Conversation with a Monk

In this discussion JJ and Melissa talk about a new video segment offered on our website that focuses on learning and growing from a very unique guest speaker.

November 10, 2020
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:18  
Today on our podcast, hello, so we want to talk about a new video series that we got the opportunity to start and shoot last week. Conversations with I'm so excited about this. So this is gonna be a little bit different than our regular podcast, because we're just going to talk about that, that experience and some things that we learned. So there's gonna be plenty of juicy nuggets in here. Yeah. Chris, we wanted to start with like, what, what what this thing was, right, so we ended up shooting this video series, we sat down with someone and asked them 12 questions, right. And it was really, really insightful. So our vision for this series is that we just find other people that are interesting and have maybe a different points of view than us are in different experiences. And, and, and chat with them. So our first guest was really amazing. And it was a really fun experience. And so I want you to tell us first, how you met, right first gasp before we get into who it is. And what we talked about is why I'm here to tell a story about how

Unknown Speaker  1:38  
how you met this person know you're such a master storyteller. JJ, you're always so good. I'm just always

Melissa Albers  1:43  
showing me that it's showing me the hook.

JJ Parker  1:44  
Listen, it's like on a T ball stand and you're ready to go.

Melissa Albers  1:51  
So my best friend and I were celebrating her birthday. It's about the exact same time of year, several years ago. And she said, hey, there's this really cool. I said, What do you want to do for your birthday? So we're having lunch, and we're gonna walk around the lake. And then what do you want to do? I like I always love to go with her and we get her a birthday gift. And she said, Well, I have this really cool place I want to check out it's called the heart of Tibet. And it's a store in Linden hills area. And, and I was like, yeah, I'm game. Let's do it. Let's go. Cool. So we walked into this store. And this store is owned by a former Buddhist monk, and his wife, an American, named Nancy, and his name is Tipton datec. And Tipton was in the store in this moment. And he walked up to me and we are eye to eye, he's about the same height as I am. And we were eye to eye and he looked at me and he said, you have a monkey mind. And I was like, Oh, no, what felt really even funnier about this is that I felt like he was peering into my soul. And I knew exactly what he meant. Like this is it was like, really strong. And then he pointed to my forehead. And he said, You need to quiet your mind. Wow. And I and you know how they say, when you're in the presence of greatness, you know it. When you're in the presence of something very special, you can feel it, and how we always talk about how our energy is so contagious, right? Like what we put out is what people get. Well, Tipton is like the prime example of that because in his presence, you feel a calmness, and a gentleness and a non judgmental, judgmental way. Like I can't describe it any better than that. And so Tipton and I began to become very good friends. Nice. And we I've learned so much from him. And he offered as he was listening to the self awareness journey, because Tipton has a huge following up Tibetans and, and people on Facebook. And so he was thought he and I were friends on Facebook. And as he started to see the self awareness journey, stuff pop up with the videos and everything else like that. He reached out to me and he said, I think we should do something together. Hmm. Said, I like your energy in this self awareness journey. I can feel the energy in this, and I would like us to do something together. Yeah, that's awesome. So that's how we that's how we got where we got. How are

JJ Parker  4:47  
you doing with that monkey mind thing?

Melissa Albers  4:49  
Actually, I would say that it's now just a very small monkey. It used to be like a full size gorilla.

JJ Parker  5:00  
So right, so we went and picked it up, run the store and brought them to our studio and sat down and asked them some questions.

Melissa Albers  5:11  
And I just love it too, because when we went to get him, he was armed with two things, prayer beads, and a beautiful antique singing bowl, which is a Tibetan instrument that is used for meditation, as well as music and sound healing and that sort of thing. So he came to our studio with those kinds of things. And so we just were able to commence in our conversation.

JJ Parker  5:40  
Yeah. So let's, uh, let's just bussers a couple of the questions we asked them. Obviously, all of this video series is on our website, so everybody can go to the self awareness, journey calm and watch all 12 segments. But let's, let's talk about just a couple of them. Because as as I was reviewing them, it's just like, I have this whole page and notes of really interesting things to think about. Right? I know. So the first question we asked them was, what does meditation mean? Like, what is meditation? Right? I thought that was really interesting, because, you on our podcast, we've talked a little bit about meditation. Right, but we don't get into that really deep. Right. And I think that certainly, in our Western culture, you know, meditation is not, you know, something that everyone's doing.

Melissa Albers  6:44  
Right. I think it's gaining popularity, though. I think a lot more people are becoming interested in and entering into the experiment.

