Why meditation isn't working for me is a common search I recommend meditation to all of my clients. I can't count how many have told me, "I can't meditate. Meditation isn't for me."
I've been meditating for about 15 years. I've studied several types of meditation, used apps, and bought devices. For several years, I meditated without missing a day.
When I learned Kelvin was offering "Turning Within" as a class, I wondered what I could learn about meditation. Not that I know it all. But, I found a practice that worked well for me.
I've been training with Kelvin for about two weeks as of the recording of this episode. His technique is simple, easy, and effective. Kelvin has taught experienced meditators to improve their practices, and his technique is easy enough that a beginner probably will pick it up easier than someone seasoned, like me, who has learned all kinds of wrong information.
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Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we've been buried. But what if, like a seed we've been planted, and having been planted would grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith.
Hi there. Before we start, Brian would like to share a couple of things with you. First, did you know that Brian is a life coach, a grief guide and a mental fitness trainer? Brian would love to help you with whatever life issues are challenging you. Brian has years of experience as well as training, you can contact Brian at WWW dot grief to growth.com to learn more. Brian is the author of the best selling book grief to growth planted not buried, which you can get on Amazon or Brian's website. This is a great book if you're in grief or to give to someone you know who is dealing with grief. Lastly, Brian creates free and paid resources for your growth. Go to www dot grief to growth.com/gifts www.gr IEF to growth.com to sign up for his newsletter, choose a gift just for signing up and keep up with what Brian is offering. And now here's today's episode, please enjoy.
Brian Smith 1:49
Here everybody, this is Brian Smith. I'm here with my friend Kelvin chin today we're doing a little experiment. So it might be a little rough. We're trying out a new platform. We're trying this with a live audience for the first time. So we'll see how that goes. But our subject today is we want to talk about meditation. And I was telling Kelvin, I've been working with them for a couple of weeks now and a meditation technique. And I recommend meditation to all my clients. I think meditation and mindfulness is extremely important. And almost universally people say, I can't meditate. I don't know how to do it. It's too hard. You don't understand my mind. Kelvins got a way of making this like really, really easy. Like, it seems like almost too easy. So what we're gonna do today we're going to talk about meditation. We're talking about some myths about meditation. We'll talk about some things you might be able to do and we'll just kind of get into that. We'll see how it goes with the studio audience. But I want to read Calvin's bio, I assume everybody knows Kelvin, but not everybody does. Kelvin Chen is an author named afterlife expert. His first book was called overcoming the fear of death through each of the four main belief system systems. It's a non religious approach to overcoming the fear of death. I've read it, it's excellent. His new book is called Marcus Aurelius updated 21st century meditations on loving life. That's a collection of 67 essays ranging from emotions, life principles, meditation and spiritual. Calvin is executive director and founder of the attorney within meditation, and overcoming the fear of death foundations. He's an internationally recognized meditation teacher featured in Business Insider, Newsweek, Kaiser Health News. He's taught meditation at West Point and in the US Army, including in the DMZ zone in Korea. Calvin has been meditating for 50 years, he's taught meditation for 49 years, I think those numbers are a little bit old. I think it's been longer than that, to the 1000s of people in over 60 countries. And his past life memories reached bet 6000 years. He's a graduate of Dartmouth, Yale, Dartmouth, Yale and Boston College Law, and calvess lives in seven countries. And I'm really proud to have Kelvin Chen here with me today. Thanks so much
Kelvin Chin 3:47
for having me, Brian. It's always great to chat.
Brian Smith 3:51
learned so much from you Kelvin over the years that we've known each other about the afterlife. And as I was saying, in the introduction, you and I have been talking about meditation and you've worked with me for a couple of weeks, you've been very patient with me, as I've had to unlearn a lot of things about meditation that I thought I knew. So start off by just telling people about your background, how you got into meditation.
Kelvin Chin 4:14
Sure. So I started meditating. When I was 19 years old, I was very, very stressed out. So you could hear in the bio that Brian just, you know, shared with everybody that I've had many spiritual experiences, but that's not why I got into meditation. I, I didn't even know what spirituality was. If you'd asked me then I'd say, Well, I went to Sunday school, you know, I went to church and you know, and then kind of stopped going to church when I was in high school and stuff. That's what I thought spirituality was. I thought it was religion. It didn't know it was there was something more than that, that I now know. So when I learned to meditate, I only learned because I was so stressed out. I was highly anxious. I was at Dartmouth College. As Brian mentioned, I was beginning my saw sophomore year and I literally thought I didn't think I was going to be able to make it through the year academically I'm talking about because a cycle emotionally I was such a stress, I was just so stressed out. And it affected my memory. I couldn't remember stuff, you know, hello, you're, you know, I pressure, you know, university environment stuff. And I my memory seriously was I remember sitting there in my dorm room, I remember this like it was yesterday to 12 Wheeler Hall, Dartmouth College and the dorm. Sitting there at the desk, we had one desk in the room that my roommate and I shared the dorm room and we had one desk was small room big enough for one desk. And I was sitting at the desk and I was reading a newspaper on a Wall Street Journal, New York Times something, whatever. And I remember reading the first paragraph of an article. And I got to the second paragraph, no idea what I had just read what the subject of the article I completely like, you talk about blanked out mind my mind was blanked out in a bad way. I could not remember what I had just read the paragraph, seconds was a millisecond before and I thought I am toast. I am toast. Well, how am I going to make it through. And so I was freaking out. And I almost went over to the mental health clinic at Dartmouth just because, you know, I needed help. I didn't know where at where else to go. I had no sensibility about, you know, getting help, and so forth with being in that really desperate state in one word, I was desperate. I was walking across campus a few days later. And some guy ran into me, you know, I don't even remember who it was. But he saved my life in a certain respect. And he said, Hey, there's gonna be a, you know, some meditation teachers talking it in, you know, Choate, it's, um, dorm, you know, dormitory Hall, you know, in short, one away, or, you know, it's gonna be over in, you know, this dorm, you know, fit, you know, cell fare, you know, 210 or whatever, on Wednesday at 8pm. It's free, you know, just go listen to a man who, you know, might be interested in that. Hmm. So I checked out that one I wasn't into how he was talking about it was very cultural, the first, the first two or three I went to were very, very cultural. What do I mean by that? Well, back then, in the night, it was 1970. So back then those of you who are old enough, you remember, there was this kind of informal circuit of Indian guru teachers or their students were traveling around the university circuits around the United States? Just, you know, seeing Yeah, are you interested in meditation? Here's what it is. And, you know, we can teach you. Well, you know, some of the first ones I went to was like, Oh, you got to wear these beads, you've got to use all this ritual, you gotta, you know, you know, eventually, you're gonna have to shave your head count. Now, Brian, you and I, you know, we're already there. When we were like that, I'm guessing Brian, I didn't know you when you were 20 years old. But when I was 19 years, I had my hair was down through my shoulders. You know, my hair was part in the middle, you know, he's like, it was a hippie, you know,
my head, you know, am I going to shave my head next year or five years from now at that point, you know, but that was the kind of game plan that they kind of laid out in some of the classes. I'm like, That's not for me. And so then I stumbled into 28 Silsbee. Hall at Dartmouth still there, and an auditorium. And this is guy sitting up there on the stage. And he had a suit and a tie on and he was like a regular looking guy from the United States somewhere. He was American and looking guy, and he was talking about meditation. And then he started talking about research about meditation. So my, my ears perked up, though, what research because I was pre med at the time, and I was very into science and so forth. And so we started talking about research on meditation that was just started being done in Boston, by a Harvard Medical School professor, and he's a Boston cardiologist, or Benson, and Dr. Benson was starting to do this research. And so I paid attention. And he started talking about cortisol levels going down, research, study, it just started and so forth. Little that I know, three, four or five months later, I was a test subject in in Benson study. That was the first medical study done on any form of meditation in the United States at the time anyway. 1970 71 published in Journal American Medical Association, Scientific American magazine, etc. Yeah, that's.
