In this episode of the Achieve Your Goals podcast, Julianna Raye is here to talk about Unified Mindfulness, a scientifically based, highly effective meditation system for creating a happier, healthier and more purposeful life.
Julianna has been training individuals and groups in mindfulness practice for over 17 years. In addition to mindfulness training, Julianna is a keynote speaker and private coach, helping others to achieve personal and professional growth through mindfulness.
With over 90 weeks of immersive silent retreat training in both mindfulness and Zen, in addition to her daily practice, Julianna has 12,000+ hours of formal practice time, rewiring her brain, and creating a new normal for herself. This enables her to truly be of service to her clients.
During today’s conversation, Julianna shares how she went from an emotional and unfulfilling career in the music industry to discovering and dedicating her life to mindfulness meditation. You’ll learn about her unique and powerful approach to meditation, along with some practical steps that you can apply today, in order to take control of your well-being so you can live a more fulfilling life.
- [03:40] Julianna talks about her career as a musician and her introduction to meditation, along with the revelation that changed her life.
- [09:20] Find out how she learned to change her inner ecosystem, develop her attention, and convert anxiety and depression into positive energy.
- [11:10] Discover the 3 attention skills to greater tranquility, energy and well-being.
- [19:58] Practical steps for strengthening your attention skills.
- [21:00] Learn about where your emotions are located within your body.
- [23:32] How to use pattern of sound to decide which thoughts you give meaning to.
- [36:08] How to re-frame a racing mind and why you shouldn’t resist it!
- [42:00] Find out how you can learn and teach Unified Mindfulness.
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[00:00:47] Jon: Welcome everybody to your next Achieve Your Goals podcast episode with Julianna Raye. Julianna, how are you doing today? Are you ready to have fun?
[00:00:57] Julianna: I am blissed out, Jon. I am super ready to have fun. I’m feeling really good.
[00:01:06] Jon: Blissed out, that’s what I haven’t heard. We could do a lot with that. That’s really great. For those of you who just tuned in, Julianna Raye. I first met you, Julianna, we met a couple years ago. We were introduced by a mutual friend of ours, John Kane, and you had helped him by training him on your mindfulness approach. And he was using mindfulness meditation to train for an Iron Man, which, if you know John Kane, it’s an impressive feat because he’s a big dude. He wasn’t built to compete in Iron Man and he decided he wanted to rewrite a chapter of his life and so he said, “Why not go do the thing that would seem to be impossible?” It’s a story for another episode. We actually need to bring John on here and have him tell the story, but it really was like accomplishing the impossible. But he completed that Iron Man and he credited a lot of his success to the coaching and training that you gave him as his mindfulness meditation coach. And so that’s when I met you several years ago. I hired you to coach me directly and there are some things that I love about your style of meditation. For one, I could practice it anywhere at any time. The second was, I felt like no matter what my prior training was, or my beliefs or my biases around meditation and what works for me or what doesn’t, what I love about your approach is that it seemed to have… yes, there’s a lot of complexity to it and I’ve come to learn it’s like the more I know the more I realize I don’t know. There’s also at the same time this beautiful simplicity. So I’ve loved learning from you over the last several years and I’m excited to bring you to our Achieve Your Goals podcast community. And just so we don’t forget, this is an exciting time for you. You have a program that you could argue, it has already been 30 plus years in the making. And for the first time in history, as of when, a few days ago? People can now get trained on this method that Shinzen Young, your mentor, developed 30 years ago. So, that’s going on right now, right?
[00:03:20] Julianna: Yeah, it’s literally available today. Today’s the first day that people could hop on if they want to. So it’s an extremely exciting moment for us here and a lot of hard work and we’re all just feeling really grateful to be able to offer it and already in the response that we’re getting.
[00:03:40] Jon: That’s super cool. And just so I don’t forget because we’re about to dive deep into a really cool conversation, if anyone wants to go learn more about this or your training program, where do they go find you?
[00:03:52] Julianna: It’s at unifiedmindfulness.com/foundations and you can put a link to that.
[00:03:56] Jon: Perfect, unifiedmindfulness.com/foundations, make sure we get that. So Julianna, tell us about your journey, your introduction to meditation because it’s interesting. We all have an interesting story. Yours is definitely interesting. You had several lifetimes before meditation that I wanna make sure people hear about. So where do you wanna start?
