I’ve been listening to Cory’s podcast the Astral Hustle for years now so had so much fun being on the other end of the line and digging into his fascinating mind — he has an amazing gift for walking a line between being playful but also filled with deep insights and practical tips on mindfulness.
This was another of those conversations that just lit me up. It felt like the time flew by but we bounced between the role of humour in spiritual exploration and the ‘upside of impermanence’ to some of the more practical aspects meditation, how it changes the way we experience the world and how we can get out of our own way to risk being more human.
Cory’s new book Now is the Way is officially out today and I would thoroughly encourage you all to head over to nowistheway.com and add it to your respective reading lists. 📚
Jonny: I’m here with Cory Allen who is the host of the astral hustle podcast and recent author of a mind stretching new book called now is the way which we will dive into. But I’d like to begin as usual with the question were you exceptionally curious as a child and if so could you tell me a story about something that you were curious about?
Cory: I was curious I think that just the first story that comes to mind was curious about questioning religion. I remember even as a kid like I would say my parents separated when I was young. So my mom I would call her kind of like a safety Christian like she’s one of those that says she’s a Christian but doesn’t or for I guess the long decades of time didn’t actually really go to church or anything. Kind of the let’s maybe let’s class that up a little bit let’s call it Pascal’s wager how about that a huge Blaise Pascal fan.
Anyway so yeah I remember just as a kid finding the whole like in America anyway especially growing up in Texas like going to a little church every once in a while and just the organization of alleged spirituality and that way seemed odd to me I wasn’t like this is bullshit I was just like this is peculiar and it smells weird in here why has everyone got dry clean clothes on like doesn’t make any sense. I do remember like thinking how as a very young kid like I would just get on the floor and like draw and stuff but I would listen until after the preacher or whatever would stop talking and everyone would start clapping at once or whatever they would like dismiss him and like you know 200 people would all start talking at the same time. Like there’s something unnatural about like what’s happening here.
So I began like testing in my just kind of in my head asking myself questions out of curiosity to what was the alleged divine power and I would be at like daycare which is essentially just you know for a parent has to work and can’t take care of their kids they’ll go drop him off at a place and others will take care of them. And so I would go to a place like that and I remember like I think it was more of convenience of anything as a little kid I would be at this dropped off at this Christian daycare, Christianish Christian Adjason’s daycare center and I would like they would try to force and inflict their ideology upon the kids. And I remember always just asking questions about why and what was going on and they would get really angry. I mean I remember one time there’s little like green hanging light bulb that they had I know it sounds weird it’s because it is weird there’s a little green hanging light bulb at the end of the day if you were good you could go by like touch the green light bulb and it was just like warm it wasn’t hot. And they would say that that was the warmth of God’s love right like that and I remember just as a little kid I was like no that’s a light bulb and they would get really pissed off and made me go in the hallway which I actually enjoyed that more. That was a common theme growing up was being sent into the hallway by teachers and guardians. So then I would start doing things like asking myself just like while I was waiting for my mom to pick me up from said daycare center I would be like okay if the next car that comes down the corners my mom then there’s a God and it wouldn’t be in a bit alright how about the next one. Alright how about the next one and that would like put my finger in the door and like slowly close it if there’s a god this won’t hurt and it would hurt.
So just little things like that and you know you can wipe all the religiosity from that aside it’s basically just like a very young like a four year old five year old mind trying to inquire about the nature of what isn’t seen. Like what is in testable how were we constructing the things we believe and how can we verify those things.
Jonny: I can really relate to that I went to a school where I was kind of forced to go to Abi twice a week for the assembly and I find myself asking versus also kind of similar questions I’m and I’ve been exploring a theory that are kind of life purpose is in some way connected to the stories that resonated with us when we were younger and I was wondering if you had any favorite books or stories growing up that kind of come to mind.
Cory: Well what’s funny is that none of neither of my parents were like readers or interested in any I guess intellectual topics whatsoever. So the earliest stories I often saw were those of like musicians because they were both into music. My dad was very much into Johnny Cash and just kind of badass like southern people. And my mom was very much into like Elton John and Prince and Michael Jackson and Madonna’s you know this is the 80s and so I remember like from early on taking note those that kind of the archetypes of those people’s lives and finding them very interesting. Particularly someone like Johnny Cash or Prince or something like that and my first concert was Elton John whenever I was a little kid.
I remember thinking just seeing him like coked out of his mind in this insanely elaborate costume playing in this giant arena just playing his heart out. You know taking it to another dimension and I remember thinking okay wow this is like this is interesting this is something different like music is also main you know but as far as like the four I became very obsessive I think part of it you know as an adult I can look back and say I think part of it was because I grew up in such a chaotic environment as far as the family structure went.
That I think that my slight OCD that I had with certain movies and bands or artists or whatever wasn’t almost a way of putting blinders on and just going like forcing myself to go very internal and creating like a tunnel to live in as opposed to having to live in the ecosystem of my life.
And so yeah I would like get a tape like a cassette tape and just I would listen to it over and rewind it and listen to it and rewind and listen to it. Like obsessively I would listen to something like 30 times like in a day you know just almost insane just the same song I’d say albums over and over for like weeks or months.
