Sean Webb Transcript

Sean Webb Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done hundreds of them now and if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. We appreciate the support that comes in. My guest today is Sean Webb. And Sean and I taped about a two-hour interview yesterday. And then after the interview, he told me some really cool stuff. If I had managed to read his thousand-plus pages of book material, I would have known to ask about. But unfortunately, the plane flight wasn’t that long. So I didn’t know. And I said, “Sean, you should have said that during the interview”. So I decided to just tape a little bit here to have him cover the points that he told me after we did the interview. And then we’ll cut to yesterday’s interview. So you’ll see a change of clothing and change of lighting and stuff. But I’m just saying this so you’ll know why. That reminds me of a funny story. I was doing an interview at home one time. And there’s a flower behind me on my left. And Irene didn’t like the way the flower was positioned. And so at a certain point, she kind of reached in, and you couldn’t see her hand, and she turned the flower. So a better side of it was facing the camera. And people actually wrote in, “It was a miracle!” “I saw the flower turn while you were talking!” [laughter] Anyway, so, we’re going to get into a lot about Sean in the interview. But the most significant thing that he left out was talking about the awakening he had. And we kind of glossed over it. He says, “Oh yeah, I was one with the universe, I knew everything”. And then we went on to some other point. So I want you to flesh it out. Take five or ten minutes to really explain what happened. Because it was really profound and unusual in how radically it shifted your life, and overnight, really.

Sean: That’s true.

Rick: Yeah. So let’s do it.

Sean: So long story short, you have guests who have gone through this type of awakening. And I got there by being successful in business and being this high-tech engineer and accumulating this wealth and all this other stuff that I thought could deliver me happiness, and it hadn’t delivered me happiness, so I went on this search, and yada, yada, yada. And so I started reading a bunch of books about world religions and wanted to compare it to how I had been brought up in the Christian religion, find out what other people thought about divinity and God and things like that, and I thought, “Maybe there’s something I’m missing within myself that could deliver the happiness that all this success had not”. And so I picked up a book by D.T. Suzuki, “Introduction to Zen”, and started to understand that the Zen tradition is to sit in meditation for a long time in a painful position to basically try to cease all conscious thought. And so I started meditating after that point, because I hadn’t meditated before, I’d known nothing about it. And after just a few – like a couple – weeks, probably, I’d done some experiments, and I’d read more into the book and I’d read more into meditation from other sources, and this Zen stuff was cease conscious thought. And I thought, “Well, how difficult can that be?” And so I tried it for a few days and failed, and fell asleep a couple times and wound up just ending the meditation at some point where I was distracted and whatnot. And then about two weeks, maybe two and a half weeks in, I went in with the intention – I kind of started with the intention of, “Look, if there’s something for you that you want me to know, I’m here”. And so then it was kind of a little prayer, and then I went into the meditation, and I kind of forcefully – I allowed it to occur, but I also forcefully directed my mind that whenever a conscious thought had entered my mind to say, “Stop. Stop that”. I don’t want to have any conscious thoughts. So every now and then I’d go around to the thought, “Am I thinking anything?” And then, “Crap, that’s a thought”. But after about 20 minutes into this one meditation, I got to the point where there was complete silence in my mind, where there were no thoughts, and I didn’t even have the thought, “Wow, there are no thoughts”. It was just like, “Oh, this is silence”. And at that point, then I started to feel a buildup of energy coming from within me that I had never experienced before. And long story short, it grew exponentially to alarming rates to where I was panicked at that point, in a position of not wanting to be there, not wanting to be a part of this anymore. This wasn’t what I was expecting type of thing. And went through a process of hearing these – kind of a thought or two words. It was like, “Let go”. I heard that once, and I blew it off. I was like, “Screw that”, because I thought I was dying. I was like, “I’m not letting go of my existence”, etc. And then it came through again, “Let go”. And it was a little more convincing this time. It felt like it was booming from the entire universe, saying, “Let go”. And then the final time I heard it was like the whisper of someone that I had known since the beginning of time coming up from behind me and just putting their hand on my shoulder saying, “Dude, it’s me. Let go”. And I had this feeling of trusting that whole process from that point forward. Let go. Felt like I was dying. Dematerialized, de-atomized, launched into the center of the universe, that type of thing. And then from there it felt like thousands of years of experiences occurred in that moment, which I now know is probably half-hour to 40 minutes, something like that, for the chemicals that were allowing me to have this experience metabolized. Because I’ve done a lot of research in the neuroscience of enlightenment at this point. And so from there it was just thousands of years of experience and living each individual entity’s life from the birth to their death throughout all space and time.

Rick: Not only your past lives, but lots of entities.

Sean: Right. Everything.

Rick: Everything.

Sean: Everything. And then from there there was a lot of things. And I explain this in the second book, Mind Hacking Happiness Volume 2, where I actually just went through kind of as an intellectual exercise to say this is the type of experience that a mind can create when you enter this space. But I laid the whole thing out in great detail. And from there there was this part that is simply ineffable, beyond words, melding with the creative energy that is the entire universe, or that underlies the entire universe. And there’s just a lot of things that you just see, feel, and experience that you simply can’t explain. But when you have that experience, then you come out of that and you start reading all these Zen koans and you understand the deepest meaning of all those things immediately, like you could have written them. You start to read these ancient religious texts and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’ve been there. I saw that”. And you get all that stuff. And so that’s what we had talked about after the last interview that I hadn’t expressed that that’s what it was. And it was meditation-induced. I know a lot of folks have experiences with psychedelics and things like that, but you don’t have to employ those tools to be able to get to that space. And I understand it’s extremely hard to cease conscious thought because it’s just one of those things that your mind is designed to do and your physiology is designed to do, is to keep you alive and to throw things up and ask if this is important, this is important, do you need to know what you’re going to have for lunch tomorrow, that type of thing. So it’s really tough to get there, but once you get there, I think the physiology is there and the mechanisms are there to open up consciousness and to open up awareness and have that type of thing happen for anybody who can find it. Does that answer the question that you wanted to ask?

Rick: The first half of it, and then also you said your life changed rather radically. I mean, that happened one day, and then you went to bed that night, you got up the next day and…

Sean: Yeah. So I’d gone into this, you know, your typical materialist-chasing, right-leaning, gun-owning conservative, just looking for a little bit more inner peace.

Rick: Atheist probably in this.

Sean: I mean, I thought I’d had a decent relationship with God, but I was more in the agnostic thing. It’s like, I’m not really sure, because you’ve never really given me any clues about whether you’re really there or not. I’ve just kind of been on this faith path that everybody says, you don’t just have the faith. And so, yeah, I went into that whole thing in that mindset and in that existence, in that space, and then literally at that moment, it was an afternoon, an evening, and I went to bed soon thereafter, and the next morning I felt like stripping my body bare and going living on some beach, growing my food, hugging trees, and never owning another firearm as long as I lived. And so I sold all the guns and I started voting Democrat, and at that point I was literally transitioned overnight into a tree-hugging hippie.

Rick: Well, you know, if we could put something in the water supply, we could actually throw a few elections in other people’s… (laughter) I think they thought of that back in the ’60s.

Sean: Yeah, so it was an indelible transition that lasted, which I learned later was difficult and rare.

Rick: It’s very rare, which is why I wanted you to say it, because sometimes this stuff will happen to people after a decade or two or three of meditation, and there have been people who have woken up… Kiran Trace, she was tying her shoes one morning, and all of a sudden, boom, there was this big awakening. Shinzen Young was the only other person… But then with her and with a lot of people, there’s a lot of difficult processing time that has to take place while their whole physiology and life adjust to the flip that happened. But in your case, it sounds like you went to work the next day and all of a sudden everything’s a whole lot easier and smoother and more successful and everything.

Sean: Yeah, well, the reduction of stress about the whole work thing and about not being attached to the goals anymore, but being open to have them be achieved, really made me more effective in my job, ironically.

Rick: We kind of covered that yesterday when we did that recording. Good, so I just wanted you to flesh that out a little bit, because it’s kind of interesting we didn’t quite cover it. Another thing we didn’t quite cover is you have these books and you advocate some approaches people can take to change their orientation to life with great benefit. And over lunch yesterday you told me an example of somebody who was really in a bad way, and who as a result of what you had to offer changed her life dramatically. So just so we have a story, a concrete example of something, which I don’t think we got out of the first interview, let’s hear that story.

Sean: OK,awesome. Yeah, so what Rick’s talking about, we’ll talk about the other portion of the interview, but it was basically I put together a way of understanding the human mind and understanding the process of how the mind creates the pain and suffering, including the individual emotions in every instance that you have emotions. And when you are able to understand that process, that kind of does two things. One, it throws you into a meta-awareness space of being able to look at your mind, which then kind of expands yourself out a little bit by default, and subconsciously your mind then has to say, “Well, I thought I was just this stuff, this self stuff, just this ego, but now I’ve got to be this ego and the awareness that’s looking at it”. And then the longer you practice, that gets wider and wider and larger and larger, and your problems kind of shrink in relation. And then the other thing that happens is when you understand the emotional process in your mind that’s creating your pain and suffering in the heat of the moment, and you look at those things, there’s this thing called the name attainment effect, where you put a cognitive understanding to an emotion, and it shuts the limbic system that’s creating it off, because it’s a process of the nervous system that says, “I want to make sure that you got this message”. And so at the point that the medial prefrontal cortex and the right ventral lateral prefrontal cortex send a message back saying, “Okay, message received. We understand why this is happening”. The limbic system says, “Okay, we’re cool”, and then just shuts it off permanently. It’s not like you’re repressing it and then have to deal with it later. It is like, “Message received, and we’re good. We’re not going to send you that message anymore”. And so one of the cool stories that happened early on in this development of this, “Let’s systemize this and teach it to people so they can actually use it”, was this lady who described herself personally as a mega bitch. Everything in the world was ruining this lady’s day, and she called me in desperation saying, “I saw a couple of videos that you did, and help me through this”. And so we sat one day for about five hours. It was a brutal session.

Rick: She was a drinker.

Sean: No, this is the first story.

Rick: A different lady.

Sean: Yeah, a different lady. This is a quicker one because a lot of people don’t know this lady. She’s now… about two weeks later, she called me and said, “I get it. My mind stopped. I saw everything happen, and nothing’s been the same since”. She’s now called the Pleasanton Hugger because she goes out every Saturday morning for two hours to give free hugs to anyone who wants them in the city of Pleasanton, California. She’s been doing it for three or four years, rain or shine, because her life has been such a transformation of being able to just see her mind, see the bullshit stop, and then it’s a permanent transformation where she’s able to see any instance of negativity that arises. She looks at it, and it gets downregulated immediately because she can understand why it’s there. And the second one was a lady who was a part of a group of addiction management folks, and she was addicted, and her story is amazing. She called me and said, “I want to build a program for addiction. Here’s why”. She was an alcoholic so out of control that she drank so much she wound up in the traumatic brain injury ward of a neuroscience hospital. And her neurologist quit because he said, “She’s hopeless. She’s beyond help”. Yada, yada, yada. They started sending med students into her room as examples of, “This is the worst-case scenario for alcoholism that will destroy your brain. This is your lady that you can go ask questions over and talk to her. She doesn’t have full faculties”. She had to learn how to tie her shoes again. It was amazing, but she was so gripped by addiction that she was able to work herself out of that space to recover enough that they discharged her. Her husband is taking her home, unpacking the bags from the car from the hospital. She’s inside pouring herself a glass of wine. That’s how much addiction had gripped her. She read the Red Book on how her mind worked and understand how her emotions worked. It cured the pain that she was trying to numb in the first place. It cured her of the addiction. She shared the Red Book with a whole bunch of other folks. It cured their addictions. They’re all super-empowered women now because they were in this high-dollar rehab center and were all failing together, but they became friends. Now we’re a whole gaggle together. They cured their addictions, and now they want to turn this into a program, which is just amazing. She even recently said, “I sat down with a glass of wine and intentionally reintroduced that to my awareness. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the effect. It was worse than my minute-to-minute existence after understanding how my mind worked”. She said, “So I’m cured of the addiction of alcohol. I don’t want it anymore”.

