Meditation teacher, Tim Brown, joins me to talk about the importance of meditation for modern-day living. The concept of overwhelmability, emotional and mental hygiene and why health and wellbeing have been so focused on nutrition and exercise but the next big thing will be how to relax the body and mind daily. This was an incredibly inspiring episode and Tim is such an excellent communicator/storyteller.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:07] Hello and welcome to Unstress. I’m Dr Ron Ehrlich. Now, this is an unusual podcast and the first of many. This is actually both video and audio. So, if you’re used to listening to this just as the audio. Well, I hope you continue to use it. But if you’d like to put some faces to the names and some expressions to it all and make it seem a whole lot more personal and real.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:30] We’ve decided to go with video and audio and use the last few months of being on Zoom has kind of empowered us to come out and show ourselves. Well, today we are talking about meditation. But today’s conversation is just so exceptional. I don’t want to spoil it for you. My guest today is Tim Brown. Tim, as you will hear, has been teaching meditation for over 20 years to literally thousands of people. He has some great analogies, some great examples, some great images if you like.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:08] And I found it incredibly empowering. So, I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Tim Brown.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:18] Welcome to the show, Tim.
Tim Brown [00:01:19] Thanks, Ron. Very nice to be here.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:22] Tim, meditation. Big topic and an important one, obviously, we’re going to be talking about today. But before we dived into it, I wondered if you might just share with our listener a little bit about your own journey.
Tim Brown [00:01:34] Yeah, of course. You know, originally a country boy from out near Central West New South Wales. Before all of this, I was a rugby playing, beer drinking agricultural economist. Twenty-two years ago. And, you know, school, university. And actually, ended up getting a job in his Uzbekistan in 1996 and growing cotton. And I lived in a Muslim village pretty much on my own for a couple of years while actually developing models to privatise agriculture in the former Soviet and spent a couple of years out there. And I was looking for an adventure. And I got one and learnt to speak Russian in Uzbek. And all kinds of drink vodka and all kinds of things. And, you know, critical life skills. And then came back to Australia and it was time to kind of settle down, grow up and get a job. And I was very fortunate to be introduced to my teacher, that guy just up there behind in the blue shirt. His name is Tom Noll’s. Right. Tom was very well known here in Australia on the 70s, 80s and 90s. Yes. Trained neuroscientists that had given up a career in neuroscience to teach meditation, which is where I got really interested. And I was very fortunate to meet you and learn to meditate. Twenty-three years ago, now. And learnt to meditate immediately started feeling more relaxed and at ease and connected and open and moved out of agriculture into event management. And then brand strategy and development. Things that I had no backgrounding in and would never have had the confidence. But I was just meditating twice a day for 20 minutes and just felt more relaxed, at ease, connected, stable. And I just started putting myself out there and some pretty, pretty fun things started happening. And yeah, so I did that for a few years. Fell in love with this. Decided this is what I wanted to do. Ended up asking Tom to train me, which he did. And I came back here to Australia and set up a centre about twenty years ago. We taught about six thousand people to meditate now over the last 20 years.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:03:46] Tom Noll’s actually I did one of his courses in the Paddington Centre and I think he was in Paddington.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:03:53] Anyway, I did that in the early 90s, early 90s, and it was called then Transcendental meditation. And it’s since morphed into Vedic meditation.
Tim Brown [00:04:05] That’s right. So, Tom was part of the TM organisation for 35 odd years, and his teacher was that gentleman up there in the white robe, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And then Tom and the TM organisation went their separate ways, as happens with many organisations. And became Vedic meditation. So, you know, this has been called… It was called TAM for a period of time. Before that, it was DM, which is deep meditation. This technique has actually been around for over 5000 years. There’s an unbroken lineage over 5000 years old with this practise that’s been called lots of things over the last five thousand years. We call it Vedic meditation now.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:04:52] And, of course, that Vedic meditation, Vedic tradition is that that goes back over many years. We’ve actually interestingly, you’ve raised so many things there. But, you know, we’ve done a program on Ayurvedic medicine. Yeah. And we’ve done others on meditation, too. And interestingly, that your background is agricultural because we’ve done so many podcasts on regenerative agriculture. And that’s a whole other story. But let’s focus today on the meditation. And, you know, what are some of the issues in our modern world, as you see it, that you know, that make this so important?
Tim Brown [00:05:29] Yeah, I was watching a TED talk the other day, and it was by one of the world’s leading neuroscientists. He was saying that someone living a city anywhere in the world in 2020 is being exposed to the same levels of stimulation in one day that someone 250 odd years ago would have been exposed to in their whole lifetime. And he graphed it. And, you know, if we’re going to draw a little X Y air graph here, if that was 250 thousand years ago and that was today for two hundred forty-nine thousand seven hundred odd or seven hundred fifty years, we’ve been walking at four, five kilometers an hour, running at 10 to 12 kilometers an hour for short bursts.
Tim Brown [00:06:08] The demand levels were fairly consistent for two hundred fifty thousand years, jump forty-nine thousand seven hundred fifty years. It was only 250 or so years ago that steam turned up, you know, then electricity and cars. And then, you know, radio, media, plane travel only became available to the general population in the mid-1960s. We forget it was just a blink of a moment ago, blink of an eye ago. Then, of course, you know, and of course, this thing just then starts to escalate when we start getting to the, you know, 80s, 90s, you know, then email, then Internet, then Google, then mobile phones and smartphones. This this thing just escalated exponentially. And in a very, very short period of time, the stimulation levels that the human brain and nervous system is being exposed to even over the last three hundred years, if you look at that. But more specifically, the last 30 years, it’s just increased exponentially in a very short period of time. And the third law of thermodynamics says, as you excite or stimulate any system will naturally move towards a state of disorder or chaos as you de-excite a system it will naturally move towards a state of order.