[00:04:23] Julianna: Well, I was really lucky. I came out to LA and I had a dream of being actually a famous actress and a famous musician. I was torn between the two and I got to make a record on Warner Brothers with one of the big iconic producers. And I started to live my dream, I started to do shows and it was just my name, it was all my music. It felt like a big deal and it was a rare opportunity. But what I really discovered through that, is that we have this idea, “Oh, if I fulfill my dreams, then everything will be okay.” I certainly had that mindset that I need to achieve X, Y and Z and then I’ll be happy. And I got the chance to achieve X, Y and Z which a lot of people don’t do in the entertainment world and I got enough of the taste of it to realize that it wasn’t gonna give me what I thought, that it was my mind still. I was interpreting my experience through the lens of my mind and if my mind wasn’t fully appreciating the experience. No experience was gonna give me that. That was a big revelation for me but then I had no idea what to do about that. I was profoundly depressed and I struggled a lot with anxiety as well. So I had a lot of emotional challenges and I was in psychotherapy and I tried medication. I couldn’t find anything that was really working for me. And I saw that at best, even if I achieved my rock star dreams, even if I became a rock star, I could see that I would still have a life of chronic unhappiness, basically, that would be struggling with it the whole time. Like I said, I was at a loss.
A therapist recommended meditation and I was very skeptical but I started practicing on my own, I didn’t know much about it. I did it and I liked what it did for me but I didn’t get the potential of it, I didn’t get the power of it until I was introduced to Shinzen Young and his unified mindfulness system. I went on a retreat with him and that’s when my whole life changed. Because on that retreat, right in the middle of it, I had an experience that was so talk about blissed out. There was so much tranquility, there was so much well-being going on, that sense of joy just in existing and a sense of happiness for no reason and there was so much pleasant-flowing energy in my body. Somebody had said to me that meditation was capable of helping you feel energized or feel calm or feel emotional well-being. And I would have been like, “Yeah, whatever.” Because I just didn’t know how good that could feel. I didn’t know the experience of that first hand, and then once I did, once I saw “Oh you mean this? This is far more powerful than I ever experienced in my life.” So at that moment, I saw a way out of the hole I was trapped in, because all I did was a bunch of these exercise, I did the practice. I did a lot of it. But I saw like, “Oh, okay you do a lot of this practice, you get this level of awards.” That means that if I keep putting in the time and I keep doing the practice that overtime I can change the ecosystem. The inner ecosystem. I can change the brain. I can change the mind that sees that experiences this world and then I can have the fulfillment I thought I would get from the externals. I can really have it in more and more moments of my life. I had it the wrong way around, and I got it fully like, “Oh, okay this is the right way around.” You gotta start here and build that, change that inner environment and that’s when you’re in a better position. Not only to appreciate the blessings that your life gives you but also to make choices and change your environment. When you are in an unhappy place you are going to make much better decisions. So I suddenly got the order of events very clearly.
[00:08:25] Jon: That’s awesome. What I love about your story Julianna is… and I’m sure we’re going to hear more of it here in this conversation, like you wanted to be a rock star early on. And just a fun fact, you’re gonna hate me for doing this, go YouTube, Julianna Raye and then some amazing music videos from 1989…
[00:08:45] Julianna: No, not that early!
[00:08:46] Jon: Well I don’t know when they were… of Julianna. You gotta go find these YouTube videos of Julianna at…
[00:08:53] Julianna: 90’s!
[00:08:54] Jon: Probably late 90’s, I’m sure. So what’s cool is you wanted to be a rock star and in my mind, which is just my opinion, you are literally a rock star in the world of mindfulness and meditation. What I love about you being here with The Miracle Morning community is many of them might not know who you are but when they go search and they ollow you they’re gonna see really quickly that you mentor some amazing people from rock stars to mega CEOs to everyday entrepreneurs. I love that you wanted to be a rock star and became one just in a very different universe. You talked about changing the inner ecosystem. That sound like a superpower, that if I’m listening to this podcast, I wanna achieve my goals, I’m sold on this idea that hey, I’ve gonna win that inner game. So give us a crash course introduction to what did you learn from Shinzen Young 20 plus years ago that you said, “Wow this is amazing.”
