In recent years, there have been contrasting views that claim we have achieved peak wellness on one hand and that wellness is dead on the other. With so many modalities and techniques that are surfacing, how can we frame our minds to understand what wellness really is today, and whether or not the integrity behind it still stands? In this engaging episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk with Jeff Krasno to shed light on where the state of wellness is. Jeff is the man that created the concept for Wanderlust, serving as its chairman, and the founder of Commune Media. Together with Jason and Whitney, Jeff helps us determine the difference between wellbeing and wellness in relation to counterculture and capitalism, and reminds us that at its core, these practices are designed to be internal. In our quest for mindfulness, enlightenment, and wellbeing, may we focus on internal transformation rather than the external and stay true to our authentic self.
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The State Of Wellness: On The Practices Around Wellbeing And Mindfulness With Jeff Krasno
There’s a part of me that feels like I’m existing in two worlds in the sense that I am very much excited about innovation, technology and progress in many different fields. I also feel like there’s something to be said about vinyl records and the warmth, the feel and the vibration of putting an actual vinyl record on a player, driving a stick shift and having a kick start motorcycle. There’s this interesting wave of “dumb” phones that have no social media, no apps, no any kind of social interactive capability beyond calls and texts, which I had that Nokia phone back in 2006. They’re repackaging them as phones for humans. There’s this interesting company that came out called The Light Phone, that our dear friend, Adam Yasmin, got. He said he has his regular iPhone to do his networking and his social media and whatnot. When he’s out playing with his daughter or he’s out with family or friends and wants to have a higher level of presence, he will leave his iPhone at the house and bring this Light Phone with him so that he’s not constantly distracted by that dopamine hit.
The problem with you is that your phone is always on “Do Not Disturb”, Jason. There’s a hack to reaching Jason by phone. You can’t call and make a regular phone call. You have to make a FaceTime audio call to Jason. Otherwise, he won’t pick up. It always goes directly to voicemail, which is probably good for Jason to an extent. I have a couple of friends that are like that and it’s incredibly frustrating because it’s not set in my brain that way. I have to skirt around it.
I haven’t told you what I’m going to do, but I have a way around this. The core people in my life, the people that I tend to speak to on a very consistent basis, whether it’s Whitney, my best friend, business partner, my family and the people I’m doing deals with it, the core people I need to communicate with. I’m going to give them a new number to my “dumb” phone, which will be my back-up phone so that only a core select group of people can reach me on that phone. The constant flood of DMs, emails, texts and phone calls can get overwhelming, which is why I use Do Not Disturb because I don’t want the constant pinging all day long.
I feel like having this back-up phone will allow you, Whitney, and also you, Jeff, as a person close in my life, a very select group of people that, “If you can’t get me on my iPhone, you know to ring me on the back-up phone.” I feel like it’s a good filtration system when I don’t want to have my face constantly planted on the iPhone or the computer. I’m trying to use technology more mindfully. In the sense of mindfulness, that’s a big thing that we see is becoming an addiction. We did an interesting panel, Jeff, with a guy named Tommy Sobel, who runs this company called Brick.
Do you know him? I feel like the two of you should be connected.
I do not know him biblically.
Maybe in an event together would be great because he does phone-free events and retreats to encourage people to be off their phones and be present with each other.Social media has become the forum to project your enoughness. Click To Tweet
I want to ask you both a question that I’m curious about both of your perspectives on something. Also, I’ll throw this out to our dear readers for their consideration as well. There were a couple of interesting articles. One was, We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. This was in the New York Times. Also, MindBodyGreen, which we love what Jason and his staff and everything they’ve done with that website, had an article about Wellness is Dead.
Did you see this, Jeff?
No, I did not see this. We had competing articles, one that said we’ve achieved peak wellness and simultaneously, wellness is also dead.
