organifi wanted me to tell you about their Red Juice, which is a really, really cool formula designed to boost your blood. So, imagine that you're walking down the street past the juicery and you wander and you see that blood-red beet juice in the refrigerator and it looks so good. It has all of these cool things in it for supporting your blood like pomegranate and beet. And maybe it's got some mushrooms in there, kind of like the Organifi one does, cordyceps. It's got maybe some acai in there. And you turn it over now and it's at massive amounts of sugar, but it costs like $17. The Organifi stuff has only one gram of sugar and it costs you $1.67 a serving to put some of this into a nice Nalgene bottle, shake it up, chill it in your refrigerator, and you have red juice you can drink all day long without breaking the bank. Plus, you get an additional 20% off this stuff. You just go to organifi.com/ben. That's Organifi with an “I” dot com/ben and you can use code BENG20. You get the 20% off of Organifi. And remember, join me in New York City and in L.A. for the book launch parties. Spread the word. It's going to be fun. All the deets at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/calendar. I don't know why I said deets like that. I thought it would make me sound cool. And boundlessbook.com so we can check out the book.
Hey, what's up, everybody. Ben Greenfield here. Of course it is. You're listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Who else would it be? I wouldn't let someone mutiny my ship, take it over. You know it's me. It's only me today. It was my birthday yesterday. And if you're listening to this podcast over the holidays, which is about the time when it should come out, if all the stars align, then you–kind of like I was on my birthday yesterday and kind of like I tend to be over Christmas or New Years, et cetera. You might tend to be in a state of mild introspection, kind of like evaluating your life where you're at going into this New Year if you've had a birthday or come into a new age. Maybe you're just evaluating yourself, your purpose while you're here on this planet and seeking a little bit more fulfillment.
Well, the reason that I wanted to record this solosode for you is because I am often asked what kind of practices I personally engage in to achieve that state of happiness, that state of fulfillment, and sure, I talk a lot about biohacks and fitness tools, dietary tactics, supplements, medications, et cetera, on the show. But I haven't really taken much of a deep dive into how I build my spiritual muscles in the same way that I might build my physical or my mitochondrial muscles or grow new neurons in the brain. The fact is especially, and you know this if you're a fitness enthusiast and you've spent any amount of time in a gym, for example, you know that this pursuit that a lot of us engage in to be more fit, to lower body fat percentages, to find the perfect diet, to go climb our own personal Mount Everest or a triathlon, or a Spartan Race, or a CrossFit competition, or anything like that, man, it can get empty, can it?
I mean, you can be incredibly motivated some days to go out and do these things. And don't get me wrong, I feel like a million bucks when I get in there and do a hard workout like I just–it keeps me sane. But I, for a long time, fooled myself into thinking that that was what was actually making me happier that, for example, teaching people about fitness was my ultimate purpose or fulfillment in life when in fact, I spent–dude, I probably spent like 20 years of my life up until I was around 35 or so completely neglecting that part that inside so many of us is a shriveled, shrunken, neglected component, my spirit my soul.
And in the same way that there are physical disciplines like lifting weights, or exercising, or sauna practice, or cold practice, or anything like that, there are spiritual exercises and I've discovered many of them over the past few years as I age and I observe great thinkers and philosophers and continually seek wisdom. I've become increasingly convinced that caring for one's spirit is as important and–actually, more important than caring for our body and our brain. I mean, after all, long after your muscles have atrophied, and your skin has sagged, and your brain has degraded and accumulated with plaque, and after your blood vessels and nerves have become clogged and weak, and long after your relentless pursuit of fitness or longevity or anti-aging has become kind of a vain effort, your spirit can be just as strong and as bright as ever.
And yet sadly, especially among a lot of us immersed in physical culture, like I was saying, it seems that the spirit is the most often ignored component of our human vessels. And that's because of a near-complete neglect I find over and over again or at least kind of a casual approach to disciplining ourselves spiritually. When I say disciplining spiritually, I'm talking about the spiritual disciplines that would be things like meditation, gratitude, prayer, fasting, study, fellowship, celebration, charity, all those things that most of us know are important but we somehow shove to the side because, let's face it, life gets busy and it just seems far more practical and immediately useful to go hit the gym rather than sit cross-legged on the floor meditating or spending an extra 10 minutes in bed journaling or even, say, prioritizing a family dinner. I would say that over the past couple of years, even on this podcast and in my writings, I have mentioned with increasing frequency the importance of the spiritual disciplines, but I haven't again really addressed how I personally incorporate some of these practices into my own life. And frankly, I include things like plant medicines or like sex, for example, to fall right into this category of the spiritual disciplines.
So, the purpose of this show today is I really want to give you a glimpse into some of the things that I have personally found to be the most helpful when it comes to the spiritual disciplines. Now, I think it's important to point out one thing before I delve in here, and that is this, you might feel as though if you've started to do some of the things I'm about to describe to you that you might not have the time left over that you want to get your daily hour at the gym or your fitness fix that you might have spent many years relying upon for happiness or full fulfillment. I'm in no way endorsing that you stop addressing your physical disciplines. I think the ultimate human being is an absolute physical beast in whatever way that they're equipped to be, but also an absolute spiritual beast. I think that you can have both.
However, there is often an imbalance and there's more time spent on the physical component. So, if you feel as though it's going to be hard for you to just like maybe spend some time in the spiritual disciplines and change up the way that you approach the physical disciplines a little bit, I want you to think about something from a book called “Awareness.” Wonderful book. And I'm going to have a whole book list for you in the shownotes for this podcast. But this is from a book called Awareness by Anthony de Mello, and he has a little exercise in this book about attachment, anything you're attached to, whether it's a drug, or a medication, or a person, or an activity. He says, “Think of something or someone you are attached to.”
In other words, something or someone without which or without whom that you think you are not going to be happy. It could be your job, your career, your profession, your friend, your money, whatever, and say to that object or person, “I really do not need you to be happy. I'm only deluding myself in the belief that without you, I will not be happy, but I really don't need you for my happiness. I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness. You are not my joy.” If your attachment is a person, he or she is not going to be very happy to hear you say this, but go ahead anyway. You can say it in the secrecy of your heart if you want. In any case, you'll be making contact with the truth, you'll be smashing through a fantasy.
Happiness is a state of non-illusion, of dropping the illusion. So, consider things in your life that you might be attached to for your happiness that are an illusion, that really, you don't need for your happiness, that you can be happy without. There's lots of things like that in our life. And by the way, that book, Awareness by Anthony de Mello, it's really good. I should also mention, because I mentioned to you the shownotes, that everything that I talk about, every book I mention, every tactic I use, everything, you'll find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/spiritualdisciplines. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/spiritualdisciplines.
Okay. So, let's begin here. How have I personally found a way to educate myself on these spiritual disciplines such as study, meditation, prayer, celebration and joy, worship, music, all of these things that are so important? Even fasting, but fasting from more of a religious personal improvement standpoint than from a pure health or autophagy standpoint. Well, there are many books, but the ones that I have found to be the best, A, the work of Richard Foster. His book, “Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth” is amazing. Okay. The other one that I think is really good is called “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney.
