Rich Lewis is an author, speaker, and coach who focuses on centering prayer as a means of inner transformation. He teaches centering prayer in both his local and virtual community and offers one-on-one coaching. Rich’s newest book is titled, Sitting with God: A Journey To Your True Self Through Centering Prayer.He publishes a weekly meditation, book reviews, and interviews on his site, Silence Teaches. He has published articles for a number of organizations, including Contemplative Light, Abbey of the Arts, Contemplative Outreach, EerdWord, In Search of a New Eden, the Ordinary Mystic at Patheos, and the Contemplative Writer. ​Rich has been a daily practitioner of centering prayer since June 1, 2014. Centering prayer has been so life-giving and life-changing that he feels compelled to share his journey with others who wish to learn more. Rich resides with his family in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Learn more about him at

Brandon Handley 0:40
one. Hey there spiritual dope. I’m on today with rich Lewis. He’s an author, speaker and coach who focused on centering prayer as a means of inner transformation. He teaches centering prayer in both his local and virtual community and offers one on one coaching, which his newest book is titled sitting with God, a journey to your true self through centering prayer. he publishes a weekly meditation book reviews and interviews on his site. Silence teaches, he has published articles for a number of organizations including contemplated flight, Abbey of the arts contemplated outreach aired world. Much I say that right Earth world,

Rich Lewis 1:17
I don’t even know

Brandon Handley 1:19
in search of a new, I can type it but I can’t say in search of a New Eden, the ordinary mystic at patheos. And the contemplate of writer, which has been a daily practitioner centering prayer says June 1 2014, saying prayer has been so life giving and life changing that he feels compelled to share his journey with others who wish to learn more rich resides with his family in Ambler, Pa. And to learn more, check them out at his website. Silent teaches that calm, rich, so glad to be on here today. Thanks for joining.

Rich Lewis 1:51
Great, yeah, thanks for having me. I

Brandon Handley 1:52
appreciate it. Absolutely, absolutely. We were chatting a little bit guys, before we got started here, rich and I aren’t too far apart. And we can actually talk a little bit about doing this in person. just didn’t happen this time. But it’s really cool to know that in my mind, there’s somebody cool doing cool things that’s local, like you are rich. So by that we’re able to connect through through this right? It’s funny because we go to the you know, we go to this, we connected off of a podcast matching site, and we got hooked up locally anyways. I always like to start these off with the whole idea that that we’re vessels for source God, energy, divine creation, and you know, we speak in a way that is speaking to somebody else, right that it’s of service to somebody. So you and I are here for somebody who’s great as good as can be tuned in to the podcast today. And there’s a special message coming through you that can only be delivered through you through this podcast. What’s that message today?

Rich Lewis 2:56
I would say a silent prayer. So many people probably don’t think of prayer as wordless meditation. But I would challenge people to try a different way to pray rather than their prayer with words. I would encourage them to try silent prayer and see how that can help them and transform them and heal them. Cool. I

Brandon Handley 3:19
mean, let’s step into it. Right? So what what is it that got you into new silent prayer? Like what was your journey to finding this space?

Rich Lewis 3:27
Sure. I guess I had always been attracted to silence. I just didn’t know what to do in it. I have read books 2011 2012 gentleman by the name of karma Coleman, I read a number of his books. And he talks a lot about silence and how healing and transforming it was. I don’t remember him sharing a practice in it. I’ve since learned he actually does practice centering prayer, but I don’t remember reading it in his books. But so I would just sit in silence for one to three minutes. And I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I thought well, maybe it’s gonna do something for me. But then in late 2013, I was perusing Amazon looking for a book to read. And I stumbled across a book by Amos Smith called healing the divide recovering Christianity’s mystic roots. So I began reading the Kindle version. And in the book, he talked about a silent prayer practice he had been doing for about 15 years called centering prayer. So I was immediately intrigued, because now I have a practice that I can do in this silence. So that’s how I found silent prayer. And then I literally just reached out to him on his website, we began a back and forth email dialogue. And we’re actually friends at this point, and I’ll say it’s his fault that I wrote the book too, but it’s a good fault. But um, so I read about centering prayer in his book, and then I just began reading other centering prayer practitioners books out there and I and really the best way to do it, though is is to begin practicing so I began seriously practicing it in June of 2014. So that’s real. So I really stumbled upon It I guess, internally, I knew I needed to do something. I just didn’t know what it was. And then it found me in his book on Amazon.

Brandon Handley 5:12
Like, you were already searching for something. Do you have an idea? Like, you know, you’re you’re already attracted to the silence, you are already practicing this somewhat centering prayer in silence. What was it? You think that led to to even that space? Right? What was it that was making you explore the silence? Then what? What made you? Why do you feel like you were seeking? Do you have an answer? Something that

Rich Lewis 5:42
I think I just wanted to a deeper relationship with God, I think I just thought I wasn’t doing all I could do. And there was, there was more to what my current spirituality looked like, and that it lacked depth. And it needed more depth than it needed. It needed more trust and faith in God. So I was just missing something. But I didn’t know what it was.

Brandon Handley 6:11
I like that. What What do you feel? So what was your practice at the time that you kind of fell into this?

Rich Lewis 6:21
At the time? I guess I would, yeah, I read the Bible. And I read a lot of books by different I was kind of exploring, so I was reading a lot of different authors, and books on Christianity and on Jesus, and he, some of them just maybe more scholarly in terms of who is Jesus? And what did he do? When did he did he really exist? And what are the what are some of the things that he did? So I was doing a lot of that, and then it was mostly verbal prayer. And it’s a time right now in in between churches, but at the time, I was going to the United Church of Christ, which was is a non denominational Protestant church. So I was enjoying it. But I guess I just felt that there was something missing. But I didn’t know what it was. I think I was just exploring, like, I’m not completely whole, I’m not completely happy with where I’m at, not unhappy and unhappy with God. But I figured there had to be more depth to this. And there had to be just something more to what I was doing.

Brandon Handley 7:25
You had a strong framework within Christian religion. You were just looking at where could you fill this in? And you found it, you found some of the fill in through your inner inner seeking, right, and then somebody inner seeking, and I think that’s really cool that right, you found what it was that you were looking for, in the centering prayer. And through I guess it sounds like you went through Christianity, mythic, mystic roots. Right. I’d love to hear some more on that to just kind of, you know, what that looks like. And sounds like centering prayer was a part of some of the mystic routes. Is that fair to say? Yeah,

Rich Lewis 8:10
I guess it would be because if you’re referring to the book, so Amos Smith’s book, recovering Christianity, healing, the divide, recovering Christianity’s mystic roots. In his book, really, two things jumped out at me one, one was centering prayer and a practice and a lot of talk about silence. And that’s silent prayer, went all the way back to Jesus, and then came forward, you know, through the desert, mothers and fathers and just through all kinds of people up until up until the present. And then he and he also talked the other sets. The second thing that jumped out at me in his book was he just talked, he called it the Jesus paradox, Jesus being God and human at once. And that just intrigued me how he talked about that, that it was at once Jesus was God inhuman, and that he wasn’t just human, and he wasn’t just divine, but he really was both. And then that we, we too are, we have divinity in us. We’re not God, but the divine image is within us. And we’re human. So like, Jesus, we are human and divine, but with a little D, as he called it,

Brandon Handley 9:15
for sure, for sure. I mean, that makes sense. I mean, I don’t think, you know, my personal take would be, you know, there’s really no capital letters within the divine when it comes into that, right you either you kind of recognize that spark or you don’t, right, and you feel it and it sounds to me like you, you kind of hit on this space through your centering prayer where it just kind of like you said, You felt the word that I was used as numinous and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that word, right? You felt like that kind of overcome and touching? connection, stronger sense of connection with your spiritual self. And then you’re like, I gotta go tell everybody about this. Right? You got to let everybody You know, because you found a way that resonated with you. And I also like the idea to, you know, kind of what your what what you seek is seeking you like you were looking for an answer, right? You were looking for something and then you found it and you’ve really kind of grabbed hold of it, because you’ve contacted the author and now you’re part of like the you’re part of a community of the centering prayer thing. Right that I know, I’ve never heard of it, but it’s probably a big part of your world right now. Can you tell me a little bit about what that can be?

