Habits & Health episode 30 with Dr. Dawson Church, who is an author, speaker and founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (www.NIIH.org).
In this episode of the Habits & Health podcast, host Tony Winyard interviews guest Dr. Dawson Church, a renowned expert on boosting the immune system naturally. Dr. Church delves into the fascinating concept of consciousness and how it impacts our perception of places and experiences. He explores the role of our brain’s mid prefrontal cortex in constructing our sense of self, as well as the default mode network that maintains our default sense of self.
Throughout the conversation, Dr. Church emphasises the struggle to quiet the inner voice that constantly narrates our experiences and how to be present in the moment. He highlights the evolutionary aspect of our brains, which focus on the negative aspects of life due to its survival value in the past. This focus on negativity leads to increased levels of stress hormone cortisol and affects various bodily functions.
To counteract these evolutionary tendencies, Dr. Church discusses the importance of training the brain to focus on the positive aspects of life. He shares insights from neuroscience research, including Tibetan monks who exhibit brainwave patterns associated with happiness. Dr. Church aims to find ways to achieve these states without the need for extensive training.
The episode also touches on personal experiences. Dr. Church shares his own journey of struggling with anxiety, depression, and negative thinking at a young age. He tried various approaches, such as spirituality and psychology, before discovering the value of a scientific approach to solving personal issues. This led him to write a book, which has been translated into multiple languages and received positive feedback.
Furthermore, Dr. Church discusses the impact of his meditation techniques on individuals struggling with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. He emphasises the importance of persistence and regular practice in achieving effective results. Dr. Church’s research has also focused on developing therapy routines to address PTSD, successfully treating thousands of veterans.
The episode concludes with Dr. Church discussing the activation of specific circuits in the brain for achieving happiness and enlightenment. He emphasises the importance of evidence-based practices in meditation and provides strategies for cultivating a brain oriented towards positivity. Dr. Church shares a personal story of resilience, having lost their home in a wildfire, and highlights the transformative power of resilience in navigating tragedy. Overall, this episode offers valuable insights and practical techniques for boosting the immune system naturally and improving overall well-being.
Dr. Dawson Church is an avid traveler who spends about six months of the year exploring different parts of the world with his wife. However, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic limited their travel plans. Despite this setback, Dr. Church believes that people are inherently similar regardless of their race, nationality, or the time they live in. He strongly believes that at the core, we all desire happiness and well-being. This realisation has shaped his perspective as he encounters different cultures and societies during his travels. Dr. Dawson Church recognises the common human condition and the common problems we face. He also understands that the solutions to these problems are universally applicable.
00:00:20 Award-winning author, Dawson Church discusses habits and health.
00:03:33 “Consciousness and sense of self explained briefly.”
00:08:12 Spirituality and psychology failed, but science delivered.
00:11:53 Brains evolved to focus on negativity, not happiness. Ancestor survival relied on suspicion and paranoia. Cortisol drives stress and affects health. Modern humans must counteract evolutionary instincts.
00:16:25 Tibetan monks are super happy with training.
00:21:21 Evidence-based meditation practices yield effective results.
00:23:58 Activate emotion regulation, focus, self-control, compassion. Blissful happiness awaits.
00:28:57 Pop science book teaches happiness and resilience.
00:33:07 Well-received book encourages daily meditation practice.
00:36:19 PTSD treatment through meditation boosts health longevity.
00:39:48 EFT taps acupuncture points to reduce stress.
00:42:49 Boost immunity with meditation at tappinggift.com.
00:46:13 We are spiritual beings on a human path, part of a unity consciousness.
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The Dr. Dawson Church interview link:
This video is related to an episode featuring Reneee Jones
Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits & health Episode 30.
Welcome to the habits and health Podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. here's your host, Tony Winyard.