Tim Brown [00:07:24] So here we are in this incredibly stimulating world with technology and travel and, you know, sugars, preservatives, et cetera, et cetera. And this enormous increase in stimulation in a very short period of time is moving the human brain and nervous system towards a state of disorder or chaos. And the qualities of an orderly, conscious state, as stated by neuroscience, are alacrity, which brings about clarity, perspective and vision, creativity, energy, joyfulness, intelligence and prints out as physical well-being. That’s the printout of an orderly, conscious state. As you start to overstimulate that system, it’ll start to move away from those qualities. So, we start to lose clarity, lose creativity, lose perspective, lose ease in the mind and the body. And if unchecked, will build over time towards dis-ease. And we’re seeing that happen at extraordinary rates. So, you know what? When you really take all the fluffy nonsense out of meditation and, you know, there is that soft side to it. But, you know, the very scientific approach to it is we’re in a world where the stimulation levels are increasing. We have to counterbalance that by de-exciting the conscious state on a daily basis. And to counterbalance or mitigate the overstimulation. And that’s where meditation, which is this ancient technique, is suddenly becoming such a powerful and critical tool. And we’re so fortunate that others before us have done the work and worked out how to facilitate and trigger that process of settling the mind, relaxing the body, turning off the adrenals, turning on the serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin. We can do that with meditation and doing it daily. Not, you know, a couple of good holidays a year. That’s not enough anymore.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:09:23] I’ll tell you when you put it, I mean, because we are still working with the same hardware and software that we have evolved to. But the programs that are coming at us is just it’s just totally it’s phenomenal. And I think you may have just described what I was going to ask you because I know you’ve invented this word “overwhelm ability”…. unoverwhelmability. I mean, I think you’ve just covered it. Is that. Is that what it’s about? Is that just that that’s the goal?
Tim Brown [00:09:57] That is the goal. And, you know, for years, you know, I’d been you know, my wife and I had three kids under two years. Nine months. Wow. No twins. Just one after the other. They are 14, 15 and 16 at the moment. And. And I’d be at a kid’s party or a dinner party or something. And people would say to me, you know, tell me one word what meditation can deliver to me. You know, people are in such a rush these days. And I’d say to them, well, you know, if you want to talk about it, let’s talk about it, but let’s not soundbite it. But the question kept coming again and again and again. Eventually, I thought, what? I’ve got to rise to the challenge here. And I couldn’t think of a word. So, I made one up and the word was unoverwhelmability. The ability to be unable to be overwhelmed. And the way I talk about it is with the rigours of day to day life and that overstimulation, we’re being drawn up into what I call the front row of the conscious cinema. So, you know, when you go to the movies, you get stuck in the front row. Horrible experience. It can be, you know, can be an Academy Award winning actor, actress, cinematographer, costume, everything. But if you’re in the front row, it’s a really uncomfortable experience, sound and the noise and you can’t see the picture. It’s very uncomfortable. It’s an overwhelming experience.
Tim Brown [00:11:22] And the solution is not to leave the cinema. The solution is to work out how to get back a few rows in the cinema. And if we can get back a few rows in the cinema, then the screen drops back. The sound settles, you know, choc up in one hand, somebody you like next to you or popcorn if savoury is your thing. And we can really lend ourselves to the, you know, the sound and the emotion. We can really lend ourselves on all levels, sensorial and emotionally to that experience without being consumed or overwhelmed by it. And this is exactly what we’re looking to do with meditation, is get back a few rows in the conscious cinema, because if we don’t know how to do that and we’re up here in the front row of the conscious cinema, which is where the lights drawing us to it triggers and demands, then the only solution to that sense of being overwhelmed is to control, you know. Can I control all the variables? If I can control all the variables, then I’m not going to be overwhelmed. I can get everything to be in a way that I can handle and manage. And then I won’t feel this sense of anxiety and overwhelm. And of course, that can’t be done. Nobody can do that. Certainly not sustainably. And so, it’s an unsustainable model. And this is what people are realising. And us humans are amazingly resilient, you know, entities will kind of give that a go. Good, solid go. If I can just get the, you know, the body looking like this and the bank account like this, and the relationship like this and the house looking like this, if I can get all my ducks lined up they’ll be this moment where everything’s going to be hunky-dory. The to do list is going to be empty. And I can relax and enjoy. And you and I both know that time is never, ever going to come. It’s like the horizon, the more that we walk towards it, the further it falls away from us. And this is the basis of the anxiety and the depression we are seeing in the world. These people are exhausting themselves, trying to get to this point where they can breathe and have a moment and relax. And it’s not it’s not it’s not coming. And this is just consuming and it’s exhausting and it’s depressing because I try and use all my effort and energy and adaptability and organising power. I get no closer to this moment in which I can experience some kind of peace or relief. And that’s because that methodology doesn’t work.
