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Wondering how to deal with stress in a healthy way? Listen to this talk on the MindBody, the neuroscience and biology of stress and how the five sheaths taught in Yoga traditions can give you an easy way to feel more in control over your life.

Listen to the 5 Sheaths Meditation Here:

Episode 22: Stress and the MindBody Solution

Season 2: Episode 22 Transcript

Debra Maldonado 00:03

Welcome to Creative Mind Living, a podcast for personal growth based on the works of Carl Jung neuroscience and Eastern philosophies. We’re your hosts Debra Berndt Maldonado, and Dr. Rob Maldonado, founders of the Creative Mind Coaching. Hello, everyone. Welcome to a soul session on lovely Saturday afternoon. How are you? Good. How are you doing? Good. We are talking about a topic that is probably a very common question we get a lot is how do we deal with stress? Yeah. Is anyone under stress right now? There’s a lot of people. There’s a lot of change going on in the world and always change in our life. But how do we deal with stress? So we’re going to answer what is stress? What is the mind body? And how do we shift the mind body so we feel better In our bodies and our minds around the world, and what we’re experiencing.

Robert Maldonado 01:06

Yeah. Yes. So let’s start with stress because we have our own definition or our own take on it.

Debra Maldonado 01:16


Robert Maldonado 01:18

But we’ll cover kind of the basic scientific or psychological definition of stress.

Debra Maldonado 01:25

Okay. So what is the psychological definition of stress, doctor?

Robert Maldonado 01:32

Well, it definitely takes the body as this biological machine that is meant to respond to the environment. It’s designed to respond to the environment. And so it has a lot of sensory apparatuses to detect danger. Anything thing that’s dangerous in the environment, your body is designed to focus on it, and make sure you’re aware of it and that you notice it so it doesn’t kill you.

Debra Maldonado 02:14

And so I think there’s one ways these are stored is one genetically. We have certain things that stress people out that are stimulates from our ancestors, right?

Robert Maldonado 02:29

Very much so. We can say that our systems are designed for survival. And really, they do, let’s say, they fit in perfectly in a natural situation in a natural environment where we were meant to be. We were meant to look out for predators. Make sure we understood where the food was and be aware of dangers from strangers, other tribes and those kind of things. And be very, let’s say, we’re very attuned to social rejection as well.

Debra Maldonado 03:12

Because social rejection means that you’re, there’s safety in the group. There’s safety in numbers. And then if you’re kicked out, your end up, you’re in trouble. You’re in trouble because you had to take care of yourself.

Robert Maldonado 03:26

So all those systems are operating now, except now we’re moving in traffic, and an office situation, or right now at home.

Debra Maldonado 03:38

Online on social media and we’re getting threatened by people. But it’s not like they’re going to kill us, but we’re almost threatened by other people’s ideas or other people not liking our stuff or arguing with us.

Robert Maldonado 03:53

Yeah, the problem is that our system responds as if we were threatened

Debra Maldonado 04:01


Robert Maldonado 04:02

Yeah, that as if our survival was threatened by a Facebook post.

Debra Maldonado 04:09

Some random person that you never met getting into an argument with you and you’re just like, your blood is boiling and you’re triggered.

Robert Maldonado 04:18

That’s right. And it’s very unhealthy. Because what happens is, if we don’t have a natural way to say, to deal with those situations, responding on Facebook is not a good way to do it. You know, you might respond by saying something back to somebody that disagrees with you. But that’s not going to calm you down or make you feel less stress, because now the mechanisms are in overdrive. And now what happens when you’re stressed is that the emotional brain kicks in. All the defense mechanisms kick in. And they override the logical thinking part of your mind. So now you’re reacting and responding from this very primal, emotional mind.

Debra Maldonado 05:18

And if you try to talk yourself out of being stressed, it doesn’t work because that mind is the logical mind is not even available to you. You’re just reacting and reacting and you’re kind of caught in that triggered response.

