[05:30] Paul’s Special Tea Blend
[08:50] Easy to Learn Tai Chi Practice
[17:35] “Never Rush in a Rock Garden”
[22:45] The Single Biggest Mistake upon Finishing a Big Goal
[28:15] Why Every Human Needs Winter in Their Life
[34:40] Why Pro Athletes Come to Paul
[38:10] One Prong Guru
[44:00] How Paul Chek Picked up a 6’8” 245 pound Highland Games Competitor
[48:09] Why Too Much Christmas is Dangerous
[1:18:59] End of Podcast
Ben: Welcome back to the Ben Greenfield fitness show. Welcome back to another epic episode with my friend Paul Chek. This one’s a doozy; you’re gonna love it. Be sure to listen to it before Christmas; that gives you plenty of time, coz it’s about white Christmas… could be a very bad thing. I’m just kidding; Christmas is not a bad thing but you’ll learn what I mean on today’s show.
This show is brought to you by the human charger. I actually been using this thing a ton when I’ve been travelling, reason being that, when I travel, my circadian rhythm needs a little help, shall we say. And in addition to that, it helps with energy levels, it helps with mood, it helps with mental alertness. Here’s how this mysterious magical machine works: it generates this calibrated white light that suppresses melatonin, which is a good thing when you want to be wakey wakey, and it stimulates the photosensitive proteins on the surface of your brain using this white light that passes through your ear canals. How cool is that? So you slap this thing on anywhere were you are at in the world where you need a burst of wakefulness or if you’re a shift worker or if you just need something as an alternative to a cup of coffee in the morning and it works like gangbusters. You get a 20% percent discount on the human charger. A tiny little thing, looks just like an mp3 player. You visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/humancharger and use code BEN20 to get 20% off of the human charger. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/humancharger and use the discount code BEN20.
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And now onto today’s show recorded straight from the library of Paul Chek, which is why the audio might sound a little funky; we literally snuck into his library, set up a card table and a couple of chairs and sat across from each other, surrounded by the wealth of knowledge. This guy has a mast for the past 12 years. He’s read, I think, every book that exists in the world. And we were surrounded by books but I was in my portable podcasting mic setup and I even forgot one of my microphones at his house when we went to his office. So, I had to use one of his microphones but my audio ninja, her name is Carrie. Hello, Carrie. Carrie did a fantastic job piecing this one together and making it palatable for you. So, enjoy.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“I went through a complete crisis myself. I didn’t know who I was and I have no strength from that power. My ability to show up and demonstrate being bad [censored] and I went into a real deep spiritual crisis that push me very deeply in to my meditative and spiritual practices.” “If the time ceased to exist, I thought I was only outside for about five minutes. I went out there where the sun was up and I come home from work and then I open my eyes and wow! I’m doing Tai chi and it’s was dark, it was pitch blackout and wife’s like, “where have you been?”
Ben: Well, I do not know about you good sir, but I am chock-full of some kind of weird energy surging through my system and I think it’s related to whatever’s in this big cup in front of us right now. What crazy concoction have you pieced together for us for tea, for today’s podcast?
Paul: That is organic guayusa with some Restore herbal formula for helping connective tissue joint health with some shilajit minerals and a few drops, I believe, of a solar flower essence with energy from each of the planets of our solar system and some odd nova clarity which is a mix of exotic mushrooms, herbs, and organic raw honey infused together as one concoction called Ben’s tea.
Ben: What? Is there already bat wings in there? Any bat wings or blackened powder or things like that?
Paul: Just the one growing out of your back.
Ben: Just the one growing out of my back. Dude, it’s an amazing concoction actually. We may have to write that down and add it to today’s show notes and of course, you may have already heard him on the podcast that we recorded a few months ago, in which we delved into heavy rock lifting and building your own water charging stations, Mandala art therapy and a whole host of amazing concepts in kinesiology; but the man who is back on the Ben Greenfield fitness show today is, of course, who I consider one of the most internationally renowned experts in field of corrective and high performance exercise, but also holistic health.
He’s a guy whose unique approach to education is changing lives of a lot of people. For some, and this blows my mind, he flies under the radar but for me, having really discovered him like 12 years ago but, honestly having kind of renewed my knowledge of what he’s doing just recently. His name is Paul Chek. And Paul, in the last episode, covered his extremely crazy past as a top triathlete, and a boxer, and a motocross and rally car racer. The dude has done everything; he has body, mind and spirit optimized and he teaches other people how to do it too. And I find him to be such an intriguing fellow that is literally decades ahead about every health and exercise professional on the face of the planet. I had to come back down to San Diego and spend just a couple more days with Paul. Not only sipping his crazy guayuna tea but doing plenty more chatting about a lot of what Paul does to turn people into what I would say would be a complete human. So Paul, welcome back to the show.
Paul: It’s a pleasure. Thank you so much Ben and I’m very grateful that you’re interested in being whole.
Ben: Yeah, well being whole is definitely something we’ll delve in today but before we do, one of the thing you do in addition to drinking this crazy energizing tea that you concocted from the dizzying array of bottles that are on your kitchen counter appeared at the heaven house above San Diego, you do a morning Tai chi practice.
Ben: You told me, coz you took me out there and we did it this morning. We held this, what was the wooden thing that we were holding in our hands?
Paul: Tai chi ruler.
Ben: We were holding a tai chi ruler in our hands and you said that this practice was something that could transform your life. You told me about what would happen if you did this for a hundred days in a row and why it was important. You walked me through what we did and why you do, what you call, Gong?
Paul: A gong is a hundred days of committed practice, yes.
Ben: Okay, how’s that work?
Paul: Well, the Tai Chi ruler practice is one of the many practices. It was taught to me by master Fong Ha who’s was gonna be my teacher that introduced me to, aside from my intellectual knowledge of Tai Chi, I wanted to find someone I have enough respect for to submit to his guidance which isn’t easy for me to do. And I did find a true master. Master Fong Ha which, for those that are interested, you can find at fongha.com, F-O-N-G-H-A.com, and his first gong he gave me was Zen Zang which means stand like a tree. The first thing he did is have me spend an hour a day for a hundred days standing like a tree which is standing in a relaxed tree-like posture with good upright posture.
Ben: You don’t mean like a hundred days? You mean in the morning for a hundred days?
Paul: No, I mean, an hour.
Paul: You choose an hour and you stand like a tree. And you breathe from…
Ben: So, you’re not staying in the front yard for a hundred days while your wife comes out and feed you soup?
Paul: No, no, that’s the most advance level of training and you have to really sort of ossify before you can handle that.
Ben: Yeah. I did just release a podcast episode a few weeks ago with Robert Peng. I went to New York City and I heard this chi gong master and he spend a hundred days in hole with no water and no food. For the first 20 days, he had a bean for breakfast, lunch and dinner; he had a master oversee the whole thing. And he came out the other side literally able to zap people with his hands. He felt so much consciousness of his own energy while doing that.
Paul: That’s commitment. For me, with my life being a lot like yours, I really had to devote myself to committing myself to one hour of each day because I really had so much going on but that’s what you do when you choose a teacher. When the student is ready the master appears, they say. Fong Ha impressed me in many ways including in funny and grounded and playful and all the things that I felt like I would love to become more of, so I did the stand like a tree for a hundred days and there’s different elements to it that I won’t bother you with now but the second practice was the Tai Chi ruler and he said the man who taught him the practice, which is holding the specially designed piece of wood, the Tai Chi ruler which we do sell through the Chek Institute, for people that might be interested and more.
Ben: I have one now.
