You don’t need to buy anything, go anywhere, or dress any particular way to to access the higher brain states of bliss and pure awareness, but if you are like most people, you are still searching for the way in.
You think there’s a special door, and if you can just find it, you’ll be free.
You think there’s a key hidden under some apocryphal mat that will unlock your dreams. So you keep searching and being disappointed, frustrated, deflated.
Your inner dialogue goes something like this:
· I’m doing something wrong.
· I’m missing out.
· If I’m not hypervigilant, everything will fall apart.
· No matter how hard I work, I’m still behind.
· No matter how hard I work out, I’m still too fat.
· I feel like an Impostor. It’s only a matter of time before I’m found out. Ugh.
In other words, you’re on an emotional roller coaster and it’s stressing you out. You are the glue that is holding your life together. Your inner critic is constantly on your case about what you could’ve, should’ve and would’ve done. Self-doubt is an albatross you cannot shake.
I used to really struggle in my life and I didn’t understand why.
I was an overachiever, a marathoner, and a good person. I thought I was doing life the way I was supposed to: I worked really, really hard, went to the best Ivy League schools and earned a bunch of fancy degrees, and regularly gave money to public radio and to homeless people. I pulled all-nighters for my clients, and often worked for free sometimes because I thought that was “paying my dues.”
I wore my starving artist badge with pride.
To the outer observer, I was hard-working, smart, ambitious, creative, spiritual and generous, but inside, I was struggling, angsty and unhappy.
My body hurt from all the overtraining.
My heart hurt because I felt like a fraud and a loser.
My self-esteem was in the toilet.
In my search for the doorway that I thought would lead to freedom, I began to walk down the long hallway to medical school.
My rationale was that if I became a real doctor, I’d have “a real job” earn “a real paycheck” and get some “real respect.” I’d finally be worthy. I’d finally be doing something that mattered. I’d finally be worth something.
Now here’s the crazy part of this story. (as if there’s just one crazy part to this confession!)
I already was a doctor! I had a PhD from Princeton in Comparative Literature, but in my mind, my degree didn’t count because I wasn’t a medical doctor. I told myself I am not a real doctor.
I already had a real job, too, and a pretty cool one at that! I was a documentary filmmaker who travelled around the world making movies about the environment and health. I loved my work, and my films won a lot of awards and were seen by millions of people, and I knew I was creating important and valuable educational content, but I was still struggling financially so I felt like a failure.
What is wrong with me? I kept asking myself. I was asking a terrible question, so I naturally came up with a bunch of terrible answers.
I thought: If I can just figure this out, I’ll be free.
I thought: If I just get one more degree, I’ll be free.
I thought: If I just make more money, I’ll be free.
My mind had come up with justification for me to go to medical school, so started down the path that I thought would lead to my freedom. I immersed myself in studying anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, psychology, neuroscience and environmental health.
I worked in the anatomy lab for two years and got intimate with every nerve, muscle, cell type, organ and bone the body.
Two years into this journey, “stuff happened” that stopped me in my tracks. You could say that I had been asking for this my whole life and the universe finally answered.
First, there was a flood in my town, and we lost a third of our house. My office (and the whole downstairs level of our home) had to be gutted and we found ourselves tens of thousands of dollars in debt overnight.
A few weeks after the loss of part of our house, my dad suddenly dropped dead of a massive heart attack.
The next day — I was working in an anatomy lab at the time — it was my job to go into the lab and remove the heart from the cadaver to prepare it for the students.
This is how I discovered the doorway to true wealth.
It may sound macabre for me to share how death woke me up, but this was indeed the most profound experience for it showed me how blind I had been to the wisdom of the body.
The heart is extremely tenacious.
The cage of the ribs protects and shelters the heart like Noah’s Ark. It is not that easy to access the heart. It’s literally behind bars. First I removed the rib cage, and there’s the heart actually floating in its own clear ocean of fluid. This allows it to glide smoothly between the lungs and the diaphragm as it expands and contracts.
I cut the aortic arch just below the left subclavian before it starts to descend. There was no blood in it. The left atrium was completely empty. The bicuspid valve was squeezed shut. I cut the left subclavian, the left common carotid and the brachiocephalic arteries. There was blood in those, hardened into branches. The right atrium was completely full of blood, too. I wondered why the left atrium was empty and the right atrium was full. Did this person die of sudden cardiac arrest, too?
I held the heart in my hands for a long time. It was heavy. I felt the physical and energetic weight of it. Like clay. Smooth. Fatty. Glistening. I noticed that the ascending aorta was clear, but the other arteries were all full of blood. I identified the coronary arteries and dissected them out. I started with the left interventricular artery, then moved on to the left circumflex artery. The right coronary was really stiff. Then I got out the coronary sinus, which was pretty big, and followed it down to the posterior interventricular artery. I could see exactly where the blood flowed — and where it was blocked.
Holding the heart in my hands changed my life.
I pulled a branch of solidified blood out of the left atrium. It looked like a branch of coral, crimson and perfect.
Being so intimate with the heart rocked my world to the core. I realized I had been running my business backwards. I had been living counter to Nature. Ignoring the simple way the heart sustains us.
I had been working, working, working, and never stopping.
The heart rests after every effort. It must rest in order to fill up again. Its life force depends on rest. I had completely missed this deeper Truth. When I applied this cardinal rule of the heart to my business, my income skyrocketed. Rest, not more work, was the key.
I saw how I had been living my life in deliberate ignorance of the reliable and sustainable rhythms of Nature.
In that moment of holding the heart in my hands, I discovered what it truly means to live a heart-centered life.
The heart teaches us that life is a dance of expansion and contraction. Our very survival depends on pressure building up and release of that pressure.
The heart sets its own rhythm. Not the brain, the heart. Your rhythm is uniquely yours. Honor that.
The heart is both muscle and nerve. It’s both drummer and drum. It’s both fire and water. It’s both giver and receiver. It works and it recovers. It is both powerful and vulnerable. It is the conduit through which everything flows — breath, blood, fullness, emptiness, joy, anger, sadness, love.
The heart does not do the work of the liver or the brain or the kidneys or the eyeballs. The heart is a team player and it depends on its teammates to do their job so that it can do its job. The heart teaches us that we are a vital part of something bigger and our contribution matters.
I no longer felt the need to go to medical school. I no longer needed something outside of me — a paycheck, a degree, or other peoples’ esteem — to make me okay. I realized that I was already okay, and I had always been. I’d just had a huge blind spot to my own value.
The body knows how to heal itself if we get out of the way and the mind follows the body. I did not go to medical school after all. I returned to my film production business with renewed enthusiasm and I began to honor the rhythms of my body in my business.
And something amazing ensued: my income quadrupled, without me marketing or raising my prices. I was the same me, doing the same work I had always done, but I had become calmer, more productive and more magnetic. I started attracting higher-paying clients. I had more time off. I lost weight without dieting. I started sleeping straight through the night. I became less shy and more confident.
Access your heart and you are home free. Feel the vibration of your own being. This is your guide and your superpower.
Want to go straight to the heart of your matter?
Here are 108 practical, proven and powerful strategies that will help you find your way home to your heart. If you want to dive more deeply into any of these brain hacks with me, leave a comment and I’ll respond.
You can read this book in any order you wish. Out of order is a fine place to start. Start with where you are and go from there.
This is the doorway. It’s simple, it’s always open and ready for you to step into your very own sacred temple.