The Mind Architect with Peter CroneJun 12, 2020
You might call this week’s guest an “inner designer.” Peter Crone helps professional athletes, entrepreneurs, parents, and (in this case) podcast hosts to dissolve the mind’s limiting beliefs and unleash our human potential. His techniques directly address the uncertainty, anxiety, and mental anguish that constantly bubble up from our subconscious.
Jeff VO: You might call this week’s guest an “inner designer.” Peter Crone helps professional athletes, entrepreneurs, parents, and (in this case) podcast hosts to dissolve the mind’s limiting beliefs and unleash our human potential. His techniques directly address the uncertainty, anxiety, and mental anguish that constantly bubble up from our subconscious.
Peter Crone: So in terms of who I am, I mean, I could get as esoteric as you want and say I'm a space of possibility and unconditional love for people, which may sound very poetic, but I would have said at some level, it's actually very practical. But I think in day-to-day vernacular, I'm now commonly known as the mind architect.
So I'm sort of redesigning people's inner thinking space, which, what does that mean? I have sort of delineated what I would assert are these primal constructs that we live in and they're fundamentally constraints. As we function within those, we live a life predominantly based on survival instincts.
So what I introduce people to is the world of freedom, of true liberation on the other side of these limitations that are deep-seated in the primal programming of our subconscious mind.
Jeff Krasno: So when you talk about limitations-
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: What do you specifically mean by that?
Peter Crone: I would say anything that is an inhibitor to possibility or potential. So if we were to take a very everyday visceral example, it would be someone who's incarcerated. You could argue, go down to San Quentin prison and say, "Do you feel limited?" I mean, I'm pretty certain they're going to say yes, right? So, there is this literal physical bars and bricks that is preventing somebody from self-expression.
So for me as that relates to people in everyday life who aren't serving time in prison, they're nonetheless still caught up in the linguistic limitations of their own perceived ideas of themselves.
Jeff Krasno: Right. I've heard said that the man living in the mansion is only on the spectrum, just a bit more free than a prisoner on some level, if you're talking about the incarceration of the mind. But certainly, I think when you refer to limitation or limiting beliefs-
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: You are also not speaking just literally, like within the confines of four walls in a cell in San Quintin [inaudible 00:02:21]
Peter Crone: Or that you've been told to go to your room, because you're a bad boy.
Jeff Krasno: When you talk about freedom, is it essentially freedom from those limiting beliefs? If so-
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: How do you obtain that?
Peter Crone: Do you want me to give you all the answers?
Jeff Krasno: Well, that's why you're here, right?
Peter Crone: Yes. So, yes is the answer to the first part of the question. It is freedom from those constraints. So they're not literal, but they are literal. Meaning that they exist in the way that the world occurs to us, right? So my work is less in strategizing and perfecting people's circumstances, which a lot of experts do. They give you behavioral adaptations to whatever you're dealing with. So they want to give you some kind of action to take for your anxiety or some kind of behavioral shift that you should make because of your depression.
For me, I'm helping people see the freedom that's on the other side of these deep-seated subconscious patterns that give rise to the experience of anxiety or depression. That's an entirely different proposition. So one of the catch phrases I use, I say, I don't dissolve people ... oh, sorry. "I don't solve people's problems, I dissolve."
So then it becomes an internal proposition, right? Versus looking to these exogenous surroundings and or strategies or even substances, or whatever we're looking for externally that we feel will give us some sense of respite or liberation from our internal sense of suffering. Really, it's under the umbrella of suffering, right? Whatever it is that people are experiencing. So yes, freedom is the transcendence of that.
The how to the second part of your question, is really through the inquiry of the validity or the truth of whatever it is that somebody is fundamentally believing. So when we get down to ... you gave reference to some of the most common ones, right? Like the feeling of inadequacy or I'm not enough. Every human being at some point is going to have that experience and then we, either by virtue of maturity, we grow beyond it, we do some work, we have therapy, we go to some sort of transformational courses. Maybe we go, "Oh, okay, right. That's just something that I adopted, because my dad, my mom, my high school teachers said X, Y, Z, and I suddenly took on this belief that I was somehow inadequate and it's not actually the case."
Then for some people those constraints completely dominate their life, from their emotional state to the behaviors they take, to the job that they have, the kind of partners that they attract. So the dissolution process as I spoke to earlier, is really to investigate the validity of that self-perception or of that perspective that you have. Why for me that's so profound, is because instead of trying to solve a problem, which would only be reinforcing the belief that you have one, which is of course why people are in therapy for decades, or they still have to stay on whatever pharmaceutical product they're taking, because it's not actually resolving anything at the root cause.
