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Episode 134
The Doctor's Farmacy

Finding Peace And Purpose By Thinking Like A Monk

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

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Never before have so many people been so dissatisfied—or so preoccupied with chasing “happiness.” Our culture and media feed us images and concepts about who and what we should be, while holding up models of what accomplishment and success should look like. We seek more and more, in a circuit that leads to frustration, disillusion, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and exhaustion.

On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was excited to chat with Jay Shetty about how to uncover your true passion and purpose, stop living based on other people’s opinions, and start living a life that is true to you. 

Throughout our conversation, Jay shares important lessons he learned from his time as a monk, and how to apply them to our own lives to reduce stress, improve relationships, overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within us all. 

Jay and I discuss the difference between loneliness and solitude; loneliness is the fear of being alone, and solitude is the strength of being alone. We also explore how we have lost the ability to connect with ourselves. And Jay talks about respecting the need for time alone, and what there is to be gained from experiencing silence and stillness. 

We also get into the important topic of service. Jay explains that when we serve others we gain gratitude for what we have, perspective for what others don’t have, and empathy and compassion for people’s pain and suffering. Ultimately, service is the direct path to a meaningful life. 

Jay is such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to laying out a framework to train our mind for peace and purpose everyday, which are two things we all need the most right now.

This episode is brought to you by ButcherBox and Four Sigmatic.

For a limited time, new subscribers to ButcherBox will receive 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed, grass finished beef free in every box for the life of your subscription. To this limited time offer, go to ButcherBox.com/farmacy.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn (video / audio):

  1. The event that inspired Jay to become a monk
    (7:02)
  2. Jay’s realization that he was ultimately not meant to be a monk, and his transition back to non-monastic life
    (17:07)
  3. Understanding your mind, and how it creates happiness or dissatisfaction
    (22:26)
  4. The difference between loneliness and solitude
    (28:07)
  5. Questions to ask yourself to start living a life true to yourself
    (31:32)
  6. Discovering and protecting your purpose
    (39:11)
  7. What Jay’s monk training taught him about facing rejection
    (42:17)
  8. Engaging pain helps heal yourself and others
    (52:38)
  9. Finding calm in chaos
    (1:03:30)
  10. Applying monk qualities to our relationships with others
    (1:07:29)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty is a storyteller, podcaster, and former monk. Jay’s vision is to Make Wisdom Go Viral. He is on a mission to share the timeless wisdom of the world in an accessible, relevant, and practical way. Jay has created over 400 viral videos with over 7.5 billion views, and hosts the #1 Health and Wellness podcast in the world, On Purpose.

Transcript

Jay Shetty (00:00:00):
This is a year that has forced us to pause. It’s forced us to be still. It’s forced us to question. And the biggest mistake we can make at that time, is not listen to the signal of the universe, the body, the world, the mind.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:00:22):
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. A place for conversations that matter. And if you’ve ever wondered how to become enlightened, or how you can be happy like a monk, or maybe be like the Dalai Lama, this conversation’s going to be for you, because it’s with none other than Jay Shetty, who is become a nice influence on my life through his incredible content. And particularly his new book “Think like a monk” which is just an incredible title, and it actually is because he was a monk, and he’s trying to teach us how to think like a monk. And the full title is “Train your mind for peace and purpose every day”. Imagine if we could be peaceful and purposeful every single day, and be happy. Because ultimately, it’s all about figuring out how to get to happiness, that’s what we’re all striving for. That’s what our Declaration of Independence is, the pursuit of happiness. Except, it turns out we’re pursuing it all wrong. And Jay is going to help us understand why that is.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:14):

Jay Shetty is an incredible storyteller, he’s a podcaster. He’s got the number one help podcast “On purpose”, which is an incredible podcast, you should all subscribe to listen to it. And he’s a former monk, which is a bizarre previous job title for most people, but it’s pretty awesome, and it’s informed so much of who you are, what you do, and how you bring the joy, and love, and wisdom to everybody. And your vision, you said, is to “Make wisdom go viral,” and you actually have done that with literally, billions, with a B, billions and billions of views of your content, and videos, and wisdom, it’s just amazing. And you’re really sharing this timeless wisdom that you learned as a monk, to be helping people get access to what you did, without having to go sit with their legs crossed in a meditation hall at 4:00 in the morning.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:04):
And you do it in accessible ways, relevant, and practical. You’ve had 400 viral videos, five billion views, and you’re just an awesome human being. And I’m so glad to have you on The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast.

Jay Shetty (00:02:17):
Well Mark, thank you so much for having me. I’m really grateful to be here, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. And yeah, I just feel really happy to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:28):
So, let’s get right into it. Your book “Think like a monk”, is because you were a monk, and you want to teach people the things that you learned, and have helped you create a life of success, and happiness, and wellbeing. And you were probably not encouraged to be a monk as a child. You’re coming from an Indian family, and I come from a Jewish family, and in order to be an ethnic success, you have to be a doctor or a lawyer. And monk, is definitely not on that list. You say, you could’ve been three things, a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure, and so, you chose the path that your family wasn’t so excited about. But you followed your heart, and you tell beautiful stories at the beginning of “Think like a monk” of how you were the average sort of questioning young soul, and you were invited to go see this guy speak who was a monk, and you were pretty skeptical and dubious.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:03:22):
And you were like, “Why is my friend inviting me to this thing? It’s kind of goofy, and I’d just rather go do some other stuff.” And you had this moment of, aha. And I’d love you to share that, because it’s what inspired you then to become a monk. And then you had to go meditating for four to eight hours a day, and really devote your life to helping others. What happened in that moment? Take us back to that lecture by this incredible monk that you found.

Jay Shetty (00:03:47):
Yeah, absolutely. I’d recommend that everybody who’s listening or watching, goes back to reminding themselves of what they felt like when they were 18, and what they were chasing and pursuing in life. I was chasing and pursuing all the very normal and similar things. There was nothing special or different about me at all. I was genuinely thinking, I’m going to go off and get a great job. I’m going to go to a great college. Get a great degree. Find that job. Find that partner. Buy the house. Maybe play golf. I don’t know, whatever’s next. And to me-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:04:21):
I don’t see you playing golf, Jay.

Jay Shetty (00:04:23):
No, I don’t play golf. I just always saw it in the movies, I thought it had to be the next step. But I thought that, that was the path that was laid out for each and every person. And as you rightly said, I was invited to go and see this monk. Now, I was going to hear speakers, and I was fascinated by, rags to riches, stories in my teens. So, anyone who went from nothing to something. Whether it was David Beckham. Whether it was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who I also was a big fan of. These are all people that I would read their biographies, and their autobiographies. And I’d also read the biographies of Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, and I was fascinated by people who’d also made a change in the world, but people who’d really made an impact. And in that, I was invited to go and hear a monk speak, and I said to my friend, I said, “I’d only go if we could go to a bar afterwards,” because that literally showed them the level of my interest.

Jay Shetty (00:05:19):
And the reason was, because I was like, well, what can I learn from a monk? They’ve gone from nothing to nothing, there can’t be anything that’s useful. And the joke-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:05:30):
They’ve gone from riches to rags.

Jay Shetty (00:05:32):
Yeah, exactly. From riches to rags. And I was thinking to myself, what am I going to gain from this? And this is the beauty of life that, the joke’s on you, right? It’s almost like, the person I didn’t want to go and listen to and learn from, is the person that becomes one of the greatest inspirations for me. And what happened was, that I went there and he was speaking about compassion, and service. And he said that the greatest gift, or the greatest purpose of humanity, is to use our skills in the service of others. And that day, that really connected with my heart, that really hit me at the deepest part of my soul, and I wasn’t expecting it at all. And by the time I was 18 I’d met people that were rich. I’d met people that were famous. I’d met people that were powerful, and beautiful, and attractive, but I don’t think I’d ever met anyone who was truly happy.

