Allow yourself to dream of big things in your life. You are capable of achieving those and more. Have you gone through so much that you don’t have the self-esteem to move forward? Listen as Whitney Lauritsen talks with Dr. Robert Ciprian about letting go of ego so you can heal profoundly. What if you can’t let go of it? Then, you have to find its purpose and understand it so you can feel its benefits. In this episode, Dr. Robert shares his journey on how he transitioned from a gang member and graffiti artist to a doctor and the learnings he earned along the way. He also shares valuable insights on what living life truly means, the difference between living by force and power, and the power of creating miracles.
- Heal Profoundly: https://bookshop.org/a/17878/9781715242282
- Power vs Force: https://bookshop.org/a/17878/9781401945077
Listen to the podcast here
From Force To Power: Let Go Of The Ego And Heal With Dr. Robert Ciprian
My guest is Dr. Robert Ciprian. My brain is so fascinating. When I see a name like yours, it gets so confused. It thinks of all the different possibilities.
It’s not just you.
It makes me wonder what it is about pronouncing names that are so challenging. It seems like such a basic thing for us as human beings. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with it. You would think that names would be much easier for us because we’re constantly reading names, talking to new people, meeting them, and yet it continues to be a lifelong challenge for me.
I don’t know why, but it’s always a great little point to start off with some discomfort because it feels uncomfortable for me when I make a mistake or feel like I am not honoring or respecting someone. When you and I first started talking, you said that when you heard the name of this show, you were excited about it. I’m curious, what is it about the possibility of getting uncomfortable that appealed to you?
To me, what I do is help people change in life, whether that’s their health, mind, relationship, job, or whatever. If people have been living the same life that they’re not happy with, they’re not getting out of that comfort zone. How do you get out of your comfort zone? You have to be uncomfortable. You have to get knocked out of it sometimes.
Sometimes I got to do that. I got to talk to people about things they normally wouldn’t talk about or I got to pry it out of them. Sometimes it takes me several sessions to get someone to say, “I’ll talk to you about this.” Uncomfortableness is a beautiful thing. It’s something that our modern society doesn’t want to do, but it’s a fantastic thing.Uncomfortableness is a beautiful thing. Click To Tweet
You use the reference, “Getting knocked out.” That applies to your story. I’m not surprised that you lean into getting uncomfortable because you have a fascinating background. First of all, you grew up on, as described, the rough streets of Queens, New York. You were a gang member who was stabbed and shot dozens of times. You had your teeth knocked out, your head split open, and according to your bio, you’re lucky to be alive.
On top of that, you also suffer from all types of poor health. We were talking about allergies and digestive problems, but you’ve also had asthma, bronchitis, a weak immune system, and you would spend weeks in bed. You have gone through a number of physical discomforts. I’m curious, do you feel like you built up a lot of resilience from that, or did you already consider yourself resilient from a young age?
I had resilience. For all the stuff I went through at a younger age, I pushed, and I got through everything. When my life changed and shifted, and I wound up leaving all that in Queens, New York, to go to Los Angeles to go to chiropractic medical school, right away, the rug got pulled out under me, and I pretty much fell on my face within the first couple months.
I remember it was my first set of final exams. I was so sick and my friend was driving me to school to take the test. I had to focus on how much do I need to get on this final exam and pass the course. That’s what I focused on. What’s the bare minimum that I need to get to get out of here? I couldn’t function. It’s what the universe handed to me. It’s like, “Now, you’re going on this journey and we’re going to give you some things to learn from.” My ill health was the biggest thing that taught me what health is about.
The ill health was before or after becoming a gang member?
I was always sick as a child with asthma, and then I’d be out of school in elementary school in ten days at the time. I go back to school, and the teacher would say, “I lost 10 pounds.” Twice a year, I’d have something big going on. That’s just what it was. I was still a little kid running around playing and then a teenager running around getting in trouble. In my twenties, I was getting in more serious trouble. As I said, then when I moved to school, the stress of being in a medical program I had never experienced before. That pulled the rug out from under me because it was a focus that I had never had to do before in my life.
It’s interesting to look back on feeling ill as a child. I’m sitting here reflecting on my own experiences with that. As an adult, I feel two things. One is more control, but as I shared with you, there’s still a ton of mystery in my health or challenges, things that I haven’t fully figured out about myself and constantly surprised at how hard the medical system is. In general, it makes it to get to the bottom of things, but when I was younger, I felt out of control. I had no idea what was going on. I did not understand my immune system.
I remember getting sick and looking forward to it because it meant I got to skip out on some school, stay home, and rest. That’s interesting that yearning to rest is fascinating. As a kid, there were parts of the school I enjoyed, but it was exciting not to have to go. Rest plays such a huge role in our overall health. My body was trying to tell me to rest more, but I didn’t feel like I had a lot of agency over that.
