David Welch: When we awaken, who are we as spiritual beings?
Anthony (Tony) Robbins: I think we all have to have that experience. That’s a direct experience that you have to have on your own. If someone tells you about it, it’s not going to be real. But, I think there’s that experience of when you realize you are not your emotions, because most of us identify with our emotions…I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m depressed, I’m frustrated, I’m powerful, I’m loving, I’m…whatever. When you start realizing you’re not your emotions and most of all, you’re not your thoughts…
I mean, these thoughts have been around for millions of years. You’re not the first person to have the thought, I’m going to kill the son of a bitch. Everybody has had those thoughts. The difference is, you didn’t believe it, so you didn’t kill them. You didn’t believe those thoughts, but we all have thoughts and it’s like, you know…you change the channel on your cable and you can watch a horror story, or you can watch a romance, or you can watch an epic, you know? You can watch whatever you want.
What I’ve found is, by the way we move our body, we change which thoughts we can tap into. If I had said to you a hundred years ago, “we’re going to go to the moon and back,” you would have called me a lunatic—that’s where the term comes from, like, you’re crazy. Or, if I said to you a hundred years from now, that, “you’re going to be able to sit here, David, and hold this little rectangle box…look how thin this thing is…and you’re going to be able to talk to someone else on another place on the Earth and see them in real time….‘cause invisible waves are going to be floating above it and this machine is going to take those and put them in front of you…” you would lock me up!
But, we all know that the most powerful things in the world are invisible for us. It’s radiation, right? Gravity…love…hate. Those things are invisible, but they’re the most powerful forces on earth. So really, what I’m trying to do is show people, look…you can absolutely change the thought pattern and the emotion, and you can discover who you are, and realize that you’re not those emotions, you’re not those actions, you’re not those thoughts, and you’re able to just witness those. There’s a part of you, deeper inside, that sees those and can just be entertained by it and let it flow through you, instead of trying to hold it back or control it or shape it.
I find that to be the experience, where you start realizing that you’re more than this experience. I had an experience once—very vivid—I woke up and I went to the mirror and I had this conversation with Tony Robbins, and I remember looking in my right eye and I was suffering physically, immensely…and I looked in this eye and I was like, there’s this invincible spirit in me…so, there’s the soul, but there’s this invincible spirit that like, goes beyond death…Sounds crazy, but I just felt it, saw it, and had this incredibly intense conversation with myself. I thought, damn this guy’s good, this guy could coach the President. But, it was so intense and I came out of that with, let the spirit heal the body…let the spirit heal the flesh…spirit moves everything…molecules, everything.
So, I’ve had a lot of experiences along the way that are very, very potent. But I think the most important thing is for people to realize that you aren’t what you’ve done, you aren’t where you are now, you aren’t any of these things…you’re so much more and the more you can witness, the more you won’t believe those thoughts that are limiting you and the more you’ll have more joyous emotions and the more you can have a beautiful life where your life touches others.
You know, people ask me a lot, “how could somebody do the things that just happened in Paris or in San Bernardino? How could somebody go in and kill men, women and children, just randomly? And I said, “I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you who it wasn’t. It wasn’t a person who was happy. It wasn’t a person in a beautiful state of being.” People in beautiful states don’t try to harm other people. They don’t try to kill other people. They don’t try to steal from other people. So the greatest gift I think we all have, is to really build our own beautiful states so that from that place, we can do what’s next in the way we interact with other people and we can be an example for them as well. That’s really a huge part of my mission.
DAVID: Excellent. Do you have any daily rituals or practices that you follow or would like to recommend to others?
TONY: I have a couple of things that I do every day. One is, I get up every day and I start by jumping into cold water (sounds like a punch) that’s 52 to 56 degrees—depends on where it is. I have several homes and I’m fortunate to have options. My place in Sun Valley, Idaho—I have the river. So, if it’s snowing, I just tread the river; it’s pretty brutal. But, I do it for two reasons. One is, when you step into that water, every organ in your body is fully alive because the blood just shoots through everything, so it’s great from the standpoint of taking out inflammation from the body, which is the beginning of disease, great for the lymph system. But, I also do it as a discipline to train my mind, that when I tell you we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it. There’s no hesitancy. I don’t feel like it…it might be freezing-ass cold outside…I’m exhausted or tired…but it’s like, I don’t miss. I just go. Boom. And it’s not like I hesitate. It’s like, go…one, two, three…go! And I just go. It’s almost like teaching your mind, when I say it, I mean it. So, it’s a great little discipline I do. Then I do what I call priming. I’ve never been a big meditator.
My meditation has usually been a movement, like going for a run, being in nature, or when I’m on stage and somebody raises their hand and they need to be or have their life transformed…it’s like, I go into a state like where it’s like, God comes through me, is what I truly experience. But I think the components that I see now in my life are…I see that when I get up in the morning, I want to make sure I’m in a great state no matter what, whether I was exhausted or not. So, after I do the cold plunge, I do what I call priming. And priming is, most of us think our thoughts are our own thoughts, but there have been a zillion studies; one example is, they take an actor and they train him to do the exact same facial expressions and movements with each person. He goes to 200 people, he does the exact same thing with all 200 people, but with 100 of them, he reaches out just for a minute and says, “Sir, would you hold this for me?” And let’s assume he hands you his coffee while he’s reaching with the other hand in his pocket trying to get his phone out, so most people take it because the sale has been assumed…and after it’s over, “oh thank you so much,” and he puts his phone back in his pocket and he takes the coffee and, “thank you so much,” walks away with the same smile. Practices the same look, same smile, same vocal times, same everything. For a hundred people, he gives them hot coffee and for a hundred people, he gives them cold coffee…so 45 minutes later, a researcher comes by with a little clipboard and says, “I’ll give you $10 if you’ll give us a minute of your time.”