Brian Smith 9:42
So you are you're at pretty much the beginning for meditation coming to the west.
Kelvin Chin 9:47
Yeah, yeah, I was very, in fact, I was so much of the it's interesting. You say that because I was so early on in it in a sense, I mean, some people the Beatles had learned in 1967 people probably know that. And they studied with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who is the, who was the teacher of the guy I'm talking about who was on stage, he was talking about the research. Maharishi taught that guy how to meditate. I later studied with my Rishi in 1971, in 1973, personally and, and learn how to teach TM. So I was with TM for about 10 years teaching with their organization, they went off in a different direction. And I and I left but but yeah, it was very early on. So early on that when I first learned, I'm guessing that at that point, out of the Cambridge TM center, you know, where Harvard is Cambridge, Massachusetts, that's where the one TM center was in New England and all of New England. There were maybe, you know, 50 dem teachers there, maybe 50, something like that, not that many for from a whole Northeastern of the United States. Within five years, I was later chairman of that center, and 1975. So five years later, I had about two to 50, maybe 300, tm teachers reporting to me out of that one central loan, and there were, you know, very there were there were literally probably a few 100 tm teachers, all of United States when I first learned and within a few years, there were probably around 10,000. Yeah. 10,000 tm teachers in the United States. Yeah.
Brian Smith 11:30
So it really blew up at that time really blew up. Yeah. And and so for people that don't know what is TM, and how does that work,
Kelvin Chin 11:39
but when I first learned to meditate, I learned TM, and I give Maharishi Mahesh Yogi credit for being the guy who said, out of the millennia of, of meditation teachers in the world, whether they be in the Middle East, or out of India, or Southeast Asia, or Japan, China, wherever, doesn't matter where he was the first guy to say, it can and should be easy. Meditation should be easy, not involved, focusing and controlling the mind. So I have taken that principle from him. And I have made it even easier since I left the organization. I don't teach to him anymore after those first 10 years in the 1970s. But I give him still publicly just like we are public here, right? For being the spiritual revolutionary who said, No, it should be easy. And it can be easy, if you understand how the mind operates, which you and I are going to get into in our conversation today. But I've also removed all the cultural, in, in kind of a ritual trappings from the teaching as well. So now I teach as you know, I teach across all different cultures and religions and so forth. I've taught Buddhist monks, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Jews, who am I leaving out? I'm going to leave anybody else out. But you know, like, the whole range of religious religion, backgrounds, and people who are atheist and agnostic, and I teach anybody, so I've made it much more broad. Open, receptive the way I teach it since since back in the 70s. Yeah,
Brian Smith 13:18
yeah, well, my story and coming to meditation is similar to yours. I was totally stressed out anxious, you know, all that kind of stuff, depressed, and needed something to calm my mind. So this was back before, you know, too much of the internet. So I started getting on and doing research and, you know, there's, there's you said, there's cultural and religious, I didn't care about their cultural things. But back then, you know, Christians didn't meditate. Meditation was in some religions is frowned upon. But I found something called contemplative prayer. I started reading about contemplative prayer, once I started reading about it like this is meditation. It's a different different name for the same thing, but there's 1000s of different meditation techniques.
Kelvin Chin 14:01
Exactly, yeah, no, I, I call my what I teach now turning within, turning within meditation, because essentially, there are, as you say, 1000s, maybe 10s, of 1000s, of forms of turning within, and people who pray, like I give lectures sometimes, in what we know, those international people watching in the audience, who people who in the United States we call the Bible Belt, you know, people are very, very much into the Bible Christianity, but in a very, very, we'll call it a conservative and traditional maybe as a word in terms of looking at the Bible in a literal way. And so I'm not going to I don't step on anybody's toes religiously or belief wise or whatever. And so when I speak with them, I talk about them with them about turning within and they say how many people I did actually had a lecture with in Southern Illinois with a with a group of about 125 healthcare workers who were and but they're Background, they was very from a religious, Christian religious fundamentalist kind of background. And I said, How many people here go to church out of 120 550 people, because everybody raises their hand. And how many of you have ever had a moment in church where you are praying. And you feel larger than you usually feel? I Esther, and a lot of them raise their hands, not everybody. But I said, I'm not talking about asking for stuff from God, I'm not talking about that kind of prayer. That's a form of prayer that many people engage in, and I get it. But I'm talking about, if you're just like what you just described, Brian, you know, you're kind of letting go, and you're just in a more open receptive state, in church, and you're praying in a Christian situation here, and there's felices, they're praying to God, okay. And, or Jesus or whoever. But in the Christian tradition, they're praying, but they're in a more open state. And many of the people raised their hands, and I said, that's turning within, that's a form of turning with him. And that is allowing your mind to connect with itself in this different way that I happen to call turning within because essentially, that's what it is in laypersons language, to demystify all the mystical stuff. That's essentially what it is, right?