Jay Shetty (00:06:32):
And even if you do a little audit in your mind of how many people in your life that you feel you’ve met that were content, and happy, and joyful, you may find that actually, it’s only … you can count them on one hand. And for me, he was one of the first people I’d met in my life who I really believed had a aura of joy and contentment. And I was like, “I want that. I need to understand where that comes from.” And then I found out that he’d given up jobs at huge firms. He went to IIT, which is the Indian Institute of Technology, and that he was this really capable individual. And so, all of a sudden, I wanted to understand more about him. So what happened in that moment, that aha, was the reflection that I’d met someone who had something that no one else that I’d met had.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:17):
Yeah, and what was that?

Jay Shetty (00:07:19):
Well, that was that feeling of contentment, and a aura of genuine happiness. And I wouldn’t even say, I energetically at that time even knew what that was, but I would say, that we’ve all felt calmer or more peaceful in the presence of certain people. And when I was listening to him speak, what he said and how he conducted himself, really had a profound impact on me.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:47):
And that led you going to India in the summer to explore those teachings?

Jay Shetty (00:07:54):
Yeah. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:54):
So you were in college, and instead of going to get an internship at some big firm, you went to go sit in a temple in India and meditate?

Jay Shetty (00:08:00):
Yeah. Well, I did both. So, I did my first ever AB test, or [inaudible 00:08:04] where I was. I spent my summer holidays and my vacations at Christmas, half of them living in India with him and the monks, and the other half interning at these huge financial companies and institutions, because that’s what I thought I was going to go off and do. And so, here I am literally going from bars, steakhouses, and wearing suits, to sleeping on the floor, wearing robes, and waking up at 4:00 AM every day. And to me, that experiment … I didn’t see it as an experiment at the time, but now I look back and I go, “That experiment is what made my path so clear.” And so when people say to me, “Wasn’t it a really big decision? Wasn’t it a really hard decision to become a monk a few years later?” I’m always like, “Well, it wasn’t hard to make the decision, because for three to four years while I was at university, I was experimenting with both lives, and it became really apparent to me which one aligned with who I was.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:09:04):
Yeah. And so that led you, instead of taking a big job in a firm, to decide for your post-college career to go and become a monk. And it seems to me that the way you describe it, is you were going on a one-way ticket. It wasn’t a plan for you to go there as an experiment, but you literally were going, okay, this is where happiness is. It’s not an achievement, it’s not in material things, it’s not in all the things that we think will make us happy, it’s in something really different. Yet when you were there, you had a lot of experiences that taught you about yourself in the world. So, tell us about what that taught you, and then we’ll talk about how you got out of there.

Jay Shetty (00:09:43):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so after completing my degree, I turned down my corporate job offers, I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony, and … I graduated, but didn’t go to the actual celebration event, and went off to India to go and live as a monk. And that was one of the most meaningful decisions I made, and it was tough because I had family around me saying, “Well, what’s going to happen if you ever do decide to come back?” And I had friends saying to me like, “Have you gone mad, or been brainwashed? What’s wrong with you?”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:19):
You’re in a cult.

Jay Shetty (00:10:19):
Sorry?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:21):
You’re in a cult.

Jay Shetty (00:10:22):
Yeah, exactly. Like, “What are you deciding to do?” And I was so convinced that, you say, “The one-way ticket,” because I just thought to myself, I would love to dedicate my life to understanding myself, and to serve others. And the monk path that I was drawn to was half self, half service, where half the day was spent in self awareness, reflection, meditation, the things that you expect of monks. And the other half was spent in doing service, whether that was distributing food to children in schools, or the homeless. Or whether it was trying to build a sustainable village, to help villages create an economy for themselves. There was so much philanthropic work going on that I was drawn to it, and I thought, what better thing to do with my life, than live in this way of learning about myself, overcoming my challenges, and then giving.

Jay Shetty (00:11:15):
And having worked all those years in companies, I just didn’t feel satisfied feeling like we’d just made a company a bit more money every night, at the end of every day. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, I personally, just didn’t feel aligned that, that was what I was meant to be doing. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:11:34):
Yeah, it’s beautiful in the book how you talk about how you would work in these companies and you’d feel sort of empty at the end of it all, and you’d come back from being in the monastery, and you’d feel full, and alive, and connected.

Jay Shetty (00:11:45):
Yeah, absolutely. And it was that time where, I feel like we rarely get time to work on ourselves, or even know who we are. Like, if you think about it, you’re literally on a conveyor belt from the moment you’re born, from school, to high school, to college, if you go to college, or go into the workplace. You’re just in this system. And almost disrupting that system, allowed me to rebel in a monk way, which is strange to think about, that monk life is a rebellion, but almost it is, because it disrupts the status quo of the way life moves. And it’s that exploration of alternative ideas, that gives our mind the opportunity to engage in different ideas.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:12:31):
So the thing that happened, it seems to me, is that you went there with this feeling that this was where the money was, right? So to speak, this is where happiness was, was in service, was in awareness, was in healing the things that we all suffer from. Which is stress, and anxiety, and depression, and relationship troubles. And yet, you were deep into this, and you were in there for three years, and you were sleeping on a dirt floor. You describe how you don’t even have your own bed, you just had … You don’t even have your own spot on the floor. You’re like, you slept wherever, it could be a different spot every night, with a bunch of monks. But one of your teachers said, “Look, Jay, you need to go out back in the world, and you need to share what you’ve learned with other people.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:13:21):
So, tell us what that was like for you, and then what happened when you went back to London and you talked to your parents and like … And then how did you go from the monk, to
Jay Shetty, whose had five billion downloads and views of their videos? Right? It’s just a whole different framework of thinking.

Jay Shetty (00:13:36):
Yeah, absolutely. I remember when I was there, I didn’t know who won the World Cup. I’m a huge soccer and football fan, and I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t really know of that many events. I didn’t have any social media accounts. I wasn’t in touch. People are always like, “Oh, do you have video from that time?” And it’s like, “Well, we didn’t have video cameras and phones, and we weren’t documenting our life. That wasn’t the goal of being there. The goal of being there was to truly find stillness, and solitude, and connection.” And so for me, when I’d spent three years there, the interesting thing about self awareness and self acceptance, is that you can get to a point where you realize you’re not meant to be a monk. And it’s almost like, when you really get into it, and you really explore yourself, and you become honest with who you are, and you discover who you are, and then you go, “Oh, now that I’ve discovered who I am, I now need to accept who I am.”

Jay Shetty (00:14:37):
And now in hindsight, I didn’t realize this then, but in hindsight I was coming to the conclusion that my role in life was to be more independent, and my role in life was wanting to share this. And thankfully, my teachers foresaw what I couldn’t see, and this is the power of mentors, and coaches, and guides, who can see what you don’t see. And they were able to open that up to me. Now at that time, it felt like a blow. It genuinely felt like a failure. Because I’d given up jobs, I’d given up relationships, I’d given up friends, I’d given up normality to make this big jump and leap in my life. And all of a sudden I’m going and moving back in with my parents, 25 going on 26 years old, with $25,000 worth of debt, with no experience on my resume or CV for three years. With now, all my family saying to me, “We told you so.” And all my friends saying to me like, “What? You failed at being a monk? What happened?” Right? An extremely humbling moment.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:15:39):
You got an F at being a monk. How do you do that?