And that actually really stopped until I was like in my mid-20s like I probably listened to bitches brew by Miles Davis at least a thousand times like because I listened to it like three times a day for three or four years. And so yeah man those stories are ones that really perked up for me but then as funny as it might be like in the 80s as a little kid I remember the first like movies I just became completely obsessed with like that were the Ninja Turtle movies.
They made I don’t know if you’re familiar with the teenage mutant ninja turtle that was huge like in the late 80s and they made some movies some motion pictures of those. And the first one yeah my brother and I had the VHS of that and we used to just like watch it and rewind it watch it and rewind it. So that that story is kind of one of the earlier stories that really resonates in my mind as silly in this fondness that is.
Jonny: It makes me thinks of one of the GIFs I overuse is one of I think its Michelangelo kind of meditating. So it seems like to me anyway that whilst most people kind of apply their curiosity to the outer world in their early life it’s almost like you went deep inside and do you feel like some of Cory’s like chaos and early challenges and curiosities kind of paved the way for the work that you’re doing now.
Cory: Yeah definitely I think that the way that I learned to that the inside of my mind didn’t like what you know the Viktor Frankl awareness realization thing of like the world inside my body the world and said my mind is mine and free. I’m free to think and like live in the world that that not as separate from reality but a private reality and that unfolded and I began to understand that was more clarity as I got older for sure.
Jonny: So I just as I mentioned last night I finished devouring your first book now is the way which I believe will be live and out in the world when this episode drops and yeah I think the reason that I really love listening to a podcast is that I think you’ve got this, this almost magical ability to act as a bridge between what I feel it like a really potent but also kind of dense mystical Eastern philosophies and in the modern world. And I think just something that came to mind last night was it feels like reading this was one of the few books that I’ve come across there it’s kind of sincere but not serious. And I probably get into trouble for saying this but I spent a fair amount of time in Ubud here in Bali and I get a sense that some people kind of carry their spiritual quest like this it’s like it’s this heavy weight and I think if I can contrast to say watching videos of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu who get together and they’re like giggling like schoolchildren. And so before we kind of dive into the content of the book itself do you have any thoughts on the role of humor and even kind of absurdity in the context of spiritual exploration?
Cory: Oh certainly well firstly I just thank you for your very kind and generous compliments. I take that as a high honor and it’s certainly something that I have set out to try and do is translate the you know my earliest investigation into Eastern thought in really Western thought in general and that of also the neuroscience of you know which is an umbrella for psychology. And all that type of things was that of like a young man full of testosterone and like being like I’m gonna dominate this this Canon of knowledge and show like I’m gonna go as deep and as learn as much all I’m gonna hold the ocean in my mouth you know.
That was I think because I could understand that stuff from the young age and I had the attention and tenacity to read a mountain of 800 page books on technical shit and for some reason like enjoyed it. I think part of it was because it was generally fascinating to me and the other part of us because there was a slight narcissism to being able to digest all that stuff.
The technicality of it you know I gained the propensity to carry all of that stuff and as I got older and had endless I’m sure annoying conversations to be on the other side of. I realized that oh wait and truly through my podcast is right I really like came it came to clarity was like okay so if the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand what you’re saying it’s your fault as a communicator not their fault because they’re quote-unquote stupid.
That’s how I used to you know as a young man I used to like to go through life thinking like oh I’m smarter than everyone else and they don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about because I’m just like talking about some uber technical thing that you’d have to be interested or in fascinated in the field to have a conversation.
And for some reason whipping it out with someone who’s near stranger seems like a domination. Therefore, an elevation of one’s idea of themselves whenever truly you’re just being an asshole and you have no idea sensitivity to the context of a human interaction.
So I do appreciate you saying that I’m able to translate that stuff to something more understandable and now I forget what was the second part of what you asked me sorry.
Jonny: Just the connection between kind of absurdity and humor in that context.
Cory: Oh yeah how could I forget about I was just being silly by forgetting that. So yeah I think it’s a really, really important connection I think it’s a critical connection because I’ve always found humor not only as you know vital to my well-being but also it’s a crucial element to understanding. You know I think our being here humans like you know nested within this strange body nested on a strange planet with all the things that we’ve agreed with each other are the ways of being. And the fact that we exist at all amongst the infinity of the universe is completely ridiculous. I mean so, so ridiculous and like that thought rarely ever leaves my mind I was talking to Jen Sidine recently and we were sharing this thing that I hadn’t brought up before because I just I didn’t ever think that other people did this.
But like I have a in my mouth like on the inside of my gum we’re like not my gum but my lip. Where it’s sort of like tough because I bite it so much so many times trying not to laugh just going through life.
Because I know it might make people feel uncomfortable or they will understand or like it would be too self-indulgent almost to explain why I’m laughing about stuff.
So I just get to where I just try and bite this little part of my inner lip to keep from laughing like in life situations because just the absurdity of her being is so overwhelming to me and so joyful.