Tim Brown [00:13:52] The methodology that does work is if we can learn how to settle the mind, relax the body, process, destress every day, shift the flight, shift ourselves out of that flight biochemistry, the adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol coagulants into the what I call the stay and play biochemistry, the opposite of flight and fight is stay in play. Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, that wonderful biochemical cocktail. And the brain and body are designed to run on that that cocktail. It’s designed to do so. But if we get locked in that flight fight response, which is what so many people are doing, they forget about how to access that other state. We start to cultivate that through meditation. We’re able to get back a few rows in the conscious cinema. And again, there’s that space. It gives us that mental-emotional space that allows us to see things clearly, see things early, you know, adjust, adapt, interact. Our timing and delivery get better. And that’s where life becomes challenging but playful rather than challenging and stressful. There’s no such thing as a stressful situation. It doesn’t exist. There’s a stress response to a given demand. But that, from my model, depends on where you are in the conscious cinema. And we all know it. You know, when we’re tired and exhausted, the teaspoon falling off the kitchen bench can throw us into flight fight response. You know, it’s like someone’s going to die here. You know, how quickly can I get away from the demand? When we’re relaxed and at ease? That doesn’t even touch the sides. And so, this is what we’ve got to learn how to do is to get back a few rows in the conscious cinema. And to be able to do that right in the thick and the rigours of day to day life. And that’s why I’ve got my centre opposite the Four in Hand pub here in Paddington. You know, I want to show people how you can do this right in the thick of it. I’m not up in the Blue Mountains. I’m not sitting up in Byron Bay. You’ve got to learn how to do this right on the coal face in the thick of it. And that’s what I love about this practice, is it’s what I call the Formula One pitstop in meditation, refuel, new tyres, back on track. The world doesn’t need more people sitting around with their eyes closed for hours on end. It needs more people in it. Back a few rows in the conscious cinema, you know, with clarity, creativity, energy, joyfulness, intelligent perspective that can be right in the thick of life, but not be overwhelmed and consumed by it. And when we can be like that consistently, we can be a big net contributor to our families, to our friends, to our work environments. And that’s what the world desperately needs more now than ever. Is people that can be big net givers. And there’s a lot of stress, tension, fatigue, you know, is the thief in the night. And it robs us of us, robs our loved ones of us, our family of us, our friends of us, society, country, world, environment of us. And we’ve got to work out how to hit the pressure and fill up our own tank on a daily basis.
Tim Brown [00:17:02] And my experience is, as a person in my own right, as a husband and or a father, Will Gracie Rosie and a meditation teacher and a son and a brother. And we’ve all got a thousand hats, is if we’re going to do something around this. My experience is it’s got to fulfil three criteria. Cannot take very long. Got to be able to do it anywhere. It has to have very few, if any, prerequisites. And that’s you know, that’s what this does. Vedic meditation does beautifully. If you can sit down and close your eyes on a bus, train, plane, car, board, drone park bench, you can sit down and close your eyes. You’re good to go. That’s it. And 20 minutes later, you practise mind settled body relaxed, out of flight and fight, into stay in play, and we’re ready to go. We’re back a few rows in the conscious cinema and we’re ready to launch you to make a contribution.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:58] I love your analogies, Tim. I really do. I mean, it does put it into a context. I love the theatre analogy and I love that building. I was reminded of it yesterday as I was driving home and I was looking at a bus stop and there was a group of teenage boys from a local private school. Yeah, it was about 10, 15 of them, which in my experience through school would have been a raucous site. Yes. And there they were all sat all every single one of them sat looking at their phones and who knows? I mean, obviously bombarded by this exponential information that you’ve mentioned to us. And we’ve done so many programs on mental health as well. And what a huge and growing problem it is right across the board. I mean, you know, this is this is a major problem from what we are all faced with this unoverwhelmability… love it because we are overwhelmed. You’ve covered you’ve touched on that. So, the benefits, the benefits you’ve mentioned just run us through those benefits of meditation.
Tim Brown [00:19:11] Yeah, I think, you know, I think, you know, let’s have a look at the source of those de-excite the conscious state, settled the mind and body. Relax. De-excitation brings about, again, clarity in thinking, creativity, energy, joyfulness prints out as physical well-being. And that’s what we’re really, you know, interested in cultivating one of the great if you know, over the 20 years that I’ve been teaching. If I’ve seen one real thing with meditation, people go into meditation trying to, you know, achieve something. And in fact, the real subtlety to meditation is about setting meditation up, triggering it and allowing it to happen. That’s the art of meditation. And what that allows and what that does is it invites into the process that natural intelligence in the mind and body that as you and I sitting here quietly now having a little cup of tea as we’re sitting here now. And you would know this better than I you know, there are six trillion things per second going on in our nervous system. It’s an extraordinary intelligence. It’s an incredible thing if we were to meet in nine year’s time. The only aspect of the body that you and I sitting in today that would be in the room in nine year’s time would be your specialty, our teeth. Otherwise, every other cell in the body will have been replaced at least once in nine year’s time. So, there’s this magnificent intelligence that is a whole-body replacement program. As you and I are sitting here quietly. Our eyebrows are growing as you and I are chatting here.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:20:59] I didn’t want to say to me that they’re a little bushy. I know it.