Robert Maldonado 05:32

Yes. And so the research shows that the chronic stress is really the most harmful.

Debra Maldonado 05:41

It’s that subtle, like, those people that really get mad at us. They, we know it’s there. But it’s that subtle stress that you’re not even realizing that you’re stressed out. You’re on this, you know. You’re ignoring it or suppressing it, and your body’s doing something but your mind is doing something else and you’re not even realizing all the pressure you’re putting on yourself and that’s what chronic stress is. We learned to almost like anything we learned our body learns to numb it out the trigger. After a while, it’s just like, I’m just gonna find a way to put it aside because it’s getting disruptive. So I’m just going to push it down, but the body’s still still processing it in a way.

Robert Maldonado 06:24

Yeah, so we can define stress as this natural reaction. And the systems that we have to respond to the environment in emergencies and life threatening situations in difficult situations that are meant to and designed to help us. But when they’re over triggered and triggered by stimuli that we have no control over, then we’re in trouble because we’re stewing in all these neuro transmitters and hormones that are kicked. The system is kicked up by the stress and that energy has nowhere to go. So we kind of simmer in these very harmful hormones that are stewing in our bloodstream.

Debra Maldonado 07:22

You know, one of my friends, she taught me this technique for when you speak, that if you get that adrenaline flowing because you’re really kind of preparing for battle, when you speak, you feel your ego thinks that I’m going to, you know, face the enemy here. And so we’re all ginned up in ourselves. And it’s like this tension. And she said, just put your hands against the wall, like almost like you’re doing a push up, but lean back. So you’re putting pressure on your hands, and you’re taking that energy and it’s surging out of your hands. It’s like you’re exerting the energy because we need to do something. Like some people like run in place, or they shake it off before their performances, and it’s that kind of we need to do something with this energy that’s in our body. But if it’s chronic stress, we don’t even realize it’s there. We just kind of want to live with it. Yeah, we learned to live with it, and we just kind of like that’s just the way like, we don’t even know how to relax basically.

Robert Maldonado 08:20

Yeah. So let’s go to the next level or next point is, what is the mind body? Because that’s really what we’re experiencing. Now why do we call it a mind body instead of just the body and the brain or the mind? Because recent research as well as they say, the wisdom traditions of yoga, the Upanishads Gita, they conceive of the body in a very different way. It’s not of this physical machine that somehow produces awareness robot.

Debra Maldonado 09:00

Like a robot.

Robert Maldonado 09:02

Yeah, it’s,

Debra Maldonado 09:04

It comes online.

Robert Maldonado 09:06

Yeah. The concept in a lot of modern science is that our brain is like a computer, but it’s the other way around. Computers are similar to our brain, or they do similar things as our brains do. Our brains are the primary ones. They’re the ones that produce computers, not the other way around.

Debra Maldonado 09:32

Wouldn’t it be that our consciousness is a computer? In a way?

Robert Maldonado 09:37

Let’s say, consciousness expresses itself in a computational way.

Debra Maldonado 09:43

Okay in a pattern or structure.

Robert Maldonado 09:48

Right. Not always, though. Because in Eastern philosophy, consciousness is a pure state. It doesn’t have any objects, no computations, no thoughts, no emotions.

Debra Maldonado 10:06

And then it pours into the Maya that creates the physical, has these patterns in it and then it pours into that.

Robert Maldonado 10:15

The biological world arises from consciousness. So it’s very much as if you are looking at a virtual reality. The objects in that virtual reality world are made out of pixels and light and electricity energy. We can think of the manifest that universe in similar terms. It is created out of consciousness, out of light, out of awareness itself. And it is created from that energy of consciousness. It appears to be separate from us and separate from our own awareness, but in reality, it’s arising in our own awareness. Very much like the headset that we put on with a virtual reality that shows us that internal world, the virtual reality. And so that’s really. And now this is based on current understanding of consciousness, not only the ancient wisdom, but it’s also being supported by our current understanding of awareness and consciousness. So it’s a mind body, meaning that just like we become aware of our own body, that means this body, the way you can see it is part of the virtual experience of consciousness. The awareness is creating it for us. So it’s not a set.