I think that that’s one part of just life that I think that laughter and the absurdity and ridiculousness of the illusion we are all under the spells which has been cast on us to our incarnation is hilarious but then also understanding the deeper things and getting into the more deeper details of ideas around being.
I think with the growth and awareness that comes from understanding the human condition or the deeper inner life. With that growth of awareness comes, it must come a growth of your hilaritus as Robert Anton Wilson put it.
Like because to have that level of understanding about consciousness or being you must inherently have the same, you must have a grow sense of humor about it because like that level of macro comprehension is not possible without seeing the absurdity of it all and in the natural elicited response from that is laughter which is why I think you’ll find most people who are like quote-unquote enlightened are often pretty hilarious.
Jonny: Yeah and something that I noticed and this might be connected to the humor piece in some ways but you’re writing it feels very embodied and to me the language is kind of it’s kind of poetic and almost delicious and obviously I didn’t get to see the initial drafts but it sounds like in some ways the process of writing this has been almost like a journey going from your head to your heart. And I’m just yeah just wondering does that resonate at all and what kind of surprised you in the process of putting this book out into the world?
Cory: Yeah 100% that’s exactly that’s precisely what happened I think it’s because like artistically I come from a very intellectual place a lot of times. Because I like I live in a world of concepts and ideas generally and abstract ways of thinking and then I translate that down into something that that I almost like in musically over the years I’ve found the feeling when it’s halfway out of me like when the idea or the concept or the abstract is taking shape in the material world or like whatever the musical medium I then find the way to create the emotion and then that’s how I feed it back into myself and then once I can do that then it becomes this connected like cyclical force thing where I go okay now all the parts are in place which is interesting. I’ve never, I haven’t really thought of that but until this moment but like when writing I suppose the same process I had to kind of relearn that again where it was all conceptual and very heady and intellectual and then had to get it out of me to see it to go oh wait a second okay this is ridiculous. This is exactly what I don’t like in books and it took some time and in really oh I spent the time because of just respect of the craft and of the people who might be reading it. To then as you said digest all that put it aside drop down to the heart and then write from a place of feeling and a place of humanity as opposed to a place of just ideas.
Jonny: And you know in one of the early chapters he mentioned that like 15 years into your into a meditation practice. It was like something break loose inside and that mislead to a kind of liberating experience of shedding tears of joy and sorrow. And you wrote I think the quake was it was as if a smile had come from somewhere else to way you and this yeah this really struck a chord with I think my own experiences of navigating grief and lost. And could you speak a little to how this felt at the time and maybe any theories as to why you think it took 15 years of practice to reach the state of total surrender?
Cory: Sure yeah oh I’m glad you picked that out it’s an important to me just personally it’s an important moment and one of the lines in the book that I’m most proud of or I suppose happy that it found its way out of me and onto the paper. Yeah like I think one I’m just stubborn you know in a lot of ways there’s that. I’ve always had the habit of thinking and feeling like whatever anything is I can just like figure it out.
And you know to do with me obviously I’m not saying I can go be an astrophysicist or whatever. But like if I have a problem I believe I can figure it out that’s how I’ve always been no I’ll you know work myself until I’m like exhausted and almost have nothing left I’ll black out until you know until I can figure this thing out.
And so I’ve looked at myself as the same type of project like I’m gonna figure me out and like I tried you know a lot of things over the years to as you said process that trauma and the pain and the clinging and whatever it might be.
And I think it was a lot of things you know like someone told me you know my dad died out of nowhere whenever I was 20 and we did not have a good relationship. One we just didn’t have a relationship he was self-involved interested in other things and there was a lot of like destructive trauma around when he was around as a little kid and our interactions henceforth. And someone told me after he died like that you won’t be able to even understand it for five years and you won’t begin the process of for ten years I was like whatever I’ll be fine and like I was like I’ll be fine two days you know which I felt like I was.
Because I could just instantly intellectualize it and move on but that’s of course because my emotions were very calcified and shut down and I was complete like head mind and not in heart mind as a form of protection you know of course.
And so as that over the years yeah I found what whoever that was that told me that that rang true. You know it’s like five years in it’s like wow I can’t believe like everything that’s happened him it’s a big crazy story of like all the shit that unfolded from that and then just a lot of darkness from a lot of very un-human stuff from like people who were connected to him but not in my family.
You know I don’t really have a family to be honest for the other than my wife’s family and so yeah you know as far as like a big members of a group or anything like that. And so it was just like yeah processing all that and then ten years went by and I began to understand it and like feel it and I weirdly was able to have a better relationship with him ten years after he was dead you know.
Because I begin to understand there’s that saying it like that notion of causality where like you can’t be mad at a tornado for destroying something.
You know it’s the circumstances of nature that arise and then unfold and it’s not about necessarily the destruction that the tornado makes it’s what can you learn and how can you rebuild and can you feel grateful for the fact that you survived the experience right.
That’s what we can take from any suffering that we encounter and I began to not only understand that but embody and feel that and I began to just really work on letting go and forgiving and like letting go of that resentment and understanding why I am the way I am because of the way he was and the way that like he wasn’t around and so I had no male figure in my life.
So I became my male figure in my life and I figured like there’s no one to show me the male element of the world so it’s gonna be me.