JJ Parker  6:52  
Absolutely. I think I think that is definitely true. So he described meditation as a familiarity with your mind. Yeah. Yeah. When I was reflecting on that, I was like, isn't that interesting? Like, the idea that we're just most of us are maybe just running around, not even familiar with our mind with emotion with Yeah, and thinking, like, what we feel as the thing that is us? Right, I would say that everyone probably thinks that their, their brain or their mind is who they are. Right? Yeah. And yes, if you're not that familiar with it, you're kind of saying like, you know, meditation helps you become familiar with yourself.

Melissa Albers  7:42  
Yes. Yes, that's right. I loved that. Because I think we do just skim off the top. You know, there's been a lot of studies that say, we just think, think, think think we're thinking, I can't remember if it's like an 80,000 or 100,000 thoughts. Like, I can't remember as per ami, it was a ridiculous number that we're constantly cycling. And I don't think we even have an awareness that i doing it at all. And so the simple answer of just becoming familiar with your with your mind.

JJ Parker  8:14  
Yeah. And then he said, the more you understand your mind, the more clarity you have. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  8:23  
yes. And he use beautiful analogies so much in his speaking, you know, he has a very thick accent. As a matter of fact, he was really concerned about his accent getting in the way of his message. And both you and I were like, Oh my gosh, please don't worry about it. If we need to do subtitles, we can. We don't care about that. His energy and his and his language was beautiful. In that moment when he was talking about, you had more clarity. Remember? He said it's like blue sky? Oh, yeah. He said, it's like the clouds part and the blue sky.

JJ Parker  8:57  
Yeah. Yeah, that was a really great, a really great analogy. So with that, after that question, we asked him like, how do you how would someone start a practice of meditation because when I think about that, and and I think, oh, like, this means sitting on a pillow for hours, you know, fidgeting, right? And

Melissa Albers  9:25  
all night, making sounds

JJ Parker  9:27  
whatever you even do, like i don't i don't i don't know where to start here. And he said, simply sit for five minutes. Yeah, that's it. Yeah, five minutes. Everyone can sit for five minutes and notice your thoughts. Yeah. He said the there's lots of tools to help meditate like the singing ball that he brought, right. But he said for beginners is easy. Just focus on your breathing.

Melissa Albers  9:58  
Right and focus on your breath. Right, we keep mentioning this singing bowl, I want to just interject something. So what the symbol actually is, is it's made of a number of metal, different metals. And each metal corresponds to one of the chakras or one of the energy pieces in your body, one of the energy segments of your body. And so the whole premise of this singing bowl is it is it's in your hand, you hold it in your hand, it comes in a variety of sizes, and tones and sounds. And then it has like a mallet. And you can softly tap that mallet or you can run the mallet around the rim of it sort of like, you know, China glasses when you make them sing. And, and that's what it is. And he said, for that purpose, you can hit that. And that noise can keep you focus. That's sound that gong sound can help keep your mind focused or just let you still breathe, because there's something that's keeping you engaged. Then

JJ Parker  10:58  
after our interview with him, he actually, you know, did the singing bowl. Yeah. Have a round? Me? Yes, he did. That was really amazing. Um, and the thing that struck me with about it, is that it wasn't really loud. It wasn't real, like it wasn't definitely loud. But the way it resonated, you was like the only thing I could hear. Yes, right. It was it was fairly soft, but that way it vibrated. everything around me is like the it was all consuming. It was really, it was a really amazing experience. Yeah. You

Melissa Albers  11:39  
weren't expecting that at all? No, no. As a side note, you know, as we've always been talking about in the last several weeks about how sort of the world is amped up and people are really searching for meaning searching for finding more balance in their lives right now. Tipton has said people are coming in his store and buying singing bowls like crazy. And I thought that was fascinating. And he had no awareness why he was like people are all of a sudden, like, sometimes I'm selling for singing bowls in an hour. And I'm not sure why. But I believe that's because as people are connecting in that way to some, you know, a different way to connect with themselves.

JJ Parker  12:19  
Yeah. We then ask them, How does being more mindful? Help? Right? As we're kind of like progressing through this idea of like, what is meditation? And how do you start? That gets into mindful and he said that mindfulness helps you remember how your life is precious? Yeah, I'm talking about Yeah, he's talked a lot about just remembering how precious life is.

Melissa Albers  12:54  
And that's the word that he used. And it was so beautiful how he would use that word. Yeah, and and how when you focus on how precious everything about your life is right now. You're not focusing on the past about what's happened. You're not getting too far ahead. getting anxious about what could be, you know, you're simply staying very present in recognizing how precious Your life is.

JJ Parker  13:26  
Yeah, and he talked about how that will cause you to be less affected by external things. Yeah. Well, just, I like the way he phrased that.