Rich Lewis 10:27
Sure, well, centering prayer. So I’ll give you some of the history of it. And that’ll give you some of the background. So centering prayer was created in the early 1970s. It was actually three Trappist monks, so three Catholic priests. So actually, father, William managers discovered the method in a book called The Cloud of Unknowing. And then because at the time, Thomas Keating, kind of charged him and basil Pennington with, we need to find something for the Christian community. There’s Transcendental Meditation going on, but there’s really not a silent practice for the Christian community. So father, William manager kind of stumbled across the method in the Cloud of Unknowing of how you do it. So that was in the early 1970s. And then from that point, the three of them really started sharing it with other clergy, and priests. And then they really just began rolling it out to the public. And then in 1984, Thomas Keating, and a couple other folks started what’s called the contemplative outreach organization, which is contemplative So that’s been around since 1984. And that’s really the main centering prayer organization. So if you go to their website, you’ll see a ton of resources on centering prayer. And you’ll also see, right now, it doesn’t matter, because everybody if they’re meeting their meeting, zoom, but pre meeting, prior to COVID, you could find a group in your state. So if you lived in New Jersey, you could go to the site, and you can probably find a group that might practice near you. And you could go there, and to maybe their weekly meetings, or whatever frequency you wanted. Or even internationally, you could go in Italy, and see if there’s a group in Italy or in Spain or Germany. So the main center in for organizations started, I guess you could say, another 10 ish years after centering prayer kind of kicked off, and began. So that’s, I guess, the main communities contemplative outreach, and they began forming chapters throughout all the states and throughout different countries in the world as a way for people to connect with each other. But now you can, you know, connect with with, you could join a zoom group, wherever you want. They’re probably practicing centering prayer for a one hour, they might have a one hour meeting, and they’re meeting and you could probably join them via zoom. And it doesn’t really matter where you live, if they have a zoom link, and you want to join them. So that’s, that’s a little bit about the community there. Yeah, it’s a virtual community now, but it’s also an in person community prior to COVID. And probably as things begin opening up, I’m assuming a lot of the groups will start having in, you know, practice, or meetings, without zoom and in person as well, when they’re more comfortable.

Brandon Handley 13:13
Chris could tell us a little bit a bit about what those in person ones were like prior to COVID.

Rich Lewis 13:18
I actually never went to some of them. Well, no, actually, I take that back, I did, there was a Episcopal group that I found that met near me. So some of them, some of them were short. And I think there were as simple as 30 minutes in the end, they would meet early in the morning before people went to work. The one I went to was on a Sunday, so it was one hour, and they had a little bit of more community with it. So they before before you had your 20 minutes centering prayer sit there was a reading, and then you talked about the reading together. And then you had your 20 minutes set. And then there was kind of a closing reading and then just some community and discussion before everybody disbanded. But some groups I think will time it and they might do it around dinner or for lunch. So they might actually eat a meal together afterwards. So each group is a little bit different. Some are in and out it’s 30 minutes and they’re in and out. Some groups have a call it book ends, they have something to do at the beginning and something to do with the end. And they have maybe a little bit more community around it. So when I went to I guess a little bit more community around it and it was a little bit over an hour

Brandon Handley 14:30
and you said was Episcopalian but I mean is it is it kind of it’s not as as the practice itself nondenominational or anybody’s welcome into this groups.

Rich Lewis 14:38
Yes. Yeah. So then do you think about contemplative outreaches? Yes, I mean, they believe in one in a lot of interfaith dialogue, but to the practice itself is isn’t confined to really any group is anybody can practice centering prayer, and these chapters that are all throughout the states in the different countries. anybody’s welcome even if The church, even if it’s, you know, at a church, it’s Welcome to anybody that wants to come, you don’t necessarily have to be a member of that church to go to the centering prayer meeting, it just so happens that church link themselves up and put themselves on the contemplative outreach website to say, we have a chapter and we’re going to hold our meetings, you know, at the church

Brandon Handley 15:25
a little more inclusive, to be able to just, I mean, churches inclusive, I think in the most part for and they should be. But when you really open it up to everybody like that, to invite everybody into to have this experience and something that can have such powerful impact. Let the way that it’s had on you. Having that be open everybody. I think that that’s that’s wonderful, wouldn’t it now. So you know, what would we? What would our practice look like? Let’s say I’m ready to start rich, and you start to give me the lowdown I want to I want to start my own practice. What do I need? What do I need to start doing?

Rich Lewis 16:00
Sure. So I gave the histories and I want to say, Well, how do you do this thing called centering prayer. So you, you sit comfortably with your eyes closed. And then to begin your centering prayer sets, you introduce interiorly, we call a sacred word of one, two or three syllables. So you might choose God or ocean or Jesus or some type of short syllable word. And that that really signifies your beginning your prayer, and your opening to the presence and actions of God within. And then during the duration of your sets, you can pick, I guess, they generally suggest you work your way up to so eventually, you’re doing a 20 minute set, but in the beginning, maybe you’re doing five minutes or 10 minutes, but whatever, whatever suits you when you best you can best handle if you’re beginning it. But so use your sacred words to begin your prayer. And then whenever you engage your thoughts, your thoughts and what I mean by that is whatever you begin thinking about what you’re doing before your sit, where you begin thinking about what what am I going to do after my sit and what does my afternoon look like, you realize you’re no longer sitting with God, you’re sitting with yourself and your thoughts in your planning and plotting. So you reintroduce that sacred word, just to bring you back to the present, and you let go of all your plotting and planning. And you basically just do that when needed. So it’s not used as a mantra, there are mantra based practices, but centering prayer just uses it when you needed when you engage your thoughts. And the other thing I’ll say is it doesn’t have to be a word I I quickly discovered I was more of a visual person. So I started you I changed to an image and you can use an interior image to bring yourself back to the present. If you’re more of a physical person, you can use your breath and then lastly, some people don’t want to close their eyes or they’re fearful that they might fall asleep. So they stare at a spot three, four or five feet perhaps on the floor just to keep them centered and focused. But essentially that’s that’s how you do the practice. And again you’re not using the sacred word as like as a tennis racket or baseball bat you’re simply using it to come back to the present moment and let go of your thoughts and when you begin engaging them realize you’re not sitting with God anymore that you’re sitting more with yourself and what you are planning

Brandon Handley 18:18
definitely when you when you get started with you know a practice like this when you first start off trying to dedicate any more than five minutes to something in this super busy world where oh my god I should be doing something else right now right I should I don’t have time for this you know five minutes of meditation so are the 20 that you kind of end up at it given whatever you get to like I don’t have 20 minutes for that I got this to do I got that to do I gotta go running off so when you introduce this you know can definitely be definitely be a challenge to to get it initiated so thanks for you know, kind of saying hey, looking at it, start small, work your way up. And then as you’re talking about the sacred word or the visual and essentially what I’m hearing you you’re setting an anchor for yourself for something you can kind of come back to or even like touch base, like a home. Wait there touch base, there’s there. I’m back into I’m back into where I need to be. What would you say for you? What are some of the fruits I guess of centering prayer, Ben for you?

Rich Lewis 19:21
Sure. So we I mean, we enter centering prayer simply because we love God and we want to trust God and just trust the process. And then God seems to bless I would say they’re unique for each practitioner. So when I look back over the years, and look at how have How have I changed. There’s a lot of different ways I’ve changed. I mean one, I think I’m just more excited to live life. I had an excitement for life, but I think I just have a much more excitement for life. I think I’m more present. And what I mean by that is like during centering prayer, if you think about it, you’re letting go and coming back to the present moment. And then because you continuously practice centering prayer day after day, month, after month, year after A year, that let go posture kind of comes with you and your everyday life. So I can let go of things that I don’t need to focus on and honed in on what I need to. So I’m more present in my work, I think I’m more present to people. And I’m more present to my daily tasks. And I’m much more confident person, I get I think the center outside of the center pursuits, I noticed kind of nudges to get outside of my comfort zone, and try and do new things. And then I seem to have wisdom for tasks that kind of pop into my head throughout the day, or things that maybe previously kind of, I didn’t know how to do what I didn’t know how I would, I didn’t know how I would complete the tasks. So it’s great fruits, for me, great fruits for me, and you probably could ask someone else who practices it might tell you some of the same things. And they might tell you a whole lot of other things that how their life has changed.