The nature, the thread through of both of these articles was akin to we’ve reached a point where there’s so much unattainable, unnecessary esoteric practices. They named a few, super herbs, superfoods, crazy expensive ingredients. Different practices around mindfulness and presence and wellness that are not statistically or scientifically verified to provide wellness. In both of these articles, it was the idea that if we can simplify things back to moving your body every day, eating cleaner food, eating local food, drinking more water, having healthier relationships, that all of these “esoteric,” unobtainable, expensive wellness practices become null and void. They were both knocking the wellness movement a little bit. To both of you, how does that land when you hear those article titles? Where do you think the state of wellness is? Where do you think it’s going?
We are at a saturation point because you’re seeing the term, wellness, over and over again. One of those articles suggested that we start referring to it as wellbeing instead, but I can’t remember the reason why. That’s another thing. Is there a difference between wellbeing and wellness?
I’d like to tie it back to your original point about the dumb phone or potentially the rotary phone or anything that might seem to be old. There’s this plethora of modalities that have had their efflorescence over the years. Yoga, local food, meditation, mindfulness, paleo diet, living in community, natural childbirth, it goes on and on. What’s interesting about all those new wellness trends? They’re old, thousands of years old. Paleo is millions of years old. They have become these modalities and methods, ideas and practices have become more prescient because of the salient social issues of our time. Whether they be personal, insomnia, stress, anxiety or social polarization, income inequality, climate change, etc. We are looking for solutions to address our personal and societal inflammation. These are tools and practices that are old and true.
We don’t necessarily think of them that way. They’re not framed in the media that way. They’re not marketed as old things, but indeed they are. It’s generally good. You can trace meditation back to Siddhartha and the Buddha. You can trace it back to the book of Genesis or even in the Old Testament as Isaac meanders out into the field to meditate. We have a lot of new evidence-based scientific studies around the effects and impacts of meditation on heart rate, your brain, stress levels, etc. Somehow, we intuited all of those same impacts thousands of years ago without science, without the scientific method, pre-enlightenment. I think that what I get concerned about, and this will make me seem like an old fuddy-duddy to be honest with you, oftentimes a lot of these wellness practices are framed around the demystification of them. We’re meditating for optimal performance, for focus at work, to win the Super Bowl and to compete in the workplace.
In our quest to make a bigger tent for yoga, for mindfulness, we’re stripping out the components that made that practice powerful in the first place, which is giving you a sense of one consciousness, connection, unity, serenity, an escape from desire. We’re using them as modern hacks and tools to be better at work, to bring home a higher wage, to have more success, to compete against other people in a dualistic environment instead of adopting those practices for their core original purpose, Advaita Vedanta, which is oneness. Moksha, kaivalya, escape from the notion that of the separate self, that I am separate from you, that I am separate from God, that I’m separate from other people, that I’m in competition with other people. I am what my resume says. I am what the world says. I judge myself through my own identity, through the eyes of others. These practices were created to escape from that, but we’re using them in this secular world of hacks.
Thank you for that incredibly detailed and passionate rant. I say rant in a good way, not in a negative way, a very passionate input to the subject. What I’ve observed, in backing up what you said, is similar to other social movements that they start with this underground uprising or counterculture thing. Suddenly, they become co-opted or reach a tipping point where corporate entities realize that they can monetize them. In terms of yoga and meditation, it’s interesting how when the ego gets involved, as it does try to leak in there, then it’s about getting the right mala beads, alo yoga pants, or the right Lulus and the right shoes and being at the right studio, following the right people on Instagram. As a yoga teacher or meditation practice, making sure your numbers are high enough. In this seeking of oneness and stillness and inner peace, there’s this interweaving in 2020 that continues to perpetuate and not blaming social media, but seeing the comparison trap and evaluating one’s worth and one’s social status even in the world of wellness meditation yoga at all by defaulting to this egoic trap that we all compare ourselves to. That duality is fascinating in this world we’re discussing.
