“If we all are beings on the path of awakening – not toward the endgame – but I say all the moments of our lives are the opportunity to awaken.” – Ora Nadrich
Mark has revamped his Unbeatable Mind coaching program to incorporate virtual learning to get your start. You then have the option of starting the full, year-long coaching program so that you can start helping others to achieve and to become part of your team. Go to unbeatablemind.com to check it out.
Ora Nadrich (@OraNadrich) is a Thought Coach and Mindfulness Meditation teacher, as well as the author of the book, “Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever” and “Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity.” She talks with Commander Divine today about how to use mindfulness, and what it can really mean to you.
- Ora’s system is an extension of Jungian psychology.
- It’s possible to mindful of simple things, like everyday tastes.
- “Mindfulness” isn’t a competitive arena, where being more mindful means you have “won.”
Listen to this episode to hear more about how you can use mindfulness and authenticity for yourself.
You’ve probably already heard Mark extolling the virtues of the PowerDot to help with recovery. The PowerDot is an electrical stimulation device that allows you to increase performance, speed up recovery and overall achieve a deeper mind/body connection. Many stim devices can be clumsy and hard to use. PowerDot achieves simplicity and is well-designed. They put professional level physical therapy in your hands easily and inexpensively. They now have a version 2.0.
Listeners to the podcast, can save by using the code UNBEATABLE at checkout for 20% off the regular price.
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Hi folks. This is Mark Divine. Welcome back to the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining me. Super appreciate it. I mean, with all the podcasts out there and all the things vying for the attention the fact that you’re listening is unbelievable and super powerful.
So I won’t waste your time. Before I introduce my guest today – Ora Nadrich – a mindfulness expert and author – can’t wait for this conversation, let me tell you about a new program that we’ve launched called the Unbeatable Mind coach certification. This is pretty cool.
We’d run an early version of this, but it was a really hard program and it was a year long. You had to fly to California four times, and it cost twenty thousand dollars. It was really hard, extraordinary results and we certified I think like 15 people out of that.
And I thought “well, if we’re ever going to meet our mission of transforming a 100,000,000 people through Unbeatable Mind integration into world-centric leaders and warriors, then we’ve got to reach more people.
And so we’ve shortened the program. Made it mostly virtual. Sixteen weeks you can become an Unbeatable Mind certified coach.
And it’s pretty extraordinary. We’ve spent the last six months putting this thing together and I’m super stoked for it.
And we just launched our first cohort – actually – this morning. So if you want to learn more about this, if it sounds like something… If you need to coach your team or you’re a mentor at work or… Everyone’s involved in a team. But if you’re a leader – today a leader needs to be a coach and a mentor. This is a great way to learn. If you just want to deepen your experiences with Unbeatable Mind and master the tools and the training – the best way to do that is to teach and to coach, as opposed to just consume the content.
And if you want a career – either full-time or part-time – as a certified coach well this is the real deal. This program is a no stone unturned type program as you probably are aware. So check it out at unbeatablemind.com/coaching to get all the details.
Okay. Public service announcement over.
Ora Nadrich is the founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking. She’s the author of several books. One of them – which sounds phenomenal, I’m gonna order this after the show – “Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever.”
And now she’s released “Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity.”
Ora is also a frequent contributor to Huffington Post and Yahoo – I’m sure a ton of other places.
So I’m super stoked Ora that you joined me today. Appreciate it. And you’re coming live from Santa Monica, California.
Ora: Yes I am. Thank you for having me, Mark: Yeah, it’s my pleasure. As I mentioned before we started, I love talking to experts in mindfulness because you know it’s a simple concept that isn’t so simple right? And, in fact, I was talking to someone yesterday on a podcast and he was a mindfulness teacher who studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, and he said that in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition… In their tradition actually… Thich Nhat Hanh was actually Vietnamese… They said that words can become corrupted. And he said the word “mindfulness” had become corrupted or defiled right?
And what he meant by that is it’s lost a lot of its power, because too many people are using it in different ways or co-opted it right? It’s almost become like marketing… Trying to sell into an organization.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? What we do with capitalism, right?
Ora: It’s unfortunate that the very thing or things that we need to get into the stream of awareness and consciousness – that there is always running the risk of exploitation, commodification, dumbing-down… But for me I feel that it’s the jewel. It’s the jewel in the Lotus. Mindfulness is the gift that keeps on giving.