Rick: That’s neat.

Sean: Yeah, it’s really cool. That was just an example from one of the people that were transformed from reading on… I mean, it’s really a transition of them. It’s all them learning how their mind works, learning how their emotions work, and then what it does with the magic buttons of cheap neuroscience tricks that change them.

Rick: Great. Well, thank you.

Sean: There it is.

Rick: All right, so now we’re just going to segue right into the interview we taped yesterday. And there could be a little redundancy, perhaps. Maybe we’ll say a few things in the second interview that Sean just said now, but shouldn’t be too much of that. And I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for tuning in, and stay tuned. Here we go. Here’s the rest of it. I first met Sean about five years ago or something down in North Carolina when I was doing a retreat with Francis Bennett. And Sean came down, and we got to know each other a little bit. We got to know him a little bit more last year at the Science of Non-Duality Conference in San Jose, California. And that’s where we are now. We’re back in San Jose, California for the conference, and we’re recording this in a private home nearby. Sean has written a couple of books called Mind Hacking Happiness, Volume 1 and Volume 2. Unfortunately, due to the constraints of time and due to the fact that each of these books is about 500 pages, I haven’t read them in their entirety, but what I did read I found very interesting. And so I’d like to spend the next two hours or so talking to Sean and having him just tell us whatever he wants to tell us based upon what he has learned, what he has experienced, what he’s written. And we’ll try to cover a broad range. Back in the day when I was teaching TM, which I did for about 25 years, when I gave an introductory lecture, I would try to swing between as deep and profound as I could go to as concrete and as practical as I could go. And I would swing back and forth in the course of the lecture, and if he swung like that, you were bound to catch everyone somewhere in the middle.

Sean: Let’s hope.

Rick: Or perhaps at the extremes. So maybe we’ll do that today, because I believe Sean has discovered some understandings and approaches which he feels can enable people to be more happy, but there is a deep philosophical underpinning to the whole thing. And all of this, I think, arose out of Sean’s own inner experience, personal experience. Otherwise you would probably be selling cars someplace and you wouldn’t be doing this.

Sean: Right.

Rick: So let’s start with that. In a way it establishes your credentials. Like, how are you qualified to even talk about all this stuff?

Sean: Sure.

Rick: So what got you started on…

Sean: Well, you know, I started out in life just like everybody else, trying to figure out what happiness was and what could lead to my personal happiness. And I went to school to try to figure out vocation and what to do on that. And I got into technology and started having some success in advanced supercomputing and things like that, and started to accumulate wealth and success at an early age. And then I got all these things accumulated that the American dream says we’re supposed to have to attain happiness. And I didn’t have that happiness that was promised. And so then I started a deeper introspection into, “OK, what is happiness for me? What is my happiness?” And I wanted to start to discover the things within that I missed. And I think that’s kind of the path that a lot of us take a lot of times, is we look for happiness all over the place and then we figure out, “well, maybe it’s me”. And from there I started to read a lot about world religions. I’d been brought up in a Christian home and understood that background and that cultural input and wanted to see, OK, what does the world think about God? What does the world think about spirituality? And I started to read a number of books about world religions, things like that. And through that process found a book by D.T. Suzuki on Zen. And I thought, OK, well, I’ve heard just a very little bit about this meditation thing. And D.T. Suzuki has put out a pretty good explanation of what it’s supposed to be and what it’s supposed to do for you. And so I started trying it. And in pretty short order I ran into what the Zen folks call Satori, which is that big boom awakening within the mind that kind of zaps you from your five senses being shut down and you’re launched into the center of the universe. And, you have this instant understanding of seemingly everything.

Rick: Except what the winning lottery number’s got.

Sean: Right, exactly.

Rick: But you already have the money.

Sean: Right, except how to turn that into billions of dollars. Yeah, and so, then I thought, I had no idea what I’d run into because there are no words ever written in any book anywhere or any seminar or any speaking engagement that will tell you in detail the kinds of things that could happen within your mind and what all this stuff was. So I wandered around kind of in bliss for years not knowing what it was that I’d kind of run into.

Rick: So this initial awakening you had with Zen practice kicked you into a state that was not only interesting when it first happened, but that it was abiding in some way. You walked around in bliss for years.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: Okay. And before you continue, let me just interject. I forgot to wear my watch, so if someone could just note the time and just let me know when it’s been about two hours. Not that we have to keep it to two hours, but just so I have an idea.

Sean: All right. And so at that point I started reading a lot about awakening experiences and trying to figure out, you know, what it was that I’d run into and how I had figured out the path into this place and how I could maybe share that with others. Because it was such an overnight transition for me of pain and suffering and struggle and strife, even though I had the material things that were supposed to bring happiness. And then all of a sudden, the next day, I didn’t need any of this stuff and had absolute quietude within my mind and kind of an inner peace that just overflowed and I wanted to go out and hug trees, you know. It was pretty ridiculous, the transition for me.

Rick: Yeah. So it’s interesting. You presumably still had a job and maybe a family and other worldly responsibilities, but you were able to actually continue on with those things and yet maintain this state of bliss or state of happiness. It wasn’t tenuous. It wasn’t easily shattered by the first or second or daily challenge that you met.

Sean: Right.

Rick: That’s kind of unusual because with most people, it grows very incrementally like a little tender sprout which is easily stomped upon and then it really needs to sort of get a lot stronger before it can withstand a hurricane.

Sean: Right. Yeah, to me it was just self-evident. I mean, the next day was, “Oh, I can still do this stuff, but I don’t have to stress over it at all because it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things anymore”. And so all of life became that transition literally overnight in that before, the day before and the day after were the same actions, but the inner peace that existed on the day after was completely different than the day before. The day before was wrapped up in, I mean, during the time that this happened was about when the economy was having a tough time and a lot of businesses were in a flux and the stress level at my work was so high that my heart was literally skipping every fourth beat. I mean, it was like one, two, three, nothing. One, two, three, nothing.

Rick: Your brain was flatlining.

Sean: Yeah, and so the time before versus the time after, the time after was, “Well, I still have these professional goals to attain and I still have these numbers to achieve for the company, etc”. But my attachment to those things was nil. It was, “Well, I’m going to do the things that I need to do to allow those things to occur, but I don’t need them to happen, and if they don’t happen, it’s not a big deal. No one’s going to die because I don’t make these numbers”.

Rick: Two questions here. One is, did you ever have any intimations of some kind of past-life spiritual practice that suddenly fructified again in this life? Because there are scriptures that talk about that, especially with people who all of a sudden wake up one morning and have a spiritual awakening without much practice.

Sean: Yeah, well, that’s what I was told, is that by a few folks who read those same references that said, “Oh, yeah, if it happened for you quickly, you’d been searching for lifetimes and this was just the end-all, be-all for this existence”. And I think scientifically speaking, I try to stay one foot in the boat of science and one foot in the boat of woo-woo.

Rick: Science is pretty woo-woo.

Sean: It can be, yeah. Because of how consciousness might work, there may be some connection, some string of past life that has transcended into this body, or at least tuned into the same channel that I’m pulling from now, and that there may be some continuity there, and I don’t know.

Rick: So my second question is, did you find, after this shift, that not only did you not get so stressed out by work, or even at all stressed out, you just took it in stride, but did in fact you find that you became more effective? Because you weren’t getting stressed out, because you had greater equanimity.

Sean: Yeah, and that’s one of the things that I wrote about in the first book on just the practicality of how the human mind works. I wanted to write one book and it turned out to be 1,500 pages or something, and the editor was like, “No way”. So we sliced it down the middle and made two books. But basically the first book was all about that. It was about how reducing stress levels and how reducing your anxiety and stuff like that can allow you to operate at a higher efficiency and operate in an elevated humanistic efficiency level that you had no idea you could even operate at previously. And that exactly happened to me in the early days. It was like, when you stop caring so much about the result of what it is that you’re working for, it becomes easier to attain the things that you have in mind when you set out your intention.

Rick: Yeah. There’s some very relevant verses from the Gita about this. One is “Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam”, which means “Yoga is skill in action”. So yoga, or this union with divine consciousness, is not just to have a groovy experience. It actually has practical application or implications. And that verse was spoken to a guy who was about to fight a battle.

Sean: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: And then there’s all kinds of verses about equanimity and how you have control over action alone, never over its fruits, and live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction. In other words, you just are in the moment, doing what needs to be done, and not sweating the possible outcomes. But I don’t get the impression when you say you didn’t really care that you had become lackadaisical or indifferent. It’s just that you weren’t attached.

Sean: Right. Yeah. I wasn’t attached to the outcome. I was still attached to doing the things that I needed to do. I’d made an agreement with the company that I’d worked for previously that I was going to do these things that they asked me to do. And they were going to employ me. They were going to pay me. And I was going to be able to pay the mortgage and things like that. And I didn’t totally release that or void that contract. It was a… “Well, now at least I don’t have to stress about it”. Now I get my heartbeat back. My blood pressure comes down 20 points. It was all about the ability to let go of all the things that I’d been holding onto mentally to be able to be more effective and actually succeed in my position post and pre.

Rick: That’s great. So I guess you kind of marinated in this for a while.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And then probably you began to think, “Well, how can I share this with others?”

Sean: Right.

Rick: That’s probably how these books resulted and this whole thing that you evolved.

Sean: Right. Yeah. And that’s exactly what happened. I mean it was a… I wanted to find out if this was going to be a flash in the pan type of thing. I mean, a lot of people go to these seminars and things. And you sit with Tony Robbins for three or four days and all of a sudden your life is awesome for a month. And then it goes back to normal and whatnot. And so I wanted to make sure that it was an indelible experience, that the changes I’d had were permanent. And then after that I was like, “Everybody’s got to know about this”.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: And started to figure out how to explain the path into figuring out your pain and suffering and being able to turn it off. Really. Because at the point that you can do that and you can start to spread it to the world, then you’re starting to change the world incrementally. I use the word happiness. It’s not really… I mean I use the word happiness because it’s a popular term. But happiness I think is fleeting from a scientific perspective. We can look at the brain. Hedonic happiness equals out, the nervous system equals out. And happiness after a while by default goes away as a lot of our nervous system responses do. I think it’s more of a permanent joy that I would love to spread.

Rick: And happiness is ephemeral because most of it, for most people is derived from outer circumstances which by definition change.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And what you’re saying is, your happiness was independent of circumstances. Theoretically you could have been thrown in jail and you would have sat there happy.

Sean: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, there’s a difference between the hedonic happiness and eudaimonic joy, right? The well-being that is forever springing from within.

Rick: So eudaimonic would be related to the word hedonism which usually means deriving pleasure from sense objects. And eudaimonic, “eu” means good. So do the etymology of that word.

Sean: Well, I forgot the etymology a long time ago after I did a bit of the research. But eudaimonia – back in the days of the great philosophers, hedonia was identified as the external-sourced happiness – of external conditions and life conditions. And eudaimonia was the joy, the inner spring of well-being that exists just when external conditions may or may not be pleasing, but you can enjoy the existence without having to be swayed by thoughts or feelings.

Rick: Yeah. My friend Marci Shimoff wrote a book recently called Happy for No Reason.

Sean: Right.

Rick: I think the same idea here. So why should it be – and we can begin to quote various religious sources – but why should it be that there’s a well-spring of happiness within us? And to most people that might be a foreign concept. It probably is to most people in the world. They assume that if you’re going to be happy, it has something to do with winning the lottery or some lesser attainment in the outer world.

