Dr. Dawson Church is the author of “Bliss Brain: The Neuroscience of Remodeling Your Brain for Resilience, Creativity, and Joy”. Dawson decided to shift from his successful publishing career because of the great impact that meditation had on his ability to be happy despite some of the catastrophic events he has lived through. Dawson’s many scientific clinical trials have also helped him find many astonishing results in the techniques he uses. Dawson’s work comes from a place of first healing trauma, and then beyond that, achieving elevated states of consciousness, which, of course, is why he’s named his book Bliss Brain. He’s founded the National Institute for Integrative Health Care to promote groundbreaking new treatments. And he’s also founded something called the Veterans Stress Project, which has offered free treatment to over twenty thousand veterans with PTSD over the last 10 years.
In this interview for the School for Good Living Podcast, Dawson joins Brilliant Miller to talk about what’s going on inside our brains and our bodies when we meditate, helping to demystify, make it comprehensible and actionable, and explain some of the benefits of meditation, taking it out of the realm of mysticism and making it very relatable, understandable, and doable. In this interview, Dawson explains and shares many of the ways that he has been able to enhance his own meditation and ultimately how it has become one of his greatest keys to good living.
“By healing yourself, you heal the world.”
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Brilliant Miller [00:00:02] Hi, I’m brilliant, your host for this show, I know that I’m incredibly blessed. As the son of self-made billionaires, I’ve seen the high price some people pay for success and I’ve learned that money really can’t buy happiness. But I’ve also had the good fortune to learn directly from many of the world’s leading teachers. If you are ready to be, do, have, and give more. This podcast is for you.
Brilliant Miller [00:00:24] My guest today is Dr. Dawson Church, author of “Bliss Brain: The Neuroscience of Remodeling Your Brain for Resilience, Creativity, and Joy”. A huge part of what I love about Dawson’s work is that it comes from this place of first healing trauma, which we all have our versions, of course, with differing degrees of severity. But overcoming trauma and then beyond that, achieving elevated states of consciousness, which, of course, is why he’s named his book Bliss Brain. I really enjoyed and appreciate in this book that Dawson talks about what’s going on inside our brains and our bodies when we meditate, helping to demystify, make it comprehensible and actionable, and explain some of the benefits of meditation, taking it out of the realm of mysticism and making it very relatable, understandable, and doable. I myself have found that meditation has absolutely changed my life. I do a meditation group once a month because I believe in it so much and I have for the last four years. One of the things I love about Dawson’s work is that it’s grounded in science. He’s conducted dozens of clinical trials. He’s founded the National Institute for Integrative Health Care to promote groundbreaking new treatments. And he’s also founded something called the Veterans Stress Project, which has offered free treatment to over twenty thousand veterans with PTSD over the last 10 years. Dawson is also giving away a meditation and a tapping process that you can find at tappinggift.com that can help you to boost your immune system and stay healthier than you otherwise might. This is important while this coronavirus is still going around in a big way. You can learn more about Dawson at blissbrain.com or at his website, DawsonChurch.com. So with that, I hope you enjoy this conversation with my new friend, Dawson Church.
Brilliant Miller [00:02:27] Dawson, welcome to the School for Good Living,
Dawson church [00:02:30] Brilliant, wonderful to be here. Thank you.
Brilliant Miller [00:02:33] Will you tell me, please, what is life about?
Dawson church [00:02:36] Oh gee, you start with the easy ones, don’t you? Oh, yes.
Brilliant Miller [00:02:42] Just queuing you up for “who are you?”
Dawson church [00:02:44] That’s what Romana Mahaj used to do. She’d have students sit opposite each other and say, who are you? The other one says, who are you? And they keep it up for like five hours after that the brain melts down and they get enlightened. Anyway, that’s a total aside. But you know what I really think it’s all about? I think our life’s journey is about two things. One is releasing trauma, you cannot reach your potential if you’re weighed down by trauma and when you read about these people, these great maybe masters, healers, saints who aspire to these elevated states, if they don’t also go and heal trauma, that becomes the dark side, the shallow side, and it reaches out from that shadow and bites them. And so you see this whole long list of fallen masters in Buddhism and Hinduism and Christianity and Judaism and all these religions, these great people who were leading inspirational figures for millions of others. And then they crashed and burned in sex scandals and money scandals. And that’s the dark side, the shadow side. So that’s number one. You have to go heal trauma. And the second thing you have to do or the second thing that becomes possible for you then is to reach elevated states of consciousness. In my books, I call that oneness with nonlocal mind. And what it’s all about, the journey of being human is releasing trauma and then learning to release our grip on everyday reality. The here and now thinking I am Dawson wearing a blue shirt in California, while Brilliant is in Utah and doing a podcast with all of our stuff about local reality inspired to manage local reality, well, you got to run your life effectively, but not all twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, only, maybe twenty-three hours. And the other hour you spend becoming one with the cosmos, letting go of local self, joining with nonlocal self, and all the wisdom and love and compassion and gratitude and happiness that simply just inundates you from that place. So those that’s what it’s all about, letting go of trauma number one. And number two, just abandoning yourself to the ecstasy that Rumi and Hafiz and St Catherine and all of these great figure knew and just living your life from that place, that creates an extraordinary life on the local level.
Brilliant Miller [00:05:12] Yeah, I really appreciate that you start with this. And I find myself especially as we’re still in this pandemic, you know, about two years in almost. And we have all these major challenges facing us as a society, whether it’s the climate change or the fires or, you know, what’s going on in Afghanistan and all these different things that are so big. And we all care. But I think many of us either don’t believe that we have the power to do anything or we don’t know what to do. And reading your work, especially Bliss Brain, which we’ll talk more about, of course, and hearing what you’re saying now, really gives me hope because specifically of what you say about emotional contagion and sitting here thinking, if I achieved if I strive for the state of nonlocal consciousness, if this oneness thing, what good does that do for anyone, aside from me? I might feel good for a little while, but I think your work gave me a shift in, and hope that that might actually contribute to resolving some of the challenges we face. How do you see how do you see that?
Dawson church [00:06:18] Absolutely. By healing yourself, you heal the world. By healing your trauma, you help heal the world. And this phenomenon of emotional contagion is really interesting. And it got going. That study we got going in the 1950s was called the Framingham Heart Study, and they began studying people in Framingham, Massachusetts, in all kinds of dimensions of their lives. But then that data became a treasure trove. We now have five generations of people in and around Framingham. Some have moved, data on all kinds of things about those people intense, intense amounts of data about them. And so what this has been used for, among other purposes, is happiness studies. And they find that there’s a phenomenon called emotional contagion. Now, the field of looking at infectious disease is called epidemiology. It’s a big tongue twister. The word epidemiology, you get a Ph.D. if you just pronounce it, epidemiology. So there are epidemiologists began looking at applying the methods of epidemiology to emotion and found that emotions are as contagious as the pandemic virus. It’s just extraordinary that the emotions of the person you walk into a room with a happy person, you are uplifted. But not only that. Uplift the next person you meet and they are live the next person they meet, who you do not even know, so positive emotions spread three layers out, negative emotions spread to as well, but only to lose out. So that’s why I’m so optimistic. I know that I am contagious. Real. So what do you study is life premium hikes show us is that when we elevate our consciousness, we then begin to elevate the consciousness of those around us and we create pods of happiness. The pandemic’s been a really interesting one for me, because I have a big community, I have millions of people who we talk to every year. We have hundreds of thousands of people on our e-mail list and we reach with social media. And so just connecting with them is that interesting. And there are you have been to pandemics and for one group of people, it’s been hard. They have just crashed. Financially or emotionally or with all the election of the fake news and all the turmoil. And then there’s this other group that I spent time with, for example, with a master last week, Brilliant. And, you know, we didn’t talk about any of those things. We talk to each other. And when you are with those people who heal trauma and then got into a set of consciousness who are in that space, they’re living a whole different world of resilience, creativity, joy, productivity. And they certainly know all the bad stuff going on, but they are not affected by it. And so the essential thing to do I watched Bruce Lipton do this. I watched Jack Canfield do this. I watched Marianne Williamson do this. I watched many of the people I worked with my publishing career before my research career doing this. They do not tune in for their source to the outside world. They tune in for their source to that transcended reality, and then they create from that into local reality. Most people, though, have not figured out how to flip that switch from relating horizontally to relating vertically. And so they are sucked into this narrative. And it is a depressing narrative and it’s endless. I mean, once the pandemic’s over, thre’ll be something else. Once that something else is over, there’ll be something beyond that. There are always, I counted my stories on Google News feed the other day, the 80 stories by Google News feed. There are always any stories or any stories before the pandemic, before the election, or they’re always anything to be worried about and they’ll always be there. So the trick is to flip the switch and orient vertically.