Brian Smith 16:26
I think so. You know, and it's interesting, again, the difference between the Western culture and and or their culture I was raised in and what you're talking about, it's we were not taught to turn with them, we were taught the guy was out there. So that that is a shift. And again, there's a lot of fear about this. When I was started with contemplative prayer, it was like you would you would contemplate a scripture. But it was really almost like a mantra because you weren't supposed to really think about the Scripture, you just repeat it over and over again, I learned later on rosary beads, you know, it's saying the same thing over and over using beads. It's very similar thing of trying to calm the mind and give the mind something to focus on.
Kelvin Chin 17:08
Yeah, it's almost now let's just talk about the last word you just said. Yes, words focus on. All right. So yeah, rosary beads, reading some scripture, and so forth. And almost, as you said, the key words that you just said, we're almost not even paying attention to the words of the script, but you're just repeating. So And similarly with the rosary beads, because, you know, once you've done I've been done it, but I can imagine, you know, you've done it and repeated enough times after a while you're not thinking about what you're thinking about. Right? Exactly. Well, so. So, to me, that is not focusing on that is actually not focusing on that's an unfocused state. And that says, you know, from taking my meditation class, we talk a lot about that the unfocused the non directing of the mind. And it may start with a little directing in that respect, whether it's rosary beads or scriptures and it up, I get it. But my experience having worked with Buddhist monks, I've taught, I've taught every member of every clergy, the technique that I teach, which, as you know, is very not about not focusing, and not content oriented. So it's not reading a scripture or a poem or anything. I mean, you could you can do non scriptural stuff, you could just read a Robert Bly poem or something, contemplate that anything, but but it's not that it's not content oriented, my technique, however, I have taught many of those Catholic priests, nuns, rabbis, imams, etc, in in Buddhist monks, who are involved in various other forms of we'll call it turning within, whether they call it prayer, whether they call it meditation in the Buddhist monk situation. And yet, what they find is the Catholic priests, the nuns, the ministers would all come back to me. I just taught several ministers recently in New Jersey, in the last several months, and they all come back and say, they get more out of their prayer. After they do this non content oriented, non focusing technique that I teach, same thing, the Buddhist monks would come back, I don't, I don't disrespect them. I respect whatever their belief is in their practices. So I didn't tell the Buddhist monks when I taught them to meditate to go, you can't do your minute, no, you do your own thing, but you do what I'm teaching you first and it will help prepare you for whatever, and they would all come back and say, Wow, I get so much more out of our Buddhist meditation that they were doing at the monastery, after they learned my techniques. So I am a inclusionary is that a word inclusionary person as opposed to an exclusionary, you know, you know, how can we help people add to the, you know, the body of X variants and practices that they may already have right now, some people may decide, oh, I'm not going to continue doing that because it strains my mind. Okay, well, then that's not good. Okay, then stop doing anything that's straining the mind. Yeah. But you know, you know, I'm not telling people they only have to do my thing that ended up by way is the only way. That's not how I roll.
Brian Smith 20:19
Yeah. And I want to I want to get into your technique. But first, I want to go through some some myths and some reasons why people struggle with other techniques. And you just touched on straining the mind. Because and I've been meditating for, in case I didn't say it on here, I've been meditating for probably 15 years, maybe more, on and off, and then for the last 567 years, pretty much on a daily basis. And a lot of people tell me, I can't meditate, they find it stressful. They say, I can't stop my thoughts. My mind is always racing. I can't focus on this thing I'm supposed to focus on. I can't sit still. I can't sit cross legged. You know, my nose starts itching and I have to scratch my nose. So let's talk about some of those things. Why it's so hard.
Kelvin Chin 21:07
Yeah, well, let's firstly do you deal with the easy stuff. First, the easy stuff. First, is that physical, my My nose itches, my ankle itches, scratch it. Look, I mean, the whole notion that you have to be sitting in a certain position, cross legged a certain way or job, there's no way I can sit cross legged for very long, nevermind, I've never ever been able to sit in the full lotus. It's just not physically. morphologically, that means structurally possible for my body that I'm born in with it born born into, that I live with in Chelsea chin this lifetime, so forget about it. So you know, the all of that stuff. I tell people, you got to be comfortable. Where did all of that come from? I call that's what I call the trappings the Oh, you have to have a certain kind of sandalwood incense, not just any incense, and not just any kind of sin, whether or not it diminishes any sandalwood incense, but a certain kind of sin. Now, you don't have to brew certain candles, you want to burn incense and burn candles, and when you're meditating, that's fine. But that should not be a determining factor of your meditation. No, that's just a nice to have, and whatever, you know, whatever you want to do, it's fine. Comfort is the key in terms of position, all of that stuff, all this other stuff over the millennia, have been added. So you know, as you mentioned, in my, my, your background of me in the intro, you know, I have a past life memories go back 6000 years, well, at least three or four of my lifetimes. I was a Buddhist monk, okay, I was in Tibet, I was in Southeast Asia, and either China and or Japan, I'm not exactly sure about that one. So we will see what more opens up over the years. But the point is that I have had a lot of experience with what I'm referring to as the trappings of meditation, living in a monastery, etc, etc. The Big Bang and Gong the big bang the bell, you know, hitting the bell and the gong at a certain moment. And so with all of that, that's all unnecessary stuff. If people like it, it's okay, I'm not pouring water on their, their, their passion, if they really love that, that's okay. But it's not necessary. That's the thing. So let's just forget about all that stuff. There are still I mentioned this in a talk and my daughter was sitting next to me once listening to the talk. And, you know, I taught my kids to meditate when they're four and five years old. They're 28 and 34 years old now. And my daughter said, Daddy, you know, they still do that thing at the, at the, at the Buddhist monastery. To meditation students, were they, they hit them with bamboo with a bamboo switch. During the group meditations, I said what she said, Because I used to tell this as like, I thought, like an ancient thing that I remember. Yeah. You can't move. Like you said, you can't move. You can't scratch not only can't scratch your nose, but you can't move you can't fidget at all. In that meditation teacher, the Zen Buddhist monk is walking behind you. And she says that they still they still do that. I said what she told me this about six or eight years ago, when she was at San Francisco State University. My daughter went to school there. And she said, Oh, yeah, my girlfriend interned at the Zen Buddhist temple in downtown San Francisco, wherever it is San Francisco. And she said, yeah, she had, she had to sign a disclaimer saying that he would allow them to hit her. So it's like the 21st century version is you gotta sign the release form. Yeah, that says that. They're not hitting you and beating you. I don't want to create a bad impression in people's minds about Buddhist monks. Right, but they're just just like a
Brian Smith 24:39
yeah, it's just get your attention.