Tim Brown [00:21:06] But, you know, this is incredible intelligence. And what meditation is about is about, you know, it is about giving that intelligence in the mind and body that’s capable of structuring six trillion things per second, an opportunity twice a day to do whatever it needs to do. And it’s about giving that intelligence 20 minutes and triggering a little process inside of that sequence. Inside of that that triggers the mind to settle, the body to relax. And that incredible healing capability. And, you know, restructuring and reorganising and repairing capacity in the brain and body to do what it’s designed to do. Because out here in the world where, you know, we’re out here ticking stuff, stuff off the list, you know, we’re that very go forward motion. And what we’re learning how to do is to go this way just for a few moments before we launch into the dynamics. And this has become a forgotten art. And the ultimate metaphor for meditation is archery. So, the whole goal of Archery is to hit the target, twenty-five metres in this direction. And yet, if we know what we’re doing with the bow and arrow, we put the arrow in the bowstring. The first thing we do is draw that string back, you know, seven or eight inches. Now, this is a very interesting action when you look at it. I’m trying to put this arrow. What am I trying to do? The goal is to put this arrow twenty-five metres in that direction in the shortest amount of time, most effectively. And the first thing we do is this doesn’t make sense initially. Yet in drawing that bowstring back, we create that potential in the bowstring. That bowstring is now quivering with potential we then take aim and then release the bowstring. And in a microsecond, we get twenty-five metres a result. This is a law of nature that has us humans have forgotten to apply to ourselves. We see it everywhere and we apply it in all other kinds of ways. But we’ve forgotten how to apply this to ourselves. Everyone in construction knows you want to go up two stories or 200 stories that way first foundation in, then we go that way. Every plant and tree that we’ve ever seen. There’s a beautiful tree just out the window here in Elizabeth Street. They all know they’ve got to invest time, effort, energy going this way in order to successfully and sustainably go this way. Every golfer as they approach and address a ball. No, they’ve got one of two options.
Tim Brown [00:23:33] They can either flip that thing down the fairway, which is one methodology, but it’s not the most artful. Or they can take that club and do something very, very strange. They can draw, spend time and effort and energy drawing the club away from the bowl. And then they release the club and, you know, then they get a greater result. And this is exactly the same law of nature. Remember those little cars we had as kids and you’re in the corridor with your brother or sister or friend, and you had one of two options. You can either flick it down, you know, the corridor, you can take that moment and draw it back and load it and then release it. Exactly the same principle. And yet us humans have forgotten the art of doing this and the value of doing this. And just like we don’t go back too far with the bowstring, we don’t have to spend too much time doing this. 20 minutes will do the trick. It’s a natural circadian rhythm of rest. And we go this way, practise and then we launch. And this is where all the fun is. But we’ve got to put a conscious foundation on our conscious experience.
Tim Brown [00:24:38] We’ve got to put a conscious keel. I call it, conscious keel. Put a conscious keel or conscious foundation on the experience. Then we launch into the dynamics. And just like the foundation on this building here. Not very glamorous. The root structure on these streets can’t see it. Not obvious. Not glamorous. But, you know, if these trees here decided today I’m not doing this anymore, I’m just going to go for it. And they go for sunlight because that’s what trees do. And they branch out. They look fabulous. You know, a storm comes and they are going to end up as firewood here on Elizabeth Street. And this is what we’re seeing with a lot of humans. We’re seeing a lot of humans get wobbly. Why? Because they don’t have a conscious foundation on them. They’re getting mentally and emotionally unstable. And the solution to that is put a bigger foundation on that conscious experience. Get big, get broad settle the mind. Relax the body. Open up that conscious base his foundation and then launch from there.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:25:39] And it’s such an interesting analogy again. Tim, good on you. You’re clearly a very good educator. I can just imagine. But, you know, drawing that analogy with the roots again, because as I think I mentioned to you, we’ve done a lot of shows on regenerative agriculture. And of course, you can make a plant look really good by offering to give you two or three basic nutrients and it looks okay, but it’s not nutrient-dense. But if we nurture the root system and the microbes and the mycorrhizal fungi, we suddenly end up with nutrient-dense foods. So, what a great analogy this is fitting so nicely.
Tim Brown [00:26:18] And, you know, I think that’s so great, Ron, because, you know, what we’re ultimately talking about is there’s one thing, you know, let’s get right to the cut of it. You know, unified field theorem and quantum field physics, which is one of my favourite areas, you know, is suggesting, you know, its premises is that there is, in fact, one whole indivisible conscious field expressing itself an infinite diversity while maintaining its unified nature at all times. There’s only one thing. And this is the revelation. This is where this the theme of this age is what you still look separate, other and distant is revealing itself to be close, connected and similar. And so, we look at, you know, we look at agriculture and we see these kinds of underlying principles. And then we look at ourselves and we see that, in fact, those principle apply to us as well? Because there’s only one thing actually, when we get down to those fundamentals, we see that there are there are these what we call laws of nature that apply to agriculture, to humans, to, you know, the creative world, to all disciplines. Their underlying laws of nature. And you’ll love this one. One of Maharishi famous sayings was “Water the root and enjoy the fruit”.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:27:33] I heard you say that on your website, and I love that. What are the root? And enjoy the fruit. Let’s not. Another interesting thing, as you mentioned, this unified. Sorry, what was that? Unified…
Tim Brown [00:27:44] Unified Field Theorem, Unified Field Theory of Quantum Field Physics. You know, it’s all about trying to get down to the you know, the basic building blocks of the universe. What do you write down on its fundamental and every time we’ve developed greater magnification, what we’ve found is what appears to be the smallest entity is in fact made of smaller entities with 99 per cent space around them. And that great big, you know, accelerator there and in CERN is know, I think that they’re attempting to capture what they call the God particle, which is meaning the basic building block of the universe. And the theory is that as and I may be simplifying this, but this is the way that I’ve been explained, it’s been explained to me, is that the idea is when we get to that basic building block, what we’ll find is that it’s a little wave function oscillating at ten thousand billion times per second. But if it’s a wave function, I’m not sure if you can see that. Let me see if I get there’s a break there. It’s not closed down. That’s a particle that’s closed. That’s open. If that’s open, then it’s still connected to something. And the idea is that therefore, at the fundamental level that, you know, there’s only one thing, there’s only one whole indivisible conscious field expressing itself in infinite diversity. This computer, this glass, this shawl it’s all at its fundamental level. Actually, there’s only one thing and the way that Maharishi used to talk about it, he used to talk about it like the ocean. You know, there’s a wave working breaking a Bronte beach right now. There’s one breaking of Malibu Beach right now. And we refer to them as the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean but really one body of water and those waves they’re not separate entities to the ocean. They’re aspects of the ocean. All one body of water. But the waves have all got their you know, individual characteristics. And this is the way you used to talk about it. You know, all of physical material world is an aspect of it’s an expression of that conscious field. But it doesn’t actually separate itself to experience its individuality, just like the wave on the ocean. The wave is actually bunched up ocean.