Paul: Yes, you do. And so I committed myself to, at that time I was doing 40 minutes of that practice a day and `I did three gongs in a row and I had tremendous growth and development and I found all sorts of wild stuff that happen as I got deeper and deeper into the center of myself and learned to be truly connected to the heavens above and the earth below. Animals would come from all over the place; birds. I’d start doing my Tai Chi session; I’d have my eyes closed. When I finish my session, open my eyes, sometimes there’d be, a hundred and fifty seagulls surrounding me or five or six squirrels and piles of lizards and all sorts. It was like everybody was just coming to hang out because, I find as you get more and more calm and senseless.
Ben: It’s like something out of a horror movie/Johnny Appleseed.
Paul: Yeah, and the thing is I found that they’re very, very sensitive to us and when we are at peace with ourselves and become non-violent within ourselves, they feel safe to come around us. And it’s like, wow, you have this great big giant family and it’s an interesting thing because it really makes you much more conscious about how much meat you’re eating because you realize you’re eating your friends. And I’ve been teaching it to myself.
Ben: Could you clarify by saying that you and I just both punished an enormous piece of chicken?
Paul: We did, we reincarnated a chicken.
Ben: Yeah, but how did you describe it?
Paul: “This chicken is not dead. It’s now becoming Ben Greenfield and Paul Chek and that’s quite an upgrade.”
Paul: And so I’ve been teaching that practice since, probably about 2002 to students all over the world and many of them, including myself had significant enhancement of voyances such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, precognition and many of them actually got so much opening and so much increase in their abilities that it scared them so I would get letters like “wow, I’m knowing that things are gonna happen in people’s lives before they happen. I’m seeing people’s auras” and for some of them it was overwhelming because to experience that much of what’s going on below the radar of the ego was quite shocking, so I have to then take them the techniques on how to manage all that. As you saw, it’s a very simple technique. The secret is committing yourself to growing with it.
Ben: And for us who are standing like a tree, were kind of moving in circles.
Paul: Yes, so that’s the Tai Chi ruler practice, yeah.
Paul: So it’s a different practice but…
Ben: Very simple though; simple to learn.
Paul: It is very simple. And most of the things that are powerful are simple and people in today’s world gets so up in their head if it’s not bells and whistles and LED’s and plug-ins for computers. They don’t think it’s got any meaning or use. But…
Ben: Or if it’s not some kind of a plant medicine. This is the deal with that I’ve told people. I’ve done holotropic breathwork before. And had an out of body experience, that rivals what I’ve experienced on psychedelic plant based medicines and you told me that, when you’ve done this Tai Chi exercise that you showed me this morning, that you’ve gone into some very intense places just doing that single exercise.
Paul: Well I’ve gone as deep as I can go with psychedelics. Medicine-men, spirit guide, unlicensed federal [0:14:58] ______, plant medicines; and I’ve probably done four hundred shimano journeys, both from my own research and exploration and in fair guided therapy sessions. And for me, it was really important to be authentic so I committed myself to the Tai Chi, the Qigong meditation practice and I’ve been following that path for a solid fifteen years while also doing research in the work with plant medicines and I was able to get as deep on the Tai Chi ruler practice and some of the other practice, but the Tai Chi ruler took me the deepest. I’ve literally made it to complete and utter “no mind, no awareness, no ego, no time, no space, just pure unadulterated presence and awareness with no subject-object duality.”
I remember that first time that happened to me and I came out of it, it was mind blowing because time ceased to exist. I thought I was only outside for about five minutes and I’d been out there… I went out there the sun was up and I come home from work and then I open my eyes and like “wow, I’m doing Tai Chi” and it was dark, it was pitch black out. And my wife was like “where have you been? Dinner is on the table for a while” and so I truly had an experience of the depth of removing the subject-object duality and paradoxically being more alive than ever. Being more still, more present and more conscious but without it being me; it would be pure consciousness and I have made it to that level on certain medicines, but then you have to use the medicines to get there so you kind of get chained to that if you don’t do the work of growing your abilities in that naturally.
Ben: Right, a lot of people begin to rely, it’s very trendy these days, DHT and ayahuasca and DMT, yeah. And all these plant base journeys and people don’t actually learn how to tap into that same feeling of just letting go and flowing with their consciousness all on their own. I do some of this practices that you’re talking about like Tai Chi or the other one, where time just flew by this morning while you and I are working out. We were lifting these enormous rocks and we talked about this in the last podcast, these rock stations that you build and rock towers that you build, and we went out there we did that this morning. Same thing, you set this little timer for an hour. It felt like five minutes, and I’m there stacking rocks and scratching my head and looking at rocks and walking round and choosing a rock and stacking it then [ding], it had been an hour.
Ben: And you actually have, you shared with me a phrase, and when I asked you what you mean by this, you say “never rush in a rock garden”, and I believe that’s a Paul Chek™ saying. What do you mean by that?
Paul: Well what I mean is that, when you’re working with rocks out in nature like that… Rocks are very, very different in that, unlike the gym where everything is balanced, barbell is balanced, weights are balanced, but rocks, the center of gravity can be way over to one side of the rock; they got very sharp edges. Insects that bite around those rocks. You’re standing on things that can bite. There are rattlesnakes.
Ben: There’s fire ants, there’s black widows, there’s rattlesnakes. I’m little bit paranoid.
Paul: There’re black widows, there’s fire ants, there’s scorpions, there’s tarantulas out there, and things that don’t want their home disrupted. And you have to pay very close attention plus, as you saw, that stack I built this morning is probably up there fourteen feet tall and you have to stack rocks. My rule is don’t use any cheat mechanism, so it’s bare hands, bare feet and no ladders. You’ve got to stack rocks on top of rocks. It really requires tremendous athletic ability and you have to be fully present or you can get killed. You can have rocks that fall on your head or you can break your leg and I’ve learned the hard way by leaving a lot of blood in the garden and every time I left blood in the garden I realize that I was trying to push a process. I was trying to make something happen. I was trying to glorify myself with how strong, or how good I am and I learned that I had to go in to my center relaxed, and connect to everything around me and be guided by that invisible force called consciousness or intuition and so if you’re rushing, you’re mirroring you back to you, and the rock stacks tend to fall over and be more dangerous and so, “never rush on a rock garden” literally means: this is not a gym for kids; this is a gym for spiritual growth and development and the cost of being too youthful to up yourself is usually blood.
Ben: It can be a gym. Actually, when I left your house last time we hunted down a rock facility at our house. Not a demolition facility but this place, they use rocks for construction and we drove our pick-up truck in there, me and my two nine-year-old boys. We spent four hours filling the back of the pick-up truck with rocks. We took them back to our house and we built these, just like we talked about, and if you guys wanna listen to my first episode with Paul, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paulchek. Not with a “ck” but just a “k”, C-H-E-K, Paul Chek. And you can listen to where Paul describes how you should build a rock-water charging station and why. And by the way if you want to listen or access the show notes for today’s show just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paulchek2. Like, Paul Chek, the number 2 and I’ll put links to the other things that Paul and I are talking about and will talk about today. But, my children love to stack the rocks and build these rock charging stations; great for kids too coz they learn to handle these little unwieldy objects that are different than barbells or dumbbells or even sandbags.
Paul: It’s very good for kids and I do recommend it for kids but, they need to be supervised and the thing is kids haven’t developed such a big ego that their trying to show off to everybody or prove to themselves how much of a superman, so they’re more engaging in a natural playful way, but most kids aren’t trying to pick up rocks that weigh more than them and put them over their heads. When I build these rock sculptures and when I’m teaching people in classes I often get body builder types or cross-fitters who think they can pick up great big heavy rocks and run around in the garden like they’re in some kind of a race and that’s when blood gets flying around. So, you can do it with anybody but it’s a great practice for kids coz it teaches them to be present, and it teaches them to be creative and it teaches them real fitness.