Debra Maldonado 11:59

So we are consciousness.

Robert Maldonado 12:01

Yes, exactly. Our body is made out of consciousness. That’s why it’s best to call it a mind body instead of a body and then the mind separately, which is the, Descartes kind of came up with that division. And science has used it for a long time that way, that our bodies are separate from our minds, that they’re made out of two different substances. In reality, no, it’s consciousness is both. It’s creating both our minds like our individual minds and our individual bodies and the experience of the world. Everything is arising from that one consciousness.

Debra Maldonado 12:49

And you are that consciousness.

Robert Maldonado 12:51

And you are that consciousness. But let’s get back to the practical aspects of this. What are the implications when we are experiencing these stressful situations in the simulation?

Debra Maldonado 13:06

Well, most people would say, well, let me take a bubble bath. Let me walk away from this situation. Let me meditate. Let me write down a list of all the things I’m grateful for. Eat, distract myself, drink, smoke, do something to get rid of the stress, right? And so how do I get rid of the stress? How do I run away from it or suppress it? Or just know that this is just part of life almost like we learn to live with it. We we learn to tolerate the stress. So we go into a job every day that eats at us, but we say you know, we’re getting a paycheck. So we’re getting some kind of payoff from it. So we just kind of tolerate it. And we never really cope with it. And we never really think, like almost like in a way, we don’t think that we do have a choice, that we’re stuck. And so that’s the worst thing is that there’s nothing we can do to escape. So that would be the normal way a lot of people do to deal with stress. But there is a better way, a more constructive way to work with stress.

Robert Maldonado 14:12

Absolutely. So let’s say we consider these two elements that we know we’re experiencing because we’re not denying stress. It’s obviously there. We’re experiencing it. But what we want to do is we want to correct the perception of what is stressing us. And why is it stressing us? Right? So, the misperception comes in this way, that we think there’s something external that is producing the stress.

Debra Maldonado 14:52

Causing the spread. That causes the external.

Robert Maldonado 14:54

Yeah, that the cause is external precisely. That something external to me is what’s causing me to be stressed. Why is that misperception there? Because it appears that way to us. Our senses are designed to look outward and to perceive things as if they were separate from us, but they’re not. That’s where the higher understanding comes in. Now we can correct the misperception. We can understand that everything I’m experiencing, everything I’m aware of regardless of where it’s coming from, regardless of its source, if I am experiencing it, that means I’m experiencing it in my mind.

Debra Maldonado 15:46

Regardless of its apparent source, because the source is always within you.

Robert Maldonado 15:51

The source is always within you. That’s right. Which means now by implication, that means you are the one that has control over it. Whereas when you perceive it to be outside of you, external to you, independent of you, you have no control over it.

Debra Maldonado 16:14

You’re projecting your power out to someone out to the external.

Robert Maldonado 16:18

You’re relinquishing any power over it. You’re saying, how can I control the world that’s out there if I’m not connected to it, if I’m independent of it, or it is independent of me? That makes perfect sense. You don’t. If it’s independent of you, you have no control over it. It’s going to do what it’s going to do. And you’re going to be stressed because you can’t control it.

Debra Maldonado 16:42

I like the analogy that I’ve read in Swami Vivekananda. He said that it’s like we believe that we’re the cork that’s popping up and down on the top of the ocean and being tossed about by the waves and going oh, poor me. Poor me. The world is, you know, there’s waves or, you know, all the storms and kind of helpless to the storms of life. He said, but we really truly we are the ocean, we’re not the cork. And it’s changing that perception that the cork is just a very tiny little. If we come from that perspective that the world is bigger than us, these waves that come in, these challenges that come in, these people, we should feel stressed. I mean, it really is like when we were, you know, cavemen. We didn’t have the the enlightenment that we do now with that connection that we felt maybe some people do. The shaman in the group may have done that, but the average ordinary person still felt like they had to physically survive in the world. And so we do this all the time.

