In this final episode of our Mind-Body series, we explore the topic of life purpose and how it cultivates a sense of wellbeing in body, mind and soul. Discover the secret of success, purpose and health as we discuss:
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Welcome to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado of CreativeMind. Join us each week for an inspiring conversation about personal development based on Jungian philosophy, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience. Spend each week with us to explore deep topics in a practical way. Let's begin.
Debra Maldonado 00:28
Hello, welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions. I'm Debra Berndt Maldonado, I'm here with Dr. Maldonado. We’re going to talk today about purpose and well being. Before we get started, I wanted to remind you, if you're watching us on YouTube and would like to subscribe to our channel, please click on the button in the corner, get on our subscription list, get every notification of our new episodes when we release them. If you are listening to us on a podcast service, please subscribe to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind, so that you can get every episode. Today's title is Why a Purpose-Inspired Life Creates Well-Being. It's the last of our series in mind body for now, probably this topic will come up again.
Robert Maldonado 01:18
There's plenty of other or related topics to talk about. But we want to talk about purpose. We're going to give you an idea that comes from Eastern philosophy but is very applicable to how we live today, three levels of purpose.
Debra Maldonado 01:40
We're talking about mind body and purpose. Research shows that having a purpose increases longevity and well being. If you have a critical illness, having a purpose has a profound change on you. Many physicians have seen how two patients with similar ages, same diagnosis, same degree of illness and the same exact treatment program have experienced vastly different results. They came to the conclusion that the mind must have some impact. A quote from Plato says “The cure of many diseases is unknown to physicians because they are ignorant of the whole, for the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” Some doctors and psychologists now believe that proper attitude may even have a direct effect on cell function, and consequently may be used to arrest if not cure cancer. They call this field of study psychoneuroimmunology, PNI.
Robert Maldonado 03:03
How the brain, the mind speaks to the body, in particular, the immune system. It's an incredible science. There's a great book by Kelly Turner, PhD. In her research, she was interested in looking at people that went through spontaneous remission. These were people that were really sick, medical establishment had given up on them, but they pulled it off, they just recovered and were cancer-free. She went all over the world, interviewed these people, and compiled the factors they all had in common. What were these people doing that allowed them to experience this spontaneous remission? She boiled it down to nine factors. I'll give them to you quickly, then we'll talk about a couple of them. Number one, change in diet. You have to think about what are you putting in your body. Take control of your health, that attitude of “I'm going to make it, I'm going to find a way through this.” Follow your intuition, number three. Number four, herbs and supplements, of course, because often we need to rebalance our system, somehow find the nutrients that it needs. Then we get into more of the emotional and purpose elements of it. Number five, releasing suppressed emotions. That's an important one, many of us don’t know what emotions are. We don't know how to handle them, we don't know what to do with them. Suppressed emotions are definitely an important part. Number six, increasing positive emotions, actively seeking to cultivate positive emotions of well being, positivity, imagination of wellness, using your mind's inner eye to visualize yourself in a healthy state of being. Number seven, embracing social support.
Debra Maldonado 05:27
Allowing yourself to be supported, a lot of people have a hard time receiving support, love, and caring.
Robert Maldonado 05:34
We'll talk about how that plays into purpose as well. Deepening your spiritual connection is important. Finally, this plays into what we're going to be talking about, having a strong reason for living. If you don't have a strong reason for living, a purpose in life, your body is essentially getting the message of “What are we doing here? There's no aim to this life.” You are just surviving. If you get sick, you might as well just pass away. Reason for living is a very powerful motivation to stay alive. It gives your mind body the message that you got a purpose here, you should stay alive as long and healthy as possible.
Debra Maldonado 06:31
A really great example of this is that movie “127 Hours” where he was stuck between a rock and hard place, that's his book. It was in Colorado, I was in Denver actually when that happened. His arm got stuck in the canyon, he was there for 127 hours. Finally, he thought “The only way I can escape is I have to cut off my arm.” Think about the pain he'd have to go through and all stress to do something like that to free himself. He had to have a strong will to live. He said he started seeing his family, seeing his future, he saw a child and a wife. He just had this overwhelming desire to live and to do something and basically beat the odds. He could have just died there. It supersedes that pain you go through, that short term pain, to really do whatever it takes to live because you have a strong sense of living.
Robert Maldonado 07:38
How do we get this strong sense of purpose? There’s a whole science behind it. Not many people talk about how we find it. What is it that we're working towards or experiencing when we have a strong sense of purpose? Here's a way to think about it. First of all, assess where you're at in your living purpose. At the basic biological level are people that have a purpose that is dependent on external validation. It's tied to family, friends, social interaction, social relationships. We can think of this purpose as the seed we're all born with. We all want to fit in, we all want to connect with our parents, our siblings, our extended family, our friends and social acquaintances.