Ben: People rush a lot. I’ve spent the past 48 hours with you now and we’ve done a lot of talking. I mean you sat me down and stood me up and read me the Riot Act about my own life.
Paul: Oh, out of love.
Ben: Yeah, out of love and a lot of people never talked to me like that before as far as warning me about my own pace of life and my own excitement about getting all this amazing information out of people and the fact that I can kinda burn my fire too hot in the process and eventually burn out in the same way that I know you personally experienced and one of the things you’re talking to me about, because I know a lot of people struggle with this; we have a lot of hard-charging high achievers who listen in to this show and you showed me a piece of paper that was thirty-two freaking years’ worth of work that you created. What’s it called?
Paul: Yeah, the Chek Life Alchemy process.
Ben: The life alchemy process and it took us two hours to go through it, and I know we didn’t even take the deepest dive into it that we could. But a couple things that really left out of me when we’re going through that and one time you said people make mistakes when they’ve achieved a big goal. They’ve written a book, they completed an ironman triathlon, they’ve lost their 30lbs that they’ve had a goal to lose during the year. You said that they make a mistake after they’ve achieved that. And that really resonated with me, what’s the mistake people make?
Paul: Well it’s very, very western to not go into, so I was talking to you about the seasonal energy. So I said spring is the planning phase, summer is the action phase, fall is the celebration phase; so you plan for your triathlon, you train for your triathlon, you cross the finish line next celebration and then you gonna go into winter which is the rest phase where you regenerate yourself and you use the time that you have to rest and introspect and meditate and open the door for intuition so, that you can say “ok, this is what I did but let me spend time with myself to identify; do I want to do that again? Do I want to do an event that hard, or that long? Do I want to spend that much money for that much big of a project? How did I feel? What did it do to my relationships? Am I becoming who I wanna be? Is it too stressful?”
And so the winter phase is the phase of deep rest, introspection and calming the mind enough and resting the body enough so that intuition gets invited in. I use the example that the mind is like a garbage disposal; if it’s turning and you stick your hand in there and you lose your fingers, but if the mind is calm enough then the insights we call intuition can make it through into the conscious mind as real information, but as long as the mind is engaged in cognitive processes, intuition hits that garbage disposal and there’s so much noise in your head, you can’t hear that still silent voice of the universe speaking to you. So, if we don’t go into a winter phase, we don’t regenerate, we don’t recuperate and we don’t get clear on what we want to create next. So, we run into the next project without awareness of whether or not it’s producing our dream or whether or not we’re breaking ourselves down further. It’s kind of like if a woman who has three kids a year apart, it’s likely to put her into a stage of serious health challenges that may kill her or…
Ben: And the kids, their poor nutrient deficiency. What’s the rule? You’re supposed to wait two or three years?
Paul: Three years…
Ben: I talked with [0:25:17] ______ about this when I interviewed her. How women who just pop ‘em out are not barefoot standing in the kitchen like they did in the pioneer days. But they push out babies that are at pretty rapid rate. Not that I’m accusing any of our podcast listeners of having too many children; children are lovely. But yeah, you push them out too fast and they wind up with some nutrient deficiencies. I think we have more people who are not having babies at too rapid at rate but who are instead you’re doing too many ironman triathlons or marathons. And it’s a great business model.
I remember when I race ironman, I know you race triathlon professionally for a while, you’d cross the finish line, right? And the only way you can get into the race without it being sold out was to get up like 6am a day after you completed the race and go stand in line, in the rain, in the cold in a park somewhere, waiting to write another 800 dollar checks that you could sign up for that race for next year and get in. And as soon as you write that check, what do you want to do? You train for the race, right? You wanna start training, so it’s this vicious cycle and I’ve seen 50 year old people just hormonally destroy their skin, rack their body broken from that process or the process of achieving a goal at the gym and then wanting to move on to the next one or achieving some massive certification then knocking out their cognition with the next one and never listening to who you describe still, small voice because you just go, go, go.
Paul: It’s basically going, in my alchemy model, spring and planning is the air element and that correlates to the mind. The fire element is correlated with the metabolism of the body, the warmth system of the body, the sun outside of us. And the fall element is the fruiting phase where we harvest the vegetables, take the fruit off of the tree or complete the project, but winter is the completion of the cycle. Imagine if we skip winter; how quickly the earth would just be dried out, dead, and catch on fire. So when a person goes from race to race or project to project or business adventure to business adventure, they go literally from air to fire and air feeds fire and earth is where the wood comes from. So you just go air, fire, wood and back to air, you don’t have anything to control the fire or anywhere to grow. Things have to regenerate; so you just go from fire to fire and you end up spending more money than you done on triathlon equipment and racing on doctors, therapist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, drugs.
Ben: Guilty as charged. I’ve taken off seasons before and my off seasons turns into getting a new snowboard and spending the week preparing to hit the slopes and you wind up doing squats and dead lifts and cleans, and then snowboarding all day, and getting home and hitting the sauna and sweating it out and having a couple of glasses of alcohol and getting up next morning and because you spent all-day Saturday snowboarding you want to go maybe hit the gym or go for a swim and the off season turns into just more training. I know we have a lot of people who listen it just go, go, go but they don’t have that winter and it relates to something else. And you we’re talking about this winter. That when you’re in the winter you actually, obviously you don’t tell people to just sit around our asses, but you have this, and when we say winter this is for some people that maybe time of year, might be the summer for them or the spring. It’s a saying.
Paul: It’s a symbol of the type of energetic movement; it means energy moves. See in winter, all the energy that’s in the tree above the ground moves below the ground, into the root system and that’s where it goes, it’s growth and development down below because that’s the foundation of what grows above. So, basically in the spring and summer the tree is growing up above the ground and the energy is going outward, but in the fall and winter the energy moves back down the root system. So, the energy of the earth moves back and down into the earth. So the winter season is the season of regeneration and recuperation so that the tree has the root system adequate enough to grow taller in the next season or it’ll be just like a building gets taller and taller with less and less foundation or a sailboat with a bigger and bigger sail but no keel on it; blows right over.
Ben: Right, that’s why people do things like have sex and eat lots of food in the winter.
Paul: Yeah, well that’s a good thing to do.
Ben: Theoretically it’s a good thing to do, yeah.
Paul: Stay warm, make love and celebrate that you had the fun.
Ben: Celebrate, yeah. And you’re talking about recovery. In different forms of recovery, when I hear the term active recovery or passive recovery or some personal trainer listening in perhaps hears this think of passive recovery is maybe doing sauna and active recovery is doing dynamic legs. You broke it down a lot more completely than that. What are the different forms of recovery when you’re in a winter phase of your life?
Paul: There’s three; in my system there’s three types of rest: active rest, passive rest and total rest. Total rest is really sleeping and doing nothing but sleeping is the most concentrated form of total rest and sleeping is the most powerful medicine in the world that’s free. And almost anybody who gets out of balance needs to sleep. If they’re not lacking sleep then they need more regenerative time. When we fall asleep the cognitive mind shuts off so, we stop influencing the physiological functions of our body with our mental, emotional processes. We’re going to deep rest where the autonomic system can truly do their job without the top down influences in modern [0:370:53] ______. Passive rest means using an athletic activity or a movement activity that is different enough from your primary activity or given sport or whatever your primary goal is that those muscle groups and movement don’t detract from the activities that you’re working on. So if you’re a triathlete, for example, swimming, biking and running would not be passive rest exercises.
Ben: But if you’re an MMA fighter they might be.