Tony Winyard 0:20
Welcome to another edition of habits and health. Today my guest is Dawson Church who is an award winning author who has a number of books one is called the Genie in your genes. His most recent book is Bliss Brain, the neuroscience of remodelling your brain for resilience, creativity, and joy. And Dawson has got experience in a number of different areas in in EFT, in in neuroscience, and we're going to find out a lot more about the many areas that Dawson helps his clients or patients with in this week's episode, and if you know anyone who you feel would get some value from some of the wisdom that Dawson shared with us, please do share the episode with them. Hope you enjoy this week's show. habits and health My guest today. Dr. Dawson Church. How you doing Dawson?
Dr. Dawson Church 1:12
I am doing great, Tony, good to be here.
Tony Winyard 1:15
Thank you for coming on. And we find you in Northern California today,
Dr. Dawson Church 1:19
Northern California for a long period of time now.
Tony Winyard 1:24
But as we were discussing before the recording started your accent is not very Northern Californiaish!?
Dr. Dawson Church 1:31
Yeah, there's a little twinges of everything from Texas where I went to university to South Africa where I was born to sros rangeland where my family's from, to all these different parts of the world why I touched base so lived. So I picked up a little bit of everything.
Tony Winyard 1:48
So you're pretty well travelled.
Dr. Dawson Church 1:51
Yeah, and I love travelling we my wife and I travel about six months of the year, of course, in 2020, during the pandemic, that was curtailed, but you know, Tony, people are people wherever you go, and where they're, there's whatever their skin colour, whatever their nationality, in whatever period of history we're in, we basically want to be happy and feel good. And you find that commonality. And so wherever I travel, it's I'm just so struck by the fact that the basic human condition is the same, the basic human problems are the same, and the basic solutions are identical to each other.
Tony Winyard 2:25
I agree with you so much. I mean, similar to you. I've lived in 11 countries travelled as 80 something countries, and I could not agree more what you just said,
Dr. Dawson Church 2:35
it's funny when people like go on vacation, or go on a retreat and say, I'm gonna go to Tibet, or I'm going to go to Nepal, and I'm going to go on this long retreat, I'm going to really get a change in and solve my problems gonna make my struggles, and they get to Nepal, and they realise I brought them all with me haha, because you know, your consciousness is your consciousness and you can't escape it. So that's really the big question is how do you both feel well in your body and feel well, in your mind? And so that's the the real quest for health.
Tony Winyard 3:10
And following on from that, because the other thing about that is, sometimes people will, they will talk about different places, and also this place was good at place was terrible, it and our symbol, no, any places, what do you make a base about your attitude and what you bring to the place, it's that place to someone else, where you said somewhere was terrible with someone else, probably at a fantastic time.
Dr. Dawson Church 3:33
Yes. And again, it's our consciousness. And that's what we're, we're bringing to people, places, we tend to think of that were nice, may have just been placed, we were relaxed, or we got ourselves out of our usual way of thinking. And there's so much, so many, so many human ways people try to get out of their usual style of being. And that style of being that that self that we inhabit, is manufactured by the brain by especially by the By the mid prefrontal cortex. And in my research, I look at that part of the brain very carefully. And when I read studies, I look to see what's going on in that part of the brain, because the mid prefrontal cortex is building your sense of self. And so you have this sense of self that you've constructed over time. And that just runs and in fact, that's part of what's called the brain's default mode network. We default to being the self that we are. And so to jog us loose from the preoccupation is, is really important and many people to spend their their lives in that that same old self, and then they may use alcohol or drugs or travel or sex or adventure sports or meditation try and extract themselves from that source. In one, one of my friends has calculated the size of that, that that that endeavour, in dollar terms, and Americans on the pursuit of getting themselves out of their head. spend more than the entire economy of the UK every year about $3 trillion every year trying to get themselves out of their their heads out of themselves out of their old way of being through, you know, get all the all of those methods, through through dance through drugs, through alcohol through all these ways of trying to get ourselves out of our heads, then that's of course, where our suffering lies. So that might be you know, the occasional vacation you've taken that has taken you out of your, your usual way of being. But that's the big dilemma, the human condition, how to shut down that suffering. whiny, always on inner commentator that's saying I am this, and then just be in the moment for a while.