Kelvin Chin 24:42
Are you paying attention? Are you paying attention? Are you focusing? Are you focusing because they want you to focus and not move? Yeah. Like you said, so let's get rid of that. That is like, no, be comfortable. Be comfortable, be comfortable. People have added these little trappings over the millennia and now there's like So many trappings that you can't you lose count, because I think it's because of the importance of being important that one monk said, no, no, you should be doing this, okay? And then that becomes a rule and that monastery, another monastery hears about it, oh, you know, they can sit still for this long, and they can meditate for two hours, you know, we can only meditate for, you know, by the time we're sitting there for a half an hour, you know, we start, we start, we start getting so impatient, we got to get up and leave, you know what, they can do it for two hours. The next thing you know, you get this competition amongst the monasteries about how long people can meditate, or how long you can sit still. I mean, that's simply just knowing human behavior, how these things have developed, because they're, they're definitely not necessary. So then you talk about the technique, you talk about the focusing part. To me. It's somewhat understandable. How that is developed. Because where do you start? Before you start meditating? You're in waking state. And so naturally, what one would think, first to do is to apply waking state rules to try to get you out of waking state. But that's a catch 22, isn't it? No, that's like trying not to try is still trying, isn't it? So you cannot try not to try you can't focus to be unfocused.
illogical, it's irrational, it makes no sense. So instead of applying waking state rules, what I do is you've experienced in my class personally, is I teach you guys to apply meditation rules. And there is a different set of rules to apply meditation. I tell people, if you had if an alien came from another planet, just like Earth, and they look just like us, except they came from a planet where they didn't sleep. Nobody had ever slept on that planet. And they said, What would you guys do at night? You know, it's like, we're awake all night, you know, but we bumped into things a lot. You know, we fall down a lot. We you know, people, you know, just, you know, we get into accidents a lot and that kind of thing. And you say, Oh, you guys don't sleep? No wonder. So let me teach you to sleep. So what would you do? You would you would have them lie in a bed, I think on a bed, but you hit the thing called a pillow. Now close your eyes. You wouldn't use waking state rules to teach him to go to sleep, right? What a waking state rules. Focus on rest, focus on relaxation, don't you feel yourself starting to relax now? Relax your feet, relax your knees, your really your legs, relax your torso, relax your hands, turn it up. It might make them feel a little bit relaxed. It's not nothing. Okay. It might them make them feel a little bit relaxed somewhat. But will they fall asleep and let go and go into that state of sleep consciousness that we all experience every day? Yeah,
Brian Smith 27:59
no, I think. And I've been working with you, as I said earlier, for about two weeks now. And that I think is such a profound analogy that I think that we can all relate to. Because all of us have had trouble falling asleep at some point. And you know, if you start thinking about falling asleep, and try to force yourself to sleep, that's the last thing that's going to do to put you in the sleep state. Exactly. But I've never heard anybody apply that to meditation and all the techniques I've tried to use over the years, whether it's listening to music, doing guided meditations, listening to nature sounds, whatever it happens to be and trying to focus on that thing. It's still about focusing.
Kelvin Chin 28:43
Right. And I came up with that analogy, the, you know, maybe fairly recently, within the last five to 10 years out of my 50 year teaching meditation. And it really brings it home to people because they may have had no meditation experience at all, unlike you, they may have had no experience, but everybody's experienced going to sleep. And everybody's had experience, having difficulty at times falling asleep at night. And everybody knows, the harder you try to go to sleep, the longer you're going to stay awake, you stay awake all night. And so it's not the solution, the solution is learning how to let go. And of course, as you know, it's not just, that's not the technique, there's a specific technique that I teach. But that's the principle. And that general principle is of the mind to turn if when we when we turn the mind within and allow it to go where it's going to go. And then remind it through, you know, the technique that I teach, right, remind our mind in that way to be in that unfocused state when it starts to start thinking all the thoughts that you're talking about where you know, people refer the monkey mind or whatever, they you know, the the Oh, I gotta get to work. Oh, I gotta get picked the kids up at school. Oh, I gotta get more done. papers, Oh, I gotta go do they're gonna all that part of our mind, which is a very real important part of our mind. Otherwise, how we get anything done in waking state without thinking that way we have to think that way. But that during meditation or falling asleep is not focusing on those that type of thinking is not the way. Right.
Brian Smith 30:20
Right. And that's the thing that I've, I've learned from you just again, just the last couple of weeks after all I've done because so many of these techniques involve focusing and I, you've been very patient, because I keep calling you and saying, Should I do this? Should I do this? And you're like, No, just let go. You know, and you know, it's not just me, the other students in the class, we're all you know, unlearning. It's unlearning these things that we've taught you,
Kelvin Chin 30:47
it's you and 90% of my students. There's about five to 10% of my students who kind of go, Oh, wow. And they just boom, it's like natural for them. I'd say 90% 9090 for fiber says my students are like you. Because we are so and it's understandable. It's not that you're, you're a very smart person, Brian, it's not about you being dumb or smart or stupid, okay, it's, it's not about that. It's about what we are used to. And we are used to being in waking state applying waking state rules, focus, look to the car windshield, put your foot on the accelerator and the brake pedal, like gently or hard or harder if you need to speed up fast accelerate, okay? All of that is very, very important. But that's a very small part of our conscious capacity. That waking that that directing part of our mind, it's very important, and it gets a bad rap a lot. Sometimes you hear people say, Oh, the monkey, like I don't like the phrase monkey mind, because it has a negative connotation to it. It's not, it's not a negative thing. It's very important for the mind to be focused, and jump from here to there. If you're in battle, and I mean, battle doesn't, I don't necessarily mean war, it could be war. But it might be just be battle with getting your kids out the door in time to school, it's kind of like a battle. So parents, of their parents, you know what I mean? it up as I get him out the door and time to get to school, or work, you know, these challenges are sometimes like battles like that, that our mind goes through at times. And navigating that is important. It's not a negative thing. But learning how to navigate that with two key elements, number one clarity of thinking and the ability to have that state of inner peace. At the same time, you're in that challenge of getting the kids out the door in the morning and getting into school before the bell rings, that being in that state of inner peace at the same time you're in that quote unquote, life battle. That's where the rubber meets the road. That's, to me, that's the beginning of enjoying life, the beginning.