Once we get to the fundamental inquiry of the truth or the validity of that way that you perceive yourself and see that it's always not a truth, it may feel very real, you may have evidence all over the world that that's who you are, then it just disintegrates. That's why it's so powerful and why I've been blessed to experience these, what seemed like miracle results instantaneously, oftentimes. Sports is a beautiful vehicle to be able to see these very tangible results in a very short space of time when somebody steps into a different dimension.
So that's the how. So yes, it is freedom on the other side of that and the how is to help people see that whatever they believe themselves to be is fundamentally, fundamentally at the deepest level. Not an actual truth, it is just the way that you have developed your relationship to yourself in life.
This is why I love working with actors, right? Because they do that for a living. They will take on a character and the degree to which they do it well is the degree to which we go on a ride, sit and watching a film and then maybe they get accolades and awards. But they know deep down that's not ... Tom Hanks when he played the guy dying of HIV in Philadelphia for which he won an Academy Award, every day he knows that he's not gay and he doesn't have HIV and he's not dying. So, it's really revealing what is beneath the role we're playing.
Jeff Krasno: Yes, yeah. It's interesting. I think we tend to, in a structuralist sort of way, in a way that we often turn history into nature. What I mean by that is we take the historical or the cultural circumstances and experiences of our life and then we turn them into nature, things that are inherently and universally true.
Peter Crone: Yes.
Jeff Krasno: Instead of essentially saying like, "Listen, I'm a sum of these different experiences, maybe I went through some sort of trauma, some sort of pain that has elicited a certain kinds of repetitive behavior in my life." It's very easy to say, "No, that's just who I am."
Peter Crone: Yeah, absolutely.
Jeff Krasno: You take history and you make it into nature.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: In a way, it's like you have to pull that back. It sounds like that's what you help people do, is to actually understand, no, that's not your nature, that is maybe the aggregation or the summation of the circumstances in which you have experienced life.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: And now you have to unwind some of those behaviors, many of which are subconscious.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: Identify them and potentially wind up new behaviors that better serve you.
Peter Crone: As I say, the ultimate game of cosmic hide and seek.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah.
Peter Crone: It's the Houdini process, that at some level, we created these beliefs of inadequacy and security or scarcity. Then the game is okay, you put yourself in a prison, who can break free first, right? It is that, it's conditioning. We have all the evidence in the world and one I write in quotes, and this is sort of the main format of my book. One that comes to mind in the way that you're describing this history that is giving evidence to the validity of who we are today is that past hurt informs future fear.
So whenever we have any disappointments, trauma is a strong word, I'm not denying that people go through some awful experiences. But whenever we basically, and it's sort of a childlike way of describing it. Whenever we got hurt or upset, the brain because it's designed to help us survive, so its predominant function is to predict and protect. So, I could be talking to a major league baseball player and what he's struggling with, his hurt, is that he's facing the same pitcher that three, four weeks ago, he didn't get a hit off.
Jeff Krasno: Right.
Peter Crone: Now, is that life-threatening? No. But in the way that his physiology responds, if we were without any sense of what was going on and it was purely the chemistry and the biology that we're studying, we're like, "Wow, this guy's about to die," right? But it's only because he's perceiving this potential threat in the future, which is a reflection of a history that created some sort of suffering, that now his brain doing its job, is trying to avoid.
But there's no freedom in that. That's got nothing to do with being in the zone, or a lot of people would talk about being in the now or being present. So they are the ancillary byproducts and benefits of what I bring people, is that once you reconcile your history, you simultaneously collapse your future. So you get rid of suffering, whilst equally getting rid of fear. Guess what I'm left with? Is me here now. Which goes back to how I answered the very first question, which is I'm a space of unconditional love and possibility.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. Byron Katie talks a lot about that. Essentially that-
Peter Crone: Yeah, absolutely. She's great.
Jeff Krasno: Suffering is in, not to deny that people have gone through trauma, but that essentially suffering is often caused by perpetual egocentric thought, self-centric thought. It is about taking pain or suffering that has existed in the past and essentially projecting that forward. When in the moment, you're probably just fine right here, right now.
Peter Crone: Yeah. Well, that's why, again, sort of tongue in cheek, I use a lot of humor in my work, because I think everybody takes all of this way too seriously. But it's like the number one, I would say, that's sort of one of the number one objectives of the ego is simply to be right. Because it's very disconcerting and it's very disorienting for somebody when they think that they know who they are, suddenly gets challenged, and worse still, starts to disintegrate. Because then it's like, who am I? Which is such a beautiful place to start and a very traditional spiritual question to ask, right?