It’s also interesting because the three of us are based in Los Angeles at this time. I feel like LA has that energy of ego and competition, but it also has the side of, there’s so much information we have in the city and access to wellness in a way that very few parts of the world have. We were talking about how if you want to go do Ayahuasca, you can easily find somebody who’s teaching Ayahuasca. This is something that other parts of the world don’t have that type of access to that we do. We’re fortunate, but we also are often battling the ego here. When people ask me, “Why do you like to live in Los Angeles?” I have to step back and think about it. For me, we have wonderful weather. We have incredibly interesting people. We’ve accessed all of these things, but then there’s a side of me that thinks, “That’s a tradeoff because we have so much technology. We have things like 5G here.” There’s so much coming at us. We have to counterbalance it with all this wellness. We are coming back to a neutral place versus going on a deeper level with wellness.
What you say about how the counterculture movement begins, they start on the edges, on the margins of society by people who on some level may be disenchanted, have some intellectual proclivity or look around at the world and don’t see that it’s functioning for them. They adopt certain ideas and practices that challenge the status quo. We saw that with Eastern religions and yoga meditation in the ‘60s and ‘70s. What capitalism, our modern global religion, does is that it commodifies every single thing by its nature. Inside the system and structure of capitalism and how it works, it relies on consistent messaging the concept that you are not enough and marketing gadgets, practices, trinkets, whatever it happens to be to address that perceived deficiency. That is the nature of what capitalism does.
When it commodifies things like wellness, modalities, practices, yoga, all of its associated trinkets, crystals, smaller beads, whatever it happens to be, it’s saying to people that you can purchase this external agent. This will be the thing that will solve your discontent. It will make you feel enough, but everybody knows that that’s a treadmill to nowhere. It doesn’t work. You’re seeking the next external agent, whether that’s drugs and alcohol, pornography, services, toys, trinkets, fancy cars or McMansion, it doesn’t matter. You are consistently relying on things that are outside yourself to provide contentment and happiness. These practices were designed to be the opposite of external. They were designed to be internal.
They were designed for you to go inside to find things that are not ephemeral, a part of you that sits outside of the world of the 10,000 things, sits outside of space and time and location and form. That’s where consciousness is. That’s where equanimity, non-attachment lives. Capitalism is a fine system and it has provided prosperity and brought a lot of people out of poverty. It has also created a tremendous amount of very good piping for our society. What we are stuck in, mired in as a society is a kind of individual materialism that we have never experienced before. It is compounded through social media, AI, all of these other things that’s like, “I am what I have.” That is the global ethos of what it means to be a human being.
“I am what I look like I have,” faking it until you make it type of, “I am my numbers. I am my beauty. I am my fashion,” and all of these things we identify. As you were talking, I was reflecting a lot about some of my experiences. I go to this yoga studio that I love deeply. I feel nourished by the teachers and the practices there. It is such a struggle for me sometimes because the great majority of the people at this yoga studio fall into this standard of what I perceive to be superficial in Los Angeles. There are mostly women that look like they spend a lot of time on their appearance. When I observe their behavior, whether it’s to me or around me, it feels like it’s cliquey. It’s like a popularity thing.If you are living in a greater amount of openness, real creativity comes and manifestation can begin to occur. Click To Tweet
I often feel out of place or conflicted going to this yoga studio because I have to constantly be mindful to stay internal versus to get caught up in the external and compare myself like, “Do I look as good as them? Are my clothes as nice was them? Is my body in the right shape as theirs? Should I try to fit in and be their friends? Do they like me? Do they not?” My mind goes to all these places and it’s part of my practice of grounding myself. I find that it’s part of Los Angeles and wellness. Even when Jason and I are involved in a lot of the social media communities for wellness, I have to take this deep breath before I interact every time because you go to an event or something and people are like, “How many social media followers do you have? Let’s take a perfect photo and edit it.” It becomes external. To your point, it takes so much work to go internal in this type of environment.
Social media has become the forum to project your “enoughness.” You said the word in there, which is fit in like, “I’ve gone to this place to connect with myself, enhancing my spiritual practice. Do I need to turn on my egoic mind in order to fit in?” Brené Brown distinguishes between fitting in and belonging. Fitting in is changing your behavior or who you are to be accepted while belonging is not sacrificing or compromising your authentic self and still being part of the group. There is an absolute major gap between what those two things are. I have three daughters. I see it all the time, especially with my eldest daughter who’s fifteen. I don’t want to throw her under the bus because she’s lovely and wonderful in many different ways, but she is consumed by her social media presence.