Sean: Yeah. Well, I think it comes down to, I mean, there’s a little bit of a scientific answer for that in that a lot of our cellular structure within us that makes us human is governed by this thing called homeostasis. And homeostasis is simply the kind of the rule that says, “Hey, if everything’s cool, then everything’s cool. And if all the conditions are set, then I can exist happily without having to do anything. And if something’s not cool, that’s when we need to reset and get back to a homeostatic state – in that we need to take an action, make a change, and reset things to where they’re good”. And every one of our living cells lives from that rule in that, if everything’s good in the environment of the cell, then the cell is just happy and operating. And if it’s not, then it will make a change and take an action and try to make it so. And I think at a macro level, joy or eudaimonia comes from when everything else is good, we can exist in that homeostasis of simply being and enjoying the existence in that moment. And that includes when you see your mind as not who and what you are, but that you have a mind and that it’s bullshit is optional, right? That it’s pain and suffering that it’s creating for you is something that you can take into consideration, but that you don’t have to actually be and become a part of. And when your mind is creating because the mind never really fully goes away and your negative emotions always want to arise in certain instances. It’s whether or not you allow those things, any weight in your existence is what it comes down to. And so when you’re talking about eudaimonia, when you’re talking about being in that homeostatic state, that is taking into consideration the things in your mind can be optional.

Rick: So you kind of made it sound there that cellular homeostasis was kind of a precondition for well-being, and correct me if I’m wrong, but obviously there have been many examples of people whose cells, or many of them, were going haywire and yet they didn’t lose their inner happiness. Like Ramana, dying of cancer, and all his disciples were like, “Oh, you must be going through something so terrible”, and he was actually on the inside doing just fine.

Sean: Yeah, I think that makes sense because at the point that you understand your existence is something more than your body and more than your mind, then the turbulence within both don’t really have to affect you. When you’re sitting there dying of cancer and it’s eating you from the inside out, your body is only a portion of your existence at that point. It’s like getting the bad news that you’re going to lose your fourth house. It’s like, “Okay, well, I guess the flood came. I’ve got three more houses and not a big deal. We won’t vacation in the Grand Tetons or wherever it is”. It’s one of those things where if your sense of self is larger than what you thought it was previously, you don’t necessarily have to have a body to be happy, or to have it be in great health to be in perfect eudaimonia.

Rick: It’s interesting you say that because the guy who runs a little ride service in my town, who was driving me to the airport yesterday, he’s a long-time meditator and he’s doing Vedic studies and all, and he said, “It says in the Vedas that you have to be in perfect health to have Brahman consciousness”. And I said, “I can think of so many exceptions to that rule”, including this guy’s teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose health deteriorated as he got older, as everyone’s does. I don’t think it should be so… Maybe there’s some correlation there and significance to that, but I don’t know if it’s hard and fast. Well, maybe comment on that, and then I have another question.

Sean: Well, I agree with you. I mean, I don’t think that… I mean, certainly an argument can be made that the body’s health can be reflected if everything else is in equilibrium. It can positively… and even science proves this, that the more healthy your mind and spirit are, the more healthy your body is going to be. In fact, they’ve done studies that a lot of ailments can be cured with contemplative practices and meditation and TM and meta-awareness practices, to where heart rate and blood pressure and even things like eczema, physical ailments can be cured through meditative practices. And so, there’s something to be said that if you have a great symbiosis between mind and body, then your health is going to reflect that. But at the same time, the Buddha died, right? Jesus died. These bodies are temporary, and at some point they’re going to quit. And I think by good design, so that we can make room for whatever’s next, they’re supposed to quit. The ability to overcome the natural progression of viruses getting worse over time, I mean, the body needs to renew over time, whether or not our individual consciousness is going to continue with that. I’m going to be the last Sean Webb that I know of, but there might be a portion of me that goes on and is a continuing stream within another entity down the road, right? But the body’s got to quit at some point, so even the most enlightened folks are going to get sick and die.

Rick: Yeah, okay. And so, the basic point there was that although there may be a core, obviously, if you’re in good health. Speaking of the Vedas again, there’s an interesting place in one of the Upanishads where it talks about levels of happiness. And they say, “Take a healthy young man who’s in his prime and then multiply that by a hundred, and then you get the level of happiness of a such-and-such. And then take that and multiply it a hundred times, and a such-and-such”. And it goes on like many powers of ten. And then it finally says, “And this level of happiness is that of a knower of Brahman”. And you said “knowledge” a bit ago about knowing that you are not your body. And everyone who is listening to this right now could say, “Okay, they just said it. I know it. I’m not my body”. But that’s not necessarily going to be adequate, because that’s just a thought. And so, what kind of knowledge are we really talking about here that can actually be unshakable and withstand the test of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

Sean: Well, I wrote about this in the second book, Mind Hacking Happiness Volume 2. The learning process of a human being in general is that of experience. And you can be told, “Two plus two equals four”. And that’s a concept. The two is a concept. Four is a concept. The idea of adding two things together is a concept. But you don’t actually get that understanding until the point that you see, that you experience, two apples sitting on the table, and two apples sitting on the table, and you learn how to count. And then somebody shoves those together and says, “That’s four. Here, one, two, three”. Now, that’s an experience that you have that brings the concept to life within your mind. And putting your hand on the stove, right? Some ineffable things that can’t be explained. Or sitting in a hot tub, right? If I were to try to explain to you, having no experience yourself of ever sitting in a hot tub, the concept of warm, the concept of wet, the concept of bubbles and how they feel on your skin as they rise. I could spend an infinitude of lifetimes trying to explain with analogies and words and ideas and things like that. And so it’s easy to grasp, “Yes, I’m not my body”, as an idea, right? And you can almost even feel it a little bit if you try to convince yourself strong enough that, “I am not my body”, right? But at the point that you experience that, that’s the true moment of learning and knowledge of that fact. You have, and immediately… like when we plop you into a hot tub, there will be nothing else that will need to be said to you ever regarding the experience of sitting in a hot tub. You will have experienced it, you will have understood it, you will have realized it, and it will be indelible to you. You’ll remember the feeling of that moment. And so I think the same is true of the things that are ineffable and infinite, of becoming one with the universe, of being beyond your body, of being that consciousness that has no bound and has no other, right? There’s an experience, I think, that’s required for that.

Rick: Yeah, there might be a little bit of difference. Like, hot tub is a good example, or even something like eating a mango. Many people haven’t eaten mangoes, and you could sit and talk for hours with someone who has and try to get them to convey to you what that taste is like, but just one bite, and then you know much more than they could ever tell you.

Sean: Right. You know what it is for you.

Rick: Yeah, but what we’re talking about here, any kind of thing like that, hot tub, mango, anything like that, is a transitory experience. And what we’re alluding to here is an abiding thing that’s not fed to us through the senses. And you use the word “knowledge”, and knowledge we can forget. Like, I’ve forgotten most of the math I learned in high school. I probably did pretty poorly on my SATs, if I were to take them again. But we’re talking about something which presumably can abide, and what’s known cannot be unknown or lost.

Sean: Right.

Rick: So, what is it about this knowledge you’re alluding to which is different than all the other kinds of ordinary things we know?

Sean: Well, and again, we’re faced with the limitation of being human, right? Because we’re talking about, what we’re actually talking about is not the truth of existence, not the truth of consciousness, not the truth of who and what we are. It is our human experience of discovering that, and the limitation of the human mind that we have, the brain that we have, the ability for it to process that experience, etc. So, I think there’s a parallel in the hot tub experience, in the mango experience, and in the awakening experience, or the abiding experience, in that it’s limited to our ability to process and understand, through our human body, the thing that is beyond our human body, so to speak, if that kind of makes sense.

Rick: And I think what you’re saying there, just to make sure we’re clear, is that whereas mangoes and hot tubs may not be beyond our human body, when it comes to the spiritual realm, we’re talking about a dimension that is sort of universal, unbounded, unlimited, pervading, whereas our body is limited within very small boundaries of space and time.

Sean: Sure.

Rick: And you’re talking about interfacing with that universal thing in such a way that it becomes part and parcel of one’s living experience.

Sean: Right, yeah. I think you nailed it.

Rick: Okay. And so we’re still going to get around to how, because all the world’s great spiritual traditions have grappled with that question.

Sean: Right.

Rick: How can we provide, some great seer, Jesus or Buddha, whoever has this great experience, and thinks like you did, how am I going to share this?

Sean: Right.

Rick: And so they start talking and they maybe come up with techniques or methodologies, and they do whatever they can to impart it to others, to enable them to experience it for themselves.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And there’s always sort of a, there was the phrase, “Knowledge crumbles on the hard rocks of ignorance”, and that happens even as one is speaking to a group. Jesus talked about not casting your pearls before swine. In other words, some people just aren’t going to get this.

Sean: Right.

Rick: And he had the parable of throwing seeds on various kinds of ground, and some of it is fertile but shallow, and some of it is rocky and thorny, and this and that, and not all the seeds are going to germinate.

Sean: Right.

Rick: And then there’s also the time issue, where somebody like that comes out, says a bunch of stuff, and then generations go by, and it gets more and more and more distorted.

Sean: Yeah, like a game of telephone.

Rick: Yeah, telephone. So there’s very little similarity, you know, a couple thousand years later, between what’s being talked about and what he actually said or did.

Sean: Right. I mean, take for instance Christianity. One of the things that I’d never known about Christianity growing up within Christianity was that it was based on the search for enlightenment. And that the closest thing that we have to the original Christianity today is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In the East, which is all about theosis, becoming one or becoming like God, through catharsis, preparation of the body, and attaining theoria, which is the beatific visions or visio beatifica, finding those great inner visions. And that Christ’s teachings were all about, hey, let’s find enlightenment together. And you need to enter the kingdom of heaven, which is all around you, you just don’t see it. Right, that type of thing. And the message through the telephone line, the game of telephone, being relayed one person to another, is now about, well, you have to believe that Jesus died for your sins, and that’s all it’s about.

Rick: Yeah, and then Christians who actually got enlightened usually got a pretty hard time. You know, St Teresa of Avila or St John of the Cross, they got locked in a little closet for 14 years.

Sean: Yeah, they don’t know what to do with them. They make them Franciscan nuns now, and priests and monks, and send them off on top of some mountain somewhere to be with God and let us do the religion thing.

Rick: We’re in a little bit of a tangent here, but the syndrome seems to be that, well, there’s a saying, it’s a joke, that God and the devil were walking down the road, and God picks something up and puts it in his pocket. And the devil said, “Hey, what’s that?” And God said, “Oh, it’s the truth”. And the devil said, “Hey, give it to me, I’ll organize it for you”. So, administrative minds tend to get involved in these things, and they just have a different orientation than the mystics who originally started them.

Sean: Yeah, yeah. Well, I think enlightenment in general is built into all of us, right? And that’s why I love being out at this Science and Non-Duality Conference, is because we’re actually starting to get some of these scientific minds that understand science and come at it from a “let’s prove it” point of view, and these woo-woo folks. And we’re getting them in one room and saying, “Okay, let’s figure out this consciousness thing. Let’s figure out this expanded existence that we can find within us that seems to be at least somewhat uniform across all humanity”. When we discover this thing, it has seven basic fundamental characteristics that we can all agree on and that type of thing. And then how does that… what’s the physical process that that takes place? What actually happens within our body? Because we know, and a lot of people don’t like when you start talking about spirituality with science, because they’re like, “Oh my God, science is so blind” and yada, yada, yada. But the fact is that, you know, when you have an eternal experience in your humanity, you’re experiencing that through your human body and through your mind. And if you can recall that experience, it’s stored in your hippocampus, right? And so the brain is operating. The brain is active. What’s going on within the human body at the time of these consciousness expansion experiences that are so profound and do change our lives so dramatically? Because if we can figure out, you know, not just a good practical approach of how to get everybody there, let’s figure out the magic sequence of events that gets everybody enlightened. But if you can also come at it from a scientific point of view to say, “This is how and why and these are the mechanisms that are occurring within the human body”, then the melding of those two things is going to enlighten a ton of folks. And I think it’s important that we explore that and do that. And I think leading people to that experience, going back to our mango and our hot tub, however we do it, leading people to the experience of that awakening, I think, is what it’s all about. And I think that’s, of course, what all the world religions are designed to do is lead people to that experience, not fill their head with a bunch of ideas to say, “I believe X, Y, and Z”. And if you aren’t X, Y, and Z, then I don’t want to talk to you.