Ramana Maharshi, he would always have people who showed up in his ashram ask that question, who am I? It's really a process of constantly revealing that which is beneath something that you realize is not me. To say, "I am depressed," which let's face it, in this day and age, millions of people are declaring, whether they're physically saying it or they're just thinking it, it's a complete lie. Now I'm not denying that they don't feel great or they might have symptoms that Western medicine is saying are akin to depression. But to say I am depressed is such a disservice to that person's ability to find freedom, because they're nailing their foot to the floor around a symptom and now they're going to do everything they can to manage that.
But that's an exhausting and futile plight, right? Versus saying, "I feel depressed," right? Do you see, there's a little bit more space there. I take it even deeper. I had a bunch of clients who would declare that I'm chronically depressed or it's chemical imbalances, or whatever people want to use as a justification. I said, "If you really were depressed, right, that's who you were, you wouldn't make the statement, I am depressed, because it's like saying I am."
Jeff Krasno: Right.
Peter Crone: Because you wouldn't experience the depression. You wouldn't experience the depression relative to your true nature, which is freedom. That's why depression doesn't feel good.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah.
Peter Crone: Does that make sense?
Jeff Krasno: Absolutely. If you have experienced, like almost anyone, feelings of happiness and depression, love, sadness, a gamut of emotions-
Peter Crone: Which we have a lot of, yeah.
Jeff Krasno: Those emotions come and go like visitors in a house, but you are the house, right?
Peter Crone: Yep. You are the space, yep.
Jeff Krasno: I'm starting, just on very personally, to try to find the capability or the awareness to see myself as angry or as loving, and to almost witness that in myself.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: That there can be this sort of expression that I'm experiencing life through a series of phenomena, limited basically by my five senses' ability to experience it.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: But to cultivate that awareness consistently that I am not this microphone or on a deeper level, I am not depressed.
Peter Crone: Whatever the emotion is, yeah.
Jeff Krasno: Whatever the emotion is. One thing that I think is really fascinating about what you talk about and in some ways it belies one of my rules or tools that I've used over time. So like anybody else, I have certain anxieties.
Peter Crone: Okay.
Jeff Krasno: Or maybe not like everybody else, but I'm just saying I do. There is a friend of mine named Chip Conley.
Peter Crone: Okay.
Jeff Krasno: Brilliant guy who was on the board of Burning Man and Esalen and has done all sorts of really interesting things, who became sort of the Elder at Airbnb. Neat guy. He wrote a book called Emotional Equations.
Peter Crone: Okay.
Jeff Krasno: This, in some ways was for block-headed men like me to understand their emotions, because he puts them in a mathematical equation.
Peter Crone: Okay, yeah.
Jeff Krasno: So he created a mathematical equation for anxiety.
Peter Crone: Okay.
Jeff Krasno: What he says is anxiety equals powerlessness times uncertainty.
Peter Crone: Okay.
Jeff Krasno: Anxiety equals powerlessness times uncertainty.
Peter Crone: Okay.
Jeff Krasno: So, there's certain things that I would have anxiety over around, public speaking maybe or riding on an airplane.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: In order to relieve that anxiety, I would, instead of embracing the uncertainty, which I want to get to, I would actually just do as many things as I could to lower the uncertainty to a ridiculous degree. Like let's just say it's an airplane, I want to know what the meal is. What's the model of the airplane? Am I on an aisle seat? When is the boarding? What does the airport look like? Just basically eliminating as many things that I was uncertain about to try to take the uncertainty from a 10 to a five, and then by extension, the anxiety would go down.
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: But when I listen to you, actually, you have a very different approach to uncertainty. So I wonder if you could tell a little bit about sort of your epiphany around uncertainty and then your thoughts about living with it?
Peter Crone: Okay. Well, I love what you just shared and it's very powerful. I think the reason being, because it speaks to how the majority of people would manage circumstance. For you, it's anxiety. You used flying isn't as one example, right? So, I'll come back to that, by virtue of the second part of your question with uncertainty. So the experience on your request to share that was, I was dating someone and it was really the first kind of relationship that had real significance to me, right? My subjective relationship to this woman was like, I'm in love with her, right?