Brandon Handley 20:58
But not for nothing. These are great lists for right, bountiful abundant if I could, you know, toss some words to it. The love the let go posture. I think that that’s just that’s it. That’s a great, great takeaway there. We talked about being more confident, where do you Where do you think that’s coming from out of this practice,

Rich Lewis 21:19
I would say and that was probably that’s probably I got that’s one of the biggest things for me because I don’t think I was nearly quite know I wasn’t much more confident person. And what I mean by that is I’m doing things that would have scared the heck out of me prior to centering prayer, doing a podcast like this, right, the idea of even writing a book that’s, you know, almost 300 pages, and the daunting task of writing a book and then not only writing it, trying to get a publisher to publish it. Speaking I’ve been doing a ton of just speaking in front of small and large groups right now on zoom, but that that scares the heck out of me. So a whole lot of confidence to speak in front of small and large crowds a whole lot of confidence just to write a book that I know is going to take me a couple of years and then after that know that I need to keep pushing because now I got to find a publisher so I guess I’ll have persistence so not only confidence but persistence that I’m just going to keep going and this books going to get published

Brandon Handley 22:28
you’re stepping beyond currently what you thought was like a safe zone you’re expanding yourself you’re kind of the idea of kind of letting go and let God to like you know, let let that light your way kind of letting go some of the how, as it were, and just you know I think he talks about at the beginning having you know more more faith right What did you say you know, have you previously lacked the spiritual depth, trust and faith and these are things that you have found through your practice and I think that when you find that for yourself when you find that you’re connected deeply with source and spirit and God that you’re no longer just doing it by yourself if that makes sense. Right? Like Hold on a second I don’t have to do this as like rich does that fair to say?

Rich Lewis 23:26
No, it is it is because because if you think my The title of my book is sitting with God a journey to your true self through centering prayer and that’s exactly what I’m doing I’m sitting with God and discover my true self and my and trusting God so that I sit with God then I get up and walk with God and take my true self actions the actions that God and I together are partnering on So prior to centering prayer that you’re right i was i was doing trying to do things as rich Lewis after centering prayer I’m doing things rich and God together partnering so i think i think of as I sit with God and then I get up and walk with God it’s not See you later God and I’ll see what the next set is. No, God comes with me and we partner throughout the day to get what to get done. what needs to get done that day.

Brandon Handley 24:15
Now pass fantastic. And the idea to when you’re talking about getting these wisdoms from for tasks that like you just did kind of just up here. Again, letting go and let God but it also I mean, would you correlate that a little bit to the Akashic records, right? Is that do you feel like that’s kind of where that comes from?

Rich Lewis 24:36
To say that again,

Brandon Handley 24:38
Atlantic Records, are you familiar?

Rich Lewis 24:40
I’m not familiar. I was gonna Okay.

Brandon Handley 24:41
Yes. I mean, you know, there’s there’s this I want to say India, Egypt, predates predates Christianity, for sure. But it’s the whole idea that pretty much all that can be known exists somewhere already, right. And they They call this like the Akashic field. Right? So real similar, though to kind of what you’re doing, like, I don’t even know where this wisdom came from just kind of came to me through prayer through connecting with God through source, that type of thing. So real similar, I didn’t know if you had made that linkage before or not.

Rich Lewis 25:16
I had not. But I mean, that makes perfect sense. Because there’s really all we need is Is there anything you need to do and accomplish is, is there and available? It’s just a matter of being open to it, being open to it and seeing it’s

Brandon Handley 25:30
for sure, for sure. And you know, to that, to that point in degree, right. If you’re not open to it, then you won’t see it. Right. So you what you’ve done too, is you’ve you’ve, you’ve allowed yourself to open up to something, you’ve given yourself a willingness to see what you wouldn’t have seen again, just as Richard Lewis, right, like I’m open to any anything that’s possible. I think that that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s hard to do. Right? What would what would a like, you know, let’s go back to rich Louis 10 years ago, what would he say to the guy that’s talking now?

Rich Lewis 26:15
He may be confused, or she does have a lot of questions or say I had a you do, he’d be asking how do you do what I lacked the confidence and I lacked the wisdom, and I need some help. I want what you have, but I don’t know how to, I don’t know how to do it. And I want to have more confidence and I want to have more guts just to go for things that scare me. So I think that that rich Lewis was afraid to come out of his shell afraid to take chances of afraid to try something new and was worried what other people would think, you know, if I if I tried something, and I look like a fool

Brandon Handley 26:54
that’s powerful, rich, I mean, I think that you know, that mean, right there, you kind of sum up, like the just how far you’ve kind of come along in your own life. And I think that, uh, I think that’s super powerful. What I’m, God got a good question there, too. We’ll come back to it, we’ll get back to it. But so, I mean, I definitely enjoyed I enjoy it. And I think that, you know, you gave us you know, kind of how to get into that space freight and getting there and how we begin the, the, the, the, the contemplated or the silent prayer. What and you mentioned this to you know, sitting with God and your true self what you want to expand on on what you mean by truth. Oh,

Rich Lewis 27:38
sure. So your, your true self, to me is is the person God wants you to be so during centering prayer, that we let you let go, and which can include many thoughts you tell yourself that such as you know, I’m not good enough. I’m too I’m too young to try this, someone more experienced? Should I’m too old to do this, or I’m just no good or I’m a phony. You let go of all the thoughts you tell yourself, and you connect to your true self, which really is God and, and with God, really? You’re unlimited. I mean, if you want to trust God, you can move forward with God and with God’s power. God, I think God is very patient with us and kind of waits for us. And maybe sometimes, baby nudges us, I don’t think he’s, he’s not. He’s not like, super aggressive. I think God’s very patiently waiting for us and maybe sometimes saying, Come on, let’s get going. But he’s going to wait because he knows you’re not, you’re not quite ready. So your true self is like the person God wants you to be the person God knows you can be. And I connect to it through centering prayer, because I let go of who I’m not and connect to. Once I let go of who I am not that I can begin seeing who I am and what I want to do, and the things that God wants me to do.

Brandon Handley 29:00
Question By the way, so the question was, you know, letting go of how people think about you right? Because you were afraid of that and the answer was just there and what you just said it was you connected to the truth of who you are, and you kind of let that stuff go What does that mean what does it look like for you to start to let some of that go I know that you know we can say it’s it’s really interesting because it’s easier to say once we’ve gone through it right like I just I just let it go Yeah, I mean No, it’s I was with God, I was with spirit and everything was cool. I was like, I just let it go. But I think that that’s our hindsight of it now because of where we are versus kind of what it looked like before that before it looked like I don’t think I should this is me anyways is like I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. I don’t know if that’s so good. I’m terrified. I’m gonna go ahead and do it anyways. But then when you find like, when you’re out there speaking in front of these groups when you’re jumping on the pod Cast, when you’re doing all these other things, you find that you don’t catch on fire, you don’t explode. And there’s not that much to fear. And people are actually in my guess, welcoming you here, like they’re hungry for what you’re bringing in them. That’s, is that what your experience has been like? I mean, let’s talk about kind of against stepping through your fear and taking that courage and letting go some of those things that letting go of the who I am not what’s that look like?

Rich Lewis 30:26
No, I mean, it’s it took the whole process took courage, courage, because, you know, I didn’t know, Amos actually kind of he was the one that challenged me to write the book, he thought I had some, we as we had a lot of back and forth dialogue, he thought I had something to say differently than his book. And he’s the one that challenged me to write a book. But that the idea of that, you know, was daunting that how am I going to write a book so that I had to kind of, in my mind, but it actually was funny the way he did it, he said, No, come back to me in about two weeks with what what are your thoughts about the Jesus paradox? What are your thoughts about centering prayer? So I came back to him two weeks later, and then he said, there’s your chapters go, right. But obviously, I’d never written a book. So I decided just to write one chapter and give it to him, and see what he thought. And then to my surprise, he thought he thought it was good and had an interesting take. And then that kind of gave me the confidence that I could, I think I can do this. But now I gotta figure out well, how am I going to do this? So I, I decided to write the book. The book mostly got written on Saturday mornings from six flute or not, I got up and went to the local Starbucks, put on a baseball cap, grabbed my laptop, got a cup of coffee there and wrote for about three to four hours and Saturday morning. So I could come back home, and then really spend the rest of the day with the family who was just getting up. But they come back to the question is, everything I did was scary. And I didn’t know, I didn’t know, I didn’t know the I knew the end result. But I didn’t know how to get there. But I kind of had to teach myself and learn what’s the next step? Because each time you kept you keep taking a step, you know, the path continues to become clear. So I kind of taught myself, Well, how am I going to write a book, I’m going to write it on Saturdays. And then after that, then I had to write a book proposal. Amos kind of gave me a template to use. And then I did the same thing. Saturdays, I wrote, I wrote the book proposal, but then different things like that. And then after doing that, I had to think about how am I going to market the book? I don’t know. So I’m going to start listening to some of the people that know. I listen to some podcasts, and I read some books, and how do you market a book, and then I began putting some of that stuff in play before the book started coming out. Then I realized why I need to do podcasts, and I need to do some guest speaking. So he just kind of take the next step. So each step was scary. In fact, even I did, I finished it about a month ago, but I was doing a phase zoom study for anyone, anyone could come. And it was just a week of chapter by chapter each Saturday, from one to two, I did a kind of a summary of one of the chapters in the book, and then, but it made it real informal conversation. But the idea of that scared the heck out of me, and I made myself do it. So everything I’ve done, I guess you could say I was scared to do, but made myself do it. And then looking back was so glad I did.