So I have to pick up the machete and hack my way through the jungle with everything and that’s why I turned out you know that’s the big part of the reason why I am the way I end like completely self-sufficient and like that instinct to solve my own problems is because of that you know.
It’s because of like okay that I knew it like I was just on my own early and it’s alright well it’s up to me if I want to survive I gotta figure it out and that’s just the way I’ve been programmed or I program myself rather. So I begin to just let go of that resentment and that that anger and frustration with him with not having a loving you know healthy attachment and then him dying.
Because he didn’t take care of himself and there’s a lot of resentment for all that and at the same time you know really doing a lot of like deep work with allowing just I realize it even in my own relationships my life it was like I was hitting this tipping point was like just crucial that I tap into my feeling and raised my emotional IQ. Because even though that I’d really overcome the anger and like the more narcissistic part of myself that had been around when I was younger.
I got to where I you know I was fine. I was living in my head but I was like peaceful and very open and vulnerable and compassionate but I was still living in my head you know for the most part and I realized that okay I got to like let that go and drop down into the heart and start really opening that up and so that’s why I started focusing on and through that process I was able to just let go of a lot of that stuff.
Tap into the compassion and just start taking that armor off and opening up and allowing myself to feel and process and go through that stuff. And in that you know my moments of transformation you know active transformation often occur in meditation because you know you’re dialing you’re opening up and you’re creating that empty space that negative space for you to breathe and allow things to pass through and to move and to reflect and so on.
And in that process is where I had those moments and I think that the idea of the smile coming from somewhere else to where me it really was interesting of like I started as I put in the book just like crying not crying but you know it’s like I don’t really know what to describe that like it’s just tears coming from somewhere.
It’s like a physiological response to processing just a lifetime of pain and not wanting to you know I always wanted to hold it in because I didn’t want anyone else to feel it I didn’t figure. I didn’t want to express it at other people even though I was doing that right just not like you know it was my blind spot.
So I was like forcing that I was expressing that stuff towards people but not realizing but thinking that holding it in was kind of keep it from other people. I just started recognizing all that and as I let it go is just this cleansing acceptance feeling and then I think I finally felt like legitimately at peace and happy whenever for the first time felt that those thousand you know meathooks pulling at my heart down into the abyss for once. And I was like okay like I’m finally here like I finally think like I hit sea level and that’s what happened when I hit sea level.
Jonny: Wow yeah as you as you’re sharing that what came up was the phrase. I don’t think it made into your book but it was this idea of the upside of impermanence.
Cory: That was in the second draft yeah.
Jonny: Yeah and when you said that on one of the podcasts I was thinking if maybe the same could be said of kind of the group the grieving process and at least in in my experience when I allowed myself to kind of have this sense of courageous curiosity to turn towards that pain that suffering what I felt emerged was kind of kind of a deep connection to the people in my life and the world and perhaps some of that is also its surrendering that kind of self-sufficiency that you just talked about. But I’m really interested in this this connection between by leaning into the impermanence and all of that kind of shadowy broken mirror stuff that we’ve repressed its relationship to those upsides of joy and love and wonder and awe.
Cory: Yeah I mean it’s like it’s here’s the problem so like whenever we experience painful stuff in our lives whether it be emotionally or physically our evolution has designed us in such a way that we can’t really recall the experience or the feeling of that experience with a lot of clarity because it’s a protection mechanism.
You know so I think I put in the book I think I wrote about this for example if we were to remember what it felt like every time we went to the dentist. We wouldn’t go to the dentist because it sucks and it hurts there it’s you know it’s uncomfortable but we keep going back you know we know we need to go but our memories sort of morphs experience a little bit.
So if you map that over to deep trauma or emotional you know pain general emotional pain or physical suffering we don’t like to remember or acknowledge that stuff. So we think okay we’ll just swallow it down and forget about it and try and move on which is a completely understandable thing to do.
However that stuff as you said it exists as the shadow part of ourselves and we feel it whether we can acknowledge it or not it is there and I think one of the big revelations that came to me through my ayahuasca experiences in the jungle was that those, it’s the funkiest thing for me to describe and maybe it’s one of those things you just have to experience.
But like afterwards I was aware as kind of some of the fragments the foundation of my subconscious was you know felt some seismic impacts. I realized the things that I was ignoring that I was completely aware of all my entire life but it was like they were floating right under the surface of my awareness but I could feel them I could see them in my interactions.
I was like oh I mean it was only in retrospect that’s like oh wow I’ve been aware of this stuff all this time but it’s been like this this is like opaque you know thing that’s been happening it was so weird does that make sense.
Jonny: It does completely.
Cory: Okay I can’t tell if I’m explaining it clearly or not like yeah so like all the nasty baggage and stuff I thought I had repressed successfully. Like a good growing man we’re actually just right out in front right in front of me but then I suppose after those experiences like oh god they’ve been out on the table this entire time. So all that stuff is with us is what I’m trying to say and through acknowledging those things and it doesn’t have to be all at once it probably shouldn’t be all once because it can be quite destructive or at the very least it caused a lot of destabilization.