Tony Winyard 5:44
Well, that's an area I think we can dig into quite a lot during this episode. But before we go into that, could you explain to listeners what it is that you do? And they may have may have got a hint of what you do from some of what you just said. But yeah, what is it you do?
Dr. Dawson Church 6:00
several things. One is I do primary research. So that means doing randomised control trials, means doing outcome studies means doing research projects, getting published in peer reviewed medical journals, and psychology journals. And so over the last 20 plus years, I've been involved in around 100 studies in one way or another. So I love science because it shows us what's real. Just for example, in in one of my books mind matter, I explore the whole idea of our thoughts and reality, and look at the science behind how we can actually literally create molecules literally create reality around us. So what does science Tell us about that? Not not? What do we imagine about it? What What is? What is? What do people imagine is possible in that way? What is hard science show us we can create our minds. So I do studies, I also write popular science books. And so I look for ways of turning this research into language that anyone can understand. And then I also do training. And we do social projects to like I did a lot of research in after around 2000. On PTSD. As we try and turn that PTSD research into viable social programmes. We found that there was a 10, session 10 therapy session routine that cured PTSD in nine out of 10 people. And we then began to make it available to hospital systems, to the military, to athletes to various other groups of people. And through our nonprofit, we've now treated over 21,000 veterans with this 10 session protocol. So we try and translate that in this into applications with real social value. And so that's my passion is doing the research, see what science shows, explaining it, training professionals to use it, and then applying it to real social problems, like PTSD.
Tony Winyard 8:04
And what was it that got you into the science and in the first place?
Dr. Dawson Church 8:12
The failure of spirituality and psychology. When I was 15 years old, I was incredibly miserable. I was anxious, I was depressed. I was having flashbacks and nightmares and intrusive negative thinking. I mean, my whole way of thinking was negative. I knew I needed to fix myself. And in fact, in one of my books, I tell the story of being 15 and walking past a full length mirror in a hotel and looking at myself at the age of 15. And I had long, long, curly blonde blonde hair halfway down my body. I had like these bell bottom jeans on and bag of books slung over my shoulder. And I had this thought popped into my head as I looked into my own eyes. I said to myself, in my mind, the words were those of the saddest eyes I've ever seen. And I realised I was just so screwed up and had to do something to try and fix myself. So I went and lived on a spiritual community for a few years on and off for about 15 years or so. I learned the great traditions of the world. I learned energy healing, learned meditation, but I didn't get much happier. And I could see that just as, as the people around me in my society growing up and been leading lives of quiet desperation. Most people in the spiritual path had an attempt to extricate themselves from that desperation, but we're still pretty miserable. So I then decided I try psychology. I enrolled for correspondence courses in psychology. Back then it was all mail, snail mail, pen and paper and IV at a study psychology and, again, I got a little bit happier, it could solve some problems that told me about things like the brain's negativity bias, that our brain just if there's a positive Negative option, it defaults to the negative one. So I began to learn more about that psychology. But I didn't get much happier. And then eventually, I really discovered science. And so when I applied like, at one time I was in my like, by my 20s, I was really, really overweight. And so, in my 40s, I said, you know, I've tried all these diets always approaches, what does science say works. And it turns out, there are actually about seven things that actually do work. I wrote a book called EFT for weight loss, I applied in my life, I lost a huge amount of weight, and I that I've enjoyed a normal weight for more than a decade. So. So science helped me with things like suffering, like weight, and happiness. I then in my book, this brain turned my attention to what really, actually does a happy Ray look like, what does the evidence show us, moves the brain into happiness? And again, you ask the question of science. And it's crystal clear. So science has really given me answers to questions I that I did not get from spirituality, from religion, from psychology, hard science, empirical science really has been a valuable source of answers for me
Tony Winyard 11:22
so much that they didn't see from what you just said. So one of the things that you talked about happiness, so how would you define happiness?