Jay Shetty (00:15:40):
Literally. Like, “They told you to leave the monastery? Were you that bad at sitting still?” And it’s such an interesting thing, because what I’ve realized about being humble or the ego, is that even though there were … I probably only knew 25 people in total, or a hundred people, or whatever it was, that feels like your whole world crumbling. When 25 people don’t know what you’re doing, or when a hundred people don’t know what you’re doing, or when a million, or a billion people don’t know what you’re doing. Any of those feels like your whole world is crumbling. And so, I really felt at my lowest point, it’s the closest I’ve felt to feeling depression, and feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing. I remember coming back and, I would say, that it was on and off for about a week to a month, like a period of time, where I really felt lost and I almost forgot all the incredible skills and abilities that I’d learned as a monk.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:16:40):
Yeah.

Jay Shetty (00:16:40):
And I almost lost my good habits that I’d gained. The first thing I did when I came back was eat a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate [inaudible 00:16:48], because I didn’t eat chocolate for three years. And so, I was really, really excited to just eat chocolate again, and it’s almost like, that month back was full of all my bad habits from the past. And then almost as the dust settled, I was like, wait a minute, I’ve learned every skill to overcome this challenge, and I’m ignoring it. And that was the moment where I realized that those three years were like going to school, and the exam started now, when I came back.

Jay Shetty (00:17:20):
And I can genuinely say, and the reason why I wrote “Think like a monk”, is because I’m sharing every rule I followed to try to pass the last seven years of my life since I left.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:32):
Yeah. Wow.

Jay Shetty (00:17:33):
And I’ve seen that every study, every principle, every lesson I learned as a monk, has served me so well in the material world, in the real world that we’re back in right now, none of it has let me down. So, that’s what I’m trying to share and pass it along.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:49):
It’s such a great book, I mean, everybody needs to think like a monk, because it’s not about sitting on a mountain, or in a temple, meditating, staring at your navel all day. It’s about understanding your mind, and how it creates happiness, or how it creates dissatisfaction or suffering. And most of us understand how to train our bodies, right? We know how to get fit, and how to eat well. We may not do it, but it’s pretty evident to us that we can actually get strong, and fit, and healthy by changing our diet and exercise routine. But most of us don’t understand that we can train our minds, and that time in the temple, in the monastery, taught you how our minds work, or don’t. And how to work with specific practices, and techniques, and tools to train your mind in ways that help you actually, not just succeed in the material sense which you’ve done, but actually to succeed in the things that matter most. In relationships, in your relationship with yourself, and to your spouse, to your community, your friends. Your relationship to the work you do in the world.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:18:49):
And those things are really hard for us to figure out as human beings. And you take all these lessons that you leaned, and you transform them into these simple exercises that you talk about in the book, to help you with your stress, to help you focus better, to have better relationships, to uncover abilities that you didn’t know you had, and increase your ability to do the things you want to do, and have discipline. And to uncover the gifts that we have, to give the world. So, how can this monk wisdom help us do this? I mean, these are the benefits we’re going to get, but how does it practically take us from the lessons that you learned in the monastery, to applying them in the real world in our lives?

Jay Shetty (00:19:27):
Yeah. The crazy thing is, that we have all gone to school to learn geography, to learn history, to learn English, to learn math, to learn science. And the crazy thing is, is that somewhere there was no class called, mind school. There was no class called, the mind class. And yes, there was psychology, and there was sociology, and anthropology, but it was almost always looking outside. It was always looking at the world, and observing the world. And there was no class for observing yourself. There was no classroom for understanding the mind, which is crazy because the only thing we use every day is our mind. We use it every single … Like our body, we use our bodies every day, that’s why what you do is so powerful, and so useful, and helpful. And we talked about how it’s complementary to the mind. But the other thing we use every day is our mind. Yet, we don’t know how it works. We don’t know how to make it work for us. And we don’t know how to control it, or train it, as I say, training it to actually be on our side.

Jay Shetty (00:20:35):
And I think this is why so many people experience where they may say, “You know what? I’m going to try and not eat sugar for a week.” And the moment you make that commitment, it’s almost like the mind, the next day, presents you with the most sugary treat that you have to break that commitment with. Right? And then, after giving you what you thought you wanted, it then makes you feel guilty. So you’re just like, well, what do you want me to do? First the mind told me to give up sugar, then the mind told me to eat sugar, and now the mind’s making me feel guilty for eating sugar. Or you say to yourself, “You know what? I’m going to wake up early tomorrow, every single day, so I can go to the gym and I can exercise.” And so you set that intention, you’re like, okay, my mind is set.

Jay Shetty (00:21:18):
You wake up in the morning, the alarm goes off, the mind goes, “Oh, let’s snooze away.” You press the snooze button, now you’re snoozing for 30 minutes. You wake up thinking you’re going to be rested and excited to work out, but now you’re feeling even more tired than you were before. So, why is it that we have not learned how to communicate with the mind? Why have we learned why not to? So that is what the hypothesis, I guess, is of monk school. Is trying to learn how the mind works, and training it so that you actually know what’s going on. Now, one of the first things-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:21:55):
Like brain training.

Jay Shetty (00:21:56):
… I think is really important, and I think for a lot of us … Brain training, yes. And for a lot of us, I think, this is really important right now, where for the first time in our lives, a lot of people have experienced even more loneliness in their life during the pandemic and lockdown. And the interesting thing about this is, they did a study on men and women, and asked them to either be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes, or if they couldn’t, give themselves an electric shock, if they didn’t want to be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes. And the study’s crazy because it shows that 30% of men chose an electric shock, and 60% of women chose an electric shock, because they didn’t want to be alone with their thoughts. And so, we have found multiple ways to now numb and distract ourselves from our own thoughts, because we’re scared of sitting with them.

Jay Shetty (00:22:48):
Now, I empathize with anyone and everyone who is scared of sitting with their thoughts. I get that. I’ve felt that way too. There are still thoughts that scare me, and it’s more comfortable to just forget they exist. But we all know that when you try and bury something like this, or when you try and hide something like this, it just builds, and builds, and builds. It’s almost like how there’s so many food and rubbish piles across the planet that are just hidden away, and we try and hide them in a corner of the world where hopefully no one will notice them. These food piles, and food mountains, and plastic mountains. But that is polluting the environment on a daily basis. So similarly, our internal environment is being polluted by not addressing these thoughts.
Automated (00:23:34):
Hi everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from
Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company, Farmacy, and their first product, the 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:44):
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Automated (00:24:51):
Now back to this week’s episode.

Jay Shetty (00:24:52):
So one of the first things of the monk mind, is to really learn that there is a difference between loneliness and solitude. And there’s a brilliant statement that more recently was spoken about, Paul Tillich, where he talks about how that loneliness is the fear of being alone, and the weakness that we see. But actually, solitude is the strength of being alone. The way I think about this is, since we were young, Mark, we’ve always been told that being alone is a weakness. So, if you were the kid at school that was alone in the playground, you would be considered unpopular. If you were the kid who only had three friends show up to their birthday party, you were considered the weird person, or the dork, or the unpopular, and the unsuccessful person. Or if you didn’t talk a lot and you kept to yourself, you were considered to be antisocial, or that you didn’t understand.