So obviously when we're in love with someone, it carries so much more importance, apparently. I'll cut to the chase, she basically left after almost a couple of years of being together. What that was was the catalyst to reveal and it was a deep trigger for my "subconscious deep fears of loss," right? Which were based on what I was saying earlier, past hurt informs future fear. My mom died when I was seven, my dad died when I was 17 and I was an only child, so it was often before I was "an adult," right?
So, there's so many things that I could speak to about that experience that I didn't know at the time. The predominant one being that I felt, in hindsight, it was a visceral experience of isolation, right? So if we were to unpack what is the ego? What is the identity? What is the persona? It is sort of this individualized experience of ourselves relative to the collective, right? So if we look at basic psychology, we want to belong. That could, to me, really speak to what real love is and community and tribe.
But if I'm looking through a mechanism that by its design is individualistic, the ego, then my experience perpetually is separation. Which is why then we create all of these adaptations, behavioral compensations to try and be loved. There's the myriad of ways that we do that, right? For the girl that has to look beautiful and sexy all the time on Instagram, to the guy that has to be wealthy and drive the right car. These are terrible stereotypes, but you get the point. We're desperately trying to fit back into the gang, which is a completely futile, not to mention, exhausting proposition, because you never weren't a part of the gang. In fact, there's no gang. Anyway, that's even deeper.
But so what happened was, for myself in terms of recognizing this place of uncertainty to be so potently powerful, she left and it brought all of these concerns to the surface. For six to eight weeks or whatever it was that I went through my visceral human experience of suffering, not sleeping, losing weight, calling friends, desperate men doing desperate things, figuring out how I was going to get her back, very similar to you and your anxiety and mitigating all of these probabilities, I had these incessant questions going around, will I see her again? Has she met someone else? Will I ever find love like that again? All of these questions that are super relatable.
I sat there, I was in a rent-controlled apartment, 200 square foot to my name and I got the answer to all of the questions simultaneously. It was three words: I don't know. That may seem like a very unfulfilling response to the audience, but it was the most powerful moment in my life, because my brain, which as I said earlier, is designed to predict and protect, was trying to figure out, right? That is a behavioral adaptation to fear. Similar to you, you're going on a flight, you have this anxiety, which we can speak to in a minute, but then you're trying to mitigate all of the "probabilities" that could exacerbate your concerns, right?
So this figuring out process where the mind is really just constantly trying to work out what's going to happen, what's going to happen? Am I going to be okay? Is, as far as I'm concerned, why most people don't sleep and they have Hashimoto's and their adrenals are shot, et cetera, et cetera.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah.
Peter Crone: So why it was so profound for me is that I had that same process, because it's human, but I got to the other side, and my concerns were those three words. Because not only was it the truth, which itself was liberating, but then at that time, to address your question, I realized that the very structure, the very fabric, the very nature of life itself is uncertainty.
Then because we're human and we're designed to survive, we have a mechanism, the brain and the way it's conditioned, which is to try and figure out what is going to happen in the realm of uncertainty. Now, if you just get this, if this is all that anyone gets from this whole conversation, it will completely and utterly transform their life. Which is the nature of life is uncertainty, then by virtue of being human, you have a brain that's always trying to figure out what's going to happen.
Jeff Krasno: Right.
Peter Crone: But really that whole mechanistic process is all based in survival. Deeper fears, driving the whole show until you mitigate and reconcile all that fear. That's the game people are playing, trying to perfect circumstance, trying to control everything. I stopped playing the game. And the crazy part is my circumstances never been better. Because that's relinquishment, that's the realm of total trust or faith or surrender. And that's literally, I don't want to sound too grandiose about this, but it is literally a different dimension to function it.
Jeff Krasno: Yes. And I think this notion of surrender to the unknown, that perhaps is the key to freedom.
Peter Crone: You can probably drop the perhaps.
Jeff Krasno: Fair enough, while I'm still figuring I'm still globally way.
Peter Crone: That's what you do.
Jeff Krasno: I'm still on the path to it. And there's also a lot of humility in it.
Peter Crone: Massive amount.
Jeff Krasno: I mean, sort of recognizing your own relative insignificant is a part of it.
Peter Crone: And that's the last thing that you go once. I see this is the greatest fire. You see memes on Instagram where everyone is like, look in the mirror. That's your only enemy. And that to me is the game. Why I said earlier or a bit tongue in cheek, its cosmic hide and seek or it's the Houdini process of I arrive with a set of fears and constraints, which nonetheless give me some sense of value in the world. But really my liberation on what I crave is on the other side of the idea of myself who wants to get rid of themselves.
