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Moving Meditation: How It Trains Your Mind, with Jay Shetty

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Former monk-turned author Jay Shetty says that meditation is not about emptying your mind. Rather it’s on directing your mind to enable you to stay present and focused. And this practice of training your mind doesn’t necessarily have to take place while seating in a quiet spot with no distractions. In this last episode of a series with Jay, he and the Amens discuss some of the ways you can train your mind to see beauty and complete experiences while in motion, whether it’s through yoga, martial arts, or just taking a walk.

For more info on Jay Shetty’s new book “Think Like a Monk”, visit https://www.amazon.com/Think-Like-Monk-Train-Purpose/dp/1982134488

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Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel. Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.

Welcome back. We’re here with Jay Shetty. What about moving meditations? And the reason I ask this-

Jay Shetty:

Oh yeah.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Is because I tried to do yoga and I honestly, it’s not that I can’t and I actually do like the way I feel physically afterwards, but my mind, I tend to be a pretty high strung person. So the thing I love about martial arts is I know people think it’s crazy, they think it’s crazy that you can think of it as a meditation when you’re hitting stuff. But honestly, I’m so present because you have to be present when someone’s about to hit you.

So, you have to be present when you’re blocking things, plus you are using mantras. When you do Cotaz, it’s a mantra, it’s a moving meditation. You have to be very present and very focused. What do you think about moving meditation?

Jay Shetty:

Yeah. I love the idea of, of course, yoga and martial arts. And you’ve spoken about those both beautifully. I think one of the moving meditations that we used to do with monks that I talk about in the book, and I love doing this with clients or people I’m working with is, we’re going to walk and I’ll ask them to find and pick up something that they’ve never… Something that just sparks their interest. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly it could be a stone, pebble, it could be a flower, it could be a leaf, it could be anything that they see. And so they pick something up, and then what I asked them to do on the walk, cause I asked them to intimately observe it.

Every texture, every color, every scent, holding it to ear and hearing what it sounds like in different parts of your hand to intimately observe something that you take as mundane or insignificant actually refreshes you and trains your mind to not just see beauty, but to see complete experience in everything you’re exposed to. And the best thing that happens every time, ether does someone picks up a huge rock or whether did they pick up a little leaf. They realize that they misjudged how deep and beautiful that thing was when they first picked it up. They just thought it was this insignificant stone and when they looked at it, they just realized there was a universe inside that flower. And that is such a refreshing way of doing a moving meditation because you’re walking, you’re in nature, you’re outdoors and you’re allowing your mind to be truly present.

Another way we were taught to do as monks is we would go on the same walk every day and we had to discover something new. We were often asked, for the next three days you’re going to find a new flower. Now the mind would like to play a trick, it would find the first three flowers on the first day and be like, “Oh, I’m prepared for the next three days” because the mind is always trying to be in the future. The mind doesn’t want to be in the present. And so what would happen is our teachers would take us out the next day and they’d be like today, we’re not looking for a flower today, we’re looking for a butterfly and all of a sudden you’d be back at square one. So if you were taking the same route to work every day, what’s something new that you haven’t seen. If you go into the same office everyday, what item can you add or remove from your desk to change the environment? What can you do in these simple ways, which can be your beginning process of meditation, right? There’s the habit and there’s the practice, and then there’s the lifestyle. To me I think if people start with the lifestyle, they’ll feel the benefits and the practice will become easier.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s amazing! I mean, so it’s really about mindfulness. I mean, that’s what I’m hearing is it’s really about being mindful and present in your work.

Jay Shetty:

Intentionally.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I don’t know if we talked about it when I was on your podcast, but we’ve done three brain imaging studies with meditation and we did the chanting meditation [character [00:04:12] in Korea, a Kundalini yoga form of meditation, and it settled down the emotional brain. It also interesting settled down the parietal lobes, which means you sort of lost your sense of time and space, but then as you continued to do it, it activated your frontal lobes, which means more of the more thoughtful part of your brain. So now, I called the pandemic, a global amygdala hijacking. So the amygdala is that part of our brain, that senses fear, and that’s been hijacked and our frontal lobes have dropped watching the news, not sleeping, we don’t have good frontal lobe function. And what meditation does, it’s like the perfect prescription, quiet the amygdala hijacking activate the prefrontal cortex, so you can just be more thoughtful.