Jay Shetty (00:25:53):
And now it’s funny because, when you actually look back at all of that, most of us would be happy if we had three friends at our 30th birthday party that we love, or our 40th. Most of us realize the value of understanding ourselves. So the first step in the monk mind is respecting the need for time alone. Now, I’m not saying that you need to go off and spend every day alone, and you’re saying, “Jay, I’ve already spent so much time alone in the pandemic,” but I’m guessing that for a lot of people who have, they’ve probably learned more about themselves in the last five months, or six months, than they have in their whole lifetime. And so, there is so much to be gained from letting go and experiencing stillness, and experiencing silence where you can really hear yourself. So, that’s step one.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:36):
Yeah. And you talk about this sort of distraction that we’re suffering from, and then the images and things that pull us out of ourselves, and then it’s really hard to sit and actually be with yourself in that way, that actually gives you terror, because you’re not used to doing it. I guess, the fact that people will shock themselves rather than be alone with their thoughts, speaks to something very important in our society, was that we’ve lost connection with who we are, and what we are, and what matters, and what gives us joy, and connection, and meaning, and purpose. And the role of the monk isn’t to go be a monk, it’s to create a way for us to actually create a life that is monk-like, in a sense, in our mind, not necessarily in the outward manifestations.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:23):
So what you’re talking about, how do you change your mind, and your thinking, and your awareness in such a way that helps lead you away from the culture we have that’s all about dissatisfaction, or looking at what everybody else has, and fame, and money, and glamor, and sex, all these things that really don’t satisfy us, and leads to this terrible cycle of dissatisfaction, and unhappiness, and exhaustion, and frustration. How do people break that, because not everyone’s going to be able to spend eight hours a day meditating in a monastery, like you did? Which actually taught you how to do this, right?

Jay Shetty (00:27:58):
Yes. Yes, and perfectly said like, you don’t have to live like a monk to think like a monk. And that’s my proposal to everyone, is that we can learn to think like a monk. So, rather than looking at loneliness, and being alone as a weakness, turn it into solitude and see how you can actually use that as a way of understanding yourself. In terms of how do you break through that? One of my favorite ways of recommending and encouraging people to do that, is to really sit down and even just look at your current list of goals, or the things you’re pursuing. Like, literally make a list of the three things that you’re pursuing right now, and for each thing, ask yourself, “Where does this come from? Does it come from something inside of me, or is it coming from society? Or is it coming from school? Where is it coming from?” Because what you can find, and I think a lot of people experience this, is that by the age of 35, you realize you’ve actually been pursuing a life that wasn’t yours.

Jay Shetty (00:28:53):
And thinking like a monk, is stripping away any of the expectations, the opinions, and obligations of society, and living a life that’s true to yourselves. At the core, that’s what a monk is doing. A monk is not neglecting, but not also being distracted and dissuaded by the directions of society. But actually saying, “This is what is most important.” And I want people to feel that, and I’m sure you want to feel that when you get to age 40, or 50, or 60, or 70, or 80, or 90, or 100, or however long you’re going to live, that you do, and have lived your life doing, and being who you wanted to be, and not what someone expected of you. And so, the way you start by doing is, first write down what you’re pursuing, then as yourself, “Is this coming from me, or is it coming from society?” If it’s coming from society, ask yourself, “Do you want it? Do you really want it? Is it still something that you want to pursue? Or actually now, are you able to let go of it?”

Jay Shetty (00:29:51):
And if it’s coming from you, ask yourself, “Are you giving it the amount of time and energy that it needs, to truly make it a reality?” And I think, we’re scared of doing that, because it may mean we need to change the way we live. That’s the thing. We’re scared of doing that, because that may tell us that we may need to make a career change, we may need to make a health change, we may need to make a relationship or marriage change. But here’s the thing, Mark, we both know this, that if you don’t chose to change it now, you’re going to live with the remainder of that pain for the rest of your life. And numbing yourself from it, is a temporary short-term fix.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:30:30):
Yeah, I know. This reminds me of a quote when I was 15 or so, I read a book called “The Walden”, or “On Walden Pond” by Henry Thoreau, who was kind of a weird guy. He went and lived in a little cabin on the side of a lake, and on a pond, Walden Pond, and wrote about his experiences. And he wrote that he wanted to live deliberately, and not find that when he came to die, that he hadn’t fully lived.

Jay Shetty (00:30:54):
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:30:54):
And I think, that’s what you’re inviting us to do, Jay. You’re inviting us to live deliberately and not according to outside forces, or demands, or expectations. But to sort of stop and go, “Wait. Who am I? What do I want? How do I actually …?” Because health isn’t actually just about physical health, it’s about your spiritual health, and your mental health, and your emotional health. And how do you cultivate a life that acknowledges that, right? Because I think most of us are caught up in this cycle. Last night in my area there was a hurricane and electricity went out. Self service went out. Wi-Fi went out. And there was this incredible stillness in the house. And we had candles, and we had friends over for dinner, and it was this moment of like, wow, we are constantly in this cycle. And there was a young boy there who was about 20 years old, and he lost connection, and he lost service, and he lost … And it was such a stressful moment for him to be out of touch.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:53):
And actually, it turns out, it seems like when we’re in touch with all those devices, we’re actually out of touch with ourselves. And so, I think, it’s such an invitation that you’re giving people to stop for a minute, to take hold of their life in a different way, and this book “Think like a monk” is such a radical notion, that hasn’t really been talked about before. How do you live in the world fully, and yet have the joy and happiness, satisfaction, purpose, meaning, and inner success that a monk would have? And how you train your mind for being peaceful, and being on your purpose every single day? It’s such a beautiful gift to the world this book, and it’s very practical. It’s not just a airy-fairy philosophical book, and sit and look at your navel for eight a day, it’s a very practical book. It gives people a pathway to discover these principles for themselves.

Jay Shetty (00:32:47):
Yeah. Thank you for saying that. I deeply appreciate that. Yeah. No, absolutely. My whole goal with any of my work, is always to give people the stories, the studies, and the strategies to make change in their life. And I really believe that those are the three things that we need. You need the stories that inspire you, and give you hope, and motivate you, and help you realize that this can happen for you. The science, and I talk about a lot of science in the book. I mean, the studies that have been done on monk’s brains, show that monks have the happiest, calmest brains on the planet. When you’re looking inside a monk’s brain and seeing that they have a high set of response for seeing physical pain, but their brain will not measure any emotional pain to that physical pain.

Jay Shetty (00:33:36):
So, a lot of us are in pain twice. We feel a piece of pain on our fingers, but then our mind goes, oh no, I might lose my finger, and now you’re having pain in two places. Whereas inside a monk’s mind that has meditated for a significant amount of time, you’ll find that they only see the physical pain, but they don’t have a mental pain or emotion attached to that. Now, just think about that for a moment. If you’re able to create space between events you went through in your life that were painful and emotionally painful, but you were able to separate pain from that situation, so you could actually navigate it almost like as if you were helping a friend. And when you start thinking about that, when you can approach your own life just like you would approach a friend, you become much more objective, you become much more thoughtful, you become much more kind. It’s incredible what happens when you become an observer of the changes that are needed on your own life.

Jay Shetty (00:34:31):
If you think about it, Mark, it’s always easy to create change in someone else, than it is in yourself. And so, sometimes you have to see your mind as a separate part. And so, in the book I talk about the difference between the monkey mind and the monk mind.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:46):
Yes. Yes.

Jay Shetty (00:34:47):
The monkey mind is the mind we all experience. Jumping from thought, to thought, to thought, like branch, to branch, to branch. It’s comparing, complaining, and criticizing. The monkey mind, it’s always looking just for its next banana. Like, if you gave a monkey a diamond, or you gave it a stock certificate in a big company, a monkey wouldn’t care, the monkey wouldn’t understand the value of it. It would just want that next banana. Right? The monkey is just looking for that instant gratification. So, that’s the mind that we all very much are aware of, we experience on a day-to-day basis.