Rick: Right, yeah.

Sean: Exactly.

Rick: There’s a hot tub at the Sand Campus. We should buy some mangoes and eat them there.

Sean: We should. We’ll live stream it. Here’s what it’s like.

Rick: You know, actually, I find this point that you’ve just made very exciting, because the scientific method, scientific paradigm, is a predominant influence in our world, even though there are all kinds of religions and all their kinds of beliefs, but it’s really science that’s having the most major impact on the world, for good and for bad. You know, it’s destroying the environment, and at the same time, it’s coming up with marvelous technologies of all kinds. And yet, as I understand it, the scientific paradigm is largely atheistic or agnostic, or it doesn’t regard the world as permeated by intelligence or as this sort of divine living thing. It sees it as mechanistic and material and so on. In contradiction to the farther reaches of science, such as quantum mechanics, which we can get into. But I think that if the marriage of science and spirituality is extremely important, then they need each other. Science needs spirituality because spirituality opens a whole dimension of exploration, which the current scientific tools don’t include. And spirituality needs science because without a systematic empirical approach, spirituality can go off on all kinds of impractical tangents and not be helpful for people, and actually result in all kinds of cruel and unusual beliefs and practices and wars and all that stuff. So I think that we’re kind of in an age where those two are coming together and eventually will very fully. I don’t know how long it will take, but I think a time will come when it seems sort of antiquated to look back and think that they were regarded as two completely separate and possibly even opposing things. They’re both sort of tools in a larger tool kit. And science will become spiritual, spirituality will become scientific, and together as various facets of the human means of gaining knowledge, they will bring us much farther than we’ve come so far.

Sean: Yeah, we certainly hope that that would be the case. I think the one thing on the science side that’s keeping the scientists at least open to discussion is the fact that quantum mechanics is the single most successful theory in the history of science, and not one of its predictions has ever been proven wrong. But there are some really crazy things about quantum mechanics to where the masters of quantum mechanics said, “If you don’t say this is crazy and is impossible and you’re not vexed by it, then you don’t understand it”. And I think that their need to understand or their want to understand, their yearning to understand how quantum mechanics works is going to help us get there to that metal ground. And one of the things that they’re trying to figure out is this component called consciousness. And what is consciousness? Because not one of the 17 or so interpretations of quantum mechanics leaves consciousness on the floor. In fact, one of the great minds in quantum origin story, Wigner, said, “You can’t leave it on the floor. It always has to be a part of the explanation or it doesn’t work”. And so then consciousness is something, of course, that the spiritual folks are like, “Yeah, it’s all about consciousness”. And ironically, science is getting to that point of leading us down that path of saying, “Well, you know what? Consciousness may be all what it’s about. I mean, the whole universe may be made of conscious energy. And holy cow, I can’t even believe I’m saying that as a scientist”. That’s kind of the position that they’re in. And I think as we move forward and we find ways to talk together, we find common ground of ways to have discussions and put definitions to things that we can understand and start to do experiments and things like that, I think we’re just going to learn more and more. And humanity hopefully will benefit if we don’t kill ourselves first.

Rick: Yeah, big if. That could take us off on a different tangent. So let’s dwell on this thing a bit more, quantum mechanics. You’re not a physicist, but I think you have a pretty good grasp of the science as a layman.

Sean: True.

Rick: And I think people are interested in that. I think a lot of times scientists have – physicists have – pulled their hair out because new-agey types appropriate quantum mechanics in a very simplistic understanding of it. And try to say that if you like a pearl necklace that you see in the window, somehow quantum mechanics is going to be involved in getting it.

Sean: Right, right. Yeah, there are a lot of leaps that are made by a lot of people, some of which are people that we love and would hug if we saw them this afternoon. Yeah, there’s a lot of liberty that’s taken by some folks that don’t really understand the science. And there’s a lot of just nuts-and-bolts, shut-up-and-calculate science to quantum mechanics. But at the same time, there’s that skeleton in the closet. One of the better books that I read was “Quantum Enigma”, where a couple of physicists talked about – I mean, these are physicists that do lectures at major universities – talked about the skeleton in the closet of consciousness and how it is inextricably tied into all these weird things about quantum mechanics to where you can do experiments and measure the results of the experiment before you decide what type of experiment it’s going to be. And then every time the measurement is taken, the result of the experiment matches the type of experiment you’ve decided to take in the future. And so it has written a result backwards in time, and it happens 100% of the time that you do it because of the collapse of the wave function and the observer and what consciousness is and how consciousness can potentially work backwards and forwards in time and that time may be an illusion that’s a concept of human mind, that type of thing. Some amazing, amazing stuff comes about. I think one of the really cool things, I got to speak at the consciousness conference.

Rick: Tucson?

Sean: April in Tucson, yeah. And I got to hang out with David Chalmers and Hameroff and Penrose and all those really cool guys. They, back in the ’80s, put together a theory called Orch OR about consciousness coming from the microtubules in our brain neurons.

Rick: Coming from or being picked up by?

Sean: Being picked up by. It would be better. But basically they were like, and they were laughed at back when they put this theory out. And they were like, well, the quantum field has these vibrations and these microtubules just happen to be about the right size that they would interact with these vibrations. And everybody poo-pooed that idea.

Rick: Gamma?

Sean: Yeah, so we, this lab in Tsukuba, Japan, with this MIT researcher, went to prove it or disprove it and proved that it was accurate, that the microtubules in our neurons do interact with vibrations in the quantum field. And one of the really big quizzes or the enigmas about brain science were these gamma waves, which they thought were just noise, these little oscillations that move faster than the timing circuits in the brain and shouldn’t even exist in the brain. They’re not even exactly sure how they physically exist. They are a puzzle to Newtonian physics. But they figured out, well, now those are the most important brain waves that we have, right? I have six types of brain waves. And the gamma waves, which were thought to be noise, are now the ones that integrate the big picture. They take the most information back and forth. They basically make sense of everything in our brain and boil it down into the most pertinent information for us. And those happen in the gamma wave spectrum in our brain. Well, it turns out that the oscillations of the microtubules interacting with the quantum field are right in the sweet spot of the gamma spectrum that the quantum field is interacting with our brain in that gamma wave spectrum. Which, by the way, the gamma spectrum is measured highest in the monks of Tibet who are sitting around meditating all day on our pain and suffering, right? And are most commonly connected with our altruism and our higher virtues, our unconditional love, things like that. People who measure high in those higher virtues have the strongest gamma wave spectrum of all humanity. It’s pretty interesting that the whole universe could be vibrating with love, and science is the one that delivers us there.

Rick: Just out of curiosity, how big are microtubules? Like, how many of them are there in a neuron?

Sean: Well, a ton. I can’t remember the nano measurement.

Rick: They’re bigger than.. are they the size of molecules or smaller?

Sean: No, they’re certainly larger than the molecules. They’re made of molecules.

Rick: Yeah, they’re made of molecules.

Sean: They’re microtubules of atoms that come together that form organic material.

Rick: Right. So they can be the size of a DNA strand or something, or bigger?

Sean: They’re bigger, slightly bigger than that. They come together to create the walls of the neurons, right, which hold the action potential. And they also are within the neuron, not inside the nucleus, but all of the important stuff that the neuron does with the health of the cell and recreating the things that it needs to have for cell reproduction and things like that, and cell action, all of those things are microtubules. The synapses in our brain are microtubules, so there would be no communication between cells in our brain without these microtubules.

Rick: And is this settled science, or is it skipped?

Sean: No, that’s, yeah, no, that’s, look under a microscope and you can see.

Rick: And the things you said about gamma waves, is that pretty much agreed upon?

Sean: Yeah, well, as of Tsukuba, Japan, it is. It was just theory up until the point that the MIT researcher said, “Well, let’s figure out if these things actually interact with quantum vibrations”.

Rick: And to make this relevant, in case we’re getting a little abstract here, as I understand it, what you’ve just described about microtubules and the quantum field and consciousness and all, if it’s valid, explains a lot in terms of psi phenomena and all kinds of things that are kind of negative for…

Sean: It could. Yeah, and this is where the leap of the woo-woo folks would annoy the folks of the scientific community, because the scientific community would stop right there and say, “Okay, here’s what we have”. And it’s even a little bit of a leap to make the connection between the gamma spectrum and being measured in the meditators of Tibet and all this other stuff. What we can say is this. What we have seen is this. And then, you know, that’s when the woo-woo crowd will say, “And, you know, I’m one foot in each boat”. That’s where the folks would say, “Okay, yeah, this can explain, if our consciousness is linked backwards and forwards in time, that can explain why I can access past lives. That can explain why I can access ESP and other things that have been scientifically, statistically proven for people to be able to do better than the stats that they’ve used to legalize aspirin, right? The stats for ESP are better than that of aspirin. And yet people don’t believe it on the scientific side because they can’t quite prove it.

Rick: It doesn’t fit into their paradigm.

Sean: Yeah, right. And so these folks will say, “Well, that’s exactly how it can happen, is because I’m directly linked to the quantum field and everything is now magically possible”. Well, true, it is possible, but at the same point, we’d like to prove that.

Rick: Yeah, I mean, if you think that we’re basically meat and that consciousness is some kind of product of brain chemistry and that’s all there is to it, and that when the brain dies there’s no more consciousness, then it’s really impossible to understand this stuff or to come to grips with it. And to my way of seeing it, it’s kind of like Ptolemaic astronomy, where they thought the earth was the center of the solar system. And thinking that, the planets made no sense at all, the way they rotated. They would take these little loops backwards and they had to come up with all these complicated explanations of planetary movement. But as soon as you put the sun in the center of the solar system, “Ah!” Oh, it all makes sense! You get a full ellipsis, it all makes sense! You know, so I mean, there’s so many things that just clash with scientific, conventional scientific understanding, if you don’t put consciousness as fundamental or primary. And you just think that it’s a product of brain chemistry. But as soon as you flip that around, all these little pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Sean: Yeah, and granted, I mean, the one camp says consciousness within the human existence can be an emergent property. And that’s a big, popular theory that complex systems build upward. And then an emergent theory is kind of a characteristic of that system that then down-regulates back into that system. So if you want to think about a flock of birds or a school of fish, right? So you have this flock of birds. The bird individually is the bird. But the flock of birds gets together and they start to interact. And then something magical occurs of that where the larger entity then down-regulates the bird’s actions based on what the other birds are doing. And there’s a whole mathematical model of the problem that we run into with emergent properties in that trying to explain consciousness as an emergent property of all these cells working together and yada, yada, yada, and then down-regulating back into the system. The only problem there is when you go back down farther down to the bottom of the stack where you get to a point where you have individual cells. You break those down into organic molecules. You break those down into atoms. Where does the smartness come from? Where does the action potential come from for a dumb atom to come together to create an organic molecule which then comes together to start to create a single-celled creature that then starts to make pro-life decisions?

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Right? Where does that come from?

Rick: Why does that even happen?

Sean: Yeah, exactly.

Rick: I mean, as Brian Swimme says, you take hydrogen and leave it alone for 13.7 billion years++ and you get giraffes and opera and roses and all this. How come?

Sean: Exactly.