Brandon Handley 33:30
who challenged you I mean, didn’t do it in a way that said, Hey, come back and read this whole book. He, again, did a little piece at a time. He came up to you and he said, What are your thoughts on these two subjects? And you gave him a couple thoughts. And then he said, Alright, now you can expand on that. And then, you know, you had your conversation back and forth. And, and he found something that for you. And I think the power of having someone in your corner like that, I think is is something not to be 100% glossed over. I mean, obviously you’ve done the work and you put it all in and you’ve done all these things, but to have just that extra nudge of support and somebody who believes in you, unfortunately, outside of your family, too, right? Because everybody your house loves you, right? We all know everybody like your lovable guy, right? You know, and so the family already loves you and they already it’s getting that outside person to just give you a little nudge, right outside validation. And and you can just begin to always liken it to Oh, ionic propulsion, right? Are you familiar with ionic propulsion?

Rich Lewis 34:46
I’m not on that. So go ahead.

Brandon Handley 34:49
Like I’m not a super scientist, but the idea is that, you know, once you get out of gravity, Earth’s gravitational pull and each time you add a little bit of speed, on top of what you’re doing, it can be the same thrust over and over and over again. But essentially, it compounds throughout time. And essentially you’re going super fast. Because there’s no there’s, there’s no friction in space. So it’s really similar to that you got somebody just giving little nudges, and you’re not really you’re not there, you’re not doing anything faster, you’re just building upon the speed that you’ve already got. Right? So it’s a little bit like that when you’ve got somebody like Amos in your in your corner. And then additionally, when you take each one of those steps, you’re building up momentum, and you’re kind of giving yourself a groundswell and you’re finding yourself in this this again, space to 10 years ago, you’d be yearning to get to. So again, I think this is a massive accomplishment for you. And I think that it’s an exciting time, because my guess is you’re finding a hungry audience, you want to talk to me a little bit about how the audience is receiving this, what some of the response has been, and, you know, how do you feel like you’re helping some people?

Rich Lewis 36:06
Yeah, so a lot of what I’m hearing what they liked about the book was one it was, it was helpful, really, for new people to centering prayer. But it was also helpful for people that were already practicing it because it helped them go deeper in their practice. But I guess what they most liked about the book was that I wrote, I was honest, and I shared my journey. And I shared how it has healed and transformed me. And so there’s a lot of me in there. It wasn’t just a book about God and theology, and how do you do centering prayer, it was a book about, you know, how centering prayer is healed and transformed me and what is, what is a true self, and who is my true self? What are the fruits of the practice for what are the fruits I’ve discovered, so it was a lot of sharing my journey, and how it has healed and transformed me. And people really like that, because it was written in easy to it wasn’t written in an academic style, it was written in a very easy to digest style. So the book that had 14 chapters, and the chapters are fairly short. And then within each chapter, I had various headings. And the sections could be a page to a two pages. So it was a, it was an easy read, and people enjoyed it, enjoyed that. And then at the end of each chapter, I had questions for reflection and answer, which I got a lot of feedback on that it helped them before they moved on to the next chapter, just kind of evaluate what they just read and answer some of these questions for themselves. So they just said it was an easy read for the everyday person. But it was neat, too, because I shared my journey and was honest and vulnerable.

Brandon Handley 37:48
What I like too, about what you’re doing there, with you being vulnerable, you’re sharing your journey. And you’re asking people to stop from going to the next chapter, right? Taking x and doing something that is tangible. At the end, they’re doing a little bit of reflection on what they’ve just read. So that kind of adds a stickiness to it. When you do something like that. Rich, I think that’s a really great a good idea. What about your family? What would you say? What would they say, has changed the most about you? or How was the impact on your family life. And because of this,

Rich Lewis 38:23
I would say, I think I’m just more present and more willing more, really there when I’m there instead of being there, but maybe mentally not there. So I think it’s helped me be more present when we’re enjoying each other’s company, and letting go of work and other things so that I’m giving them 100% of me, or as much as 100% of me during that time. And, and the nice thing too is that my wife, she doesn’t practice centering prayer, and that’s okay. It’s not It’s not for everybody. But the neat thing was my two of my kids were curious, because I used to practice my second set in the evening, and they would see me going to the basement and they wanted to know what I was doing. So both of them asked me so I invited them both to come down, but they both wanted their own time. So I have to bring them down individually. But they wanted to know what I was doing. So I showed them and then we actually would do it together. So my son was eight at the time, we would do a one minute sit together and that was pretty neat. We would light a candle and then read a verse from the contemplative outreach app which is you use it the time to set the timer for one minute that just said open my heart to your love. We’d read that together then we would do the one minute set up together and then blow out the candle and then just kind of talk and have some fun. And then my daughter wanted to do it too but she he was afraid she’d fall asleep. So she centered with her eyes open and I know I mentioned that earlier. Some people don’t want to close their eyes so she kept her eyes open. I got her up to about 10 minutes. She didn’t know it because I would say How long do you want to go and she say six or seven minutes and I would just set the timer for 10 because she didn’t know what I was setting it for you And then she would she didn’t realize she was actually sitting for two pretend minutes. So they got they did it with me. And that was kind of a neat thing that they did it with me and they wanted to learn more. So I said, well, let’s come down and I’ll show you what I’m doing. And we would practice it from time to time and still do

Brandon Handley 40:19
it and to something you can all do together so that you know, you’re actually getting to spend some family time this quality, right? There’s not a TV involved, there’s not you know, a podcast or a phone, I mean, I’m sure using the app, but whatever, you know, I mean, it’s you know, some time where you can just sit there together and you’re giving them I would have to say, an advantage right over someone who’s never had that experience feel sit down there think focus a little bit and just kind of be in that silence, especially, especially as we move faster and faster and faster and faster. Through throughout the these days. What um, you know, so let’s let’s do Who Who do you think you would be reaching out to? Who do you think should be reaching out to rich Louis, check out the book, who’s your ideal client, as they say, your avatar, if you’ve been doing your marketing, right, rich? What’s that look like?

Rich Lewis 41:16
Actually, ironically, I would say because I do coaching, and I am, I look back now that I look back at the coaching and the types of clients I have, they fall into three categories. So the first type is, is just someone that’s brand new to centering prayer. And is, is not a self starter. So they need some help with it. And they don’t, they, they just feel they need some help with it. And if they don’t get some help, they’re never going to do it. So there’s that type of person. So brand new to centering prayer and need some help with how do I do it? When do I do it, and just sharing that experience with someone to get them moving. Then the second type of category is people that are already practicing, but they want to add a second set, they want to add more depth to their practice, and relationship with God. And they want to further explore what is this idea of my true self? And who is it and am I acting from it. And then the third type are actually like, priests, clergy, pastors, they come to me and say, I’m taking care of everybody except myself, I need some help with my self care. So I need you to help me start taking care of myself and to hold me more accountable because taking care of everybody except myself. So I’ve coached some people like that. And some of them have been priests, and some of them are pastors of churches and Episcopal priests, where they’re doing, I guess, a wonderful job with their congregations. But they’re doing not so wonderful job taking care of themselves. So I’d say all three, just because I’ve been approached by all three types of people, so the book can help all three, someone new, someone who wants to go deeper, but it can also help someone that already is immersed in God as a pastor, but just not taking good care of themselves.