Finally, there is a book called the “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook,” and I'm taking my family through that doing one chapter every two weeks right now, and that includes a series of questions you all work through. Like the chapter on charity, you're actually going out and doing service in your local community, answering a bunch of questions about your approach to that, how you felt, obstacles you encountered, et cetera. That one's called the “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.” And again, I'm going through that one with my wife and twin boys and we're doing a new chapter every two weeks, and we're doing that all throughout 2020. If we do a chapter every two weeks, we will have completed the entire book over–I think the way I have it mapped out is a year and a half, right? So, we're spending a year and a half just basically completely educating ourselves on all things spiritual discipline related.
Now, a few other titles that you may find helpful, Anthony de Mello, who wrote that book “Awareness” that I just mentioned, he comes from a Jesuit background. And there's a lot of really good Jesuit books on the spiritual disciplines as well. One of the best ones is very popular. It's called “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything” by James Martin. That one is very good. And then “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello is also good. I have also come across a few books that I've really enjoyed particularly in matters of silence, solitude, and fasting.
Now, I am of the belief that anyone who plans to embark upon something like an ayahuasca retreat, or a plant medicine, or Burning Man, or any of those things that culture seems absolutely enchanted with these days should first go about things in a more stoic way. Meaning, rather than taking perhaps what could be arguably described as a more epicurean approach of popping a bunch of pills and taking a bunch of drugs and going off and losing yourself but doing so by forcing your serotonin pathways to delve in that direction, that you should instead go off into the wilderness, almost like Jesus Christ did, right? Go off into the wilderness or the forest or even like a staycation and do anywhere from two to five days of silence, study, meditation, and fasting.
The personal breakthroughs, the integration, and the awareness that you develop during those few days I guarantee will be as profound, if not more profound, than the somewhat less disciplined approach of just popping a pill. I think that should be a rite of passage, not only for our youth, but I think it should be a rite of passage for any adult who wants to delve into plant medicine, for example. I think that the ultimate scenario for a human is to do both, to have periods of time where you have fasting, meditation, silence, solitude, et cetera, and then those periods of time where you might have a more hedonistic approach. We are actually going off in doing something like a high dose MDMA therapy, or an ayahuasca retreat, or something in which you might have different breakthroughs than you might if you were fasting, or meditating, or meditating, or being in silence and solitude for a while.
But the way that I set things up is I have a once-a-year practice of just going off completely by myself. No kids, no wife, nothing. Usually, I've got a collection of books and I started off with a lot of the books that I'm putting in a shownotes for you. I just have my time to read, I have a journal, I fast, I've got water, some snacks. You can have like minerals, electrolytes, multivitamin. We have a book at Kion on fasting. It's like a free fasting guide that goes into all the supplements that can help you through a fast. It's fine to have that kind of stuff. That's at getkion.com/fasting. But you want to stay relatively low as far as the calorie intake goes so that your mind becomes even more focused because food can be a distraction from the spiritual disciplines in some cases. That's why fasting is so woven into so many strong religions.
So, I recommend that you, especially if you really like a lot of the books you're hearing me mentioned, sit down with your calendar and just find time, find a two to five-day slot and a cool campsite near your city or near your home, or even a time when you might send your family off to go visit the in-laws or go be with other family so that you've just got the house to yourself. It's more difficult in the house, I will admit, because you have food in the refrigerator, you have things to distract you, work, et cetera. It's better to be off in the wilderness. However, you identify a time.
So, if you're listening to this podcast near 2020 when it comes out, sit down with your calendar and find that two to five-day slot at some point during the calendar year of 2020, or perhaps you can tuck all these books that I'm talking about into a backpack, take them off and just spend days and days. Okay. Two to five days reading, fasting, meditating, bringing a journal out there with you. And I really think everybody should do that at least on a yearly basis, especially for the same type of people who are spending 10,000 bucks to fly to Costa Rica and do an ayahuasca retreat. I mean, doing this for free at a campsite near your home I think is just as effective, if not more effective. And in many cases, these type of things can be combined with plant medicine or synthetic medicines. And I'll talk about that in this podcast as well. But in terms of really getting a jump start, that's how I recommend you do it. You find that time, you get some of these books I'm talking about, and you just calendar a time during 2020 where you can go off for two to five days and do this.
Okay. So, based on what I've learned from these books, what does my own practice look like? I'm going to start in the morning. So, in the morning before my whole family comes together for our daily gratitude practice, and before I get out of bed, I always have something spiritually uplifting on my bedside that I begin my day with. Meaning, I literally roll over, pull off my eye mask, turn off my little sleep stream noise that I listen to while I'm asleep, and I lay there in bed and I read. Right now, I'm reading the Proverbs in the Bible. In the past year, it's been all these books on the spiritual disciplines that I've been reading as I lay there in bed. Typically, I'll take a chapter a day or sometimes a couple chapters a day. We're talking about 5 to 10 minutes of reading. Okay. Not a hefty dose of laying there in bed.
But what I learned from Richard Foster's book is that you don't just read. You do as many of the great leaders of religions would do. Again, Jesus Christ being a perfect example. You read and then you follow that with meditation and prayer. So, what I mean by that is I will read a–this morning, it was Proverbs 21. So, I'll read the Proverbs. And then after I've read, what I do is I've got a five, five, five; five reading, five meditation, and five prayer, five minutes of reading, five minutes of meditation, five minutes of prayer. I don't time it, but I hit that approximate scenario. So, I read, and then I simply close my eyes, I sit up so that I'm not in a full lying down posture so I'm sending a message to my body that something new is going on aside from just sleep. Usually, it's a cross-legged or a kneeling position. And I meditate upon what I've just read for five minutes, deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth. Sometimes it'll be a mantra that I repeat to myself over and over again if there was–for example, today, there was quite a bit in there about generosity. So, I might just repeat the word generosity to myself over and over and over again in my head, almost like transcendental meditation to a certain extent.
In other cases, there will be something I want to memorize. So, I'll simply meditate upon that verse for five minutes and memorize that verse as I meditate, placing that word, that encouraging word that I've read on my heart. And after I have finished those five minutes or so of meditation, I then go into prayer. There's just something incredibly settling about being able to talk to a higher power, and I realize there are many people who may not believe, including yourself possibly, that there is a higher power. But I find a great deal of hope and a great deal of stability and a great feeling of foundation in my life when I know that in the spiritual realm, there is a great power that is in charge of our lives that we can actually speak to on a daily basis.
For me, I was raised Christian, so for me, that's the Judeo-Christian God. And so, I'm praying for five minutes. For me, typically, what I'm praying is about something that I've just read. For example, this morning, it was about generosity, and I was thanking God for his generosity to me, and at the same time, praying that I would be able to turn around and offer that same generosity to others. So, that was my prayer this morning. So, it's study, meditation, prayer in that order. That actually comes from Richard Foster's book, “Celebration of Discipline,” where he talks about if you're going to start off the day with something uplifting, that's a really good sequence to do so. It's study, then meditation, and then prayer.
Now, there are certain things you can do to enhance the process of meditation, whether–if, for example, you're meditating at any point during the day, whether it's calm or headspace or any quick 10-minute meditation. Another one that I really like is Dawson Church's Eco Meditation. That one is fantastic. I got that out of his book “Mind to Matter.” Probably, of all the meditations that I do, that's one of my favorites. So, even though I start off each morning with this quick meditation, and if I don't have a chance to meditate at any other point during the day, I've gotten that meditation end, I will if I find time, and this is especially if I travel because I'll find myself sitting alone in my hotel room at night before I go to bed or sitting for long periods of time on an airplane, for example, or in the back of an Uber.