Rick: Why doesn’t entropy just sort of keep it as hydrogen?

Sean: Right, exactly. Why does the self-organizing system start from the bottom and organize? I mean, because you have… I had this great conversation with Neil Theise and he was talking about all these self-organizing systems. And you can see self-organizing systems of planets organizing into solar systems and solar systems organizing into galaxies and things like that. But at the point you go down and down and down and down, you see all these self-organizing systems. There is the Planck length. There is that section of measurement that beneath it there is no more. What causes those things to self-organize from that and how can it not be consciousness? Or how can you rule out the fact that it could be consciousness?

Rick: Yeah. And I wonder if the word consciousness doesn’t work for you, I wonder if the word intelligence would be more helpful.

Sean: Sure.

Rick: And I think both terms are valid, but you spoke about atoms for a minute. Of course, atoms are huge compared to the Planck length, but you know, why should an atom be this perfectly functioning little thing that just keeps humming along?

Sean: Right.

Rick: And according to very profound laws of nature that we probably don’t fully understand, there seems to be this orderliness or intelligence to the functioning. And this would kind of get us into a little bit the notion of God, which I want to talk about with you. There seems to be this all-pervading intelligence wherever you look. Take a single gram of air and make the atoms in it as large as unpopped popcorn kernels, and you’ve just covered the continental United States nine miles deep.

Sean: Right.

Rick: And each of those little atoms is a perfectly functioning little thing, and that’s just one little gram of air, and it just goes on and on and on and on throughout the whole universe with this just unfathomable intelligence and orderliness and creativity and all these laws of nature, all this marvelous display happening throughout all time.

Sean: Right.

Rick: You know, that’s not random billiard balls, and so what is this intelligence that is staring us in the face, hiding in plain sight, that we’re by and large ignoring?

Sean: Right. Yeah. And then we try to ignore because we can’t wrap our heads around it, right? I mean, I think that’s one of the shortcomings of the scientific community, is that they don’t want to have to think that large, because they like to have things that they can define, they like to have things that they can identify, they like to have things that they can experiment with, they like to have things that they can understand.

Rick: And the deeper you get into any field of science, the more you have to specialize.

Sean: Right.

Rick: So you lose the big picture, perhaps.

Sean: Right. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s why I’m out here at SAND. It’s fun to have those conversations.

Rick: Yeah. So anyway, I think about that a lot, and even just walking the dog down the sidewalk looking at blades of grass and thinking, “What am I actually looking at here?” It’s a miracle.

Sean: Yeah. There’s nothing there but space. It’s 99.999% space, yet I’m getting all this information, and I can actually touch it and move it. Yeah.

Rick: Yeah.And obviously what we’re saying here, I think, has immense spiritual implications. We’re talking kind of scientific terms, but this is what all the mystics have been getting at, and have gotten to experience. I say, “What is that intelligence?” Okay, they got to a level of experience where they knew themselves as being that intelligence.

Sean: Yes, or being that field of potential, right?

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Because when you get down to it, when you’re talking about the quantum field and quantum mechanics, you’re talking about a field of infinite potential and intelligence and potentially consciousness that exists down below the existence of everything else, that has been scientifically proven to have influence on all matter and all existence throughout space and time, forward and backward in time. And we’ve even proven the time travel aspect of quantum mechanics. So when you’re talking about something that is completely, fully permeable throughout all space and time, that exists in every corner of the universe, else the universe not exist, because quantum mechanics is required for matter to exist, period. And you’re talking about having it be potentially conscious or intelligence. Well, show me a definition of God that isn’t all that.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: You know, show me any idea of an all-knowledgeable, all-wise, all-spatially-existent creator, or creation energy, that isn’t exactly the quantum field, right? I mean, I think maybe, ironically, the thing that science is racing to define might be the thing that religion has been revolving around for years. And the experience of digging deep into your own consciousness and your own deep mind to find that experience of that may be finding that mix of chemicals within the brain that, when you cease conscious thought, when you quiet the mind enough, that the patterns of thought and pain and suffering stop and reside enough, that allows for something else to arise – some other pattern that allows you to tap into that microtubule-linked existence out into the quantum field – and all of a sudden you have access to that intelligence. You have access to that consciousness, which then becomes a portion of your existence, a portion of your understanding.

Rick: Yeah. You spoke a second ago about consciousness sort of being down there, as it were, at the more fundamental levels of creation, and of course it’s at all levels, but I think you’re talking about the sort of the ground state from which everything emerges and at which the laws of nature ultimately reside in some kind of seed form, maybe. And there’s this kind of verse, there’s this verse from the Rig Veda, some place that says something like, it says, “Richokshare parame vyoman yasmin veda adhivishve nishedu”, and what it says is that the hymns of the Veda, which are understood to be the laws of nature, reside in the transcendental akasha, the transcendent ground state, that field. And that those who know that field, those laws of nature, they are attuned to them, and their life sort of flows with their support, whereas those who don’t know it, what can those laws do for them? And so the practical implication of what we’re saying here is not only that the laws of nature ultimately are impulses of intelligence which reside in consciousness or the transcendent field, and from which kind of emerge or function from there to bring about the whole play of creation, but that we are that field, and that knowing ourselves as such, we become, we already are, but we know ourselves, we begin to know ourselves as a repository or home of all those laws of nature.

Sean: True.

Rick: And so they’re no longer alien to us. And there are verses in both the Bible and the Gita that if you don’t know that field, then it behaves with enmity like a foe. Jesus said something about, “It will destroy you”, or whatever, if you don’t know it, whereas if you know it, then it becomes a friend. Because obviously if you don’t know it – I’m going on a little long here, I don’t like to go on so long – then you’re clashing or violating with those impulses of intelligence. You’re using your human free will, which we can talk about free will, in ways that are at odds with the evolutionary purpose of creation. You’re in your teenage years, you’re a soul, and you’re crashing around. But if you mature into more of the adult stage as a soul, then you align with those laws of nature, and you’re aligned with the evolutionary purpose of creation, and therefore you get the whole support of all the intelligence that governs the universe, in the governance of your own life.

Sean: Yeah, and I think getting out of the body, through the body and out of the body, is critical to that process. One of the things that I wrote about in Mind Hacking Happiness Volume 1, as I explained the human mind, I mean that’s the book that everybody who’s not woo-woo loves. Because they were like, “Wow, that’s the science of how my emotions work, and it’s the brain science of how to turn off my inner pain and suffering, without having to do all this woo-woo stuff”. It’s basically just another doorway into meta-awareness. These practices that we’ve had for thousands of years, with meditation and with the meditative disciplines and things like that, dump us into this place called meta-awareness, where we can see our mind. We can see our mind trying to distract us in our meditation, and we’re just supposed to have an equanimity with that, that it’s okay that our mind distracts us. But what that does, from a human operations perspective, our brain is there as our organ of survival. And our organ of survival has a limbic system. And the limbic system says, “Okay, I must look around the room and around the environment for potential threats to me, else I may not continue into tomorrow”. And so the limbic system says, “Okay, is this a threat? Is this a threat? Is this a threat? Is this person over here going to be a threat?” But then a second question must be asked, “A threat to what?” And so then, from a physiological survival perspective, a self must be created. An understanding of your existence must be created within your brain to be that laundry list of things that your brain checks against of being a potential threat. Because you could look at a leaf cutter ant and say, “Is that a threat to me?” Well, if you don’t have a sense of self that either says, “I have leaves” or “I don’t have leaves”, then you’re not going to know whether that thing’s a threat, and you’re not going to know whether or not to expend the energy to defend against that threat. And if you don’t have that sense of self, you’re going to run around defending yourself against everything that you think is a threat to you. Well, when you have that sense of self, that saves your energy, you do expend energy that are defensive threats that are pertaining to you. When you look at your mind from that awareness – you start early in life, like in your teenage years, like you were saying, in that space of “I am myself”. “I am just this laundry list of things that my mind says is me”. “I’m the body”, because you’re automatically hardwired to dodge a baseball when it’s flying at you. You are hardwired to have that adrenaline flood your system when you see the bear, right? So you can run fast, or the snake makes you jump. There’s some hardwiring that occurs, but then after that you start to learn to attach ideas. And a lot of science has proven this, that we attach ideas to our sense of self. We attach other people to our sense of self, which can allow us to have emotional reactions to other people. Ideas of politics and religion, Sam Harris proved that in some studies, that we have physiological reactions to attacks on things that we attach to as our ideas of self. Well, at the point that you start looking at your mind, there’s a portion of your mind that says, “Okay, it’s my job to keep this list of self things very accurate, because if we have any misconception about what our self is, we could die as a mistake of that”. So at the point that we start to look at our mind and we start to do contemplative practices, we become that observer of our mind. But then there’s a portion of our subconscious mind that says, “Hey, wait a second. I thought I was just this thing. I thought I was just our mind. I thought I was just our emotions. I thought I was just the body. Now I’m this mind and body and this awareness that’s looking at it?” And so then the self gets expanded out a little bit. And the further you do that and the deeper you take that practice, your sense of self gets larger and larger until the point that you can have some type of inner transitional experience and expand out infinitely or in large chunks, for a lot of folks that do it incrementally. And then your sense of self gets larger and larger. All of a sudden, your life-problem rocks that get thrown into your pond. Well, now it’s not just a pond. Now it’s a lake. Now it’s an ocean. And those ripples don’t even rock the boats of your life anymore in result. And so getting beyond that initial “I am my body. I am my mind” thing, I think is crucial. And I think that speaks to what you just said about, graduating from the teenager into the adult, getting beyond that first sense of your existence.

Rick: Yeah, and I don’t mean it literally. I mean there are teenagers who are adults in the sense I just made.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And there are adults who are infants.

Sean: Yeah, speaking metaphorically.

Rick: Yeah, metaphorically. So, would you consider that then, I mean, do you, in your whole thing that you teach people…

Sean: Sure.

Rick: …are there incremental steps and is that kind of step one?

Sean: Yeah, yes. Step one is being able to identify and realize, and there’s really actually some cool tricks in neuroscience that occur when you are, like book one, the Red Book, talks about just how your mind works and just explains to you all of the vexes and negative emotions and all the stuff that you’ve struggled with your whole life, just explains that stuff. It doesn’t say how to fix it. It just says, “Here’s how it works. Here’s why it’s doing what it’s doing in your mind”. Just that one little magic key of being able to see your mind dumps you into meta-awareness, dumps you into that space of being the observer of your mind and understanding why your negative emotions come to be.

Rick: Gives you a taste of it.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: A flavor. I mean, it’s obviously not the full enchilada in terms of what’s possible with that.

Sean: No.

Rick: But it gives you an inkling.