Brilliant Miller [00:10:12] I love that and I love that your book Bliss Brain teaches us how to do that. And the subtitle, The Neuroscience of Remodeling Your Brain for Resilience, Creativity, and Joy. Which I think we could all use right now. And by the way, congratulations on being number one. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but currently, it’s the number one bestseller on Amazon and the personal success and spirituality category, which is pretty cool. OK, with hundreds of reviews already. And I know your books have thousands of reviews total, but pretty favorable. And I read it and I took a lot away from it. But I’m curious to know, why did you write this book? Who did you write it for and what did you want it to do for them?
Dawson church [00:10:53] I had wanted to write a book after Mind to Matter on what was happening to me. I became really curious about this because my matter was like this when I wrote Genie in your genes. I’ve been writing since 2004. I just finished helping Bruce Lipton write The Biology of Belief. It was kind of a follow-on book from that. And I just had this insight, just this flash notation one day that our genes are being affected by spiritual states, by belief, by emotion. And so I looked around for evidence of that. I began to write about it, wrote the book, and it was this flash of insight. And I thought, wow, I feel so grateful. And so for ten years after Genie in Your Genes, I thought, wow, I’m so grateful to have had that flash of insight. I’d written a book that sold over one hundred thousand copies, affected the lives of millions of people, just became required reading for a lot of courses, and really had an impact. I felt grateful to have been the channel for that. That piece of wisdom, grateful and amazed. And I did. I wrote a few little books after that, but nothing, nothing major. And I never thought that lightning would strike in the same place twice. And then I was told to read Tracey at Hay House and he wanted me to write a book on those things, mind to matter. So as a bit to look into the link behind between mind and matter, I thought there’d be some scientific evidence that our thoughts relate to reality. What I was amazed to discover is that every single link in the chain between thoughts and things is scientifically provable. So that was a big revelation, like, wow, this is amazing. And I wrote the book and that book enjoyed extraordinary success and sold over a hundred thousand copies right in the first year. It’s sold in Germany and France and Spain and all kinds of other places in the world. And so we’re at that junction in my life I was focused on getting that message out. Your thoughts create your reality. And there’s a lot of science showing exactly how they do that. And then I was experimenting with some of the advanced exercises, some of the the the Tibetan, some of the Buddhists, some of the Christian mystics do. And I was experimenting with these ways of seeing the world and these exercises. And really I began to experience states of joy. Now, already, I was a super happy human being and was known for my love and my you know, I just have an absolutely blissed out life most of the time. And it just got better and better and better. And one crucial study of this brain, I said, is there an end point to brain development? Is there a point at which our brains have just gone as far as they can go? And I found this intriguing research into Tibetan monks who have done nineteen thousand hours of meditation. These are crazy, experienced meditators, comparing them to monks who’ve done an average of forty-three thousand hours of meditation. I mean, these guys a league by their own. So they looked at the brains of the two, the two groups. And by golly and by gosh, they kept changing. Even after nineteen thousand hours, the amygdala was atrophy. That’s the brain’s fire alarm. That’s what sends a stress signal all the way through our central nervous system to our peripheral nervous system, to our organs. The amygdala is what sounds the alarm and triggers fight or flight. That part of the brain in those months was just withering away. Their nucleus accumbens was actually shriveling, shrinking in atrophy, nucleus accumbens is central to cravings. They just didn’t crave or want anything. And when you have everything, you don’t want anything and the wanting part of the brain starts to wither. So I began to experience these states myself and I said, we have got to share this with people because the degree of bliss you get during this work is absolutely extraordinary. And that was my motive for pulling that material together. I first taught it to my coaches. I have a coaching program. I train my coaches to do this brain-change coaching. I thought I need a popular book, a book to reach a lot of people with the message that you can beat enormously happier than the other day, and that was despite.
Brilliant Miller [00:15:13] Yeah, and you don’t have to meditate for nineteen thousand hours or minutes to get their right.
Dawson church [00:15:22] A thousand years ago, you could go to the most people, meditate for ten thousand hours, become a novice, become an adder ten thousand hours and initiate another ten thousand hours, then after 30 or 40 years, you’re a master and then you’re happy, after taking vows of poverty, chastity, obedience. So so maybe unable to give up wine or making love with my wife or paddleboarding or kayaking and all the other stuff, stuff I love, or having two homes. I mean, poverty, chastity, obedience was just not me. And so not now really. But neuroscience is showing us how to reach those states much more quickly.
Brilliant Miller [00:16:05] And I recently read something Eckhart totally wrote about, I think he said “the fires of suffering become the light of consciousness.”
Dawson church [00:16:14] Wow. Oh, I’m going to steal that quote.
Brilliant Miller [00:16:19] And I was struck by the synchronicity. And then as I was reading your book, because you open with a story about a literal fire. Right. And in some ways, that fire was in fact, it did become the light of consciousness and had a big role in sounds like this book. And will you talk about that?
Dawson church [00:16:37] Yeah, I, I open the book with the fire story at the very beginning, and I did that partly because the publisher said don’t write a book about post-traumatic growth and just discuss it theoretically. Tell your story. This is this is real stuff. So the first chapter of the book is Fire and the year after that. And so that night was just a crazy night. I’ll never forget. My wife shook me awake, my shoulder. I looked at the alarm clock and said, twelve, forty five a.m. and I looked out the window of our home in Northern California with a beautiful estate that was overlooking Santa Rosa Wine Country Valley. We had a warehouse on the property, we had an office building on the property. It was a gorgeous piece of land. I had a whole collection of antique cars. It was just like a dream property. And I saw this glow on the horizon through the window. And I walked outside and there was this wildfire just racing down the opposite hill toward our valley and then our hill. And I just yelled at my wife, “we’re getting out of here right now” and I don’t yell. I’m a super polite human being. I just don’t yell. I don’t swear. I just don’t do that. So she got the message we were getting out of there. We literally sprinted from the house. Grab the car keys, our cell phones through on just rudiments of clothing. The power failed, we were doing this in the dark. We then held hands, took a deep breath at the door. I thought, should I close the door? And I though I don’t have time, we just sprinted for the car. In this nightmare scenario, the winds gusting up to 70 miles an hour. And there were embers being driven across our driveway like white snowflakes. They were like these white burning snowflakes hitting the car, hitting us. It was a crazy scene as I got to the car, a huge tree just exploded behind the office building and we just jumped in the car and tore out of there, got away. And finally, we were about three miles away. We realized we were safe, drove my ex-wife’s house to make sure that she and her family were safe. And then we just had to start dealing with that. And we were just completely disoriented. A friend sent us, a friend kind of got through the National Guard the next day, sent us images of what it was like on the other property there was just carpet of ash, concrete, slab, chimney sticking out and melted Rolls Royces, melted Jenson Healeys melted, melted office furniture, computers, everything was just ash. So we saw that and we realized that everything we had was gone. And so we had to deal with that reality. And that’s when we had to call in meditation. EFT, acupressure, tapping all our other tools. We had to tune into nonlocal, we had to do all of this. And we were now are our subjects. And so we had an experience. I didn’t stop there. The next year we lost everything, including our office. And we had a huge financial crash, lost our business, I had two retirement accounts, I had to drain one of them. And I still couldn’t pay the bills, I had to drain the second one. And you know being in your sixties and then going to zero for your retirement is not a fun thing. And then going to debt and taking out loans and eventually hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt the following year, not very pleasant. And so in that year afterward I found myself in debt, having lost everything. I have an operation to deal with an injury I sustained after the fire and yet Brilliant, every morning I close my eyes, I meditate, I tune into nonlocal mind, and I’d be in absolute ecstasy. I remember that at the depths of that financial crash, writing about how prosperous I felt in my journal, I just wrote this long piece on how absolutely prosperous I knew I inherently was, even though the outer lateral, local evidence was I was worse than broke. The inner reality was I’m a prosperous human being. So that was that’s chapter one of the books. And then then I go chapter to talk about what’s going on in the brains of meditators, people who reach these states, and people who are resilient. And it turns out a huge amount of brain remodeling is going on and that’s what makes me able to cope with things. So if you’ve had something in your life, like a financial crash, a loss of a relationship, loss of possessions, know that it’s possible that these tools make you so resilient. And then you can make the pandemic, you can meet the election, you can meet the challenges of life effortlessly because you are that person. You had that brain that not just as a state, but as a trait lifetime time trait. And nothing can take that away. Wow.
Brilliant Miller [00:21:39] Wow. I’m really sorry for your loss. In a way, I don’t mean to be flippant. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry because of where it’s led you and what you’ve learned and what you’ve then been able to share. But I can imagine that must have been extraordinarily difficult.