I will do typically that Eco Meditation, his 21-minute Eco Meditation. And again, I've tried all different forms of meditation. I really like that one that comes from Dawson Church's book, “Mind to Matter.” Another very good one or series of meditations are any of Joe Dispenza's meditations from his book, “Becoming Supernatural.” His meditations are extremely, extremely good as well, and purchasable, and downloadable in audio format from his website. And I have a few of those on my phone as well.
So, regarding how to enhance meditation, there are a couple things that I have found to really help out with meditation quite a bit. There is one essential oil that I use, and what I'll do prior to my meditation is I'll dab a little bit of this in the area right between my eyes. It's called third eye essential oil, and it supposedly increases the activities of pineal gland just a little bit. There's no research behind it, but I have found it to be incredibly effective for my meditations. It's made by Dr. Nick Berry of Essential Oil Wizardry. It's called Third Eye Essential Oil and you just dab a little bit again right in between your eyes, like above the bridge of your nose right before you meditate. And I found that one to really enhance my ability to be able to enter a deep meditative state.
And there are two other things that I found to really be able to enhance meditation. One is there's a company called Vielight. They make like an infrared. It's almost like a cap that you put on and it produces a gamma wave, which is very similar to what you get if you were in this deep state of meditation. But you can actually put that on while you meditate or before you meditate. I've found that also to vastly improve the effects of meditation. The Vielight Gamma is what it's called. It was originally developed for Alzheimer's and dementia, but it's also very effective for cognition. It's kind of like a smart drug that you wear on your head.
And then speaking of drugs, the last thing, and this is not something I do for my morning meditations because I'm in bed, I'm not getting up and taking supplements and things like that although I keep that essential oil next to my bed stand. But if I've got a big meditation later on in the day that I actually am planning on doing, and I'll talk about one of those things that I do on about a monthly basis, I really like psilocybin. A microdose of psilocybin for meditation is also incredible. I realize I might catch a lot of flak for this, but I tried it after reading Steven Kotler's book “Stealing Fire” about how plant medicine and group celebratory worship, dance, song, et cetera, can also be enhanced via the use of psilocybin.
And so, I also like to take a microdose of psilocybin before I go to church. I find that my worship practice is just more intense when I'm using that. Again, not a trip dose, nothing like that. I'm not seeing a unicorn rainbow coming out the head of the preacher, but a small microdose of psilocybin just seems to enhance that left and right merging of the hemispheres of the brain and allow you to more easily enter into that spiritual place. So, those are a few of the things that I like, Nick Berry's Third Eye Essential Oil, the Vielight Gamma, and then also a microdose of psilocybin. And I realize some of that stuff, especially psilocybin, might seem out of the ordinary for somebody who just said that they were raised with a Judeo-Christian background and professed to be a good Christian boy from North Idaho.
I really think that everything on God's good Earth, including things created by people, something like a technology like the Vielight, I think those allow us to hack the spiritual disciplines in the same way that we might hack the physical disciplines with something like blood flow restriction bands or an oxygen training mask or something like that. Like some of these things can just make the practice mildly more effective, not necessary but optional and something to I think enhance the effectiveness of some of these spiritual disciplines. So, again, I have a unique approach, but I'm just laying it all out there and I realize I might get judged for some of this stuff, but this is what I do. I'm just sharing with you what I do. Okay. So, that's the morning study, meditation, prayer, sometimes the essential oil. And then if it's later on in the day, sometimes that Vielight or a microdose of psilocybin.
Then I get out of bed and I go downstairs. And typically, I'm the first one up. I put on some hot water for a little cacao tea. I like this stuff called MiCacao. It's like a cacao shell tea that my friend, Tucker Max turned me onto, who doesn't drink coffee but he drinks this cacao tea in the morning. You get this incredible hit of dopamine and theobromine. It's a really cool way to start the day. But I do that or the Kion Coffee. One of the two. And either way, I'm getting the coffee ready. And then once all that's kind of ready and brewing or heating or whatever, I spend 10 to 15 minutes doing stretching and deep tissue work. Meaning, making love to a foam roller, doing a series of yoga stretches. There is one series of stretches that I found really, really cool.
Hey, I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about something that I drink every day, bone broth, total pain in the ass to make. And there is this grocery store where you can get, not only things like jalapeno beef bone broth and lemongrass ginger beef bone broth, and all these different forms of certified organic bone broths, non-GMO, all super clean stuff, they also have chocolates, nut butters, wonderful snacks. It's a cool holiday gift to yourself, to gift yourself a membership. They're called Thrive Market. If you don't like to make a bone broth, that's where you got to go. Kettle & Fire is my favorite stuff over there. I go through cartons and cartons of that. I drink at least a carton a day of Kettle & Fire. It's amazing.
So, you go to Thrive Market, and what they're going to give you is a $20 shopping credit when you join today. They're an online membership website. So, you join. It cuts off a ton of the cost. You can't find most their stuff on Amazon. It's all super-duper clean and you can choose from a 1, or a 3, or a 12-month membership. The 12-month membership is basically like five bucks a month, and it's a risk-free. You can do 30 days and just cancel after 30 days and get a full refund. It's an amazing place to shop guilt-free. You just know it's good. You don't have to look at the labels that intensively because everything's just vouched for. So, it's thrivemarket.com/ben.
And then finally, something my kids have really been digging, especially their spoons into these days, it's the Magic Spoon cereal. So, they wanted to get rid of the old paradigm of grains and GMOs and sugar in cereal, and they formulated this wonderful cereal that mimics all of the childhood flavors that we love like Froot Loops, and Frosted Flakes, and Cocoa Pebbles. They've even got like blueberry and it's super-duper clean, clean ingredients. It's just stuff like coconut oil and sea salt, and it tastes, not as you would imagine like the cardboard box that it comes in but it's actually quite fun. All they need to do is start adding prizes to the boxes. Hint, hint, Magic Spoon, and then you'll have everything, everything you've always enjoyed when you were a kid. So, get the Saturday morning cartoons out, buy some cereal from Magic Spoon and you can use code BENGREENFIELD for free shipping at magicspoon.com, 100% happiness guarantee. If you don't like the taste, they'll refund it. You don't have to send it back. So, magicspoon.com and use code BENGREENFIELD for free shipping.
So, there's really cool series of stretches that you can do. They're actually called the Tibetan longevity exercises. It's kind of like a couple of exercise you might recognize from Tai Chi, it's like the yoga, kind of like Down Dog series, but these Tibetan longevity exercises I've been really, really lacking those lately. It's kind of like the morning movement that I do. They're called the 5 Forgotten Tibetan Longevity Exercises. My friend Stephen Cabral, who's been on my podcast before, he did a podcast on them recently, and I'll link to that show. I think it's his Episode 1378. There you go. So, listen to that one on the 5 Forgotten Tibetan Longevity Exercises. If you don't know any stretches to do in the morning, those work really well. Hit the foam roller for a little while, do those 5 exercises.