Sean: Yes. That’s the little baby step to say, “I am not my mind. I have a mind”. It gives you that ability to step back and be that observer and put a little bit of a curtain between you and the mess that’s going on in your mind. And so at that point, then your subconscious has to rewrite your definition of self to say, “Well, I’m no longer just the mess. I’m the mess and this existence out here that’s looking at the mess now. Because now I can see the mess. And if I can see the mess and understand the mess, that means I’m not completely the mess. I am the thing that transcends the mess”. And so the more that you can do that, the more that your body will physiologically help you expand your consciousness outward to have a better understanding of your whole human package. That you aren’t just the mind. That you aren’t just the body and its reactions and things like that. And that gives you a greater level of equanimity about the mess that could be going on in your mind. But it also reduces the volume. And it changes because the brain is plastic. When you start turning down, there’s this magic of the neuroscience that I talked about. Your limbic system sends the negative emotions to your forebrain. And your prefrontal cortex is supposed to make sense of it. And if it doesn’t make sense of what’s going on in your emotional system, your emotional system keeps firing those messages and saying, “Stress, stress, stress, stress”. Or, “Anger, anger, anger, anger”. Well, at the point that you can understand the components that came together to create your anger, or to create your stress, or to create your sadness, or to create your fear, there’s a portion of the prefrontal cortex, the right ventral lateral prefrontal cortex, and the medial prefrontal cortex, that sends a signal back to your limbic system that says, “Okay, message received”. And it stops sending that stuff forward. And it’s not like you’re repressing it and turning it off for a day and it comes back tomorrow. It is resolved. Because your nervous system is this system of communication that says, “I’m going to send you a signal”. And there’s a really cool study done that proves this at a macro level too, by John Gottman in his Love Lab, that he can listen to a conversation of you and your spouse for 15 minutes and identify whether you’re going to get a divorce to 90% accuracy. And if he listens to an hour, he can improve that to 95% accuracy. And it’s based on the one characteristic that – and this is a dated study – so if the female in the relationship feels that she has been heard because she sees evidence of a behavioral change in her husband based on her input, the marriage makes it. And if she doesn’t feel that she’s been heard because she doesn’t see the behavioral change in her husband, the marriage doesn’t make it – to 95% accuracy. Well, that’s simply her confirmation that, “Okay, my message is being received”. Well, that’s a function of the nervous system. When the nervous system sends a signal forward, it says, “I want to know that I’ve been heard because I’m telling you that something’s wrong or something needs to be looked at and you’re either not looking at it or you’re not confirming that you’ve got my message”. And so at the point the prefrontal cortex says, “I understand why I’m angry. I understand why I’m sad. I’m understanding why I’m fearful. I understand why I’m feeling stressed about this”. If it never gets that signal back, it continues to send it. So you’re vexed by this constant anger, this constant anguish, this constant upset. But if the point that you do understand it, that signal does get sent and it gets turned off. And then after a while, because the brain is the most plastic organ that we have, as Richie Davidson says, it’s the organ in our body most designed to change based on how we use it in our experiences and whatnot – I mean, our memory is being written right as we speak – then that organ changes and the patterns change. And as we turn down our negative stuff more and more quickly, over time it starts to do that more and more automatically. And so you can kind of find yourself in this kind of functional nirvana of if you’re able to understand your negative stuff and turn it off quickly, and understand your sense of self as something larger than what you thought it was previously back when you were a teenager, metaphorically, then all of a sudden life’s problems just aren’t life’s problems anymore. And so I’ve kind of written that Red Book to say, “Okay, here’s a practical guide to say here’s how you do it based on your physiology and how it works and what we understand about the science of our bodies. Here’s how you do it from baby steps of not having to go full enlightenment, but if you want to have the incremental steps to say the practical push the buttons in your brain to turn off your negative bullshit, let’s do that. And let’s increase your levels of inner peace practically. And here’s a few lessons in the very end of the book to say here’s some practical ways that you can make your life and the lives around you better based on how your physiology works. But then if you want to take that a step further and you want to understand who and what you are beyond that mess where you’re the observer, if you want to see how deep that rabbit hole goes, then read Book Two, because then that’s when you can find out the expansion of self and the expansion of consciousness out to infinity and yada yada yada.

Rick: So if somebody reads both these books and imbibes what they are saying and puts it to practice as fully as you would like them to, what are they actually doing on a day-to-day basis? And maybe what they’re doing three years from now won’t be what they do on day one, but how does it progress and what are they doing? Is it something that they just sort of evoke throughout the day as they go through their day? “Oh yeah, Sean’s book, he said this, and I should see it this way instead of that way”. Or is it something where they’re going to sit down in the morning and meditate in some way for 20 minutes or something? Or what? I mean, how does this look in real life?

Sean: Well, I think all contemplative practices such as meditation and things like that should be a part of your daily routine. And any time that you can take a position of awareness of what your mind is doing, that dumps you into that place of mental awareness. Like, you’re a big meditator, big TM guy.

Rick: I used to be a TM guy. Now I’m still a meditator.

Sean: Okay, but you know what it’s like to be in that space that’s just beyond your mind and being able to see your mind in action and it trying to distract you, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve got to do this interview,’ or ‘What am I going to eat for lunch today?’ It tries to interject things and you’re watching that, you’re seeing that.

Rick: Yeah, but I would add that this watching business is not so much like one individual function stepping aside and watching another individual function, which is, to my understanding, a division of the mind, which is not necessarily a healthy thing. It’s more like there’s a silent dimension of our life, which is this ground state, or quantum state, or vacuum state, or self, capital S, or whatever you want to… And the more that gets enlivened in the awareness, the more there’s a natural distinction between that and the more superficial aspects of life”.

Sean: That’s certainly a better way to put it.

Rick: Yeah, and so you’re running through an airport, or you’re doing some sport, or something like that, which is very demanding physically, and balls are flying at you in this sport. Pickleball is my sport. And yet there’s this abiding silence, which is untouched by that. So it’s not like, ‘I’m going to maintain this silence and watch these balls come.’ It’s more like you’re doing what you can to play the sport, and yet that silence just abides.

Sean: Yes, yes.

Rick: I wanted to emphasize that because we don’t want people to get on a project of… Gurjit had this thing where he had people remember the self, and I don’t know if this is what he intended, but the way they interpreted it was they ended up being very halting in their speech. They would say a word, ‘remember the self.’ Say another word, ‘remember the self.’ They lost the ability to speak fluently.

Sean: Okay.

Rick: It’s not a good thing.

Sean: Yeah, that would be horrible. So from just a general perspective, I think any type of meta-awareness practice should be part of the day, and you’re right. I mean, not trying to completely separate, but being that existence that has that action or that activity going on at the same time is a more accurate way to put it. But I think taking a moment, even during your regular day… A lot of people love meditation, but some people can’t meditate, or they report that they can’t. Probably because they haven’t tried enough, or they’re…

Rick: They learn in such a way that’s difficult”.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: Maybe they could learn something else that wouldn’t be…

Sean: Yes, exactly. But this type of an approach is different in that you can stop and say, ‘Okay, what were the two variables that came together?’ Because there’s only two variables that come together to create every emotional reaction you ever have. What were the two variables that came together to create this instance of anger, this flash of fear, this flash of nervousness, or whatever it was, that just arose within me? You take a moment to reflect on that, and all of a sudden that dumps you into meta-awareness, that same space that we are when we’re meditating. And that has physiological effects on our body. It can reduce our stress levels. It turns off… When we put the cognitive understanding and the emotion that we just exploded with, it down-regulates. They saw it on fMRI Live, where it’s called the “name attainment effect”. They spawned a whole set of studies where, when you put a level of understanding to your emotional reaction, it turns it down in real time. And you get your prefrontal cortex back, because one of the first things your limbic system does when it starts firing, shut off your thinking brain. Which is great if you’re 150 years ago, and you’re a farmer, and you walk up on a snake. All you need is energy and your legs to run. But today, where we have cubicles, and we have spreadsheets, and we have phone calls and emails and whatnot, we have to think our way out of our problems a lot of times. And when we have an emotional reaction in a situation, it makes it worse for us to be able to solve those problems when they arise, because we can’t use our thinking brain to get out of them. One of the things that I like to tell people to do, when you take a moment to review what’s going on in your mind, from a cognitive understanding perspective of what’s going on in your mind, well, that’s the same thing as a quick meditation. Physiologically speaking, it has absolutely nothing to do with the action that you’re taking. You don’t stop and just go, and just be with your anger for a second. You actually look at it from a proactive point of view of, “Okay, this is the thought that triggered my anger, and this is the thing within my self-map that is being attacked that I want to defend, because there are specific definitions of anger and fear and sadness, etc”. Well, as soon as you do that, that pushes the same magic buttons as meditation. We don’t know why, but it does. And so, that’s another way of entering this meta-awareness place, to say, “I’m going to take control of my mind. I’m going to step back and put a curtain down between the reaction of my mind and what’s going on in my body, and take a moment and get back control of that”.

Rick: Okay. So, let’s take a practical example, just to illustrate the point. So, let’s say that you’re going to the airport, and you have to catch this flight. It’s going to cost you a lot of money if you miss the flight. You’re going to miss an important appointment in some other city or something like that, and somebody crashes into the back of your car, and you have to stop and trade licenses, and you’re going to miss your flight. So, contrast Sean Webb’s reaction to that situation with Joe Roadrage’s reaction to that situation. How is it different, and how would you teach or coach Joe Roadrage to change his way of reacting to situations like that?

Sean: Sure. Well, Joe Roadrage is going to go into amygdala hijack, and his prefrontal cortex is going to shut down, because what’s happening in his subconscious mind is that he has a number of attachments on his self-map. The self-map, the idea of self in our mind, isn’t just the people around us and our ideas of politics and religion and our preferences of whatever our favorite color is and things like that. It can be the attachments of, “I need to make this meeting”. It can be like… there was a great example that I used in one of the books of a blown call at a World Series game that enraged half of the fans in the stands, because it was such a bad call. They were expecting, in a split second, the umpire to make the call that the guy was out, when he made the call that the guy was safe, and all of a sudden it turned into the winning run that flipped the World Series. So people were enraged about that. You can still walk around St. Louis and find people who are still upset about that day and about that call. These things can be attached to your self-map in your mind very quickly. Joe Roadrage is going to be attached to, “He needs to get to that meeting”, which is also attached to his sense of self regarding his responsibility level, his organization level, his success, and maybe what that means to his monetary gain. There are a number of things that those associations are going to be attached to that are all being attacked now by the one instance of the guy running into his car. That’s going to be an attack on all those values of self-items. From a mathematical standpoint, it’s going to be a devaluation of a number of things on his self-map. Anger is logically defined as the reaction that you have to a devaluation of self that you don’t want to accept or that you want to defend against. That’s where the ire comes up. That’s where the adrenaline comes up. That’s where the fight-or-flight comes up and you want to start punching people. You want to fight against that devaluation of self, like even a bear. You go into this rage of wanting to punch the bear in the nose. The physiological reason that occurs is because you don’t want to take that ultimate devaluation of your body that ends your life. You want to defend against that, and that’s what that emotion is all about. His anger and rage is going to be triggered by all of these things that he’s mentally attached to, that are now under attack that he wants to defend against because it’s not his fault. This asshole in back of him ran into his car and now he’s going to go off on this guy and try to feel better about himself. There’s a little bit of science behind the catharsis reaction, but he’s going to be out of control. If he were to not be attached to those things as vehemently, not understand his sense of self as being just these things, as being something larger than just his self-map, then he would have a better control over that whole situation en masse. But if he were to take a moment to say, “Okay, I understand that all of these things are now under attack, and it’s not really this guy that has done it to me. It’s the event that I want to defend against. It’s the fact that I didn’t plan well enough to give myself a little bit more time to get to the airport so that I could have a ten-minute interaction with a guy on the road, that I wouldn’t miss my flight”. You know, that type of thing. If he were to be able to understand why the anger is occurring, first of all, physiologically speaking, it’s going to be turned down in his limbic system because he has a cognitive understanding and those messages are going to be sent from the prefrontal cortex back to the limbic system. So that’s going to turn off to a certain extent. The way I would see that situation is just that. Shit happens.

Rick: Sounds a little idealistic. I’m reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, I think it was called “If”. You know, “If you could keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, then you’ll be a man, my son”. You know, it sounds nice, but boy, I mean, the conditioning runs deep. And there’s layer after layer after layer of it. In the Vedic system, they talk about some scars or deep impressions that are rooted in various strata of the nervous system. Well, in your case, you just flipped one day and everything changed. For most people, it’s this incremental catharsis or purging process where purification takes place over perhaps decades.

Sean: And it is a process because the brain is plastic, right?

Rick: Yeah, and that’s not going to form ultimately overnight.

