Practice Session #37
Welcome to my show notes for this week’s session of Practice!
We record these sessions every Sunday. I try to publish the audio on the same day of recording, but once in a while, I may get delayed due to various reasons.
Also, I will usually have the AI-generated transcript and my initial notes published on the same day of recording as well. On Fridays, I’ll (try to) go back through and proof the transcript while I add all of my notes.
I’ll be utilizing this opportunity to clarify and elaborate on points that I may not have conveyed as well as I would’ve liked to. I’ll also provide links to further information and resources.
So, on Friday, I’ll intersperse all my notes with the transcription from the audio below (unless I don’t 🤷).
CK: Okay… Actually. all right. Here we go. Ready?
There we go. Okay, here we go.
Heyo! I’m CK, and you’re listening to Practice. I’m your functional systems integrator, and this is my podcast where practice is not just the theme of the show, but the whole purpose behind it. What started out as a practice of podcasting, as well as speaking in general, has evolved into a practice of self-coaching and self-reflection while espousing half-thoughts and providing unsolicited advice.
As always, I’m fortunate to be joined by my Practice partner and partner in life: Pam.
Pam: Hey, that’s me.
CK: Pam is also my pattern awareness manager, and every Sunday we reflect on the past week and my progress with this practice, along with other lifestyle practices, as well as theories and ideas behind the virtues of practice itself.
We’re doing this on the fly, so don’t hold me responsible for what I say here. Make sure to check out my show notes where I’ll provide some fact-checking, self-psychoanalysis and commentary on things I could have done better. You may find this and more information about this project at ForcesOfEqual.com/Practice.
Catch up with the Anomaly and the Linchpin.
CK: We’re recording today on November 8th of 2020. And this is episode number 37- Practice session number 37. And it has been quite the week.
Pam: Yes it has.
CK: It feels like it’s been a long week. I- it feels like our last session was so long ago.
Pam: Yeah, it feels like so much has changed since then.
CK: Yeah. Yeah. It’s been a crazy crazy week.
This week’s quote to reflect on.
CK:And before we get into things, let me get right into the quote. I think I’ll be able to relate this to a lot of things. And Pam might be surprised about this quote that I’m using…
And it is by Deepak Chopra.
Pam: I know where this is going.
CK: I’m actually not too familiar with Deepak Chopra’s work. I’ve read some excerpts here and there, but a lot of his stuff is certainly interesting and certainly something I want to look into further. And the quote from him is:
“The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.”
And this quote came up because of something that Pam received earlier in the week. She received a package of tarot card holders, I guess you would call them. And those are. cool in themselves, but it came with this little postcard or, like, index card-sized thing with this quote on it. And I saw that and I just loved the quote.
It made so much sense and it spoke to me, and it speaks to pretty much everything that I’ve been kind of talking about over the past several weeks. And it also reminds me of a quote from Stoic philosopher, Epictetus.
I’m not sure if I used this quote before in an episode or not, but I’ve had it written down in different places. And I think we might have used it in our microphone testing.
And the quote by Epictetus is:
“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by, as imagined anxieties about real problems.”
And so the second part of Deepak Chopra’s quote, “The worst use of use of imagination is anxiety” relates directly with that.
And the first part I love, and how he just put these two together, “the best use of imagination is creativity.” And I feel like it provides kind of like a yin and yang with the whole feeling of the quote.
And it almost in my mind puts together both the Taoist and Stoic philosophies, where I kind of relate Taoism a little more with creativity and being more with the flow and letting go of form per se. And then of course, the part about anxiety and how that’s pretty much all based on your imagination is very much tooted in the Stoic philosophy.
So yeah, I really love that quote just because it kind of brings everything together, and it’s so simple and it makes a lot of sense.
Pam: I’ve got a quote for you.
Pam: That ties exactly what you were just saying together, ’cause Epictetus was from the 1500s, right?
CK: Epictetus? No, he’s from like the 0s.
Pam: Okay. Well, a long time ago, anyway. Like, generations and generations ago. And then Deepak Chopra is obviously teaching right now.