Dawson church [00:21:55] It was, and it was just the process of looking at what is not being triggered by it, loving what is, as Byron Katie says, tuning into nonlocal and feeding this pervasive sense of well-being, let’s be fine. We’re doing a lot of research now on people who are in these elevated states, and they have this absolutely fundamental sense that I am I’m fine. The world is I am safe, the world is good. The universe is benevolent. It’s a threshold they cross over to a certain point and it’s a neurological threshold. They built enough brain tissue to know that I am that way. And so when you are that way, you you certainly don’t feel indifferent to me. Twenty two people died in the fire. Eight people died who were neighbors of ours because the fire was moving super fast about the speed of a football field every three seconds at that point. And so some of our poor neighbors were they were stuck in their cars and the power went out and they were in the garage as they could get the garage doors open or they went back for a dog or a pet and they died with a dog. And it was like, we feel deeply. And yet we have this fundamental sense of well-being. And when you have that, that’s resilience. So resilience isn’t having a perfect life. Resilience is having the challenges to meet whatever comes to you in life.
Brilliant Miller [00:23:15] Now, what what a great description. That night, what what woke up your wife?
Dawson church [00:23:21] She had an intuition that something was wrong when she went to bed that night and she checked the news and there was a little fire that was like 20 miles away from us in the ajoining County. And so she heard that on the news. And then just she felt uneasy and intuitively, she she woke up.
Brilliant Miller [00:24:11] One other thing that really touches me about that and reading your book and, you know, all I know of you is what I’ve read online and read your book and now the few minutes of conversation we’ve had. But the congruence with which you live, that there’s many people, as I’m sure you’ve seen as well, in this field of personal growth and self-help and spirituality, that they may put one thing out, but then they’re their life is not necessarily congruent with that, from what I can tell, real integrity there with you.
Dawson church [00:24:47] I used to be in the publishing world and I was the publisher for a lot of best-selling authors, spiritual leaders. And I said the fastest way to disillusionment is to be the publisher of best-selling spiritual authors because you get to meet them. And I thought about their dark side and it’s like, oh, wow. Imagine there was a video camera in the corner of your room at all times watching you. And would you want the world to see how you’re treating your child right now, treating your wife right now, treating your pets right now, treating yourself? What’s your self-talk like? There was a video camera and broadcasting your whole self. Talk to the world. What would that be? That’s the congruency test is would you be comfortable if that were going on national news?
Brilliant Miller [00:25:33] That’s a powerful way to think of that, yeah, so on a topic of meditation, one thing I’d love to hear is how you think about it, how you talk about it is this and let me try to set this up just a little bit. Meditation is something that has totally changed my life. And I arrived at meditation through, it was really a dark night of the soul, where my dad died and I had a son, who was born prematurely 20 brain surgeries. I was in a job I didn’t love. My marriage was in crisis. I was having a faith crisis. It was the darkest point in my life. And it was for me literally that either I’ll find a way to exist and hopefully thrive, but at least survive or I’m going to make the decision to check out. And that was a time when Yogananda’s Autobiography of Yogi came into my life and totally inspired me to begin meditating in it. And it did make a difference. And I tried a variety. I didn’t find a guru or any specific method. I didn’t go learn TM or anything like that. I just tried to close my eyes and found over the years, like I’d stick to it and I drift from it. Sometimes it would work and other times I wasn’t sure and I didn’t really know if I was doing it right. And all this. So what I’m curious to know from you is when you teach meditation, when you talk about it, how do you describe it? Because this is one of those big words like love or God that people either don’t understand or, you know, they get something, maybe they get som, I don’t know if there’s anything wrong about it. But how do you when you start teaching it or talking about it, how do you even begin
Dawson church [00:27:12] I’m coming to the conclusion that we’ve got it all wrong in terms of why meditate and what meditation is. And so meditation is an ancient tradition that goes back tens of thousands of years and it was the best we had before psychology try and make us a little bit less unhappy. And so is this practice of Christianity as contemplative reading and prayer lectured Avina in Latin, Buddhism has meditation, Hinduism, meditation. Many faiths have some way of relating to something larger than ourselves like that. And then psychology came along and said, well, it’s the mind and the mind can make us happy. And what I am coming to the conclusion of and there’s not a lot of evidence for this yet. There’s interesting evidence, preliminary evidence. It’s not spirituality, it’s not psychology, it’s biology, and especially the volume of tissue in our brains. And a while back, for example, I thought Jason Momoa, Jason is this actor. He plays Carl Drogo in Game of Thrones and he plays Aquaman. And this guy is just like just amazing muscles. And so I looked up what Jason’s bicep size was about the size of his biceps. His biceps are eighteen inches around. So I then got a tape measure from my drawer right over here and, I measured my biceps. And guess what? They’re not eighteen around they’re thirteen inches around, which is the average for a man in his 60s like me. So I could want to bench press four hundred pounds but I can’t. Jason can. He has the volume of musculature to bench press four hundred pounds at my thirteen-inch biceps size. I have the attention, I can have the knowledge, I can have the strong desire to do that. I can have all my ducts lined up in terms of my attitude and my mindset. I still can’t do it. I just don’t have the bulk or the gear. that’s just a fact. So that’s the big thing we’ve been missing. And what you have to do is simply build up certain circuits in your brain big enough so we can have that kind of experience. And so that’s really what meditation is. Meditation is simply a way, if you do it effectively. Now, most meditation in this brain, I look at all the studies, and what the studies show us is that what most people do and try meditation is useless and counterproductive. And there are only a few things that really move the needle in terms of actually triggering neuroplasticity of brain growth. So you want to do those things. But then if you spend an hour or a half-hour and you literally are building up your those circuits, your brain, then you have a big enough circuit. So what meditation actually should be thought of is is like going to the gym for your brain. And there are four circuits in Bliss Brain I talk about, I won’t go to them in detail here. But the first part I say you need to build up is the emotion regulation circuit. And there’s a whole circuit in your brain. It’s very well mapped in neuroscience and you’ve got to build up the emotion regulation circuit first. There are three others. Don’t mess with those. Don’t go try, do attention or do compassion first. Do emotion regulation first. Because if you can regulate emotion, regulate your anger and resentment and your blame and all your negative emotions, then you can go on to do more stuff. Interesting stuff beyond that in terms of brain development, but you first have to build up that circuit and I have a case history of a man called Graham Phillips, who went on an eight week meditation course, and he was a TV journalist. And so he had his whole crew come into a neuroscience lab where they measured the volume of every single part of his brain using a high-definition MRI scanner. He found that after two weeks of meditation, it was calmer, getting better, after eight weeks went back to the lab and they found that the emotion regulation center of his brain had grown by twenty-two point eight percent in only eight weeks. In other words, the Emotion Regulation Center is growing about 10 percent a month. Imagine if your biceps by 10 percent a month if you worked outright. Meditation is working out. It’s triggering neural activity in those circuits to where they build more synapses. They become faster and better signaling. You bulk them up big enough like Jason Mallow’s muscles and then you can bench press the infinite.
Brilliant Miller [00:32:09] And you’ve created as I read about this, I kind of thought of it like Bruce Lee, where my understanding, and I’m not a martial artist, but my understanding is through his years of study and practice, that he in some ways like dispensed with some of the ornate aspects of kung fu and just went to what works with this combination of martial arts and creating judo. And what I understand of what meditation is, is that it’s kind of the same thing. Will you talk about what it is and how you arrived at it, and what it can do for people.
Dawson church [00:32:40] And I know this book has actually offended some people because they have a favorite meditation style. And they are offended that I’m not endorsing that style. What I’m doing, those that are saying, hey, this is what science shows works and not on any particular school of meditation here, I’m saying there are MRI studies, all I’m focused on here is what triggers the quickest kind of the fastest neural growth. That’s all I’m focused on here. So neuroscience studies show us that there are certain things that really trigger that growth quickly. And there are seven styles of meditation I talk about in the book. One of them is moving meditation and those Qigong and that yoga, there’s thai chi. A wonderful way of moving your body while you meditate. There are verbal forms of meditation. Some people said, Oh, what’s the name of a saint? Gandhi died chanting the name of God after he was shot. His last words were in bliss, chanting the name of God. That’s how you want to go out like Mahatma Gandhi. So there are all these different styles. I recommend people play around and just find ones that work for them. So you play around with that, but then do the things that science shows are really effective. And those are meditation groups if you can. I have an imaginary group, so I just meditate with my imaginary group. I don’t have an actual physical group. And so I think some effect has been gained from that. But research is unequivocal, unequivocally clear, that meditating in a group produces faster neuroplasticity than meditating alone. The second thing is that you want to focus on compassion. Compassion moves the needle in terms of neuroplasticity faster than anything else. And the third one is intensity. You want to feel that intensity, not just sit there and feel like I’m OK. I’m having a nice time here. Be passionate, read the poetry of some Theresa or Rumi. I mean, these people were not sitting there like dweebs having a little sweet experience all by themselves. They were just shaking with passion. They were describing their experience in orgasmic terms. They were exploding with ecstasy. You want that kind of meditation. So that’s really what we recommend people do. They try a lot of different things. But then whatever style of meditation, if you’re doing dance, you know, ecstatic dance and humility, you can just do whatever style you use. Make sure you’ve got those those three things going for you.