Paul: They might be, for example, when I trained the army boxing team, I put them in the swimming pool and did a lot of shadow boxing in neck deep water because it is hydrotherapy, there’s no impact and actually decompresses joints, facilitates the sensory systems of the body so the sensory stimulation of the water moving past the skin and the hair actually sends so much information about movement and proprioception into the spinal cord that the brain cannot listen to the pain information coming to the body so it down regulates the pain spasm cycle and improves blood flow, decompresses joints and speeds healing up quite a bit. But it gives them quite a deep level of fatigue but it’s the type of fatigue that does not detract from their optimum performance and enhances their ability to handle the contact of boxing and the water has a therapeutic regenerating effect that speeds wound healing from all the impact. So that’s real passive rest. And another thing to do with boxers was play basketball. Those are activities that are fun, they’re team sport. They’re far enough away from boxing that playing basketball recreationally allows you to be active and to have fun but it’s significantly different enough that it’s considered passive activities.
Now, even playing basketball, you got to be careful with competitive that they don’t get so crazy about it that they burn themselves out. So there always has to be conscious awareness that these should be joyful activities not intensely competitive activities. And then active rest mean using your given activity at about a 30% reduced intensity. For example, for a person who is a distance runner, you’d take your most recent 10k time and you would drop 2 minutes off your pace per mile and that would be the speed you run in your active recovery phase. So if you’re 10k average mile is 6 mins a mile you’d run your recovery runs at 8 mins a mile and no faster or you will not get your recovery out of it; you will actually continue to work out or be catabolic… excessively catabolic.
Ben: Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. These are all the things you can do in the winter and what you were talking about with the water, I’ve gone and worked out with the guy who we both know, Laird Hamilton. I do his pool workouts in Malibu when I’m there and we’re down in the bottom of the water, leaping from the bottom of the water up to the top with dumbbells and doing farmer’s walks at the bottom of the pool. Often getting out and getting in the sauna and getting in the cold pool, jumping back in the water and your work’s after 2 hours of that but you wake up the next day and you feel restored and recovered cause it’s all this kind of passive movement in the water.
So, I hear what you’re saying and I have experienced that. And speaking of Laird Hamilton, this is something I wanted to ask you, maybe a little bit a rabbit hole here, but there’s these guys, these bad-asses like Laird Hamilton and I know that you worked with a motocross athletes like Danny Way and of course you don’t know who he is, he’s the guy who motorcycle jumps over the…
Paul: No, no, Danny Way is the skate board stuff.
Ben: Yes, he did the skateboard over the China wall. And there was another like a motocross guy, another crazy guy.
Paul: Yeah, Robbie Madison who’s broke every record that Evel Knievel ever set and by far…
Ben: Another guy to pull up on YouTube. Why do you think that these guys come to you to help them? What is that you’re doing for them that like a typical sport performance coach isn’t doing?
Paul: Well, often times they’re injured so bad that nobody knows what to do with them and they’re told that their careers are over. Danny Way came to me with a spinal cord injury. He was told to never ride a skateboard again. First, he was a paraplegic and then unfortunately he went to medical professional that didn’t do a thorough enough evaluation and he got a spinal adjustment on his neck and that he already had bleeding in his spinal cord and that just caused it to bleed; it swelled up and compressed his spinal cord, and he became a quadriplegic for about 2 weeks and he was in terrible pain. He couldn’t move his body and after 6 months of that he can barely walk and function and so, he became, as you can imagine, extremely nervous that he would never be able to compete again and nobody knew what to do with him, nobody wanted to touch him because a case like that is very dangerous when most people who work with, so I completely rehabilitated him and took us about six months and he went back and won his first contest back.
Robbie Madison came to me for couple of things but one time he crashed and had a rib sublux so bad it compressed his aorta and nobody wanted to touch it because they were worried that the aorta might have been punctured, and if they move the rib he might bleed to death and so the doctors told me he can never ride his motorcycle again and he didn’t know what to do. He worked with me before and knew, and he was away travelling so he had seen a bunch of other professionals and finds that “I got to go see Paul.” And I straightened that out for him in a few sessions and got him back on his motorcycle again. Laird’s come to me over the years for help just keeping his body in top shape and has used me as a consultant for diet and recovery and things with Gabby, his wife, my client before Laird and I helped her back in the late ‘90’s or early 2000’s and she really liked my work so she brought Laird to me, but I work with a large number of people. The list is long and usually they are coming to me because they either have a performance plateau and none of the pills, gimmicks, gadgets and tricks were working or they’re in a psychological crisis, a midlife crisis or a transition crisis or they’re injured and they’ve been medically retired; I’ve brought several people out of medical retirement to go back and make millions and millions of dollars and the medical doctors told me that you cannot perform again your thing; it’s too dangerous.
Ben: Well, I’ve seen the posters on your wall, the people who you worked with. It’s crazy. I’ve seen your mad scientist lab where you rehab people. I’ve seen your gym where I worked out this morning before we hit the rocks, and I don’t think that’s why people come to you, dude. I mean I really don’t. All due respect, I think the main reason that they come to you is because you’ve been in the trenches. You’re not just some out of shape doctor who’s smart. You’re not some super fit guy who’s a meat head. You’ve been studying this whole mind, body, spirit optimization thing for a while.
Paul: My whole life.
Ben: And when a guy like, you told me stories of your youth: riding motocross, you’ve race rally cars, you’ve professionally boxed and you were one of the army’s top triathletes. Your list of accomplishments is pretty deep. And dude, this relates to something we were talking about in your patio earlier today. How many gurus out there, how many doctors out there are one-trick ponies or what you called them, I wrote it down, I got it here in my note: “one prong gurus”, you called them. What is a “one prong guru”?
Paul: Well a “one prong guru” is somebody that has a tremendous amount of knowledge in one aspect of life or one pathway so they might be very skilled at musculoskeletal medicine but not understand diet and lifestyle factors or they may be a life coach that have no knowledge of exercise, exercise principle, recovery or diet. So, my system, to be a truly well-rounded exercise healthcare medical professional or coach, you have to understand each of what I called the four doctors. You have to understand how the mind works and how the emotions function, and that’s Doctor Happiness. How to set goals effectively, how to have a dream, how to work your life story and understand yourself at a deeper level so you know who it is that’s doing these things and why.
Then you have to understand Doctor Movement which is movement of body, movement of emotions, movement of mind, and movement of spirit. You have to understand Doctor Diet which is, as I shared with you, the body feeds on food so you have to understand the basic principles of food and farming and biochemistry. You have to understand that the emotional body feeds on emotions and you have to understand why it is for example that people keep trying to replace their emptiness with food when they are having an emotional emptiness and the mental body feeds on thoughts. You have to be able to look at a person’s diet for thinking and why are they over-consuming and why are they using their mind with such intensity that it’s starving or even burning their body out. Then you have to understand Doctor Quiet which is the science of rest and we just alluded to some of that, but Doctor Quiet really is all the practice I call “working in” which means using practices that give you more vitality per unit of time than they cost to do. Working out means you’re using more energy and resources per unit of time and when you’re recovering which is why those are catabolic activities that require an anabolic rebound, so like we talked about earlier, if you skip the winter cycle, you skip the anabolic recovery. So you go deeper in the catabolic cycle. This is why we have so much rampant body-wide global inflammation.
Ben: What you explained to me is something that you can do for years. You could give me a timeline like the path that I’m on. If I keep on this path and I personally don’t begin to incorporate winters into my life. I have in my head somewhere back behind me, this whole list of things that I should be doing in the winter: more yin foods instead of yang foods, yin being the more feminine, gentler form of the winter food, like raw vegetables and taking baths in cold water and using your yin essential oils and being careful with yang things. Coffee might not be something that should be drinking in the winter phase of my life.
Paul: Or minimizing.