[00:09:55] Julianna: Well, I like to say that mindfulness is the ultimate recycling tool which doesn’t sound very sexy. However, it is the ninja tool because suddenly all those experiences in your life that pose challenges that we find painful or difficult suddenly you have a way to work with those right in the moment that converts them into energy, that converts them into deeper tranquility, deeper fulfillment, greater well-being, more energy. So literally, on spot, just by the way you relate to your experience, that’s basically how I converted anxiety and depression as experiences into greater well-being, greater tranquility and energy. It still is a radical thought to me if I hadn’t experienced it first-hand. It’s a radical idea that you can take these situations that feel so hopeless when you’re in the midst of them and you can actually use the experience if you understand how to simply work with your attention. You can use the resource you already have right available to you to convert an experience into something positive and meaningful for yourself so that’s the tool that I was given through learning to develop my attention with mindfulness.
[00:11:19] Jon: And when you say develop your attention, I know that one of the foundational topics you teach this in depth in your foundation’s training course but you talked about three attention skills. What I’d love to do is introduce these attention skills to this audience and then after that, I want us to give some practical immediate how-to, so what could somebody do as soon as they’re done with our conversation or even while they’re listening so that they can actually start building these attention skills.
[00:11:53] Julianna: Absolutely. So I like to kind of give examples to people have a point of reference. One thing you can do is you can consider, have you ever been in the zone in your work where things are just clipping along and there’s like an effortless flow to your day, your ideas are just freely flowing, relationships are clicking, the skies are beautiful. Just one of those days that feel like, “Oh yeah I know why I do what I do.” If you break down a day like that, we’ve had all days like that, what you’ll see is that these skills I’m about to describe are naturally occurring. So what mindfulness does is we say you know those moments that you have, you can experience that. It doesn’t have to be limited to this one day, to this particular situation. You can cultivate those skills and experience it more often and in more situations in your life. So if you break down that moment where you are having that great day and things are slowing effortlessly what do you find. You find that you’re deeply absorbed in your experience so that would be what we call concentration power. You’re so in the moment, you’re so focused and it’s effortless.
[00:13:04] Jon: So concentration power is the first attention skill?
[00:13:09] Julianna: That’s right. It is the ability to focus your attention on what you choose. So when we’re having a peak day or when you’re in the zone, it happens naturally. We just drop into a deeply absorbed state where we’re focusing… Or if you’re on that run, you drop into a zone on a run, and maybe you’re focusing on your breath or whatever it is but you’re just able to keep your focus on the breath, you’re just able to keep it there, so that’s concentration power. Sensory clarity is the ability to track and explore your sense experience in real time. So if you think about when you’re in the zone, what happens it’s as if you see everything more clearly and you make associations that you wouldn’t necessarily make. It’s like things are clicking in your mind and you’re saying like, “Oh okay. Right, I could do that.” And you’re making these associations; it’s like you’re able to detect at a heightened level. So that is the skill of sensory clarity.
Equanimity is the ability to allow sensory experience to come and go without push and pull. So what does that mean, allow? When you think about that being in that zone moment, everything seems to be harmoniously flowing and there’s an effortlessness about it and you don’t have to push or pull on it; it’s just is unfolding. And in fact, often times you don’t even feel like you’re doing anything. You just sort of feel like it’s happening to you. So that’s a good example of when you drop into a natural state of equanimity, where things are just unfolding and you don’t need to fight with yourself around your experience. So that’s when those skills are naturally heightened but most of us don’t have our skills naturally heightened all the time. What do the skills look like when you’re challenged? The flip side of it is, “None of those skills are really working for me right now. What does that look like?” Well, that looks like having one of those horrible days where it’s like “I said something to so and so and that they said something and my feelings were hurt and that triggered a reaction and then I said something to someone else because my feelings were hurt and I didn’t mean to and then I hurt their feelings and then I stub my toe and that the pain from the toe mixed with the hurt feelings and then I just feel, what is this all about? Why am I here? And then I got stuck in a traffic jam, and then a check bounced.” See that these are also extremely familiar days to us. So then what about those days? Well if you can bring those skills to those days, you can process and manage those experience much better and more efficiently and you can convert those experiences into this long game of greater tranquility, energy and well-being. It’s kind of like, if you think about an exercise, how do we push the envelope of our physical strength? It’s not during those effortless downhill or flat runs right where you’re in the groove. It’s at those moments where you push uphill and those are the strengthening moments. So if you can bring a modicum of these skills, concentrate. Notice details about your experience, bring acceptance to your experience in the moment. If you’re in the middle of a really challenging moment and you can bring those skills to bear, that’s gonna make that moment more manageable to you. For example, let’s just take this goal of sensory clarity; let’s say you stub your toe, you’re in pain, someone says something mean to you, you’re feeling hurt, what’s going on there? Well there’s a lot of sensory information getting mushed together at the same time. You’ve got the physical pain, you’ve got the emotional pain, you’ve got anything that either of those trigger like for instance, “Oh no I hope I didn’t break my toe” or “Why did have that person have to say that thing?”