Peter Crone: And then we develop this persona, which we could argue is sort of the birth of the idea of ourselves or our persona. What I'm introducing people to, and another maybe to contextualize my work is this spiritual birth, which is who am I on the other side of. The idea of who I thought I was previous to that awakening. That's the greatest death that you could ever have.
And that's what I said I went through 20 plus years ago when I had this epiphany of I don't know, and life is completely uncertain and I'm clueless. And I finally found freedom with that. That is a death. Until such time that you get on the other side of that, then there's always going to be the fear of the death, which is the reconciliation or the loss of myself. And that's the real fear. Now I'm not denying that, you have a wife, you have kids, there's a sense of missing or love for somebody, but the death that people are concerned about, as I said, is more the miss identification with form and their humanity versus becoming more associated with the essence of who they are. You love your family.
Then rather than get attached to the form of them, you can bathe in the essence of the love you have for them and make sure that's where you live from. Such that [inaudible 00:30:32] said, he didn't fear death, he feared getting to death and realizing he was never alive. That to me is it's ... If we weren't for death as well, this is an entirely different conversation. But nonetheless a potent one, which is if it weren't for death, we wouldn't get to value life. I think death is a blessing because otherwise if I knew I was going to be here for the next million years, I'm like, you know what, fuck it.
I'm not going to take care of what, I'll talk to them in 10,000 years. I mean, no, it gives a depth of beauty, appreciation, reverence for life that we so often take for granted. And I think it's a shame because life has spoiled on the youth for that reason because I think they've got decades ahead of them. And as we get older there's this sort of appreciation I think for the fact that wow I May only have five, 10, 15 years left and either way, wherever you're at, I hope that if someone who gets anything again from this podcast, it's like, don't take shit for granted. Tell people that you love them. Go on the vacation, don't have anxiety about the flight. Take it.
Jeff Krasno: Is that your message? Because you work with some heavy duty important, some famous. What is the aperture pretty open, let's say, in a major league baseball team for that message?
Peter Crone: Again, it varies. And I and [inaudible 00:35:37] we have an expression when people ask questions about, well, should I have this? What should I eat? Can I have spicy food or should I drink tea? Whatever it is, it's always, the answer is it depends. Which is, so again, ungratifying to the audience, but likewise, it depends on the person. I'm talking to baseball when I've worked with so many of these major leagues, it's a very traditional sports. They're conditioning, just like your envy of your daughters, your conditioning of relatively four plus decades compared to their first decade. You've just got more reasons as to why you can't do something. Likewise baseball is steeped in this tradition.
Sometimes, the veterans that I was working with might have a little bit more of a barrier to entry to these esoteric subjects that I might bring. But the young guys now who are like, they're exposed to all sorts of shit all over the place. They're a little bit more open. And I think in sports professional sports, it is now the anomaly for an organization to not have someone like me involved. They recognize the importance of the mental part of any performance. There's not much resistance. I'm a pretty easy guy to talk to. I know where to meet someone. If they want to talk about cars and girls, that will be the access to me delivering the medicine.
Jeff Krasno: That'll be the next podcast. But what would you say though? Okay, I'm on the Angels and-
Peter Crone: I've never seen you play that.
Jeff Krasno: [inaudible 00:37:05] That's rarely. Yeah I'm the pinch hitter once a year to get the water. And I'm like, this dude struck me out four times in a row and he's got a wicked slider. He's a lefty and I'm a lefty. I pick up the ball a little bit later and I know I'm just having trouble against him. And I'm walking up and there's a good chance he's just going to strike me out again. Which is again as you spoke earlier, taking past results and projecting them into the future, but essentially, what would you tell someone like that?
Peter Crone: Well, I'd reflect what you said, which is the things that you said, the way you phrase them is inaccurate. He has a wicked slider. That's not a truth. That's your perception. But for somebody else who's a righty and has gone three for four last time you played him, he's like, no, he's got a dog shit slider. Which one's true? What is actually revealing is not what that guy has got, but who you are.
Peter Crone: If you really break it down, what you're only ever experiencing is you.
Jeff Krasno: Your subjective reality.
Peter Crone: Yeah. Just you. And it's a powerful yet sometimes bizarre perspective, which is there are as many worlds out there as they're all people. And you have the exactly the one that you need to reveal where you have yet to break free.
When you just presented this hypothetical, I'm an A's player and this guy's got a wicked slider. All the I hear is this guy is just confirming his own doom. And that's not a game I would ever play with anyone. I would introduce you to, do you know what's going to happen in five minutes? And you'll be like maybe throwing a curve ball by me, a wicked curve ball.