So, um, those are two quotes that are essentially saying the same thing from drastically different parts of history. So I have a quote from Albert Schweitzer. He’s a theologian and philosopher.
And he says that:
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
So it’s this idea that nothing is really new. We just keep coming up with the same ideas over and over again and- and presenting them in new ways that feel, um, rev- revelatory, I guess, and that all of this knowledge is available to us.
It’s already there and we just keep forgetting it and- and relearning it.
CK: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And, yeah, like you said, it goes along with everything that we’ve been talking about. And I love the notion that everything’s already there.
And this also goes into a lot of what we’re talking about and mindset, which is the basis of the quote that you just said. It’s- all has to do with what’s in our mind and how we perceive things.
And, as you were saying, how everything’s always there. We just kind of have to notice it or realize it. And the reason that we aren’t able to a lot of times is because we’re so distracted with everything else that’s filling our minds and all these other artificial concepts or constructs that are hijacking our minds and the natural process and all that stuff that we’ve been talking about.
So, yeah. Thanks for that.
Pam: Yeah, no problem.
🤔 Creativity across thinking modes.
Pam: There was another quick thing. I was listening to Broken Record, um, this morning. It’s um, what’s his name? Uh, Rick Rubin, his podcast. I was listening to his episode with Jason Isabel and, uh, Rick Ruben was asking him what his creative processes. And he said that he doesn’t have a creative process because he thinks that in order to be creative, you have to always be in the creative mode.
So he says that he goes to the grocery store with the exact same mindset as he does writing a song – that you have to be present and interested all the time for creative to be channeled. So that idea of the best use of imagination being creativity, is that he’s constantly imagining things in a creative mindset, no matter what he’s doing from the mundane to creation.
CK: Yeah, I wanted to focus a little more on that creative side because of course I’ve been trying to assert my creative side more. And I’ve been kind of having issues getting into the creative mode, just because I’ve been so much more objective and logical and strategic with all the things that I do.
And so I kind of feel like I’ve had trouble tapping into the creativity, but the more and more that I do it, the more and more I realize that I’ve had it. Like, we’ve kind of said before, like, these things are there and they’ve always been there. But I’ve just been distracted with all these other things and all these other thoughts and all these other concepts that I’ve grown to incorporate or implement in my life, and just got into this pattern or cycle of being that way for so long that it’s kind of hard to switch gears.
And so, yeah, all… yeah, all this stuff is so pertinent right now. It’s awesome.
So the- well, the thing that- who is Jason Isabel? Who is that, anyway?
Pam: Isbell, I-S-B-E-L-L he’s, um- he would be known as a country singer, but he’s very progressive and has been very outspoken politically, and gotten a lot of flack for that. And, um, so he’s really, um, kind of the forefront of the more progressive country music scene right now. Yeah, he’s got some really, really great songs.
CK: Cool. I’m not sure if I’ve heard his music before, but I’ll have to look into that.
So the thing that interests me about his perspective on having to be in that creative mode all the time… is interesting because along the lines of what I was saying before, when it comes to learning, there’s basically two modes that your brain can be in – which is the focus mode or the diffuse mode.
And the focus mode is probably what I would relate to more with how I’ve been thinking or learning previously to try to build this creativity. So, when you’re in this focus mode, you’re getting into these brain patterns that are already set or more solidified. And so they’re the same patterns kind of being reinforced. And when you’re focused like this, you have more concentration on specific topics or subjects, and you have less capacity to think more outside of the box per se.
Pam: It’s really specialized.
CK: Right. And you can only be in one of these modes at a time.
So the other side is the diffuse mode which relates to the default mode network… default mode network, DMN – which relates more to introspective thinking like self-reflection, even daydreaming… You are less focused, obviously, on specific things, but it gives you your. Eliza brain more capacity to think of more things at once and think of more concepts.
And those obvious- those concepts are obviously not as focused or specific, but it gives your brain different signals and you get to think outside of whatever specific thing. And this- and that’s how you get like different ideas and get new ideas, versus the focus mode where those ideas are set.
So that- that kind of- that’s interesting how he comes at it from that creative perspective and having to be in that creative mode all the time, which would- I would relate to the diffuse mode.