Sean: No, it’s not. But the good news is the more you work with it, the more it’s going to help you. The brain is that thing that is crazy, that creates all your crazy thoughts, and your mind gets out of control, and yada, yada, yada. But it’s also there to help you, and it will react to your intention and your conscious will if you let it, and if you’re persistent with it. I mean, a lot of people… even with habit forming, right? You get up and go to the gym once, you’re not going to create a habit. You get up and go to the gym, what, I think 21 times is the current number. Then you’re going to want to get up and go to the gym because your brain is in that pattern to say, “I really like the endorphin rush. I really like the feeling that I’m taking control of my exercise regimen”, and things like that. It just takes a little bit of persistence.

Rick: Okay, so obviously, as with a sport or the gym or learning to play the piano or anything in life that you have to learn, you’re saying that this is not something you’re going to master on day one, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t. But if you stick with it, changes will happen.

Sean: Yeah, you will see immediate changes. I mean, the thing that you, when you start to be able to see your mind, at least for the people who have read the books, they’ve reported an immediate sense of liberation in that they’re no longer held hostage to being that simple self-map in their mind that they thought they were just yesterday. Now they understand that they can see their mind from a short distance operating and that its output is optional for them to take into consideration. But then also that they see that they’re drawn back from it a little bit, that they’re more than just their mind. The mind is, of course, part of you and you’re never going to be without it. It’s always going to have an influence on you. It’s always ultimately going to help you make your decisions and take your actions. But at the same time, if your awareness can be pulled back from that from just a little bit with a contemplative practice or a meta-awareness practice, just by understanding how it is, these people say, “My God, this little shift right here just changed my life”. So from day one, it’s kind of a cool little thing that can happen. And as you expand that practice, it can get deeper and wider and more profound without the full-blown enlightenment thing occurring.

Rick: Yeah, although that wouldn’t be so bad either.

Sean: No, it wouldn’t be so bad.

Rick: There’s a verse in the Gita about the transcendence process as being like a tortoise withdrawing its legs into its shell. The senses are sort of doing a 180 and going within rather than out. And then repeating that process over time cultures the ability to be in both worlds at the same time, with no conflict or anything. So have we actually said in this interview – so far – the essence of what it is that you want people to know? Do they walk away from this interview and begin to put into practice what you’d like them to be able to do? Or is there more you could say which would enable them to do that? Or do they really have to read the books in order to…?

Sean: Well, it’s the experience of seeing their own mind, I think. Again, this goes back to the ineffable conversation that you can’t just say some magic words and have people get the benefit of what it is you want them to get. It would be me saying, “Let’s talk about how it feels to be in a hot tub”. You have to have that experience. And so the Red Book, I think, it would be like, “Okay, just pick up the Red Book and just read the Red Book. The Mind Hacking Happiness Volume 1. And when you’re able to see your own mind, then your blinders will be taken off”. So that would be really it in that the message that I would want to see given to people so that they would be motivated to take that step would be, “Look, when you understand how to see your own mind creating your pain and suffering in real time, it will change your life. I cannot give that to you without you actually seeing it and without you actually experiencing it. This is the stack of paper that will explain to you to where you can see it in your own mind”. And that experience of them being there in their own mind, seeing their own pain and suffering being created before their eyes, then changes them. And that’s a game changer right there. That is the thing that your mind expands and cannot snap back from, that experience. And so that, I think, would be the thing that I would want everybody to take away. To say, “You can listen to everyone. You can listen to every enlightened teacher you could ever compile. And it may help you a little bit, of your understanding, your intellectual understanding, your knowledge that you grasp about this concept. But you’re not going to get it without the experience”. And so I would rather tell you, “Hey, there’s a hot tub over there. And it’s on and it’s empty. And you take a left, you take a right, and it’s right there in front of you”. And then have people go do that. But the experience itself is going to be the real teacher.

Rick: So some people who are listening to this will be inspired to get your books and read them and go more deeply into this. But let’s say – regardless of whether or not they do that – let’s say people are listening to this at 9 in the morning. What can they try now for the rest of the day to kind of, before getting books or anything like that, what can they try today to put into practice to give them a taste of what you’re talking about?

Sean: All right, so from a basics perspective, to understand your mind and its operations, there’s a portion, a lot of your thoughts are going to be, a lot of your unconscious or subconscious thoughts are going to be about what’s going on around you and the analysis of the things that are going on in your environment. Whether you’re at the gym, on the treadmill, or whatever it is, you’re looking at the people that are walking around, walking towards you, and your brain is subconsciously analyzing for potential threats to self. When you’re driving around in your car, you’re watching the traffic and things like that. That is a natural function of your brain. And then on the other side of that, that creates your perception, right, that analysis of your environment. Then on the other side of that, you have this thing that fills the other side of your equation of emotion, which is your expectation and/or preference about the things on your self-map. And the things on your self-map in your mind are the laundry list of things that your brain needs to officially check for threats against, but they’re the people that are around you. They’re your job and your expectation of income. They’re your beliefs and politics and religion and your ideas of your preference of this and that, your favorite sports team. All of these things come together in a laundry list of what your mind says is you. Every reaction that you have to the world is going to be a result of your perception of your brain analyzing what’s going on around you in the world, be it a headline or a movement of a body of someone around you or an idea that floats through your head. It’s going to be a perception that you have, and it’s going to be weighed versus your expectation or preference about your self, your life’s stuff. And if you can just look at those two things to say, “Okay, what on my self-map, what portion of me was this latest mental reaction I’m having? What was that about? Was it about my sports team? Was it about my preference in politics or religion? Was it about my expectation that I was going to be able to make this green light?” Whatever it was, and what was my perception? Just practicing those two things will change your perspective from that of being in your mind and in the mess to being one of watching your mind and watching the mess. And that will create a small shift within your consciousness that will expand your sense of self. So that little simple trick right there could make a shift within you.

Rick: Let’s try to make it even simpler, and let’s try to take a practical case in point. So let’s say you’re watching the morning news.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And Donald Trump has tweeted something.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And depending upon your feelings about Donald Trump, you have one or another kind of reaction to what he’s tweeting.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And let’s include pro-Trump people in this.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And so how can that little incident be used as a tool for advancing in the way that you’re advising here? Let’s say you hate it, you love it, one way or the other. What would you do in that instance?

Sean: To understand your mind better and the reactions that you’re having within your mind, to understand that you’re more than your mind, that your existence is beyond mind just a little bit, and that you have a mind that you aren’t your mind, just take a look at that reaction. The equation of emotion variables that you have are going to be your expectation or preference about something in your self-map, be it an idea about Donald Trump or your politics or whatever it is. And then your perception. Your perception is either going to be with an appraisal process. Your perception is either going to say, “Okay, that’s a positive thing for my Trump item or my politics item”, or, “That’s a negative thing for my politics item”. And when you look at that, be it positive or negative, I mean, if your perception is that it’s positive, you’re going to have a happy feeling about that tweet if you’re a pro-Trump supporter. If your perception about that tweet is negative, then you’re going to have a negative reaction associated with your self-map. Just looking at that, whether it’s positive or negative, just looking at that dumps you into that place called meta-awareness. Meta-awareness is that special place – it’s a real psychological thing that psychology studies – in your mind that your mind is able to then turn your awareness back onto itself. And so, like when you’re daydreaming, you’re caught in the daydream, you’re in the daydream, you’re fantasizing about Brad Pitt coming over in his Ferrari and picking you up to take you for a ride or whatever it is. And then all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh, I’m daydreaming”. That moment is your meta-awareness moment. That’s the moment that your mind has looked back upon itself to say…

Rick: “Oh, I’m caught up in a fantasy”. I’m overshadowed. Maybe the old movie screen analogy is handy here. You know, everybody knows that analogy where the movie’s playing and it’s shining on the screen and we don’t see the screen because the movie overshadows it. And maybe if you could somehow increase the light behind the screen or something to the point where you see the screen even though the movie’s playing on it, then you realize, “Oh, the screen is this non-changing flat surface and all these movies and changing things that I’ve been totally caught up in are not the totality of the situation”. So what you’re saying is this meta-awareness moment is a glimpse of the screen.

Sean: Yes. And you can dump yourself into that with intention. Like a lot of times we just find ourselves in a meta-awareness moment like, “Oh, I’m daydreaming”. Or, “Oh, I forgot. I’m not going to my office. I’m going to the dentist and I may have taken the wrong turn”. That’s a meta-awareness moment.

Rick: “It’s 90 degrees and my kid’s in the back seat. Let’s remember that”.

Sean: Exactly. So those are things that often happen accidentally. Well, you can intentionally enter meta-awareness and you should as often as possible. And that’s what meditation is. You’re entering intentionally meta-awareness.

Rick: Until eventually you’re in meta-awareness all the time.

Sean: Yeah. Or at least you try to be.

Rick: Or you don’t try to be. It happens spontaneously.

Sean: Yes. With the plastic changes in your brain.

Rick: You’re not imbued enough in your system. And so back to the Trump tweet. Let’s say, rather than I’m just stating this to see if I’ve got it, you might have a positive or negative reaction, but there’s a little bit of distance and you realize, “You know, this is my politics and I love the guy or I hate the guy or whatever, but there’s a bigger picture and I am not my love or my hate”. There’s a broader awareness that is what I am.

Sean: Yes.

Rick: And it’s not all about adamant insistence that I am right and he is right or wrong or whatever.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: There’s just a little distance that’s created.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: Okay. And you can do that with just a moment of reflection…

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: …you’re saying.

Sean: Intentional reflection. It puts you into that space of being in that just beyond mind. And when you’re in that space of just beyond mind, that’s when you can start to hear the things that happen just beyond the noise of your mind. Which is really cool.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: That’s how artificial emotional intelligence is going to work, by the way.

Rick: How so?

Sean: The analysis of self-map. You create a self of an artificial entity and then you create a perception engine and the difference between the two then creates artificial emotions for the personality.

Rick: How long have we been going now?

Sean: We have been going an hour and a half.

Rick: Okay. So what haven’t we covered that you would like to cover or elaborate upon? Not that we need to go another half hour, but what would you like people to know that I haven’t thought to ask, that I haven’t read in your book?

Sean: No, I think your listeners are pretty up to speed with a lot of this spiritual stuff. I think that we’re headed in a good direction and sometimes when you hit stumbling blocks, if you’re in that space, you can take a different approach. What I put out in my books is just kind of a different approach and the same old story of expanding self and expanding understanding, expanding consciousness, becoming more than what you were yesterday in a way that’s natural, in a way that just feels good and can work for you without a whole lot of struggle. Because a lot of people, they want to force themselves into it and it doesn’t have to be that way. If you work with your body and you work with your physiology and you work with how your body and mind naturally work and you just learn to push the buttons that help your body then align with your intentions, then you can expand regardless of what level of development that you’ve had, what your high water mark is, you can develop it deeper and develop it more naturally.

Rick: Do you work with people personally?

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: Skype or what do you do?

Sean: Yeah, it’s been through email mostly, a couple through Skype, but it’s just kind of a one-on-one. People reach out and say, “Hey, help”. Although I have had some success with the Red Book, some real big developments have occurred with the Mind Hacking Happiness Volume 1 book in that we’ve had a group of folks who have reached out and said, “We’ve failed for decades with AA”. And we have since cured our addictions with understanding our mind and how it works.

Rick: Through your book?

Sean: Through my book.

Rick: Oh, that’s cool.

Sean: And so now we’re actually going to take that, because they were able to cure their addictions by understanding their mind and being able to see within their mind, we’re actually going to take that material and mold it into a program for addiction.

Rick: Nice.

Sean: And so that’s fun.

Rick: It’s a big problem.

Sean: Oh, yeah, it’s huge.

Rick: Opioids.