“All I would like you to do is read this four-paragraph story and then answer two questions for us.” They read the story…the story is the same for everyone, but when they ask the person a core question which is, how would you describe the character traits of this individual, what’s this individual like—the main character? The people that received the hot coffee all said the person was warm and genuine and loving…and that’s 81%…80%, there’s a 1% variable, it’s natural variation. But, the people who were given iced coffee said the person was cold, controlling or manipulative. There was no….
DAVID: They have no idea there’s a link between the two….
TONY: Zero, and it’s 45 minutes later.
TONY: Right. They’ve done an ad where they take…you know the old “Think Differently” Apple ad versus an IBM ad, and they put the people who watch both ads and then they have them take a creativity test? The people who watched just 30 seconds of the Apple “Think Differently” ad, scored on average, 20% higher on the creativity test. If they take young women at Harvard, they’ve taken those who are of Asian descent and…you know in our culture, people have been conditioned to believe that men are better at 3science or math than women are. But in the Asian culture…Americans believe that Asians—men or women—are better. So they give them the SAT—the math SAT test—and they only do one different thing. At the top of the thing…they had to write down on one of them…first, what their gender was, which is female. And in another group, what their ethnicity was, which was Asian. The people that wrote down that they were female scored 10% lower on the test. The people that said they were Asians scored 10% higher in the test. There was a 20% differential, once again, and all it was, was: “are you a woman or are you Asian?”
So we think we know what drives us to think the thoughts we think, but much of it is primed, so I don’t hope I’m going to wake up feeling great. I prime myself. So, first, I push my body. I prime it. I do hot water, usually like a Jacuzzi, if I can, but I always do the cold water immediately and I then I prime. And what’s my priming? I do a breathing pattern that’s common to yogic practices. It’s explosive breath, in and out the nose. I do three sets of 30.
DAVID: Like the breath of fire?
TONY: Like the breath of fire. So, then I’m (demonstrates the breathing exercise)…while you’re bringing your arms up as you take the air in and then slamming your shoulders down, exploding breath out, having come all the way back to the spine. And I do three sets of ten, then I pause, feel, and three sets of ten, pause, feel, three sets of ten…so I’m doing 90 basically, total. That alters my state. Takes about a minute. And then I take ten minutes because my view is very simple…if you don’t have ten minutes for your life, then you don’t have a life, right? So, if you want to do more, of course, you can do more than ten minutes. Anybody can do it. And I break it up into three segments. Three minutes and a third roughly. With the first three minutes, I focus on three things I’m grateful for and all I do is…I don’t think about, like, riding a roller coaster years ago, way over there…I think about going over the edge of the roller coaster. I put myself in the experience of something I’m grateful for.
DAVID: Fully associated.
TONY: Fully associated and I feel it because the reason is, when you cultivate gratitude, you’re wired, any time you go to emotion, you’re wiring it, so…but I want to wire it with enough intensity that I really feel it and enjoy it and gratitude is unique in that, when you’re grateful you can’t be fearful. And most people, when you’re grateful you can’t be angry. And anger and fear are the two things that screw most people’s lives up, so I start out and I think of three events, three experiences and I dive in for a minute on each of them…feel it fully, feel the gratitude, feel the appreciation for it, and I always pick one of the three to be something really simple, like feeling the wind on my skin or my hair, or the look on one of my kid’s (faces), or looking over at a flower or something, and just taking it in.
So, I train my brain…it doesn’t have to be life changing stuff to be able to be that grateful. When I’ve done that for three minutes, I feel really wonderful and I’ve already done my altered state, so now I take three minutes roughly, three and a third, and I do basically a blessing or a prayer. First, I take in the energy through my head and through my whole body and I see my body healing like a white light or gold light or a nice blue light and I see it going through every cell in my body healing my body, my emotions, my relationships, healing my thoughts. I ask that all problems or any problems, whether I know them or not, are being solved, not just I solve them. And I also ask that the best of me be strengthened…my passion, my caring, my love, my compassion.
Then when I’ve done that for about a minute and a half, then I take that same energy and I bring it into my body, all through my legs and to the center of the Earth and I bring it back up through the top of my head. I do that over and over, and then I send that in an arc to my children, to my wife, to my dearest friends, to my close partners and business associates and my clients and then to anybody I’m going to meet. And so it’s like a blessing within my own body and then sharing that blessing.
Then, after three minutes of that, my last three minutes are what I call “my three to thrive,” where I focus on three results that I want to achieve. Specific results that are strong and important, but I see them as done, I feel them as done, I celebrate them as done. I own it inside my nervous system as if it’s already there.
DAVID: It could be something you’re focusing on that’s going to happen today or it could be sort of a long-term goal….
TONY: I usually do longer-term pieces, I usually do three to twelve month versions of things for myself….
DAVID: Oh, OK.
TONY: The day-to-day stuff I usually take in quicker and then I’m done. Then what’s happened is, I’m wired for the day, I’m in a very strong alpha state. That’s what that puts me in and I’ve got a stacking of such deep gratitude. I’ve got a stacking of feeling, like my mind, body, heart and soul and all those I care about are loved and healing, and I’ve got a stacking of feeling, like, I’m already achieving what I want and that’s how I start my day.
DAVID: Very powerful way to start your day. I really love that. Our “Awaken” readers, I think, are really going to like it as well.
Read Part I Here: Step Outside Of Mind’s Control And Step More Into Heart’s Control
Read Part III Here: The Awakened Masculine And Feminine
Read Part IV Here: Live In A Beautiful State.
David Welch: is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award-winning movie “Peaceful Warrior” and a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qi gong practice.