So… I think like for me, I think I’m having issues or, um, I have to work on my flexibility between the two modes, because I’m so used to that focus mode. And even when I’m trying to be creative or whatnot, I’m very meticulous and strategic and perfectionistic. So I- I would think I drive myself into that more focused mode.
And so I have to find more ways to be able to switch and be more flexible and also kind of cultivate that diffuse mode even more so that I can be more creative and be more free to think outside the box and think of all these different concepts.
Pam: I think that you will probably find that through doing music and things that don’t have a right answer, that you’ll become more comfortable with that. Because I think that I definitely have through some of the more artistic mindset practices that I’ve been doing, like astrology and taro and things like that, where there’s not an answer and you can’t be right. Um, and music is art, so there’s really- you can’t be wrong doing it. It might not be someone’s taste, but it won’t be wrong.
But I think about, um, when you’re talking about the diffuse mode network, I picture children and how as adults in order to be creative, we need to be more childlike. And I mean that in a good way, not in like, you know. But like, if you watch a kid when, like, their parent is trying to take them to the grocery store – like we were just talking about going to the grocery store – they’re not thinking about buying food and, you know, paying for things and like all of the adult stuff, because they don’t have that frame of reference.
In their mind they’re like, you know, in a video game or, you know, some sort of crazy fantasy where like everything in their life is creative. And we lose that as we pile responsibilities on our lives. So we need to, like, look at things in a little more childlike way, because they’re so creative.
When you ask a kid like what they’re thinking about, or if you just, like, listen to them play, they come up with the like most bizarre scenarios because they don’t have those restrictions on their mind.
CK: Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. And that for some reason- that brings things back for- to me to The Headless Way, in terms of being able to see and integrate more childlike aspects or the notion of the baby, who has no head, and to be more free, I guess you could say, and to free your imagination.
And this goes along with another point. – well, I mean, it goes right along with imagination and anxiety, and how- well, I mean, even for myself, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been becoming less and less anxious and I’ve had to self-medicate less and less since I started working on music and, you know, developing my music skills or whatever.
And that… and that’s another reason that that quote spoke out to me so much, is because, like, it makes so much sense. I didn’t really think about it, but I was putting more into music and my own creativity and developing different sounds and melodies and harmonies… and that in itself kind of took my brain out of that anxious mode.
And I didn’t need to consume cannabis or alcohol in order to not be anxious. It was the creativity. So yeah, that- that, I mean, it was- it’s pretty obvious now that I look back at it, but that quote spoke to me because it made so much sense and I didn’t actually realize it as clearly at the time.
So yeah, that quote is awesome. I wish I came up with it.
Pam: Do you want that stand in the quote for your office?
CK: Yeah. If you’re offering, that’d be cool. Thank you.
Reflecting on our week.
CK: So let’s see. Should we go back to our week in how our weeks went? Do you want to reflect on that?
Pam: I mean, I’d rather pretend like the- most of the week didn’t even happen. And then Saturday, we got fantastic news that Biden-Harris won, and now we’re… Um, so back to Jason Isabel, he had a funny tweet about the election. Um, he said that America just got dropped off at rehab.
He was an alcoholic, he went to rehab. So, um, he can say that. Um, but I thought that was a pretty funny perspective on where we’re at right now.
CK: Yeah, that is. Yeah, I, myself- I was so distracted throughout the week.
Pam: It was rough.
CK: Yeah, and I wanted to- like, I envisioned getting back into the flow of things, because I’m finishing up the big project that I’ve been working on… the big hill I’ve been climbing with the Not Bad Advice trailer.
And, um, right now I’m in the process of submitting it to directories and stuff. So hopefully we’ll see that pop up in the next week or so, and then figure out a plan for releasing episodes. And so… have that going on.
But, so I thought, you know, I’d get more in the flow, get more in the music, which I did a little bit here and there. But I was just so distracted, and it was a good time to practice a lot of the mindfulness stuff that I’ve been working on that- and that I’ve been touting.
