It was author Roy Bennett who said, “No one has ever achieved greatness without dreams.” And the American disability activist Helen Keller said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
This is the continuation of part one with my guest Jamie Wheal. It was such an in-depth discussion based on his new book, Recapture, The Rapture, Rethinking God, Sex and Death in a World that’s Lost its Mind, that we broke it up into two parts.
This is part two with Jamie, so if you haven’t heard part one yet, make sure to visit here, and listen to that as well, because it will blow your mind!
In this episode, we discuss why it’s important to heal your past, the different types of brain states and how to access them, and the different practices to help achieve peak states, and why we don’t have a full understanding of our human experience.
Let’s recap who Jamie is:
Jamie Wheal is the Executive Director of The Flow Genome Project and a leading expert in the neurophysiology of human performance. His work combines a background in expeditionary education, wilderness medicine, and surf rescue, with over a decade of advising high-growth companies on strategy, execution, and leadership. Jamie’s coaching ranges from Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Google, and Nike to the U.S. Naval War College, and Red Bull. Since founding the organization in 2011, it has gone on to become a leading voice of evidence-based peak performance, counting award-winning academics, legendary professional athletes, special operations commanders, and Fortune 500 business leaders among the hundreds of thousands of people in its global community.
You’ll find Jamie speaking on the intersection of science and human potential to diverse, high-performance communities like Young Presidents Organization, Summit Series, TED, and MaiTai Global. At the Flow Genome Project, he leads a team of the world’s top scientists, athletes, and artists dedicated to mapping the genome of the peak-performance state known as Flow. He lives on the Colorado River with his wife Julie, their two kids Lucas and Emma, and a righteous Golden Retriever named Cassie.
Let’s jump right in to continue hearing what Jamie had to share!
Humans are different from animals, in that we walk around holding onto stress, either anchored in the past or constantly thinking about aches and pains in our present. The animal’s trick when they get stressed is to discharge all of it immediately. Even without experiencing major stress, there are a multitude of ways we accumulate trauma or micro PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Well, we don’t have to accumulate it, and we can process all of this, just as animals do.
“Can I reboot my nervous system to establish a global systemic reset? And can I do that by pulsing energy through my nervous system — such that it discharges me and just like a laptop that’s fritzing, [perform a] cold reboot and power backup to homeostasis? I’m going to face every challenge, opportunity, and get knocked off — but I can come back to the center via tools that I have access to that don’t cost an arm and a leg. [The question is] can I come from my best more often? And can I metabolize my grief as fast as I’m taking it in?” – Jamie Wheal
Instead of holding onto trauma for months and years and suffering with it — experience it, have your heart open, allow yourself to feel, and then move on.
While a global systemic reboot is about finding the pieces that can work for you, Jamie and his team at The Flow Genome Project are concentrated on understanding why things like tapping, breathwork, physical therapy, psychotherapy, psychedelics, and the multitude of therapies out there work — and creating a system that enables us to hack our system to create these optimal states on demand.
We don’t all process the same information in the same way. In fact, there are three different categories that you might experience by reading this. Jamie calls them “acculturated triggered responses,” and he has some fantastic insights for us to understand them.
We all fall into one of three categories: A hedonist, a purist, or a conformist.
It’s not to say that one is preferred over the other, in fact, there are important lessons to be learned from all three categories.
“Each of those folks has a core value. The hedonist says, ‘I value the fullest range of human experience — it’s sucking the marrow out of life.’ The purist says, ‘I value the sanctity of mind and body.’ The conformist says, ‘I value evidence and the advice of experts.’ If you pull them all together and stand up as hedonic engineers where you’re asking ‘Can we do all three of those things? Can we seek the full range of human experience with evidence and the advice and oversight of experts and value and appreciate the sanctity of mind and body?’” – Jamie Wheal
We all have this potential at our disposal as we navigate these chaotic times. Now — how do we integrate that into our lives?
We are not alone in this quest. Seeking the assistance of people like Jamie is like having an electrical problem and having an electrician run juice through the system to do a diagnostic test and diagnose a specific problem like ‘you have a blown crimp,’ enabling you to go fix it. We can get a printout for our homework and begin to seek the catharsis needed. We validate each other by having people outside tell us what to do. We may want to avoid authority these days, but we do still have each other. — And that’s what keeps us honest and keeps us human.
Rather than waiting for the end of our physical lives to experience the death-rebirth awakening, we get to have it earlier in life — in the middle chapters where we’re no longer struggling to get off the hook. We’re no longer trying to transcend or bypass our lives — we’re actually embracing it fully and shouldering the yoke.