But anyways, I am always listening to something spiritual or uplifting during that stretching. So, I'm going straight from study, meditation, and prayer straight into blasting through my ears even more audio rather than going straight to a fitness, or science, or health podcast, or audiobook, or music, or something like that. So, there are a couple that I really like that I listen to. One is called Our Daily Bread. And in any of these, you can just find free podcasts on. They're downloaded automatically to your phone or to your device. You can just put them on straight thing when you get up in the morning. The other one is called the Solid Joys Daily Devotional.
And then the final one in addition to Our Daily Bread and Solid Joys Daily Devotional, there is a really good guy who prays over you, that you can listen to as he's praying over you. His name's Gabriel Fernandes. You can go to his YouTube channel, and I have one of those YouTube to MP3 converter apps on my computer and I have it set up on auto mode. It's called YouTube to MP3. So, every morning, it just grabs his newest video off YouTube, converts it to MP3. I drag and drop it onto my MP3 player and I can listen to that while I'm stretching. So, I have found benefit from all of those. I'm giving you a few options because you might find one that speaks to you most, but the three I like the best are Our Daily Bread, the Solid Joys Daily Devotional, and then The Prayers by Gabriel Fernandes.
And the cool thing is even if you do all three of those, if you have little spots throughout the day where you're just walking like a lunchtime walk or commuting or something, that just gives you extra things that you can listen to to be able to build your spiritual muscles. So, those are three that I like. So, I'm listening to all that stuff while I'm doing my morning stretching and just getting ready for the day. So, at that point, once I finished that, then I'm going down into my office, drinking my coffee, reading research articles, getting ready for the day, making sure there's no email fires that need to be put out. And then my family's awake by then.
And so, the final part of my morning spiritual practice is now that my family's awake, and this is typically sometime between 7:30 and 9:00 in the morning, I gather them together and we do our daily gratitude practice. So, I have trained my boys to both get up in the morning, and they do the same study, meditation, prayer practice that I do. The way that I train them to do that was I would simply crawl out of my bed and go into their bedroom and do exactly what I just described you that I do in my bed, but I would do it out loud with them, and I would close my eyes and be like, “Boys, right now, dad's meditating on generosity, deep breath in through the nose, out through the mouth,” and I just walk them through it so they get to see dad doing the study, meditation, prayer, and then do it along with me. And then eventually, they just started doing it on their own. Okay.
So, they're doing that in the morning anyways. Mom has her own practice in the morning. And then we all come together for a gratitude journaling. And this isn't long. This is about a 10-minute gathering as a family to kind of jumpstart the day. We all come together and we use what's called a Christian Gratitude Journal for this. That's at christiangratitude.com. And it's very simple. We go around the room and we say one truth. We write them down in these books and we also share them with the rest of the family. One truth that we discovered from that days of reading, one thing we're grateful for that day, and then one person who we can pray for or help or serve. Okay. So, one truth we discovered, one thing we're grateful for, and one person who we can pray or help or serve that day, which is also really cool because if you think about it, if you're doing that 365 days a year, that's thousands and thousands and thousands of people you're going out of your way to send positive energy towards or to go out and help, or to be there for every single day. So, it adds up.
But anyways, we all do that. And if we have time, because this is part of the spiritual disciplines, we end with a song, where I'll take out my guitar, my ukulele, and sometimes it'll be a hymn, sometimes it'll be a song, sometimes it'll be some positive uplifting beat to get the day going. But don't underestimate the positive energy that you get from singing together as a family or singing as a group. That's why I think singing at church is so powerful. It's just enormous chorus of voices. It's incredible, not only for your spiritual life, but for your nervous system. We know that the vagus nerve gets toned through chanting and singing and humming. We see group chanting group singing as a big part of a lot of ancient tribes and a big part of tradition. We don't do it that much, especially in America at least. And so, we try to sing together as a family. And if we don't do it then, I'm always singing to the boys and we're playing songs before we go to bed at night. But it's nice to be able to end that daily gratitude practice with a little bit of singing.
Okay. So, then I'm off to work. I'm doing a lot of things, podcasts, articles, writing, et cetera, et cetera. But at some point in the morning, typically before lunch, I try to do this before I jump into work. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but I like to find a half-hour where I can just break away. And for me, that's usually my sauna practice. I have an infrared sauna. I realize I'm spoiled because I have like this big–it's called the Clearlight Sanctuary. It's big enough for four people, but I use it to do all my yoga, my breathwork, et cetera. I always like to get something in in the morning and I'll try to do this in a fasted state if I can.
But basically, I've got about 20 to 30 minutes of flow yoga that I do in that sauna with deep breathwork. And there are a few things that I've found to make the sauna practice even more effective as well. So, sauna is wonderful for detoxification, for the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, for longevity, but you can even upgrade your sauna experience in the same way you can upgrade your meditation experience. So, a few things that I recommend for the sauna, A, drink a hot beverage beforehand so you're hot when you go in. I like black pepper tea or a cup of coffee, black pepper tea. You'll really get a sweat on if you literally make hot water and put a few grinds of black pepper in there. That's it. You just drink that. You can put some turmeric in there as well if you want to. So, coffee or black pepper. Green tea is also good. Some of the caffeine and the theanine in either coffee or in green tea can enhance the burning of fatty acids if you're doing your sauna practice in a fasted state as well.
The other thing that I've been doing is there's another blend of essential oils from that same guy, Essential Oil Wizardry. He's got one called Respire, R-E-S-P-I-R-E. It was developed for lung function and for cardiovascular performance. And I like to sprinkle that all over the sauna before I go in. It feels like I'm getting these big refreshing breaths of air when I'm in there. Actually, I have one of these hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers as well and I've been sprinkling a little bit in there too when I get a chance to go in the hyperbaric. Anyways though, sorry to rabbit hole, but for those of you who think I don't have a life and I've just got all these saunas and toys and playing around with, I mean, if I'm going in the hyperbaric, what I'm doing in the hyperbaric is reading the books for the people I'm getting on the podcast to interview or going through research articles and magazines.
Every time I'm doing some of these practices, like I've got other things going on the same time, when I'm in the sauna despite doing breathwork and in yoga and flow, I'm still listening to something educational. Usually, in the sauna, it is a good audiobook. For example, the audiobook I've got going right now, it's another kind of spiritually related audiobook. This one is called “The Science of Enlightenment” by Shinzen Young, “The Science of Enlightenment.” I've usually got something kind of educational or uplifting going on at some point during that morning sauna practice, which again I try to do at some point either as a break away from the morning work or before I jump into the morning work.
Another thing I've found in addition to that essential oil called Respire, and then the black pepper tea, the coffee, or the green tea before the sauna is–I found this topical that you can rub on your body before you get into the sauna. That opens up your pores and makes you sweat buckets. It's called Prototype. You may have heard my interview with the guys from ATP Science and they developed this thing is almost like a rub-on Viagra. It just like opens up all the blood vessels. But not only is it black pepper that you're rubbing on your body, but it's got like rosemary, it has a rosehip fruit oil in it, it's got beeswax, it has this stuff called Aloe Leaf Juice, a bunch of things that bring blood flow to the surface of your body, a little bit of peppermint in there so your body heats up a little bit more. And man, between black pepper tea or coffee or green tea, plus putting that stuff all over my appendages and my stomach and my back before I get into the sauna, it's amazing. So, that one's called Prototype. It's made by ATP Science. And I just keep that next to the sauna and rub it on before I get in.