Jeff Krasno: Wicked one. Yeah.
Peter Crone: But you'd say no. And I'm like, okay, great. Then how the hell do you know what's going to happen in five hours when you step into the box? Now I'm not denying that you're hurt and you're embarrassed and you're scared. That's fine. But that's got nothing to do with what's actually going to happen. Now we can make space for the emotions that you're having or the feelings you're having. You're a bit scared. That's okay. But that now to use that fear as evidence, by collapsing it with your history as to what's going to happen, that's all ego. And there's no foundation of truth in that. I would hold a space a similar to you with your anxiety. Just to finish the point, rather than you trying to calculate all of these permutations to find some sense of relief.
Peter Crone: But what if we could take Jeff's anxiety and rather than try and mitigate it or control it by trying to figure everything out, which I would have said actually creates more anxiety. The anxiety is perpetuating the behavioral adaptation to try and figure out, to mitigate the anxiety. But that behavior is anxious versus what if we took your quote unquote little boy who's anxious and we made space for him if we allowed him to be that. Now I get it. Flying is crazy. You're in this tube going, all sort of things that could happen, it's okay. And now you start to make space for it. You allow it to be there versus trying to resolve it or solve it. And that's much more a feminine approach, which I would assert is where I start with everyone.
We have both of these qualities available to us. So the quintessential mother energy allows the feeling to be there.
Peter Crone: It's a different way ... Even with my athletes, right? I'm bringing this maternal energy of acceptance. It's okay that you're worried that you may not do well against this pitcher. I got it. Now, so then they feel held. They feel safe. They feel seen. Is it a truth? Do you know what's going to happen tonight? No, I don't. Okay. What if I told you you actually went three for four and you've got a homer? Their face starts to light up. Wow, that'd be awesome. I'm like, well, that's as real as the future you just presented to me that you're worried about. Why? Because we're still sitting in the clubhouse.
Jeff Krasno: Right. So to follow up that point and that particular metaphor, is happiness going three for four and hitting the homer, or is happiness essentially approaching that particular at-bat or series of at-bats that night with that pitcher without any anxiety, without any care, without any attachment to result?
Peter Crone: Yeah.
Jeff Krasno: Is essentially happiness the absence of the pursuit of it, or is happiness baked in to a successful result?
Peter Crone: Were you quoting one of my quotes there?
Jeff Krasno: Well, I butchered it a little bit.
Peter Crone: So, yes. So that teed me up nicely to use my quote, which is: True happiness is the absence of the search for happiness. Right?
Jeff Krasno: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Peter Crone: But that's a lot deeper. So let's just stay with traditional happiness for now.
Jeff Krasno: Fair enough.
Peter Crone: So I would say happiness is a subjective experience that is really based on the ego's perception of getting what it wants. So it's transitory. So going three-for-four for that guy, if he hasn't done deeper work, then he would feel happy with that night. But that's an emotional roller coaster because then let's say he faces another pitcher who he has done well before and so now he's cocky and confident. No, he would be, relative to the first guy, he's got a wicked slider because he hasn't had a hit. He goes three-for-four, he's happy.
The next day they face a different team and that guy's got a dog shit slider in his perspective. Yet he goes 0-4. Do you have a lot of baseball people in your [inaudible 00:00:46:51]?
Jeff Krasno: I don't in fact. [crosstalk 00:46:54]
Peter Crone: I just realized-
Jeff Krasno: ... went there.
Peter Crone: It's like yoga. But, anyway, hopefully people will follow. So let's just say his expectation was, "Well, I faced this guy last time, I got two homers and I crushed it." But then he doesn't do well. Now he's unhappy, right? That's this exhausting emotional roller coaster.
So happiness to me is really associated with the identity or the ego. And that's not a game that I like to play because it's exhausting. That's why I came up with the quote... now to pull that back in. True happiness is the absence of the search for happiness. That then is freedom. So to your point about not give a shit, or a lot of my athletes or anyone, do say, "Gosh, I wish I didn't care so much." That's their way of saying, "Gosh, I'm so invested that it hurts when things don't go my way."
But again, there's no freedom there. So I want to take people to the other side of the concern, which has more to do with the mind. And the care is more in our passion and our dedication. I'll often say to people who say, "I wish I didn't care so much." I say, no, you don't care enough. Because you're actually worrying more than you're caring. And that's an entirely different way of relating to life. I want to get you out of worry. I want you to be so dedicated to your craft.