Brilliant Miller [00:35:17] Yeah. And in the book, you do walk the reader through how they can do this for themselves. And you’ve just talked about it, of course, big parts of it. And then one thing I really appreciate about the book as well is that you point to resources that are free for the reader, recordings that you’ve made, and other tools and resources that seem pretty thoughtful to me beyond just drafting a book and putting it between two covers and sending it out into the world.
Dawson church [00:35:44] There’s a lot to do with a successful book. And so there’s a lot of science in the book. There are a lot of case histories, stories, people who used the techniques of what they experienced. And then at the end of each chapter, there are deepening practices and these are usually free meditations and other resources. But there are eight free meditations in Brisbane and they really move the needle. We did an MRI study, randomized controlled trial, quite a large one. Twenty-four people, 12 doing mindful breathing per month 12, doing echo meditation, which is a method that I’ve developed over the last 15 years or so. Total science based, totally physiological, no saint or guru or religion required. And so the secular meditation, just doing these mechanical things to put you in a deep, meditative state. And we found that nothing happened for the mindful breathing people in of profound brain changes happened in the people doing eco meditation. And so we give you these free, eight free meditations. One at the end of each chapter and people using those, they really are designed to get you hooked because they spike dopamine. I mean is your main craving neurochemical. It’s the main neurochemical of cocaine, heroin, chocolate, other craving based addictive types of substances. And so we want to give you a big slug of dopamine. Research shows the meditation done right can be a sixty-five percent increase in dopamine, so that’s going to get you hooked. You’re basically as addicted to your meditation after you do meditation as that heroin junkie sprawled on the sidewalk with a needle.
Brilliant Miller [00:37:25] That’s a pretty big claim and I know you have a lot of evidence to support that claim. And I know many people that you’ve led this through who also speak in glowing terms of it and not just dopamine. One of the things I was interested in in this book is that you do go very much into the anatomy and the physiology that we have. And even this acronym, SONDANoBe. And I’d heard about this, but I didn’t think about I don’t connect this with my daily practice of, hey, when I sit down to do this, I’m triggering the release of these, you know, these hormones or these neurochemicals. But I thought, of course, something’s happening. I’m having an experience and something’s going on physiologically with me. Well, you know, the question I have for you is actually what did you learn that most surprised you when it comes to like our neurochemistry and our anatomy and our physiology in the process of writing this book?
Dawson church [00:38:18] Well, I, first of all, it was experiential that I was getting so happy and meditations after the fire and before the fire as well, but especially after the fire, I’d lost everything. And I was just amazed at my own my own happiness. And I thought, why is that? I remember one of my team members, like, really annoyed at me during a team meeting. She said, Dawson, this company is falling apart, it’s on the ropes, and here you are, just this blissful, smiling presence. I appreciate that. But do you fail to realize what trouble we’re in? And so it’s like, you don’t fail to realize that, and yet you haven’t had the serenity that is beyond that. So first of all, as my own experience of just having this elevated experience every day, despite all the chaos around me, and then I thought, what is that? What is going on in my brain that you feel like you’re stoned? Then I looked at some images painted of the Great Saints and Catherine of Siena says Teresa Avili, St Francis of Assisi, Ramakrishna, he was an Indian saint of the late eighteen hundreds of nineteen hundred, and he would go into samadhi bliss. He might be walking down the street and he would literally freeze in samadhi and he’d just be gone. And so his disciples would literally pick him up and carry him back to the ashram and set him down. He might stay there for two or three days or two to three hours and then unfreeze and come back. And so this ecstatic states you can get into. I mean, they’re accessible, they flow states, and yet they’re just on steroids. So I’ve had experience those. I’ve had to look into the neurochemistry of them. And the cool thing was what I began to look for their drug equivalents. And like one study showed beta endorphin, increased beta-endorphin and meditation, and beta-endorphin and morphine. Synthetic morphine had the same chemical structure as this lock and key molecular model and the beta-endorphin molecules dock with receptor sites in your brain and they deaden pain. So the reason morphine works for the millions of compounds that are implanted. Why does one work? Morphine work in the same molecular structure as your brain’s own native beta endorphin. So I discovered that there were these drug equivalents. Then I had to look at the the dosage and efficacy of them. Beta endorphin is three times as potent as morphine. It’s really strong stuff. I mentioned that sixty five percent rise in dopamine in the brain. Serotonin is the same as psilocybin. So the side of magic mushrooms works because it docks with serotonin receptors. Oxytocin makes you feel wonderful, full of love. So oxytocin is active, which triggers nitric oxide triggers anandamide, the bliss molecule. That’s why you are totally stoned after you do meditation. You just disappear into nonlocal bliss for a while, but maybe 15 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour. And then part of our safety protocol is you may wonder why every eco meditation ends with take a look around. You find the number eight in your environment. Is there anything is there an eight around you? What time of day is it? What is the time? What is the biggest red object in the room? We have you return to the outside world. The old model of mysticism was going out there and staying out there. The new model is you go out there and you come back to orient people after their big-time drug trip with all the serotonin, oxytocin and anandamide to get them back on their bodies around, ground them again so they can go about their daily lives safely.
Brilliant Miller [00:42:01] Yeah, I love that. And someone recently introduced me to this idea of the marketplace in the mountain top that we can have this mystical experience or something approaching it on the mountain, so to speak, but then come back into our daily lives as householders and business people and parents and live in the marketplace. But that’s fantastic. And the thing, too, about that acronym, again, ss you just ran through these neurochemicals SONDANoBe. about how there’s seven, right. You talk about how the like the seven and I was interested, I did geek out a little bit on some of the science of the endogenous and exogenous what we produce internally and externally and how it really is amazing that our body can produce all of this if we learn how or if we’re willing. Perhaps, you know, it’s pretty incredible.
Dawson church [00:42:50] Yeah. I mean, a body can produce all these things endogenously like marijuana is basically THC molecule docks with anandamide receptors in the brain. And so you sit there in meditation and essentially you’re having this wonderful experience generated entirely by your own brain. No side effects, no chance of an overdose, no chance of abreaction, because a natural molecule that is created by your own brain and you can crank them way up so you feel a certain level. That’s the third of those three things, intensity. If you feel a sense of joy, ask yourself, can I feel this more intensely? Can I help level this to absolute ecstasy? And you’ll find that very often, you can. So it’s amazing to realize you can create these pleasure chemicals in your own brain and then basically start to have a way more pleasurable experience in your whole life.
Brilliant Miller [00:43:44] Yeah, yeah. And I was interested, too, in the point about the ones that are naturally occurring that the body knows how to metabolize or process them and they break down more quickly so that we can live healthy, not have this external chemical in us that we don’t necessarily want or need after a certain point. But that was interesting. Let me ask you this before we transition to the enlightening lightning around, what, if anything, have we not talked about that related to Bliss Brain or your work or anything else that you think would be that you want to talk about or you think would be a benefit to the listener?
Dawson church [00:44:18] Well, these advanced states sound wonderful and are wonderful and people have aspired to them for thousands of years. And so the other half of the coin that I teach is I had a fifteen-year career in studying psychological trauma. I looked into why people were so traumatized. I began to do nonprofit projects. We founded the Veterans Stress Project in 2007 to get E.F.T. Acupressure tapping to veterans. And so that’s the part that is essential as a foundation is to heal trauma. So before I began to look at elevated states, I spent roughly a decade studying psychological trauma. I did many randomized controlled trials. I did some studies of things like epigenetics showing that when we heal PTSD in veterans, that it produces epigenetic changes in their bodies. It’s an epigenetic signal turning off, for example, inflammation. It dials down inflammation genes. It literately regulates inflammation genes, and then it also does that in a way that boosts immunity. So all these wonderful epigenetic effects are happening inside your body when you heal trauma. And so that’s really a big focus for me. It still is, we’ve just rebuilt the Veteran Stress Project website. We’re getting ready to launch it even bigger. We work with people in the VA. Right now, I am raising money to send VA personnel, clinicians, through that trauma training, free. So we’re sending both veterans who want to become clinicians and VA therapists through that training at no charge. We want these techniques in VA hospitals where veterans are. And so it’s incredibly important to translate your wonderful ideas, wonderful concepts, into the level of human suffering. We have teams of volunteers who go to places like Newtown, Connecticut, after the school shootings there. There is a huge amount of work that’s been done there to alleviate PTSD. Among the teachers, among the parents, among the surviving students. We have a team volunteering for the Parkland School shooting area do the same thing. So you want to be effective in the world over here as well. And it doesn’t matter what for, you don’t turn a blind eye to racial injustice right now. I really worked with some of our African-American practitioners on really putting anti-racism front and center everywhere that we have a presence. So I’m just passionate about translating all of these elevated states into effective social action as well. And part of it is healing this massive trauma we have around all these things, all these things like race, like slavery, like psychological trauma, like child abuse, sexual abuse, healing those in our society. But I believe Brilliant, we will do it really quickly because now we have so much evidence showing EMDR with yoga therapy, with tapping. We can take people who have severe psychological trauma and we can undo that very, very quickly. So I want to make sure we just don’t gloss over that, that that really important part of the elevated states a great deal better take do those things and tap release, breathe and let go of that trauma buried in your body.