And I’ve had to distract myself from being distracted. So find ways to navigate that. But, for me, it’s been a really interesting four years. And to have it line up with the election cycle is really interesting because it’s kind of all coming into a head now or into fruition and just relating it to that time-space is interesting. Because four years ago…
Pam: You mean personally.
CK: Yeah yeah, personally.
Yeah. And I would imagine a lot of other people might be in a similar boat, but I was in a pretty bad place four years ago at this time. And to see how much I’ve progressed – and even throughout the uncertainty of this past week, or the past several weeks, or the past four years, I guess – I’ve been improving my mindset and my mindfulnes, and I’ve been able to get through this.
And no matter what happened, or even no matter what happens – it’s still kind of uncertain – I’m still prepared. Like whatever happens, I’m pre- prepared for it. And I have the tools and the knowledge and the know-how to get through things. And I- just kind of looking back at things now and seeing how far I’ve come… and that’s just really enlightening and it’s just such a positive feeling for me to reflect on that and realize that.
So w- uh, I don’t know how much I want to get into it now, but we’ll definitely be getting into it a lot more with some of the projects that we’ve been working on – uh, specifically Equanimity, which is kind of how we started out this whole process of wanting to create a podcast.
And now we have two other podcasts that are coming up before that one. So that’s interesting, but that one’s kind of our baby. We’ve been working on that…
Pam: It’s gonna take a lot more work.
CK: Yeah. We’ve been working on that for a while, and Pam’s been doing a lot with creating the content. And now I’m really excited with what I can do with the sound design and the soundtrack.
So we have that to look forward to, but yeah, it’s just been an interesting journey and I’m coming out on top. And I’m coming out with so many great tools and knowledge and it’s a really enlightening experience for me. And this is what I want to pass along because I’ve experienced it, and I know it, and this is- and now I feel like I have my own story.
And this is something that I’ve been struggling with before… I mentioned before that I’ve been developing this health- functional health program. And that’s been going on actually about the same amount of time, uh, four or five years. And my whole thing with that program was to take myself out of it. So the whole thing is written in second person.
I don’t mention, “I, myself” at all. And I thought that was the way to go about doing that. And in some respects, maybe it is, but in terms of the whole thing with human behavior and human performance and improvement, humans are a lot more attached to personal stories when it comes to things like this and when it comes to anything, in fact.
And so I realized now that, whereas before I was trying to affect the entire world and everybody, which is just impossible. Now, I realize that I have to start small – which is funny because that’s a main theme in my program…
But I realize I need to start with my own circle and develop from there… and plant the seed and cultivate it from there. And the easiest way to influence people is to influence the people that are closest to you and have like-minds and similar concepts, and can understand where I’m coming from. And, you know, if something sticks with them, then they’ll want to share it or, you know, it’ll influence them somehow.
And it’ll grow from there rather than me just trying to brute force it into every single person in the world. So yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at now. What are you- do you have anything to say about that?
Pam: Um, I would just say that I encourage you to become the face and the story behind everything that you’re doing, because you have overcome a lot. And I know that your tendency is that you’re a much more private person. You don’t really tell people what’s going on with you at all. Um, but it is such a powerful story and you have overcome so much.
And I think that through the process of sharing it and through the process of. Um, connecting to it yourself, you will have more realizations about what you really have overcome, because I think you also tend to minimize. So like, we’ll talk about something and you’ll be like, “yeah, yeah, yeah… that happened.”
Like, it’s not like, “Holy crap. Yes, you know, four- four years ago on election night, I was breaking down.” Like you- you don’t, you’re not hyperbolic like that. Um, you tend to really minimize. So I think that it would be healthy for you to go through that process of really connecting with the story and putting it out there so that you can get the feedback of how powerful it really is.
CK: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And starting small with my own group will be, for one, more comfortable for me. And for two, there’ll be able to provide feedback or I’ll be able to get feedback starting from a small circle. So that as that gets bigger, I’ll be able to reinforce or, uh, make it better. Make my message better and make the program better and improve from the feedback.
So, yeah, I’m definitely. Excited about that and very, just- I don’t know… happy, I guess…? Optimistic… Considering what I’ve been through and reflecting on all that.
Pam: I want everybody to see how cool you are.