Ben: And hard charging on a bike could be replaced with Tai Chi or Qigong or soft yogurt or slow rhythmic breathing and a little bit extra sleep, but I could still go for 10 years right before it really starts to hit me hard. I think that’s where a lot of people don’t realize coz there’s a lot of people who are listening in and may have been on in this health journey for five years without a winter and are doing just fine and you, yourself hit rock bottom.
Paul: Yeah, I did. I didn’t hit rock bottom so much. I did actually push myself right to the edge where I was walking on a tight rope physiologically. But, I hit rock bottom that I, like you, I devoted my life to helping other people live and love more fully. And as you get more well-known you create a persona that needs to be fed and if you’re not careful you’ll fall so much to the identity of being the rescuer or the savior or the guru, the information giver and you can quickly convince yourself that what you're doing is so important that you got to keep doing it even when you're tired. And I push myself to where I was just doing, I was travelling nonstop for 25 years in airplanes. I was training at all sorts of weird hours, circadian stress for years on end, having a hard time sleeping.
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Ben: I saw a photo of you lifting Gab over your head. Tell me about that.
Paul: Yeah, so what happened was I used to do these stunts where I pick up people; big, great, big, strong guys and put them up over my head and do lunges and stuff with them and I got to a conference and, I believe it was in England, I was really exhausted. I was probably about…
Ben: So these big, strong guys, how big are we talking?
Paul: Well one of my guys that I put up my head was 6 foot 8, 245 pound competitor from the highland games and he was one of my students and he kept bragging about how strong he was and I got tired of hearing it because I could look at him in 10 seconds thinking he was not really that strong. He was strong because he had a lot of muscle. He’s great, big, huge and any giant would be strong relative to someone 5 foot 8, right? So I said if you’re strong pick me up and put me over your head and he couldn’t even come close. So, I said now I’m gonna show you why I’m your teacher and I pick him up, put him over my head and held him over my head horizontally like a plank of plywood and did a walking lunge with him and then everybody in the class even the navy seal proceeded to ask if I could do that. And so it became some kind of an attractive stunt that draw a lot of people.
Ben: It’s a pretty good party trick.
Paul: It’s a party trick, but it draw a lot of people in my system because they really respected my strength. But as I was sharing with you one day, I was coming into a hotel at 11 o’clock at night flying in from another country probably 20 or 30 seminars into a long trip; circadian stressed, exhausted, eating on the road, you know, the whole story. And these two guys run up to me and begged me to do the stunt for them and my inner voice said “don’t do it you’re tired”. And the guy kept begging me and I succumbed to it and my ego got the best of me. I said to the guy “it’s scary to be up in the air, you gotta hold yourself nice and stiff or I can’t hold onto you”. And he said “okay, I’ll do it”. And soon as I got him up over my head, he buckled and got scared and turned into a ball of mush and slipped through my hands, landed on my head and blew up my C5-6 and C6-7 discs, tore the intraspinus and transversus spinus ligaments and left me with a very severe spinal instability; two completely sequestered discs, spinal cord compression and I lost 26 lbs. of muscle in the next six weeks and couldn’t even carry my briefcase for months and took me six years to rehabilitate myself. I went into a complete crisis of self, I didn’t know who I was without my strength and my power, my ability to show off and demonstrate being a bad-ass. And I went into a real deep spiritual crisis that pushed me very deep into my meditative and spiritual practices to find the person that I really was. And so when I was sharing with you out there, I said having been through that I can recognize the young men in me, in other people. I can see what the fire looks like when it’s burning too hot. And so I was just sharing with you, Ben; you got a good constitution, you eat well, you do a lot of things right, so you probably got 10 years before your candle burns out but the quality of life goes down every year and you end up taking more and more supplements, and more and more performance enhancing foods and more things to enhance your sex life and the list just gets so long that now you're counting 48 pills every day and all these patches and supplements, and you’re lost and all.
Ben: For me it’s a vicious cycle, right? Coz I’ll return home from us being here in San Diego and there will be 10 boxes from all this different bio-hacking facilities and all sorts of new fitness gear and new supplements; they send it all to my house cause I’m the immersive journalist, like I’m the guinea pig who looks into this stuff and then writes about it and podcast about it for other people and then I try all this stuff, and it makes this situation where dumping these things in to my body so I can go tell people about them, but then telling people about them creates the vicious cycle of needing being that guy who gets more to try and you go back and forth without any winter and I know you and I talked about this a little bit. It becomes exhausting and eventually gets to the point where you described this as a counter myth, basically. And I think it’s something a lot of, hard, maybe you’re not listening and you’re not a journalist or a blogger like me, or a podcaster; you are a hard-charging high achiever. What’s the counter myth? What does it actually?
Paul: Step one, step back and I’ll make a key point. A myth is a story, but it’s a story with meaning; it’s story with much more meaning than the words convey, and so you just describe Santa Claus coming over and over and over again.
Ben: Yes, every day in my house is like Christmas.
Paul: Santa only comes once a year, doesn’t he, Ben?
Ben: Well, yeah, there’s this whole pile of gifts to unwrap and all these cool podcasters I get to interview and this pile of gifts in the corner before I even have chance to fully explore them, even detail them more for people and help people introduce them into their own lives, bam, there’s a knock at the door and all of sudden there’s a whole new list of people to explore and books to read. I’m reading book a day right now which I have for the past 10 years, over 4000 books. But you get to the point where it’s dizzying with that information.
Paul: Right, so just pretend you were Santa Claus. It would take you a year to recover from one year of travelling around the world with your reindeer, going down everybody’s chimney and leaving all those gifts and then Santa did that, Santa would not come anymore because Santa would have adrenal fatigue, go into hypothyroidism and go to a hospital and die and spend all of Santa’s money and his elves will starve to death. So when we’re coming to the myth and were coming to do the things that we do. I would start by saying, look at the myth of Santa Claus and know that Santa Claus was smart enough to only do that once a year. And when we try to be Santa for everybody all the time, then the reindeer die, the elves get exhausted and pissed off and those elves are your glands, your organs, your musculoskeletal system, your brain and all those little helpers that often don’t get listened to and need love. So, a myth is a story that drives us to be the person we are but most people’s myth is unconscious. Some people are acting out daddy’s work ethic or mommy’s and daddy’s expectations or trying to be the superhero, or maybe taking Tony Robbins seminars, being told you should be a vegetarian and you can build sleep deprivation and not realizing that these things that actually don’t work for very long and most of the stories and most of the people that do that end up being clients of mine or other people like me because they also, behind the scenes, are dead Santa Clauses. And so the myth is the story that we act out whether were conscious of it or not but the counter myth is the repercussions of that story. So a simple repercussion of being Santa Claus too much is adrenal exhaustion which eventually leads to hypothyroidism, and for an athlete, it’s important to remember that the -ITIS stage, inflammation stage, becomes an -OSIS stage.
So when you go from -ITIS to –OSIS, you get an osteoporosis or tendinosis or spinal stenosis. Once you're in that stage, the grass goes from being blackened water in the inflammation stage to being dead, brown grass that you have to dig up and replant. So the counter myth comes as pain, it comes as challenges in relationships, it comes as the inability to have a healthy sex life, it comes as cognitive dissonance or chaos of the mind, it comes as adhering to rigid behaviors even when the environment is suggesting that you need other ways of relating and it leads to a person hitting bottom at some point and oftentimes, because of the way we approach things in the west, put a lot of pills in your pocket that are poisoning them and making all their physiological systems and their capacity to regenerate much, much depleted and so, the counter myth is really what’s happening in reality; it’s what’s happening right now.