Jay Shetty (00:35:19):
The monk mind, which is the antidote, is the mind that comes at it from a different position. So, if the monkey mind is swooping from branch to branch, the monk mind is going to the root of the issue. And I know when you came on my podcast, we talked about this. That the only way we solve our issues in life, is going to the root. And one of the biggest roots of our challenges and issues, is that we have not allowed ourselves to learn about our talents, our skills, our gifts. And in chapter six in “Think like a monk”, I speak about how we can discover our natural inclinations and propensities, and our natural gifts. And one of my favorite thoughts, which I believe is attributed to Albert Einstein, is where he says that, “Everyone’s a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”

Jay Shetty (00:36:19):
And that is such a real experience for so many of us, and when I was studying this ancient literature’s, and the Vedas in the Bhagavad Gita, I was exposed to this concept and this truth of dharma. So, dharma is the ancient Indian word for purpose. It can also mean, eternal beauty. It can also mean, real beauty. But it can also be equated to purpose, and eternal purpose. And what it’s suggesting is, that inside of all of us, we’re born with a natural set of gifts, talents, and instincts, but it’s being buried under everything we think we need to know. So, excavating that truth is what allows us. And in the book, I give a full 33 question personality test that I’d love for people to take, which allows them to discover their dharma type.

Jay Shetty (00:37:09):
But the more interesting thing about dharma is, that the [foreign language 00:37:13], which is the book that talks about dharma, talks about how if you protect your dharma, if you protect your purpose, your purpose protects you. And what I love about that, is that your purpose is something you have to protect, because everything in the world will constantly try and take you away from your purpose. Whether it’s money, or fame, or success, or whatever it may be, there’ll be something in your life that it’s taking away. And we have to protect our purpose like a rare jewel, because it’s constantly being trying to be stolen from us.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:37:49):
So, this is a beautiful gift you’re giving us to think about, actually, what is our purpose? What is our dharma? What is our work in the world? What is our natural gift that we can bring out? And most of us never get asked that question, we never think about it, nobody talks to us about it, and it’s such a powerful thing. And in your life, you’ve clearly found that. You’ve found your dharma, which is being in service of wisdom, and helping others connect to that in very accessible ways. That are not esoteric, or weird, or strange, but they’re in plain language, that translate these very ancient techniques, and philosophies, and wise teachings, into stuff that actually helps us feel better and now. And it’s really a powerful thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:38:35):
And what came to me as you were talking is, in your life, I imagine, even after you did the monk thing and you got out, that you faced obstacles, and challenges, and difficulties. And maybe you can share a little bit about what some of those were, and how this monk mind that you developed, this brain training, this mind training that you did, helped you navigate it in a different way than you might have before?

Jay Shetty (00:39:01):
Yeah, absolutely. So, the first thing that happened when I left the monastery is, I realized that I had to make money to survive in the world. And my parents are not well off, so I couldn’t live off of them for too long. And I started applying to corporate companies, because that’s where I thought I would’ve worked and I had to pay the bills. And I was rejected by 40 companies [crosstalk 00:39:23]. And those 40 companies that I applied for, were tailored job specs. And surprise, surprise, no one wanted to hire a monk. A former monk, what are your transferable skills? Sitting quiet and meditating for eight hours, how’s that going to help the company? And so, I could see that there were companies that weren’t giving me an opportunity, and the way my monk training came into that, was recognizing that the reason I was being rejected from a lot of these companies, is actually because I was trying to apply for a role that wasn’t aligned with my purpose or my passion.

Jay Shetty (00:40:05):
I was trying to apply for a role that I was materially qualified to do, based on my qualifications, but not necessarily that I was that passionate or excited about. And so, often we get rejected for two reasons. We get rejected either because we’re not aligned, and if someone is telling you. you’re not aligned, they’re probably right. Because if they’re seeing that you’re out of alignment for this opportunity, there is some truth in that. The second thing that’s being said, is you need to develop a different expertise, and you need to develop a different skillset to be ready for this. And actually, if you can face rejection time and time after again, and adapt, and try again, it’s proof that there is passion and purpose in that. If you give up after the first two times, you’re basically accepting that this is not really something that I’m that passionate about. And so, it’s a great indicator, it’s a great signal, for how you feel about something.

Jay Shetty (00:40:59):
So, I started to realize that I wasn’t really looking … I was looking to pay the bills, I wasn’t really looking for my passion and my purpose. The other time that I’ve really experienced great failure and rejection, which the monk training really helped me in, was when I first realized that I wanted to start making content to spread messages. And before even ever making a video, I approached three media companies and I applied … sorry, I applied for 10 media companies in London, and they all rejected me before interview, because they said, “You don’t have communication background. You don’t have a media background. And you don’t have a presenting background.”

Jay Shetty (00:41:35):
So then, I went and networked with three executives in London, who are well known as execs that are behind … you know, media companies. And so I’d network with them, I’d find a way to meet them at an event, and I was like, “Look, I will work with you for free, I just want to help create a shift in the world through media. Please give me an opportunity.” Almost begging them. And I got three responses. “You’re too old to be in media.” “It’s safer where you are, just stay there,” and “You’re too under-qualified to be in media.” And those were the three responses I got. “You’re too old.” “You’re in a safer place.” “You’re too under-qualified.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:42:07):
You’re too old at 26, or seven?

Jay Shetty (00:42:10):
28. I was 28 at the time, and I was told I’m too old to be in media. And do you know what the amazing thing is, Mark? And this is where my monk training really helped, I gratefully received and accepted each of those statements. And now in hindsight, I’m even more grateful to them, because if they didn’t say, “No,” I would be working as a trainee video journalist in a media company in London, and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today. And so, we look at rejection as a bitterness, or to prove people wrong, or to have revenge, and the monk training says, “No. Actually, be really grateful for those people who may have diverted your path, or redirected your path, because they’re actually redirecting you closer towards you finding your own self worth, and your own self confidence.”

Jay Shetty (00:43:03):
And so for me, I kept going, and finally I ended up at a ethnic minority TV trainee day run by the BBC. So I walk into this room and there are six people in the room, and everyone’s brown or black, and we’re in this room. And we’re being trained in being TV presenters by the BBC. And I went there to just test, I was like, maybe I don’t have the skills, let me find out. And they were like, “No. Jay, you’ve got the ability. This is great.” And I was like, “Amazing. Give me a job.” And they said, “Well, there aren’t any jobs in media at the moment.” And I was like, “You brought me here to train me, to tell me that there are no jobs in media? That’s great.” And then they said to me, “Well, why don’t you start a YouTube channel?” And this is in 2016, end of 2015. End of 2015, beginning of 2016.

Jay Shetty (00:43:44):
And so they said, “Why don’t you start a YouTube channel?” And I was like, “That works for like, one in a billion people.” I was like, “That works for Justin Bieber, that does not work for
Jay Shetty.” And that is a very genuine, limiting belief I had. A very honest, limiting belief. I was like, “This does not work for people like me.” And I remembered a quote that I’d read from Edison at the time, where he said that “When you feel you’ve exhausted all options, remember this, you haven’t.” And I think that, maybe that’s partly a monk mindset, but more an Edison mindset, I’ll give Edison the full credit for that. But that mindset really helped me at that time where I realized that until you’d really tried to seek … and that comes from the monk mindset. Unless you had really tried to seek the good in everything. Until you had really tried to seek the opportunity in something, that you could never truly say that you’d tried everything.

Jay Shetty (00:44:45):
And so I started a YouTube channel, and three months in, my global HR leader at Accenture saw the videos. Accenture’s a 500,000 person organization I worked inside. I was one of the top social media people at Accenture globally, and our global HR leader sees this video, her name’s Ellyn Shook, and she shows it to Arianna Huffington-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:09):
Oh.