Dr. Dawson Church 11:33
There's a wonderful quote from Chinese philosopher from over 1000 years ago that says that happiness is the absence of seeking happiness, Aha. And happiness is a fundamental sense that everything is okay. And we tend to operate in our brains to have evolved to focus on things not being okay. And so happiness, optimism, positivity, all of these things had absolutely no value to our ancestors, in the evolutionary scheme of things. If you're going to think back 100,000 euros, 500,000 years years ago, and your ancestor who was a happy go lucky optimist. There's just like, for example, the other day, I was mountain biking. And on the trail ahead of me, I saw this long, thin, weighty brown thing. So is it a stick? Or is it a steak snake or stick stick was fake? Okay, so my ancestor 100,000 years ago, who said, Oh, I'm an optimist, it's stick. And you know, most of the time, he or she is right, it's a steak and nothing bad happens. But the one time he or she is wrong, it's a snake. It bites them, they die. So optimism gotten weeded from the gene pool over the course of 1000s of generations. And the ancestor who said, it's a snake. Now, if it's a steak 99 times out of 100, the ancestor who says it's a snake, it's a snake and sustain Who's this ancestor of yours, is paranoid and suspicious and defaults to the negative, that had an incredible amount of evolutionary value. That guy survived, passed his genes on to the next generation, the process repeated itself itself for 1000 generations. And now we have these brains that evolved have evolved to pay unerring attention to anything bad in our environment. Swami muktananda, whose ashram I went to many years ago, would hold up a white sheet. And he'd take this way he needed to take the red pen, and put a tiny.of red ink in the middle of the white sheet and hold it up to his, his disciples, his followers and Swami would say, No, tell me what you'll see. And his followers will see Swami we see a red dot. And he'd say, Oh, no, you see a white sheet. You're only focusing on the red dot. And so, you know, these brilliant wise Indian philosopher is pointing out after this huge white sheet off of focusing on is the red dot. And that's the brain we're born with. It focuses on Aaron Lee, on it's a snake, it's a snake, it's a snake, even when most of the time it's a stick. So that that that ability of our brains that characteristic of evolution, which served us so well for our whole evolutionary history going back millions of years. Today, I've done some research on cortisol, cortisol, the main stress hormone, it's driving cortisol, sky high. When cortisol goes up, immunity goes down, digestion goes down circulation, respiration, all of these things are affected by stress. And now we we measure people's stress measure their hormone, hormones, and their, their thinking and their living totally like they were in the jungle. And actually everything was pretty much okay with most of our lives, there are very few lions in the bushes ready to strike at us. The people from Canterbury are not about to invade with spears and slings and treble shares and try and wipe us on the face of the earth, as we're living in this time of, of immense prosperity and plenty. But our brains are wired as though we're still in the Palaeolithic Era with all these threats. So that's the fundamental problem we have today is we have to use science to learn to counteract the weight of those millions of years of evolution, and not focus on the snake, as happens. In my case, by the way, the end of the story, it was a snake was a beautiful brown steak. And so I just stopped there in the past, looked at the steak, took some photographs of the steak, and really enjoy the steak, and then then moved on. So that's what we, as modern humans have to do to extricate ourselves from this dilemma, as we have to learn to build the happy parts of the brain and reverse that evolutionary process.
Tony Winyard 16:17
From we were saying that that takes, I mean, I'm thinking, what is the answer to that? Is it awareness? What is the answer to that?