Brian Smith 33:02
Yeah, I completely agree with that. And you know, the reason I think one of the reasons couple of reasons is said I've been doing this for a while, and I've studied different techniques, and I've tried different things. There's also I think there's a thing in our society, everything has to be hard work for it to be worthwhile. And so if you want to get the most benefit I something and I, I found this when I'm trying to teach anything, just you know, I was just I've got some students going through a training right now called Positive Intelligence, and they're like, Am I doing it right? Am I doing it? Right? I missed this, you know, and so we want to do things, right. And we've been told that, you know, there's only one way to do something. So it's hard for some of us to let go of doing it, right?
Kelvin Chin 33:41
Yeah, that doing it right, is important. In certain situations, drive a car correctly, go through the intersection, properly, do it right, don't bump into people, when you're going 15 or 20 miles an hour through an intersection, or God forbid faster. Do that, right. But when you're talking about allowing the mind to expand its conscious capacity, which is what we're doing and when we go to sleep, and it's what we do even more so in meditation. That's a letting go. That's not a focus and limiting the mind we need to limit our mind and focus when we're driving through the busy intersection. In meditation, we want to expand our capacity because what's that going to do? That's going to allow the mind to expand and then trigger in a positive way, the releasing of stress and anxiety and improving the balance both neurochemical chemistry wise neuro chemically, as well as emotionally psychically and energetically in a more abstract level balancing and so that's the Houston Astrodome analogy you've heard me use many times. I borrowed it from this University of Houston professor, psychology professor He told one of my students, many, many decades ago, one of my meditation students was a student of this professors. And so the professor told his psychology students, he said, You all think your mind is limited to like this little eight inch plastic bucket with about eight or 10 or 1520 ping pong balls bouncing in and out of it. And he said, the ping pong balls are like your thoughts and emotions. That's what you're experiencing.
Okay. But you incorrectly think that your mind is like this little eight inch bucket? He said, No, no, it's like this huge Houston Astrodome, this huge Coliseum, this huge football, baseball, soccer stadium that holds 80 90,000 people, but you're in there at night, and you can't see all that because it's dark. And this this little desk lamp down on the 50 yard line over this little bucket, and you think that's your mind. And you have some, you know, bunch of thoughts bouncing in and up, that is part of your mind, he said, but this is whole bigger part of your mind. Now he may have been talking about it from a cellular standpoint, 86 to 100 billion brain cells on a physical level, or he may have been talking about it from a consciousness more abstract level, I don't know. But either way, it works these analogy, and I've been borrowing his analogy since 1970. And when my student told me, so told me this, and I've expanded on it. So what I teach turns on though, helps my students turn the light switches on in the rest of this huge football stadium that is their mind. It's vast, you know, extends 1000 feet this way, 1000 feet that way, they don't know that they've just they've been limited in this little eight inch bucket. Now, back to your meditation question. point about other techniques, you're doing a guided meditation. I'm not an anti. First of all, I'm not an anti any kind of meditation. Personally, I'm inclusive, but especially with guided meditations, can you get some benefit from it, even though there's some focusing and directing the mind? Otherwise, you're not paying attention, and it's not a guided meditation, there's got to be some level of focus and attention to the app or the person who's guiding you through. Okay. But can you get some expansion out of the bucket? In his analogy, the professor's analogy? Out of eight inch bucket a little bit? Yes, you can. And you feel like more relaxed afterwards, you feel like, well, I feel relaxed. It's not nothing. It's something so can your mind feel some release and relief from that? Yeah, but from a net analogy standpoint, I always say as compared to what it's like, as compared to a really just allowing your mind to really expand to more of the fullness of itself. It's, it's like the mind, you know, these kinds of guided meditations and so forth, will give you some level of benefit. So they're not nothing. They are something, but maybe, maybe you're getting a foot or two feet, or three feet, or six feet out of the bucket, which is amazing if you've lived your whole life, just in this eight inch bucket right in the analogy. Okay. But what about 500 feet? 1000 feet, 2500 feet out of the bucket? You know, what's that do to the potential clarity and expansive experience of our consciousness?
Brian Smith 38:14
Yeah, I think that, as I said, I've learned so much from you just in the last couple of weeks. And it's such a different thing. Because, you know, we've kept we've touched on already, because we think about, you know, the waking state, as you said, the waking state where we're focused, and we think about a sleep state. But I've never heard anybody talk about a meditative state in the sense that you do as a third state, right? So most of us, we go into meditation, and we're still focused, we're still trying to focus on something, our breath. Yeah. You know, whatever it happens to be, we're focused on the way we're setting. So this is to me is totally different from what I've heard before.
Kelvin Chin 38:51
Yeah. And there are techniques out there, in addition to what you're describing, Brian, there are other meditation techniques are out there that do say, Oh, you just use your breath temporarily and unedited. Well, that's more in the direction of what I'm teaching. But it's still different. But if you go, how is it different? So somebody may ask, well, How's it different? Well, it's different for us. If you're using breath, we're using a physical, right? You're using a physical, its breath is associated with breathing. It's associated with the physical body. Obviously, what I use as a sound in the technique that I teach, as you know, and then sound is vibration. So it's a little bit more abstract. So breath is okay. But I've taught many people who've told me they've tried to do various mindfulness as a technique. People a lot of people don't know, mindfulness, which often uses breathing as a tool in their in their technique is a form of Buddhist meditation that's been secularized and called mindfulness. So mindfulness is not the same. All meditation is not mindfulness. That's a mistake. Some people I just want to go clarify that because some people are walking around thinking they calling any kind of meditation mindfulness. It's not. That's not accurate. So mindfulness is a specific form of Buddhist meditation, that Jon Kabat Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, secularized and call it mindfulness meditation. He's a Buddhist, mindfulness meditation in 1970s. But it's an they've done a very good branding job, spreading it around in the media that Oh, meditation is mindful that we just use it synonymously it's not accurate. But anyway, but the use of the breath, I've had many people come to me say they can't do mindfulness meditation, because they freak out. Anything that has to do with their breath, actually triggers their anxiety. So I've had dozens, many, many dozens of students come to me with that issue. So using something other than something that's physically oriented, like the breath is, opens it up to a whole host of people who cannot, because and then the other thing is, if you think about it, you and I've talked, we've had other podcasts where I do you know, I help people with death and dying. And I've been after I've been at the moment of people's death many times in the room with them, at the moment they've died. How do I say this? So it's fairly well known that the last sense that goes is hearing long after the breathing has stopped. So I'm gonna say this, go out there and a limit a little bit to say this to people. Can you do a breathing technique? Right up to the moment that you physically, biologically die and let go. And even after that moment, because the physical body stays alive after you stop breathing, a lot of people don't realize that a little bit.