So we do want to be mindful of exploiting things that are valuable. And it’s interesting to even say, have a mindful awareness of not misusing mindfulness.
Mark: I love that, yeah. And to be what people will learn through this podcast. Like we have the saying in the SEALs. “Simple is not easy.” it might be an easy concept and it’s easy to say be mindfully aware. Or slow down and you know pay attention to become more mindful of your thoughts, and your behaviors and actions.
But it is hard work, and it’s got many nuances and you can easily get off on the wrong path right? Thinking that you’re being mindful when you’re really just thinking, or you’re obsessing. Or you could actually be greasing the groove of a negative rut and make yourself more of a jerk.
Ora: Absolutely. You can heighten your awareness of being more of a negative person. You know, you could have total awareness that you’re being a “fill in the blank” of the kind of person that you’re being. And you might be very aware.
You know, I mentioned that in “Live True.” I talk about conscious awareness – I use an example of let’s just say recycling – you may be aware that you have no interest in recycling and you might not even care to recycle. And you might even have the information that it helps clean up the planet.
So you might have total awareness of all of that information. But by the doing of it then you say “okay, I’m going to get more aware and more informed of something that I’m choosing not to have a more heightened awareness of.” and in the doing of that you raise your awareness and you’re contributing to the purpose of that and that is to raise consciousness on the planet.
These things are all connected. It’s just a matter of do you want to jump in? Do you want to participate?
Mark: Right. Yeah, I love that. We’ll come back to that there’s because you just said a ton that could be… You know, we could expose deeper levels of… But tell us about who Ora Nadrich is… Like where did you come from? How did you get involved in this?
I read a little bit about your bio so I know some of the different practices and lineage, but tell the listeners who you are, where you came from, and why you are the way you are. (laughing) We only have 2 hours.
Ora: (laughing) well yeah, that’s a loaded question and I’ll try to do the abridged, condensed version of that.
You know, I’ve been asked how I came upon mindfulness. And I really have thought about that. And I consider that I’ve always been very much a mindful human being – meaning that I was present even as a child. And some of my favorite memories are lying in an open field that seemed vast and expansive to me. And looking up at the sky and taking great pleasure in watching the clouds move across the sky.
So even though that wasn’t called mindfulness or no one told me that I was being a “mindful” child, I was present and I put my focus and awareness onto something that is used metaphorically a lot in meditation. Or I use it with thoughts… Thoughts come and go like the clouds moving across the sky.
So I would say that’s the beginnings of my mindfulness if you will. That I was a contemplative child. I was writing you know perhaps more serious or existential poetry as a young girl.
So when you look back at your… Of who you are and where the beginnings of that are… I would venture to say that a lot of us if we really – and this is a lot of what “Live True,” is about – connecting to the authentic self – that that’s who Ora is. We want to know who Ora is, let’s go to the beginning of where my spirit was functioning in its most natural way. Do you know?
And so fast-forward – grew up in Los Angeles, living my life and my older sister – one of two – who I idolized and just thought she was the most special spirit on the planet – she had a mental breakdown when she was about turning 20. And I was not quite 15. And that was devastating. And it was shocking and it was frightening.
And I couldn’t make sense of it. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what had happened to her. How could somebody that I idolized… She had a breakdown and I went into deep fight-or-flight when that happened to her. And when we go into fight-or-flight we’re in a very heightened state of fear. And that’s what happened to me. And I felt that the world was coming to an end.
And when we go into fear, a lot of things rush to the foreground of our psyche. And for me it was “oh my God, what happened to her, will happen to me.” so I thought “well, if she couldn’t have a mental breakdown or she can go crazy, then why wouldn’t that happen to me?”
Mark: Yeah, maybe I’m next.
Ora: Exactly right. So I filed that away. Unbeknownst to me, I filed that in my subconscious if you will. I buried that thought. And you know I say in my first book “Says Who?” thoughts that go untended to or not healed, can stay buried in our subconscious. And what we might experience are the side-effects or the symptoms of that thought.
And so I started to get anxiety and then fast forward a little bit more into the future of my life – I became an actress and a lot of things were happening from my career that were very positive.
But I was feeling deep anxiety and I didn’t know why. And I was suffering tremendously because of it. And what that did is it actually started to affect the quality of my life and I knew I needed help. I went on a deep psycho-spiritual journey. I went into everything I could get a hold of.
I read. I did therapies. I did cognitive behavioral therapy. I meditated. I did everything I possibly could, so that I could ameliorate this anxiety that was causing me deep suffering.