And this is where I bring in a lot of tough love with the athletes I've been with for a while or, or any performers, and get them to quote-unquote poetically pull their head out of their asses and stop worrying about outcomes that haven't happened yet because that's how most people live their lives, where they're trying to avoid... another one of my quotes. Most people are trying to avoid a bad future that hasn't happened yet. And that's an exhausting way to live life.
Jeff Krasno: I wonder if there's sort of a parallel or correlation to, I suppose, how Siddhartha approached suffering. And our modern translation for suffering might be anxiety in some ways-
Peter Crone: Yeah, depression, upset, any kind of emotional pain.
Jeff Krasno: But that essentially what the Buddha was saying, was the source of suffering is this perpetual constant desire. And that we are then doing everything across the spectrum to essentially assuage and deal with that desire from just like, "I'm uncomfortable in my chair so I'm twitching a little bit," to buying the McMansion, to going three-for-four with two home runs.
Peter Crone: Yes.
Jeff Krasno: And that the only escape from suffering, the only way to allay suffering is to essentially develop awareness or consciousness and non-attachment to results. How does that core message of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, correlate with how you are thinking about happiness?
Peter Crone: So it's a beautiful comparison, and I would say they recognize in the conversation of Buddhism that, yes, suffering is a byproduct of desire. So I would take it a level deeper because that's just my want, which is that, well, desire is a byproduct of not wanting. Right? So now if you look at your own example, your fear of anxiety of whatever it is, flying, what you're actually being driven by is what you don't want, in this case, to get hurt, to crash, to die. Right? So then-
Jeff Krasno: Actually, I'll tell you what it really is.
Peter Crone: Okay, great.
Jeff Krasno: It's actually that I would... it's the fear of judgment, which is the crazy part of it. It's that I would feel uncomfortable. I would have some sort of anxiety outbreak. Maybe I'd throw up, maybe I'd be sick. Other people would judge me for that. It's actually not crashing or flying, which is completely screwed up. But I'll let you keep going.
Peter Crone: That's amazing. Actually, at that point, if you're throwing up and you're sweating because you're so anxious, you hope to crash so there's no evidence.
Jeff Krasno: At that point, I'm like, "Please, take me out."
Peter Crone: There's no witnesses to see that I was a quivering little child. Right, okay, got it. Well, then I was way more accurate than I even realized in the way that I described what you're here to work on is to make space for the part of you that feels completely powerless and like a scared little boy.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah.
Peter Crone: And then if we were to reverse engineer this to your own childhood, we would see the experience of the absence of that. No slight on your parents. But I would say that your opportunity here, as a man, as a father, so you've got great teachers, is to develop that sense of love and unconditional acceptance for the part of you that is scared. And that would be a different experience for you.
So, okay, so what if you threw up, right? What that shows is that there's a part of you that you don't accept about yourself because you're concerned about what other people would think about you, which is really a reflection that you think there's something about you worth worrying about. And that is a very powerful thing for you to get out of this conversation. If you sit with that, and I'm happy to chat further offline, but that is your humanity.
That is the part that I'm inviting you to accept is, "Wow, there's a part of me that is so scared about what other people think about me." And then it's going to get exacerbated. Right? Probably because of your role, what you've built here as a community. Like, "Wow, you're a spiritual dude. You created Wanderlust. You should be of all people sitting there in lotus position and just omming through the flight." So that exacerbates it. Right?
Peter Crone: Beneath all of that, all there is is for you to recognize, wow, my humanity, which is like everyone based in fear, limitation, inadequacy, insecurity is concerned about what other people might think about me, and particularly in environments where I might have some kind of visceral reaction. Can you, as a man, find space, love, unconditional acceptance for the part of you that may from time to time not be impeccably perfect in your society?
Now, if you find space for that, first of all, whatever you're concerned about won't happen because you've allowed it, you've already made space for it. Secondly, you'll have a completely different sense of love and compassion for yourself, which then will get translated into everybody around you. You might actually hold your 10-year-old before you tell her to go to school and be her authentic self because you would find so much more compassion for somebody who's suffering because you've learnt to hold that space for yourself. And that's a very different experience of life.
Jeff Krasno: That's beautiful.
Jeff Krasno: The work that you're doing, and I'm experiencing it right now, is so I think very applicable and very powerful on the individual level. I can see in a relatively short time how you can really unlock a lot of things for individuals. I wonder because this is what I'm concerned about, given sort of the broader landscape of the human condition. Is your work and your teachings applicable on a, I guess, societal, global level?
