The MindBody Code, Part 2

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November 25, 2014

Lessons from Centenarians

During the process of researching the roots of biocognitive science, neuropsychologist Mario Martinez interviewed dozens of centenarians—people who live healthily past 100. In the second part of their conversation about Mario’s new book, The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success, Mario and Tami Simon discussed these centenarians and the four essential beliefs that they all share. They also talked about the different ways that various cultures view aging and how these views impact health. Finally, Mario and Tami spoke on forgiveness and its potential to positively affect our well-being. (61 minutes)

Dr. Mario Martinez is a U.S. clinical neuropsychologist who lectures worldwide on how cultural beliefs affect health and longevity. He is the founder of biocognitive science, a new paradigm that investigates the causes of health and the learning of illnesses. More importantly, biocognition identifies complex discoveries of how our cultural beliefs affect our immune, nervous and endocrine systems, and translates them to practical applications. Dr. Martinez has investigated cases of alleged stigmata for the Catholic Church, the BBC and National Geographic. He lives in Nashville, TN.

Author photo © Mario-Punta-2014

Listen to Tami Simon’s interview with Mario Martinez: The MindBody Code, Part 1 »
Listen to Tami Simon’s interview with Mario Martinez: The MindBody Code, Part 2 »
Listen to Tami Simon’s interview with Mario Martinez: Empowerment and ‘Navigating the Drift’ »

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Meet Your Host: Tami Simon

Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

Also By Author

The MindBody Code, Part 2

Lessons from Centenarians

During the process of researching the roots of biocognitive science, neuropsychologist Mario Martinez interviewed dozens of centenarians—people who live healthily past 100. In the second part of their conversation about Mario’s new book, The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success, Mario and Tami Simon discussed these centenarians and the four essential beliefs that they all share. They also talked about the different ways that various cultures view aging and how these views impact health. Finally, Mario and Tami spoke on forgiveness and its potential to positively affect our well-being. (61 minutes)

The MindBody Code, Part 1

Archetypal Wounds and Their Healing Fields

Mario Martinez is a clinical neuropsychologist and the founder of biocognitive science—a new paradigm that identifies complex discoveries of how our cultural beliefs affect our immune, nervous, and endocrine systems. With Sounds True, he has written a new book called The MindBody Code. In the first half of a two-part interview, Mario spoke with Tami Simon about how our cultural assumptions can affect our health and well-being. They also talked about archetypal wounds of shame, betrayal, and abandonment—as well as their corresponding healing fields of honor, loyalty, and commitment. Finally, Mario and Tami spoke on what means to feel worthy of making meaningful change in one’s life. (61 minutes)

Empowerment and ‘Navigating the Drift’

Tami Simon speaks with Mario Martinez, a clinical neuropsychologist whose breakthrough research examines how cultural beliefs affect our health and longevity. Mario is the founder of biocognitive science, a new paradigm that examines the dynamic relationship between thoughts, culture, and the body. With Sounds True, he has recorded an audio learning course called The Mind-Body Code: How the Mind Wounds and Heals the Body. In this episode, Tami speaks with Mario about the idea that culture creates biology; how we can access the antidote to shame, abandonment, and betrayal through healing fields in the body; and the concept of “the drift”—how we can navigate chaos with uncertainty as our guide. (68 minutes)

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5 Tools to Create More Space in Your Mind

Busyness, distraction, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.

I realize that’s a strange thing to say. Most of us don’t think of our mind as something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.

But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.

What happens in these moments? 

First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts about the past and the future. As a result, we lose touch with the direct experience of present time.

Second, we lose perspective. We can’t see the big picture anymore. Instead, it’s like we’re viewing life through a long and narrow tunnel. We become blind to possibility, fixated on problems.

Put these two together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for eradicating space in the mind. The landscape of the mind begins to feel like a calendar jammed with so many meetings, events, and obligations that these neon colored boxes cover-up even the smallest slivers of white space. 

So it could be nice for our partner, for our kids, and, mostly, for our ourselves to consider: how can we create more space in the mind?

Here are five tools for creating mental space. If you want to go deeper, check out my new book with Sounds True on the topic called OPEN: Living With an Expansive Mind in a Distracted World.

1. Meditation.

You’ve no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.