[00:17:00] Jon: I wanna clarify too because it’s not about stubbing your toe. Stubbing your toe is a metaphor for things don’t go the way you wanted them to go. And one of the things I love about learning this you, because I wanna make sure I go further with this point here on attention skills. Let’s talk about concentration power, the ability to focus our attention. What I love about what I learned from you, Julianna, is that there are a lot of different words and labels that people are used to using like, “Well, I need to figure out how to be present” or “I need to figure out how to stay focused’, “I need to figure out how to find energy”. If you’re listening to this podcast is because you want to find an edge in your ability to achieve your goals, and so when I hear you using the metaphor about stubbing your toe, I’m imagining as an entrepreneur, you’re rejected by somebody. In that moment, how do you respond? Do you notice if it actually causes you to react in a way where the next time you’re supposed to go to work, instead of going full speed, you actually hesitate? Or even worse, you rationalize not taking action at all. I love how realistic these skills are. And a good example is equanimity of winning the push or the pull. For myself, as an entrepreneur, I have, at any given moment, I have lots of demands on myself. I have clients, I have goals, I have opportunities, I have struggles, I have possibilities, I have fears. I have people I work with, I have people I like, I have people I don’t like. When you think about the human experience, when we’re going after something that matters, I have a family, I have myself, every single one of these things I just listed, at any given moment, has the opportunity to be something that could be a source of either positive energy or a source of something negative or challenge. When we talk about equanimity, what I love about how important this is, is that, at any given moment, it might not be just one of those things, it might be ten of them that are all pulling at me so intensely that is paralyzing. And then I walk into the office and it’s time to get something done and I’ve got an amazing team that’s working hard and they ask me one question about one thing, and it’s like, “No, it’s not important”. And all of a sudden, I’m frustrated because I can’t stay focused on what I want, (i.e. concentration power). Because this is just life. These skills are so real in how important they are needed. And what I wanna ask you about is… I love the idea that these are the superpowers. We’ve got to be able to concentrate; we’ve got to be able to detect within us when things are going south. Because you taught me it’s kind of a wave, it comes and it goes, and if you catch it earlier, it might go earlier versus ripping me and I lose control. Let’s get this really practical how-to. In order to develop these skills, what does somebody need to be doing on a regular basis? Whether it’s a formal practice or just at any given moment or like a microbe practice. What are some things that can strengthen these?
[00:20:13] Julianna: Yeah and that’s key. What we really want is to empower people as much as possible. It’s like the equipment; you want to know what’s the equipment and how do I use it. That’s what we want for you so that you’re super clear about what you need to do. So how do you apply these skills at any given moment? Let’s take some small example, like somebody says something and you feel sad, they said something, you hear something that makes you feel sad. What do you do about feeling sad? There are actually lots of ways you can work with it. This is just one approach but if you wanted to focus on the sadness, just purely a choice, you don’t have to. But if you wanted to focus on the sadness, or let’s say you had to focus on the sadness because you were so sad that there was nothing else you could focus on. How would you use the skills effectively? You would towards the sadness; you would notice it as an experience in your body. So where is the sadness located in the body, if you can figure that out? It might take a little bit of guessing. It might be a little confusing because a lot of people aren’t taught about thinking of emotions having a life in the body.
[00:21:23] Jon: What are the examples of places? What’s some examples of where or how I would notice it?
[00:21:28] Julianna: Very commonly we can feel it in the belly, in the solar plexus; the heart is a really common one, the chest. And you might just notice a little bit of tension and you might know on some level, “Oh that tension is associated with the feeling of sadness.” That’s all it is. It’s like you notice a little bit of ripping or something and you say, “Oh right, I get that that’s time to how sad I’m feeling right now.”