Debra Maldonado 08:49
Because it feels good when we have those deep emotional connections. Meaningful relationships are very important. This is meaningful relationships, because there's so many people who have tons of friends, and it's all superficial. People like them because they have money, or they're famous, or like them for other reasons and not for who they are. That meaningful relationship is really important. For me, that's for so much of my life, that was my purpose in my younger years. I have to find the right partner, I have to have good friends, I have to fit in at work, have my work friends, people liking me, always seeking that approval from bosses and my peers. It’s exhausting after a while.
Robert Maldonado 09:36
It's level one of purpose, there's nothing wrong with it. We all need to have this in some form or another. But the problem with staying at this default sense of purpose, my kids or my family is going to give me my sense of purpose, the problem with that is that when it goes awry, when it changes, when it's no longer there, when people move away, when circumstances in the family change, the person is in trouble because they're losing their sense of purpose, what they were depending on for their purpose in life. It's a very precarious way of doing your life purpose.
Debra Maldonado 10:22
It feels that some people are stuck in the past. They're resolving family issues from their childhood or things that happened to them when they were younger. They're constantly working on that, working on themselves. They're basically swirling in level one where their purpose is to heal this insecurity or lack of power they have. It's a necessary step but I think people stay there too long. It distracts them from moving on to other areas and higher levels of purpose. When I shifted away from just needing other people's approval to finding something else, which is level two we’ll get to, everything started to shift.
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Robert Maldonado 12:05
Level two purpose, we can compare it to level one, is this career-oriented purpose. We identify with a job, a career, a service we provide to humanity. It gives us a sense of contributing to the world, that our work is important, our personality is important because we are able to contribute to help people. It's a powerful way of developing your sense of purpose, of course, it doesn't exclude level one. People that are able to express these career-oriented purposes often have a strong family foundation, they have a strong sense of connection to community.
Debra Maldonado 12:59
Don't you think sometimes people want to skip over, they think “If I become a coach, or a therapist, or a nurse, or some other helping profession” to compensate for their childhood? They want to help others but haven't left the past behind. It becomes “I haven't resolved that yet, so I'm gonna resolve it through career.”
Robert Maldonado 13:24
Good point. This maps on really well to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. At level one, a lot of it is about survival. As social creatures, we're very invested in connecting with the group, with the tribe, with fitting in and being acknowledged and supported by the group. Therefore when it's not there, people feel depressed, anxious, because they feel “I'm not being validated. I'm not being heard by the group.”
Debra Maldonado 14:00
I hadn't fully resolved my emotional validation on level one when I started doing hypnotherapy when I first started as an entrepreneur. In the first couple months I was very needy for the clients, feeling very hypersensitive to their criticism, them not showing up, having a hard time keeping boundaries. After changing a career, I still had to work through some things to really feel it. If you don't resolve level one, you're going to carry that into level two. Those people acknowledging you for your service, for your career becomes the next level. But I do know though that finding what I loved gave me such a big boost of confidence. I still had some things to work through, everyone does, you are gonna still bring with you what wasn't resolved in level one as you go to level two. But the more you do the work on level one, level two becomes more enjoyable, more fulfilling. You're really helping people versus helping yourself feel better and acknowledged for helping people. It is that evolution. I think that if we don't continue on our growth to the next level, we can get stuck in feeling as though our acknowledgement and our acceptance is for the work we do. It's still externally based, just like level one is external for other people, level two is more successful in that rate of success and what everyone thinks on a bigger level.
Robert Maldonado 15:48
The problem with level two, depending on level two, is that when it goes away — and we know we can’t always do our career forever, the athletes that depend on their running or football skills, or whatever they're doing, they know it’s gonna go away. People that don't prepare for that, or don't have any deeper sense of their purpose are in trouble once that happens.
Debra Maldonado 16:21
Look what happened with the pandemic, people that had retail establishments or in person, one on one, like yoga studios. Now everyone didn't want to be in the group. It was a little challenge at first, how do I reassign and live my purpose, it was taken away. A lot of people during the pandemic started to reassess what was important. Even driving to work, commuting, working from home, that changed people. What am I doing with my life? I am spending so much time in traffic when I could be home with my family. Any type of thing that can be taken away is still not the highest purpose.
Robert Maldonado 17:06
Maslow would certainly say, if you don't really complete the first stage, coming to terms with family, friends, and your social situation, and you’re using then your job or career as a substitute or as a compensation for that lack of family support, you’re going to be in trouble when it's not there, when it vanishes or changes. I knew this incredibly talented surgeon when I was coming up in the hospitals. He was still young, he was in his late 60s perhaps, and he got sick. He ended up being one of the patients in the hospital there. I went to see him every once in a while. His sense was that he was defeated because all his identity was in being that useful surgeon that saved people's lives. Here you see an incredibly gifted individual contributing to society by lending his surgical skills to helping others. Yet, when it came down to “Is there a deeper purpose than my career?” he didn't have one. He didn't have this level three that we're going to be talking about. That is a real sense of purpose.