Brian Smith 42:02
Yeah, for a little while. Yep.
Kelvin Chin 42:05
You do a technique that does not involve breathing, you can still be doing that technique. And I true story. Just recently, I say recently, in my 50 years is recent, a year ago is recent for me. I taught a very, very close friend of my close friend of mine who we grew up since fourth four years old, a very close friend of mine, he introduced me to him, he played in a band with him in the 1980s very popular band called pride and joy. Anybody in San Francisco has heard of him. You know, one of the most popular you know, cover bands in in San Francisco Bay area, you know, hired by Aetna and you know the same for the day played the halftime is in for 76 or 40, Niners football game, I can't remember if they, you know, they played they played at one of the playoff games for United's or into the 80s or 90s, etc. So my buddy was in the band with in the band leader recently died, maybe was a year ago now. He had, what's it called geo blastoma. You know, brain and brain sports. I meditated with him almost every day for a year, about about every other day, I meditated with him, just to help him through until he couldn't communicate with me anymore. Of course, in the last, you know, two, three weeks month, maybe something like that. I told him, what I'm telling everybody here now is this technique that I'm teaching you. Name is Coleman, Coleman, that the technique I'm teaching you, you're going to be able to do right up to the moment you've because he knew he was going to die, he just didn't know when you know, right up to the moment you physically biologically die. And after, you will be able to continue doing this technique. And I'm telling you this Coleman, because at some point down the road, you will not be able to communicate with me, your sister, Bobby, no, your friends, none of your friends, you will lose your ability to communicate probably even though you can still hear and at some point, you're just going to be alone with yourself. So I'm teaching something, I'm getting a little motional telling you this, Brian. I'm teaching you something that's going to make you comfortable with being alone with yourself at that most intimate moment of your life. Right before you die, biologically.
Brian Smith 44:37
Wow, that you know, that is so important. That reminds me of something when I was talking to friends about meditation years ago. Another common thing I hear is people like I can't be alone with myself. I don't think I could stand sitting and being alone with myself for five minutes, let alone 10 minutes or 20 minutes. And yeah, I think that's that's
Kelvin Chin 44:59
Yep. Yeah, I think so many people, I think what you just said kind of very profound. It distills down to that worldwide, 8 billion people. Most people are not comfortable with themselves in that way, then you just drive. They're not comfortable with themselves. Most people view themselves. And I would say, incorrectly, inaccurately, they view themselves as their thoughts and emotions. Yes, we are not our thoughts and emotions, we are the experiencer of our thoughts and emotions. And we and you may understand that intellectually, the Kelvin just said that. But experientially, trust me, I know, when you're in the middle of the soup, of being overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions, Kelvin chin saying, I'm not my thoughts and emotions, it's not really helpful. It's true, it may be true. But when you're in the middle of it, it's I've been there when I was 19 years old, I was in the middle of it. That's why I got into meditation. Because I was my anxiety, I was like, I cannot get out of this state of being in anxiety, you know, and I help people get out of that state. That's what I do now. But I was there, I know what that's like. So that I did what we what I call that identification, identification with oneself with one's thoughts and emotions is very normal, natural when we are in that more or less overwhelmed state when many people are walking around in that fight or flight mode. That's what that's when we get overwhelmed by that stuff. Yeah. Fight or Flight is being triggered too much. You know, I,
Brian Smith 46:34
I want to invite the audience, if anybody has any questions or any comments, feel free to jump in, put them in the chat or whatever you want to do, too, because we want to get you involved if you'd like to be involved. So but I do want to talk about that, that I that some of the benefits of meditation, I think we just touched on a very, very important one is knowing who we are. Because yes, most of us think we are our thoughts and emotions, we don't realize that our thoughts are not us that our thoughts are coming from somewhere else, because we've never experienced that separation.
Kelvin Chin 47:08
Exactly, exactly. Where's this I'm looking for a work looking for something here. Here it is good. So my my buddy, Charlie Donahue, who's a philosophy professor, now, he and I taught meditation together in the 1970s, he came up with this model, and it says conscious of blank. And if you would plug in x, y, z, we're conscious of different things. So this is a model he would say, of experience of human experience. We're conscious of different things. And but the problem, as you say is most people identify who they are with this side of the equation. The XYZ is their thoughts, emotions. Look, so many people identify themselves with how much money they make, or what you know what position they are in the hierarchy of the business organization, or where their kids go to school, or what kind of car they drive. Those are all x, y z's, Charlie would call those objects of experience. They're identifiable, we can talk about him, we can point to them, and or indoor, we can feel them if their emotions, okay, they're identifiable. He said, Well, what about this side of the equation? everybody's forgotten about this side, this is the consciousness side, or what I refer to you hear me use the word mind. It's the same thing, consciousness or our mind, our soul. This is what is experiencing this, we have to have both to complete the whole model of experience, he would say, but most people have completely forgotten about that. And they're only over there. Like you say, Yeah, I am my thoughts and emotions. I am how much I am my BMW. I am how much you know, money I make and all that stuff. That's not No, those are experiences that we are having. So what do I What, what I teach does is it starts to connect these two, this is not bad. This is part of the whole model of experience. It's part of experience. But we don't it's it What's bad is identifying with this, because this is always changing. And this is changing, but more slowly. This is we're the constant in the sense that who we are my conscious individual personality, that's Kelvin chin. That is what's experiencing all this stuff. And when we start to experience it, not just intellectualize it. I mean we're intellectualizing about it right now, because we talk right, obviously, but when you start to experience it, through the technique in the way I teach it, it more quickly, expands that conscious capacity to that vastness of the Houston Astrodome. The Football Stadium, the baseball stadium, which is our mind, that's this. That's who we are. Right, right. We don't get just walked up into here, and that starts to create a sense of freedom, because we don't You're so limited. And what does that do? Causes relaxation causes anxiety to dissipate, it causes cortisol to reduce imbalance and adrenaline and lactic acid and all this stuff balances out.