And it really wasn’t until I went into Jungian analysis that I was able to really take a deep dive into the depths of my being. And for anybody who’s familiar with the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, he is the one that introduced “the shadow,” which are the darker aspects of our unconscious. And a lot of things that we bury, we don’t know that we have buried them. And as I say, for some people they’re suffering or something doesn’t feel right. And they don’t know why.
Well, I wanted to go there. I’m somebody who has no problem going into the depths or what I say I in “Live True,” take a deep dive into the bottom of the deep blue sea of your psyche. And you may find some wreckage there and remnants of a sunken ship.
But you’re gonna find some treasures there too.
So I did that, Mark, and that really shifted everything for me. Because what happened was I was able to meet my fear. And my fear was a thought that I believed was true. And that was “I am going to go crazy like my sister.” so the very thing that I told myself years prior had accompanied me, unbeknownst to me, on my life journey. And basically had taken control of my mind and of my well-being.
And once I was able to what Jung calls “individuate” – you know, really become free of what holds you hostage, and to find your true self, your true essence – you’re really… You’re at the effect of this… And can live your life in deep suffering.
So that was a great breakthrough for me. I was able to then live my life free of a thought that I realized wasn’t true, but that I told myself when I was experiencing tremendous fear.
And that inspired me to become a life coach – became a life coach, started to coach a lot of people who also were being held hostage by their fear thoughts. And from there I wrote my book “Says Who,” which is a method that I created for transforming negative and fear-based thoughts. And became a mindfulness practitioner. And a mindfulness meditation teacher, and led me to writing my most current book “Live True.”
Mark: Nice. Well thanks for that. Wow. Quite a journey, and one thing I’ve noted and we have some similarities… And are – more than you would expect, in terms of our path or life path – but some of the best teachers have undergone the greatest suffering. I had to learn through self-healing, self-awareness… The tools that they then now teach but they can teach it from a really authentic place of having been there, right?
Ora: Yeah, yeah. Exactly right.
Mark: That’s amazing.
Mark: There’s so much to talk about, but I would like to kind of talk about the first book you wrote, “Says Who?” what is that a reference to? Is it a reference to the negative world and the critic that is both inner and outer? Like “Who Says?” that you have to be that way.
Ora: Yes, it is. You know, I’ll give you a quick story if I can about how that book came to be. And that is that I was coaching a client who came to me about starting a new business. A creative woman. And I thought that’s what she wanted her session to be about.
And very early on in our session together she says, “Ora, I have this thought. And it really scares me. And it comes up at the most unexpected times and it frightens me, and it grips me and it basically almost paralyzes me.”
And she said “I’ve been really thinking about it a lot lately, and I don’t know what to do.” and I realized in that session that that’s what needed to be addressed, is that we could talk about her starting a business, but something had come up for her that was really impeding what she wanted to actualize in her life.
So I said “okay, would you feel comfortable telling me what that thought was?”
And she seemed a little bit embarrassed at first. And so at her own pace I let her say to me “I have this thought, it’s a fear and I’ve had it for a long time. I don’t have it all the time but it comes and goes. But it’s really, really pulling at me right now.”
“And that is that I’m going to be homeless and penniless.”
And so I had no reference point for that information – meaning that here she’s telling me a fear that she has that is genuine for her – now I just told you my story – I had a fear based thought that controlled my life for a very long time until I was free of it. And once I got free of it I realized that I was no longer held hostage by it.
So here’s a woman who’s telling me about a fear that she has that seemed so incongruous to me. And I felt that I was… I don’t know… You could say the stars were aligned that day. It was divine providence. It was meant to be.
But when she said that to me, I got this very strong hunch, I’m very intuitive and I said “you know, I just feel like that fear of hers comes from somewhere. Or perhaps even someone. And it really was strong in my mind.
And I kind of went out on a limb and I said to her – because this came into my mind – I said “says who? Who said you’re gonna be homeless and penniless?”
And she looked at me like a deer in headlights like “what do you mean, says who?”
Meaning that that’s not even a question she would have asked herself. Let alone I’m asking her for the first time.
So I took it one step further, and what I saw was that it stopped the automatic thought if you will. My asking a question like that stopped that thought in its destructive path, do you know? It’s like thoughts wreak havoc if we allow for them. And that’s the basis of my book “Says Who?”
So I took it one step further and I said “let me ask you something. Have you ever heard someone say that you’re gonna be homeless? Has anyone ever told you that you were gonna be homeless? Where do you think that comes from?”