Brilliant Miller [00:47:40] Thank you for pointing that out, because I realize for anyone that wasn’t familiar with your work before now, if they had listened to the conversation in process, they might have just thought it was the pursuit of these elevated states and so forth. And there’s value there, but they might not have been aware of that, those decades of work and healing around that trauma. And that’s significant. So thank you for that. OK, well, with your permission, I want to go ahead and transition us to the enlightening lightning around. How are you doing? Great. Good. OK, awesome. So again, this is a series of questions on a variety of topics. You’re welcome to answer them. Your response can be as long as you want. My aim for the most part is to simply ask the question, kind of stand aside, and keep us moving. But here we go.
Brilliant Miller [00:48:30] OK, question number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a:
Dawson church [00:48:41] Invitation to bliss.
Brilliant Miller [00:48:45] All right, question number two here, I’m borrowing Peter Teal’s question, what important truth is very few people agree with you on?
Dawson church [00:48:55] We are meant to live lives expressing our full potential, and we have it as children, I have grandchildren and they just live their lives. Their potential babies laugh an average of one hundred and twenty times a day. Adults laugh an average of six times a day. What happens between one point and the other to shut down ninety-five percent of your laughter. Whatever happened, it’s not real. You need to release it and you can have that fabulously happy life that you imagined.
Brilliant Miller [00:49:29] I love it. All right. Question number three, if you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a T-shirt with the slogan on it or a phrase or saying or quote or quip, what would the shirt say?
Dawson church [00:49:47] Live exuberantly, love extravagantly.
Brilliant Miller [00:49:53] All right, question number four, what book other than one of your own have you gifted or recommended most often?
Dawson church [00:49:59] Hands Down the Success Principles by Jack Canfield. And second runner-up is Money: Master The Game by Tony Robbins. If I had those books when I was 20 or 30, my whole life would have been way easier for the next 20 years. So I give these to my kids. I give these to my housekeeper in Spanish.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:20] That’s a good book. That’s great. OK, question. Now I’m curious, what are you currently reading?
Dawson church [00:50:29] Financial literacy. That’s essential. So the Success Principles by Jack Canfield. The book by Tony Robbins Being Financially Literate. I’m reading an interesting book right now called How Emotions Are Made, and it basically just throws out about 85 percent of the research into emotions that we’ve had for the last hundred years and says we literally make, create and choose our emotions. There are hundreds of them. You don’t have to feel sad when that bad thing happens. You can choose to feel neutral about it. And yet we have far more choice. Research shows we have the most recent research shows we have far more choice than we traditionally believe.
Brilliant Miller [00:51:14] And that’s powerful. This is a Harvard researcher, Teresa Amabile,
Dawson church [00:51:22] Yeah, Teresa Amabile is the author of a study that showed that if you get into an elevated state for an hour, the effect persists for 48 hours after that so far and the author wrote “How much is better?” She’s also a really experienced neuroscientist.
Brilliant Miller [00:51:39] That’s awesome. OK, question number five. So in your life, you’ve traveled a lot. What’s one travel hack, something you do, or something you take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Dawson church [00:51:55] Travel light, for goodness sake, don’t drag it there and drag it back again. So that’s one thing. The other is just to travel stress-free. Don’t try and shave time off at the airport. Nothing bad happens. Just be totally centered and take it as a chance to meditate. Say you miss a plane or a plane is delayed. That’s your chance to meditate if there’s a long line of security, how one. There’s a long line. How wonderful, I can breathe. I can tune into the infinite. Thank you for this moment of grace. So just using tapping, using meditation to reduce your stress and then the trip can be a disaster and you’ll be happy. Oh, I’ll tell you one little story about my most recent disastrous happy trip. In my business, I had a very difficult 2019. We had a very successful year that year financially, but we had a lot of challenges in business. I was doing a lot of 80 hour weeks. By the time 2020 rolled around, I was really ready for a one-month vacation in Hawaii. So this is before the pandemic. I packed my bags just before the pandemic in February to I fly to Hawaii, spend a whole month scuba diving, boogie boarding with my wife. We were going to go hiking all over the islands. We were going to have this whole trip planned. And the week before I was presenting it at a conference in Panama City, the country of Panama in Central America. And I had an accident and I injured my leg but I wasn’t diagnosed for weeks. But it turned out that I tore my Achilles tendon all the way through. And I was in excruciating pain a lot of the time. Couldn’t walk. So there I was in Hawaii for my long-awaited reward vacation after 12 months of hell at work. And here I am for a month with this huge suitcase packed with scuba gear and boogie board and stand a paddleboard and all the stuff. And I couldn’t even walk, let alone do any of those things. And I decided that first day when I collapsed at the airport, my wife had to use a cart to get me to the rental car. I said I’m going to be in bliss the whole month anyway. I look at my big suitcase every day with all my gear I couldn’t use and I was just at one hundred out of one hundred in terms of bliss. So really, you can do this no matter what happens in travel.
Brilliant Miller [00:54:29] I’ll bet you’re a great traveling companion. That’s great. I’ve traveled with some people that I wish I’d stayed home after the trip was underway, but OK, question number six, what’s one thing you started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Dawson church [00:54:47] Anything to access, eating to excess alcohol, to excess, certainly worry to excess. There was a study published last year showing that it was a really interesting Alzheimer’s study and it used to be the only way we could study Alzheimer’s and the build of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain was after people died. They do postmortems that they find that Alzheimer’s patients and all these beta-amyloid plaques. But there are new MRI scanners that allow the brains of patients to be examined noninvasively. And they put a scanner at you and they can see how much beta-amyloid plaques you have. And so they do this long term study of Alzheimer’s patients and look at all the risk factors, lifestyle, everything. And what they found, to their astonishment, was the factor that correlated most with Alzheimer’s disease and the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques was negative thinking. And it’s scaled, the more negative thinking, the greater and faster the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. it wasn’t genetics. If you know about the gene, three, four, you’ll think it was the genes. It was all about attitude and about thought, about negative thinking or positive thinking. So the thing you want to give up, really do not think about the negative thought ever again in your life. Do not allow yourself the luxury of a negative thought. If I hook you up to an EEG and you think one, it’ll show up right away, it will show up right away in the form of increased Corozal, it’ll start to mess your internal biology. Just go cold turkey, quit. You don’t what those negative thoughts at all.
Brilliant Miller [00:56:25] Yeah, I think that’s good advice. And I do think that that might be easier said than done for many people. I mean, especially given that our biology is conditioned for survival and always looking for what’s wrong and what can hurt us. But aside from the hour we just spent talking about meditation, what advice do you have for somebody that they’re going OK? Yeah, I’m I’m willing to trust you, Dawson. I’ll move in that direction. I’ll give up my negative thinking. But then they find themselves back on that hamster wheel of, the squirrel cage of, negative self talk. What do you say to somebody that’s kind of struggling with giving up their negative self talk?
Dawson church [00:57:04] Well, I’ll give you the resources to download in my EFT mini manual. But the most effective preconvention is tapping. So tapping is just tapping on acupuncture meridian endpoints like this, there are 13 of them on the body we tap. And what we find is when people tap on those things that they just very, very quickly shift. I worked with one Iraq veteran at he’d been in Iraq as a medic and as a medic. He saw horrible things, dismembered civilians, members of his own group shot. It was just a nightmare for him being deployed in Iraq. And one day, one of his friends was killed and his job as a medic was to prepare the uniform for sending back to the man’s family in the US. And so we had to clean the blood and body tissues off of the uniform, out of the helmet. And after being in the Iraqi sun for a few days, it smelled terrible. He literally was dunking the uniform in a solvent, in the medics hut, running outside, hyperventilated, taking a deep breath, running back and dunking it some more, and then running back out just out of breath because it smelled so bad. And so I tapped with him. He had had intrusive thoughts about that since he got back from Iraq years later. And we just did this. He told the story, but he didn’t tell the story like I’m telling it now. He told it while tapping. It was tapping a bunch of points and his stress just melted away. He went from a ten out of ten in terms of grief and anger and all these negative emotions. He went down to a zero in about 30 minutes. It’s that effective. So if you can’t get out of the hands of negative thinking, just download the free manual and just tap it just so easily. Just tap. So you’re saying these things, you think these things that you’re tapping. And what we see in the Army, and MRI scans. Jeez, is it rapidly calms down the emotional brain. When you think of the bad stuff, your emotional brain lights up. When you think of the bad stuff and tap, it reverses the effect. And literally, it’s like taking a light switch and shutting off the emotional brain. So if you want a fast way of letting go of negative thinking, tapping is just the quickest way you can possibly do it.