What you described is also a big factor in emotional health. What you thought about was, “If I’m sick in school, I get to go home and rest,” I had the same thing as a young kid in elementary school. I remember once I got a bad stomach ache, and I was in class. They’re like, “What’s wrong?” “My stomach hurts so bad.” “We’re going to call your parents to come to pick you up.” The teacher then brings me down to the principal’s office. I’m waiting for my parents to pick me up. I get brought home by my mom.
At home, as a little kid, I get to put on TV, watch cartoons, play with my toys, and get some yummy food. I’m like, “This is great.” I started the subconscious pattern of, “It’s good to be sick. You get what you want and love when you’re sick.” Now, I kept having issues in school to going home being sick as a kid, but then when I became an adult, I kept the same program. If you are sick, you get what you want, and you get love. The universe gives you everything you need, but that wasn’t working anymore as an adult, so I had to get those subconscious programs removed because it was screwing up my life.
Thinking about that at this moment, it seems like a lot of people experience illness throughout their whole lives, and I’ve often stepped back and been perplexed by that. Why do so many people are getting sick? What if they are running under that same programming where being sick is the only time that they feel like they can be in bed and not have to do anything?
Burnout is such a big challenge for people these days. Most people haven’t set up their lives to have a lot of rest, feel the love, care, and support from others, and even get attention. It’s funny that hasn’t been something I’ve thought a lot about. I’m glad that you brought that up. Is that something that you think a lot about in terms of what it means to be well versus unwell or ill?I started the subconscious pattern of “it's good to be sick.” Click To Tweet
The biggest thing I deal with my chronic patients and clients is the mind. With the mind, we have two different things. We have past emotions that stick there and give us feelings or programs, but also, it’s how it directs your present consciousness of your mind and the way you react to life. If you’re in your comfort zone or not, you can’t get out of that, and if you feel like you’re stuck in life.
There are two aspects to the mind what’s happening in the past but also how your mind’s functioning in the present. We got to work with those two things at times to get people over some of the most chronic type issues they’ve had all their lives since they were very young. I find that’s the biggest thing that helps people pull out that anchor so they can start moving forward again in life with whatever their issue is.
You’re passionate about limiting beliefs. Would you consider that a limiting belief?
It depends. The conscious mind thing would be limiting beliefs. The past emotional can create feelings, but you could still get past that and push forward and make things happen. If the conscious mind and present are still, “We could do this.”
It’s fascinating the way our brain plays such a big role in how things manifest physically. I don’t know how much we’re taught that. Is that something that came up in your medical school experience, or did you have to seek that out beyond medical school? I hear so often that in med school, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of attention around nutrition. There might not be a lot in terms of the psychology or the way the brain’s working because you’re so focused on physical symptoms and solutions. Is that something you found to be true, or did you take a less traditional path in your medical school?
I went to a chiropractic medical school, and this is the structure of that. The preliminary undergrad stuff is the same. It’s basic sciences. Once you get in, the health sciences, diagnosis, and learning all of your lab tests are all the same. Where it differs from chiropractic and medical doctor is in medical school, you start to study more Toxicology, Pharmacology, and studying all the drugs.
In chiropractic, we go back and learn more anatomy, physiology, and neuroanatomy of the nervous system. We learn basic nutrition, which in medical school, they never learn nutrition. They don’t even know what you’re supposed to eat and how that affects your body. They’re not taught that. Also, we learn more about embryology and how the body develops from an embryo. We go put our time into that, and they put their time into learning Toxicology and Pharmacology. It’s all the drug stuff, but otherwise, they’re the same.
I didn’t know that.
We got to learn the same diagnostics. Most doctors of chiropractic don’t practice that much, but some do. Some are very functionally medicine-oriented where they will look at heart rate, blood work, urinalysis, imaging, and all stuff, and they get into that, but it depends from doctor to doctor. In the emotional part, too, in my school, they covered basic nutrition, but it originally wasn’t that great. I did a lot more study on the outside.
We learned that the mind and emotions could affect the physical body and biochemistry, but we didn’t learn how to do that. I had to learn that on the outside too. We then have energy that is within and around our bodies and our spiritual connection. All these things affect our health, well-being, and everything in our life.
I’m curious about how you are here in your life and looking at your background. You have spent several years studying healing, energy, and spiritual modalities. Where does the experience of being a gang member come into play here? I assume that was before then, but I don’t know anything about what that means or what that life is like. I’m curious where that fell into your life and how that still impacts you. Aside from a story to tell, tell me the path that you took to get there. Was it something that you stumbled into? Did you choose it? What were its benefits? What were the things that you wanted to shift in your life as a result of those experiences being a gang member?