And when I asked her that, she got very emotional and she started to cry. And I knew that I had touched upon something that was deeper than I was aware of. And she said, “Oh my God, I never really looked at it in this way before.”
And I said “what’s going on? Do you want to share what you’re experiencing? Because I can see that you’re… This is emotional for you.”
She said “I grew up. My father was a rageaholic. His work was inconsistent and when he was in and out of jobs, or money was scarce, he used to shout at my mother and shout at home – ‘we’re gonna be homeless. We’re gonna have to live out on the streets.'”
“And I would go into tremendous fear. And it was horrifying and it was petrifying for me.”
So when she shared that information for me I got a real “a-ha” moment and I thought “so this is a thought” – just like I had a thought that had created tremendous fear for me – she heard this somewhere and she took that on as real.
And she took someone else’s thought – her father – someone else’s fear and she made it her own. And she had been at the effect of that.
So I said to her “do you realize that that was your father’s fear? And that you had taken it on as your own? But that didn’t originate with you?”
And we went on to work together. I didn’t have this Says Who questioning method in place at the time. So I did the best I could.
But my introducing that concept to her – that she has literally allowed her father’s voice to live through her – that really was very illuminating for her.
And what I saw happen with her was so powerful that I went “there’s something here that needs to be explored further.” and that’s when I went and I wrote the Says Who method, the first question being “Says Who? Who is saying this thought in my mind?”
That’s the very first question of the Says Who method.
Mark: I love that. You know, I often tell my clients that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. So now we’ve added a new question to our list.
Ora: Yeah, yeah. I love that quote by Socrates, “the life unexamined is not worth living.”
Mark: Yeah that’s cool. You know my the book that I just submitted to the publisher – my publisher St. Martin’s of McMillan’s – and it’s due out in March, but it’s called “Staring Down the Wolf.”
And it’s a book for leaders – leaders trying to build elite teams – of course, if you’re a leader you need to build a team, because it’s impossible to do anything alone.
And it’s kind of like my vulnerable moment to put something out there and be like “okay this needs to be said, and I’m really exposing myself here. Because basically what I’m saying is even as a Navy SEAL leader you know I was kind of a disaster in a lot of areas. I was really good at getting shit done, and I can do any mission. And I can control my mind and emotions in combat.
But I too had shadow issues that I had to stare down. And staring down the wolf is you know the reference to the wolf of fear.
Ora: Right, exactly.
Mark: So yeah I make some bold statements, that everybody – no matter how successful you are – you’re gonna have some shadow, because they come from just living right?
Ora: Absolutely. Yeah.
Mark: They come from living. If you’re alive and you’re listening to this – which you probably are alive – a good bet anyways – then you survived the first 20 years of your life and that’s when the shadow is developed, right? When you don’t have the psycho-emotional maturity to individuate.
And so you either adopt – like your client did – a father or a mother’s behavior. Or you deny and suppress right? Or you transfer and suddenly you can be like President of the United States and have all this shadow. Imagine that, right?
Ora: Yeah, yeah. Right. And we can get into a whole thing about that, which I would prefer not it be political.
But interestingly, about the very things that we’re talk about, Mark, I believe that what we see manifested outside of ourselves is a very strong indication of the shadow that needs to be worked on within. Because all it is it’s just it’s an outward manifestation of really I believe what hasn’t been addressed in each of us individually. And then one person carries that darkness for us.
And it’s easy to project onto them. It’s easy for that projection – which again Jung talked about – I think the darkness or the shadow not addressed or not shining a light on it – which is really what it needs – then what do we do? We project it out onto others.
Mark: That’s right. Exactly.
And I love what you said earlier, becoming aware or mindfully aware of our patterns is really the first step. Because awareness is necessary for transformation, but doesn’t necessarily lead to transformation.
So let’s talk a little bit about mindfulness. How would you define the term? And what does it mean to you?
Ora: You know, I take it by its meaning in that yes, you can go by the Webster dictionary meaning of it. Or you can go by the Buddhist origin meaning of it, you know? Was the Buddha mindful? Didn’t the Buddha have to be present in order to be on the path of awakening?
I wasn’t there with the Buddha. I don’t know what the day-in, day-outs were for the Buddha. I think the Buddha is a very powerful representation of what it means to be present and committed to the journey of awakening.