Brandon Handley 43:07
Yeah, for sure, right? Everybody needs that. Even the caregivers need care. Right? There’s a it’s a top of their game. So rich, I mean, I think that’s great. And it’s good that you know who your audiences who you’re working with. And again, I was kind of like, look at this is kind of a spiritual speed dating podcasts, right? You know, people are coming through, they’re looking for who they resonate with, right? Who do they who do they resonate with? Who can they find that’s going to be able to, just like you did pick up your book, read it, and they’re gonna be like, wow, rich, you nailed a spot on for me. This is it, you know, and you know, you could be somebody famous, right? So somebody like that, but I also look at it. And I have a bank of questions here. That was like to ask what C to do to do. Well, is spiritual speed dating. apps are number one and spirituality here. Talk a little bit what is our greatest distraction, rich?

Rich Lewis 44:10
I guess our greatest distraction is probably us and believing the thoughts we tell ourselves that aren’t true. And throughout the day, I have to take a step back and say, why am I Why am I feeding myself these thoughts that this isn’t, who I am, and what I can do and what I’ve got accomplished, or it’s not even something that probably even going to happen? A lot of worry and anxiety. So I would say the biggest distraction is the thoughts we feed ourselves or become anxious and worried about that really don’t have any reason to happen. They’re probably not going to happen. But we’ve convinced herself that we need to be wary, we need to be fearful, or we’ve convinced herself that we’re just not confident enough and not the right person for a particular task. So our thoughts really mean our thoughts. What we feed ourselves is our biggest distractor.

Brandon Handley 45:04
Right, amen. And centering prayer is something that can help you with this right? It’s something that’s helped you throughout time. So rich, I want to say thanks for your answer. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing this practice I certainly wasn’t familiar with I didn’t know that, uh, I didn’t know that tm had a competitor. Right? I thought that that was an interesting instinct, interesting information, right? I mean, Krishna is like, Hey, what do we got for for this? Right? And I think that’s pretty cool. The idea that believing those thoughts are not true, right? And what how challenging is to separate the thoughts that we’re telling ourselves from the truth. Right? I think that’s really powerful, really proud for observation. Rich, where can we send people to connect with you find out more about the book, maybe find out about some coaching if they’re looking for it?

Rich Lewis 45:50
Sure. I mean, the best place is just my website, silence teachers calm if if they subscribe, they’ll get my free I have a free short ebook on centering prayer if they want to learn more about it. And then if they want to further explore it, they can obviously check out the book which is also on the website. And then for those that if you fall into one of those three categories, in need of coaching and it’s something that you feel you can have it we can help you they can feel free to reach out to me. And then as well, many church groups, they they have adult faith groups or prayer groups or or some churches that have centering prayer groups can connect with me and I’ll speak with them via zoom these days. I’ve been doing a lot, a lot of that and I actually have one on Saturday that I’m doing to a Catholic Church in California. So my website silence teachers

Brandon Handley 46:41
calm. Awesome, rich, thanks again for being on today. Appreciate.

Rich Lewis 46:45
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I

Unknown Speaker 46:49
really hope you enjoyed this episode of the spiritual dove podcast. stay connected with us directly through spiritual dove co You can also join the discussion on Facebook and Instagram and spiritual on Discord. If you would like to speak with us, send us an email to Brandon at spiritual dog Co. And as always, thank you for cultivating your mindset and creating a better reality. This includes the most thought provoking part of your day. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to stay fully up to date and until next time week on your zone and trust your intuition

Brandon Handley 0:01
What is going on? What is going on BJJ report, start a Captain’s log, all those things,

Unknown Speaker 0:10
all those things.

Unknown Speaker 0:13
We are,

Brandon Handley 0:16
in turn a fan down here, I don’t want the fan all the way up, I want the Phantom swamp like, I really want that on. We are, we always have the opportunity to create or consume, create or consume. And that’s usually honestly, when I decide to want to make the decision to press the record button. I asked myself, do I do I? Do I feel like consuming or do I feel like creating? And do I feel that what

Unknown Speaker 0:55
I’m feeling?

Brandon Handley 0:56
It’s up to us a nice golden retriever. Do I feel like creating are consuming and no matter what really, you’re always creating, if you’re consuming something, you’re creating some thoughts about whatever it is that you’re consuming. My idea this morning was though, let’s wanna share some things. What are those things that I felt like sharing this morning? It was, it was on the tip of my tongue when I when I first started and strung the mic up. And I was listening to before I even got going here I was listening to start a song from so long ago, music goes better with you. And

Unknown Speaker 1:40
I just just

Unknown Speaker 1:41
love the song.

Brandon Handley 1:45
So let’s see, I don’t know that I’ve actually got something to share or create coming out of. That’s that’s kind of that’s what it was on to my time you see a switch? Do you let it go? And it comes right back to you. So it was this idea that I know that I’ve shared before I’ll share it again that BJJ going to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a part in part of my spiritual practice. It’s this is that is one aspect of when I do it, that’s spiritual dope for me. And I bring that up because of two things. One, I’ve got a friend that What’s up, who has just started doing some BJJ and she’s asked me herself, she goes, you know, she’s only gone to a couple lessons so far. And she said, she’d said, What was it? About BJJ for you, Brandon, that that really made it something that really brought it home? What was it for you that really brought it home? And I told her I said you know big a big part of it is that when you’re when you’re learning it when you’re beginning it. And at all times when you’re when you’re in it, that’s one of the few times that I’ve been able to find myself to be 100% present and engaged. First of all, because you’re trying not to die. Season theory, right? So your brain, your brain, your mind is all in the ego is at at play. And you so it’s like Oh, you got my attention here he goes like all right. You got my attention. And that’s especially especially in the very beginning. You’re You’re 100% engaged and you are in survival mode. And one of the reasons that you can only be in survival mode is because you don’t know shit yet. When you’re in BJJ and you’re just getting started and the beauty of this is the 490 percent plus of the people that get started in BJJ they don’t know shit, everybody starts from the same place. Even if you’ve watched it and read it, it’s not the same as the actual experience. You cannot 100% intellectualized Brazilian jujitsu is not the same as having the experience. Hey, right. So you’re in there and you’re learning it. Everybody starts from the same place and as you’re learning it You begin to put into practice the things that you’re learning. So now, not only are you 100% engaged, and you’re in survival mode now, because you have an idea of what is happening to you, because you have an idea of some of the expectations because you have an idea

of some of the possibilities.

Unknown Speaker 5:36

Brandon Handley 5:38
And a lot of times too, you’ve also engaged with the same partner over and over and over again, because you’re practicing with people in your class. So, now you you begin to have an idea of how it’s all working out. And you begin to be able to disengage the straight up survival mind the one that’s freaking the fuck out being like, Oh my god, you’re gonna choke? I don’t know how to stop it. Oh, my God, I’m getting choked. I’m getting hurt as taptap armbar, tap, tap she, how did that happen? triangle. Come on, man, they got me in this one last time. So you began to realize, you know what’s coming up, you begin to realize a either more offensive advantages that you have. And you can find and you begin to see those openings, your your awareness of the potential begins to expand. And as you see, the potential of things, like I said, start to slow down, who begins to breathe a little bit easier. And you begin to do things on purpose, with intent. And if you’re hearing some of the language being used here, that you find is spirituality, you can begin to see that. That’s the spiritual practice, the spiritual practices. Honestly, we all start from the same place. We all learn have different potentials from different angles from different teachers in different ways. And different schools of thought. I’m on my third school, third BJJ school. And each one has a different approach. I would not say that any one is better than the other. They all each have their own unique way of doing things, or they’re different from each other. And I believe, at least as far as I can tell, each school has a different intent. And what are they? How are they training? How they want to train? How do they want to come across? What is their intent for that class? And so how else does that come across in spirituality, like the different religions, which are inspired by different teachers that have a different intent, a different intentional practice a different wave of achieving the same outcome. And I bring that up, because, you know, one of the other guys in there were joking around today. And he’s bigger, stronger, faster, all the things and was the last last roll of the day. And I was looking for one more and I was like, God, anybody with you? And he’s like, I was like, I was like, I’m just kidding, man. Like, I just know that, you know, whatever. You know, I was looking for some fun. He’s like, We’re not here for fun. Like we you know, we have we have different desired outcomes. I enjoy the physical activity I enjoy the spiritual practice is more technical, right? He’s working on something different. And I get it. He’s got a different desired outcome for today’s practice. We have a different approach to what is happening here. But the the overarching question that Deb asked was, what is it that that really sparked in me and for me to think, think I was just, yeah, I was just rounding the corner out of my my awakening, you know, midlife crisis, awakening existential crisis, whatever you want to call it, right? I love the Self Realization foundation. It’s a really great talk. And I don’t know the guy’s name. He’s an old Swiss guy. I think he’s passed away. Now he was giving a talk in the White House. I think in the 2000s, early 2000s. And what he says is, that’s the reminder from God, you know that that’s what you’re seeking. That’s that’s

when when you realize that that’s really what it is that you’re seeking in life is that connection to God’s universe, create creative source, all that the source is the source that creates worlds. That’s what taps in. That’s what taps in during that time.