Tim Brown [00:30:07] And it’s got its characteristics and its individuality. But actually, everything is fundamentally connected. And that’s where we’re going. That’s where everything is moving. You know, the Internet and all of these things are revealing to us that which was once distant, separate, apparently separate and other is, in fact, close, connected and similar. And that’s the whole theme of this age, the revelation of that.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:30:32] It’s ironic in many ways because I word that I’ve used professionally for many years is the word holistic and it’s somehow seen as a new age philosophy. And I’ve had to answer this question, know what is a holistic dentist? What is a holistic disorder? Hang on. It’s not a new age philosophy. It just happens to be the way the body works and it happens to be the way the planet works. And yet we are getting more and more into more and more detail. And perhaps it’s because we have this old hardware and software which doesn’t allow us the time to step back from it all and see the bigger picture.
Tim Brown [00:31:13] That’s it. And I love that. I mean that you would have heard that classic story of you know, the five blind men or women, you know, hanging on to the elephant. You would have heard where it was.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:31:25] And I was just thinking about that. Actually, interesting.
Tim Brown [00:31:28] You choose that the one holding the leg one year, one holding the trunk and then the person standing back, you know, with their blindfold off looking and say, you know, they’re all arguing amongst themselves about what an elephant is they’re all holding onto an aspect. And in fact, that the person with their blindfold off is looking, seeing that they’re all holding onto the elephant. And I think this is where we’re going. I think this is where because people have been operating in silos. And so, you talk about holistic. Holistic is you know, from my point of view when your back a few rows in a comfortable cinema. And you can see the whole thing. You see that everybody’s talking about the same thing. Might be a different terminology or language or viewpoint, but they’re actually talking about we’re all talking about the same thing. And rather than arguing about that and defending our position, whether that’s religion or, you know, or our politics or what, ultimately, we’re all talking about the same thing. And rather than kind of defending the position at all cost and invoking conflict and separation and otherness, you know, there is. Nature wants to move towards revealing its wholeness. That’s what nature’s intelligence is trying to do. It already is the case. It’s about it becoming apparent to us. That’s the process we’re all going through, is that it is becoming more aware of the fact that that is the reality. It already is the reality. It’s about becoming aware of it. And I think that’s the process.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:33:00] So in a sense, this is sort of this is part of the problem, I think, in my own experience with my approach to meditation, if you like. And that is this tension between stepping back as an observer and allowing myself to do it. And yet constantly focusing on what I’m doing and judging it.
Tim Brown [00:33:21] And that’s that. Right. And that’s why one of my I came up with this little saying a few years ago now just to really set again that idea of, you know, we’re doing something with a very different methodology when we meditate. To what way? The way that we approach everything else when we’re approaching, we’re coming and we’re trying to, you know, achieve something. And in fact, what we’re looking to do with meditation is to sit. Set it up, trigger it and allow it. That’s the real art of meditation. And to tie in a couple of things I said a little earlier, when I when I’m instructing people in Vedic meditation, which we do over either a fortnight process or a two-day weekend program. One of the things that I really instill in people is when they sit to meditate, I encourage them to have a look at their fingernails. And, you know, you have a look at your fingernails. And you’ll see that they’re grown since you last cut them. And I encourage people to ask themselves the question, did I put any intellectual effort into growing my fingernails? Now, if the answer to that is yes, Ron, you and I need to have a very, very serious conversation. You know, I’m going to assume the answer. That is no. The question is, well, what did that? Now, my point being is we’ve got very intellect centric. We’ve been educated, you know, cultivate the intellect, you know, activate the intellect, intellect, you know, engage the intellect and the intellect is a wonderful tool. But it’s not all of who we are. And so, what we’re doing with meditation is when we sit to meditate, encourage that to have a look at those fingernails and whatever grew turned my eggs and avocado from five days ago, you know, into keratin and delivered it universally, uniformly over 10 fingers and 10 toes. It’s an incredible thing. That’s that six trillion. You know, that intelligence that’s capable of structuring six trillion things per second. What we’re doing is we’re going to delegate to that intelligence for the next 20 minutes. So, I get people to have a look and go right whatever grew my fingernails is going to drive the next 20 minutes. It’s not up to me. We delegate, the best meditator is the best delegator.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:35:30] Tim, you know, I’ve got. I’m glad we do a transcript of this podcast because there are some absolute pearls here. I love it. I love it. I love it.