To me, it was the neighborhood I grew up in. In elementary school, we played ball on the street, had fun with these kids, and rode our bicycles around. It was all good. The area was in Queens in New York, and it was where crime was seeping in, more drug use, and stuff like that. The city was seeping out a little bit more to where we were in Queens.I was risking my life to do artwork. Click To Tweet
By junior high school, people experimented with drugs and then started selling drugs, and because you’re selling drugs, there are problems with the territory. You start having fights between you and other neighborhoods. I got into the graffiti thing, and graffiti goes along with that too. You can get in the big gang fights with the graffiti stuff.
For me, I wanted to get more into artistic graffiti. I was an internationally known graffiti artist by the early 1990s. Art is a big part of my life too. I love art because of all that, but that whole part of my life taught me a lot. It taught me how to read people quickly like intuition was like, “Is this person going to hurt you? Are you okay with them?” They call it street smarts. That was something big. I always had spiritual experiences as a child, like out-of-body experiences and experiences into other dimensions or other worlds. There were ghosts in my house, and I could sense the other beings in my house and feel them around me.
When I started getting into the issues that were happening, hanging out in the neighborhood as a teen and in my twenties, some spiritual experiences happened guided me out of there. It was like the universe always had me protected in a way because I never got accumulated a police record. I never was hurt bad enough that I would have lifelong injuries, death, or stuff like that. There were things that I looked back on later, “That was pretty much on the precipice of dying or not.”
At that moment, I had plenty of those happen, and all of them add to who I am now. I deal with people who are going through some major things in life or problems. I sit there, and I could tell them with my certainty, “You can get through this. No worries at all.” I reflect back on where I was in my life. “If I can get through things like that, you got nothing to worry about right now. You’re fine.”
I am so curious about this because I feel very ignorant about what it means to be in a gang. As you were sharing about high school and all that, I grew up in a small privileged town. There was no crime in my town. We left our doors unlocked. There was so much trust. I never had to worry about that, and then I didn’t even try marijuana until I was in college. I barely even knew what it was. I wasn’t drinking that much. It didn’t appeal to me.
It’s interesting because now I’m a lot more curious about altered states of consciousness and what those things can do for you, but in high school, I was just hanging out with my friends innocently. Towards the end of high school, I spent some time in New York City, and I remember it was like a whole other world, even though it’s not that far. New York City is about four hours from where I grew up in Massachusetts.
All of a sudden, I was exposed to kids that grew up very differently, and because of my innocence, I still didn’t understand some of these other experiences. I’d love to know what exactly it meant to be a gang member. What did you do? You explained getting in, but for someone like me who tends to be in the innocent mindset, what was that like? Were there other people in the gang having life-threatening experiences or perhaps lost their lives? How was that for you on a psychological level to be around that culture?
It was like we’d have our different areas in the neighborhoods where we’d all congregate and hang out. People are drinking, doing some drugs, all hanging out, getting rowdy, and stuff like that. Sometimes we get confronted by other neighborhoods or the people that come by other gangs. Sometimes you’ll see 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, or 10 cars pull up with people with ski masks and get out with weapons. I’m like, “There’s a huge thing going on.”
I’ve seen people shot, stabbed, getting their heads cracked open, and stuff like that. I’ve seen people laying in the middle of the street. An ambulance comes, they put a sheet over them and cording off all the streets around. I’ve seen some unbelievable things that would keep me awake for nights. I had to get through PTSD. I’ve been shot more times than most police officers.
I noticed that when someone gets shot, it’s not like in the movies. It’s much different. This is real life. I don’t even want to watch stressful and scary movies like that. I don’t want anything that’s going to make my body go through that adrenaline rush again because I experienced so much of that. I am this close to dying.
I was running down streets and bullets were going past me. I was hitting trees and houses and on the other side of me where this person was shooting at me. You hear those things going past you and running. Everything inside of your internal body tightens up so tight as that’s happening. It’s unbelievable. That was the normal life. About once or twice a week, some big thing like that would happen. We then start getting in trouble with the police and stuff like that. We’re having problems with them. We’d go back and forth with the police and do things sometimes. It was crazy.
On the other side, I was trying to do my graffiti stuff where I’m climbing buildings to write on rooftops. I’m on the sides of highways and dodging cars to try to write on the highway. I’m in train tunnels trying to write on trains and almost getting hit by trains. I’m sneaking the truck yards. I have all the trucks to paint on and stuff like that. I’m doing all that stuff too. I’m risking my life to do the artwork. That’s the way it was. To me, it’s normal. When I started medical school, I realized I was a lot different than everyone there.Graffiti was a way for me to be noticed and have people look up to me. Click To Tweet
I bet I’m also incredibly curious about the drawn to do graffiti because I don’t have a ton of experience with that. One of my family members seemed to be interested in it. She came to visit me when I lived in Venice Beach, and there’s a lot of graffiti there.
I have painted there.