Sean: Yeah, so we’ve got some folks who are really behind that because we’ve really transformed their life in that vein. And then I’ve also… a couple of guys have reached out, ex-Special Forces guys who had problems with PTSD. And they’ve found that reading the Red Book helped cure their PTSD symptoms. Now you know it’s a reduction, it’s a downregulation. We’re working on a program to mold that into a PTSD program with a couple of SEALs and an Airborne Ranger guy. And so it’s just kind of, it’s really cool to be able to do that work and to work with these folks and see practical application of it and see benefit that is life-transforming.

Rick: It seems a little intellectual in a way. And you’re a very well-educated kind of intellectual guy. And people might get the impression that, “Well, this is over my head”.

Sean: Yeah, it’s not. It’s not. The science behind it, if you want to go deep and you want to understand the nooks and crannies and every little detail, yeah, there’s a lot of scientific studies and a lot of stuff that goes into the research to be able to put together the stuff. But the stuff itself, the approach itself is really simple. It’s like you look at this variable in your mind and you look at this variable in your mind and then magic happens because of how your brain is wired.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: And it doesn’t require a high level of understanding of science or anything like that to be able to enable it to happen. And to be able to look into your mind and see your mind and then be in that space of the observer, different than what it was in the past of just being with your anger and looking at your anger. And a lot of the things that Master Matthieu Ricard has taught us about mastering the mind and watching the mind, that being the observer. If you can understand it from a systems perspective to say, “Here are the two things in my mind that caused my anger, that caused my fear, that caused my sadness”, then all of a sudden it stops because you put an understanding to that mind because of the magic button or the name attainment effect in your brain. You don’t have to understand all the science to have it work for you. You don’t have to understand the science of boiling water to put the pot on the stove and make some coffee.

Rick: Or the science of how a car works in order to drive one.

Sean: Right, exactly.

Rick: You don’t have to be a mechanic to do that.

Sean: Right, yeah.

Rick: Another place this might be useful is in prisons, you know, because a lot of crime is a result of impulsive behavior.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And somebody does something in a moment of anger and then has to sit in prison for years or decades as a result and regret that moment. And obviously prisons are also often hotbeds of tension, and a lot of that can be diffused through something like this.

Sean: Yeah, I went to a, the Search Inside Yourself had an instructor training thing, it was in their first cohort. And one of my, my roommate actually, for that program sent the Red Book to his son who is in prison right now. And seemingly it has helped him understand and get a better grasp of what’s going on inside prison. And he goes, “I wish I’d had this before”.

Rick: Yeah. Do you receive any financial remuneration for this, other than selling the book?

Sean: No, not yet. I mean, we’re working on programs and, you know, ultimately we do want to have some type of revenue support the effort of being able to get it out to folks. But I mean, really, like as far as personal wealth development, things like that, is not really my focus. If we could develop a revenue that could support getting it out to more people and helping more folks, I wouldn’t, you know, argue against that.

Rick: Right.

Sean: But we haven’t, we’re just now getting to the point where we’re putting together the website and putting together the online programs that we’ll charge some money for and things like that to help support the infrastructure.

Rick: You have people working with you?

Sean: Yeah, I mean, the folks that are doing the addiction program and the PTSD program and some other volunteers that have come together to decide, “This changed my life and I want to be a part of it”. So we’ve got some volunteers and stuff.

Rick: Nice.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And you live in North Carolina?

Sean: North Carolina.

Rick: But these people you collaborate with are scattered around?

Sean: All over the place.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: Okay.

Sean: Cool.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Took them in kind of fun. We’ll see how far it goes.

Rick: Are you like retired from your regular job or are you still working?

Sean: This has kind of been… my wife fortunately has a good income that helps support the family and this has some, seemingly some promise to create some revenue in the future.

Rick: So you’re really focusing, putting a lot of your time and attention in this.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: Nice.

Sean: Because I mean, ultimately, I mean, you know how it is. You get that awakening, you have such a dramatic transformational experience and you want to share it with everybody.

Rick: Right.

Sean: And you just figure out a way to make the money work.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Right? And that’s kind of what, we’re in that position of doing at this point.

Rick: Yeah. That’s kind of the way Batgap started. I mean, this will be my ninth year doing it.

Sean: Wow.

Rick: And I initially just started with this seed idea and then pretty soon I thought, all right, I just want to make this freely available to as many people as possible.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And if the numbers grow enough, and enough people will just sort of feel like supporting it, that maybe I’ll be able to do it full time.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: You know, and that it was a gradual transition, but I finally quit the remnants of my day job last March.

Sean: Oh, cool. Congratulations. That’s really neat.

Rick: We put our full attention on this.

Sean: Yeah. Well, you’re doing a great service. I mean, I haven’t seen all of the interviews, obviously, but I’ve seen a number of them. And I think you’re doing a great service to the folks who are out there seeking for a higher level of understanding, for a higher level of and wanting to connect. Like there are folks who live in the middle of nowhere who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to hear these great speakers convey their knowledge and convey their experience. And that then gleans onto the folks who are out in the middle of nowhere who are able to reach out through these communication paradigms and find your podcast and get access to all these awesome cool folks.

Rick: Yeah. That’s the cool thing about the Internet. I mean, that to me has spiritual implications for the world and for collective consciousness and so on. It’s almost like this global brain was evolved in order to facilitate the enlightenment of humanity. I mean, it can facilitate all kinds of other things.

Sean: Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Rick: Like hacking elections and stuff.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: But without this, I mean, somebody like Jesus could only reach as many people as he could wander around in his sandals in the Middle East or something.

Sean: Right.

Rick: And then, as we were saying earlier, if he had Skype or whatever, he’d be able to reach the whole planet.

Sean: Right.

Rick: Instead it goes from one to the next over generations and gets corrupted and distorted.

Sean: Right.

Rick: So it’s really cool that there’s this kind of many-to-many technology now where all kinds of people are having awakenings and then able to convey it to others.

Sean: There’s a lot of noise that’s being created, but at the same time there’s a lot of knowledge and wisdom that’s being conveyed.

Rick: Yeah. Right.

Sean: There’s a lot more to sift through to find your nuggets, to find the people who know what they’re talking about and can speak from the heart and convey something that lands. But yeah, I agree with you. I think the communication technologies of today are going to be one of the greatest developments for unity and spiritual energy, this confluence of love and sharing and breaking down the walls that has ever occurred.

Rick: Yeah. I remember when I was a kid I saw something on some science show about that they had this whole… they were demonstrating nuclear fusion, or maybe it was fission. And they had a whole room full of mousetraps all set with ping-pong ball on each mousetrap.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And then they threw in one ping-pong ball and they started going off, and the next thing you know they’re all firing each other off. So it seems to be kind of like that in terms of this spiritual epidemic that’s taking place.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And it’s kind of this ignition that’s happening from one to the next and one to the next, and it’s able to grow more exponentially or something with the advent of these technologies…

Sean: Right.

Rick: …than just the sort of one-to-one-to-one kind of thing.

Sean: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s important. We are a social creature. We are, and a lot of us know that there is no separation between you and me, and there is no separation between us and the other people in the room and us and the other people on the other side of the planet.

Rick: Right.

Sean: We’re all part of the same field. We’re all part of the same consciousness. We’re all part of this same one energy field. And reconnecting with that simply because we have separate bodies and seemingly separate minds and things like that, reconnecting with that and making those connections I think is a huge benefit for humanity. And we’re going to have growing pains and whatnot ultimately as we start to identify the differences in how we think and feel, and we’re exposed to attacks because of these communication paradigms. But I think ultimately all that’s going to come out in the wash.

Rick: Yeah. You mentioned boiling water a while ago. You know, water boils at 212 Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Centigrade, and water can be at one degree less than those transition points and not appear that anything is happening with it. But when the boiling point is reached, all of a sudden it’s boiling.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And they call that a phase transition.

Sean: Right.

Rick: And I don’t know if there are any examples of it in science, but some people speculate that society itself may undergo a phase transition once a sufficient number of people have reached a sufficient degree of awareness or coherence.

Sean: Yeah, you’d hope so. You have the science of tipping points.

Rick: Right, tipping points.

Sean: Yeah. And I would hope that there’s going to be a tipping point soon of the spiritual energy of this.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: You never know what’s going to happen. I mean, you have this quantum mechanics and all this other stuff that has now kind of been proven that our brains are wired into. There may be some kind of scientific tipping point that occurs because of the synergy of multiple minds falling into kind of a synchronicity.

Rick: Yeah. And since you use that phrase, of course there are these lethal tipping points in environmental science, methane melting in the Arctic and stuff like that. And many feel that once a certain number of tipping points have been crossed, we’re doomed. But it may be that the spiritual awakening that seems to be happening around the world is sort of the earth’s immune system kicking in to fight this fever.

Sean: Yep. Time to kill off a bunch of folks.

Rick: Yeah. But it’s kind of like we talked earlier about everything being intelligent. It’s like the intelligence of nature is, through its instruments, us, creating a response to possibly counteract the dire consequences of our stupidity.

Sean: Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s an invention of the human mind that our existence is more important than the ant out there on that field crawling around on the pine straw. And the entire balance of nature is, it’s our idea that we’re at the top of that and that we’re not just intermixed with that and that we’re more important than any of that. And I think if we do such a harm to nature, nature’s going to come and bite us.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: And it’s going to, like systems self-regulate.

Rick: Not as the old Mother Nature, as the old Marjorie Taylor.

Sean: Right. Exactly. I remember that. A long time ago. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

Rick: Yeah. Well, there’s something to that, I mean, what you’re saying. On the other hand, you would sacrifice an ant before you’d sacrifice your child.

Sean: True.

Rick: So there’s something to the value of more complex systems.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: But that doesn’t give us license to…

Sean: Doesn’t make it right.

Rick: …designate the environment.

Sean: Right.

Rick: I mean, if we’re stewards of nature, then that means we ought to have its best, its health in mind and not just rape it for our greedy purposes.

Sean: Right. Totally. And that’s what comes with understanding self as something larger than your personal existence or your familial existence with your kids or whatever it is. And that’s why the Jains walk around with brooms sweeping off their paths so that they don’t step on those ants.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: And they value all life equally and say, “I’m not more important than that ant is out there”. I think there’s going to be some mechanisms in nature that, I mean, look at antibiotics, right? We have this hubris about antibiotics being able to kill these viruses and whatnot. These super viruses are not giving up. These super viruses are becoming antibiotic resistant and we’re only going to have like of people again.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: And that’s going to be a reality. Well, nature has its mechanisms to say, “If you start screwing up, we’re going to adjust”.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: And that’s okay. I mean, it’s a natural existence of the entirety of consciousness regulating, down-regulating the system, potentially the emergent property, but I think it’s a fundamental core component of existence of all of the universe. And if there’s intelligence there, we have to succumb to that. We have to be respectful of that.

Rick: Yeah. Well, that’s kind of what I was trying to say before with that quote from the Vedas about being aligned with nature’s intelligence rather than out of touch with it because you’re not in touch with its source.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: There are consequences to not being in touch with its source.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And conversely, being attuned to that source is the antidote to those consequences.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: And hopefully, potentially, turn things around.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Going with the flow rather than against it.

Rick: Yeah. Well, you and I could go on all day, couldn’t we?

Sean: We could. We could. We have on many occasions. We’ll probably be drawn tonight after the conference.

Rick: We probably will. Yeah. Okay, great. So thanks for this, Sean. I’m glad we finally got to do this.

Sean: Yeah, it was fun.

Rick: Yeah. And I’ll put a page up on Batgap about this interview linking to your website, which is

Sean: Sure.

Rick: And links to your books and all that stuff. So as always, people can check that out and go through those links and everything if they want to read Sean’s books or get in touch with him or whatever.

Sean: Yeah.

Rick: I hope everyone has enjoyed this.

Sean: Yeah, it was fun.

Rick: Yeah.

Sean: Good to see you guys.

Rick: Thank you.

Sean: See you later.

Rick: Yeah.