Tim Brown [00:35:39] So this is why we sit up. Sit. Check the fingernails. Delegate. Here’s your 20 minutes if you want to take the true Aussie approach to meditation approaches is. Knock yourself out. You know, do your best. And we’re handing over that intelligence. And then, you know, then we practise in with Vedic meditation. We practise with mantra. You know, our mantra is a manas mind tra vehicle, mind vehicle. And so is where we get out of this red truck from the mine truck or a mine. A conveyance for the mind is the correct interpretation, but no different than a lift in a building is a conveyance. It’s a vehicle designed to take us through the vertical plane of a building, a mantra. And we use what’s called BGA mantra, which means Sede mantra is designed to take us through the vertical plane of consciousness. So usually we’re bouncing around here on the surface, thinking, planning, projecting worrying, scenario, building. This is what I call conscious snorkeling. We’re doing this all of the time. What we want to learn how to do meditation is conscious scuba diving. This is where all the benefits of meditation come, getting the mind to move through that vertical plane. And a mantra approach correctly will trigger a response that will take the mind in through that vertical plane. And as the mind settles, because the mind and body are absolutely interconnected, as the mind goes in, body will follow. As the body follows, turns off the adrenals, turns on the stay in play. As the body relaxes. Then the next thing it wants to do is it wants to process. It wants to destress process, repair, maintain, restructure, reorganise. And that creates activity in the brain, in the body, which will present its thoughts and images and body sensations and dream sequences and fatigue. And this is fantastic. And this is the great mistake that people make. They think that’s no good. And they if I could remove one phrase from the English language, it would be this one naughty, mischievous monkey mind. If we could take that out of the English lexicon… I’d take it out because this is a complete mistake. It’s a complete mis-assessment of what’s happening. Those things presenting in the brain and body, thoughts, images, body sensations. Doesn’t matter what the content is, it’s the body putting the mental, physical, emotional garbage out. And that is a critical part of meditation. We must allow that to happen. And if we allow the mind and body to do that inside of meditation, then it allows us to enjoy an elevated, conscious state. For the six, seven, eight hours after meditation, and that’s the whole point of meditation. It’s not about having some little Fandango experience in the 20 minutes. It’s all about developing, delivering and bringing a higher conscious state with greater clarity, creativity, energy, joyfulness to the six, seven, eight hours after meditation. That’s what we’re after. Just like we draw the bowstring back. That’s not the action. That’s the preparation for then the dynamic results. And this is the mistake. People go in trying to achieve something and make something happen in meditation. And they get in a way, it’s a really beautiful, really beautiful, elegant thing, which is the intelligence in the mind and body working together. And if triggered correctly, they’ll do this beautifully. Not if we make it, but if we allow it and let it. And that is the art of meditation.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:39:12] And I mean, the idea of one of the things that I think a lot of people I know I have when I have been meditating, I might be too hard on myself. Yes. You know, I’m kind of. Oh, how am I meant to. Am I what? My mind is gone. My mind is gone over here somewhere. My mind, you know. Oh, good. You would say good to that. That’s great. I love that permission. But the mantra of the role of the mantra.
Tim Brown [00:39:42] The role of the mantra is a vehicle. So, it’s no. No different than, you know, I get in the vehicle from my home and I drive here to the centre. And when I get here to the centre, I step out of the vehicle and, you know, then at some point it’s appropriate for me to step back into the vehicle again and go to my next destination. And then I step out of the vehicle. And this is the correct use of mantra. Because the mantra is not the goal. It’s the vehicle. And what will happen is, again, understanding that the mind’s natural tendency is given a vehicle, which is what a mantra is, and approached correctly it will take the mind in. That’s what the mind wants to do. The body naturally wants to put the garbage out. So, they’re working together. Mind settles, body relaxes, stress releases, wave of activity through the body. And all of sudden we’re thinking about the shopping list or the to do list or a dream sequence or hearing the kookaburra outside or it doesn’t matter what that content is. It’s not because of your naughty, mischievous monkey mind. It’s your body processing. And we’re very happy for that to happen in meditation. And this is why, you know, Vedic meditation is not mantra meditation. The instruction is not. Here is the mantra. Get on it. Stay on it. And the person that says it the most in 20 minutes gets a blue ribbon. We’re not playing that game. We’re saying come to it gently. Take it as it comes when thoughts or noises or images or whatever comes. Well done. You just meditated correctly. When you realise smile inside. Don’t get concerned. Don’t get worried. Everything’s gone beautifully to that moment. Just very gently. Step back towards the vehicle, gently back to the mantra again. Come back like that. Meditation does not look like this for anyone. It’s going to look more like this. It’s going to have some undulation in it. Mind goes in. Then you’re going to hit off on a tangent. And then we gently come back to practise and we’re off on a tangent. And this is what it’s going to look like. Not this. This is what people think. If I was good at meditating, I’d be able to do this. And this is a complete misunderstanding of the inner mechanics of the mind and body.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:41:55] For the audio people left was a deep dive. Yes, mantra, the mantra is a spoken a vocal thing or an internal.
Tim Brown [00:42:06] Internal
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:42:08] It doesn’t need to be said?
Tim Brown [00:42:11] It doesn’t need to be a chanted. You’ll get some very strange looks on a bus or train or plane. You know, if you start doing that, you might be marched off public transport. Yes, it’s just done internally.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:42:24] And is there. I mean, obviously the most famous mantra is OM. Yeah. What is it about OM or is there a group of mantras. What, what is that. Tell us a bit about the history of mantra and how we pick them.