[00:21:52] Jon: For me, Julianna, in case anyone can relate to this, I often notice will that I’m going into a disempowering state when my breath gets shorter and that’s often a reflection of my heart beating at a faster pace. So that’s how I often notice it, is it might not feel this, I guess you would say I feel it in my chest, my breath gets shorter and when I noticed that, okay that’s that moment you’re describing.
[00:22:22] Julianna: So in a case like that, it would be very natural to start taking deeper breaths when you recognize it. And that is one way to work with it. Like you bring greater relaxation into the system by taking deeper breaths and that helps restore you. But another way to go and a way that’s maybe counter intuitive to some people is, you notice the shorter breath and you bring acceptance to it, you bring that skill equanimity to it; and you bring precision and clarity about it, “Oh okay, where is it located? How does it feel?” And just in doing that, you release it; and that’s counter intuitive. A lot of people sort of think, “Oh, I got to do something. I gotta take deeper breaths. I gotta do this or that.” But the thing you actually have to do is change your relationship to it in that moment. Makes sense?
[00:23:06] Jon: Awesome. You just described one type of labeling our experiences which would be finding a feeling. There’s two other ways, I think, that you teach that we might notice our inner experience that can also allow us in real time to get present to what’s happening.
[00:23:28] Julianna: Right. So there’s the physical sensations and the emotional sensations; anything that takes place in the body and we would call that category, feel. And then there’s what you hear. What you hear can include what you hear in your environment. Your senses are processing audio stimulation from the world around you. So it can be what you hear in your environment but also what you hear in your mind; the mental chatter that’s so often induced within us all. So what happens when you relate to, let’s say, a thought that’s undermining, a thought like “I never do anything right” or something like that. How would you relate to a thought like that using these skills? So I never do anything right. So you turn and you focus on the thought but you don’t focus on the content of the thought, you don’t focus on the meaning of the thought. You focus on the sound activity of the thought.
[00:24:27] Jon: Between my ears; between in my head.
[00:24:29] Julianna: Right between your ears. So I never do anything right is basically a strung-together set of consonants and vowels. If you break it down, what gives it meaning? We can empower it with meaning or not. We can focus on the thought, I never do anything right, as simply a series of sounds strung together; a pattern of sound. We can concentrate on it as a pattern of sound. We can become clear about it, there’s that sensory clarity by noticing where it’s located in between the ears. “Oh yeah I hear it in that part of my head.” We can notice, “Oh yeah, it opens up when the vowels hit and then it closes up when the consonants hit; it has this pattern.” So we start to become interested. The sensory clarity is about the details of the sound pattern and not about any deep meaning behind that phrase because that phrase doesn’t have any deep meaning. I never do anything right that has no meaning. Equanimity is the last skill. So equanimity means, “Can you suspend judgement about that thought?” So I never do anything right. You don’t empower it but you don’t push it away either. You don’t get stuck in it; no push and pull. You don’t get stuck in that thought as in, “I finally realized the truth of my existence. I don’t do anything right.” You don’t give it any weight but the flip side of it is you don’t start fighting with it either. You don’t say, “Oh why do I always think that? I shouldn’t think that. Look, I can’t even do personal development right. I keep on having these thoughts.” We wanna try to be willing for that thought to be there and allow it to come and go without push and pull. That’s equanimity.
[00:26:12] Jon: So we’ve talked about feel. So at any given moment if I can feel in my body, like if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, “Okay I’ve never been introduced to this concept before”, what we can all relate to is moments when things are going great like Julianna described earlier and moments when we’re not at our best. And there’s a lot of labels that we use for that, it could be distractive, affirmative, it could be overwhelmed. So if you just have these two buckets of I Feel Great or I’m Not Feeling Great, then part of what we’re learning right now is you have three different ways that you can catch yourself if things aren’t feeling great. Julianna also talked about how to nurture the positive but I think for a lot of us where we need the tools often is to turn things around. I might feel in my body that shortness of breath, what you just taught us is if all I do is just notice that, like literally draw my attention towards the place where that is, it will actually start to diffuse potentially the problem in the first place. The other opportunity is to hear. And I’ll share with everybody, personally, when I first started working with Julianna, this was the thing for me that was most beneficial. I’m an auditory person. I have a lot of conversations in my head. I shared this with somebody recently, I’m pretty sure I have a permanent never ending conversation going on in my head. And that’s not a problem, I have come to recognize. That’s a huge strength because I’m solving problems and I’m coming up with amazing ideas.