CK: Don’t don’t talk to me too much!
But I- so that reminds me, I also want to kind of reiterate what I was trying to articulate last week. That, you know, I’m sure you can probably tell which side of the political spectrum we’re on, but there’s also another side to it and we have to be mindful of these sides and, you know, it’s still- the thing that changed might be the presidency, but the people are still the same.
So the country is obviously divided and it’s just- it’s crazy how even the election was. And even four years ago, it was very even. So there’s obviously a lot more work that needs to be done in order to bring people together.
And people on the other side aren’t very different from you when it comes down to the core of things and the foundation of life and core values and stuff like that. So we have to find places of common ground and try to cooperate and get along. And, you know, we’re much stronger together than we are apart.
So I just really hope that we can get past our differences or perceived differences and get through to our values and what we actually want. And start getting rid of these distractions and constructs that are just hammered into us by corporations and the rich.
CK: Yeah… and realize that we’re all humans and we can evolve and we can think more critically.
So that’s another point I want to make that. Critical thinking in intelligence, aren’t the same things. Like there’s a lot of intelligent people out there who can’t think critically about certain things. And I’m very aware of this because I’m in Mensa and. We it, you know, members of Mensa can demonstrate a high level of intelligence in terms of this IQ testing.
But that doesn’t mean that we all think critically. And I witnessed that all the time. I’ve been the webmaster of orange County Mensa for maybe eight years now. And admittedly, I’m a reluctant Minson and the website is pretty much all I do other than, you know, we’ve attended a couple of talks and stuff like that over the years, but I’m reluctant in a couple.
Senses one eye. And this goes to, uh, me minimizing things. Uh, like you were saying before, like I, when I took the test, I was like, I don’t think I even finished the test and that, so I was like, I didn’t make it an immense there or whatever. So I was surprised, you know, a couple of weeks later when I got notified that I did well on the test and better than 98% of the population.
And so. I had, I have that. And then there’s, you know, I interacted with medicines through message boards or whatnot, and I see their letters to the editor and the magazines and, you know, there’s. A lack of critical thinking, going along with some, you know, I’m not going to generalize and say all medicines, cause obviously there’s a lot of smart people in there and a lot of great thinkers, but I’m just trying to say that, you know, intelligence and critical thinking, aren’t the same thing.
And we need a lot more critical thinking these days, you know, you have to think for yourself and I’ve been. Espousing this over the past few weeks, if you don’t realize it, you know, if you’re unconsciously self transcendent, you’re not realizing how you’re being controlled by the message from the systems above you.
So I, this is just kind of a call for more critical thinking and recognition of cognitive biases and. Broadening your perspective. And when it all comes down to it, it all comes down to perspective and having the perspective to realize that other people don’t think the same way that you think. And that goes along with empathy and theory of mind and understanding that other people feel differently about certain things.
And. So you have to have compassion for this and kind of understand, like, I mean, I’ll, I’ll goes back to our quote, you know, the best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety. So what are all these things that you’re thinking about the other side, per se, do you know them to be true?
And this comes from the work of Byron Katie, who I just love. And her four questions are so useful. It’s such a beneficial tool. First question is, do you know this to be true? Yes or no. And the second question is, are you sure? Do you absolutely know this to be true? And so kind of what I, how I see it as the first question is kind of thrown out there and you might.
React to it, maybe emotionally. So I liked that she repeats it with the second question. Cause then that kind of starts to get you into a more mindful mode and actually think about it and actually consider if what you’re thinking is actually true or not. If you can actually know for sure that to be true and.
To relate this to what I’m trying to talk about, you know, do you know why the other side is thinking the way that they’re thinking and can you be absolutely sure of that and how can you be, unless you’re them, you know,
Pam: And even they don’t know really
CK: Yeah. And even. You know, you can’t necessarily even trust what they say, because that might be just trying to convey something that they want to convey.
Or like Pam just said they might not even know what they’re saying or why they’re saying it. So those first two questions are so pertinent. Like, do you absolutely know them to be shown? And then the third question is, so, you know, if it is true, who are you with that thought. What does that thought make you feel?