Melissa Albers  13:39  
That was so good, wasn't it? I forgot he said that.

JJ Parker  13:45  
Yeah. Yeah. You know, when we were talking about mindfulness, we also started talking about the Connect connection to the universe, because all of this all of these things like it was becoming clear that everything is, is all connected, right? Yeah. And so he was talking when we talked about meditation and mindfulness in the mind, and you know, and then we even talked about things like karma, right, and delusion and, and things. It was really all centered around this idea of interconnection, we did a whole he talked a lot about inner connection. And understanding that everything is connected.

Melissa Albers  14:40  
Yeah. Yeah. I loved one of the things and this was this was your idea. JJ thought it was such a brilliant one was to ask him a number of questions just about, like Buddhist beliefs, you know, because we don't have there's there how do you how do you learn about that stuff in a in an open ended way where there's nothing Judgment Are you don't feel like you have no idea where to start on something so deep. And I just loved how, you know, through you asking some just general questions like that, like, what does it mean to What does karma mean? Again, from your perspective? What is human suffering mean? Yeah, and how he was able to talk about that, but just in a real, just, again, like we always say, put the cookies on the bottom shelf sort of way.

JJ Parker  15:28  
Well, that's another thing I thought was really fascinating is he didn't everything he talks about every, every deep question we asked them was just met with like a very simple, well reasoned view of things, right. It's not complicated. He didn't have fancy scriptures or any complicated ways of explaining everything he explained. And all the analogies he used were extremely simple,

Melissa Albers  16:00  
right? Yeah, I know it. And I loved how every time we would ask him something, he would just sit quietly for a moment. You know, he didn't have what a lot of people do when they're asked a question or where they're being interviewed, where they feel the need to just start going. Yeah, he was just very mindful, quiet, you know, reflective, and then he would just speak this eloquent description, and very simple explanation of really deep topics.

JJ Parker  16:29  
Yeah. Yeah, I, you know, you mentioned karma. Like I didn't, I didn't really know much about karma or it, or Exactly. You know, how I don't know how I would explain it to somebody else very well, but he did a really good job of explaining karma, you know, just simply, it's the result of your actions.

Melissa Albers  16:51  
Yes. both positive and negative.

JJ Parker  16:53  
Yep. And, and that actions in a previous life, maybe are affecting your current life or right actions and this life full effect. Yeah. Something in the future.

Melissa Albers  17:08  
Yeah. I mean, I think as Americans, we're always joking about karma. Like, I think everybody May, if you ever hear about karma, you don't hear people using it very, not as often hearing talking about it as seriously, you hear people talking about it more like, jokingly, you know,

JJ Parker  17:23  
yeah, and more like, like, he sort of almost like, you know, good luck kind of way. Yeah. You know, but for Tipton is obviously it's like a very serious Yeah, like, very serious, like your, your actions are very important. Yes. Always. You know, one of the questions I thought, we're getting a little deeper, right. And the one I, I really sat and thought a lot about, after was he, he kept on talking about how we all have a delusion. He kept on saying, we have a diluted mind, and what it says, like an illusion, like what we see is an illusion. Yeah. Right. And, and he said, we see things that are not there.

Unknown Speaker  18:25  
Yes. Yes, he did. I forgot about that. Yeah. And

JJ Parker  18:32  
that was really interesting to me. Because the idea that, you know, unless our minds are calling if our minds are kind of racing all the time, the mind is kind of making stuff up. Yep. Right. Because in the absence of, like, information, we do a pretty good job, actually a really good job of making stuff up.

Melissa Albers  18:54  
Yeah. Really elaborate stories.

JJ Parker  18:57  
And that's the illusion. He's talking about that, that we're making things up. And we're believing that they're true, when they're just simply not true, not there. Yeah. And that makes, makes me really think about like, almost like the reliability of my own mind. Like, can I trust it? Right. Yeah. And, yeah, and that's a pretty deep topic.

Melissa Albers  19:25  
That is a deep topic. But it's fascinating, because we talk about it. And we've talked in previous podcasts about how, when we're not aware, the brain takes over and we start to tell ourselves stories, we tell stories about everything we see. we convince ourselves that what that all of our future is based on what's happened in our past because that's what we've thought about the most. And we we have beliefs that are based on thinking the same thing multiple times whether it's true or not true, right or wrong. Yeah, is irrelevant. Yeah.