[00:27:48] Julianna: I relate.
[00:27:50] Jon: And we’re both auditory people. We love music. It’s not a surprise that we have a permanent conversation in our head. But I think part of the yin and the yang with that is that conversation unattended to can go south really quickly. And when it does go south, what I learned from you a long time ago is, “Look, I don’t need to judge it. I don’t need to ask myself how do I fix it. All I need to do is just actually notice it.” Because just by noticing it, I’m literally getting conscious, I’m literally becoming present. And in that moment, I now release the control of that dialogue.
[00:28:24] Julianna: That’s right. That’s the work. It’s so funny we think, “Oh no, I gotta be doing something more than that.” No, that’s the work right there.
[00:28:29] Jon: And we both love, appreciate and value the importance of a tool like an affirmation. I think this whole community does. And if everyone’s wondering, where does that fit in? Well it’s not an either or. I think an affirmation is a great way of nurturing positive thoughts. However, we’re all human beings, which means there are times when we’re either not reciting our affirmations all day long or we’re not having that perfect thought and we need a tool to increase the moments when we are conscious.
[00:29:02] Julianna: And that’s where the recycling part of it comes in. Can we use very little bit of our experience? And in order to use it, every little bit of our experience, we have to know which tool to use when. That’s it. We have to just get smart about that.
[00:29:16] Jon: And there’s one more we haven’t mentioned, which is seeing. So walk us through that sense.
[00:29:20] Julianna: Yeah. So see is basically is what you see in the world and it’s also what you might see in your mind. So many people when they sit down to practice, if you’re gonna do a seated practice, you’ll find that the mind does not see much at all. And a lot of people say, “Oh no what’s wrong? I can’t see anything.” But actually that’s a restful state. It just means that there isn’t a lot of visual activity and you can enjoy that and you can appreciate that. That can help settle you when you’re feeling stressed out; you just notice the blank screen, you bring concentration to it, you bring the sensory clarity. You start to really get into this, “what is this quality of the blank screen? What’s that all about?” You become curious. Sensory clarity is associated with curiosity and discovery. And then equanimity is you let it be there and maybe then an image popped into your mind and then that’s okay and then maybe that image vanishes. So you just allow that effortless coming and going of images and the blank screen. So the flip side is you might have images, a lot of imagery and sometimes people have imagery that they find upsetting or that reinforces the story they’re telling themselves. For example, go back to that, Oh-I-never-do-anything-right example. Maybe then you flash on some memories from childhood when someone said that to you or something like that and you actually see that image in your mind. Very compelling at those moments when that happens and we wanna treat it the same way. We wanna treat it by not getting caught in the story. It is just light activity. Sound activity is just blah blah. Light activity is just a flash of light in the form of some story that you’ve told yourself a million times for example. So how can I relate to that more? It’s like, “Oh it’s located on this part of my mind and it’s got color or it’s mainly black and white. It’s morphing as I’m looking at it. Like chunks of it are sort of there and not there and it’s changing.” So we’re getting interested in those types of details and less interested in the story of it. And that helps the energy get released in it.
[00:31:22] Jon: So for anyone who’s listening, which is a funny thing to say. So for those of you who are here, I’m gonna do a quick recap and Julianna just jump in and crack me if I mess this up here but we started by having you share that a great way of thinking about mindfulness meditation is to imagine times when we’re in the zone where everything is flowing. It’s almost like we’ve lost that sense of space and time and self, and you decide how when we’re in those moments, we may or may not have ever thought of it this way, but we have certain attention skills that are really heightened. Those three attention skills we’ve shared with you today are number one, concentration power. Who doesn’t want more of that? We try and buy that in a pill, a smoothie, whatever we could do. We want concentration power. Number two is sensory clarity, the ability to detect or distinguish our moment by moment experience and number three is equanimity, the ability to maybe avoid the push or the pull.
[00:32:25] Julianna: Allow. I’m gonna catch you on that.
[00:32:30] Jon: To allow our moment by moment experience. How would you describe equanimity again? Give me that in a sentence.
[00:32:36] Julianna: The ability to allow our sensory experience to come and go without push and pull.