She’s basing her identity in likes, comments, shares and followers to the point where she has panic attacks around social media distress. It’s not only that, but that the constant barrage of dopamine. We talked about the biochemistry around social media. The studies around this are prevalent, but it prohibits one from forming long wave thought patterns. It keeps you on this EKG of life or these very short jagged waveforms that are representative of your thoughts. They come in little bite-size packages where if you are living in space, in a greater amount of openness where you’re not getting pinged and dinged every two seconds, where your Do Not Disturb is on, you can develop the long wave thoughts. This is where the real creativity comes or real thoughts are processed, and where manifestation can begin to occur.
I’m reading a book called The Shallows. One of our guests, Trevor Algatt brought it up. It’s about the impact that technology and the internet have had on our brains. It’s fascinating because one of the points in the book is how people are reading less. They don’t want to read books as much because it’s so long-form. We’re used to scanning. People sometimes are struggling to read because we conditioned our brain to scan. Reading sentences word by word is incredibly challenging for some people because of how our brains are adapting to this environment and society. I found that so interesting because I don’t perceive that I have that challenge. I read a lot and I enjoy it, but I do notice that it seems fewer people are talking about books.
More of us scan the news. We see the newspapers or the internet clips. We want all these bite-sized pieces of information. We want these bite-sized hits of dopamine and social media. We’re often being encouraged as content creators, as each of us is to make short-form content because that’s what people want. I find myself rebelling against that. I’m like, “I want to make long-form content,” but then there’s the fit in feeling again. It’s like, “Am I not going to fit in because I’m doing the long-form? Are people not going to like what I’m doing because it goes against their desire for these bite-size experiences?” It’s interesting because I feel like if we don’t fight for it, if we don’t encourage people to read, if we don’t encourage people to watch or listen to long-form content, we’re encouraging people to be in this bite-size culture. That’s not good for our brains.
It’s not. It’s encouraging that podcasts have become so popular because it is a long-form medium that I think people are craving for. It’s not that any kind of craving is good.
Documentaries, to that point, are on the rise again. Simply because documentary filmmaking has become so accessible. That’s what I enjoy watching the most these days, the six-part series documentary. To your point, maybe that is growing.
Our brains have even evolved to a place where there seems to be a chatter box quality, a ticker running across. This isn’t a symptom just of our modern culture. Anyone reading this can relate to this and they’re probably thinking. Even while I’m sitting here, there’s part of my brain going like, “I’m sure glad I went to the bathroom before we went to the show. I do start to go to the bathroom a lot as I’m becoming 50. Maybe that means I have diabetes or have a prostate issue. I should go see the doctor, but my doctor moved to New York so I don’t have a doctor. I didn’t like that guy anyways. I would prefer a doctor on the East side versus the West side. The West side is so Gwyneth and her Goop. I actually like that politician though.” That’s going through my head while I’m trying to concentrate on being somewhat articulate with you guys. If you exported that chatterbox and put that in a corporeal form in a seat next to me in a pale blue pantsuit and listened to that person, you would think that they were a neurotic psychopath. That neurotic psychopath, that pantsuit is up here in my head all the time. This is what freedom is. Freedom from the pants suit.
I saw a great interview of Russell Brand with Michael Singer. Michael Singer wrote The Untethered Soul. He did an extension of what you’re alluding to, Jeff, of the inner voice, the inner critic, the monkey mind. It’s always going. There are times where it’s like, “Can we go to sleep? We don’t have to think about folding socks. We can do that the next day. Let’s go to bed” When I talk to people who’ve started to meditate for the first time or beginning mindfulness practices, they’re like, “I want to shut that off.” I was like, “You’re not going to shut it off, but you can choose whether or not you want to let it run you or not.” It’s not about shutting that off. It’s like, “I acknowledge it’s there, but I’m not going to let you make decisions or tell me how to live my life.”