Brilliant Miller [00:59:27] Yeah, that’s interesting to me to hear you share that, because I would have thought and I think that’s how many people probably think, I can combat negative thinking with with I’ll just overpower with positive thinking, I’ll just somehow try harder. But instead, what I hear you saying about this tapping that actually of course, it’s part of our nervous system, our physiology that can help us to relax that part of our brain and our nervous system that will allow that negative thinking to come and and dissipate. And I learn this. I learned some tapping techniques from Jack Canfield when I study with them about ten years ago. And I experienced for myself the calming effect. And although I don’t think I’ve had anything at all like that kind of PTSD just immediately in a training room, I could feel I remember Jack gave us the subjective units, because it’s easy to forget where you were and where you are. And so I’ve experienced it myself. But then, as I’ve learned a lot of different things in the world of personal growth and and so forth, I come across this. I’m a little bit reluctant to ask this. But just looking online, I see, so I qualify this by saying I’ve experienced the benefit personally, I’ve heard others talk about the benefit to them and the people they work with. But I’ve also read a lot about how tapping is considered by many to be a pseudoscience. And I’m wondering why is that? Why is this not more like scientifically accepted?
Dawson church [01:01:00] Yeah, well, there are about 100 clinical trials on E.F.T. You see them all at the website research on EFTuniverse is my site and we make it really easy to get to that free research page eftuniverse.com, you’ll find all kinds of clinical trials. You’ll find MRI studies, you’ll find EEG studies. You’ll find thousands of diabetics, pregnant women, people awaiting surgery, over one hundred clinical trials. And so there’s huge evidence base for it as a huge evidence base for allergy medicine. There are over a thousand acupuncture trials that have been published over the last 20, 30 years. But if you go to Wikipedia, for example, it’ll say acupuncture is Pseudo-Science. It’ll say it’s quackery. It’ll say that E.F.T. is pseudoscience and it has no merit. And that’s because around 2003, 2004, when Wikipedia was as infancy, a group, they call themselves skeptics, seized control of all of the natural health pages homeopathy, acupuncture and natural medicine. And they then deleted all the authoritative articles on other there, ones that follow Wikipedia’s rules. And as rewrote them, to call them pseudoscience as a battle. If you go into the talk pages, you’ll see scientists and qualified people try and go in there and correct those articles. And the Wikipedia skeptics simply immediately revert them back to where they are. So there’s this hardcore of skeptics there, and that’s why Wikipedia is the way it is. They deleted biographies like they deleted my biography. And even though the author of several best selling books and the author, I’ve been involved in over 100 hundred studies, my books have been translated and probably over 20 languages. I won multiple awards, my books, but I looked in the 12 pages behind my deleted biography and said, this is a person of no public interest. One of the skeptics just deleted it. So they control all those pages. They deleted data. So you’ve got to look at the sources of the covert misinformation, the earliest the sites that put out that science. And so you have to be discerning about where you get your information.
Brilliant Miller [01:03:17] Yeah, absolutely. That makes sense to me. And I believe the ultimate laboratory is our own lives for each of us. And to try things and see what our experience id, see what results we produce. And I tend I like to think of myself as very open-minded. And I also recognize that the history of science is the history of being wrong. And that’s the way science works. We find this and we test and so forth. So I realize that you know, just because something set online about this is pseudoscience or it’s valid science and ultimately we get to try it ourselves and trust ourselves. So thank you for that. OK, so I’m going to keep us going through the enlightening lightning round. I know we’re coming down the stretch on our time overall. So just a few more questions here and then a few about writing and the creative process. OK, OK, so question number seven, what is one thing you wish every American knew?
Dawson church [01:04:22] I wish America generally as a society looked beyond its borders for solutions more, and I’ll give you an example. Our health care system costs roughly double what any other developed countries health care system costs. And delivers much worse outcomes. If you look at the rankings of countries where around 20, No. 20 for all kinds of indicators of quality of health. And it’s because we just don’t look at what Canada is doing, what Britain is doing, what France and Germany are doing. There are a lot of far better ways of giving everyone health care than the one we have. So America has this sort of American exceptionalism really hurts us in many ways. We often I mean, the Paris climate accord was a miracle in 2015 that we signed it and now we rejoined it. But so often Americans are looking only at their own backyard. So America as a whole often gets tripped up by American exceptionalism rather than multilateralism. I just love to see Americans be more, look more. Say, if you were building a car, you’d say, well, who’s building the best car and what can I learn from them? If you were building a cell phone, you look look the best practices and what are the most advanced features? You wouldn’t say. I’m only going to look at cell phones which are manufactured in my city and refuse to incorporate any features not invented locally. It just make us just nuts. So that’s one of the silly things about America that I wish were more collaborative and outward looking.
Brilliant Miller [01:05:58] Yeah, I’m with you on that. What’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about making relationships work?
Dawson church [01:06:08] Well, I have a chance to practice that every day with my wife, and in fact, we have a whole course on relationship skills, just basic skills that you used to, things like active listening and tapping and breathing together and various other skills. And so one of the things I try to do, consciously or not that good at is being in my heart, Brilliant. I live a lot of my work life and my workday in my head and talking to scientists, and brilliant people. I’m up here and my wife teaches art to children and she also is an artist herself. And so when we both get off work around six or seven o’clock at night, she really doesn’t want a breakdown of the new scientific theory I come up with during the day. She wants a husband who is going to relate to her. And so I move from my head into my heart. And I, first of all, I start by listening to her is this listen, I don’t try to advise her. I just listen appreciatively to her and I move my head to my heart. And so with my children, with my grandchildren, I move from my head to my heart by dealing with team members. Often after our team conversations are very heady. So I try and move to my heart and be there. So I think if you can have everything to do with the body tapping a somatic meditation done well is a physical process you feel in your body. And so living in your body, PTSD is healed when you can stay in your body and remember your past experiences. So staying in the heart, staying in the body is critical for a high-quality relationship.
Brilliant Miller [01:07:46] Yeah, that’s really beautiful. In more than one hundred fifty interviews. I don’t think anybody has quite said said that or said it that way. I’m grateful for that. OK, and question number nine. So this one is about money and it’s aside from compound interest, what’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about money?
Dawson church [01:08:06] I believe in financial literacy and when people go to high school, they get no classes in financial literacy and they just dumped into the world not knowing the basic skills about about money. So it’s important to educate yourself, you didn’t get the education in school, just go take some classes. There are free, just type in financial literacy into a search engine and go take a free class. There are lots of really good ones out there and educate yourself about money. So it starts with the money education. Now, you may do many different things. After that point, you may decide to keep a job and go the route of having a steady income. You may become an entrepreneur. You may want to work on real estate. It doesn’t matter what you do, but become financially literate and where I see people failing is often than making a lot of money. And unless the financial literate, they are not able to keep it and have a secure future. So become financially literate is the basic requirement.
Brilliant Miller [01:09:05] Makes a lot of sense. Well, speaking of money, something I have done to show gratitude to you for sharing your knowledge and your experience with me and everyone listening as I’ve gone, I’ve done two things. So one is I’ve gone on Kiva.org, and I’ve made a microloan to a woman entrepreneur named Jacqueline in Cameroon. She’s 50 years old and she’s raising three children. And so she’ll use this money to buy and sell produce, which she’s done at a little stand in her hometown for 15 years. So. Oh, yeah. So that’s the first thing. The other is I went to stresssolution.org, the veteran stress solution, which you talked about earlier that you’re involved with. And I made a one hundred dollar donation, I believe in the work you’re doing to train those veterans to offer this to other veterans. It’s a really beautiful vision.
Dawson church [01:09:55] Well, thank you so much. I appreciate that. And you can just donate right through the site there. And we just love sharing with people. We have a ton of volunteers to actually do the work with people with veterans. So it supports that whole effort.
Brilliant Miller [01:10:08] Yeah, that’s awesome. OK, so congratulations. You survived the enlightening lightning round. We’re just at the final part of the interview here is about writing and the creative process. So just a few questions. I want to start with the fact that you worked in the publishing industry for many, many, many years before you yourself became a published author. Right. Well, you talk about how and why you entered the industry and then how you made that transformation to be to be a writer who’s now written if I understand right, more than a dozen books and three of them bestsellers, several bestsellers.