Jay Shetty (00:45:09):
… at [Garbo’s 00:45:10]. And Arianna Huffington really appreciates the video, and then long story short, that becomes a tipping point in my career in mid 2015.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:19):
Yeah. And it was just because you trusted your heart, and you trusted what was being pointed to you, which wasn’t really necessarily the thing you thought was good for you at the moment. You were hearing things that were rejection, and hurt, and pain. And it’s almost like you said, the example of, hurting your finger, cutting your finger, is the physical experience. Right? And then there’s your perception, and the layering that you put on that experience with your mind, and the meaning you put on it. And you can take rejection as a bad thing or potentially, a good thing, and I think it’s very hard for us to do. I found in my own life that the more I’ve been able to look at the bad things that happen, the quote “bad things” as gifts, and trust that there is a bigger story unfolding that I can’t always understand that’s guiding me towards what actually I should be doing, I can relax a little bit and not have to feel that emotional pain, which is connected to the meaning that I’ve put on the experiences, which are just fabrications of my mind. Right?

Jay Shetty (00:46:29):
Exactly. We all become fiction writers in our mind, and you become like, you start writing a TV show. We’ve all watched too many movies, and read too many fiction books, and we start finishing the chapter in our minds before we’ve even experienced it in our lives. And that is such a challenging way to live, where you are writing what you’re not yet living. And what we don’t realize is, when you start completing the chapter in your mind, that is the reality you start living in your life. And so, allowing life to move at the pace that you’re living it, rather than to write ahead, is so important. And one of the biggest challenges that arises, is … Our training as a monk, one of the things we would repeat is called “Don’t judge the moment.”.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:47:20):
Yeah.

Jay Shetty (00:47:21):
It was a mantra that we were trained to repeat. What you just said now, that if you judge a moment, if you label a moment as good or bad, then it will only ever be what you label it. It’s like, if you label a jar in your pantry or in your cupboard as sugar, you will only ever find sugar in it, because not only have you labeled it, now you will put sugar back into that jar. But if you don’t label life in the moment, you allow it to evolve into what it can truly become, and we’ve all experienced how a curse can turn into a gift, and how a gift can turn into a curse.

Jay Shetty (00:47:57):
There’s a beautiful story that I repeat in the book, it’s a well known story told through time and a Zen story, around how there’s a young boy and his teacher, and the young boy is sent out to fetch water every single day. And so, every single day he goes down with two buckets that are held on a bamboo rod, and he goes and picks up water, and he brings it back up to the home that’s at the top of the hill. And one day the boy recognizes that there’s a big crack … or a crack inside one of the buckets, and he tells the teacher, he says, “Look, there’s a crack in this bucket. We’re going to lose water this whole time.” And teacher says, “Look, you know what? I just want you to continue what you’ve been doing. I just want you to continue what you’ve been doing.” And the boy says, “Okay. Let’s continue what I’m doing.” He continues to go down, continues to get water, comes back up every day.

Jay Shetty (00:48:48):
A month later, he sees on the path upwards from the water to the mountain where the home is, that on one side, the side where the bucket’s been broken, there’s a beautiful row of flowers, and plants, and all this beautiful vegetation. And he realizes, and he goes to the teacher and he says, “Wow, I’m seeing all this. How did that happen?” And teacher’s like, “Well, when you told me this bucket was broken, I went and planted some seeds.” And I did it to show you that even something that seems broken, can still be used to create beauty.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:49:23):
Yeah.

Jay Shetty (00:49:24):
And I think sometimes we start thinking we have to fix ourselves, and we have to start like, we have to make ourselves whole again. And we can’t be broken or have blemishes, or we can’t have wounds, and we can’t heal. And the truth is that, when we engage even our pain in helping others, that’s where we truly heal it, and that’s your story. I mean, you went through pain, you went through a personal challenge, and you used that not only to heal yourself, but heal others.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:49:53):
Yeah.

Jay Shetty (00:49:53):
You’ve turned something that was broken into beauty. And when you look at it, when you just change your way, you just go, oh, I don’t need to throw away parts of me that are broken, I just need to engage them, I just need to use them and heal them. I don’t need to suddenly think that I need to throw away this experience.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:50:10):
Yeah. It’s so beautiful and, I think, we get so stuck in the patterns of our mind that creates suffering through putting all this meaning on things, and you never know, right? This blessing, curse thing, it reminds me of a different version of that story which is, there was a young man who went out and found this beautiful black stallion. And brought it back into his land, and the father’s like, “How great that is. You’ve got this wonderful horse.” He says, “Well, it seems like a blessing could be a curse. Seems like a curse could be a blessing.” And then he rides the horse and he falls off the horse, and he breaks his leg. Everybody’s like, “Oh, you broke your leg. How terrible.” He’s saying, “Oh, it seems like a blessing could be a curse, and seems like a curse could be a blessing.” And then the war starts and they recruit all the young men to go fight. And they all die, and he can’t go because he’s got a broken leg.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:50:55):
And the story goes on, but it’s really the same thing that we suffer mostly because of our minds, not because of what’s happening in our lives. And there is, for sure, real suffering. And there is [inaudible 00:51:06], and there is poverty in the area, but most [inaudible 00:51:09], and most of us are suffering with today, especially in America, is really driven by what’s happening in our minds.

Jay Shetty (00:51:14):
Yeah. Well, and of course, I completely agree with you that, that suffering, there is real suffering in the world, of course. This isn’t a thing saying that there is no suffering. But what I’m blown away by is, is not my journey or my story, but I was recently exposed to this journey. This was last year probably now, but I had a call from one of the, your COOs at Facebook and Instagram. And they called me up and they said, they’d just heard this story of someone that they wanted to share with me. And I was like, “Okay, tell me.” And they said, that they had brought in a, I believe, it was a Sudanese refugee, to speak inside Instagram and Facebook.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:04):
Wow.

Jay Shetty (00:52:04):
Because in the refugee camp, he, this gentleman, young man in his 20s, had not only in the refugee camp, he asked his Mom to find a laptop. It took his mother two to three years to save up for a laptop. She probably got him one of the most average laptop’s around, but through that he taught himself how to code. And after learning how to code, he coded a game that would encourage other young people in the refugee camp, to not be violent, because he was seeing violence in the refugee camp. And then, he created a Facebook account, and was using Facebook to share this game to other refugees in the refugee camp. And so, they’d brought him in to speak, and the reason why we got connected is, they called me and they said, they asked him what kept him going, and he said that he used to watch
Jay Shetty videos on Facebook. So, that’s why it was being shared with me.

Jay Shetty (00:53:02):
I called him up straight away, so I know him now, and I just said to him, I was like, “I am blown away by your story, because I have no idea what it feels like to be in a refugee camp where there’s violence. And where there’s very little opportunity to see that as a blessing. But you found a way to serve people, even in the pain, by creating this game that would help people not be violent.” I was like, “You’re my inspiration. That is literally, the most amazing thing you could potentially ever do, like to find …” And I think, those are the stories of people who find service in pain, are the ones who can relieve the suffering of others. And you see that, studies show that, even when we experience depression, if we try to help someone else, we start to see an improvement even in our own mental health.

Jay Shetty (00:53:49):
It’s not that we need to extend ourself and be misused, or over abused, or over used for giving to others, but there is something in the psychology of trying to serve others, even in tough times.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:54:04):
That’s true, and in your book you talk about service as the ultimate hack. What does that mean?

Jay Shetty (00:54:11):
I say that because, I feel service is a really … So, I remember giving a talk at a company about three years ago, and I was talking about how when I was 18 and I heard this monk speak, and he talked about service, it really just hit me right there. And then I experienced in the summer, and I experienced how helping people was not only the most fulfilling thing, but also the thing that gave me the most perspective and gratitude in life. See, service, the reason why it’s the ultimate hack, is because service gives you so much more. So when you serve others, you gain gratitude for what you have. You gain perspective for what others don’t have. You get empathy and compassion for people’s pain and suffering. Service is like the best school in the world. If you just served, you would learn every virtue and quality that you possibly could, simply by that act.