Robert Maldonado 17:45

Right. So the implications of, let’s say, correcting the misperception that we are experiencing mental experiences now, we’re not denying the experience. The experience is happening. But it’s happening in a mental stage, not in the apparent reality of the external world going on somewhere independent of us.

Debra Maldonado 18:17

Like it’s a random bad luck that happened to us. Yeah, but that bias that is causing us stress is just random. Like, you know, I just got the wrong job at the wrong time with the wrong person.

Robert Maldonado 18:32

That’s right. Also, we are then correcting the misperception that the stress, that the cause is coming from outside of us. The anger, the frustration, the anxiety is arising from within us from our own mind.

Debra Maldonado 18:53

No one can put anxiety into you.

Robert Maldonado 18:55

No one can put anxiety in our mind

Debra Maldonado 18:58

They could trigger what’s already there as a mirror, but they can’t actually create the anxiety. You create it within yourself.

Robert Maldonado 19:06

It’s created from within. Exactly. The experience, let’s say, can trigger that. Yes, but the experience is happening within you as well. So it’s a difficult adjustment to make because we’re so conditioned. And in our senses, they present such a convincing appearance of things. I think Einstein said, reality is just like a dream. But it’s a very persistent vision. Yeah, it’s a very persistent one, right? It it appears to us to be external to us and that we have nothing to do with it. But the gradual adjustment that we want to make in understanding the mind body and how it experiences the world is that we we have to own it. It’s arrived from within us. And the great news of that is that if it’s arising within us, we can control it. We can work with it.

Debra Maldonado 20:09

So how do we shift it?

Robert Maldonado 20:11

We shifted, first of all by making that adjustment. Understanding that I’m seeing my own mind. In whatever stress situation I’m seeing, I’m seeing my own mind.

Debra Maldonado 20:23

My mind is telling me to be stressed about this. My mind is telling me a story or responding to the external and triggering or stress response. Because of previous experience with this very same same stimulus out there, whether it’s in my lifetime or genetically, we all have this, you know, the fight flight or freeze response coded in us genetically. So we are going to have those responses automatically. And then we decide what creates those responses.

Robert Maldonado 21:00

Very much.

Debra Maldonado 21:00

What, you know, we decide. And for us I think a lot of people think, well, what you said before is that we’re not really in survival anymore. We’re not really worried on a deep level about someone killing us. I mean, there are circumstances where we maybe we’ve had that experience, but for the most part, we’re not worried about that. But most of the I think we’re worried about is social shame and rejection, and I think that is what causes us stress. We may think it’s about money. If I don’t pay my bills, if my boss is not nice, or I’m going to be alone, you know, no one’s going to love me. It’s the shame of who we are. And that kind of like I need to fit in with everyone. I need to look good. I need to have this persona to feel safe. And that those assumptions that we made or when you say the causes within us, we’re the ones who are are deciding that. There’s some people that it doesn’t bother them. So how could we say that everyone feels the same way? Everyone doesn’t like that one boss or doesn’t feel appreciated by that one boss. It’s what about you? Like what how are you relating and your self assessment is all about preserving that kind of self worth.

Robert Maldonado 22:26

That’s right. And so we’re dealing with the three elements. Thought, which is kind of the analytical interpretation of what’s going on, like we create a narrative, a structure to the situation. So with a boss situation, I may say the boss is not acknowledging my needs or my voice.

Debra Maldonado 22:51

Or he’s gonna fire me so I got to be on guard and stressed out.

Robert Maldonado 22:54

He doesn’t like me. Right. Emotion, which is the anger or frustration of the situation that is really tapping into previous conditioned reactions that we’ve had in similar situations. So it might go back to the way I experienced my father and the frustration that I had with him, overriding my voice or my desires, and me having to repress those emotions. Now they’re coming out and they’re playing into the situation. So thought, emotion, and behavior. What am I doing? And what action am I taking? Am I not able to set the boundaries that I need to set?