Debra Maldonado 18:53
In the coaching industry, there's a term called “the seven figure blues”. It's a place where it is about how much money you're making, I'm a six figure coach, I'm a multiple six figure coach, I'm a seven figure coach. People reach that seven figure, they're thinking about it, they're going for it, then they finally realize “That's not it! I've been chasing this dream that is not satisfying.” Whether it can be taken away, or you actually reach the potential, you think “Now everyone thinks I'm successful. Now everyone looks up to me.” Then it's still not it, that’s really that point where people start thinking “What else is there?” In a way that blues are the gift because it's making people getting off the treadmill, it's questioning “What the heck is happening here? What am I doing with my life again?” How can we resolve that?
Robert Maldonado 20:00
One last note on career driven sense of purpose. Here Carl Jung says “This is the persona.” When we depend on the persona and think “If I create this great persona that is able to help others and lend their skills and talent to humanity, I'll be fine.” But he says “You're still in persona”, you're still identifying as the uniform, this career that you created. He says that is a false sense of being in the world.
Debra Maldonado 20:39
There's a lot of research where people, the day after they retire, get a heart attack or get in an accident. It's like they're done with their life. They get depressed because they're not that career anymore.
Robert Maldonado 20:59
Again, there's nothing wrong with these ways of doing purpose and finding purpose in your life, they are the beginning. We all have to develop our sense of family, sense of belonging, as well as our work and career and what it means to us. But the highest purpose, or what we call higher purpose, comes from this self actualized, what Jung called individuation, the ability to depend on your inner resources, your spiritual power, your sense of who you are beyond your persona, ego, their spiritual nature, your true sense of self, and to find what you're or to express your work from that place, from that source, to express your human relationships, your romantic relationships, your relationships with your family from that deeper source. That's a very different way of being and living in the world.
Debra Maldonado 22:14
It's internally validating versus externally validating. You are becoming your own validation, you don't need the external. I always think of my purpose as I love learning higher knowledge and sharing higher knowledge. Whether I share it with one person or no one, I learned it, there's no attachment to what that looks like. It's just something I love for myself. I’d like to share it but I'm not attached to how that looks. It doesn't matter if it's ten people or a million people, it's still my purpose. If I lose or get canceled, like those people that have all the fans, and then get canceled, they lose that sense of who they are because they're identified with their followers, or fans, or the people that love them. It's still a trap because you can't control that, you can't get anything from this external forces that are truly lasting.
Robert Maldonado 23:21
I believe it is this higher sense of purpose that is tied into spontaneous remission to longevity to staying well in your mind body. It's okay to assess your life and say “I'm not there yet” but to actively work towards getting there. That's part of the purpose that we acknowledge. Where am I at? I'm depending too much on my past experiences, the glory days, people. There's nothing wrong with that. But solely depending on that is a sign that you're going to be in trouble sooner or later because you don't have that internal grounding in your true sense of self. You have to think in these terms: “Where am I as far as my social relationships, my career goals, my sense of what I'm contributing to the world?” Then go beyond that and ask yourself “Where am I in my spiritual life? Am I really connected to my higher purpose? Or am I depending on these external validation sources for my sense of true self?”
Debra Maldonado 24:44
You could start with those lower level, you could start with questioning why you need that validation on the personal level, whatever stage you're at. Why is that so important that my mother tells me I'm doing well or that she's proud of me? Instead of trying to fix that, just questioning those things. In Jungian psychology, when we talk about shadow work, it's really finding out what we're projecting onto the world and what we're missing that we're trying to get externally. The same thing with career, you could have great family and friends and career, but it's driving you. You say “Why is all this money or all this success driving me?” Question it, that's going to lead you to the higher purpose. You may have to question the level you're at first, in order to get to those higher levels.
Robert Maldonado 25:38
Bottomline is we're all born with a seed of purpose. It'll be there, and you'll seek it out somehow. But if you do it in a conscious way, it will be a lot easier because you'll understand where I’m at, what level I am operating, where I need to go, how I can start to develop this true sense of myself through what Jung called the individuation process, through this self inquiry, through deeper connection with your spiritual life. By spiritual life, I don't mean necessarily religious life, I mean that sense of who you really are beyond the persona, beyond the work that you do, beyond your social relationship,
Debra Maldonado 26:30
Things you can't touch. Mark Twain said there are two most important days of your life: the day you were born and the day you find out why. Why we’re alive isn’t just to have a career that’s meaningful, or relationships that are meaningful, which is all good. Why we're alive is to realize who we are, self realization, realizing the power, brilliance, glory of who you are is our highest purpose. However we do that, whether through relationships, through doing something meaningful, as long as that bottomline is there, you can never fail, or feel a sense of failure, fear of not being successful enough in relationships or career. Because you have this “Whatever happens is going to lead me to growth.” Conditions for growth come from you having the desire to know who you really are. This was a great conversation. If you want to hear more about mind body, listen to our previous episodes. We’re going into a new topic next week, Jung and yoga. We're going to talk about East-West and how Jungian psychology and Eastern philosophy overlay and integrate together into a wonderful process of self realization. Those of you who are looking for your purpose, asking the question is probably the most important thing you can do. Trust that it'll come to you. It's already inside of you. We hope you enjoyed the episode today.
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