[00:32:41] Jon: Perfect. The ability to allow our sensory experience to come and go without push or pull. And then what we’ve just been talking about is a very practical way… if you’re listening and you go, “I’d love to have those attention skills. I want to wake up and and go to bed in this zone and everything in between. Then some of the moment by moment things you can do are to either to see, hear or feel what’s going on. And I wanna share my personal experience with this because I learned from you a long time ago when you were coaching me. For me, it’s rarely a case where it’s just one of those. More often than not, if I am in a stressful state, if I am burned out, if I’m anxious, overwhelmed, if I’m distracted, often times, my sensory experience is not just that I might feel a certain emotion, it’s not just in my head I’m saying things to myself, like I’m unconsciously saying that are not productive, “What if this doesn’t work? What’s this gonna look like to other people if it fails? Do I even know how to do this thing that I sold to them?” All these things I have ever committed to myself. And it’s not just images in my head, it’s seeing that conversation unfold. But I have found that in my moments where I’m facing my greatest personal challenges, my sensory experience is a combination of all three of those places wrapped up together where I feel it, I see it and I hear it.
[00:34:07] Julianna: I remember vividly the moment you revealed that to an audience, we were standing on stage together. I was beaming with pride, you have no idea, because that is such a profound insight and you hadn’t shared it with me privately. So the first time, I heard it was in front of 400 people and that’s a huge moment because you’re now getting that window into how these stuff feels so compelling. What is it about it that seems so compelling and “real”? When these challenging things happen, we have such conviction that that person is really out to get us or whatever it may be, what is it that creates that. It’s the combining together of see, hear and feel. They reinforce each other and they give us that impression of solidness.
[00:35:52] Jon: That was the moment I went from a white belt to a white and a half belt like a yellow belt and other stuff. The other thing that I’ve really appreciated learning from you Julianna is when I was younger I was diagnosed with who-knows-what, ADHD, I struggled in school. Am I gonna go back and dissect all the reasons or causes or whatever? So I chose my own path in life. I got into sales and was fortunate I had good mentors and things worked out. But I have loved how you have helped me to see that the way that my mind works, it can actually be a strength. So if any of you can relate to this, if you’ve been listening to this conversation, “Hey I have those voices too”, well guess what, I have like nine of them. I have one for every client. I have one for every team member. That’s the real deal literally all the time. My family, I have three kids under seven, do you know what goes on in my mind? It’s crazy. Sometimes, I’m having as much as fun as you can have with pants on and sometimes I’m like breaking the law in my head. Totally out of control. But listen, what I love about what I learned from you Julianna is, I’ll never forget this. We were having a coaching conversation, it was right before I went on the trail rack and you’d shared with me because I said, “God, I got so much going on that my mind is racing.” And you shared with me that instead of fighting that and thinking that that I would be move to like slow it down, you had said, “Why don’t you just work with it?” And I always remember that because I have come to appreciate that there’s nothing inherently wrong with my mind racing. It’s just a matter of whether or not I’m gonna be conscious to it and I have found personally that when I get conscious to it what I do in that moment is I say, “Let’s let this bad boy rock and roll. Let it race.” I get out a notepad where I say what are my five problems because I clearly can’t solve one right now. I gotta solve five at once and good things can happen.
But as a side note and I am unqualified to give you nutritional advice, I just love to give it anyways. So I’ve stopped consuming caffeine about six weeks ago and that’s not some like moral, ethical or I’m so great because of that. I’m sure I will consume caffeine again some time, I don’t know, but I have found for me, personally, that has been transformative in my ability to be focused throughout the day. I was using it as a way of being an energetic artificial advantage, but then the problem is, I believe that anything I create artificially, I’m reducing my body’s ability to create it naturally. So there’s no win for me in the long run, that’s just my belief, I’m not claiming I’m right, there’s no science to this that I am sitting here telling you is behind it. But that has really helped me to be focused is getting rid of that artificial stimulant.