In Greek, our biographic life is called Kronos — the term for clock time representing our past, present, and future. When we die, that’s called sacred time. What we experience when we glimpse our mythic lives is called Kairos. In the esoteric traditions, Kairos is the vertical beam. That’s sacred time. Kronos is the crossbeam and we live on that plane, but we can have access to the intersection, that’s what Rosicrucians called the rosy cross. That is Anthropos, which is timeless Christ consciousness. Can we bear witness to the tragic, to the magic, to the comic, and live out the remaining chapters of our life with joy, grace, and creativity?
To tie this all together, we finish with exploring faith.
Elton Trueblood was a Quaker theologian and chaplain at Stanford who also advised the 34th US President Dwight Eisenhower. He said, ‘Faith then is not belief without proof, but rather trust without reservation.’
“We’ve seen the end of the movie. We can relax a little, but it’s not like Calvinist predestination. You’re not, ‘Oh, we’re already saved or already damned. It’s not like we can close our eyes and take our hands off the wheel. It’s 49/51 — which means every single calorie between here and there counts. We’re off the hook of our neurotic wanderings about whether there is something more? Do I have a place? But we’re on the cross between Kairos and Kronos to say, ‘I bear witness to this full catastrophe on behalf of the least of my brothers and sisters.’” – Jamie Wheal
Jamie was interviewing Rick Doblin from MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Rick was recounting the famous Good Friday experiment at Harvard Divinity School, the famous experiment in 1962 at their Boston chapel where they gave a bunch of their school students psilocybin during a Good Friday service. It became one of the most well-reported [studies] and later replicated at Johns Hopkins. In this experiment, they could not tell the difference between who had had a legitimate mystical experience and who had been on the psilocybin. Interestingly, none of the folks in the control group went on to become ordained ministers and eight of the nine who had psilocybin did.
That is the part everyone knows, but out of nowhere, Rick was about to blow Jamie’s mind.
“[I’m listening to him and] he says, ‘By the way, you know who the chaplain was delivering the [sermon]? Howard Thurman! I was going to write about Howard anyway, so I dug up the audio because they recorded [the sermon].” – Jamie Wheal
The man who coined the term ‘Soul Force,’ who shaped the entire African-American Civil Rights movement, tells this story to a chapel full of tripping mystics.
“I hear a voice crying out in the wilderness, [it’s] forgiveness. And I go out to see him. And I find a man on the cross and I say, ‘I have to take you down.’ And he says, ‘You cannot take me down. You cannot take me down until every man, woman, and child comes to take me down. Tell everyone you meet. There’s a man on the cross. There’s a man on the cross.’ Tell everyone we meet, it’s time to stop waiting for the second coming — and it’s time for us to step up, every man, woman, and child.” – Howard Thurman
It’s time for every man, woman, and child to step up. I could not think of a better way to bring this fascinating conversation to end. There is so much to digest here!
We have the potential to learn to weep and not whimper — learn to digest our grief and transmute our trauma. If we do this, then collectively we don’t just get to limp or walk each other home — we get to dance each other home in profound celebration.
However, the longer we delay — the harder the landing. The sooner we get on this — the more joy we can co-create into the next chapter for our Cinderella story.
This second part of the interview was as incredible as part one! It was fascinating to dive deeply into Jamie’s thoughts. I hope you enjoy part two as much as I did, and that if you missed part one you head here and listen to it as well! You can head here to listen to the episode in its entirety to get the full benefits and to share the episode with someone who needs to hear it. You could change someone’s life!
I want to acknowledge Jamie for his constant seeking of wisdom — from science to ancient philosophy — and bringing it all together as something we can apply and use for healing trauma for ourselves and how to help others. I acknowledge Jamie for doing the hard work, for diving into the misfit that he is, because I’m sure there were a lot of things that had to happen for him to be here. As always, let’s hear what Jamie’s definition of greatness is:
“I think it is seeking refuge in the Dharma, the thing that’s yours and yours alone to do. Like in Marvel comics — Thor’s hammer is impossibly heavy for anybody else. Find your hammer, and wield it with courage and compassion, and let the chips fall.” – Jamie Wheal
If you enjoyed this episode, let us know on Instagram! Tag Jamie, @jamiewheal, and me, @lewishowes, with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways! Remember, this is just part two. Check out part one here to learn how to find meaning in a world of chaos from Jamie Wheal in Episode 1099.