This is the great struggle of what it means to be human. This is why we love to play sports, to have sex, to eat chocolate because we want an escape from the conceptual mind. We want to devour, be in the moment, be within our natural habitat. The fact is it’s too late for that. We ate the apple. We know our consciousness is a double-edged sword. We know with 100% certainty that not only are we going to die and everyone that we know and love is going to die, we have to deal with that every single day, which creates a state of fear that we live from that feeds the story of the chatterbox. The chatterbox is always going around a story of fear. This is why you cultivate practices of meditation, to not become prey, not to live by the chatterbox, but to live with it. More than anything, to be able to see it, to be able to be aware of its existence. Over the last couple of years, I’ve developed more of a meditation practice, I am now aware of how I am behaving at any particular time. If I’m angry, which is a pretty rare emotion for me, but I certainly have plenty of run the gamut of many other emotions. If I’m angry or frustrated with my children, even when I’m elated when my sports team wins or whatever, I have the awareness to see myself with that particular emotion.
You’re witnessing it.
It’s that awareness which is huge because many people I would venture to say don’t even realize.
It’s the beginning of freedom.
It’s empowering too. When I have those moments of awareness, I feel like, “Thank goodness.”
If you are the subject and that emotion is the object, then you are not it. You can feel depressed, but that doesn’t mean you are depressed. An emotion, a thought or an object, these are all ephemeral things that you are perceiving with your limited ability through your five senses as fluctuations and phenomenon. You are the house. You will have visitors, invited and uninvited, that will come in and leave and that’s it. It takes a long time and I don’t live in that place all the time. The more that you can read and the more that you can practice, you begin to be able to separate yourself from the objects that exist within material phenomena. You know that you are not this microphone or that camera or that hat, but even a step farther. You are not the emotions that you feel. You are not the thoughts that you have. You are not even the body that you are in.
Sometimes, I have this fascinating sensation. It’s not peculiar anymore, but years ago, I started to have a pretty consistent sensation that the eternal eye was sitting in the center of my head as if it was controlling with levers, wheels and pulleys, this animatronic creation that I call a body. There are times of lucidity where I will simply in silence, stare at my body and marvel in the strangeness of opening and closing my hand, blinking or being present and looking in someone’s eyes and realizing that I’m not the meat suit or the flesh suit, but something is controlling the action. There’s an indwelling presence that I find fascinating. It feels like this weird sensation, this peculiarity of being positioned. It is not necessarily in my third eye, but being in my body staring out of the suit.You cultivate practices of meditation to not become prey, not to live by the chatterbox, but to live with it. Click To Tweet
It’s the feeling like I’m controlling this very strange, wonderful machine that I don’t understand. Cells are dying and repairing. Organs are growing and rejuvenating. Blood is flowing and I don’t even have to consciously do anything. It’s happening. There’s this wonderful mystery of existence that I love so much that in the scientific method, the scientific mind, the type A, all of those things, we need to figure out an existence. What does it mean to be human? What are we? Where did we come from? What is all this? I love the mystery of not knowing why I continue to exist, breathe, my blood flows or my brain chemistry goes. All of these things with zero effort and zero forethought. It is just happening.
Peter Crone talked about that, which flies counter to how the egoic mind works. The egoic mind wants to control every single thing in the future, which is what creates a lot of anxiety. Living comfortably in the uncertainty, in the I don’t know, is a key to freedom. There is a surrender in that. There is a faith in that. This is one of the issues at the crux of what it is to be human is that there is a quest for knowledge. If you look at that purely in enlightenment terms, in the mind with reason, rationality, the scientific method that there we have certain hypotheses about how life works, then we have experiments to test those hypotheses, we gather evidence and we make a determination. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. Science in innovation have yielded incredible results from medical to agricultural to technological. How we’ve distributed them can sometimes not be great.