And if you're story does not match what’s happening, then you’re in trouble. Ken Wilber says “if you’re the story you’re telling yourself doesn’t match the story you’re telling other people, the chances are good that you’re going to get fatigued, get sick and burn out, or die”, in paraphrase. So whenever the story we’re telling ourselves does not match to the story we’re telling other people, so the story you’re telling somebody on stage is “look at me, I’m healthy, I’m a bad-ass” but the story you’re telling yourself and your girlfriend is “honey, I don’t have enough energy for sex or I’m tired or I’m frustrated, I have so many boxes to open or I wish so many people didn’t want my attention all the time”, that’s a counter myth.
Ben: I need to take more of my God pills to get through the day.
Paul: Yeah, that’s the counter myth.
Ben: And I think for some people it’s not pills; for some people it’s the internet of things, right? There are so many new things that come out before you’re just surrounded by all these different forms of technology that are running your life and for some people it’s the people in the bio-hacking sector, right, who are wearing 18 different self-quantification devices and they’re life is all of sudden overrun by machines that are dictating when they go to bed and when they wake up and who they talk to and how they breathe. When this idea that you're presenting is that you need this winter in your life and you need to embrace, how do you describe getting away from the counter myth? What is that called?
Paul: Well, becoming aware of what actions, beliefs and behaviors are dream affirmative in getting you the way you want to be so you feel good about yourself from the story you're telling yourself matches the story you're telling other people. Speaking of all the technology though, here’s one of the things I see over and over because I work with the best athletes in world and executives of all types. I’m not a cheap guy to visit because I don’t want to work with people who aren’t committed, but I have people coming with all those gadgets strapped to them and a thousand dollars a month worth of supplements and the question that I ask them is, since you got all this bio feedback technology, how come you're not learning anything from it, right? It’s telling you when you’re tired, it’s telling when your heart rate variability is off, it’s telling you everything you need to know but you're not listening and that’s proof that a person’s unconscious of their myth and that’s why I have to do work at a deeper psychological level and get them to the spiritual dimension of the psychic dimensions because it is the psyche that’s driving the body, it’s the ghost in the machine and everyone keeps treating the machine but not recognizing it’s one’s sense of awareness of what their soul is, what their spirit is that’s lacking so they’re acting out usually a program story not, something that’s authentically bringing them to a place of legitimate success or legitimate happiness.
Ben: A lot of people, whether consciously or subconsciously seem to really want to beat themselves up, seem they really want to dig themselves in a hole, seem to want to go out on a weekend and do a back to back Spartan races and cross. And don’t get me wrong the ironman triathlons, the Spartan races, they can be a ton of fun; they can be a cool, little feather to put on your cap. Why is it that you think, I don’t want get sexist, but I know this is more common on men than women from a cultural and historical stand point, but why is it that you think so many people in this day and age, you know, that urge, the desire to just go suffer and engage in these masochistic type of events.
Paul: Well because we are tribal people; we first became nomads then we became hunters and gatherers and then became librarians and that’s when all hell broke loose. But we used to live in tribal cultures that had to have a myth to teach them how to engage the world; how to understand the mysteries of life. What were the proprietors of right and wrong? What does it mean to be an adult? What did it mean to be a warrior? Who do you engage with force and who do you not engage with force? And who is the chief? And in most all tribal societies during the… there's a great book that goes into this a little bit too. It’s called Ten Thousand Years from Eden. “Metabolic Man: Ten Thousand Years from Eden by Charles Heizer Wharton.
Ben: Okay, I’ll look it up and put it in the show notes.
Paul: Yeah and he showed, for example, that it was the adults in the tribe that went out and did the hunting and gathering and almost all the tribes could get all their needs that within about three and half, four hours a day. But, while those adults, at that time, people between 18 and 22 or 23 years of age, where the parents of the kids were out going hunting and gathering, the education was being imparted to the children by their grandparents, the wisest people in the tribe who have seen the wars, who have seen the battles, who had seen the mistakes, who have seen the cost of doing things wrong and being too aggressive and too driven to consume. And so they taught the children through singing, dancing, acting, arts, crafts and storytelling, which how a child’s brain learn the best and how most of us learn the best which is why we love watching movies and stories.
And so, basically what happened is they would educate the children but the children all had to go through a rite of passage to become a contributing adult and to be able to face the realities. In other words, at some point the child has to come out the tent and step into their own shoes because a tribe cannot feed enough children when they don’t have enough adults, so if you don’t have enough hunters and protectors and harvesters and you got too many children, then you have too much consumption relative to productivity. So, all the children had to go through a rite of passage, usually around the time of puberty and many of these rite of passage ceremonies which is run by the, typically the shaman medicine man, the chief, and the elders of the tribe, many of the male rites of passages were you would be taken to edge of your life; literally you could die in them.
Ben: Like what?
Paul: What’s that?
Ben: Like what?
Paul: Well one of them, for example, an American one that I’ve studied, there's lots of them; all the elders of the tribe and all the adults of the tribe would line up and they will create a pathway that the young person going through the rite of passage would have to run through and they would all have a big stick, and they will beat the hell out of that person and the person has to get through from one end to the other and if they can’t make it out the other end, they would purposely wound them; hit them in the head, hit them in the face. But they were conscious not to do so much damage that it ruined the person, but they taught them that life is tough, and war is tough and you got to get beyond yourself and be able to survive challenges, and pick yourself up even when you're half-conscious, just like a good fighter in a boxing or a kick-boxing ring has to learn to do. And if you couldn’t make it through then you had to go through and extended childhood, where they had to give you special counseling and support to turn into you an adult or you’re a liability to the tribe. They don’t do that so much with women but in many tribes, they had brutal, brutal tribe rites of passage for women such as having their clitoris removed and some of the African rituals the women are just, to a western person they are just shocking, but a woman’s rite of passage is…
Ben: Heard here first, Paul Chek endorses clit removal.
Paul: No, Paul Chek endorses loving, tender, compassion and honoring that part of a woman.
Ben: I know that it’s not a joking matter; I don’t mean to be insensitive. But it’s sounds to me like what you're saying is that we, in many westernized cultures do not; I don’t remember undergoing a rite of passage when I was a kid.
Paul: Right, so to finish, the women, their rite of passage was having a baby and, as you know, research shows that if a man had to go through as much pain as a woman, we would probably die, our nervous systems aren’t wired to handle that much pain, and as you know many women do die even today giving birth. So, the adult women train the young women what it meant to be a mother, how to prepare and their rite of passage was giving birth. Now the women, by the way, just so you know, this is something you might find very interesting: the Native Americans’ sweat lodge was designed by the women elders to put men in to a situation because the sweat lodge represents the female womb and the process of going through carrying a baby for nine months and delivering it. So, when people go into a sweat lodge they actually recapitulating the growth and development process of the fetus and the stress that a mother…
Ben: The sweat lodge is pretty damn uncomfortable and stressful.
Paul: Exactly and it is designed to teach a man what it’s like to be a woman and what she has to put up with. How much endurance she has to have and how much toughness she has to have to carry that baby and deliver it, and remember the times when the refrigerator wasn’t always full.
Ben: Yeah, did you hear that, fellas? You guys need to all go sit in a sweat lodge.
Paul: Yes and be ready.
Ben: So you know what she’s going through.
Paul: Don’t get to cocky coz you're gonna get your ass handed to you and hopefully on a cold blanket, if you’re lucky.
Ben: Well, guys can’t have babies. So what should men, because, for example, there's this concept to a vision quest.
Paul: Vision quest is different. A rite of passage means to become an adult. A vision quest means to figure out who you are as an adult and what is your unique function in the tribe and what is your unique expression of yourself that brings you into your own spiritual path of spiritual development and self-expression that is uniquely aligned with your God-given gifts and talents.