I’m sure from your view, it’s completely different from mine. I would see it, and it didn’t have much of an effect on me because I don’t understand it, so walk me through the appeal of creating graffiti. I have noticed graffiti in all sorts of places where I’ve wondered, “How did somebody get up there? Why did they choose that particular spot?” I’ve noticed or heard about people getting territorial around their graffiti. What is that world like? Are you still part of it?
I grew up with very low self-esteem and insecurity. I was too scared to date women. I had a lot of these issues growing up as a kid. Even though I grew up in that type of environment, I wasn’t a fighter. I was always trying to avoid fights and stuff like that. Because they knew I tried to avoid fights, they would make me fight. They’d like to put me in a circle and make me fight someone else, even though I didn’t want to. They ended up having to break it up because once I did lose my cool, I would start hurting a person so bad. They’re like, “Stop it. It’s not cool anymore.”
To me, graffiti was something where I could be noticed and people would look up to me. My graffiti name was Greed. It’s something like, “That’s Greed.” I was famous. “Greed did this painting over in The Bronx,” and everyone has pictures of it. It’s on in international magazines and on videos. It gave me self-esteem. It gave me something where I was important and a sense of power.
When I look back on it, I’ve come to terms with this. It’s the same reason why I became a doctor. I wanted self-esteem, people to look up to me, and to have the power of, “I’m a doctor.” I did it for the ego, but once I got to medical school, I got tricked, and I found out why I was there. I thought I was going to do sports medicine and work on football players. That’s what I went to school for.
Once I got there and got severely ill, I learned about holistic medicine and all this healing started happening. I realized that’s what I’m meant to do. I’m meant as this healer and teacher to do these other things. I’m meant to take all the crap that happened to me through my whole life with everything, the gang, the relationship, and the family stuff. For me to heal that, I could help other people heal that in life too. That’s a whole little summary of why I got into the graffiti. It was for my self-esteem, and because I had artistic abilities, I could make more of a name for myself than other people could with it.
You got to think of a graffiti artist as an ad executive. It is going to be like, “We’re going to do this advertising campaign. We’re going to do these billboards. We’ll be on the side of buses. We’ll be on TV.” It’s the same thing as a graffiti writer. They’re like, “Where can I put my name so it’ll be seen? What will my name be so someone will remember my name and recognize it? How am I going to do it so it attracts attention?” Graffiti artists are some of the best advertising people that you could ever think of. A lot of them do get into design and marketing and stuff like that too later in life.
I never thought of the correlation, but you’re absolutely right. It’s certainly going to make me pay more attention next time I see some in LA. That’s so fascinating. I love your transparency about the ego and how there were so many benefits to this history of your personal awareness around self-esteem and wanting to feel important. It’s amazing to see this arc you’ve been through over acknowledging that because it’s such a universal experience. Most of us feel like our ego rules us. It’s hard for us not to be in our egos. We have to check ourselves a lot. That takes a lot of personal awareness.
This is an important part of that too. Your ego is your friend if you’re conscious of it. Our ego back in hunter-gatherer days or cave people days helped us survive. It was a survival mechanism. Now, in the modern day, we don’t need it for survival as much anymore. We use it to survive socially, in the family, and things like that. If you get to become conscious of your ego, how it acts and what it needs at times, you can use it in a very good way.
I taught for several years postgrad, I was teaching internationally, and I would use my ego. I would talk about, “You’re here to learn stuff, but I’m here to look good in my suit. That’s all I care about. That’s how good I look.” What does my ego need? I use it to make fun of myself or what’s going on. I use it in a constructive way. It has a purpose. When it has a purpose, you have more of you that’s going in the same direction. A lot of things in life get easier. Plus, when you’re transparent with people, they trust you. They’ll be like, “I like this guy. He’s wild. He might say some things that are like, ‘What did he say?’ I like him for that.”
You also touched upon the word survival, and that’s played such a big role in your life because there are times you’re surviving, and now you’re helping people in a lot of ways to survive. I suppose survival can be defined in a number of ways because sometimes it’s literal, like life or death, and sometimes it’s figurative. It sounds like both play a role for you personally and professionally. Would you say so?Graffiti gave me self-esteem and a sense of importance. Click To Tweet
Survival is at the core of all our needs. You’ll get Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a big part of that pyramid of Psychology. It’s ingrained in us. We have to survive in the world. Most of us have to go and work and hustle. If you want a nice place to live in, you have to make money for that. If you want to eat decent food, you have to do that. Most of us have to do that, and there’s so much more to survival too. “I want to be a good partner and be able to have some freedom for the weekend.” That’s even survival. “I got to survive. I need a break.”
Nowadays, survival is different, but there are some people who are surviving in the hospital to breathe and trying to survive cancer. There are so many levels of survival, but I feel it’s all relative to where you are in life. Someone might be freaking out because they can’t get enough food to eat right now, but otherwise, they’re doing fine. They get to eat, and then I’ll get to go out to nice restaurants and stuff like that, but they’re like, “I feel like I can’t live life because I don’t have this.” Yet, there’s someone in a hospital who can’t even breathe because their lungs are closing up on them. It’s a whole different aspect of survival. It’s all relative to where you are.