Well let’s take the story of the Buddha and bring that into 21st century consciousness. You know that each and every one of us – if we are all Buddhas in the making, if you subscribe to that – if we all are beings on the path of awakening, not towards the end game but that I say all the moments of our lives are the opportunity to awaken. They’re like mini enlightenments, if you will.
To think that there’s some great, big a-ha moment – perhaps we will realize that when we take our last breath. But what can we do along the way?
So mindfulness for me is a quality that is inherent in every one of us. It’s like having kindness, or compassion, or thoughtfulness – and because it is Mindfulness in its great teachings and I don’t really explain it from the book of the original text of the Buddha.
That I take this is a quality that again we possess. And that by practicing this quality that is inherent in all of us and by developing and strengthening it, we can become more aware human beings.
And by raising our awareness, we are therefore raising consciousness. And that is the work that I feel is individual – it’s the inside job that each and every one of us can do – do you know? To be on the path of awakening.
Mark: I agree. Fascinating. What is to you the difference between awareness and consciousness?
Ora: Oh, good question. Do you know I think that they are all from the same beautiful River… It’s from the same stream, do you know? And without really going too much into semantics or the definition of one versus the other – for me awareness is having the conscious awareness and so well what does that mean? That means that the more aware and awake that I am, the more expansive my consciousness is.
Which means it widens the field or the view of my conscious awareness. Not only of self – me, Ora – who is present in this body and this life.
But by me expanding my awareness or heightening my awareness, I am therefore contributing to a larger spectrum of consciousness. That is what I am… By my presence and by my awareness, I am therefore able to be part of the stream of consciousness, which is all.
Mark: Hmm. Wow. So I think awareness is consciousness expressing itself or being aware of itself. And through the practice of mindfulness, what you’re suggesting is that you can expand your awareness, which will then expand your own personal experience of consciousness and also connect at the universal level with all consciousness or universal consciousness.
Ora: Exactly and you reiterated it perfectly. Yes, that’s really what I’m saying. In essence. Mark: In essence, right. And again – every teacher can have a whole different semantic contextualization, because they have to filter these very hard to or – you know, you would say impossible to explain concepts – impossible to explain with human language. We have to filter it through our own contexts and experiences and then try to express it.
Ora: Absolutely. And consciousness is something that millions of people have contemplated throughout history of time – of what is it?
Mark: And you’ll get a million different definitions, I bet.
Ora: Right. Can it be defined? And then you really go into all sorts of areas, be them abstract, or mystical, or numinous or spiritual or religious or whatever really is your way of holding meaning of what human existence means to you. And then expanding farther out into a cosmic understanding of the universe.
And I tend to be one – if anybody who reads my books, I really refer to it as simple wisdom I think you said something earlier about wisdom. Do you know, I feel that the great teachings are at their core simple. We complicate them.
And I’m very attracted to Taoism or the Zen concepts of things, because for me, it’s very simple, you know?
Mark: Simple is not easy. It’s the hardest path… I mean, I got my start in mindfulness training through Zen. And it was about the most simple thing to do. But it was ridiculously hard, right? To still the mind and learn to concentrate and then to expand that awareness.
But just the doing is the important thing, right?
You don’t have to have you know some perfect thing. And everyone’s looking for the next shiny, perfect thing. When all you got to do is just sit down and strive, right? With a simple tool.
Ora: Yes, exactly. And that we do want to counter… A quote that I use continuously it’s the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. “We are spiritual beings, having a human experience.”
And the human experience is I think where it gets complicated. And I don’t think of my spirit as where… The spirit for me is pure essence, it’s pure energy. I think we come into this incarnation in this body, this vehicle, and its spirit and then where does spirit go when it leaves this body?
For the time that it’s here, it moves. And we could all weigh-in on what that means to us. But it’s complicated… And that’s the amazing sort of the dualism, if you will. It’s like we’re spirits, but we’re living in the body… And we are busy doing… And it’s hard to drop into supporting the spirit sometimes.
That’s why mindfulness is such a gem. Because it’s a reminder – it’s like I say and I think it’s in “Live True,” – I’m working on my third book – sometimes it’s just like a time continuum for me.
It’s that voice that goes, “hey where are you right now? Where’d you go? Where did you just go you? Be here, be in this moment. And drop in.”
And you realize “oh, it’s so good to drop into the moment. It’s just so sweet, do you know?
Mark: Alright. Let’s talk about authenticity, because I think we’re dancing around. So mindfulness will expand awareness – we’ve talked about how that will allow us to be more conscious and to feel maybe more connected to the whole… But how does that make us more authentic?