Ben: Okay. I asked because my kids every year go to wilderness survival camp, it’s called Twin Eagles Wilderness Survival in Idaho and one thing that they offer when a boy is 18 up to the age of 25… I want to convince them to let my kids do it when they’re maybe like 15 or 16. They take them in and they equip them and send them off into the wilderness for a week just to survive on their own as a form of a vision quest, but that’s not what you're saying from what I gathered rite of passage. Let’s just use my own boys as an example, like how could I put them through a rite of passage without traumatizing them?
Paul: Well a rite of passage today is means to become a man, so they have to learn to accept responsibility, they have to learn to put themselves second to the needs of the women or the needs of the family or the needs of side of the tribe that would have been. They have to learn that things can be very painful and tough and that you can’t wimp out. They have to learn to face battle and face death because that’s very real and it always has been real and it’s very real today especially when you got Donald Trump as your president and he’s going to give us all a rite of passage ceremony if we’re not careful. So, if I said to you, Ben, what is it mean to you to be a man? How is that different you as a child? What would you tell me? What’s different between Ben at 35 and Ben at 14?
Ben: I provide, I protect, I procreate. I didn’t make that up as a “three ‘Ps’ of manhood” I’ve seen somewhere, but that’s honestly the first thing that comes to mind is that I do those three things and I didn’t do any of those things when I was 14.
Paul: And have you ever had to do any of those when you're too tired or you didn’t want to?
Paul: Good, and if you don’t…
Ben: I’m doing it right now while I’m talking to you, [1:03:45] ______ sleeping.
Paul: If you don’t do it, what happens to your family?
Ben: They theoretically would perish even though my wife is very able woman.
Paul: Well she might lose faith in her man and say I married a boy not a man.
Ben: Right, right.
Paul: And that causes a lot of problems in relationships today. So, what happens when an entire culture is doing that? A culture is a bunch of people doing the same thing. So we have a culture full of children at all ages who are more interested in how pretty their boobs are, what kind of car they’re driving or their lip-job or how many cleaning jerks they can do in a cross fit contest than they do with actually caring for the planet, and caring for the things that are meaningful, that are life-sustaining and important. So a rite of passage means to get your head wrapped around with absolute clarity as what you are here to give your life for and what is meaningful, and to protect your loved ones and to protect the earth that feeds you, not to over consume, not to be destructive and not to go to war for foolish, unintelligent means, and to invest in democracy or invest in intelligent means of engaging a possible enemy instead of acting like a kid and throwing sticks and stones or bombs and weapons when we should be working things out because now our little toys can destroy the entire planet and kill all of us. So when you have pubescent, teenage presidents and leaders of countries with nuclear weapons, we have children running a world that could be totally destructive. So to give your—
Ben: Bunch of people sucking on a tit and holding a gun.
Paul: Yeah, now if you take a 13 year old kid and say “you got to pay for it” and “you got to make $1500 a month or the family is gonna to starve to death so get your ass up there.” Johnny, at 13 is not ready for that kind of responsibility; that’ll scare the kid to death and he will lose his sense of being a child, he won’t get to play, he’ll collapse into himself and he will begin to resent responsibility and he will begin to sabotage.
Ben: That’s not how to do it.
Paul: That’s not how you do it but, there is a time when we all know, logically, that we need to teach children what it means when we have rules and they need to be adhered to. What it means to do things like drinking and driving cars or playing with firearms or all the things you see in the news every day and so, it takes a man to create a rite of passage because only a man knows how to be a man and we lack men and taking your kids off into the wilderness and teaching them what it’s like to be hungry and to have the responsibility of figuring out how to feed yourself and to study what is edible and what is not edible; knowing that eating the wrong thing, you could die out there. Those are legitimate rites of passages to give a child a progressive increase in responsibility so your paper route now is what you got to do to get toys. We’re not just going to throw money at you and Santa Claus isn’t just coming out of the sky, and for my son I’m going to meet you halfway, “you want to buy this $200 remote control car? Then you're going to earn it this way, you’re going to go out and collect cans or you’re going to do things for your dad.” So my son used to make money by going to the medical library; I’d give him a list of a hundred research papers that I need and the journal titles and he would go research them out, get them out of the library, photocopy them. I pay him a dollar an article. And so he would come back, he’d spend his entire weekend and bring me back a hundred research papers and I would give him a hundred bucks.
Ben: I love it; I did the same with my kids. They want to buy a Lego; they have two jobs. They are in charge of photographing, cleaning, listing and showing guests when they rent their room on Air BNB, that’s one of their jobs. And their other is that they have a podcast and they have to do the research for the podcast, they have a virtual assistant who they meet with, they have the recordings that they do. And so basically the deal between me and my kids is if they ever want a book aside from freaking Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I will buy a book for them. But they know that books are something, they ask me for a book; it’s done. If it’s a legitimate book, I will buy it, no questions asked because they know how highly I value books. Anything else, they gotta bring money to the table; they’ve got to contribute. You’re saying that that’s an inceptual miniature rite of passage.
Paul: That is intelligent rite of passage and then I think that men need to be exposed to the rigors of real work. When I was a young man, I had to work. When I was tired, I had to work; when I had blisters. I had to do things that were uncomfortable and my father did not accept excuses and you did it or there was consequences.
Ben: You're going to keep a lot of social workers in business, man.
Paul: But this has to be done intelligently or it’s child abuse and that’s why it takes a man to make a man. You can’t have idiots making men or you make idiots and we have plenty of that. Now to give you an example of what a rite of passage is, to give a contrast. When my son went to high school he was a high school wrestler. I remember he went to La Jolla High school here in San Diego which where a lot of the rich kids are, Rancho Santa Fe in La Jolla is full of rich kids. And I remember the first time my son went to La Jolla High School, he came back to me and said “dad you would not believe it, these kids are driving Porsches, Corvettes”. He said you walk into the parking lot it’s like a showroom for exotic cars, he said there was cocaine floating around the hallways, these kids have credit cards, they have exotic cellphones, they got exotic clothes and girls are wearing five hundred dollar shoes and dresses. And that is not a rite of passage; that is how you keep a child co-dependent on mommy and daddy, and unfortunately mommy and daddy are trying to shape their kids into exactly some kind of a copy of themselves but not realizing that by giving all that to them, they have no respect for money. They have no respect for responsibility and so they end up hiring expensive lawyers to bail their kid out of jail because they crashed their car, stoned out of their mind and killed somebody else and all that stuff. That’s opposite of the rite of passage, but unfortunately it turns out to be the rite of passage doesn’t it?
Paul: The hard way. Unskilled, unintelligent.
Ben: I can’t wait to see how your little boy turns out.
Paul: Well, my little boy will be just like your little boys. He’ll be out in the woods learning survival skills and getting hungry and facing the bears and learning how to use force and tools.
Ben: I dunno how he’s gonna survive, man, he’s gonna suck at Candy Crush.
Paul: He’s gonna get into martial arts training not to be a bad-ass but to learn how to manage himself and to learn the rules of the game and to learn how to use force with empathy and compassion for the enemy, not to disable or harm but to create safety and security for himself. And your question’s really pointing to this: we have so many people out there torturing themselves with exercises, doing stupid things and burning themselves out and “look how big my dick is, look at all my tattoos, look how big my bench press is”, and all that stuff’s fine when you're youthful but if you're not careful, you don’t learn the function of exercise, you don’t know learn when enough is enough, and what should be used in growth and development process turns into a bunch of teenagers that are 45 trying to show off who’s got the biggest this or the fastest that. And then we have a world that doesn’t understand the use of food, exercise, diet lifestyle, entertainment, sex, drugs or rock and roll and we’re right where we are today and the point being is that it was the job of the grandparents, of the elders and the tribal leaders to stabilize that and distinguish when is giving too much to a child dangerous and when is not giving a child enough dangerous. When is working hard enough that you have to push yourself into the very depths of yourself important.