[00:37:43] Julianna: I wanna speak to the racing mind thing you’re talking about because I think so many people can relate to what you’re saying. Here’s a way to think about or here’s a way to reconceive it to the listeners. If you think about the fact that your experience happens on a spectrum, on the one end of the spectrum is restfulness, so there just isn’t a lot going on. Maybe the body feels relaxed, maybe you don’t have many emotions, maybe you’re emotionally peaceful, maybe your mind is quiet, maybe the environment is quiet, maybe the mental screen is blank or maybe you’re looking with a soft gaze at the world, you’re not really seeing anything in the world, you’re sort of looking through it. So that’s the one end of the spectrum is restfulness. On the opposite of the spectrum is activation or activity. So maybe you’re noticing a lot of sensations in the body, maybe you’re noticing a lot of emotional activity, maybe you’re noticing that your mind is full of chatter or there’s a lot of sound in your environment or your mental screen has lots of images on it or you’re really seeing all the different beautiful things going on in the world or not so beautiful things going on in the world. So you can think about it as simply that it’s on a spectrum. From a restful to active. Those are neutral. Activity is not good or bad. It is just is what it is, it’s activity. Restfulness is not good or bad, it is just is what it is. You can reframe an active mind, a racing mind like that and if you go back to how I describe on how to focus on it. We have no problem focusing on raindrops on the roof. That’s a sound we love and that’s scattered. So can we turn towards our active mind, our racing mind and all those thoughts, can we try to have that same relationship with it where we go along for the ride of the scattering. Let it scatter us, we’ll come back together and we’ll come back together better as a result of permitting it to have it’s life. When we resist it, when we fight with it, we actually deplete our energy and we don’t really do anything to stop it. We might momentarily stop it but it’s gonna come out in some other way. Your foot will be tapping or whatever else it is.
[00:39:52] Jon: At the wrong time, I will say the wrong things to the wrong person. That’s what happens. Julianna, this has been an awesome conversation today. I sincerely hope and I know this is true for a lot of people who are gonna listen to this that this has been helpful in them understanding Unified Mindfulness. Can we refer them to Shinzen’s book which was just published in August?
[00:40:15] Julianna: Yes, The Science of Enlightenment, that is his book. Anyone like me who’s a pragmatist, I was drawn into this as a real pragmatist. I’m interested in results or I don’t want to waste my time doing something. So if you’re interested in the relationship between meditation in general and hard science, that’s been Shinzen’s life work, is to study why this stuff works and how it works. In his book, you learn more about him as a human being and you also learn more about this relationship between hard science and meditation. The Science of Enlightenment.
[00:40:50] Jon: So he created, just to give the one minute history of unified mindfulness, Shinzen created this 30 plus years ago, is that right?
[00:40:57] Julianna: Fifty, yeah.
[00:41:03] Jon: Fifty? Not only was I not alive, I wasn’t even an idea. So fifty years. And it’s been studied in research by Harvard, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and if I’m correct, you are the exclusive trainer of trainers to not only learn his system but training them. Is that right?
[00:41:21] Julianna: Basically, we are the official certification. He has entrusted me with this huge responsibility of oversight when it comes to training people in his system of unified mindfulness.
[00:41:34] Jon: Well, I’m sure he knows this, but he is fortunate to have you representing unified mindfulness and we’re all fortunate for what he created for the world. And one more time, if people wanna go check out your course that you just launched today and it is available for a few more days and just take a minute to tell us about the course. What will somebody learn who goes through it?
[00:41:53] Julianna: Sure. So a couple of things, we realize that there was a real demand among people such as coaches, life coaches, personal development coaches, yoga instructors, therapists, nurses, who are in a position to help other people but maybe they don’t wanna be a meditation teacher. But they do wanna be able to offer their clients or their groups an effective process to take care of themselves and empowering process. So we saw that there really wasn’t anything out there that supported people like that. So we created this program with people like that in mind so that you can learn how to teach other people mindfulness. And if you, yourself are not that familiar with how to do it, well it shows you how to do it. I know Scott Grooves from the QLM Mastermind, he took it with that in mind. He actually was just, “I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable teaching it to someone else, but I know that if I learn how to teach it, I’m gonna get it in a deeper level for myself.” So that’s another thing that motivates people to the program. But it’s basically, hey anybody who’s experienced the benefit of meditation, it’s natural to wanna share it. And up to now, there really hasn’t been a good framework to do that. You kind of had to watch other people do it and catch on or take a massive year-long, 15k training and go the deep end and commit to being a teacher. So this is the beginning. If you wanna become a teacher in our system, this is the first stage of it or if this is just, “Hey, I just want another tool in my tool kit”, that’s what it’s good for as well.
[00:43:28] Jon: Awesome. Julianna, always a pleasure. This was so great. Thank you for being here today.
[00:43:33] Julianna: It’s my pleasure. It was really, really wonderful, Jon. Thank you.
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