I feel no matter where you are on the scale of life, you’re always going to have these needs, but when you work on yourself spiritually, a lot of those needs become more transparent. Even if you’re dying in the hospital, if you’ve been working yourself spiritually and evolved, “If I go, it’s my time. It’s all good. I feel bad for my family. They got to take care of all. Everything I leave behind, they got to go clean up my apartment and stuff.” If you’re like, “I can’t go out to eat this week because I don’t have that much money, but it’s okay because the next couple of weeks I’ll be making more money. It will be good.”
Spirituality helps you with all those aspects of survival to make it more transparent where it’s not as bad. There have been times when I had a gun to my head, and something would come over me. I’d become so calm and look at the person right in the eyes with a calm stare. I would say about twice that a person got scared by me and took off running because I was not scared that they had a gun to my head.
They must be thinking, “If this guy isn’t scared, I’m out of here.” To me, it was like I was taken over by the larger who I am, the spiritual self or whatever. It’s like, “If that happens, fine.” Just as calm would come over me, and I’m like, “Okay.” They’d take off, and my friends were all freaking out. I’m like, “Let’s get out of here. Let’s not talk about it.”
That’s something that I’ve only witnessed through a form of media, but I’ve had a few moments in my life wondering what that would be like and if that would be true.
If you’ve been to a car accident or something happened, but you’re calm. You’re like, “That was close, but I’m okay.” You’re calm about what almost happened. My example is a little bit more dramatic, but people go through this all the time. Even maybe you almost had a car accident or almost slipped down the stairs, and you’re like, “I’m calm. I’m okay. I’m fine.”
I’m thinking through because I tend not to feel calm in those moments. I’m inspired here because what you were describing is this profound sense of acceptance and presence too. What is it like at that moment? It sounds like you’re experiencing this wave of calmness in an incredibly stressful scenario for some people, a high-risk situation. Does it keep you in the present moment in a deeper way than you usually experience, or is it something that has taught you to be more present and continue beyond those drastic situations?
When I was younger and some of those things happened to me, it was a sudden, as you said, and I’m going to use the word, presence that came upon me. It wasn’t something I practiced or always walked around in. It’s kind of like it happened. I was always thinking about it later in life. Later in life, I started meditating. I remember I started meditating, and I’d be in space. I’m like, “I feel like I’m in the same space I was at those points. This is cool.”
I got into meditating for years on a regular basis because of that. Later in life, this thing presence I’m using because it’s so important. This is what most people are missing in life. It’s being in that presence of who you are and feeling that presence within yourself. If you feel that presence, it comes out as calmness, love, and such a deep feeling. It’s like this ocean of love within you that you could feel.
I met this woman, and I started following her years ago on social media. Her name is Sasha Cobra. She’s been on a show on Netflix, and she’s very popular on YouTube and stuff like that. She works with these energy healing modalities that deal with tantric energy and the sexual energy in your body and stuff like that. She’s a great hero. She used to travel and do retreats all over the world. I remember her talking more on social media once the COVID hit because all her other stuff, retreats, and all that got canceled.
I’m getting more and more into her, and then Mexico opened up, and she had a retreat down there. I worked a couple of times online. I’m doing online workshops with her, and I worked with her on Zoom one-on-one before. I felt a lot of great energy from her coming through. I went down to her retreat in Tulum, and she was teaching us how to feel the energy of each other and do intuition more.Your ego is your friend if you're conscious of it. Click To Tweet
I’ve done plenty of training like that through the years, but I was like, “This is pretty cool. I like the way she puts it together. It’s worth the money for me because I always like doing stuff like that,” but then she started teaches how to do the healing work that she does on each other. We’d partner up and do this healing work.
To her, the healing work was about being in that presence, finding that presence within yourself, holding your hand over somebody with that presence, and their whole body starts doing the craziest thing. Their body starts healing. They’ll start laughing and crying. Their body will start moving all over the place. They might have an orgasm from you holding your hand over to me and you being in that presence. Whatever their body needs, it’ll start doing it. That blew me away because I could feel it in myself, but when I could entice someone else’s body to do that, too, that was mind-blowing.
That’s one of the biggest healing things we could ever have. If we could know that presence is within us, acknowledge and feel that. We could then interact with other people and even in relationships with our partners if we could have that energy with another person in a romantic way. This would literally change the world.
I feel this is the true way we’re supposed to be. We’ve all had that presence in ancient times within us, and we’re finding it again. When you said that word to me, it was such a powerful thing. It’s the presence of being aware of your energy within you because most of us are totally shut down about our bodies. We don’t feel our bodies. We only feel anxiety or worry, but we don’t feel what it’s normally like in there. It’s a huge thing.