Dr. Dawson Church 16:25
When we study these Tibetan monks who are super happy, ending, and by super happy, I mean, they, they independently have brainwave patterns that show that they're their content, they have love this way, called gamma. And gamma is the wave of integration. It's the wave of compassion. It's the wave of creativity, it's the wave of joy. And they have, some of them have like, over seven times the amount of gamma, ordinary people, so they're making a lot of this happy, creative, integrative brainwave. And so we measure them, and then they train themselves into that state. So the way to get there is training. Now, their training is intense, it's 10,000 hours or more, the spending a lot of time they're going away to a special place, convent or monastery, and then they're retaining those states. And so we, in neuroscience, now, we're really focused on looking at ways of bringing people to those states without the 10,000 hours. But the answer is training, you just have to train train yourself. And the good news is that when you do that, your brain changes really rapidly. In my book, this brain, I give the example of a man who started to learn meditation and mindfulness. And he signed up for an eight week mindfulness meditation course. But his name is Graham Phillips, he has a TV show called catalyst in Australia. And so we took his whole TV crew with him into a university lab, where the researcher is measured the volume of every single part of his brain. He then began to do his mindfulness practice. after just two or three weeks, he felt far more in a piece, he felt pretty calm. After eight weeks, he went back into the lab, they measured all the different parts of his brain, again, the size, the volume of neurons, in each part of the brain, and several parts of his brain had grown by 234 percent, in just eight weeks, the part of his brain that governs regulating emotion, emotional regulation, so that this means when somebody cuts you off in traffic, you don't scream and swear and go do road rage, or when your boss tells you kind of a raise, or when your wife or your child or something that annoys you, you're just totally calm, you have good emotional regulation. You can regulate those, those caveman flares of paranoia and anger, frustration, that part of his brain called the dentate gyrus, it's a little bit of tissue that that correlates emotional regulation or all across the brain. So Graham Phillips's dentate gyrus in only eight weeks grew by 22.8%. So some parts of our brain are growing very rapidly. And again, it's not taking 10,000 hours, it's only taking eight weeks of practice.
Tony Winyard 19:22
Wow. I'm thinking when he were talking that you took them out of gamma rays and, and the monks and Graham Phillips and so on, one of the things that was coming to mind, and I asked another guest this recently, I had a guest on a couple of weeks ago. He's an expert in meditation. And I've heard a lot about by binaural beats, there's something called Holosync, do you know much about binaural beats and whether the claims that are made are if there's any basis to them?
Dr. Dawson Church 20:02
you know, I, I used holosync, myself in the late 1980s, since I knew the founder back then is has since died. But they did do some research and what I focus on myself is inducing these states yourself. So there are ways of doing them and using them through drugs. There are ways of inducing through devices like the Muse headband is one that many of my, my my students use, there are others, there is a another really great system from the UK called the mind mirror. There are several like new ones coming on the market now lots of advices there are some ways of doing it with substances. There are ways of doing it with with external entrainment. And like neurofeedback biofeedback. And so I focus on doing it naturally,
Tony Winyard 20:57
what can I do it myself without any outside stimuli? That will put me in those elevated states. And so that's really my my focus in research. And is it because as you were saying that it made me think about, you know, humans, we always looking for shortcuts for things. And so it's the same for for meditation, we're trying to find, I don't want to spend 10,000 hours. So what's the quick way that I can do?