So, those are all the things that I do in the sauna. And then I always finish with a cold plunge. I always finish with a jump into either the cold pool back behind my house or this thing called a Morozko that I have, which is basically like a smaller cold pool, but it'll stay cold in the summer. It'll stay like 32 degrees when it's 100 degrees outside. This thing's amazing and it's clean with like ozone and UV. But I have these little triggers in my life, meaning that there are certain prayers or certain meditations that I'll do, like right when I wake up, I told you I've got this study, meditation, and prayer practice.
Whenever I get into the cold pool after the sauna, I have a quick prayer that I say, and I say this every time I get in. I just wove this prayer together based on certain things that I really wanted to manifest in my life. I walk out, I'm all sweaty from the sauna, and just drenched. I get in the cold pool and I start to go back and forth. If I'm in the big endless pool that I use as a cold pool or if I'm in the Morozko, I'm just sitting there and I talk to God. And my exact prayer every day is this. “Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you.” So, it starts off like that. “I surrender all to you.” I got that phrase from David Hawkins' book “Surrender.”
So, I'm opening with surrender. “Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you. Please turn me into the father and into the husband who you would have for me to be, into a man who will fulfill your great commission and remove from me all judgment of others. Grant me your heavenly wisdom, remove from me my worldly temptations, teach me how to listen to your still small voice in the silence and fill me with your peace, your love, and your joy. Amen.” And that's it. I say that prayer every single day and I kind of associate it with the cold pool because I always recite it when I get into the cold. And so, it's almost like this trigger for me like a Pavlov's Dog type of thing.
But anyways, I find that prayer to be really helpful. And don't feel like an impostor if you want to borrow it and use it. So, again it's, “Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you. Please turn me into the father and into the husband who you would have for me to be, into a man who will fulfill your great commission and remove from me all judgments of others. Grant me your heavenly wisdom, remove from me my worldly temptations, teach me how to listen to your still small voice in the silence and fill me with your peace, your love, and your joy. Amen.” I just feel just about everything that I want to manifest is expressed through that prayer, and I just find it to be a very settling prayer.
So, anyways, I got that cold plunge. And then I work hard. So, I'm typically working on and off, sometimes even after dinner. Sometimes I'll be ducking away quickly to work and get a few last little fires put out. I probably average about, I would say–well, yesterday on my birthday, I had a 15-hour workday. Some days it's closer to 10 to 12, but I love my job. So, I'm podcasting, I'm reading, I'm writing, I'm doing videos and content for Kion, working on supplements, just doing all these things that I do during the day. I'm also advising and investing in all these different companies in the health and fitness and nutrition sector, or I'm on an airplane flying, or I'm speaking.
I work a lot, but I always have the brief pauses during the day for breathwork. I always, always, always use breathwork to control stress. And I've basically just got three that I really like that I incorporate all throughout the day, quick stops for breathwork, almost like Pomodoro breaks. These are the three that I found to be the very best for lowering cortisol, for lowering stress. One would be box breathing, four-count in, four-count hold, four-count out, and four-count hold. So, four, four, four, four. The next one is alternate nostril breathing. Breathe in through the left nostril and out through the right nostril, and then breathe in through the right nostril and out through the left nostril, and obviously, you're using one of your fingers to cover up the nostril that you're not breathing through as you do that one. That one is also very good at activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
And then the last one, and I especially like this one to just lull myself to sleep at night, is 4-8 breathing, four-count in, eight-count out, four-count in, eight-count out over and over and over again. And sometimes I'll just not even remember falling asleep when I do that one, but it's also really good in traffic, for example, or if you're sitting on a runway in your airplanes waiting a taxi for half-hour. You can just sit there and meditate, four in, eight out. That one works really well. So, box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and 4-8 breathing.
And then I'm also going through a breathwork course with my kids right now. It's really good. It's a 21-day breathwork course by a guy who's been on the podcast before called The Renegade Pharmacist, and it teaches everything from holotropic breathwork to kind of like Wim Hof style fire breathing to some of the breathwork I just described. Really good breathwork course and I'll link to that one in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/spiritualdisciplines. But if you want to become a real breathwork ninja, that course is awesome. So, the 21-day Soma breathwork course.
Okay. So, back to the spiritual disciplines. At the end of the day, we gather for a family dinner. And I think it's really important. We see near 120-year-old cigarette smoking, gin chugging grandmas and some of these Blue Zones who are healthy despite their nutrition and their lifestyle because they just have so many friends. It's such a robust social life. That's a big, big player in overall happiness, and purpose, and spiritual disciplines, and fulfillment, and even longevity. And we really, really prioritize family dinners at our house. Meaning when the kids are done with jiu-jitsu and basketball or tennis, or when I'm done with all the things I'm doing for the day and mom's wrapped up with taking care of the goats and chickens and everything she's doing, we all gather at the end of the day for these wonderful family dinners.
There are a few real key components that I found to be especially precious parts of our family dinners, which I do consider to be a big part of the spiritual disciplines. So, the first would be we always start off dinner with some kind of a meditation or an activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and expression of gratitude. So, a few that I really like, one I recently learned last year at one of the RUNGA retreats I was at, and one of the gentlemen there, he gave a prayer before the dinner and it went like this. Everyone closes their eyes and they breathe in and they say, “I'm aware of my body.” And then you breathe out. “I smile at my body.” Then you breathe in. “I'm aware of my food.” Breathe out. “I smile at my food.” Breathe in. “I'm aware of my company.” Breathe out. “I smile at my company.” So, I really like that one. My kids do, too.
Another one that we do is just three centering breaths. And typically, we'll do this right before we say a prayer of gratitude and bless the food, where it's in through the nose, out through the mouth, in through the nose, out through the mouth, in through the nose, out through the mouth. And then we'll bless the food, say our gratefulness to God for the food, and then open our eyes and eat. Those are the two that we do most common. And occasionally, we will also just basically go through our gratitude journals and share those at the end of the day if we haven't had a chance to share them earlier in the day. But typically, it's one of those two prayers that I just told you about.
And then dinner begins. And our dinner is just this amazing fun time. There's no TV, there's no phones. So, we have these different games that we play, some of the best games. I'm going to recommend these to you to have at the dinner table for family dinners. They're also wonderful dinner party games, some of them. So, the ones we like the best, number one is Table Topics, where you just draw a card. The card will say something like, “Which superhero do you wish was here having dinner with us and why?” Or, “If you could go back and change one thing about today, what would you change?” Things like that. So, that's one we like is Table Topics.
Another one, there's this comic website called The Oatmeal at theoatmeal.com, and we love the games that they make. They're these hilarious card games. So, we're just all roaring with laughter as we play these things. One is called Unstable Unicorns, one is called Bears vs Babies, and one is called Exploding Kittens. We own all those games. Those are the ones that kids grab a lot of the time when they're going downstairs to pick the game that we're going to play for our family dinners each night. And then there are three others that we really like. One is called Gubs, G-U-B-S, and that's a card game similar to those other card games I was just talking about.