Debra Maldonado 23:45

I need to speak up. I need to fight this person.

Robert Maldonado 23:48

Am I going to the bar immediately when I’m stressed by the situation and drinking my self silly? What am I doing?

Debra Maldonado 23:56

Am I avoiding confrontation? Do I tell my other friends about how I hate the boss but never tell the boss directly like let me tell you how I feel?

Robert Maldonado 24:04

Passive aggressive. Yes. So what we want to do is there’s a mechanism in our mind that’s called the witness mind. So the witness mind is the one that is able to observe our own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and assess the situation from a neutral perspective. It’s the witness mind. It’s not a participating mind.

Debra Maldonado 24:31

It’s not judging mind.

Robert Maldonado 24:32

It’s not a judging mind. It’s simply witnessing, observing. That is going to give you the power to manage any stressful situation. Now, it does require some practice. Of course, like any new skill, we’re not used to using that witness mind. We’re used to reacting and wanting to fix the situation externally.

Debra Maldonado 24:55

Moving chess pieces around.

Robert Maldonado 24:57

Yeah, we’re misperceiving the situation and then acting out of that misperception. Now, we’re not saying not to take action. Of course, we need to take action in whatever situation we’re doing. But we’re going to take the action from that higher perspective, from understanding it through the wisdom mind, through the observation of the witness mind.

Debra Maldonado 25:24

So how would you explain that?

Robert Maldonado 25:26

So here it is.

Debra Maldonado 25:27

Here it is.

Robert Maldonado 25:29

If I ask you think of a horse. Okay? Just take a little time. Imagine a horse. Now, I asked you, are you thinking of a horse right now? Your mind is able to observe its own thoughts and verify whether there’s a horse in there.

Debra Maldonado 25:54

And there’s a thought of a horse in there.

Robert Maldonado 25:56

Or not. Right? So you can say, yes, I can see it in my mind or no, I can’t imagine it. Either way, that ability to have your mind to observe its own thoughts, emotions, behaviors, that’s the witness mind. And it’s a very powerful mind. It’s not actually involved in the thought itself. It’s a pure awareness that is observing the mind doing its thing.

Debra Maldonado 26:33

So how is that the same as mindfulness, or is that different?

Robert Maldonado 26:37

Depends how people define mindfulness. There’s a lot of variation. But I’d say it’s different. It’s a little bit different because it’s more like our natural mind. You’re not really creating any new state of mind. You’re simply using

Debra Maldonado 26:56

I’m going to do this in a very loving way. That would be more mindfulness? Like you’re intending where your mind is while you’re doing something. This is just witnessing.

Robert Maldonado 27:04

Just witnessing. That’s right. But what it does, using the witness mind, what it does, it gives us that non attachment to the thoughts and the emotions. We don’t get caught up in it. We don’t have to be fixing the thought or the emotion or the behavior. We’re simply observing it. Now, what we know about observation is that it changes the nature of the thought and the emotion and the behavior.

Debra Maldonado 27:34

It’s like that research where they had the productivity expert come in, and they wanted him to, you know, assess everyone and then come up with a plan

Robert Maldonado 27:47

To increase productivity.

Debra Maldonado 27:48

To increase productivity. And then he just didn’t do anything, and he was just watching them. And they said, oh, my god! Productivity’s up 30%! What did you do? And he said, I haven’t even started yet. I’ve just witnessed, observing. And it changes. So it’s really your awareness changes things. And I think a lot of people think they’re trying so hard to work with, you know, not being stressed that it can be easier than to just having that awareness. Make that change that observation make the change.

Robert Maldonado 28:24

Well, the ultimate understanding is that you are that witness mind. You are not the thoughts. You’re not the emotions. And the way we’ve been conditioned is to think that we are the thoughts that if I have a bad thought, that makes me bad. That if I have a negative thought or a negative emotion, that means I’m bad. I’m shameful.