Brian Smith 50:12
Yeah, yeah. And you know, and so that again, that kind of leads us to some of the other benefits of meditation, you just touched on some of them there. Because I know a lot of people are just like, I don't I don't have the time for this, you know, they don't, because they don't see what's this going to do for me. So what is some of the benefits of meditation?
Kelvin Chin 50:32
So I would say this is spectrum. And I have a lot of students who find me on the internet for different reasons. And one category of students who finds me is says these, I don't know, if it's four or five words, I didn't count them. But if they hear this often, you're my last hope. Because they've tried every form of therapy. They've been to psychiatrists, or maybe are still going to psychiatrists, and, you know, pharmaceutically being treated with psychotropic drugs. They've tried every workshop, every other kind of meditation technique, they've tried this app, that app and so forth. And they find me and they read the stories from my students on my website, and they gotta go, oh, you know, maybe I'll call this guy, it's a free call to me. Worldwide, I give people a free session about anything that I work on any of the stuff, I talk about work, work, work, they call me. So there's no there's not losing out on anything, you know, they just call me up or it's up an appointment. And then they, this that category, high anxiety, panic attacks, some of them at various levels of anxiety. And the other end of the spectrum is the spiritual folks, the spiritual group with folks who think, oh, I want to expand my capacity to experience I want to get more in touch with who I am, I want to I want to connect with dead loved ones, so that I have those people now not everybody who's watching this may believe in an afterlife, you don't have to. But if you want to increase probabilities, of connecting in that way, what better way to do it than to expand your capacity? You know, so you expand your capacity, your capability, because here's the thing, most people are thinking, you got this little container of knowledge, we'll call it our mind, our consciousness. And most people are just putting more stuff in it. Alright, at this workshop, I read another book, I did another video audio book I did, you know, I went to this class, and then they're just adding more certifications to their, to their knowledge bucket, which is not bad. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm saying, but wouldn't it be better and more effective to do that, and expand the bucket? So that's what I teach people to do is expand the bucket. Now you do I do some content oriented stuff about, you know, what happens after we die, and so forth. And certain life principles, like you talked about in my second book, you know, you know, you know, meditation, you know, 21st century meditations on life, you know, the markets really updated book. Yeah, I talk about those kinds of things. That's content. But mainly in terms of the meditation we're talking about is non content oriented, it's expanding the bucket, you know, expand the bucket, don't just add more stuff to the bucket. And then it goes, we have people in between to answer your benefits question. People in between who just want more clarity of thinking, they got really high anxiety, and they're not really that spiritually oriented, and so forth. But they want to be more productive. Or I have athletes who just want to get back on the playing field faster, they want to heal faster, accelerate their healing, because as I the research that I was in as a test subject, and subsequently, I was probably in about 15, or 20 different experiments at different times, they would notice accelerated healing, strengthening of the immune system. So with this whole COVID thing, that we're still kind of, you know, in I think we're going to be in it forever, but we're not we're coming out of the intense, you know, what is it stage anyway, we now know what it is. I was saying throughout the whole COVID thing, learn to meditate to improve and strengthen your immune system. Oh, yeah, you know, I'm not an anti Vax guy, you know, I got the vaccine too, but, but it's like, what do to other things, eat healthy, strengthen your immune system with a meditation
Brian Smith 54:16
does that? Yeah, the benefits are tremendous. And as you said, they're physiological, some of them, they've been studied for the people that need the study. So you've got the scientific study. So there's, you know, whether you see the spiritual, whether you see it as physiological when you see it as just, you know, more calm or more peace. The benefits are there. And, you know, it doesn't really take that much time. You know, it's just,
Kelvin Chin 54:43
yeah, can you 15 Yes. That's, that's what I tell my students so people, a lot of people go, that's all because they've given it to those who've been other meditation classes. It's like a half an hour. And then one of my friends, she finished a mindfulness extended workshop. I can I remember went on for weeks for her. And I think it was it was almost, it was almost, I think it may have been even a teacher training, mindfulness thing that she took. And they told her at the end, after the couple of months, you know, you've been meditating for 20 minutes, you know, there were humans 1520 minutes, or whatever it was. So you really want to get benefit from this, you got to do it for an hour or two, every day, you know, hour to really well. So 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, that's all you need to do. And because the thing is why, why don't you have to do the way I teach it very long. The reason is because it flips on the switch, this automatic switch that exists in every human, newer, nervous system that every human being is born with, very quickly. Why does it do that? Here's another thing we haven't talked about, right? Think about it this way.
People know what the fight or flight switches, they know what that is. That's the ancient switch that you know, ancient it's, it's as long as we've been humans, you know, millions of years we've had this fight or flight switch. It's a you. It's a server, human survival switch. It's like, okay, heart races, blood pumps are the big muscles, you're either going to fight that saber toothed tiger or run away from it. Okay, your mind focus is your lacrimal glands, your salivary glands, dry up, everybody, everyone ever notice that? Their mouth goes dry? Why? Because digestion is the last thing you need when you need to survive. And so that's the fight or flight switch in a nutshell. Okay, there's a lot other chemicals and stuff that goes on. But that's enough. All right, it's automatic. That's the point. Well, there's an equally automatic opposites, which and every human nervous system is called the parasympathetic nervous system, switch, the parasympathetic, automatic is the key word. How do you turn on an automatic switch? Does it logically make sense to control the mind to turn on an automatic switch? No, that's why it's automatic. That's why the way I teach the technique that I've taught you, Brian, and all these other, you know, my students around the world, work so fast. That's why you don't have to do it for very long, 1015 minutes, just all you need to do, because it is easy, and as automatic as possible. Eventually, Brian, you're not there yet, because you just learned a couple of weeks ago, but eventually down the road. And we don't know exactly when it'll happen for each of my students, everybody's unique. But some months, or it might be some year or two down the road, it will become so automatic, that you will close your eyes. And the technique is completely dropped away. And it just, yeah, you're being with yourself. Now, being with yourself is a term that many gurus have used for 1000s of years. But what does that mean for most people? That means for most people being with my thoughts and emotions and my monkey mind, no, that's not what we're saying here. Okay. So there's a technique that gets you through that whole stage, we'll call it that may last months or maybe even some years to a stage we'll call it or a eventualities where the technique drops away. Right? Because it's so automatic, automatic automatic. It then you've trained your nervous system, your mind, your consciousness, to turn on the automatic switch automatically. That's, that's the, that's the journey that my students I put my students on. Okay, controlling is moving away from that. It's fighting the current in the river, I say, don't fight the current in the river, go with the current in the river.