Ora: Well, again these words as you said earlier, Mark: It’s like there’s always the sort of commercializing, or the commodification, or the exploitation. Or people go “oh yeah, right. Now authenticity is the new buzzword.”
Ora: But do you know, if you take the meaning again – whether it’s the definition of mindfulness being in the present moment with total awareness – you take authenticity or authentic – it’s what’s real and genuine. Well that’s something that’s really incumbent upon us. Who’s the real you? Do you know who the real and genuine you is?
And what my book offers up is ways in which to stay connected, or to remember or Thich Nhat Hanh says “to return home to,” who we really are? Do you know? The original self. The you that was you before you took on all these roles, and personas, and “have-tos” and “shoulds.”
So for me as someone who wrote a book on a mindfulness guide to authenticity is what feels real? And when you refine that, when you begin to really understand what isn’t real for you or what doesn’t feel real for you? You can then become more connected and remain more true to what is real for you. And I think that’s… If you use an example of why so many people maybe feel unhappy or disconnected in their life. And they don’t know why… But something’s not right. But they don’t know what to name it or what to call it.
Is because a lot of times people are living inauthentic to their soul. They’re in a relationship with someone that they don’t feel that they’re being authentic with. They’re on a job that they feel is suffocating them. And that they can’t be really who they are.
So that’s my definition of authenticity. It’s the true essence of who we are – which can also be called the Buddha nature – the nature, the pure nature/essence of who you are. There’s only one me and there’s only one you. And there’s only one of everyone. And how we come into the world as that. And this book is a return to that… A return to the authentic self.
Mark: I love that.
How do you think technology is either enhancing or blocking our ability to be authentic? Or to be more authentic?
Ora: Well I think it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I think it’s going to pull us into something… I feel like technology – it’s necessary, it’s happening, we’re in the 21st century. I mean we’re talking about things like AI and building robots and this is really important, because this is where mindfulness is needed more than ever. If we don’t balance what we are manifesting outside of ourselves, and giving it over to technology, then that’s going to run the show. And we will have – I think – lost the deep plot of humanity if we allow for that.
So that’s why practicing mindfulness is so key in all that we do.
So practicing mindfulness is I think absolutely essential. And we need it now more than ever before, you know? We really do.
Mark: Yeah, I think we need to evolve both personally and humanity. So that we can – like you said – be co-creators in partnership with this advanced technology that we create.
As opposed to being blown over like a tsunami. And then completely disconnected from our human nature.
Ora: Exactly. And that’s why I really believe in finding that delicate balance. And that’s going to take an effort on our part. And we all are pretty much at the effect of social media, and technology, and our devices, and our gadgets, you know. And for those that are not Wow, lucky you.
Mark: (laughing) Talking to someone whose cell-phone rang as we started.
Ora: (laughing) I’m embarrassed to say. Yeah.
Because I don’t even know how to turn off that part of my computer. It’s like “wait that was supposed to be my phone. How does that pop up on my computer?”
So having said that, what it’s evoking in people is something that needs to be paid close attention to.
I have two children and my eldest is 26, my youngest is 19. And I can say the generations… It is moving so fast – modern technology is changing so exponentially, that you have toddlers that are on smartphones.
There used to be that the TV was the enemy. A parent needed a break from their kid, they’d stick them in front of a television. Now they’re all on iPads, and they’re on smartphones… And the days of giving your kids coloring books or puzzles… I mean, is that going to be obsolete? It’s concerning.
Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah, sure is. And like you said, there’s the positive and the negative. There’s the light and the shadow side of it. So we have to fight back against the shadow and expose the light. And use the tools in wise ways.
Ora: And have a mindful awareness of knowing when to put them down. Knowing when to take a pause. Knowing when to take a break. Making sure that it’s not glued to your head by your pillow when you’re sleeping.
Do you know, there are things that we can do to heighten our awareness of how interdependent we are with our gadgets right now.
Mark: Right. I think you’re right. So the biggest challenge is technology has got this really sexy, seductive, attractive way of drawing us into addictive relationships. When I grew up in the ’60s in upstate New York it was easy for me to spend time out in silence, in nature and roaming around, because that’s all there was to do.
And so my mind kind of got used to that. And now meditation it’s like “wow, I get this. Because I’ve kind of been doing this out in nature.”
Ora: That’s right.