Debra Maldonado 28:51

Or I am having this stress where you could, as the witness, you’re just saying this.

Robert Maldonado 28:57

I’m observing my mind.

Debra Maldonado 28:58

I’m observing my mind being stressful. And the thing is you won’t feel like you have to fix it. So when you stop judging the stress is something to get rid of, it actually goes away. But it almost increases stress trying to get rid of stress, right? So that’s why I’m saying we try to make it so hard that we have to, like, do all these things, take bubble baths and just relax and go for a run, you know, to burn off the stress. And we have to kind of work through it to get rid of it, versus we can just observe it and go, oh, that’s interesting. My mind is telling me, you know, to worry about this. And I’m noticing my mind is stressed about this. And you’re taking the eye out of it. And you’re kind of building like a little buffer between you and your thoughts. And you’re starting to get back in power.

Robert Maldonado 29:45

Yeah. Then you can use visualization in a very powerful way with that understanding that you’re directing your mind to do the things that you want it to do instead of buying into the external, creating an internal conflict or stress situation, and then buying into that whole package of stress because I can’t control these external situations. That’s the key. So number one, you learn to use your witness mind. You learn to observe your thoughts, your emotions, your behaviors, from that witness mind.

Debra Maldonado 30:32

Not attached. Not trying to fix it.

Robert Maldonado 30:35

Not judging,

Debra Maldonado 30:36

Non judging,

Robert Maldonado 30:37

You’re simply observing. Then you start to understand, you are that witness mind. That’s the real you.

Debra Maldonado 30:45

I’m not this frantic thinker. That’s not who I am. You know, what I started to do. And I often tell my clients is to say, wow, that’s interesting, where my mind went, that just they’re like, oh, that’s interesting where my mind is taking it or the mind has taken me versus I am believing this. It’s, oh, this like other part of myself. It’s almost like my, oh, look what my hand is doing. It’s like not you. You think a mind is just, the process of the mind is just one thing. You know what I love about what you do? You use the word ego as a system or a process, a function. A function, just like digestion. So when you have indigestion and your digestion isn’t working, you’re not going I’m such a bad person because I feel stomach ache, you know. You’re just saying you’re aware that your body’s having some disruption. And so what if we looked at the stress and the thoughts of our mind the same way as just there’s something clogging up the digest. My mind is digesting the external world in a maybe in a not healthy way. So it’s kind of like having a disturbance of that digestion of ideas or input of stimulus. So it’s a process, but it’s not who we are. We just think we’re the thoughts.

Robert Maldonado 32:09

Yeah. There’s a whole philosophy that comes from yoga that’s called the five sheets. And it explains a little bit in more detail what the body, the mind body system is. It’s not the this duality of our body as this physical, robotic, biological element and then the mind, this ethereal kind of thinking stuff separate from the body. It essentially presents us a model that almost like a gridatian going from very gross, physicality like the cells of the body, the bones and the blood tissue, and then gradually works inward into more subtle forms of energy. And that’s a more realistic way of seeing the body actually. So the first element is first the physical body, the way we experience our physicality.

Debra Maldonado 33:21

It is really the tangible part we can touch and feel.

Robert Maldonado 33:24

Yeah, they see and they call it the food body because it’s constructed out of the food we eat and the elements, you know, the water we drink and those kinds of things. And it creates this physical body, food body.

Debra Maldonado 33:38

I love that because a lot of people get overly, like worried about their body, and the body is who you are. It’s just a bunch of, it’s food.

Robert Maldonado 33:45

It’s considered your food. Yeah, it’s considered the external covering of who you really are, of that pure awareness that’s in you. The external covering is the the physical body, then moving inward, you have the energetic body, the vital force within you. If you’ve ever seen a dead body, it has no animation to it.

Debra Maldonado 34:15

Very rigid. Lifeless.

Robert Maldonado 34:17

Yes, the energy, the life force has left it, and it has no animation.