To think that we know or that we can know everything that there is to know is the definition of hubris. What we know sits as a spec on a pinhead because all we can know is what our five senses can tell us and the instruments that science has developed to enhance those particular senses. Whether that’s a telescope or a microscope with your eyesight or whether that’s being able to hear waves outside of the audible frequency spectrum of your ears, still, there is nothing outside of that. Deepak Chopra often talked about the painted lady butterfly. It has 31,000 lenses. What does the world look like when if you had 31,000 lenses? It would be completely different. Many animals see in a spectrum of blue and green. We’re limited by our special characteristics or our special limitations as they relate to our five senses to understand the world around us. There is no choice but to live in the mystery.
In that, there is no absolute reality because reality is a construct of the biological perceptibility of one’s physiological capabilities. As humans, are we living in the actual present moment or are we living in the past? Are we living in a story? Are we living in a projection? It goes to me the question of what the nature of reality is. Is there an absolute reality? Is there an absolute truth? Is this all a subjective conversation?
There is a fundamental objective reality, but it exists outside of our ability to perceive it. Most of what we experience as humans exist as subjective reality or intersubjective reality. It’s a fact because you see something as blue or value something, so does Whitney then so do I. We agree on the subjective reality of that particular determination or perception. It can extend to currency. It could extend to a nation state. Lines around the land, it’s all a story, a mythology that maintains stability around an imagined order. As humans, we’re incredible at cooperating around myth, around a story, the Bible. You can use a million examples, democracy. What exists outside of a human’s ability to perceive it? You might say, gravity or radiation. There may be some things that you could say exist.
If humans were banished from the face of the earth, these things might still exist. There are universal truths and perennial precepts that also may exist within things that you might define as fundamental and objective. Those things that exist outside of space, time, location and form such as love, compassion and empathy. These qualities, values, truths that every prophet, poet, mystic religious leader has been positing since the beginning of recorded time. You might make the argument that love might exist within an objective reality. It is not defined through the fluctuations of phenomena and our ability to perceive that phenomena.
When you use the word love, that’s such a charged word because there can be many interpretations, permutations, feelings and expressions associated with that in terms of language and the meaning we assign to the word love. When you use the word love in that context, do you mean a universal unconditional love?
It’s interesting because I’ve thought about what is the inherent nature of consciousness. Is it neutral or is it good? Is it love? My sense is that it is neutral, but it also could be love if we understand love as something separate from an emotion. Love isn’t necessarily a wanting or a desire. It’s an essence of complete and utter serenity and acceptance. If you were to define consciousness as the seat of the soul, that is the subject, the witness and that is not the object, the emotion and the thought, it is a natural determination to qualify consciousness as neutral. The thing about consciousness, which is wonderful, is that it is focusable. In a very banal example, my consciousness is much focused on talking to you guys.
If I heard a rattlesnake behind me, I would turn around and I’d be focused over there as a fight or flight response. Generally, if you get to that place where you can live with the awareness of awareness, the awareness of your consciousness, then you begin to be able to develop the skill to focus that consciousness on the things that matter most to you in life. One of those things could be compassion. One of those things could be forgiveness. One of those things could be empathy. What I have come to believe is that life with integrity. The authentic life is when your words and actions are aligned with those highest principles, regardless of external circumstances.
That’s the key there because one of the things that I’ve struggled with in this conversation is bringing up the importance of figuring out what’s important to me versus constantly judging myself, comparing myself, all of those outside elements of external. What do other people think? What is important to others? The way that I’m interpreting some of the things that you’re saying is almost as if everything is neutral. We’re assigning our meaning. Some of the challenges in life revolve around other people trying to project their meanings, their important things and their judgments onto one another. For certain people like myself, I’ve spent a lot of my life taking in other people’s perceptions and then it’s led me to feel very lost. That’s where mindfulness practices such as meditation have served me because it is helping and guiding me back to myself to figure out what’s important to me versus how I relate to other people. Am I fitting into somebody else’s mold?
That idea is very comforting if you think of life as more neutral because somebody else perceives something one way. It doesn’t mean that that is the right way. We live in this time where there’s a lot of fighting. People are trying to say this is right or this is wrong. You’re doing it the best way versus the wrong way. You’re doing a good job versus a bad job. That can be very conflicting because we all also equate good. If you’re doing a similar good job, that’s almost how we were tied into love. It’s like acceptance. You’re either accepted or rejected and most of us are afraid of rejection. Coming back to your good enough point that we live our lives trying to constantly seek out approval. That’s at the root of this externalization. If everything is neutral, then it’s almost like there is no necessary right and wrong.