But through allowing yourself to confront you take responsibility for if the circumstance calls for it and begin to talk about and process and work with those things that you’re caring around is the only way to get free of them and to let go of that and to get that weight to bleed that battery acid out of your system.
And that feels uncomfortable it feels painful because it is and every time we revisit it, it sucks and it hurts and that’s the thing.
It’s like that’s going to the dentist’s we have to remember that we have to like just keep in mind okay it is going to hurt and it’s not going to be pleasant however what happens after you get out of that and you can start feeling it pretty soon is the lightness.
That’s when the upside thing starts happening and it’s like the decay is what we experience through the pain but the upside the rebirth the reemergence of the new aspect of yourself that’s been dying to move forward is what you begin to feel and experience and the more you do that the more you can taste that the more you actually get a taste for it.
And the more that work becomes something you want to do as opposed to something that you’re forced to and what you find that’s interesting is it’s like you ever see a like a sidewalk or something like that that’s got some weeds growing up through it.
You know and there’s like one that’s bust through the concrete it’s a holy shit how did that weed bust through concrete because nature is amazing. But if you were to remove like get a piece of machinery and like remove that giant piece of concrete there’d be this huge network of weeds you were under there that’s like really long and been growing forever.
That’s the new life that’s the new growth of the self and that’s what’s waiting underneath the concrete and the weight of all of our pain and there are these little weeds breaking there’s a concrete and that’s the thing that makes us have these unpleasant reactions to stuff that we don’t expect with our feelings or emotions that come out of nowhere or darkness that arises and our expressions in the world that where’d that come from why am I in a bad mood whatever.
There’s those weeds cracking up the more we start to tend those and pull those and dig up that piece of concrete and work with what’s there the more that all that’s allowed to grow into this beautiful garden.
Jonny: I love that and it makes me think that that for me meditation is almost like you’re kind of gently tugging on the weed that’s popping through the popping through the cracks and sitting on an ayahuasca ceremony is almost like blasting the concrete. Reveals everything that’s underneath whether or not you’re ready for that. Oh yeah I love that and I just I’ve actually just started attempting to teach meditation myself and something this is switching gears slightly but something that I’ve been thinking about is that most people kind of realize that if they run every day for like half an hour then maybe after a few months they’ll probably be able to run a marathon or someone lifting weights you know might get a six pack and I think that we’re kind of open to this idea of like if creating our own mind gym where we can use meditations to train our empathy or a concentration or a detachment. Or another metaphor might be like learning to be a chef where you’re kind of gradually experiencing more of these flavors of consciousness for yourself as you’re building this taste and sensitivity to these delicious state of being but I’m wondering how would you how do you attempt to describe some of these changes to a to a beginner meditator and what kind of mock might they expect in the short term and also in what ways would a deeper practice over the years begin to change their brain and their experience of the world.
Cory: Yeah like so the earlier I think perks of a basic meditation practice though gradually and slowly begin to fade in into daily life. So you’ll find that in moments where something where someone said something that normally would have flustered you or frustrated you.
You’ll recognize like oh wait a second why don’t I feel like my skin’s on fire right now I normally have a reaction to that. But I still feel a little bit of warmth the forest is a little burning inside of me but I don’t feel that the skin isn’t burning and I didn’t you know have this reaction that’s interesting.
Or you’ll find whether you’re talking to someone that you have a bit more clarity about what you’re talking about or that your speech becomes more precise. You’ll find that it’s easier to concentrate on things or focus on reading or a task at hand or whatever it might be your mind will feel less overwhelmed with static and fuzz.
And oh I can conceptualize and think of new ideas more easily the awareness of how you’re feeling about things takes less time to process and so those are the general thing you know and just a general turning down the fidgetedness of your body is something that you will also experience through a basic practice.
People often are always because of the circumstance of our modern world are always fiddling with something with their hands you know I was on their phone with a mouse with a laptop not a mammal mouse. People always fiddling with mice, mice and rats, yeah with always with a keyboard or a computer mouse or whatever and I mean they make fidget spinners you know it’s like because we’re always fooling with something because the way that we now interact with our world is in this little through computers, through phones that is bite-size interactions.
And so when you’re not doing that if you do that for 10 hours your brain the neuroplasticity in your brain is like designed to be fooling with something. It’s like well I’m not interacting with the world I’m not constantly moving my hands and messing with something and so that of course mirrors the shape of the mind.
And so if you’re always in that fragmented process of messing with a keyboard or a phone or whatever then you feel uncomfortable at first and that’s because your mind is still in that zone. But through a basic practice you start to feel more arrests in your body you don’t feel the compulsion to be fooling with something like that and therefore your mind begins to mirror your body and your mind begins to feel a bit less frantic and a bit less compulsive and impulsive through a more dedicated practice one thing is that those things all deepened greatly.
You begin to I think in my experience those things all fade in more they deepen and your awareness becomes noticeably more increased what’s interesting is that everything that we experience if you’re sitting in your bedroom whoever it is.