Jay Shetty (00:55:02):
And so, there’s this great study that I share in the book of how people who’ve … I think, it’s by Michael Norton at Cambridge University, and he talks about how they gave students $5 or $20, and they could either spend 5 pounds and 20 pounds, or $5 and $20. And they gave it to students and they asked them to either spend that money on themselves, or spend that money on other people. And the top three things people bought for themselves or others was Starbucks, makeup, and Starbucks. I think, they were like the top three things that people spent money on. And they found that no matter whether you spent money on yourself or money on other people, no matter how much you spent on either, people were happier when they spent the money on other people, not on themselves. No matter whether it was 5 pounds or 20 pounds.

Jay Shetty (00:55:52):
They then upped the ante and make it into 100 pounds, or $100, they found the same thing to be true. And then they tested it for time, and so many other things, and they found the same thing to be true. If you spent your time helping someone else, you were happier than if you did it for yourself. And I’m not saying that as a substitute for self love, I’m saying that as an extension of self love. True self love is the desire to serve. So, when I was giving that talk two, three years ago, a corporate exec came up to me and he said, “When did you realize that life was about service?” And I said, “I understood it at 18, and I probably started to realize it in my 20s, when I become a monk.” And he said, “I realized it when I was 36 and I had my first child.” He said, “That’s when it really hit me, that service was the greatest joy, because I was serving my baby girl, and my daughter, and it just filled my heart.”

Jay Shetty (00:56:48):
And so, for so many of us, I feel service comes so late in life. And you don’t have to serve your child, you can serve anyone around you. And I think the pandemic has brought about so many beautiful stories of service, where I’ve seen people teach their friends who are doctors, teach their children subjects and homeschool them. I’ve seen people deliver meals to each other. I’ve seen people teach workout classes on rooftops. The service element is what has touched people’s heart in the pandemic.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:21):
You know, Jay, this is really important what you’re talking about, because it seems like, well, if you want to be happy, isn’t it about yourself? But it turns out that we’re not wired that way, that there’s an evolutionary purpose in serving others. Which is that we cannot survive alone.

Jay Shetty (00:57:37):
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:38):
Now, in America we can, because we can live in our little apartment, and get our delivery food, and not have to worry about anybody else, but we actually do depend on everybody. Right? We depend on the people who grow our food. We depend on the community that provide the services that are providing for us. And we’ve always evolved these type of environments where our survival depends on helping each other. And E. O. Wilson wrote a book about this called “The Social Conquest of the Earth” and it’s true for almost all species. And yet, we’ve sort of lost that. And what’s interesting when you look at the biology of service, what happens in your brain, is the same thing that happens when you take heroin, or cocaine, or sugar. It actually stimulates the pleasure center.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:58:20):
And it’s a very powerful, potent stimulator of pleasure in the body and in the mind, and I think that’s why you’re seeing these studies coming out that show that service actually creates happiness, and it has to be balanced. Just like when you were a monk, you meditated, and you went and did service. Right?

Jay Shetty (00:58:37):
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:58:37):
So, there was this balance.

Jay Shetty (00:58:39):
Exactly. And that’s the interesting thing when we talk about … Psychology talks about two types of loneliness. One type of loneliness is not being physically around people, which humans don’t love as we can see, but the second type of loneliness, which is really fascinating to me is, being around people who don’t understand you. And that’s the part that, I think, the majority of the world struggles with even more, is that we’re surrounded by people that we don’t feel understood by. And that’s why the time you take to understand yourself, allows people to better understand you, and for you to understand them. See, one of the things that really helped me when we talk about relationships as monks, as a monk you have a relationship with every other monk in the ashram. And it’s hard to live with sometimes, 100 other people.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:59:34):
“You took my spot on the floor. That was my spot last night.”

Jay Shetty (00:59:37):
Yeah. There are so many opportunities for your tolerance to be tested. You know, the first lesson we learnt at monk school from our teacher was, the first thing he said to us is, “I am as much a patient as I am a doctor.” He said, “You will see some doctors acting like patients, and there will be times when you patients will sometimes become doctors. But as long as you remember that you are always a doctor and a patient, you’ll be fine.” And it was almost like, “Welcome to the hospital.” The point that, you’re not in heaven now, this isn’t about being in a calm environment. You’re actually tested in chaos. So, I remember being on a 72 hour, or 48, or 72 hour train journey from North India to South India. And the trains in India, we’re traveling on the lowest class train of a long-distance train. We’re monks, we don’t … you’re not traveling first class, you’re not traveling in comfort, or a plane, or anything like that.

Jay Shetty (01:00:43):
We’re on this train, and there’s not even a space to sit on the train because so many villagers come onboard, and no one cares about seats. It’s mucky and … So basically, I decided I wasn’t going to eat for two to three days, because I didn’t want to use the bathroom, because that’s how disgusting it was.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:58):
Yeah, it’s pretty gross.

Jay Shetty (01:00:58):
I was not-

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:01:00):
If you haven’t been to India or China, and those trains, it’s not fun.

Jay Shetty (01:01:03):
It was not fun at all, and I’d come from London where cleanliness-

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:01:08):
It’s flush toilets.

Jay Shetty (01:01:09):
So anyway, I’m like, I’m not using any of this stuff. And it’s really funny because I remember saying to my teacher, I was saying to my teacher, I said, “You know what …?” Every so often, because it’s a long-distance train journey, it stops at different stops for about 20 minutes sometimes as it’s going through the whole country. So it stopped for 10, 20 minutes, and I said to him, “You know what, when the train stops I’ll get off and do my mediation, because it’ll be calmer there.” And I said to him, “When it stops and it gets calmer, that’s when I’ll go out and meditate.” And he said to me, he said, “Do you think that life is calm?” And I said, “No.” And he goes, “Well, if you can’t meditate in the chaos of the train, how are you going to meditate in the chaos of life?” And it was this awakening of, you learn to become calm.

Jay Shetty (01:01:59):
And I believe there’s this beautiful quote by a gentleman named, Timber Hawkeye, who has a big affinity to Buddhism, and he said that, “Don’t try to calm the storm. Calm your mind, and the storm will pass.” And I think, that’s the thing, that when we become the thing we think we need, that is the most amazing experience in the world. Where we stop wanting people to become who we want them to be, we stop wanting situations to become what we think they should be, and we just be that exact experience and feeling, you feel so content and satisfied in that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:02:38):
That’s so beautiful. It’s such a beautifully different way of thinking about going through life. Rather than being buffeted about by all the things that happen to us on the outside, and actually you create this oasis inside, then life will throw at you all kinds of stuff. But how do you stay connected to yourself, and to what your dharma is, your purpose, your meaning, all throughout all of it?

Jay Shetty (01:03:00):
Well, you did that last night. I mean, you had the hurricane, right? Hurricane? Is that [crosstalk 01:03:06].

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:03:06):
Yeah, it was a hurricane. It wasn’t actually, it was like big winds, and trees were down, and all the services went out, yeah. Yeah.