God has no grandchildren. There’s no intermediary. Your relationship with the divine is absolutely 100% personally yours to define and cultivate as you will. If God is everywhere, there is nowhere, he is not. That relationship is direct. This is the big problem with institutional religion and why there’s so much disaffiliation is because it became so highly dogmatic. People don’t want to be told what to think and what to feel. I made that comment that consciousness is neutral and also what do I know? Pretty much nothing, but that doesn’t mean that there are not universal eternal perennial truths.
All we can look at is the history of poets, mystics, prophets and religious leaders who have all said the same thing, different masks, same face, that we are connected. There are truths such as love, compassion, forgiveness and empathy that we should aspire to. “To love thy neighbor as thyself,” these are the same things that have been repackaged through different messengers since the beginning of time. My critique with modern society is that it is valueless because it is based upon a supposedly mutually beneficial transactional relationship between people, which is purely economic. We are heavily reliant on reason, rationality, and science to explain the world that we live in.
One of the core precepts or conditions for the scientific method is value neutrality that there are preexisting universal truths or values. We’re stuck in a society that functions on a purely economic basis with no sense for greater universal truths and values. I’ve used this particular example, even the oil and gas executive does not wake up in the morning and say like, “I’m going to pollute the globe. Carbon is at 415 parts per million this morning, by the end of the day, it’s 420.” He or she doesn’t say that, but in the absence of values, that’s the output. My hope and dream is that we can find ways to reinstill values within our society. There could be many ways to do that, but one of the most potent ways to do that is that we need to revive public forums for the real exchange of ideas between free individuals as a means to reinstill meaning into these values and the values themselves. We’re all bunkered in our little echo chambers, atomized and fractured.Living comfortably in the uncertainty is a key to freedom. Click To Tweet
In living in a world that sees the self as separate as individuals, living amongst other individuals in a separate and external universe, that divides the mind and the mind and the body, the material and the spiritual, man and nature that gives us dominion over nature. We’re constantly living in this separate dualism and it’s difficult to have values in that kind of society at the best. You resort to relativism or historicism or anybody can come in. In the absence of values, tell you what your values are. That’s why when people are wanting deeply for belonging and for connection, it makes it in the absence of it. It makes it easy for a corpulent monster with a red hat and a fancy slogan to ride into town and get people to give a crap. In the absence of community and values, that’s breeding grounds for totalitarianism and authoritarianism. That’s an issue.
If you enjoyed this episode, Jeff speaks every week on his show.
It is called the Commune. I try to speak less than I did.
You’re curating it and that you’re bringing on guests that speak to similar topics. Listening to your wonderful podcast is another great option because my feeling is that you’re bringing on guests that have taught you things that you’ve read their books, listen to them speak, you resonated with them, and wanted to bring them onto yours to share those messages. I think it’s phenomenal.
Everything that I said that made any sense was plagiarized from someone that’s on my show.
You said it yourself, these are the things that people have been saying for thousands of years. I think it’s important to continue talking about it because you never know where somebody is on their journey. They may be learning some of these things that you said for the very first time. You’re part of the passing along the information, which is important. We appreciate that.
Thank you. I appreciate what you do in this forum. I would also want to say that it is never too late to wake up. I spent 47 years of my life as a zombie with a program, not even understanding what my program was. Often, it takes inflection points in your life, points of crisis sometimes to be your best and greatest teacher. Hopefully, it doesn’t always take that. It doesn’t take always hitting rock bottom to get better. You don’t have to be sick to get better. In my case, I had an inflection point very late in my life. I say that because a lot of these ideas that I’ve been fortunate to absorb as I plagiaristic sponge to some degree because I got to sit across the table from brilliant people. In some cases, go shoe shopping with them or pick out the toothpaste. It is never too late to be able to commit yourself to wake up, to figuring out who you are, to living your best self and then by extension, impacting the world.