That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind. To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you.

2. Movement.

So, maybe you’re not the meditating type. That’s fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.

The key word here is “undistracted.” For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets covered over by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, swim, or practice yoga.

3. Relax.

When it comes to creating headspace, we moderns, with our smartphone-flooded, overly-stimulated, minds seem to inevitably encounter a problem: we’re often too stressed, amped, and agitated to open.

Relaxation – calming the nervous system – is perhaps the best way to counter this effect and create more fertile ground for opening. When we relax – the real kind, not the Netflix or TikTok kind –  the grip of difficult emotions loosens, the speed of our whirling thoughts slows, and, most important, the sense of space in our mind begins to expand.

How can you relax? Try yoga. Try extended exhale breathing, where you inhale four counts, exhale eight counts. Try yoga nidra. Or, just treat yourself to a nap.

4. See bigger.

When life gets crazy, the mind isn’t the only thing that shrinks. The size of our visual field also gets smaller. Our eyes strain. Our peripheral vision falls out of awareness.

What’s the antidote to this tunnel vision view? See bigger.

Try it right now. With a soft gaze, allow the edges of your visual field to slowly expand. Imagine you’re seeing whatever happens to be in front of you from the top of a vast mountain peak. Now bring this more expansive, panoramic, way of seeing with you for the rest of the day.

5. Do nothing.

Now for the most advanced practice. It’s advanced because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do — to do nothing.

Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.

Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don’t freak out too much. 

Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.

Nate Klemp, PhD, is a philosopher, writer, and mindfulness entrepreneur. He is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Start Here and the New York Times critics’ pick The 80/80 Marriage. His work has been featured in the LA Times, Psychology Today, the Times of London, and more, and his appearances include Good Morning America and Talks at Google. He’s a cofounder of LifeXT and founding partner at Mindful. For more, visit nateklemp.com or @Nate_Klemp on Instagram.

Parker Palmer: Welcome to the Human Race

Why is depression so hard for us to bring out into the open? Why does it stir up so much shame and fear? How can we shift our view of depression from a problem that needs to be fixed to a gateway to empathy, courage, wholeness, and belonging? These are the profound questions explored by Tami Simon and Parker Palmer in this incisive, insightful podcast. 

Join Tami and Parker as they discuss: Being present for those in depression; suffering and empathy; courage and resilience; integrating (rather than disowning) experiences of depression; showing up in the world as who you really are; the vast intelligence of life—and the weaving of shadow and light; embracing paradox; Parker’s metaphor of “living at altitude” (or the level of ego) vs. living from one’s soul; depression as a befriending, grounding energy; how Abraham Lincoln’s depression served as a force of reconciliation for a nation at war with itself; learning to be “hallowed by our diminishments”; and more.

Self-Love is a Superpower

Dear Sounds True friends,

I believe self-love is a superpower.

When we treat ourselves with kindness, it turns on the learning centers of the brain and gives us the resources to face challenges and learn from our mistakes. Transformation requires a compassionate mindset, not shame.

And yet, people often worry that self-love will make them lazy, self-indulgent, or self-absorbed. Science shows just the opposite: people with greater self-love are more compassionate toward others, more successful and productive, and more resilient to stress.

The best news of all: self-love can be learned. We can rewire the structure of our brain and strengthen the neural circuitry of love toward ourselves and others. Each time we practice self-love, we grow this pathway.

My new children’s book, Good Morning, I Love You, Violet!, offers a road map for strengthening your child’s brain circuitry of deep calm, contentment, and self-love.

It is built on principles of psychology and neuroscience and offers a simple yet powerful practice.

As a mother, when asked what I believe is the most important thing we can teach our children, I always answer “self-love.” Learning to be on our own team and to treat ourselves with kindness is life-changing. There is no greater gift we can give our children. There is no greater gift we can give ourselves.

May this book plant seeds of kindness that ripple out into the world.

Shauna's signature

Shauna Shapiro, PhD

P.S. I invite you to download a free coloring sheet from the book, created by illustrator Susi Schaefer, to enjoy with the children in your life.

Shauna Shapiro is a mother, bestselling author, professor, clinical psychologist, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and self-compassion. She lives in Mill Valley, California. Learn more at drshaunashapiro.com.

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