Dawson church [01:10:41] And I didn’t think of myself as having anything to say. I was the guy who managed publishing campaigns. So I was the guy behind the scenes making sure the mechanics of publishing all worked. I did not see myself as having anything valuable to contribute to the discussion. I felt really gratified that I was able to take the work of great authors and help make it visible in the world. I was very focused on alternative medicine at the time, so we really raised that whole world of alternative medicine to a much more professional level. And so I did that and I thought that was my basic thing to do in the world. And then I began to talk, give lectures about publishing initially, and people responded well. And then I got into the whole idea of epigenetics and began to talk about epigenetics that was making connections that no one else was. I wrote the genie in your genes and they began to talk about that. And I discovered people were spellbound. And suddenly people were just listening. They were glued to their seats and they were beginning to shift their lives dramatically. I realized I had an impact on the world through speaking and writing. So I began to develop that. And like any craft you have, you want to get better at it. I read books. I read books analytically and critically. And I say, how can what I’m learning from this brilliant writer make me a better author? And so I sit and listen to Joe Dispenza. I listen to Bruce Lipton and listen to Marianne Williamson. I listen to other transformational leadership council members like Marty Shimaa and I learn from them how to be a better presenter and writer and see what to keep on honing your craft that way. But I eventually discovered I could do that, do it well, and really influence people. And just Brilliant, at the heart feeling of working with that veteran with the uniform and seeing his numbers come down, doing randomized controlled trials and seeing the numbers of hundreds of veterans coming down, launching the Veterans Stress Connection Project, and then seeing the numbers of tens of thousands of veterans coming down, you just can’t imagine how fulfilling the life of service is. So I trained my main business is training E.F.T. Practitioners. I do that. I train hundreds of people every day, every year. And it’s powerful to use what I’ve learned in a training context to get this to tens of thousands of people a year.
Brilliant Miller [01:13:12] Yeah, I suspect that’s that’s so and this idea of not thinking you had something to say and and then discovering that not only had something to say, you had something that people really wanted to hear. Yes. I’ll bet that’s pretty gratifying. That’s cool. When it comes to writing a book, what is your basic approach and how has it changed over the years?
Dawson church [01:13:37] You know, I just want to tell you something before that about writing that I’m struggling with right now and I haven’t found a solution to this. I have to write my next book. I am having a hard time convincing people of just how happy they can get and the gulf between what people aspire to and think they can get to and what what research shows they really can get to is so enormous. That’s very hard to explain to them. And the way that shows up, like, for example, in the studies of mind to matter, is that the difference between baseline gather gather is the brainwave of integration, of compassion, of raditude, positive emotions, joy. The amount of gamma in the brains of these atoms we study can go up twenty-fivefold, and that’s big enough to convince the average person that’s possible. If I said I can make you twenty five percent happier fifty percent happier, people might buy it. Twenty five times as happy is as too far for them to comprehend. I’m grappling with that problem now. I haven’t solved it. I’m determined to solve it. But that’s despite my current writing dilemma is I don’t know how to convince people that there’s a there there that they can be twenty five times as happy as their wildest dreams. That’s my big current challenge.
Brilliant Miller [01:14:57] Well, that’s what I’ve heard. Tony Robbins. I think this is exactly the kind of thing Tony Robbins calls a quality problem. You know, you’ve got this something really profound to tell people. And the challenge isn’t necessarily telling them. It’s getting them to believe it is. You can be open to it, you know, and that reminds me, I have a friend who’s a therapist, and he said when he went to school and he said he had one adviser who told him, you know, they trained him on all the practice, all the techniques that he needed and gave him the education. But one of his advisers said, before you go out and you start your own practice working with real people, I just want you to know that the most difficult task you’ll face is actually getting people to believe that they are both capable of giving and receiving love. Wow. And I was like that. And he said over decades that proved to be true, you know, that they were worthy or they were capable or whatever. And so in some ways, your challenge sounds like it’s parallel to to my friends, not just with happiness, but with love.
Dawson church [01:15:57] Yes. Yeah. And even experience and have far more love far. We’re happy to study. Might have imagined.
Brilliant Miller [01:16:03] Yeah. So what’s your sense of how you will how like how will you how will you search for a solution. How do you think you’re going to resolve that for yourself?
Dawson church [01:16:14] I was wrestling with a problem when I wrote about how to share with people that we have multiple systems in our bodies, but the energy is much faster than matter. And I was talking about what analogy can I give people to let them know that this neurochemical signaling in your nervous system with sodium chloride ions going across the membrane, that’s the mechanical way of signaling very fast neurons that go to thousand one hundred meters per second. We have energy that is going at the speed of light. So how do I convince them that energy is much quicker and a much quicker way to approach a lot of your challenges than plunking around at the level of the material field in the real world? So I was at a conference with a wonderful biologist called James Oshman promotion, and I was just telling you about this huge problem I was having doing this. We were at a party and we left the party to go drive back to the hotel. And I had my rental car and I was looking for a rental car to drive me back to the hotel. And I just left the car, unlocked the car. And look at the key, and I realized, oh, I could take the key and put it in the lock and mechanically turn the lock and open the car, or I can click the button and use energy to do it. And I had my analogy there. So genie in your genes is a picture of a car in a car. So we as science writers struggle with these things to find we find analogies for them. So I’m looking for an analogy, a series of analogies like that. Yeah, they could be people
Brilliant Miller [01:17:53] that’s powerful. And that’s one of the things I learned from Jack Canfield about, you know, the reticular activating system when you’ve got it activated and just the process of living something, you know, will present itself. Something always happens. So that’s great. Well, I will look forward to to what it is and how life is the coal cocreator with you in this in this message. That is awesome. So, OK, let me let me actually jump to a different question for a moment, which is about your writing habits and routines. First of all, do you write every day?
Dawson church [01:18:25] I write every day, but not to do with books, I write every day, sometimes I’m writing science copy and like I may, May may write a piece for my newsletter, for instance, by describing a study like I’m a columnist for Unity magazine, Unity Church magazine. I’m also an ordained minister. And so I need to write my column and I’ll be writing about a study, so I’ll write that. But there might be some marketing copy. I spent all this morning writing marketing copy for the Global Energy Healing Summit coming up. And so it’s a very different mindset doing that, totally different mindset, writing a scientific paper. So I write different things, different days. It’s a real challenge to switch between these different formats.
Brilliant Miller [01:19:12] Yeah, I can imagine, marketing copy is a little different, I’ll bet from some of the scientific and technical writing that you do it also.
Dawson church [01:19:21] We don’t do any hype in our marketing. Like I just emailed. I got a copy for the summer by email that I said, you know, we can’t say this is going to cure pain. It’s not what we say. We’re going to share methods that can cure pain. So let’s take that instead. So people know in our community that everything you say is evidence based and we don’t make hyperbolic claims like a lot of marketers do. So we just don’t go that route. And you know what? We have higher open rates, higher conversion rates, higher click-through rates than anybody on the planet, almost, because we’re just honest about what’s good about our stuff and we don’t try and sell people, you know. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Brilliant Miller [01:20:03] Yeah, what’s your what’s your basic process for getting a book done? I’m actually curious first on how you settle on a topic like how you know, OK, this is a thing that I’m going to devote months or even years to, to researching and writing. So from the point of choosing the topic to structuring the book to drafting the book, researching the book, having it edited the layout like anything and everything to do with how you actually get a book done and perhaps. How that’s changed, like how that’s evolved over over the many books you’ve written,
Dawson church [01:20:36] there are those stats like reading, researching, writing, editing, and so on. And those are rough, by the time you hold the book in your hand, you’re maybe twenty-five percent of the way there, the other seventy-five percent is marketing the book. And so you are just going to be on a lot of it’s a lot of podcasts, a lot of radio shows, doing a whole bunch of interviews. So if you if it’s worth getting out there and doing the first twenty-five percent of the book published, you need to commit as an author to the seventy-five percent, which is marketing the book, you have to be there for your book and it’s like, you know, expecting someone else to market your book is like expecting somebody to raise your child. Oh, I’ve had a baby. They’ll give us somebody to raise. Now you’ve had a baby, now you have the next 20 years cut out for you. So you need to put a lot. I spent roughly five years, almost full time working on Gene in your genes to put it on the map. So but to go back to the writing question, what you want to do when you write is. Connect with the nonlocal mind, you want to meditate every day, if I have really intense writing down, all notate usually for more than an hour, maybe two hours, and I’m totally immersed in nonlocal mind, the nonlocal mind contains the information library of the universe, and he will start to find ideas there that are synchronistic, are automatic. I did an important interview with an important author yesterday and I didn’t have any time to prepare, so he edited it. Texted me right before the interview, said, Dawson. You promised me an outline and I have nothing. And when he said that to me, I realized my mind was blank. I had no idea what going to say. So we started the call and I said, Here’s what we’ll talk about. And I just laid out the most brilliant outline for the call, totally from a nonlocal mind without any preparation whatsoever. And it’s like, wow, the nonlocal mind can do that. So get out of the way. Get your local mind out of the way. Get your local self out of the way. Local mind tunes into the nonlocal mind and just be part of that grand consciousness, one with the universe and then channel its ideas, start typing, start writing by hand, start dictating. Sometimes I’ll dictate things like I’m not a poet, but I’ve written five poems in the last two days. I don’t know why. I’m just writing poems. I just gushing with love and enthusiasm and joy. So I turn it over to nonlocal and let your theme, your title, your, your higher power. If you think if you, if you, if you believe in a personal God, make it God. I talk to one of the sports she believes in. Mother Mary, great mother Mary white buffalo calf woman. An archetype is fine as a religious can be an archetype could be Martin Luther King can be Harriet Tubman can be Mohandas Gandhi. Anyone you relate to and then start a channel. This immense was with nonlocal through your, your skillset your voice and you will create brilliant things that way. Now writing a science book is different because you have to also make it scrupulously correct. There cannot be one incorrect scientific claim in a science book. And so I’m more rigorous than most science writers about that. Everything in my books is completely evidence-based. And so I also have to do the chore of reading primary research and reading stuff written by people sometimes they’re Nobel laureates and they have an IQ of two hundred how to even comprehend the stuff. I really need nonlocal comprehension to comprehend it, that I’ve explained it to somebody who has an IQ of maybe one hundred. How do I do? How do I bridge a tutored IQ Nobel Laureate paper and one hundred IQ average reader? And that’s my job as a science writer. So I have that additional step outside of rigor. I’m not just writing flights of fancy-like poetry. I have to make it rigorous, but I try and make it beautiful. And so after the spring, I was named the Universe One Day, The Infinite. I just felt as though this place, this life, the energy of science was just surrounding me. I sort of tuned in to that energy in the nonlocal cosmos. And then right beside it was beauty and science and beauty. I said I’m going to write science books that are beautiful. They just read beautifully like flowing poetry. So I rewrote this probably three times to make it beautiful. And that’s what I do very. I also set it off to peer reviewers who just catch any errors I made in my life. That’s so that’s my personal process.