It is and it’s powerful listening to you describe it. It takes me back to when we are talking about how many people almost look forward to being sick because it gives them an opportunity to be taken care of by somebody else. When you’re describing someone putting their hand over you and the healing abilities of that, I felt that. I’ve done a number of breathwork, meditation classes, and healing things, and it’s true.
It’s like the Reiki practice where you can feel the energy of somebody holding their hands a few inches above you. It feels like all this heat. You can even do this yourself with your hands. It defies a lot of the logic we have about how our bodies work because it’s not commonly taught, at least in the United States. Knowing that somebody else can have that healing power over us is so wonderful, but not everybody has the experience of that. It can be very simple. It’s sometimes going to the right yoga class.
A yoga teacher came over to me and touched me before, during, or after class. It’s like, “Wow,” a couple of moments of somebody who’s been working in the healing arts touching me and how much that impacts me in that class afterwards as well. Being given the framework and the environment to experience that presence is so wonderful. I noticed how most of the time, I don’t feel like I am reminded of that.
I have to work hard to be present because, in the United States, at least, we’re caught up in the hustle. We’re told to keep going. We use the word resilient, but I feel like a lot of people look at resilience in terms of tension, “I’m going to power through this. I’m going to push through this. I’m going to grind.” I’m not sure that that grinding does us much good. I’m curious how you feel about this hustle culture many of us can fall into.
One of the biggest books that changed my life back in the early ‘90s, the title of the book is Power vs. Force. If you think about force, that grind that got to push every day, willpower, and strength. You got to keep it up, or else you drowned. That’s living life by force. Living life by power is like you’re in the ocean, you got your surfboard, and you’re on it. A nice wave comes, you get up on the board, and the wave takes you effortlessly.
You could enjoy yourself and relax on the power of the whole ocean bringing you forward. That’s living by power. It is to know there’s a wave going to come. “I’m going to sit here and wait for it. Here it is, and I’m getting on it, and I’m moving with it.” Power vs. Force changed my life for many reasons. That’s a book that everybody in life should read. It was amazing.
That’s such a wonderful way to put it, even the surfing example. I went surfing for the very first time when I was in Costa Rica and I got to experience that. Being in the ocean in general, I was reflecting on why it feels so good, but there are so many healing properties to the ocean. You and I also discussed this offline. You were saying how you live close to the ocean so the heat is more bearable.
It’s incredible how much of a difference it makes to us. I notice it for my sinuses, my presence, and the meditation experience I can have by standing and watching the waves come in, examining what it looks like, and paying attention to the smell and how the air feels differently. Is that why you live so close to the ocean? Were you drawn to that?When you work on yourself spiritually, your needs become transparent. Click To Tweet
I’m not an ocean person at all, but this is where I wound up, and I was guided here. I’m a mountain person. I love the mountains. To me, when I start seeing mountains, my heart opens. I appreciate all nature. I’m using this time to get closer to the ocean. Let me ask you this. As you said, the ocean is such a great experience for you. When do you ever get to stand outside in your bare feet? Do you?
I have to remind myself to do that.
You are probably so much more connected to who we are as part of the Earth that you feel that connection. If you would go walk around in a park or some trails out around you in your bare feet, you might feel that same connection with the Earth. It is who we are. Our physical bodies are the Earth. What animates it through spirit is from heaven. Humans are a mixture of heaven and Earth. We have three chakras above our hearts. We have three chakras below our hearts, but they meet in our hearts. Our heart is the meeting of those two. That’s what makes us human.
We got to not only meditate and have mindfulness and all that stuff, but we also have to stay connected to the Earth and stay grounded. That’s something that a lot of people miss because if we don’t keep the spirit in our body, our life doesn’t work. We can’t manifest the physical things in life. We want either because we have to be in the physical body, rooted and grounded to create in the physical life.
What is it about the mountains that create such a powerful reaction for you?
It might be who I am astrological. I’m a tourist, and I’m an Earth sign. When I see mountains, I’m in awe. I also love snowboarding. I’ve snowboarding since my younger twenties. When I’m on top of a mountain in the snow and the snow makes everything quieter and more insulated, to me, that’s heaven. When I’m on top of the mountains in the snow, the clouds are below me, and it’s beautiful and sunny up there, it is one of the most beautiful things in my life.What most people are missing in life is feeling present. Click To Tweet
I like going by the ocean. That’s great. I force myself to go at least twice a week, take a little walk around, have my feet in the water, and it’s beautiful. The water’s so clear. There’s a little fish running around your feet. It’s great, but to be up in the mountains and on my snowboard and gliding on this snow is one of the most carefree things ever. I have to get more into surfing. I’ve tried it a few times. I’ll like that too. That’s probably where I got to progress next in my life, also.