Um, if you think about how, you know, just picture yourself and pick yourself with that thought and how that makes you feel and what that thought brings about, and if it brings about any emotions or feelings or thoughts, and then the fourth question is who are you without that thought? So that kind of reminds me of mental contrasting in psychology, kind of flipping the thought and taking yourself out of it and imagining what life would be like if you didn’t think like that.
And so this is just a practice of mindfulness in perspective, and it helps you get you out of yourself. And look at things from a more objective perspective, and I’m not sure why I got into all this,
Pam: I think I can wrap it up and bring it back. Um, so the, the point there through that process, especially when we’re speaking about, um, understanding someone who has views that are different than yours, the point of that process is not to. Except their points and to believe them or to give them validity or anything, the point is to be able to have conversations that are productive and you can’t do that.
If you’re battling the other person, if you’re saying you’re wrong, I know why you think X, Y, and Z. You have to come at them from a company. Passionate place or an empathetic place at least. And I say that being someone who gets very, very angry about these issues, you know, I have very close friends that are trans and gay and you know, a lot of, um, people that are, have been harmed.
So this is a hard thing for me personally to say, but it is that you have to remove yourself from. The conversation, because once you get angry, once you get emotional, once you are combative, you cannot change the other person’s stance. You can only make change by having conversations and by, by, uh, baby stepping them from where they are to where.
Hopefully they can get, and you can’t do that. If you’re telling them you’re wrong,
Pam: you have to start by spoon-feeding other
CK: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And even before the conversation is your own, self-reflection like when you respond to things with emotion or anger, like Pam was saying, the thoughts in your head are coming from your imagination. So these are the thoughts that are rooted in reality. So you’re just imagining. Things in a past future tense, per se.
So, you know, things that happened in the past, you project them into what might happen or what should happen or what ought to happen. And so you’re automatically out of the present moment and therefore not able to think clearly and rationally. And so that’s the great thing about Byron Katie’s four questions.
Is it helps you. Get out of your imagination and get more into reality. The reality of what’s going on rather than what you’re imagining could happen or could be going on.
Pam: Yeah. And you can use that with yourself and also with the other person, they, you know, if they make a statement, you can say, is that true?
CK: Yeah, totally.
Pam: and, and get them to, um, validate if it is actually true. So this is something you can use on yourself, but it’s also something that you can use in conversation with other people.
CK: Yeah. Yeah. So I think we’re up on time already. They went fast. That blew by and my voice feels pretty good right now.
Pam: You skipped coffee today, right?
CK: yeah, I have a hypothesis, so I don’t know if it was cause I skipped coffee or whatnot. Just to be clear. I’m not a coffee drinker. Or, I mean, I know I do drink coffee, but I’m not. Uh,
Pam: The daily drinker.
CK: yeah. So I generally only drink coffee on Sundays. And I do that because before it was for performance enhancement for my soccer games and I was kinda missing that because I haven’t been playing soccer. So I decided to do that. To enhance my performance for these podcasts, but I dunno if that’s been hurting me or not, but I think what’s been hurting me the past couple of weeks is my warming up before doing the podcast.
Yeah. Well, it’s a hypothesis. So I’m thinking like I don’t use my voice. We don’t talk for like half an hour at a time. You know, in our, well, in my daily life, I don’t talk for half an hour at a time, or even more than 10 minutes at a time, I guess. And so. Every Sunday, you know, I’m talking. So it’s kinda like I’m playing soccer once a week without practicing and expecting to do good, you know,
CK: well, I might do the vocal exercises or what I do in my warmup more every day.
So I feel like I’m tiring my voice, my vocal system. With the warmup. So, yeah, so I didn’t do all the warmup stuff today and now I might be kind of losing the voice a little bit, but it’s been miles better. I feel a lot better anyway. So there’s that. So I think we can wrap things up now and before we leave off Pam, where can people find you?
Pam: You can find me on Twitter, where I am Pamela underscore.
CK: And might be able to find me on Twitter at CK disco. We’ll see how things go this week. And so thank you to the listeners for joining me this week and thank you to Pam as always.
I hope you come back next week and keep on practicing.