Unknown Speaker 10:51

Brandon Handley 10:55
there are so many, again, different outcomes bidding was around the corner out of that, when I found Jiu Jitsu. And it wasn’t until more artillery artillery thought about it as my spiritual practice. But it wasn’t until that I’d heard a vedantic talk by Swami Safari, or your prayer Nanda. And he had just mentioned how, when it’s a jujitsu, it’s a fighting art. And when it becomes Judo, it becomes more of a spiritual practice. And I think that it was the same with like, you know, I’m making things up now, but definitely, definitely was like, you know, talking about the sword arts with qinzhou or kenjutsu, or, you know, the sword, sword arts, into kanjo becomes becomes a spiritual practice. And, for me, that that’s what jujitsu is, it’s a spiritual practice, it’s an opportunity to also recognize and honor everybody, regardless of what belt they are, where they are along in the practice that comes in there to honor them and the effort that they put in. There is the ego. After a certain point, kind of checks out and jujitsu, checks back and everyone’s won, don’t get me wrong, I can’t say that it’s 100% checked out. But it checks out. Because you realize that you’re all there for each other, you’re all there to benefit one another. And you’re there. As a school, and not so much as a singular unit. Yes, of course, you’re there for your own good, Jessica, Portia there for your own practice. But there’s a certain point where you’re there. And it’s because it’s a school. And you’re there for all the other people just like they’re there for you. And I remember, I remember leaving the one day making the joke. Instead of saying, hey, thanks to everybody else. And, again, you gotta understand that I’m very tongue in cheek and just trying to have some fun. Like, you’re all better today because of me. And again, tongue in cheek, but at the same time, we’re all there for each other, we’re all there to make each other better whether or not somebody totally dominated me. Or I got them in something, right? Because even this is this is another part of jujitsu, that even even the days that you seem to fail a lot. I just use that word, you fail, you get submitted. Those are the days that you can really learn a lot. Those are the days that you really had the opportunity understand what was your position? What was your approach? What is a way to not even necessarily avoid that? What is you know, avoided? Sure. So how can you How can you defend against it? How can you make sure that you don’t get caught in that position? Again, what what are the countermeasures? So there’s so much that whenever I think I still think to this day, it’s one of the best things that startup in my life. I’d encourage anyone to pick it or some type of martial art. It’s one of the only ones that I can think of that you know, is fully contact fully immersive and can offer this experience And the way that it does, you know, in such a way that when you leave and you’re done, you’re like this, you’re inspired, you’ve got life coursing through your veins, you’ve accomplished, something you’re working towards. Really not working towards anything except for continuous improvement. And there’s still so much more that I keep going on. But so those those are some reasons that pop to mind. And they will they were inspired by questions that I was asked. Last night. I’m super excited again, for my friend Deb, who’s getting started. She’s feeling the love Jones and that one.

You know, she’s thinking about having her son do it. Like that was another part of it, getting to do it with my children. And then today, you know, Anthony, you know, good dude, solid guy talking about you know, we don’t do this for fun than I do. Right. And that’s the other thing too. All of those approaches are open to you. You can go in and you can do it for any reason. Right, you can do it for fun, you can do it for competition, you can do it simply for physical therapy, you can do it for just learning yet another art anywho all those things, all those reasons are the reasons that I would recommend grabbing some BJJ for yourself. Alright, check you later.

Transcribed by

Get your ht

Brandon Handley 0:00
What is going on Brandon Handley here today with do the voice of a generation have a little bit of fun as I’ve got some guests over this weekend but uh, you know, what I haven’t done for you for a little bit was do a solo podcast and what I’m what I want to do is catch up catch you up a little bit with the Buddhism, stuff that we’ve been doing over on Facebook, I’ve had to push off for the past couple weeks, you know one of them. But I’ve got another that we did on Facebook with a Reverend Samurai and we did the Three Jewels of Buddhism. And if you’re not familiar with what they are, and they’re called three areas, which we can turn to, for refuge, right, these three jewels or refuges are essential to the Buddhist teachings. In the Buddhist times, when people wanted to ordain and become Buddhist, they formally took up refuge in these three jewels. The jewels are places where we turn toward in order to cultivate mindfulness and loving kindness. They are three different ways in which we may take refuge

Unknown Speaker 1:23
in our path,

Brandon Handley 1:25
and practice and I love the fact of the idea of refuge is somewhere we can go to find solace to be at peace, to be at ease to not worry so much about nearly anything else. As a matter of fact, you know, what I really want to do is, is, while we’re here right now, is look up refuge and see what the dictionary version of this is. So that we can really just share what it is so shelter or protection from danger or distress, a place that provides shelter or protection, and something to which one has recourse and difficulty. So these three jewels of Buddhism are places in which you or a practicing Buddhist may go and find Rhys bite recourse away from a place that they’re feeling challenged. The first of these three jewels is the Buddha. When we hear the term Buddha, when you hear the term Buddha, and we often think of the historical Buddha, however, taking refuge in the Buddha is less about the man who awakened and more about taking refuge in the Buddha hood with us. The Buddha taught that we all have the seed of awakening that needs to be watered if we are to liberate ourselves. taking refuge in the Buddha means turning toward the Buddha seed within we tune into the seeds of wisdom and compassion already presence cultivating these qualities and resting with them this I think he depending on when you listen to this and just recently released a podcast actually know what I didn’t release this podcast, I forgot to record it during the conversation, ah the trials and tribulations of your own podcasting. The idea and is that we are all Buddhas, you are a Buddha. Simply waking up to that idea. Right? So he says taking refuge is less about the man who awakened and more about taking refuge in the Buddha hood within us you are that Buddha within, you know, I’ll even I’ll even line this up somehow to Napoleon hills thinking grow rich. And what he calls the mastermind is the ability to call upon others mentally as if they were in the room with you. Right. And in. In essence, what you’re doing in that situation is you are vibrating yourself to that level of somebody or something within your own imagination. And when you do that, you’re able to just kind of call forth from the ether and ether and sit into that space. So you have the ability should you choose to say In Buddhist light to sit in Christ light right in nature and that is you know kind of mastermind that’s what they’re talking about here by taking refuge in the Buddha hood with a you have it within you you are that seed you are that as they would say in Hinduism, thou art that. And you’ve had that seed that needs to be watered in cultivation is such a such an amazing word. You find it a lot as a matter of fact, I’ve got it over here in the eaching that I spend, I spend usually a little bit of everyday with most days and going through it and the idea of cultivating that greatness within you. Right and and tuning into that seed of wisdom, compassion, it’s already within you, and resting in that space and being fine. Again, refuge.

Brandon Handley 5:57
Right, relax into it, relax into it. So you have the Buddha within you, you are a Buddha take refuge and knowing that cultivate that and be with it, rest with it, the Dharma. The second of the Three Jewels is the Dharma, or way. The Dharma is both Buddhist teachings and actual actions associated with the teachings. The Buddhist teaching offer a safe place a safe way of being taking refuge in the Dharma means that we study the Buddhist teachings and put forth the effort to utilize the Dharma in our lives. we meditate, take the precepts, and cultivate wholesome qualities, acting and living in this way is a true refuge in that we do not cause harm to others or ourselves and are able to find safety in the teachings. So the Dharma is both the teachings and the actual actions on if you ever heard anybody say, I’ve got to go do my dharma. And I was always confused. I was like, how do you do your Dharma? If that’s the teaching the the words right that there’s not necessarily a doctrine, but the teachings and the ways. But I think that with any type of teaching, anything you do, you must embody it. You must take action, you must live those teachings, not simply read, regurgitate, and mentally, you know, rehash and go over these things over and over. utilize it, put it into your life. And again, you know, meditate and cultivate wholesome qualities, acting and living in this way is a refuge. If you’re not in acting in any way to do harm to others for yourself, how often do you find yourself just beating the shit out of yourself for something so trivial, something so small, that with anybody else with any friend of yours, you would say, everything’s gonna be fine your grade, you didn’t do it on purpose, that type of thing. So I love it. So your Dharma is your teachings in action. And just knowing that, that that is a practice and knowing that that’s the life that you’re living with intention is like, that doesn’t leave room for guilt. There is no harm if you’re living in this way. So there’s refuge in that because you’re not going to kind of be torn as to whether or not you’re living in the right way. And within purpose, and your purpose is to your purpose in your actions or to live the Dharma. The Sangha, this is one of my favorites, right, the third and final today. of the Three Jewels in Buddhism is the Sangha. The Pali word Sangha refers to the community of practitioners. Traditionally, the Sangha is the community of monks and nuns. For laypeople Asana is simply a community of people on the path with you. It may be members of local meditation center, friends, that you’ve made in your practice, or those who sit on a retreat with to take refuge in OSI is to engage with the community of meditators. community is important in Buddhism as it is in many religious and spiritual traditions. Our meditation practice is often personal, intimate, but engaging with others is just as important. When we turn toward the Sangha, we are able to learn from others offer to help others and to use our practice to engage with others mindfully. practicing with the community often helps us to see things and in new ways working Other things which we had not previously considered. I don’t know about you. But there’s so many times as this final line, right is going to a new community and having somebody having a conversation with somebody, and them explaining something you thought you were thoroughly, intimately knowledgeable about, and they, they put a little spin on it. And you say to yourself, wow, I hadn’t thought about it that way. And your life has changed, your life has changed for, right, forever. That’s the power of just a simple community being able to reach out there