I’m also interested to hear which mountains you love most or if they could be a few, what part of the world do you feel most excited about?
I’ve only experienced them in Canada or North America. I want to go over to Italy, France, and Switzerland. I want to experience all of those. I haven’t gotten over there yet, but part of my new chapter in life is to be traveling more. That’s why I put a big part of my business online, working with clients through Zoom and stuff like that. I could travel the world more now, too. I’m splitting up business a little bit between in-person and online now because I want that freedom to take off once in a while, still, be working and helping people.
It has made a big difference in my life to be able to do that, and I’m planning a trip up to Canada. I love the ocean, the mountains, and just seeing nature as you were describing and experiencing all the nuances. In the United States alone, just like some international traveling, I still have so much passion for the country that you and I both live in right now seeing how the culture changes and energetic differences, and then going to small towns or national parks and feeling that.
It had a deep healing effect on me as well. I feel drawn to it. Anybody that can create a life that allows them to experience that as frequently as possible. I’m a big advocate for that. I’m excited to hear you’re doing that. Now, when you work with clients, what is a session like with you for somebody who might be interested in that?
I have people fill out a questionnaire. What are the top things you want to work on in life? People ask what do I fix, and I say, “I fix whatever your problem is.” I help people get through their problems, blocks, or whatever it is. If it’s aches and pains, digest, hormonal, mental, emotional, and all the health-wise stuff, I help people to get through those things.If we can just acknowledge that presence is within us, it would literally change the world. Click To Tweet
I want to go back to something you mentioned about someone having this healing power over you. Nobody has healing power over anybody. The only person that can heal is the person who’s healing. Now, someone like a practitioner, doctor, or whatever, could be there to help that person heal, but that person does the healing, and only they can do it.
For me, I get people that had things for their whole life, these chronic things they haven’t been able to get over. First, I start talking to them, “What are the issues you want to work on? When did they start?” I start asking them about their life. “When did this start, and what else happened in your life at that time?” “That’s when my parents got divorced. That’s when my dog died.”
There’s always something else going on at that time too, which is a big stressor if something chronic pops up that came out of nowhere. If they get hit by a car and they still have neck issues, that’s a different story. If it’s something else and it came out of nowhere or something more internal where they can’t recall any reason why it happened, there’s usually something else big going on.
I was in DC for a while. I worked with a lot of people online and stuff like that. I’d ask them, “Around these years, what else was going on?” “My husband passed away, but I was bit by a tick. I had the rash and everything.” I’m like, “It’s also the same year your husband passed away. There are so many ways you could look at that. Your emotions were way out of whack, and that depleted your immune system. Maybe spiritual, you attracted those things because you were going through so much too. It was like a way for you to heal aspects of yourself because they’re more pronounced.”
We got to go through and take a whole survey of someone’s life. From there, start checking their energy or their acupuncture meridians, which are energy pathways to the body to all different organs and can also relate to emotions. We got to see the weakest ones and the most blocked ones. That’s where we got to start working.
When I’m working with people virtually or through Zoom, all I have to do is focus on the person. I could do energy work on them as I’m focusing on them. We could help those energy pathways open back up. We could free up energy and areas of the spine or joints that are causing that joint to be tightened up and have issues. We can help things in the body heal by refocusing the energy around there and helping anything that’s blocking it dissolve, and things heal quicker too. There are all sorts of things that we could do at a distance to help people.The only person that can heal is the person that is healing. Click To Tweet
Sometimes I got to remove some dark energy from people too. People have dark energy stuck in their aura, their chakras, or different parts of their body, causing health issues, pains, mental and emotional issues, and all those types of things. Also, I’ll see if someone needs nutritional products, lifestyle changes, or whatever else comes up because I’m very intuitive. I’m a medical intuitive so a lot of things come to me, and I’ll ask other questions as I’m working with somebody.
I ask them questions and recommend things. Number one, if someone is ready to heal and they’re allowing themselves to heal because only they could heal themselves. They will get better as I’m guiding and helping them. I might push a few buttons here and there, but it’s up to them to stay that way and to take the next step.
I love that you frame it that way because going back to our conversation around the ego, I’ve sensed ego within various practitioners who describe themselves as healers. This distinction acknowledges the fact that the person that needs the healing is the one that’s doing the healing and has someone to guide him through that. I see that you described yourself as someone who’s there to guide the patient or the client through this. Would you say so?
Yes. When I was a younger doctor, I had a huge ego, but I learned from some of the best out there. I learned from these doctors that were in Time Magazine and stuff like that, “These amazing healers,” and I had an ego. I was helping people pretty well, but I’ve had a lot of spiritual experiences in my life. One day I’m in the office, and a patient I’ve been working with for a couple of years, a sweet older lady, comes in and tells me very seriously like, “Dr. Ciprian, I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer.” I’m like, “Okay.” She’s telling me what she’s going to do. She’s getting her double mastectomy and going through chemo. This is her whole plan. I’m hardly listening to her.