If you tap into Jeff’s wonderful Commune podcast and the Commune website, it’s OneCommune.com.
You’re included. You have your course there, Jason.
I was one of the first and that was such a tremendous honor to work with you, Jeff, not only on that, but over the years with the Wanderlust Festival and all the wonderful projects. You are inviting me and Whitney into your group of heart-centered world-changing humans that want to lead with love and compassion. It’s always an honor to be with you and share your work with the world. To our dear readers, check out Jeff and his beautiful works in the world. He’s got some great teachers and colleagues that you will want to learn from.
Is there more than one book? There is the cookbook.
There is a cookbook. It is named Wanderlust Find Your True Fork. There’s the original Wanderlust book, which I labored over for many moons that still holds up. I went back and I read it and I said, “Who wrote this? It is not bad.”
I remember one of the sweetest things that you had said about Wanderlust Find Your True Fork was about your mom and the pride of saying, “Mom, I wrote a book.” That was such a sweet, gentle, vulnerable moment because I feel like, for all of us, there’s some sense of that inner child that wants to be like, “Mom, Dad, look what I did.” That’s very innocent and a sweet way of wanting that acknowledgment. We go back to acknowledgment and attention. Understanding the inner child and understanding that part of us is still very much alive and motivating a lot of our actions and thoughts. I always remember that moment a few years ago where you’re like, “I did the book, Mom. Mom’s proud.”
I remember sitting next to one of your children at the Find Your True Fork event that Jason did at Wanderlust. You were sitting at the head of the table, Jeff. One of your kids was there. That was such a great event. Another thing I remember about that event that you might appreciate speaking of love is one of our friends ended up meeting their future girlfriend at your event. I remember distinctly the moment they were sitting across from me at the table talking. At the end of the event, we took a group photo. One of our friends went to meet this girl and they’re still together. We won’t say who it is, but it was very sweet. I recall that event very fondly at Wanderlust. There’ve been many great events. Anyone interested in them in addition to Commune, it has incredible live and online events. Wanderlust does. There’s a lot of great resources. As you’ve been reading to this episode, if you want to immerse yourself in more community, those are some great places to start.Often, it takes the inflection points in your life to be your best and greatest teacher. Click To Tweet
We appreciate you, Jeff. It is always such a pleasure.
- The Light Phone
- Adam Yasmin
- We’ve Reached Peak Wellness
- Why 2020 Will Be The Year That Wellness Dies
- The Shallows
- The Untethered Soul
- Commune – the podcast
- Wanderlust Festival
- Wanderlust Find Your True Fork
About Jeff Krasno
Jeff attended The Hotchkiss School and received his BA in 1993 from Columbia University. In 2008, Jeff created the concept for Wanderlust, a series of large-scale events combining yoga & wellness with the arts. Wanderlust has become a global wellness platform with 65 events in 20 countries. Jeff serves as Chairman.
In 2018, Jeff founded Commune Media, an online learning platform for personal and societal well-being. As CEO, Jeff focuses on talent relationships, business development and building a stellar team. He also hosts the Commune podcast, interviewing a wide variety of guests from Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson to Brendon Burchard and Russell Brand.
Jeff serves on the board of Pure Edge, a non-profit organization dedicated to integrating yoga and mindfulness curriculum into the public school system. Jeff is a contributor to the Huffington Post and Fast Company. His first book, eponymously named, Wanderlust, debuted in May 2015 on Rodale and has sold more than 35,000 copies worldwide. His new Wanderlust cookbook, Find Your True Fork, came out in July 2017.
In 2016, he was selected by Oprah Winfrey to be part of the SuperSoul100 as one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs.
In 1995, Jeff married Schuyler Grant, his college sweetheart. Schuyler, a yoga teacher and director of Kula Yoga Project, served as the inspiration for Wanderlust. Jeff & Schuyler have three beautiful daughters, Phoebe, Lolli and Micah. They currently live in Los Angeles, California.
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