All the stuff that’s to be perceived is there the issue is that the wattage of our awareness has only turned up to a certain voltage. So as you don’t I mean so as you become more aware it’s not necessarily that the room changes it’s that you begin to know a deeper understanding of the nuances and the detail and all that of the room and so it’s a deepening effect right of all things that surround you in your life and so you move that on from your bedroom to life.
So you go out into the world you begin to you know it’s not that the world changes the world is simply objectively as it is but your experience of the world becomes much more deep than nuance and the human your understanding of human behavior including your own the way that future pathway and repercussions and reverberations of how you exist in the world will change and affect other people.
And how that you can respond to life in a way that it will bring all of those positive qualities that everyone describes whenever they talked about you know the inner path.
All that becomes a lot more apparent and through that you’re able to create you know change great change in your life.
Because you’re really picking up the pen of your story and being able to have more control and ownership and what have you of your experience because you have the presence of mind and the patience in the moment of your experience to begin to act in the way and live in a way that you actually have some consideration of doing as opposed to just reacting based upon your programming.
That’s a huge, huge change because those things you know that way of acting has this and acting may not be the most precise word perhaps because there’s some slogginess I’m gonna make up that word that you know maybe should suggest that you’re portraying an affectation.
But I would say more exactly that it’s how you are showing up in the world and honoring your intention in the world but that has an incredible repercussion because then your world and quotes becomes more peaceful it becomes more positive and the people in your life begin to identify you and understand you as someone who has that character and they begin to respond to in that way and the whole texture of your world just shifts.
I’d like to just put an asterisk by this and say that I don’t think I’m special in any way whatsoever however I will say that it’s very funny is there something I joke about with my wife all the time is there’s a little natural grocery food store right next to my house and it was not right next to it but it’s close.
And every time I’m in there it’s so weird every time I’m in there and there’s a line I’ll be waiting in line and there could be the store kind of sucks in the sense of like the speed in which you can check out. Because they’ll have like one register open in like 20 people in line always.
And so every time I’m in there and I’m like waiting in line they’ll go open another register and the person different cashiers they’ll walk directly over to me and they’ll say I can help the next customer come over here sir. You know I mean and it’s uncanny it’s weird it I’m like is it because I’m ball do they feel bad for me you know what’s going on here do I look silly like oh that guy needs some luck let’s give him a break.
But you know I wonder if it’s not sometimes I’m like you know is it one of those things where when you’re giving off wiggle lines of life and kindness it does attract people it makes people, people feel the warmth in the home and the glow.
When they’re walking by a bunch people they’ll look irritated and pissed off because they’re waiting in line and there’s one happy camper standing there and stuff like that happens you know. So that’s just like it’s a weird example but it’s just more of a theatrical example to say that:
…in life when you start to change and feel this way an embody those feelings. That it really does have an interesting effect on the rest of the way that you experience the world.
Jonny: Yeah wow I mean I love that and I’ve not heard you mention the kind of the internal like wattage of the battery turned up before. But that really resonates for me and it makes me think of him I was reading yesterday something that Susan Sontag wrote that she felt like she had attention surplus disorder and I wonder if meditation gives us this capacity to kind of turn up that wattage and that kind of shines through and it makes me think I remember emerging from this there’s like ten days silence the past in meditation retreat. And it felt like I was kind of riding this high of presence and it was probably like that that wattage was just kind of soothing for my brain and I had similar experiences where people just kind of treated me really well and I’m these kind of serendipitous and synchronistic things happen. And I almost got attached to that that energy and I could feel it kind of being drained out of me as I went back into London and you know going into supermarket where I was just overwhelmed with all stimulus. And I wanted to keep hold of that like that precious internal light which I felt like was draining away and so yeah I love that. And you have this there’s a really lovely question in your book that is, it’s like what if more of your life was lived like mindfully eating a piece of chocolate and when I read this it reminded me of something that Aldous Huxley write about in a novel called the Island. And it’s basically a book about this tribe you have a word in their language parlor that basically translates to saying grace with your senses. And I really love this idea and one that if there are any other kind of like fun kind of meditation related practices that you do or that you might suggest to people that are kind of the meditation question and that can be done you know when you’re in a queue or a supermarket or something or something like that.
Cory: You know definitely and I think that the thing that you’re talking about after you came off this vipassana retreat and you kind of were like high unconsciousness that’s because you were spend all this time.
You didn’t have all your environment was changed so you didn’t have all these distractions and the general habits and patterns in your life that pull you away from the present moment and you’re able to really tap in there and in a real way that you and go deeper into that moment deeper into just existing and being connection and flow with what is as opposed to having a mind that is caught up elsewhere and wrapped up in something else.
And it is amazing how you feel different people respond to you differently because in my opinion it’s when you’re in that state of present mindedness your intellect is not chewing on your spirit that’s trying to come through.
The fullness of what you are is able to pass through with an ease and that source you know whatever you want to describe it as the nerve of the divine that’s in all of us.
It’s like the puppet game we’re looking those are the fingers of the puppet of the divine we’re the puppets the fingers are coming through all of this and what we’d like to see is that other finger because ooh there’s the finger of the seven billion fingered God like to spot it’s other fingers and it gets happy.