[00:42:40] Yeah, all kinds of mantras and they’re all kind of designed to do different things. The mantras that we use in Vedic meditation are what we call Bija. And they are they’re designed to take, again, the mind in through that vertical plane. But essentially a mantra is to vibration. And, you know, they really work on the principle of sympathetic vibration, which is we start to create a resonance, that gentle resonance, which is what a sound is. And it will have a particular impact on the mind. On the body. On all kinds of things. So, there are all different types of mantras. Beja mantra is designed to create this transcending. Transcending means moving beyond. So, moving beyond this surface level into these deeper, quieter, subtler, more blissful states. Right into where the mind can actually move beyond thinking itself and come to that complete state of rest within itself in which there is no thought, no mantra, nothing. But we’re not asleep. We’re conscious, but there’s no content inside of that conscious experience. So, to content less conscious state what we call a pure conscious state. So, we moved beyond thinking itself. And that’s one of the things. There’s a number of things that we’re wanting to happen in meditation. Mind settling. Body relaxing. Mental, physical, emotional garbage going out. And as we peel off those layers, then the mind is able to access. After meditation. Able to access more of that inner quiet still state. And there’s a lot of talk these days about, you know, being in the present. Being in the now mindfulness. It’s very interesting. You can’t force the mind to do those things sustainably. You can’t force the mind if there’s all that underlying stress and tension and activity and overstimulation. The brain and nervous system. Our ability to be in the present. It’s impossible not to study. Maybe for a second or two seconds. But then that underlying internal activity will push us into the future or the past. If we can settle the mind, relax the body daily, peel off those layers. There’s less of that stress, tension, fatigue, inventory in the nervous system on a daily basis than we had the day before. And therefore, the ability for the mind to sit quietly and still, which is its natural tendency, the natural tendency of the mind. Its homeostatic state is to sit quietly and still. That’s what it wants to do. But you load the nervous system up with stress, tension, fatigue and overstimulation. And the mind all of a sudden is in the future and in the past and not able to be present. Present moment awareness being in the now, you know, being mindful is a by-product of correct meditation.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:45:31] I was going to ask you, do you see mindfulness which has become, well, not to say trendy, but people have become aware of its importance. Do you see that as a kind of a want to be meditational mind? Or, meditation, light.
Tim Brown [00:45:45] It’s an it’s you know, it’s done a wonderful job in bringing it to that kind of the masses and to the attention. But it’s wonderful. And it’s given so many people a kind of first touch and first experience that to access a sustainably sustained, mindful or present moment awareness experience. Pushing or forcing the mind to try and be present is unsustainable. It can’t be done. And this is the frustration. And there’s a beauty to that. And the beauty of that is that I get many, many people now say all through my business or this or that. I had a little go and I had these little moments where I was in the present with my kids or, you know, my partner or whatever, and it felt so good but I can’t sustain it. And I’ll say, great well you got that little windows opened up for you. And mindfulness is given someone that opportunity. And then they go. But I want to have that experience all the time. My approach is fantastic. Well, I’ll show you how to do that. And, you know, if we hit that pressure valve release, that stress and tension at a greater rate, then we are accumulating it, then our ability to access to allow the mind to sit where it wants to sit, which is still quiet in the present. That’s its natural tendency. But if it got all this underlying stress and tension, the nervous system, overstimulated, nervous system, it’s going to push the mind up here. And the presentation is this mind that’s very, very active. But the mistake that people make is they try panel beat it into the present panel beater into submission. And that is not a relationship we want to have with our mind. That’s control. And that will not bring about a liberated mental emotional state. It will bring about a state of conflict with our own internal mental or emotional state and emotional state not sustainable.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:47:40] Now, Tim, I notice also that I know you do speak in corporate speaking. And there was one the one thing that you gave, which was and you may have covered this already, but myth busting meditation. It’s not what you think. Have we covered that already. Or is there? I don’t want to.
Tim Brown [00:47:56] I think so. You know, I just I just love, you know, I mean people all the time. They’ll come to me and I’ll be again, I’ll be out about. So, what do you do for a crust and say, well, I teach meditation. Now, when I started teaching 20 years ago, I kid you not I would be at an event or something and I would say that I teach meditation. People would pick up their drink and walk up the other end of the bar.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:48:19] Now I get that response. When I tell them I’m a dentist, you kind of feel bad about it.
Tim Brown [00:48:24] They picking stuff out of their teeth. And, you know, and but now, I mean, we’ve seen in the last five to seven years, I mean, we’ve seen the apps, Calm, Headspace, Insight. I mean, this has just been an explosion. And from my point of view, it’s fantastic. I would like to you know, they’ve delivered a certain level and it’s fabulous you know for someone at three o’clock in the morning. Can’t sleep, you know, can pick up, download an app and they can have a bit of a go. And it’s a great segway into, you know, their potential, you know, meditation career and their exploration into that. They can do it at arm’s length as well. Wonderful. I would like to think in our lifetime that meditation will become about as exotic as brushing your teeth. I call. We could really do some work together. We listen.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:49:16] Listen, that’s a given. That’s a given Tim, go on.
Tim Brown [00:49:19] You know, I call meditation mental and emotional hygiene. And just like we wash the body and we brush the teeth every day. We have to do the same to the mind and the emotions. And that’s becoming a non-negotiable thing. We are moving towards and into a world where that is becoming a non-negotiable. It’s not a luxury. That’s something that we just have to start to do. And if we don’t wash the body and we don’t brush the teeth, you know, then we end up, you know, smelly. And this is what happens mentally and emotionally. We can become emotionally and mentally unhygienic. And we’re seeing that print out. And, you know, we just at the cusp of this, it’s really starting to come into play. You know, as they say, necessity is the mother of all invention. But the invention is already there. It’s just the necessity is getting to that level. And I teach kids from five years of age. I taught my three kids to meditate at four years of age. And, you know, I’m seeing kids come through here now. They’ve tried Smiling Minds at school with one of their teachers and they don’t even blink. You know, I start talking about meditation and they are like yeah, I’ve done some of that. And I just think ohh, you know, 20 years is, you know, a little bit of time. But in the scheme of things is just blink of an eye and it’s so exciting.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:50:40] You know, I kind of feel like the way, you know, we started this conversation with describing our journey over the two hundred and fifty thousand years of our history in the last 30. Has been this seen this exponential challenge. I kind of liken us to being like kids in a toy shop where we have got into all the toys, but we haven’t quite learnt how to be adults about it. And this is part of that. Listen, where we can come to, we’re coming to the end. But look, one thing I wanted to ask you. Taking a step back from your role as a teacher, as a meditator. Because we’re all on this health journey through life. What do you think you may have already covered, but what do you think is the biggest challenge to us as individuals travelling through our lives in this modern world?