For example, I come from a farm and if my father cut the hay and all the sudden bad weather was coming it was going to rain for four or five days in Vancouver, which is very common. If we had to get that hay up out of that field and we had to work day and night for 3 days in a row on minimal sleep, you either get that hay of the ground into the barn or you lose your entire crop and that’s thousands and thousands of dollars that mom and dad have to come up with to feed the animals or the farm collapses. So there's a real example of becoming a man and it was our parents and our elders whose job it was to teach us when to tap into ourselves but also how to manage ourselves so that when wars, famines and tough times came we had something to give. But what do we have today, we got a world full of so-called athletes constantly drinking monster Red Bull, shooting up with all sorts of steroids and all of this just to look cool and try to get some attention. And then when the real responsibility comes, there’s nobody to pay the bills or they’re dragging behind when it comes time to make love to mama, they’re penis won’t work coz they left it in the gym.
And so, these are real challenges that we need to abuse a lot of medical drugs, a lot of recreational drugs, and cause a lot of broken relationships. And I think we can, guys like me and you, it’s our job as leaders in the community to stand up and be an example for others to follow and learn from mistakes. And I shared the mistake that I made that helped me see when too much fire is burning in you but only because I did that to myself and so our job is to try to be a light to others who are ready to really achieve true mastery and become a whole person; not a moron with muscles.
Ben: I agree. And to help people prepare for the zombie apocalypse, by the sounds of it.
Paul: Well, I like to think positive. I believe in creativity but I think the fact that you are sitting here discussing this is a fact that the tribal of elders are at work right now.
Ben: Yes, I agree. I agree. And this podcast, just like the one before, only scratched the surface of your knowledge. You’ve shown me reams and reams; literally 20 years. You’re like a, not a hidden gem, but a gem that think enough people don’t know about. Everything from your holistic practitioner program to all the different services that you offer; I’ve got links in show notes for you, for you all listening. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paulchek2, that’s Paul Chek, the number 2. The last time I interviewed Paul, what I gave to you guys from Paul was the ability to be able to get a lesson of his holistic lifestyle coach certification program for free. This is level 1; it’s called the HLC program.
If you wanna just kinda tap in to a little bit of the program where he goes where he called the primal pattern, his Chek zone exercises, how to apply long term body-mind changes; there’s a whole bunch of very, very cool things and Paul and I are even trying to figure out ways we can work more together. So you’re probably going to see a lot more Paul as you listen to the podcast. But then the other thing is that we’re going to give you this cool little PDF that Paul made that lets you tie together the Doctor Diet, the Doctor Quiet, the Doctor Happiness and the Doctor Movement that he describes so that you can better wrap your head around with the details of each of those are; it’s called the Chek healthy core cycle and it’s a PDF that you normally have to pay to get through his program, but we’re just going to give it to you for free for listening.
It’s got some very cool, simple exercises you can do to do things like ensure that your tranversus abdominus is activated properly, a little kite string trick I learned from Paul that I personally do at my desk a few times a week now, some very simple lower abdominal exercises; things that seem like they’d be pretty simple to do but will make a big change in your breathing pattern, your oxygenation a whole lot more, so I’m going to put links to all that stuff if you just go to, two ways to get it: Go to the show notes if you want to, to access all the things that we talked about; the book, the vision quest in Idaho, all those things we talked about, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paulchek, and the number 2, paulchek2. You can also just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/chekinstitute if you just want to dive right in to some of the stuff that Paul does, what he teaches, especially if you’re a freaking personal trainer or physical therapist or chiropractic doc or an MD or an ND or DO. I think that any of you should highly consider going through his program coz I’ve looked at it and I can tell you what; if I had a doctor and I looked at their resume and saw that they are a Chek practitioner, I wouldn’t ask any questions, I’d go in hands down because I’ve got a lot of trust in this guy and Paul, I know this might sound like I’m blowing smoke but I’ve been told that you’re the, how old are you?
Ben: That you’re the 56 year old version of me.
Ben: Most people say that.
Paul: Well that’s a compliment to both of us.
Ben: I would profess to be your…
Paul: You’ve got more hair than me so you're doing something right.
Ben: I’ve got a lot more hair and a lot fewer [1:17:25] ______.
Paul: Yup. So hey, I love you man, thank you for being a wise elder and leading by example.
Ben: I love you too, Paul. Thanks for coming on the show, man.
Paul: My pleasure, thank you all for listening and let’s all work together and make the world a more beautiful place for everybody and learn to use exercise scientifically but creatively, to use food and rest beautifully and make life more of an art form than something that we survive out of ignorance.
Ben: Go lift some heavy rocks. Alright guys, thanks for tuning in.
Two months ago, I released one of the most popular podcast episodes of the year: “Heavy Rock Lifting, Building Your Own “Water Charging” Station, Biomechanical Fixes, Plant Medicine Journeys & More With Paul Chek.”
In that episode, you discovered one of the most internationally-renowned experts in the fields of corrective and high-performance exercise kinesiology – a guy who's unique, holistic approach to treatment and education has changed the lives of countless people worldwide. We delved into everything from Mandala art therapy and ayahuasca/DMT (an experience Paul and I journeyed into before recording today's podcast episode) to how to build your own water rock charging station to Paul's extremely crazy past as a top triathlete, boxer, motocross and rally car racer and beyond.
I found Paul to be such an intriguing man who I consider to be literally decades ahead of just about every health and exercise professional on the face of the planet, that I ventured back down to San Diego to spend a few more days with him. So on today's podcast, Paul is back.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Paul's special tea blend that we drank for stabilized energy before heavy rock lifting…[5:30]
-The easy-to-learn morning Tai Chi practice that is the ONE practice that will totally transform your life if you do it every morning for 100 days…[8:50]
-What Paul means when he says you should “never rush in a rock garden”…[17:35]
-The single biggest mistake that people make when they finish a big goal like an Ironman triathlon, a marathon, losing lots of weight, writing a book, etc…[22:45]
-Why every human needs a winter in their life, and exactly what type of physical activities to do during that winter…[28:15]
-Why pro athletes like Danny Way, Laird Hamilton and Robbie Madison come to Paul when nothing else is working…[34:40]
-What a “One Prong Guru” is and how you can break the mold of falling into that trap…[38:10]
-How Paul Chek picked a 6'8″ 245 pound Highland Games competitor over his head and did walking lunges…[44:00]
-Why too much Christmas is dangerous…[48:09]
-How to ensure that you put yourself, or your children, through a rite of passage…[55:30]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Paul's Coaching Program for Training Unhealthy Clients. And Use Code “Special4Ben” For $50 off!
Paul's Tea Recipe
–Organic Guayusa – either loose leaf in a tea strainer or a teabag.
–RR Superfoods Eucommia bark – ¼ tsp.
–RR Superfoods He Sho Wu – ¼ tsp.
–Shilajit resin – a smidgen about the size of a small pea.
–ODNOVA Clarity – approx. 1 tsp or to taste. A herbal, royal honey infusion with a special blend of ingredients that revitalize the mind and naturally balance energy levels, created by Gosia Reed.
–Stargazer Solar System Planetary Essence – 4 drops
A handcrafted mix created by Stargazer Li combining a planet essence, with a tree essence and a rock essence.
-Organifi – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi and use discount code BEN for 20% off your Green Juice order!
-Human Charger – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanCharger and use the code BEN20 for 20% off.
-Casper – Go to Casper.com/Ben AND use promo code BEN to save $50 off your purchase.