Brandon Handley 10:49
and do it in an opening way, in an open way, where you are receptive to new ideas where you are receptive to somebody else’s way of thinking. And the idea of diversity is that many people from different backgrounds, many different perspectives, many different cultures, are going to allow for you to see things in a way that you had not, as, as it says here, previously considered. The other idea is that is people on the path with you, but also the people on the way, you know, people on the way to the community, that there, there’s some excitement about right there, you know, people that you can see coming from a distance like, Oh, my God, I never thought that they were going to come to this community, I’m so excited to share some time with them and be with them. I don’t know that. Susan, I really think that way. That’s the way I think about it, though, you know, you see some people coming along the way or you’re along the path with them, as they’re talking about, as lay people, the community people that are on the path with you, you and I’ve met today, you and I have spent some time with each other, you are here with me on this podcast, or maybe you’re here in the video rendition. And we’re spending a little bit of time with each other. And so that means, you know, we’re we’re along the path with each other, it doesn’t mean we’re going to the same place. means we’re walking with each other for a moment, which means that we are here together for a moment. Now, it doesn’t have to be forever. Does that mean that’s one of the things I think that a lot of people get caught up on or hung up on? People come into your life, they’re just they’re likely just as quick to leave? What did you learn from that person? What kind of experience Did you have with that person? Hopefully, what were you able to offer to them as well? And how did the time that you spent with each other, you know, possibly benefit the world. I’m just kind of, you know, looking at this over again, and also, you know, our meditation is often personal, intimate. I think what’s even just as powerful is to meditate with a community knowing that just for a moment that your minds are in the same space and place and you’re meditating together, there’s a power in that, I don’t know that you’ve ever had the experience of, of watching, maybe a concert, right? I remember, I remember sitting at MPC boys concert years ago. And, you know, up on the we’re probably you know, three rows up or whatever, you know, three levels up and you can see the main floor and the main floor. The piece I forget what the hell it was for us. I think it was a Hello nasty tour. But their their stage would like move left and right. And it was like you could see the bodies moving to follow the concert and you could literally see like this Ying Yang, you know energy because of just how it worked, right? So you see energy in motion bodies in motion and people in motion. And and I say that because you know, you see you see that? vibration, you see that energy in motion in people and it’s very intense to be able to see that now. I know I brought that up in this one. I forget what minds and motion together. Right. So those people work together in unison. They had different kinds of objectives. They’re returning different ways but they were there together an in unison and seeing seeing that outside of you is pretty It’s pretty cool. I’ve seen it in a number of other different scenarios or if you go to raves or been to parties like that you can see people kind of dancing to the same beat. You see them dancing emotion, I’m sure that you always hear people talking, you know, Mark marching to the same beat. But some, you know, there’s, there’s something to seeing people liberated by music and dancing and motion and seeing that community in action together, same idea of even quietly meditating with each other, just that energy, driving through all of you at that same time. mines in refuge

Brandon Handley 15:43
right in the Buddha, and living their dharma. So the Three Jewels ladies and gentlemen of Buddhism, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, we should be Samurai that is going live October 17. To finish up our last one for a little bit anyways, and that’ll be the Eightfold noble path. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this one. And perhaps catching up with you on Facebook. Pete, feel free to join us for the Eightfold noble path. All right. Have a great evening, day life. Do whatever you’re doing.

Unknown Speaker 16:29
Take it easy.

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Link to PDF discussed: The Five Mindfulness Trainings

The FB live on the trainings:

Brandon Handley 0:00
What is going on spiritual dope Brandon Handley here and today, we’re going to cover a couple things that we actually just did introductory into Buddhism series on that we’re doing over on Facebook, that we’re streaming from spiritual dope page for the next month or so, where we’re covering introductory Buddhism pieces. I mean, I really don’t even know what stuff is. I’ve got a buddy of mine. Sam Sam Aussie Ivana. His name’s Rodin’s Paul. I don’t know why he chooses all these different names. Great guy, who is a Buddhist Reverend has been practicing for about 16 years now. And one of the things that we just covered this past week was the five mindfulness trainings and the five mindfulness trainings that represents a Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. There are concrete expression of the Buddhist teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation and happiness for ourselves and for the world. You know, you know, essentially two practices is to cultivate the insight of inner being or right view, a lot of these things, a lot of these terms that I’m kind of tossed out there right now they’re capitalized. You know, though the word right view is, you know, what is the what is the the right view, right? is kind of one of the things they talk about Buddhism the middle way, you know, along the path. But what what we’re working to do is to remove all discrimination and tolerance, anger, fear and despair. And what we’re trying to do is live according to these five mindfulness trainings, and, you know, essentially, if we’re living in that way, we are On the path of the Bodhisattva. And if you’re not familiar with what the Bodhisattva is, it’s someone who’s on their way towards enlightenment, and is willing to reach out and work with others and to help others. And so when you know that you are on that path, you know that you are not lost in confusion about your life, and that you’re able to be in the present. And that’s that, that I think, is pretty cool. So what I was gonna do, since you, you know, may not have the hour and a half that we spent going through the five mindfulness trainings, I figured I’d give you, you know, 1015 minute rundown of what they are, and maybe talk a little bit about what these were and the five mindfulness trainings. So we’re going to go through reverence for life. true happiness, true love, loving speech and deep listening, nourishment and healing and you know who you Think about the posts that you see on Facebook, sometimes the TLDR too long, didn’t read. Essentially, this is just something that kind of, again cultivates that path and for you, and that when you’re living in this way, again, you are on your way towards enlightenment. So let’s just we’ll just hit it off. Real quick here. We’ll go with reverence for life for 1000. Alex, aware of the suffering caused by destruction of life, I’m committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion, and learning ways to protect and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world in my way, in my thinking, or my way of life. Seeing the harm actions arise from anger, seeing that harm harmful actions arise from anger, fear Read and intolerance, which in turn comes from a dualistic and discriminative thinking,