Dr. Dawson Church 21:21
Yes. And in this brain, I look at all the evidence for the different forms of meditation. And what research shows is that there are really just a few things that you can do that are effective. And the the sad news for meditators is that the vast majority of what people are doing and methods of using are of limited effectiveness, and some are really ineffective. Like the instructions I got in meditation when I was 15 years old, the teacher said, meditation simple, you just close your eyes, and still your mind. Well, the first of those is easy to do. But usually, when you close your eyes, the default mode network of the brain lights up the mid prefrontal cortex, the seat of self set of thinking, and you're worrying and you're stressed, you're thinking back to things about bad things in the past, bad things might happen in the future, you're in anywhere about the present moment. And so the way most people try and meditate is difficult, and actually often counterproductive. You're You're lighting up the wrong circuits. So in this brain, I give people recommendations of what to do, that science says these things work. And you need to focus on evidence based practices. And then that's going to mean that a lot of the stuff you were doing, you know, the saffron robe and shaving your head and the 108 prayer beads and the roads and the crews and the Rosary. You don't need a lot of the things people are are using. They're just the external trappings of the experience. And that is based in culture, you know, the Buddha was in in India and so he was wearing robes and wearing beads and stuff, speedlings, robes and beads. The Franciscan nuns, we study who are in these ecstatic states, they have various very using the rosary, people think things the Rosary. People think it's the external stuff, the external theology of the religion, and it's an internal state. And that's pretty neat is that internal state of inner peace, that's the thing that really, really counts, emotional regulation. In this brain, I talked about the four parts of the brain's enlightenment network. And there are four things that four parts of the brain, you have to light up, light those up, and you just go straight into the ecstatic experience of St. Francis or St. Teresa, or a Rumi or Hafiz. So you're going into these elevated emotional mental states. But again, science shows you how to get there quickly.
Tony Winyard 23:53
And so could you go into more about those four parts that you just talked about? Yeah,
Dr. Dawson Church 23:59
so I organise them in this brain. In chapter four, I show you how to activate them, one after the other and in order. And so the first one is what Graham Phillips did, which is emotion regulation. If you're if your emotions are wandering, if your emotions are all over the place, if you're being triggered by emotion, you just can't be happy. In the book I tell about one team member of mine, and he was not a meditator, but his girlfriend was. And each morning she'd meditate for an hour she closed her eyes sit on her meditation cushion, long time practice, and he would tiptoe around the apartment getting ready for work, didn't want to disturb her, her meditation. And then one day, he made a little noise, and he did disturb her and she opened her eyes and glared at him and shouted out Don't fuck with my serenity. So that's about all the good that that instruction of close your eyes and still your mind is doing. People are stealing their mind trying to steal their minds by closing their eyes and their minds are not still the full of anger, blame, resentment, all that all self talk. And so that is not only counterproductive, not only unproductive is counterproductive, they're lining up the default mode network, they're just in there, they're self centred focus, still. So you have to do things that get you out of that. And so you want to first have emotional regulation. So that's number one. The first circuit light up is the emotion regulation circuit. And again, as Graham Phillips showed, if you light it up every day for eight weeks, it can be growing by about 10% a month. And so reliability to be emotionally resilient, and not get emotionally triggered is growing dramatically, really quickly. In terms of the hardware in your brain, you then want to learn to pay attention. So you have a focus of meditation. And there's a whole set of of regions that have to do with paying attention. And when I talk about an endless brain the most is the orbital frontal cortex, that is like an arrow in the front of your brain that focuses you on the object of your attention, you then want to also light up the selfing. I called selfing, the book the self centred thinking selfing control network. And again, it's that mid prefrontal cortex in the brains of meditators, we find that they have the ability to shut down that selfing network and the mid prefrontal cortex. In one MRI study I did. It was amazing that people develop that ability and ODM up in it, only a month of doing the special meditation that that I know had millions of people do. We looked at their MRI scans after a month. And they learned to just turn off that network, that self centred network just as effectively as those Tibetan monks or, or Catholic nuns. So you want to control that self referential thinking. And then the fourth network is compassion. You want to turn up compassion, because research shows that compassion triggers neuroplasticity faster than anything else. And I'm not saying don't ever do any other kind of meditation, you may want to do a moving meditation sometimes like and I'll get up between interviews or between tasks. And I'll move around, I'll do a moving meditation, I may do some Qigong, self compassion meditation. But for positive neuroplasticity, you want to trigger the fourth of the four networks. That's the compassion network. And then when you've got those four circuits active, that's all part of his enlightenment network in the brain, and you feel super happy. That's we had a 700% increase in gamma brainwaves. And you're hitting levels of lists like this brain researcher called Judith Pennington, who be able to use my meditations. And I said, Well, after a month, I interviewed her. And she said, I said, Well, you know, how happy are you right now, relative to where you were, before the month began. And I know Judith is a very happy person. I've known her for 10 years. And she said, I was really happy before I began, but I'm transcendently happy now. And that's what the level these people hit when they go to bliss, like Rumi, like us and Francis, they're in this elevated level, that's far beyond the ability of most people to even know exists, a level of happiness that's way out there in those elevated states. So that's, that's where those four networks will get you.