Brilliant Miller [01:25:38] Wow. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I like to think for people who are following in your footsteps, people who aspire to write that just hearing this can not only give them inspiration, but help them anticipate the path ahead and to navigate that maybe in a shorter time or more enjoyable than they would otherwise. You talked about the importance of marketing and promotion as being three quarters of the work of getting a book out into the world. And and I’m curious, what what have you learned about marketing and promoting and selling books that have served you well over the years?
Dawson church [01:26:13] I asked my publisher and their publicists what is effective and what the best practices are of their most successful authors. And it turns out that there are some things that are just about useless. And so you you find out what successful authors are doing and do that and don’t do the stuff that is not effective. So totally knowledgeable. Find out what is effective like in any sport, in any field of endeavor, in any career. Find out what’s working and do that and avoid doing the stuff that’s not working. So so you go talk to those people and it changes. It changes every few months. It worked work great. A year ago, five years ago does not work. Now and those publicists have their fingers on the pulse, talk to your publisher, if at all possible, get a publisher you can sell successfully. There are a few people who do it, but if at all possible, work with a publisher. If you can work with a big publisher, with a marketing department, then you’ll have all the resources of that person. And so work with people who can guide you in that way. Do not try and reinvent the book publicity wheel all by yourself from scratch. It’ll be unsuccessful and frustrating for you and the extreme.
Brilliant Miller [01:27:34] Yeah, that makes sense. All right. Well, my last question for you here on this writing and creativity of thought and question is, is just what advice or encouragement do you leave anybody listening with who’s either in the process of getting their book done, maybe what’s been called the messy middle, or it’s a dream they’ve been harboring for a long time and they haven’t yet embarked on that journey. What advice or encouragement do you offer to anyone listening who’s in one of those situations?
Dawson church [01:28:05] What I recommend in my books is actually antithetical to a lot of coaching practice because people say set goals and I say don’t set goals, I say tune into your higher self, your higher power, the universe, the Internet, and let the infinite set your goals. Don’t create a vision board for yourself. No vision boards, no affirmations. Tune in to the infinite. What is the universe affirming for you? Brilliant. What is the universe offering for me, Dawson? What is the universe affirming for any of us listening today? It’s affirming our highest possible good and it has a much higher vision for you than your local self could ever dream up. So if you’re in that messy middle and you’re trying to create something, forget about defamations, forget about the discipline, forget about the trying to make things happen to surrender, surrender, to surrender to your higher power, surrender to the infinite and the infinite. You then become an instrument for the infinite stream. Jean Houston said and what very few people know, that Jean Houston was an aspiring actress in her 20s, starred in her 80s and still going strong and that she was suicidal at one point after her acting career really wasn’t going very well. And she had that point of surrender one day and she turned into the infinite and the infinite said to her, Jean, it’s all going to be OK. And that’s when she began to surrender. And her whole life began to shift and she had to do the remarkable work he’s done in the world for the last 60 years. And so you want to just surrender and breathe and be and connect and have a relationship with the infinite. And while I teach, I work at a course now. And what we’re doing is just the way I systematized E.F.T. in the early 2000s, I’m now reading and looking at all of the teachings on enlightenment and building it into a system that’s called the short path to wellness. And so interesting to read the works of these great writers, but then try and put it into a system. And there are certain things you do. You surrender to that that higher power. And the analogy I use that I did find my analogy for chapter one of the short part. And Chapter one of the short path is imagine you have an uncle and your uncle is a billionaire and your uncle is elderly and sick and lives the same town as you are. And it’s pretty obvious your uncle is going to kick the bucket fairly soon. And so he might leave you with his will. He might might be money coming to you, but a lot of money come in millions of dollars from your uncle. And so you are probably Isla’s the same tired as you. You’re probably going to go visit him. You’re probably going to make him some chocolate chip cookies on his birthday. You’re going to cultivate a relationship with your billionaire uncle. And the benefit that might flow to you from doing that is enormous. And most people are not cultivating any kind of relationship with their higher power, those same types of meditation. So I don’t have time to go spend 15 minutes with my billionaire uncle. Really, you don’t you don’t have time to do that. You absolutely need to prioritize that part of your connection. So you are rich beyond measure, in terms of spirit, in terms of money, in terms of prosperity, in terms of imagination and creativity. You have to cultivate a relationship, though, with that. If you don’t show up in meditation, you’re like the kid who wasn’t showing up for class, even upper class. The teacher can’t teach you a darn thing. So you have to show for class in the front row, pay attention, use the faculty of attention. We all have this attention, ability, focus on that relationship with your higher power, your higher self. That’s what my short course does. It trains you to make that your focus. And saying I don’t have time for meditation is like saying I don’t have time to go sit with my billionaire uncle for a little while this week. That’s the source of your your wealth. It’s the source of your identity. It’s the source of the you are. As you surrender to the infinite, the infinite will change your brain. 10 percent growth in that emotion regulation circuit in a month. Do it for a year. You can have a whole different set of wiring in your brain. And so you want to do that. And then what you’ll create in that messy middle will be genius at a level which you can’t even imagine when you’re stuck at that level will be a whole different book, a whole different project with everything. So that’s how you create that’s that’s where you’re grateful. That relationship with your higher power and with the infinite cultivate that first. Everything creative will spring from that.
Brilliant Miller [01:33:04] That’s awesome. I thank you for that. OK, well, Dustin, thank you so much for sharing so generously of your time and your wisdom and your energy. I’ve really enjoyed this. I’ve learned a lot from you, and I’m looking forward to sharing a lot of what I’ve learned from you with with others.
Dawson church [01:33:23] I think I’m so grateful and I love the work you’re doing to really to the way you’re approaching it. Thank you so much for your inspired approach to sharing with your community and building that community and I want that community to be big and strong and inspired. So thank you for your role in making that happen.
Brilliant Miller [01:33:43] Hey, thanks so much for listening to this episode of the School for Good Living podcast. Before you take off, just want to extend an invitation to you. Despite living in an age where we have more comforts and conveniences than ever before, life still isn’t working for many people, whether it’s here in the developed world where we deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, divorce, unfulfilling jobs or relationships that don’t work, or in the developing world where so many people still don’t have access to basic things like clean water or sanitation or health care or education, or they live in conflict zones. There are a lot of people on this planet that life isn’t working very well for. If you’re one of those people or even if your life is working, but you have the sense that it could work better. Consider signing up for the School for Good Livings Transformational Coaching Program. It’s something I’ve designed to help you navigate the transitions that we all go through, whether you’ve just graduated or you’ve gone through a divorce or you’ve gotten married, headed into retirement, starting a business, been married for a long time, whatever. No matter where you are in life, this nine month program will give you the opportunity to go deep in every area of your life to explore life’s big questions, to create answers for yourself in a community of other growth minded individuals. And it can help you get clarity and be accountable. To realize more of your unrealized potential can also help you find and maintain motivation. In short, it’s designed to help you live with greater health, happiness and meaning so that you can be, do, have and give more visit godliving.com to learn more or to sign up today.
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