And when it does and it feels good because you’re okay that’s like life energy that’s like force. And so when you’re in that zone and your intellect is not chewing on your chewing all that up that’s trying to come through then you allow that to flow through and people other people can see it and feel it and that’s really, that’s grace man that’s like being able to show up with grace in the world. And that’s honestly it takes work because like anything you don’t go to the gym once and get you know super six-pack and then okay did that now I have a six-pack forever.
Like you got to keep going to the gym if you want to keep that six-pack I wouldn’t know I’ve never had a 6 pack in my life but yeah same thing with the mind and with presence in that whole that whole path is if you want to stay in that space it just takes some practice.
But once you do it’s really beautiful and I put you know a big part of my life as is that as I spend I do something every day you know meditation of course five times a week. But and this will just lead casually and conveniently into your question of the you asked is that on the days when you know if I don’t meditate I’m often doing something as a habit to draw myself back into that state and at home.
You know it could be any task really but something as simple as like as I said any task I felt my feet on the ground like I felt the flatness of my feet like laid out touching the hardwood floors of my house right now where I’m at.
You know it’s like that moment of my mind just as it’s built in whereas I went to query one of those things I was like oh there’s one that I was experiencing as I went to go think of one I already had one right you know it’s like but washing the dishes feeling the warm water running across your hands and the sudsiness of the plates rolling around that’s a beautiful incredible rich experience of just being you know feeling the ceiling fan the air moving on your skin and just pausing to absorb the fact that you exist and that you’re alive and that you have a heartbeat and a mind and you know these type of things are available literally every moment.
It’s just a matter of drawing your mind back to them. So in in life when you’re out in the world some of those practices that you can do you know one of my favorite something I make in the book is like taking little hits of mindfulness waiting in line you know is a good one.
Where if you’re, all of us end up waiting in line some way or another and so while you’re there you could be looking at refreshing your phone over and over trying to see if you have a new email my dear friend the one that I mentioned about how we have dinner every week in the book. We joke about because he’s a composer you know in musician as well and so we joke about. Well back in the day we used to joke about whenever we check our email at the time we’d say oh did we make it.
So we joke about doing let’s see if we made it real quick let’s check our email. Let’s refresh if we got the email from whoever from Scorsese or Goethe or someone saying like hey I want you work on this film with me like cool I’m gonna finally make it. You know so just pointing out the absurdity of everyone’s compulsion to check their email as if there’s gonna be something so important that’s gonna be life-changing to you.
So instead of standing there in line doing that refreshing seeing if you’ve made it or not just letting that go and just tapping back into your posture because if you have a curved back and slumped shoulders and a sunken head. It’s crushing your lungs you can’t get a deep breath so you know pulling your shoulders back realigning your posture allowing your head to float on top.
Releasing the tension in your face and your shoulders taking some good breaths in and just taking just a few moments that five ten seconds whatever you have or perhaps depending on where your line much longer a time to just get in some good breaths. Some grounding moments and even something as simple as that is a great way to draw yourself back into that abundance of newness.
Jonny: Yeah it’s a simple and I feel like in this state it’s almost like life turns into a like a constant Japanese tea ceremony is was mine.
Jonny: Yeah it’s so wonderful.
Cory: It’s really useful like things that you’re already doing all the time like once you can remember to create good habits around things it becomes automatic. Like so for me like eating I do that almost every time I eat anything I just have this this split-second moment where my brain automatically goes okay like hold your horses for a second and like appreciate and actually engage with what you’re about to experience with a little bit of respect and intention.
And it’s not something that’s like not some po-faced my friend John Hopkins hit me to that British word slang po-faced. That means like faulty pious overly seriously full spirited okay good nailed it. This kind of yeah it’s not this overly you know affected thing is you know it’s just a little like oh yeah right like here’s a good moment I’m gonna really enjoy this like appreciate it for this moment in life right now.
Jonny: Yeah, yeah well so before we before we wrap up one of the when the idea is I really loved and I think this might be an episode with Annaka Harris but you use this metaphor of our subconscious being like biological jazz bands with this infinitely recurring fractal leap that kind of gives the illusion of a single night. And this is how I kind of think of the creative process as well like where these fragile human instruments that can occasionally allow ourselves to be tuned up to that the music of source or the university flavour us and I remember that this I think this was in an email exchange awhile ago. But you mentioned that your father-in-law once gave you some advice to just be more Corey. And as I was finished in your back last night I noticed in the in the knowledge you thanked the eyes within you for in some way allowing the fullness of you to come through on to the pages. So I’m wondering and I’m definitely speaking for myself here. How do we allow that to happen and get out of our own way and you know maybe take that the greater risk of being more human.
Cory: Yeah well that’s the million-dollar question is, it’s one understand that it’s a process and it takes time but the first step at achieving anything in the mind is awareness.
And so the meditation you know I know we’ve been harping on meditation a lot that’s a very useful tool because it creates the space it gives you more self-awareness. So through a simple meditation practice even five minutes a day you’ll begin to recognize it’s the way that you shift and change throughout your life so when you engage with one person at your job or work or whatever.