Mark: But kids these days… There’s constant really exciting distraction and so this is why mindfulness is so crucial. Because they introduce it, not like just go outside and play – because you know they’ll go outside of their friend’s house, and play again on the iPhone or the iPad – it’s take time away from everything. Learn silence, learn how to be still.
Ora: Learn how to be silent, how to quiet the mind. Yes, I’m very excited to see that it’s coming into schools. I just went into a private school here in Los Angeles, and I taught mindfulness to a group of students who were group leaders. And the one group leader that was presented to me had created an after-school group called “civil discourse.”
And that was really very timely right now I feel. I just wrote an article “Mindfulness and the Awakening of the American Psyche.”
Because we’re seeing a lot of stuff going on – that the way in which people are communicating – and it’s not just kids that are not communicating. We’re seeing adults, we’re seeing politicians, and we’re seeing a lot of things in the way in which you know civil discourse has changed a lot. In the way that we are communicating.
And it’s not just our gadgets. We have got to become much more mindfully aware of how we’re speaking and communicating to one another. That has me concerned.
Mark: Yeah, I agree. So let’s shift focus a little bit and talk about the “how.” like, for a listener who’s never really practiced or maybe he’s interested in starting a practice where’s the beginning point? And like how do we still our minds? How do we get become more mindfully aware?
Ora: You know, I have worked with so many people as a mindfulness meditation teacher in that I worked with people trying to help them meditate, do you know? That came to me and they wanted to meditate and it was hard to sustain for a lot of people. Do you know? I think there are many people out there who really want to quiet their mind, who want to take a respite from the busyness and all the doing. And it’s challenging for everybody.
And not everybody A) can find the time to do formal meditations so that they’re sitting there you know for a half hour or 45 minutes of meditation.
And then there are many people that shared with me that they don’t want to meditate. But they still want to be able to quiet the mind. So I want to really offer up my particular teachings in an inclusive way. I don’t want people to feel like “well, I can’t do that because I’m not a meditator.”
That isn’t necessarily so, in that everybody can find time in their day to quiet their mind. Even if it’s just for a little bit.
And so one of the things that I like to talk about and bring our focus on – and what I like to do from the minute I wake up in the morning is to not jump out of bed like a ball out of a cannon. And that’s what most of us do, because we got places to go and people to see and things to do. Take just a couple of minutes the minute your eyes open up, first thing in the morning. Not grab your phone, do you know?
This is epidemic right now. It’s the first thing people are grabbing. And to take a moment just to connect to your breath. That is the most amazing tool right there and it’s a given. We don’t have to go looking for it, we don’t have to pay for it. It’s right there with us, it’s called your breath. It’s your heart beating. It’s your ability to breathe in and breathe out.
So what I like to say is start with that. Wake up in the morning and take a minute or two to connect to your inner core.
Whether you want to put your hands on your solar plexus. Or you want to put your hands on your heart, and feel the rising and the falling of a breath. You know, just start with that.
And I’m always just anticipating someone saying “oh, I can’t do that. No, no, no. I can’t do that.”
Okay, so you can’t do that then you’re gonna take yourself what? Maybe to go take a shower? You’re gonna go have breakfast. How about in the shower that you’re not rushing and washing your body and washing your hair like a frenzied human being? And maybe take a minute or two just to maybe smell the shampoo. Or lather your body. Or feel the temperature of the water on your body, do you know?
These are things that we can do starting from the very beginning of the minute we wake up. I wrote an article for The Huffington Post years ago – it was really popular – called “Your Morning Cup of Tea or Coffee Can Be Your Meditation.” and I wrote that because I thought “well, here’s an activity that so many people do.”
And I don’t know how it is where you are, but here in Los Angeles there’s a coffee shop on every corner. People are running in and they’re ordering their lattes and their Frappuccino, and they’re rushing back into their cars or their Ubers, and they are on their way.
And I say “how about let’s just say whether you have your cup of tea or coffee or juice at your home, take a moment or two just to feel the warmth of it in your hand. Take a moment just to feel the warmth of it touching your lips. Take just a moment to taste it as it’s going down your throat. Smell it.”
And that becomes the meditation. That’s mindfulness in motion. So it’s what you’re doing, it’s eating a meal – there’s so many books and your versed with Thich Nhat Hanh, he has those great little books. That are all mindfulness space like in walking and eating and relaxing. In love.
You know you can plug mindfulness into just about anything and everything.