Tim Brown [00:51:29] I think it. I mean, you know, I guess we always look, you know, down our own telescope that way. But I just think this stimulation thing is a huge issue. And we’re seeing it in kids. I mean, I see it in myself. I turn on my mobile phone in this room in Paddington, 18 different Wi-Fi options come up in this high-density living. We are walking around in a microwave. And, you know, when I’m not going to get rid of my phone and I, Wi-Fi is fabulous. And, you know, when the time comes, I get on an aeroplane again and, you know, we’re not going to get rid of all of those things. So, the question is, how do we operate inside of these extraordinary dynamics without being overwhelmed and consumed by it? And we need you to know, we need to come through what I call the inside outs and meet that with the outside. And we’ve been very you know, the big conversations, collective conversations that we’ve had are around nutrition. You know, health and wellbeing have really been about nutrition and exercise. And I really believe the next big thing that’s coming is we’ve got to learn how to relax the mind and relax the body daily. Maybe a generation or two ago, if someone was sleeping pretty well and having a good, you know, a couple of good holidays a year, they were probably their stress tension fatigue levels were probably managing… manageable. But again, as you know, just in the last 30 years, that escalation in stimulation that we had moved into a new paradigm in a very short period of time. And we haven’t yet quite organised it, because to use your analogy, we’ve been so busy playing with the toys and so excited about their capability that we haven’t actually had a good look at what the cost of those is. And that’s really starting to present. And I again, I’m excited by that because, you know, it’s only really in the face of demand and an impact that we stop and look at things. And I think that is what is happening. It’s why we’ve seen an explosion and the interest in all of these apps, meditation and apps. You know, it’s starting to become mainstream, which is so exciting. I think we’re in that process. But for me, it’s for me, it’s absolutely fundamental. Back to Maharishi’s. Same water the root and enjoy the fruit. He was saying don’t water the apple. The leaf between the branch. Don’t do that. Attend to the fundamental, which is when you take all the fluff and nonsense around at it is what spirituality is. Spirit is essence. We need to engage with and expand and open up our conscious state. In a world in which we’re being systematically compressed through overstimulation, we’ve got to work out how to open ourselves up mentally, physically and emotionally at a greater rate than we’re being compressed. And therein lies the challenge. And that’s what meditation does beautifully. And you can do it on a bus when you know how to do it properly. Bus, train, plane, car, boardroom. If you can sit, close your eyes and trigger that response this incredibly intelligent organism will do that for us if we let it. Not if we force it. Not if we control it. It knows what it’s doing. We’ve just got to give it the opportunity. Trigger it correctly and allow it. And it’ll do it beautifully. But that therein lies the challenge, I think, for us in this day.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:55:02] What a note to finish on and thank you so much for joining us today. I’ve been so looking forward to this conversation. Thank you again.
Tim Brown [00:55:09] Real pleasure, Ron. Any time.
Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:55:12] Well, there it is, the end of our first episode. It’s both audio and visual, and I must say I really enjoyed seeing my guest. And it made a big difference. I’ve often said that the podcast is a little self-indulgent because every week I get to ask people who know so much more than I do questions and they answer them. And meditation is something I grappled with for many years, and I’ve gone through various phases. But I think Tim’s approach to it made it seem like really in this world, with all of the stimulation that is confronting us, we’re not about to give it up. So how do we deal with it? How do we incorporate it into our life? And when he started talking about how we’ve been going for 250000 years and walking at four or five kilometres an hour and sometimes running at eight to 10 kilometres an hour, it reminded me of what I do every year and have done for the last eight years. And that is I go off and do a walking holiday. And I’ve often said that it takes me back to a level of human existence, which is really back to basics. And when you get out there and walk for an hour or two or four or six or more hours in a day, day after day, it is actually incredibly meditative. But I’m not doing that all the time. I just thought today was great. I’m going to go back and listen to it again. I’m certainly going to read over the show notes because some of Tim’s analogies and expressions were just so fantastic. You know, so I really hope I hope you enjoy today. We’ll, of course, have links to Tim’s website for those people that are not familiar with the suburbs of Sydney. Tim was referring to the fact that his studio office, whatever he calls it, is in one of the most densely populated parts of Sydney, Inner-city suburb of Paddington, right across the road from a very well-known pub. So, he’s really plonked himself in the middle of reality as we know it. He isn’t out on a mountain in a retreat, teaching meditation. It’s all so practical. It’s all so useful. And it’s certainly inspired me. And I hope it has to you and I hope you’ve enjoyed this first episode, which is both which we’ve got now out on. I think it’s going to be on IGTV and on YouTube. And of course, you can still listen to it as a podcast. So, don’t forget to leave your review on iTunes. I’ve asked for that before. Please do it. It’s a great way of promoting this podcast. Don’t forget also to look out for the Unstress with Dr Ron Ehrlich app. I had several of our listeners saying they had real trouble finding the unstressed app and when I went on and looked for it, I could see why. But Unstress with Dr Ron Ehrlich is an easy one to find and there are some great resources on there and those resources are growing. We’re putting together some amazing courses coming up online in the second half of this year. And we’ve even got hopefully a retreat planned with some of my guests towards the end of the year. And when we all get back together in live in person. So, until next time, this is Dr Ron Ehrlich.
This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences and conclusions.