You realize you sort of talk and act in one way and then you know so this person work I subtly shift to being this guy or this woman or whatever a little bit and then when I’m with my partner I’m this person and when I’m with you know my friends I’m this person. I’m whatever when I’m with my parents I regress to being this person or whatever it is and I begin to see like wait a second there’s all these different needs there’s all these Jonny’s in there.
What’s going on who am I what am I? And the more you begin to recognize those things the more you can begin to allow those things those eyes to melt into one and you see that often.
It’s not that we put forward one dimension of ourselves per se but we block out a lot of the other totalness of ourselves in certain situations. It’s a natural way of social integration that we do because we feel that by doing so we’ll be more accepted by you know whoever it is that we’re engaging with by touching on them of what we perceive is their level or their note.
But that idea although it comes from a instinctual place is very limiting it’s also very stupid. To assume that we understand the fullness of what anybody is, is ridiculous and then also to assume that one person is just this one note single dimension of a critter is also ridiculous.
It takes a little bit of courage and comfort to allow parts of yourself to come forward that might seem like they don’t fit in that scenario and I’m not saying like you know don’t use a bunch of filthy language around your mom unless you want to but that’s not what I’m saying.
I’m saying allowing you know these other dimension of yourself to come forward in these situations and what happens nine times out of ten is it that person whoever you’re engaging with that you show something new of yourself to they’ll see oh it’s safe to let that part of myself for come forward too.
What’s amazing is once you do that and you become a unified you throughout your life one you just feel more comfortable in your own skin and you are who you are.
Like we would be having this well generally you know I would be having the same tone and the same I’d be talking the same way it was practically anyone I would talk to in life unless I felt like it was I could communicate more clear to them in a different way and so once you do that then you’ll realize that you’ll see you can bring that fullness to everyone and then most people you talk to will open up and just feel comfortable and will able to be who they are much more quickly if not almost instantaneously as opposed to this like getting to know someone else or like spending years like accessing these different rooms other people you can show be comfortable be who you are and that gives them the okay and the green light to come through and do the same thing.
And essentially you just can you get you’re clearing away the bullshit and connecting heart-to-heart like real fast as opposed to playing the human game.
Jonny: Yeah so before we wrap up where’s the best place for curious listeners to get in touch and learn more about you and the astral hustle and obviously get their hands on the new book Now is the way.
Cory: Yeah if they go to nowistheway.com that’s connected to my site. So does all the book stuff is there but then also that’ll take them to the Astral hustle my podcast which doesn’t have to do with space or aster bodies particularly. Only occasionally only when circumstances call for it and then all of the other stuff is there too.
Jonny: Awesome yeah it really is a fantastic book fair I think anyone who’s serious about meditation or just generally only being human. So yeah we’ll wrap up with a question that is inspired by a Rilke line that I really love that guy is something along the lines of try to love the questions themselves and perhaps you will then gradually live your way into the answer and with that in mind what is the question that you feel like you’re living yourself right now and what question might you leave our listeners with.
Cory: I think the question I’m living right now is how can I keep doing what I’m doing but be more effective and continue to be more outwardly and inwardly effective at the same time.
I feel like as you know things for me have grown and my podcast has grown and all that stuff. I just want to continue to get even more connected and continue just learning how to share better and share more. And everything I’m doing is really you know I’m trying to offer and it understand what it means to be human myself and figure out ways to live with less suffering. And to understand myself to be the best force I can be in the world for positivity for constructive ideas for equanimity for peace and I really think it’s possible to not make that the totality of everyone because I don’t know that that’s possible.
I think that honestly for a battery to give off energy it needs a negative and a positive end you know there’s always going to be friction.
But I think that perhaps the cycles and the time and the weight of that can be increased and I want to do everything I can to spread as much of that self-understanding and love and peacefulness and just comfort.
I know it’s a perhaps a weird way to phrase it but comfort I want like people don’t feel alright people are freaked out like if you’re born you get you’re just freaked out life is weird and it’s tough and people no one’s feels comfortable.
But I feel comfortable and I want to share that with people but I only feel comfortable because I was uncomfortable forever and paid enough shit and rid of my teeth long enough until I figured out how to feel alright.
So I want to try and save some people some time and share my map you know. So that’s the question how can I do that better sorry that took I had to talk that out a little bit but it’s how can I do more of that better.
Jonny: I love that and l feel like you have you created this map and it’s almost like you’re this kind of cartographers of nowness and you’ve taken were I think a lot of people is this is Hibi dragons landscape in the world and created these like funny and imaginative signposts.
Cory: Thank you.
Jonny: Being and experiences which words don’t really do justice to.
Cory: That’s where my weird the hangover of my like youthful arrogance really comes in handy because big like daunting I’ve always been like this like a big daunting idea or task and I like people or myself would walk up to it and be like oh my god that looks like an insurmountable mountain and be like oh fuck that mountain we’ll figure this out like two minutes that has been really useful.
Fortunately I grew into the humor thing everybody calm we’ll figure this out.
Jonny: Thank you so much this has been an absolute pleasure and I think we’ll wrap the show with that.
Cory: Well hey thank you so much for inviting me on your podcast.