Unknown Speaker 4:04
I will cultivate openness

Brandon Handley 4:06
non discrimination and non attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world. You know, look, this is a, we were talking on the show last week, and this is really, you know, you see these, this this, like the 10 commandments, right? Or even, you know, even more modern times, it’s really long lines of the Four Agreements. Obviously, nobody you know, shouldn’t run out there and kill or support killing in any way shape or form. The other part is cultivate openness, non discrimination, you know, be open to others, and what they bring to to you in the world. And the other part in here was dogmatism right. Openness towards that so you know, be open to systems and ways of change, so that we went much, much deeper into it. But I’m going to make this to the quick hit point today. true happiness, aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression. I’m committed to practicing generosity and my thinking, speaking and acting. I’m determined not to steal, and not to possess anything that should belong to others. And I will share my time, energy and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply and see that happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering. The true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion. And that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not my external conditions. I’m gonna read that line again. I’m aware that how happiness depends on my mental attitude, and not on external conditions. And that I can live happily in the present moment, simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I’ve committed to practicing right livelihood so that I can reduce the suffering of living beings on earth and stop contributing to climate change. When we read through this last week, we we hit on we tore this one apart, right? We just went through all of it. Obviously, I think it’s timely that we’re reading this and going through it as you know, social justice and oppression are kind of rampant out there. In one way shape or another and you know, true happiness is a you know, something that we want to practice the idea of generosity and thinking, speaking and acting. And that we are going to give our time and energy to those who are in need and We dug deep into, you know, who How do we determine exactly who was in need? Right? And we also discussed the idea of wisdom in generosity, right? Not just simply giving to the for the sake of giving, but, you know, where are your resources, your time and energy best spent who’s going to receive you, who’s gonna truly receive that benefit from you? and use it right. And, and so, that was something that we talk deeply about. And then the obviously the the piece that I read twice in here is that you know, aware that happiness depends on your mental attitude and not external conditions. Right. And then, obviously, in there too, aware that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair can not will or do, but they can And then that census, we talked about attachment to desires, and things not turning out the way that we want to and investing so much energy in those types of things and how that can really bring about suffering and despair. And finally, we when we ended this item about true happiness we talked about stop contributing to climate change. And by that it’s not simply global warming, but the climate and environment in all situations. When you come in to a room you are impacting the climate of a room as an example. Moving on, so true love aware that suffering caused by sexual misconduct aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct. I’m committed to cultivating responsibility and learning the ways to protect the safety and integrity. of individuals, couples, families and society, knowing that sexual desires not love

Brandon Handley 9:05
and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself, as well as others. I’m determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long term commitment made none of my friends and family. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one I committed to learning appropriate way that takes care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness, which are the four basic elements of true love. For my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love we know that we can continue beautifully into the future. I think a lot of this is obvious but you one of the things that you know, obviously when you’re younger, you got like this. Just sexual desire, right? And and knowing that that’s driven by I would dare say your animalistic nature, right? And how do you, you know, how do you try to rein that in and that’s, that can be a challenge and, you know, that’s where we also see the, you know, engaging in sexual relations without true love and then the commitments as that can lead to, you know, just again, dissatisfaction right, not necessarily dissatisfaction, but it can lead to pain and suffering through that, right. And amongst many, many other things, obviously, you’re going to take care of our children and families as best as we can. And all of this, you know, can be impacted as it relates to, you know, sexual misconduct and not and just pure sexual desire. That’s motivated by cravings versus, you know, a tender loving a engagement, right or at least, you know, being being with someone that you truly love and that you love how it’s a long term commitment may known to my friends and family. So, whatever that looks like for you, that’s what true love is, according to the five mindfulness trainings, we’ve also got love, loving speech and deep listening, aware of the deep of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and inability to listen to others, and committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve sufferings and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself, and among other people, ethnic and religious groups and nations, knowing that words, create happiness or suffering. I’m committed to speaking truthfully using words and inspire confidence, joy and hope. When anger is manifesting me I’m determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and Walking in order to recognize and look deeply into my

Unknown Speaker 12:02

Brandon Handley 12:04
I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering of myself and then the other person. I will speak and listen in ways that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I’ve determined not spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or Discord. And I will practice right diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness and gradually transform anger, violence and fear that lie deep in my consciousness. This is a lot like the sexual you know, being driven by sexual desire, right? Obviously, it’s something that’s within us that is propelling us forward. And then If we don’t pay attention to

Unknown Speaker 13:01

Brandon Handley 13:02
again can cause suffering. And this is the unmindful speech, right? We say what’s on our mind and sometimes we say it in a way. That is not my fault. It just comes out. And we do it with disregard to how the other person is going to receive it. And sometimes we simply don’t listen to other people. We don’t feel the room. So in this we are cultivating loving speech, and compassionate listening, so that we can avoid creating the those those painful moments and suffering. And I love I love the part where it talks about I’m committed to speaking truthfully, using words that inspire confidence, joy and hope. Who doesn’t like to to be inspired? Right, who doesn’t win, just imagine yourself When somebody comes up to you and and they give you a compliment, and it is sincere, and it is specific and that inspires confidence, he brings you a little bit of joy. And it helps you with your hope. It’s just it’s just such a magnificent feeling when somebody does that for you, so if you can learn to do that yourself for others, just imagine what you’re doing for those people. This other part here is it’s just Paramount and

Unknown Speaker 14:31
a long term

Brandon Handley 14:32
loving relationship. If you’re not familiar with me, man, my wife and I have been together off and on for you know, coming up on 20 years now. Oh, maybe it’s 21 you haven’t been coming along now. And throughout all the all that time most definitely spoken anger and and I you know, out of place then on mindful but as we as we’ve grown to to find to find that you’re beginning to feel angry. And it’s like it says here when anger is manifesting in me, I’m determined to look deeply into my anger. Look at that bubbling up and to capture that before it gets converted into words, to capture that before it can do any damage. That’s the area where you’re going to practice mindful breathing. And walking, redirect that energy. And take a look in into yourself and just kind of see where that’s coming from. Because oftentimes, it could just be a, you know, a perspective. Right, and maybe that’s not the intention, whatever is causing great anger and, and being able to transform that anger, or that violence and fear into understanding love and joy. That’s it. It’s all you know, energy Being able to up think of alchemy right transmute that almost immediately or as quickly as you can into into something else that’s within your power. And that’s, that to me, that’s what they’re talking about this and when, when it comes to your five mindfulness trainings and finally, we’ll go on nourishment and healing. So where are the suffering caused by on mindful consumption I’m committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental for myself, my family and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the four kinds of nutrients, namely, edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble or to use alcohol, drugs or any other products which contain toxins such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books and conversations. I would practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing healing and nourishment elements in me and around me. Not letting regrets and sorrow drive me back into the past to cover up loneliness, anxiety or other sufferings by losing myself and consumption. JACK that up. Not letting regrets and sorrow drive me back into the past nor letting anxieties fear craving pull me out of the present moment. I’m determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety or other sufferings by losing myself and consumption. I will contemplate inner being and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well being in my body and consciousness and then the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the earth Look, this is a super simple one, right? On mindful consumption, right what is overeating? Eating just to eat? Jared you’re feeling you’re having a shitty day and it’s a tub of ice cream, having a shitty day, it’s full, full pizza. Right? You’re having a shitty week. It’s it’s a six pack or more every evening, you have a lifestyle that converts into that. Just a you know, a string of a string of, of shitty days turns into, you know, months and weeks of it. And it’s just this unmindful consumption, where this is coming from. This is coming from me, I in my own past experiences where it was completely on mindful, drank. And sometimes it was sometimes it was just a habit, but it was it wasn’t mindful consumption. And then I would drink to you Cover up loneliness, anxiety or other sufferings right? In those consumptions. same can be said for video gaming, alcohol, or drugs, you know, all of those things that have been something that I’ve been through and have come out of. And now I’m very mindful about my absolute consumption. And I just feel better for it. I mean, it’s super simple. I’m very mindful of, you know, what goes into my mind that we, for the most part, stop watching most of the news. It’s it’s fear mongering.

Brandon Handley 19:37
And notice it tries to set a scarcity and this is my perception. My opinion is it tries to set like a scarcity. mindset is a fear mindset. And when you have a fearful mindset because of the things that you are letting into your mind through mindless consumption, you’re the prey, you’re the victims in that and it hate to see you know, I’d hate to see that gone through for you and your life forever. And I believe that’s the intent of the five Mindfulness Trainings is for you as well. So again, that was the the reverence for life, true happiness, true love, loving speech and deep listening, then finally nourishment and healing. You can find this, I’ll put a link on the site for it today, you can find the a PDF, you can download, you can print it out. Sure. If you’d like. You could also go to the Facebook Live, I’ll put a link to that as well. And on the website, you can go check that out beyond the podcast as well. If you’re interested, and then, you know on what’s the, you know, September September 19 2020. On Facebook, we’ll be doing the we’ll be doing the Three Jewels Rules of Buddhism. And I’m gonna pop up my Facebook here right now I’m gonna look at the other three that are coming up here we’ve got introduction on the 26th, as well to Buddhism with Sam as we go over the Four Noble Truths. And then on the October 3, we’re going to be going over, drumroll please. What is this one the Eightfold Path. So if you have interest in Buddhism, and you’d like to have the opportunity to speak with somebody in an environment where you know, you’re safe, where it’s an open and welcoming, then Come join me as I as host Sam. And like I said, Paul, as he walks us through some of these introductory pieces, and we can get an understanding of what what Buddhism holds for you. And then you also have the great opportunity to have your questions answered live. All right, so take these guests

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