Debra Maldonado 34:22

Just food now. It’s just the food.

Robert Maldonado 34:25

That energy body is kind of what animates and quickens our physical body. And it’s related. It’s interwoven with the physical body, but it’s separate. It can leave. It can change.

Debra Maldonado 34:42

It doesn’t need the physical body.

Robert Maldonado 34:44

That’s right. Then moving further inward, we get to the mind. The mind then is the one that creates that internal experience for us and interprets the sensory experiences that we’re having through our body, through the light that we’re seeing, the sounds that we’re hearing. It puts it all together and constructs an internal image of the world.

Debra Maldonado 35:09

So the physical body is the brain actually. And the prana, the etheric body, animates the brain. Because after, if that product is not there, the physical brain won’t process. And then the mind is like kind of the receptor, kind of. It works with that process.

Robert Maldonado 35:30

It’s a central computing system, like the CPU in computers. It’s the one

Debra Maldonado 35:35

Like the software verses the hardware.

Robert Maldonado 35:38

Yeah. And it creates that virtual reality for us. And it’s very personal.

Debra Maldonado 35:46

An interpretation.

Robert Maldonado 35:47

We’re in the same room, but your mind is creating your own virtual reality, which has its own perspective. And I have my own perspective.

Debra Maldonado 35:55

Like, I can’t see. You can’t, I can’t see what’s behind me, but you could see there because my eyes are, my physical body’s looking out, but then my eyes are witnessing that. Looking.

Robert Maldonado 36:06

That’s right. Then deeper still, there’s a more subtle level to the mind. It’s called the intellect. And the Greeks called it logos. And in Sanskrit, it’s called Viana, meaning wisdom. It’s the wisdom mind. It’s higher than then the sensory.

Debra Maldonado 36:27

Thinking mind.

Robert Maldonado 36:28

The thinking mind, it’s able to kind of think about its own thoughts.

Debra Maldonado 36:34

It’s self reflective.

Robert Maldonado 36:35

Self reflective, a little bit more logical, more detached from the emotions.

Debra Maldonado 36:42

Intuitive, creative.

Robert Maldonado 36:44

That’s right. Then deeper still, we experience the blissful mind. We experienced that actually, every night when we fall asleep, when we’re in deep sleep, we go into a blissful state. That’s why we feel refreshed when you have a good night’s sleep. But that blissful mind can be reached through meditation as well. As we go through these layers of the mind, and we go inward, we can reach that blissful state of mind and regenerate ourselves, feel more energetic and peaceful. Then we get to that witness mind, which is called the Atman. It is pure awareness, pure bliss, pure consciousness. And it’s at the core of who you are in western traditions. They call it the soul. The soul is indestructible. It is who you really are. And, you know, in a lot of, say religions, they talk about these things, but they say, well, you can only experience this when you die or, you know, once you’re gone. The Upanishads explained that this is who we really are right now. You don’t have to wait to experience these things. It’s who you are, but you have to realize it. You have to decondition your mind. Otherwise, you’re caught up in that external projection.

Debra Maldonado 38:19

So the mind is an ego mind is always pointing outward, feeling powerless like the little cork looking for the next wave that’s going to come and on guard. But the true mind, the Divine Self, which is the divine intellect, and the pure mind is the ocean. It’s a kind of deeper knowing that nothing can shake me, and I’m creating from the inside out, not the outside is telling me who I am.

Robert Maldonado 38:46

That’s it. And it begins by this practice, of practicing understanding your thoughts, your emotions, your behaviors through that witness mind observing it without judgment, without getting caught up in the thoughts and emotions that your mind is experiencing.

Debra Maldonado 39:12

So how practically would be the next step for people now that we’re getting close to the end? What would you say a good practice would be to reduce stress besides just, I mean is the witness mind just getting in and watching your thoughts? Really, the first thing they should do and anything after that?