Mark: Yeah. Peace is every step, he said and that was his whole message is like every step, every breath is a practice of mindfulness or an opportunity to practice mindfulness. And then – like you said – it starts to become… After you habituate that then as you’re in a conversation, you’re paying attention to the breath. And you become aware of the patterns of thoughts that are rising and falling. And you become much stiller, and able to listen and actually hear what’s being said.
And then you’ll be able to pay attention to the quality of the words. And take responsibility for how they land. And then you get civil discourse back.
Ora: Exactly right. And the beauty of mindfulness, also Mark, is like I say it’s so great in helping us be present. But it also helps us be aware of when we’re about to slip out of the moment. So with this practice – and it’s like anything else and what we said in the beginning it takes practice, it takes a discipline, it takes commitment on your part. It’s not going to just come flying through your window, you know?
And the more you do it, the more you become… Living with heightened awareness so that let’s say you are talking to somebody and your mind starts to wander. Or you’re tuning them out, or you’re thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner later. You have this awareness – like this little bell that goes off in your head – like “ah, okay. Let me go back to really listening to what they’re saying. Let me remind myself that I was about to slip out of this moment thinking perhaps that another moment was going to be better. And bring myself back into this moment, now. Which has changed from the moment before it.
Mark: Right. Wow, we’re running out of time, but I did want to ask you – and that last comment about being in the moment relates to this – but in “Live True,” your new book, you break the chapters into four major sections – time, understanding, living and realization.
Can you just help us understand what you were thinking about in terms of why those four domains of human experience were important?
Ora: Yeah, I broke it down because I spent in the beginning of the book the first portion of the book is really talking about time. You know, time is valuable. Time is either wasted or it’s lived fully, do you know? And I wrote “Live True” right after my sister Esther passed away. And I spoke about her succumbing to mental illness and that when I was actually grieving her passing when I wrote the book. So time for me took on a whole new meaning and that this is it, you know? You either want to value the moments of your life – it may be 60 seconds – but if you start to add up every moment that you waste you’ll never get those moments again. This is it.
So time right off the beginning – I was like, “let’s talk about time.” because time is truly important. Time for me is everything right.
And then I go into the understanding of the concepts like what does wholeness mean? And what does it mean to be conscious?
We talked about consciousness – to have a deeper in standing of those chapters that I offer up. You know a deeper understanding of what does the “self” mean? And what are thoughts about? And desire?
And then the third point of living out… Putting into motion again mindfulness out in the world. So that we can take the understanding of time and we can take that understanding and begin to live it out in the world. And then really by the end of the book, taking those chapters and that becomes the actualization, the realization do you know? That these realizations then have you live a more mindful life. And fulfill your life in a way that feels fully authentic for you.
Mark: That’s awesome. Well thank you for doing what you do, and for bringing mindfulness to more people and especially into the schools. That’s incredible. To get that generation mindfully aware will have a transformative effect on everything.
Ora: Yes, thank you so much, Mark.
Mark: So beyond actually going out and buying the book – which I recommend everyone listening does “Live True” or “Says Who,” how can someone connect with you? Do you have social media and all that kind of stuff?
Ora: Actually I do. I am on social media…
Mark: (laughing) Mindfully, mind you.
Ora: Yes and with an awareness of when to get off it. For sure. And when it’s pleasurable, like having this conversation with you. Which I couldn’t have unless we were on our devices.
But yes or oranadrich.com is my website. You can go on there and it’s just chock full of a lot of things. And it’s got a lot of mindfulness articles that I’ve written.
It’s also got my meditations. My book has 30 meditations and they’ve all been recorded. So you can go on there and get a hold of that.
And my social media handles are all pretty much “oranadrich” or “livetrue.”
Mark: Okay. Awesome. Ora, thanks so much for your time. Thank you for doing what you do and if I can help out in any way just let me know.
Ora: And thank you for having me and thank you for what you do.
Mark: Yeah, thank you. It was my pleasure and we’ll keep on keeping’ on. Do the work. Day by day, in every way, we’ll get more mindfully aware.
Ora: Absolutely. One thought at a time.
Mark: That’s right. Hooyah. Appreciate you.
Alright folks, that’s it. Go support Ora. This is simple to understand, but not easy to do as we said. But it’s critical.
And just a few moments of time can make a difference. You can become mindfully aware one breath at a time. Peace is found one step at a time. So let’s step lightly.
Thank you for your support. Stay focused, train hard, and we’ll see you next time.