JJ Parker  19:59  
Yeah, yeah. also talks about how we have a delusion that, that our lives in the future will somehow be better or worse. Yeah, he's like you, there's no way you can know that like, yeah, like, you can't know that that's a delusion, that that you think, you know, the future will make you happier for some reason, right? And things like the delusion that, that if I only had a bigger car a better job, you know, my life would be better and, and

Melissa Albers  20:32  
yeah talked about that as a really big, you know, story that we're telling ourselves. And I really like how he tied that back to because then we started like sort of tiptoeing around well, so are you saying that we're not supposed to want things we're not supposed to?

JJ Parker  20:50  
Right? I wouldn't say tiptoe in I directly asked him. Does that mean we shouldn't pursue things? Right. And, you know, I've dabbled in pacifism before? No, just I don't care if want anything. But I thought that that was really interesting. Right, like, um, okay, so if, if this idea of desire wanting things and, and, and thinking about the future is causing the unhappiness if we just don't care about anything? Then what happens? Right, yeah. And he said that, that pursuing things is not a bad thing. No, no, it's good to pursue things. But he was very clear about your intention.

Melissa Albers  21:41  
Yes, I was just gonna go there. He Yes. It was all about what is the intention behind your action?

JJ Parker  21:48  
Yep. And, you know, he used an analogy that, you know, you could have two doctors, right? Yeah. One doctor is a doctor because he wants the sports car in the fancy house. And I'll title that title, right. And you've got one doctor whose intent is simply to save lives and help people. Those are two very different energies and very different intentions. Yes.

Melissa Albers  22:15  
Yep. Yeah, that would be another example of how it was just such a simple answer. You know, we try to complicate everything, and we try to put everything into a judgement in a competition like, oh, should I have more or less than? How much money? Should I make it? Does it matter? And like, how do I tell people how much money you make? Or how do I tell people how much I don't want them to know? Like, we get caught up in all this stuff. And he's really saying none of that really matters. It just simply matters is what is your intention? The actions that you are doing? What's the intention behind it? I loved that. And that, again, requires Real Presence.

JJ Parker  22:49  
Yeah. All right. Harness in the moment. And yeah, it's really amazing. So cast speaker that we we asked him about attachment, right? Because I think probably most of us have heard about the idea of attachment. Like we're attached to things, you know, just like we're talking about, which is, you know, like, if I lose my fancy car, if I lose my house, or if I lose someone in my life, you know, that will bring sadness, right? That's a guy that's also a heavy topic. And so he talked about that there was two types of attachment. One type, which is self focused, you know, it's two things to people like all about you. And the second one was attachment to love and all beings.

Unknown Speaker  23:47  
Right. And

JJ Parker  23:49  
I always thought of attachment as generally a negative thing. But he said, there's two attachment one's negative and one's positive. And that second attachment is the one you should work on.

Melissa Albers  24:06  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it was a fascinating afternoon, we got to spend with tooken. And his very next question that he asked, so he followed up with me a day later, and the very next, you know, and I sent him a couple of the segments because I wanted him. I wanted to make sure that he was comfortable. And you know, he was good with everything. And his immediate was response was a bit like, I wasn't clear enough here. I really want to be clear in this piece in that piece. And, and I think what will eventually happen is we will probably spend time with him again. I think so.

JJ Parker  24:48  
Thanks. There's one last question. We have some that I think we should end on.

Melissa Albers  24:53  
Oh, I hope it's the same one. I think two

JJ Parker  24:56  
Do you have advice for people who worry or have anxious IDF that was that is exactly because we thought that with everything going on in the world. Let's just get down to like, what can we do right now? Right now?

Melissa Albers  25:13  
Then he had a beautiful analogy for this one. He did he, he stopped. And it was just like you asked him that question and and it was so neat to watch it from behind the screen behind the camera because his his eyes are very loving. And he and he answered in a very loving way. He said, life is so precious. And he said, I've mentioned it before. But if you can really focus on how beautiful Your life is, your body, everything about your life is precious. And you only want to put precious things into it. He said Your body is like a gold bowl, you only want to fill it with beautiful things, including thoughts, and food and everything, and to stay very much present having that awareness. And then he used his own personal example by when he left Tibet. He was seven or eight as I mentioned, or I may not, I guess I haven't mentioned it. But he was seven or eight when he left Tibet because his family was fleeing on foot over on Everest. And they were a family that had things into that. They had animals, they had land. They had a nice home. And they lost all of it in the moment. And he said sometimes he feels sad when he reflects back on that. But what he does is he recognizes how precious life is. And he is so much better now in this moment than he was back then. So that was really his strong message for all of us is to recognize how precious Our lives are

JJ Parker  27:01  
absolutely beautiful. So again, all these are on our website, the software is journey.com. So go there and check them out.

Melissa Albers  27:13  
If you've enjoyed this podcast, check us out on the web at the self awareness journey.com You can also find us on LinkedIn and Facebook

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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