When people medicate with alcohol, with marijuana, with bad food, what they’re doing is they’re taking the prefrontal cortex offline and then you get the amygdala rebound when you don’t have those things. I’m just so grateful for… Think like a monk out soon, September 8th, we’ll release the podcast right around that time. But talk to us about how people can find you and learn from you…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

[crosstalk [00:05:50] The five that don’t already know you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

beyond the book. What are the best ways for people to connect with?

Jay Shetty:

We have the podcast On Purpose, which is a great place to connect, especially if you’re interested in long form content. We have my video channels on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, which you’re all @Flysheet. If someone’s really looking to go deeper in their practice and learn, then we have my genius coaching program, which is our monthly coaching program where people can actually connect with people in their local area and be guided.

And for those who want to become coaches, we just launched a few months ago, a Jay Shotty coaching school, which is a certified and accredited member to provide life coaching certification. So if someone’s really at that stage where they want to go and make an impact themselves, those are all the areas that we currently have to offer. This honestly, I’m so glad that you both ask me such practical questions because I couldn’t agree with you more that right now, what we need is to give people tools that can help them build the habits that will help them get through this, but last, the long longterm, right? Like we can use this time, if everyone listening and watching right now can just use this time to develop habits. These habits are going to be useful for the rest of your lifetime, no matter what the world throws at you.

And I loved what you just said about the amygdala hijack and that’s what we need to bring back. And if it’s as simple as you to repeat a simple affirmation or a mantra, a one of my favorite affirmation is “I’m exactly where I need to be.” I say that to myself often because I feel the mind always wants to be in the future or the past, and I always remind myself with my hand on my heart, that I’m exactly where I need to be, because there’s an experience right now that I’m meant to be having that I’m trying to avoid by avoiding that experience, I just have to have it again in the future. So, that one really helps me, and then there are beautiful mantras in the [00:07:46] language, which I studied as a monk. There’s one that I’ve been sharing, which is called Sarva sukhino bhavantu, and what it means is that may there be love and happiness for every being. I find that when I add that to my intention, and I add that to my prayer or my meditation, it allows me to feel like a small part of the solution, even if I can’t change it.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s so great. One that has always, I mean, there’s so many that helped me, but I spent nine days with Byron Katie. And she’s pretty amazing.

Jay Shetty:

[crosstalk [00:08:19] Yes, she’s awesome. I love Byron Katie.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Pretty mind bending, but it was really great. But, for me, I can tend to get caught up in triggers from my past, which is why I really worked on prayer and meditation in my life. One thing that helps me and maybe it’s not a peaceful or a pretty way to say it, but it works, argue with reality, welcome to help. It just reminds me, I’m arguing with what’s real right now, I’m arguing and trying to either go in the past or the future and I’m not right now. This is my reality right now, and in this moment, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I have everything I need in this moment and almost always the answer is yes. Well, my friend, we love you.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So amazing [crosstalk [00:08:59].

Daniel Amen, MD:

Thank you and we are so grateful for you. I can’t wait to, when we can actually see each other in person, I owe you a brain scan. I’m dying to see your brain. When I met…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That was his first line to me, I’ve never heard a cooler line. I want to see your naked brain. That is just the most unique… Well you have to admit….

Jay Shetty:

He told that story on the podcast and I loved it because, it’s brilliant. I mean, he’s, you know, Daniel’s charming, he’s charismatic, he’s smart, its just…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

He’s got game.

Jay Shetty:

He’s got it all. I love both of you together, and I’m so glad that I shared it on the podcast last time. It was beautiful, and I look forward to it. I’m sure there’s lots of things I can improve about my brain, and I am completely a student I’m ready to learn and grow.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

This was fantastic. Honestly, I’m so excited to share this with our listeners, our followers.

Jay Shetty:

Thank you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Thank you for those who’ve been listening this is the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast, whatever you learnt, so much this week with Jay, write it down. Post it on any of your social media sites, hashtag @Flysheet, also hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. Leave us a comment, question or review. We know you take care.

Jay Shetty:

Thank you everyone. Thank you so much.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you’re enjoying the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode and while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.