Robert Maldonado 39:34

We can say that it, like any discipline, like any art, the more you practice it, the better you’ll become at it and the more benefit you will derive from it.

Debra Maldonado 39:45

So how do the five sheets relate to the witness mind? How do they use that information to use that meta consciousness? Do they imagine the five sheets like I’ve done? Or do you feel like that’s necessary?

Robert Maldonado 40:02

I say at advanced levels, yes. You get to the point where you can imagine the sheets as coverings of that pure awareness.

Debra Maldonado 40:14

So who I am is the pure awareness.

Robert Maldonado 40:16

Yeah. Because essentially, the first principle still applies that we are experiencing our mind body as a mental construct. It’s arising out of consciousness. So it doesn’t exist as we perceive it to be a physical object. It exists as a mental object as a mental experience.

Debra Maldonado 40:42

I think that a lot of people like we were saying in the beginning, they feel that they have to do something with it, you know, and I think it’s just it’s so on like almost like unbelievable. That if you could just put your, be in that awareness that would actually change the quality of your thoughts just by being aware of them?

Robert Maldonado 41:08

Well, because that awareness that pure awareness is not only a pure awareness, let’s say in the way we’re used to thinking of our mind as being aware, like when we wake up in the morning, it’s actually pure bliss and pure being and pure consciousness. So when you identify with that, as your true self, you are already experiencing that.

Debra Maldonado 41:40

You’re gonna have to go through finding a cave and going on an adventure. You already have everything within yourself already. The awareness is always there. But it’s like those Russian dolls. I like how, you know, the little one inside that covers it over. It’s already inside of us. It’s already here. It’s already being aware. We just don’t pay attention to it. We get distracted by the world.

Robert Maldonado 42:04

Right. So it’s not about attaining anything. On the contrary, it’s kind of about de-identifying with your body and your mind and your ego, letting go of that false identification.

Debra Maldonado 42:19

So as you if you were very externalized, we worry about the physical body, what people think of us, the breath and life and, you know, what am I going to do with my life? And then the mind is like, we’re all caught up there and that the most outer portions of our experience is directed outward. We get caught up in it. It’s like a rushing river and we’re just kind of swimming like trying to survive. But as we take a step back, it’s like standing on the edge of a rushing river on the bank and being that awareness going wow, look at that mind. Look at that craziness that’s happening out there. And then what happens is that it will stop the storm. It will stop the storm because the storm is as exacerbated by you thinking it’s real.

Robert Maldonado 43:06

Yeah. That’s a good way to put it. Absolutely.

Debra Maldonado 43:12

So, any last words Rob about mind body and stress that you can do. And I think that to feel like you don’t have to do much to get rid of stress. That if you just sit with yourself, I mean, sometimes I remember when I, before you and I started working together, and I was just starting my little hypnotherapy business and we moved to New York. I was so stressed out and you know, kind of externalized, and I would fall back into the bliss. I would have this like, kind of like, it was like a net. And it was this like, beautiful light and it would just fall back into it like the pure awareness is holding me. And I remember thinking to myself, there’s nowhere to fall. I’m always going to be caught. And there is something about resting in that pure awareness that immediately dropped the stress in my life. It didn’t change the external circumstances overnight, but it helped me get clear because we can’t change the external. If we’re in fear and stress, we’re just going to repeat and feel defensive and we’re going to create more problems. If we’re in that stressful state of mind, we’re not allowing that intellect that you said that divine intellect. That’s that intuition, that insight, that wisdom to actually shine through and direct our life.

Robert Maldonado 44:28

Yeah, the key is to bring this knowledge to mind so that we can always remember who we really are and then to practice this meta consciousness is observing from that witness mind everything we’re doing, thinking, and experiencing.

Debra Maldonado 44:51

Awesome. Well, thank you everyone for joining us. We will see you next time on our soul session and look forward to hearing your comments and seeing you soon.

Robert Maldonado 45:02

All right. Take care. See you soon.

Debra Maldonado 45:05

Bye bye