And then two are a little bit more kind of like educational word-based, but because our kids are–they're kind of sort of slash, or that they're homeschooled/unschooled right now, we sometimes pull out the educational games. And two that we really like that are almost like dinner-friendly versions of Scrabble are one called Quiddler and one called Boggle. So, just those games alone that I just told you will set you up with a whole bunch of stuff you guys can do during your family dinner. So, Table Topics, Unstable Unicorns, Bears vs Babies, Exploding Kittens, Gubs, Quiddler, and Boggle. They have funny names, but man, when you have the games out, so much easier to just engage in conversation and have fun and not even think about whatever, the TV or grabbing your phone during dinner.
So, we all finish dinner. And if I still have work to do, I will go and finish up any last emails or work or anything I got to do to prep for the next day while the family is taking care of like brushing teeth, taking care of the dishes, clearing everything out. I realize that makes me sound like a lazy ass and I'm not up there helping with the dishes while everybody else is cleaning up, but I'm doing my own version of work. And so, I just make sure that I've got anything taken care of I need to take care of after dinner. Usually, that's a maximum of like 15, 20 minutes, just to make sure there's nothing–no fires I need to put out. And then we all come together and we finish with family bedtime, the things that we do for our family bedtime. Number one is a song. So, I've always got the ukulele or the guitar, or sometimes it's just acapella. And we always have a song. I like the app Ultimate Guitar Tabs that I have on my phone that allows me to just pull up any song my kids want me to play and have the tablature right there.
And so, we do that. We always end the night with a prayer, just praying for a refreshing night of sleep, and that God would give us sweet dreams and thanking God for all the blessings that we had during that day. And we also really have been enjoying the practice of eye gazing lately. And this is really, really cool, you guys. So, if you have children or a loved one, this is amazing. All you do is you just look into each other's eyes for anywhere from one to four minutes just like deep eye gazing. If I'm doing it with my son Terran, for example, which was a couple nights ago, I'm just running my hands through his hair and he's kind of like rubbing his fingers against my face. We're feeling each other. We're looking deep into each other's eyes. He's 11, by the way.
There's no rule that you need to talk, but sometimes we will talk. It's a no-judgment zone. We can say anything we want to each other, such as anything from, “Man, I love you so much,” to, “You're getting so big,” to, “Dad, I didn't really like it today when you were yelling at me to go outside and do push-ups,” anything like that. It's just completely a no-judgment zone along with the eye gazing, looking deep into each other's souls. And man, it's so crazy how little we do that with other human beings these days. And the eyes are the window to the soul. So, it's just so important to be able to make eye contact. And the easiest way to start doing it and getting that practice with your own family, they're kind of like the least awkward people to do this with.
So, we do eye gazing at night. Usually mom with River and me with Terran, or vice versa. And then after that, the kids get tucked away and mom and I go off into our room. I'll talk a little bit about like lovemaking and sex here in a little bit, but I want to go back to the evening and just focus on a few other things to tell you about. One would be that you do tend to dwell upon and dream about during the night whatever you have dwelt upon prior to sleep, which is why, for example, it's important to me that I do that last little burst of work before I've started into that evening routine and reconnection to the family versus getting all that out of the way and then going down and working and then coming back to bed. So, that's one thing that's important.
Another thing that's important is that you don't have a lot of fitness and business and productivity books on your bedside, but that you instead focus on preferably either more uplifting literature or I really, really like the Benjamin Franklin journaling approach of self-reflection. You can actually buy kind of like a “What good have I done this day?” type of journal from Amazon that reflects the type of questions that Benjamin Franklin would ask himself before he went to bed at night. Many stoic philosophers you'll also find had this practice of some type of self-reflection as they would fall asleep. “What good have I done this day? What could I have done better on this day? What mistakes did I make? What triumphs did I have? What failures did I have?”
Just basically analyzing every single day at the end of the day allows you to make the following day that much better, repeating the same successes or avoiding similar failures. And that's really important to just have that time before you go to bed, or it's just a moment of quiet reflection or journaling reflection on what good you have done that day, or what things you could have done better that day, or some form of self-reflection. There's many different ways to do it, but I really like some of the Benjamin Franklin journals off of Amazon, if you want to set up that practice. And again, there's no reason you can't have multiple journals like you can have a gratitude journal that you do in the morning and a Benjamin Franklin's journal that you do at night, and then a separate blank journal that you use for things like plant medicine or those wilderness retreats, for example. So, that's really important. They understand that you're going to dwell upon prior to–or during a night of sleep, whatever you're dwelling upon prior to sleeping.
The other thing I wanted to mention and return to was that after I've done that, and this would be, for example, if I'm having sex at night or making love with my wife, I will not be doing that before that. So, I'll finish sex, lovemaking, anything like that, and then I'll go into the self-reflection. And then finally, as lights are going off, go back into that 4-8 breathing, four-count in, eight-count out, and I'll just repeat that until I fall asleep. So, the very end cap of the day is the self-reflection and the 4-8 breathing. And that's a really, really good way to end the day in my opinion.
Okay. So, back to lovemaking. I should tell you that I think many, many couples, and many of us raised in traditional Western society, I think for many of us sex. My wife and I have been married for 15 years and it was only really recently until we really understood true tantric spiritual sex, like deep eye gazing during lovemaking rather than always listening to, I don't know, just like boop-bop top 40 type of stuff and having it sound more like a strip club in the bedroom, then a spiritual experience. A lot of times, we're listening to a little bit more passive type of tunes.
And then this concept of eye gazing and really deep connection is super important. My wife and I actually have two chairs. They're called BackJack chairs. And we put those chairs in the bed, and we sit legs intertwined and face each other, and we chat anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before we go into lovemaking or before we fall asleep. It's an incredible way to connect at the end of the day with your lover. And in many cases, of course, it just leads to the next natural step, lovemaking, but in a more spiritual connected sort of way versus what I would consider to just, in many cases, be mutual masturbation, like bodies rubbing up against each other until fireworks happen and you both feel good and you fall asleep versus deep eye gazing, a deep spiritual connection going into the lovemaking, really good support of music in the background. And we have candles, we have incense, we have red lights. It's an amazing, amazing spiritual discipline really to be able to spiritually connect with your partner just as much as you're physically or mentally connected to them.
In a similar manner, one of the ways that we really began to tap into the ability to be able to do this, and this is something that–it is still kind of like on the fringes of being able to find in the U.S., for example, but we've done couples, plant medicine therapy where rather than going off and journeying on our own with plant medicine, whether it would be, let's say something like ayahuasca, or [01:00:15] ______, or ketamine, or MDMA. Any of these type of things you're actually doing couples therapy where you're doing these things together. And again, it's difficult for me to talk about on a podcast just because of the legality issues of a lot of this stuff, but we really have done couples plant medicine therapy together and I would save all the most transformative things that we've done for a relationship, physically, sexually, spiritually, anything like that. It has been couples plant medicine.
We both have a very deep connection to God, very solid prayer practice, very deep meditative practice. I think that in many cases, if you're going into plant medicine equipped spiritually like that and kind of armored up spiritually like that, you get far better results, and it's a far less kind of like dark traumatic place to go to. But ultimately, that's been one big changer for my wife and I have been couples therapy. And particularly, couples therapy married to plant medicine. And so, I just wanted to emphasize for you before I continue rabbit holing so much that sex should be considered something very spiritual with you and your partner, and I found it to be incredibly meaningful.