Jay Shetty (01:03:12):
Yeah. So it’s like, that’s a perfect example of you can’t calm the storm. What are you going to do about it? You’re not going to go outside and suddenly turn into Dr. Strange, and know how to manipulate material energy. But you could light a candle inside. You could have a beautiful conversation inside. You could make sure you were safe, of course. And of course, there are situations, of course, none of this is getting away from the fact that there are horrific things that happen in the world, where you can’t find calm in the externality of what we see as calm. But to me, calm, is not the absence of stress or pain, it is knowing how to navigate it, or creating a pathway to navigate it. It’s like, you might be in the worst situation of all time, but if in that situation you’re able to just look forward and look for a way, that’s what I’m talking about with calm. I’m not saying about being calm when something really terrible is happening.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:04:14):
Yeah. So, we’ve talked a lot about relationship to self, but how does a monk teach you about being in relationships to others, or in love relationships? You know what I’m talking about, contraction, and connection, and compatibility, and real chemistry. I mean, they’re the beautiful things you talk about in the book, what does a monk have to teach us about relationships?

Jay Shetty (01:04:35):
Well, as we know, the root to relationships with others, is our relationship with ourselves. So, one of my favorite things to explain is that you can’t articulate what you want to someone, until you really understand what you want from someone and with someone. And so, one of my favorite examples to talk about, which I mention in the book, is around how a lot of people in their relationships will say stuff like, “I want more of your time.” And I think this is common in pretty much every couple on the planet, where one of the people in the partnership has said to each other, “I just want more of your time.” Now, time is a very big word, and time can also be misconstrued. I know people that have spent the whole weekend with their partner, and the partner will still say to them after, and say, “We haven’t spent any time together this week.” And the person will be like, “What do you mean? Are you mad, we just spent the whole weekend together?” But actually, it’s a complete lack of communication.

Jay Shetty (01:05:33):
So, as a monk, you begin to understand your emotions so clearly, that you can clearly articulate to someone without ego. Now, the reason why people are scared to actually ask for what they want, is they’re scared to look weak in front of their partner. They might be scared of showing that they need something from their partner. So, we actually have that fear. Whereas as a monk, you’re moving the ego aside, and communicating clearly. So I find that for a lot of people, what they’re actually asking for is energy. They’re not asking for time, they’re asking for energy. They’re like, “I want to feel your presence.” And so, a good example is like, Mark, you’ve kindly invited me onto your podcast today, I could give you the time to be on your podcast, and we could be doing this the whole time. And you could be doing the same thing, and that’s us giving each other our time. That’s what I’m giving you, I’m giving you my time. I’m with you in time.

Jay Shetty (01:06:24):
But really what you’re looking for and what I’m looking for, is an energy exchange. What I’m looking for is presence. And these are monk qualities. The concept of giving your presence to someone is a monk mindset, when you realize that someone is not wanting my time, what they’re really wanting is my presence and they’re wanting my energy. So, not only in giving it, but also knowing how to articulate it. So, Harvard has this incredible emotional vocabulary table, you can just Google it, Harvard emotional vocabulary table. And what it shows you is, we literally … when someone asks us, “How are you?” We have five things we say. “Good.” “Bad.” “Okay.” “Hmm.” “Fine.” Right? Those are the five things we say to everything. “How are you doing?” “Good.” “How’s your week been?” “Bad.” “How are you feeling?” “Fine.” We literally say the same things. So, our emotional vocabulary has become so limited.

Jay Shetty (01:07:19):
And I remember when I became a monk, my emotional vocabulary expanded, because I was asked to intimately understand my emotions, fears, and challenges. So now … the Harvard table shows this beautifully … when you say you’re happy, are you joyful? Are you ecstatic? Are you excited? Are you positive? Are you energized? There are so many words to describe happiness. Or let’s take the opposite, a negative word. When you say you’re sad, but are you angry? Are you offended? Are you irritated? Are you upset? Are you confused? Right? If you can’t articulate clearly what you’re feeling, then neither can your partner. And we expect our partners to be mind readers and understand every emotion that we’re experiencing before we even say it, but that’s where the monk mindset becomes so helpful when it comes to relationships. That’s one part of it, obviously.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:08:18):
That’s so beautiful. I think, it’s in the knowing of yourself that you can actually know how to show up for somebody else, and know what that is. That’s just so beautiful. Jay, your work is just so inspiring to literally, millions and millions of people, and this book, I think, is just such a gift. It’s your first book. I hope it’s not your last book. I love the book, it was “Think like a monk. Train your mind for peace and purpose every day.” And all the things we’re talking about, and the practical tools to actually get to what we’re talking about. Because these are lofty ideas, but actually how do you do it, are in the book.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:08:55):
Everybody should definitely get it, it’s out right now. Thinklikeamonkbook.com, is where you can learn more about it. Thinklikeamonkbook.com. And of course, subscribe to Jay’s podcast “On purpose” which is fabulous. [inaudible 01:09:09] on Instagram, YouTube. He’s just an incredibly big hearted, loving, kind, generous, soul, and it’s just been such a pleasure to have this conversation with you. And hopefully in the midst of this crazy time we’re in, in COVID, that these conversations can help people connect to what really matters, and get out of all the noise and the chaos, into something that’s really about why we’re here on the earth, and what we can do to actually live a happier, better life that gives back to the world, and doesn’t take us down while we’re doing it. So Jay, why don’t you share, and maybe any last thoughts you have about what you’d like people to really take away from this conversation?

Jay Shetty (01:09:47):
Yeah, absolutely. I think, that you’re listening to this in 2020, and 2020’s … well, you may be listening to it in 2021 but, for those of you who are listening to it in 2020, this is a year that has forced us to pause. It’s forced us to be still. It’s forced us to question. And the biggest mistake we can make at that time is not listen to the signal of the universe, the body, the world, the mind. And there’s probably no better time to access “Thinking like a monk”, because we have been naturally been put into that state of spending more time alone, spending more time in one place, having to go inside because we can’t go outside. There are so many signs and signals that are already sending us that way, and in my humble request and proposal to everyone would be, if you’ve ever watched one of my videos and it’s spoken to you, you’ve listened to any of my podcasts and it’s resonated with you, then I really have laid out up to now, at least, what I’ve learned in my life, every story, scientific study, and strategy that I really believe will give you the framework and the map to train your mind for peace and purpose every day.

Jay Shetty (01:11:07):
So, if you’re looking for a really comprehensive look at that, then it would mean the world to me if you read the book. Because it’s going to speak to you about different things at different times, and it’s definitely not the last one. But I centered the first one on my monk life, as opposed to anything else, because I truly believe it’s the experiences that we are never exposed to, are the ones that challenge us the most, and have the biggest impacts on our lives.

Jay Shetty (01:11:42):
And I thank Mark, again, for his beautiful platform and what he does, because in the same way, I know when Mark came on my podcast, he’s sharing ideas that we’re not aware of, we don’t even know what’s happening. And it’s those ideas that transform your life. So, the truth is always familiar, yet challenging, and that’s what’s so beautiful about trying to share wisdom and make it go viral. So, thank you so much. Thank you, Mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:12:11):
Oh, thank you, Jay. Thank you, Jay. You’re the best. You know, the book, it’s not that thick, but it’s so rich. And every word is a nugget, every sentence really has this just little story to tell about, how do we navigate our lives? Which is so confusing, and we don’t have a manual. And I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a little instruction manual strapped to my leg when I came out of the womb. And it’s sort of like that little instruction manual for our minds, and our way of navigating through a very difficult moment, and a very difficult time, which is already difficult being a human being.

Jay Shetty (01:12:41):
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:12:41):
So, thank you so much for your work, Jay.

Jay Shetty (01:12:45):
[crosstalk 01:12:45].

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:12:45):
If you’ve all been listening to this podcast and you loved it, we’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and comments with us on social media, tag Jay and I. Subscribe wherever you get your podcast. Share it with your friends and family, and we’ll see you next time on, The Doctor’s Farmacy.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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