I ask because, for the obvious reasons, while I'm feeling... while there's personal anxiety and what I might call personal inflammation, what I also witness in society is a tremendous amount of, I guess, societal inflammation. And you could see that and global warming or you could see it in income inequality and social polarization and the fact that we can barely get along. And there's Donald Trump won't shake Nancy Pelosi's hand, and she's tears up the script. I'm like, "Jesus Christ." I mean, come on. How do we heal as a global society?
Peter Crone: Yeah, we're doing it now. We're doing it now. And I don't know who's listening to this. I do know that I'm very humbled, and you spoke to this earlier about stepping into freedom. And my experience, for that reason, has been an immense amount of humility, but we don't know right now how many of your listeners, how many thousands that you get to, are experiencing freedom and relief by virtue of this conversation, right?
Peter Crone: So not only are you hopefully experiencing a sense of newfound possibility or relief for yourself. And go, "Wow, maybe if I just stood with and held the space of anxiety versus mentally try and calculate the ways to offset it, I would have a different experience of relief." So we're doing it now because not only in terms of the logistics of people listening to what I'm saying. And I have, as I said, been humbled by the thousands of DMs and messages and emails.
I mean, I had somebody just recently write in who said, "I listened to your one podcast," with a guy I helped get rid of dermatitis around his eyes. Within 24 hours, at least 70 80% had gone, and he'd been trying to get rid of it for months. She said, "I listened to some of your words, and I felt such relief. I've had psoriasis for as long as I care to remember. And it's gone."
Now to a lot of people that seems either unbelievable, it's a miracle. To me, it's just physics, right? So your point about inflammation. If somebody is in a state of lack of ease or disease in their system because of their psychological, emotional relationship to life, then their body has to reflect that over time. So to answer your question, we're doing it now, one, because you are different.
Now, you may only be, to use your spec on the top of a pinhead, that size. But, nonetheless, if you look at the butterfly effect... If all that happened is that today Jeff has a little less anxiety then the world has a little less anxiety. So that's how this is helping at one level. And so there's something that at one level seems minuscule, but at the same time it's palpable. And I rely on the palpability of it and the fact that it is making a difference.
And whether there's 10 people or there's 10,000 listeners who today feel a little more relief, they speak to their partner, their parent, their spouse in a little more loving way. They hold their kid for a second longer. They listen to their child for a bit longer because they're scared and they heard something about what I said to you. That's impactful. So that is scale.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah, it is. I think I was very, like most people, strangely surprised at how moved I was by Kobe Bryant's death. I mean, I was a basketball fan, and certainly it was a big part of a lot of people's lives. But in a way, that incident transcended the life of one human being. And in a way, there was sort of this kind of collective grief that... What I've experienced at least, there has been this collective grief that has a lot of people reassessing their priorities in life. Much to what you just described so very, very beautifully, of-
Peter Crone: Thank you.
Jeff Krasno: ... spend that extra moment hugging your child or being present with a friend. Essentially, engage in the things that are truly worthwhile in this life. I think that your teaching and your voice, which is a beautiful voice by the way.
Peter Crone: Thank you very much.
Jeff Krasno: And you have an uncanny memory, just for things [crosstalk 01:03:32] I noticed quickly.
Peter Crone: That's presence.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah.
Peter Crone: People often comment on that. I'm like, "Well, when you're present, you pay attention." So, yeah.
Jeff Krasno: Yeah. Your work is really, really helpful for people.
Peter Crone: Thank you.
Jeff Krasno: And I truly, truly, deeply, profoundly appreciate you and this conversation.
Peter Crone: That means a lot to me. Thank you. And I can see, and I hope that what I shared is going to change, however subtly or however majorly, the rest of your life and maybe does bring a little extra presence and connection and intimacy with your own family and the people that mean a lot to you. And I hope that if you do throw up on an airplane, that you bring so much love and compassion to yourself, that all you're surrounded by is people who want to hold you, in a way that maybe you weren't available to before.
Because that gives them an opportunity to see their capacity to make a difference. And it's something we forget sometimes is that we're so busy trying to look good or make a difference for others because it gives us a sense of self worth that we deny other people that capacity to do the same for us. I think in you being concerned about what other people might think about you, you deny them the capacity to just love you.
Jeff Krasno: Thank you, Peter.
Peter Crone: You're welcome.
Leading teachers, life-changing courses...
Your path to a happier, healthier life
Get access to our library of over 100 courses on health and nutrition, spirituality, creativity, breathwork and meditation, relationships, personal growth, sustainability, social impact and leadership.
Stay connected with Commune
Receive our weekly Commusings newsletter + free course announcements!