Brian Smith 58:32
That's, that's what I found, again, just in the last it'll be we started two weeks ago tomorrow. And I found in the last in last couple of weeks, I've been meditating twice a day since then. And it gets the technique was already easier, but easy, but it gets easier. And you know, I feel. And it's also interesting, because I want to talk about this thing, also, like the experience in the meditation. I was listening to a guy this morning was saying he learned meditation from some Zen master. When he was like 17 years old, they said he had this great experience. And then he chased that experience for 12 years. He meditate every day for 12 years. He said, 99.9% of the time, I didn't have that experience again. And a lot of people like I'm doing this meditation, but it's not doing anything. I'm not I'm not seeing lights, you know, I didn't have an out of body experience. Maybe I fell asleep. So it didn't work. Yes.
Kelvin Chin 59:28
First of all, let's deal with the sleep thing. And then we'll talk about the experience thing. And in fact, falling asleep. Those who fall asleep and meditation understand that it's totally great. It's a great, it's your body taking what it needs. And if your meditation teacher hasn't explained this to you in detail, I'm just going to leave it at that, then, you know, contact me and I'll explain to you how valuable falling asleep in meditation is. All right. So let's talk about the experience issue that you just raised. I've heard this soul Many, for 50 years I've been hearing this from people who've done out of meditation techniques. And you know, in my meditation, teaching, what do I do in my classes, I diminish, I, I don't not talk about experience, we have to talk about meditation experience, but I, I neutralize it, it's a better word, I neutralize the value of the valuation, I neutralize the valuation, the assessment of our experiences during meditation, we need to neutralize them, if we don't neutralize them. I've coined a phrase, and maybe somebody else has used it, I don't know. But I've coined a phrase, and I call that spiritual materialism. That person you're talking about, who learned to meditate from Zen Buddhist master when he was 17 years old. And he's kept looking for that experience. He's what I call a spiritual materialist. Now most people understand what a financial materialist is, most people think of materialism in a financial in a, oh, I got a bigger car, I got a newer car than you do I make more money to you, I get a bigger house. And you okay, that is materialistic. But I'm using it in a broader sense in from a spiritual statement, and specifically in the spiritual sense, because those people who are looking for experience says, whether it be an N D, a near death experience, oh, my D was better than yours. It was more real. I've had people say this, I had a comment, I just did a interview the other day with somebody about my experiences, and indeed, almost drowning. And, and it posted in what somebody said that in the comments. You didn't have a real NDA, you know, it was like, it was like, really, you know, it's this importance of being important idea, you know, you know, my experience is more important is better than you know, everybody is unique, that spiritual materialism. So we need to get away from valuing experiences as better or worse, whether it's our own experience or comparing to somebody else. No, everybody's unique. And we are unique. This is the other key point that that person needs to be taught who you're talking about util you're talking to many decades ago, that person needs to be taught that he in fact, is unique within himself. And that means that his own experience is organic, and fluid and changing all the time. And that to lock himself in by looking expecting and trying to have that amazing experience that he had, is walking him in and disallowing him to expand his capacity for experience.
Brian Smith 1:02:37
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, really well said, really well said. So. Coming up on an hour or so wanted to keep this to about an hour, I'm gonna invite anybody who's in the audience. Again, if you want to ask a question or anything, feel free to do that. But I wanted to Kevin, I want you to tell people about, like, how they can contact you. I know I'm taking the class right now, I know you teach this class on a regular basis, you've taught Do you know how many 1000 people you've taught?
Kelvin Chin 1:03:04
I taught 1000 people before the end of the seven years. So that was a few years ago. And so it stopped counting 1000s of people to go I actually kept I actually had names and where I taught them I have this I found this note this morning that the first 1000 People I taught and then I stopped doing it. Yeah. But yeah, lots of people around the world 60 countries, I teach on Zoom, like you know, video conference, and or on the phone or WhatsApp, it depends on you know, where people are in the world and what platform is working best for them depending, you know, in my my, my my students in Ethiopia and South Sudan and so forth, have a lot of internet issues, etc, etc. So you know, we'll work on whatever platform that works but mostly I'm working on Zoom worldwide. And the best place to reach people that reach me is just to type in my name Kelvin chin dot o RG and find out what I have for website so if you go to the bottom of any page on any of my four websites, you'll see hot links to the other three and you'll also see a link to my YouTube channel and so forth you can subscribe subscribe to my YouTube channel. Facebook is also a good way to connect with me and I might my facebook you plug in Kelvin dot cin one because there's more than Kelvin one Kelvin world out and I wasn't clicking around as my link on Facebook there and they're all like 2030 years old, they're like 2030 35 years old and I asked them what one of them wants to fit I have baby book came out in in China and you know anybody so it was like a name book that's a good way to get in touch with me and Instagram Kelvin dot h dot cin is my Instagram. So probably the fastest way is either Facebook message me or and I I only use Facebook for my for my teaching work that I do. Every once in a while you'll see a cool picture of my kids. But
Brian Smith 1:05:08
or my website. Yeah, well, Kelvin. Again, thanks for Thanks for doing this. Thanks for all that you've, you've taught me and hopefully this will reach a lot of other people and help them with some of these misconceptions and things that we've had about meditation and help get more people to to embrace something that I think is really, really helpful. So thanks for being here today.
Kelvin Chin 1:05:28
Great. Great to be here again, right? Thanks.
Brian Smith 1:05:39
Don't forget to like, hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell. Thanks for being here.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai