For Life on Purpose Episode #16, my guest is spiritual teacher, entrepreneur, author, and coach Eric Klein from Wisdom Heart and Dharma Consulting. Eric was a guest on Radio Enso back in 2012 (to listen to our previous chat, go here) and joins me for another deep and heart-centered conversation about living a purposeful life, awareness, consciousness, habit building, neuroscience, integration, and Wisdom Heart’s latest program The Meditation Habit. We all know meditation is good for us, so why aren’t we practicing?
About Eric Klein:
Eric Klein is a spiritual teacher, entrepreneur, author, and coach. For the past two decades, he’s been a leading voice in the movement to bring greater spirit, meaning, and authenticity to the workplace through his company Dharma Consulting. He’s worked with over 20,000 leaders from a wide variety of settings: Fortune 500 companies, healthcare, governmental and non-profit organizations as well as mid-size companies. Eric is the author of the bestselling book Awakening Corporate Soul: Four Paths to Unleash the Power of People at Work (over 250,000 copies sold) and To Do or Not To Do: How Successful Leaders Make Better Decisions based on research and experiences with more than 200 companies. His book You are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For won a 2008 Nautilus Award as a world changing book in the conscious leadership/business category.
About Wisdom Heart:
Wisdom Heart helps people bring powerful spiritual practices and principles alive in their daily lives. The Wisdom Heart Way (WHW) distills and focuses a 5,000 year old spiritual system (called Kriya Yoga) into a form that works for 21st century people. We’ve been engaged in committed practice of this method since 1972. We’re ordained swamis in the Kriya lineage. We’ve tested the practice in real life. We’ve applied the practices and principles personally, in our relationship, with our kids, and in our businesses.
You don’t need to be convinced about the value of meditation. You’ve read enough to know: meditation works. It’s good for your body, mind, productivity, and soul. Beyond the books, you’ve experienced moments of . . . um . . . meditation. (You’ve tasted the peace, the relief, and meaning that fills you when the mind is still – even for just a few seconds.) But you’re not practicing. Not consistently. And it’s the consistency that brings the benefits and breakthroughs. But, you know that. You know that a meditation practice will change your life for the better. Start it. Sustain it. Deepen it. This is an entirely unique program delivered via audio, video, and written materials – people from all over the world can participate in a way that works with their schedule. No matter where you live in the world, this program will work for your schedule. People from every continent have benefited from this proven program.
This course is designed to:
- Establish your life-long habit of daily meditation.
- Dissolve the obstacles that sabotage consistency & progress.
- Bring meditative awareness into your daily life.
To learn more about Eric and Wisdom Heart, visit http://wisdomheart.com.
In JUST the first 15 minutes of our in-depth conversation, Eric and I discussed:
- “It’s really been a core question for me since my very early teens. ‘What am I here for? What am I here to do?’ And as I’ve moved through the decades, and I’m over 60 now, my understanding and sense of that question has simplified. In that for a long time, I thought Life on Purpose meant figuring out what I’m supposed to DO specifically in terms of job/career/my way of showing up in the collective. And my position and identity in the world. And while I still think that’s a very important inquiry for many of us, I think there’s a deeper question, which is ‘What’s my purpose right now, in this MOMENT? How can I embody and express what I like to call the radiance. The essential nature of who I am, beyond or deeper than any particular pattern of expression. Or any job, career, or role. But IN this moment, how can I express something that’s love, awareness, wisdom…'”
- The idea of living “big” and “small” being defined by cultural parameters and the titles, roles, masks that we all wear.
- “The purpose isn’t to step into some kind of culturally sanctioned bigness or greatness, but rather to settle back and rest into who we really are.”
- What is Wisdom Heart? “It is a website and this vehicle for offering teachings, but it’s also our name for that state of consciousness that resides in the very center of our being, that is the essence of who each of us truly are. So it’s kind of a paradoxical statement: Wisdom Heart. It’s got the Heart dimension: love, compassion, connection, but not lost in a soup of love because it’s got the wisdom side. Which is this capacity to witness, to be aware, to see things from a broader perspective. But not to be so detached that we disconnect in kind of an abstract wisdom. Again the heart is there. “
- Awareness: “the sacredness of this moment. And it’s so easy to lose. I know I can lose it in the blink of any eye when I’m rushing to meet my goals and it feels like the world is somehow in my way. And then life becomes a problem instead of this magical arising.”
- The importance of practices and tools to be able to maintain that awareness.
- “Practices (in this context, meditation practices) cultivate our capacity, and that’s a key word, to reside more and more consistently in that awareness. It doesn’t turn us into a meditation robot. Because of course that awareness is ever new, ever fresh, ever unfolding. It gives us the capacity to stay connected to the beauty that is arising in this moment and it builds our capacity to see through our own emotional reactivity to that jewel-like awareness of the radiance that’s arising.”
- Building your muscle memory and shifting your “set point” in habit building.
- “One of the most wonderful things about this particular time in history is the discoveries of neuroscience, which are pointing out that our nervous system has this amazing capacity to experience almost an infinite range of states of consciousness. And we will repeatedly experience those states of consciousness that we practice. Whether that practice is sort of unconscious or semi-conscious like just living your life or that practice is intentional, as we’re discussing, we’re going to be building muscle memory.”
- The meaning of the off-cited phrase: Neurons that wire together, fire together!
- “It’s like rainwater rolling down a mountain. One drop, two drops, three drops, and eventually we have a river. It’s the same in our neurological system and the whole system is structured for efficiency. It’s always going to take the path of least resistance. So if I wake up in the morning going, ‘Oh my God, another day… groan, groan, groan…’ I am practicing groaning and there’s a neurological network, a substrate, that supports that. It’s fired, it gets wired, and that makes it easier to groan the next morning.”
- “Groaning only feels natural because it’s been practiced, in the same way that compassion, lightness, joy, and laughter will feel natural too by practicing! Meditation practice does two things: it liberates us and pulls energy away from those grooves, those patterns that we now deem to be less than useful to us. And it infuses, fires and wires together, patterns that will support the kinds of awareness and ways of being that we, in our current level of wisdom, realize, ‘This will make me have a more meaningful life.'”