And I also think that's important because sexual unity, that deep spiritual sense that sex can give you, I think originally. And again, like I'm a creationist, I believe way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve prior to the fall of man and sin, I think their sex was probably just about the most amazing thing that a human being could ever experience. And I think it's been bastardized with everything from pornography to strange fetishes to–all the ways that sex has been decoupled from a deep spiritual union. I think that we would have far more societal stability and more happiness with couples, less divorce, less sexual dissatisfaction if sex was really considered a more spiritual, almost like a wholly protected type of relationship rather than it being just treated as like the way it's treated in modern Western society.
I think there's too much baboon-esque pornography type sex going on versus deep spiritual tantric sex. And I really think if we were to begin to focus on the latter more that couples would just be far happier with each other sexually and that there'd also be a lot less desire to go off and taste every last corner of the sex world and try new partners and all this just because like you're just so incredibly fulfilled when it's a deep spiritual connection between you and another being. And that's really a difference between animals that have sex and humans that have sex. And so, I think deep human spiritual sex really is what differentiates us from the animal kingdom, and I think it's just something to think about when it comes to your sex life and your relationship with your significant other.
Okay. So, a couple other things regarding plant medicine. There are two other disciplines that I found to be very effective when it comes to plant medicine. One would be holotropic breathwork, which was originally developed by a guy named Stanislav Grof as a way to tap into all the effects that LSD gives you without LSD, that merging of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, creative and analytical thought combined, and a big release of DMT and nitric oxide, a lot of cool things to happen during holotropic breathwork.
So, that Soma, that 21-day Soma breathwork routine I told you about, that will teach you a version of holotropic breathwork. And there is, in fact, a one-hour long downloadable audio from that course that I do one to two times a month laying flat on my back in my sauna. And it's an incredible spiritual experience. I have a journal. A lot of times I'll journal for an hour after I finished that session. Typically, I'll do it very early on a Sunday morning prior to church. I'll get up early, go in, do the holotropic breathwork session. And I actually take psilocybin before that, a little bit more than a microdose. I have a pretty high tolerance for psilocybin. For me, a trip dose for psilocybin starts at somewhere between six and eight grams depending on the strain.
However, for that, I'll typically do about two grams or so of psilocybin for that holotropic breathwork. So, kind of like a microdose of plant medicine, lay and flatten my back, holotropic breathwork. And I do that one to two times a month with the journal, and that's been a real game-changer for me as far as being able to dissolve my ego and write down a lot of thoughts I have about family, about spirituality, about business after doing that. So, that's one practice that I have.
Another practice is once every two weeks, it used to be once every week, but I've kind of dialed that back a little bit. Once every two weeks, I do intranasal ketamine, and that is compound with oxytocin, which increases things like trust feelings of love, even the sensation of human touch. And although I microdose with that occasionally prior to sex, that's actually an amazing microdose for sex, ketamine with oxytocin, I'll take a heftier dose when I am getting a massage. I will literally–this is kind of funky. I've talked about this before on a podcast, but I have this really cool massage shut up. I will blast my body on either side with really, really good deep healing music. I like Wholetones by Michael Tyrrell. That's a really good track for starting with this.
So, I use Wholetones by Michael Tyrrell or some other deep spiritual uplifting music. I take the ketamine and the oxytocin intranasally, and sometimes we'll combine that with a little bit of THC, which I think just helps drive me into a little bit more of a deep meditative state. I have one of these pulsed electromagnetic field tables. It's made by a company called Pulse Centers. And that opens and closes cell membranes and seems to, with any plant medicine or anything like that that you would do or even a synthetic medicine in conjunction with PEMF, it blasts it to the absolute next level.
So, kind of similar to how like a gamma lamp worn on the head will enhance the meditation. Doing any meditation or plant medicine in conjunction with pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is also absolutely amazing. If you haven't done that before, you need to try it. So, I have one of these big Pulse Centers tables. It's a massage table that passes electricity through the massage table as you're on it, called pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. It's the same as you would get if you were grounding, like laying on the planet Earth but concentrated in a very high doses almost like shakes your whole body. It's amazing.
So, I've got that, the music, and then the ketamine and the oxytocin I take intranasally. And then I have a massage therapist work on me for a couple hours while I'm in that state. And that again for me is a big spiritual escape. I'm an extremely hard-charging high-achieving guy. I'm wired for my brain to just constantly be dwelling on business and work and achievement. And that's one of the few times every couple of weeks that the holotropic breathwork session, sex and a workout would be the times when I check out of being in that state. And this massage with the ketamine and oxytocin, PEMF and music is just an absolute game-changer for me, and I absolutely value that. It's kind of like another spiritual practice.
So, I would say those are the big three for me. If we're talking about the big guns, it would be the couple's plant medicine therapy that I do with my wife, the holotropic breathwork session with the psilocybin that I do one or two times a month laying flat on my back in the sauna, and then the biweekly massages that I do on ketamine with PEMF. There are probably some people snickering about this stupid biohacker at his home in Washington State out in the forest laying on an electrical table on drugs getting a rubdown. And if you phrase it that way, yeah, it sounds silly, but I'm just being perfectly transparent and honest with you guys. This is what I do and these are the things that I found making me feel amazing. And yeah, I'm experimenting all sorts of different things, and hopefully, some of the things that I've found to be really helpful for me might also serve you.
So, yeah. Those are some of my big journey type of things that I engage in that I would consider to be a little bit more than that, prayer, meditation, study, and gratitude journaling that are more like daily practices. And book like “Stealing Fire” again by Steven Kotler kind of goes into the importance of keeping the more hedonistic things fewer and far between, big journeys that you might do on a quarterly basis, something like a deep dive into ayahuasca or some other form of plant medicine, or maybe just on a weekly or biweekly basis, something like the holotropic breathwork or the use of psilocybin or something like that.
I also admittedly, and I want to share this with you as well, there are areas in my life where I feel I have a lot of improvement, a lot of improvement that needs to be made. For example, local volunteer and charity and community work. That's a big one for me in 2020 that I want to do a much better job systematizing into my life. And for me, the way things are shaping up right now that's going to look like I'm going to weave my love and passion for music, and this is something that Donald Whitney talks about in his “Spiritual Disciplines” book. Charity doesn't have to be something that you hate and feels like a chore. Like if you don't want to go serve unhealthy meals to poor people in a soup kitchen, that doesn't have to be what you do.
I love music. I love making me–I love singing. So, a real focus for me in 2020 is I'm going to be getting out into the community, local nursing homes, the unique gospel mission, just basically going out and sharing music with people who would have joy brought to their hearts by–who might otherwise be lonely, for example. So, going out and playing music for people is one big thing I want to start doing more of. I also have probably–no, not probably, but for sure. Like, I have a weak connection with my local church community. Part of the spiritual discipline involves community worship, community celebration. I go to church, but because I travel so much, and in many cases, I'm on a plane on a Sunday morning, it can be hard for me to get more involved in my local church community. So, those are two areas, charity and volunteering, and also church and community worship where I think I have a lot of work that needs to be done.
And so, I don't profess to be perfect in any of these spiritual disciplines. I'm probably 10 times stronger physically than I am spiritually, but I know that that's an imbalance and kind of like I started off telling you guys about there's no use being strong and fit if your soul and your spirit is shrunken and shriveled up inside you. As the Bible says, “What good does it do a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” So, that soul, the spark, the spirit, that's the one thing that goes on to last forever. So, why not make sure that that's the thing that you're caring for the most? What I've just shared with you are some of the ways that I weave that into my own life.