I’m getting within me what I’m telling her she should be doing. I’m disconnected from her. What happened was behind her appeared about 8 feet tall, an opalescent but see-through, opal colors, white with all the rainbows in it like a little angel with its arm around her. It transmitted to me in my mind without saying a word, “You will work with her with whatever she wants to do.” I’m like, “Okay.” She finishes everything she’s doing, and I’m like, “Whatever you need me to do to help with any of that, you let me know,” because the angel let me know, “This is not about you. It’s about her. She needs to go through this. You’re going to assist her.” I’m like, “Okay.” Sometimes I get big lessons like that.
The word fascinating keeps coming up for me throughout this conversation because you’ve experienced so much. In your autobiography, I imagine you sharing so many of these stories it’s called Heal Profoundly. It came out in December 2020. Is it just the storytelling of this? Are you sharing lessons? Are you teaching in the book, or are you detailing some of these amazing moments in your life?
It’s my memoir of some of the biggest points I went through. There’s a little bit of teaching there with my view on what health is and all the aspects of health. What I want to do is show people my story so that they can recognize for themselves if they have interests that are within them or if they feel there’s something bigger they’re supposed to be doing. Everyone has to know that you can do whatever you want.
A lot of people have dreams and desires, “I’d love to be that. I’d love to be this,” but there’s like, “I can’t do that.” For me, to go from a freaking kid running around the street, getting in so much trouble from a lower-middle-class family to becoming a world-renowned doctor, anyone can do whatever they want in their life because I went through that. I’m probably one of the hardest cases to get through that. For a lot of people, it could be a lot easier.
I was invited when I was in Washington DC to go speak at Secret Service Headquarters to teach them about how to decrease stress in life because they have very stressful jobs. I spoke there to some of the management and a bunch of the agents. It was televised to almost 200 agents worldwide. To me, who gets to do that? I’ve gotten into some trouble in my life. I had a secret service and I got to tell them because they had to do a background check for them to get me in there. I had to tell them everything and they still let me in. I’m like, “They know what’s going on with me. They’re still letting me in. That’s cool.”
To me, that’s like one of the pinnacles of my vitae of what I could put on there. It’s like, “I’ve done this.” I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything that’s a higher status than that. Spiritually are much more important things than that, but I’m like, “I did that. Who gets to do that? That’s cool.” You notice Secret Service Headquarters has a little gift shop in there. I was like buying things for people in there. It was crazy.
That’s a good souvenir. You certainly have had a lot of cool experiences in your life. It’s no wonder you’ve written a memoir about it. I’m glad that you have. I saw you posting graffiti with some references to those various photos on your Instagram. Thank you so much for sharing all of your stories and your wisdom here. I’ve said multiple times, it’s absolutely fascinating for me.
Thank you so much. It’s an honor for me to be invited to come to speak with you and to be able to share with your readers, so thank you.
I don’t know if we got uncomfortable at all, but you’ve certainly talked about some things that others would perceive as uncomfortable and shared how you’ve navigated them. At least, we’ve addressed discomfort in a few different ways here. I hope you feel satisfied with getting a little uncomfortable.
We did a good job. That was good.
I’ve noticed it’s hard for you to be swayed. I’m sure you’ve been in that present moment and cultivating your skills there. I am so blown away by your ability to do that amongst some of the most challenging moments that a human being can experience. Again, for all that you do, Dr. Robert, and that you shared, I feel very grateful.
It was fun talking with you, too, because seeing you think about some things and asking me more questions, I’m like, “This is cool.” It’s enjoyable for me, so thank you.
- Dr. Robert Ciprian
- Sasha Cobra
- Power vs. Force
- Heal Profoundly
- Instagram – Artist Profile
About Dr. Robert Ciprian
Dr. Robert is the author of Heal Profoundly: A Graffiti Thug’s Transformation to Holistic Doctor, an autobiography that tells the story of his spiritual journey from being a gang member to having a 20+ year successful career in medicine.
He grew up on the rough streets of Queens, New York, where he dropped out of high school to become a graffiti artist and member of a violent street gang.
As a gang member, Dr. Robert was stabbed and shot at dozens of times, had his teeth knocked out, head split open, and is lucky to be alive today.
Up until his early twenties, Dr. Robert also suffered from poor health — allergies, asthma, bronchitis, digestive problems, and a weak immune system were normal for him, and there were times he spent weeks in bed because of illness.
Due to his poor health and destructive behavior, Dr. Robert seemed destined to achieve little in life until he decided to seek more out of it. He joined medical school to learn better ways to treat his medical problems and has been studying various healing, energetic and spiritual modalities for 25+ years.
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