One other thing that I wanted to share with you is also from the book, Anthony de Mello, because whenever I share a lot of things like this, I think sometimes it's easy to get the mentality of “I got to do this, I got to do that. Ben's doing this, I need to buy the PEMF table that Ben gets, and where do I get ketamine? And I got to get all these books and got to read them right away.” I started off with a quote from “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello, and I think I want to finish with a quote from “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello about just like being happy with where you are, being aware of where you are, and not necessarily trying to have it all and thinking, “Yeah, I'd do the next thing,” but instead just taking life step by step and enjoying each moment, which in and of itself is a spiritual discipline, awareness.
He says, “Continue to be aware, to live life from moment to moment. How marvelously it is described in those words of the gospel. Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. Consider the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin. So, why are you anxious? Can you, for all your anxieties, add a single moment to your life? Why bother about tomorrow? Is there life after death? Will I survive after death? Why bother about tomorrow? Get into today. Someone once said, ‘Life is something that happens to us while we're busy making other plans.' That's pathetic. Live in the present moment. This is one of the things you will notice happening to you as you come awake. You find yourself living in the present, tasting every moment as you live it.”
So, how about you? Taste every moment as you live it even today, you'd be fully aware, fully present. Sure, there's plenty, plenty to do, but make sure as you're planning, as you're preparing, and trust me, this coming from a guy who loves to plan and prepare and schedule out every last minute of my life, just make sure that's not taking you away from the very present moment that you're in right now.
So, there you have it. Everything I talked about, you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/spiritualdisciplines to get started in. I hope this hasn't been too weird or too woo-woo for you. I just wanted to be super transparent and authentic about all the different things that I weave into my life to build myself spiritually. And I really hope this has been helpful for you. And if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/spiritualdisciplines, you can leave your own comments, your own questions, your own feedback, your own tips, your tricks, the things that you do to build yourself up spiritually just as much as you might build yourself up physically or mentally. So, I would love to go and read all those comments as well. So, again, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/spiritualdisciplines and until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield, wishing you an amazing week. I love you guys.
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 hormone, 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, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. 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.
Correction note: I said “Richard Dawkins” in this episode and meant to say “David Hawkins!”
As I age, observe great thinkers and philosophers, and continually seek wisdom, I've become increasingly convinced that caring for one's spirit is as important—no, more important than caring for one's body and brain. After all, long after our muscles have atrophied and skin has sagged, long after our brains have degraded and accumulated with plaque, long after our blood vessels and nerves have become clogged and weak, and long after our relentless pursuit of fitness and longevity has become a vain effort, our spirits can be just as strong and bright as ever. Yet, sadly—especially among those immersed in physical fitness and biohacking—it seems that the spirit is the most oft-ignored component of our human vessels, quite frequently shrunken and shriveled from a near-complete neglect of the spiritual disciplines…
…disciplines such as meditation, gratitude, prayer, fasting, study, fellowship, celebration, charity, and all those elements that most of us know are important but somehow shove to the side because, let's face it, life gets busy and it just seems far more practical and immediately useful to go hit the gym rather than sit cross-legged on the floor meditating, breathing, spending an extra ten minutes in bed journaling, or prioritizing a family dinner.
As I mention with increasing frequency the importance of the spiritual disciplines, I'm often asked how I personally incorporate these practices in my own life. So, similar to how last week I shared with you the nitty-gritty details of my own nutrition supplementation program, in this podcast I'm going to delve into how I weave everything from yoga to breathwork to plant medicine into my own life. I in no way profess to be an expert in these matters, and although it is my goal over the next ten years to become as spiritually fit as I am physically fit (and to focus perhaps even more on the spiritual disciplines than I currently do on the physical disciplines), I hope that a few of the insights I've incorporated into my own life these past several years may serve you well in your own pursuit of spiritual greatness.
During this podcast, you'll discover:
-Why you should value spiritual disciplines in the first place…6:40
- Focusing only on physical health and wellness can be quite shallow
- Spiritual exercise/discipline is just as real and vital as physical
- Caring for our spirit is just as important, if not more so, than our body and brain
- Attachment exercise from Awareness by Anthony De Mello
- Think of something or someone to which you're attached
- Say, “I really do not need you to be happy; I can be happy without you”
- Happiness is a state of non-illusion — the absence of an illusion
-How Ben has educated himself on spiritual disciplines…13:00
- Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster
- Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
- Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele A. Calhoun
- The Jesuits Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ
- Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter by Philip Koch
- Once a year practice of stoicism
-Ben's morning spiritual disciplines…19:27
- Before getting out of bed, time w/ family, etc. read in bed (scriptures, aforementioned books) for 5-10 minutes
- Book: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
- Enhancing meditation tips:
- Spiritual disciplines can be “hacked” just like physical disciplines
- MiCacao tea w/ Kion Coffee
- Spend 10-15 minutes doing stretching and deep tissue work
- Family gratitude practice
- Christian Gratitude Journal
- Sing a song together
-Ben's sauna practice…37:45
- Clearlight Sanctuary sauna
- Flow yoga w/ deep breathwork
- Drink a hot beverage beforehand (black pepper tea or coffee or green tea)
- Respire Essential Oil by Essential Oil Wizardry (sprinkled in the sauna before going in)
- Listening to something educational
- Book: The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young
- Prototype topical oil by ATP Science (enhances your ability to sweat)
- Finish w/ a cold plunge in a Morozko Forge ice bath followed by this prayer:
Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you
Turn me into the father and husband you would have for me to be
Into a man who will fulfill your great commission
And remove from me all judgment of others
Grant me your heavenly wisdom
Remove from me my worldly temptations
Teach me to listen to your still, small voice in the silence
And fill me with your peace, your love, and your joy. Amen
-How Ben manages stress during busy and intensive workdays…44:45
- Brief pauses throughout the day for breathwork
- Box breathing (4 in, 4 hold, 4 out, 4 hold)
- Alternate nostril breathing
- 4-8 breathing (4 in, 8 out over and over)
- 21 day Soma breathwork course by The Renegade Pharmacist
-End of day spiritual practices…47:28
- Gather for family dinner (big factor for longevity in Blue Zones)
- Meditation, activation of parasympathetic nervous system…
- “I'm aware of my body
I smile at my body
I'm aware of my food
I smile at my food
I'm aware of my company
I smile at my company”
- “I'm aware of my body
- Centering breaths
- Meditation, activation of parasympathetic nervous system…
- Games for family dinners
- Finish up remaining business while family cleans up and gets ready for bed
- You dwell on and dream about what you've dwelt on during the day
- Family bedtime
- Sing together
- App: Ultimate Guitar Tabs
- Prayer together
- Eye gazing
- Self-reflection journal
- True, tantric, spiritual sex is oft-ignored in modern society
- Backjack chairs – chat for 5-15 minutes prior to lovemaking, sleep, etc.
- Couple's plant medicine therapy
- Holotropic breathwork (Renegade Pharmacist offers this)
- Ben's massage setup
-Areas for improvement…1:09:00
- Participating in local charitable causes
- Share your gifts — make your service enjoyable
- Strengthen connection w/ local church community
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Book: Awareness by Anthony De Mello
– Book: Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler
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