Tony Winyard 28:47
And so you mentioned the book, Bliss Brain. Who is the book aimed at?
Dr. Dawson Church 28:57
People who want to be happier and know what science shows about how to do that. So it's probably the science book, it's apparently based, it's grounded in all this research. And it's, it's for people who want to counteract that old tendency of the brain to revert to looking for the bad stuff, and learn to cultivate a brain that's actually oriented to the good stuff. And what happens is if you evoke these states often enough, that you get to the point where you're turning the software have consciousness into the hardware brain. So you're building circuits now, and then you're resilient. And so you now have a resilience you don't always don't have. So the first chapter of this brain, the publisher said to me, endorsee, let's talk about these brain networks, these phenomena, added at least one chapter. That's personal story. So chapter one of the sprain I tell the story of an event that happened to me that was definitely challenging for me, which was that I lost my house, all my possessions, my office, and everything in a wildfire in California in 2017. And it was dramatic. My wife shook me awake in the middle of the night. And I looked at the clock and said 1245 in the morning, I looked outside, there was a glow on the horizon. And I knew something was wrong. So I walked outside, and there was a wildfire to sweeping down the opposite hills what our home and I just yelled at my wife we're getting out of here right now. We literally spread through the house through UNCLOS grab our phones ran to the car. As the trees above us were just exploding into flame. And we, we drove a few miles away. We knew we were safe. But we we stood looking from a safe place at the fire. And it was it was surreal Tony, it was it sounds like being in a war because car gas tanks were exploding. propane tanks were exploding houses where we won like $3 million house, just ring by the flames, they just explode in a second in flames. And it was just it was crazy. Night 5400 house house homes burned down 22 people died and the flames because they were moving so fast, people couldn't escape. They died in their cars that died in their garages that died in their beds. And so there was a massive tragedy. And we were just completely disoriented. A friend sent us pictures the next day texted us pictures. And she got in past the army and taking photographs of the property. And where the house had been, there was a concrete slab, a layer of ash chimney sticking up and nothing else. Our cars have melted the washing machines and office furniture and melafix, our office was on the same property. So we thought we just lost everything that that night and then had to spend about two years pulling our lives back together again. So you need that hardware of resilience when you're in that space. Now, we experienced in chapter seven of the spread, I tell the story of this whole phenomenon of post traumatic growth, how you use a tragedy, if you are resilient to move to a whole new level of well being. But that's the difference between having that hardware and not having that hardware in your brain. If you have resilient hardware, you may have a loss like losing your property, losing your livelihood, a divorce, losing your job. But resilience means that you have the ability to withstand those shocks and actually use them as the fuel for a transformation. So I've used these methods, my life and they have made a just a massive difference.
Tony Winyard 32:54
And so when we go back to the books, when was the book published? 2020. Okay, and how is what's the reaction been since it's been released?
Dr. Dawson Church 33:07
It's, it's done well, and it's been translated now into I think about 15 languages. And we've had a lot of positive feedback from people. And the main thing has done is that it's, it's, it's people meditating, because at as, as well as the book, at the end of each chapter, I have something called deepening practices, and resources. So we have free meditations there. We have free online classes, we have links to YouTube videos, we have all kinds of ways of engaging people. And so one lady walked up to me at a workshop and said, awesome, Arthur, read your previous book, mind to matter. I made a resolution to use your meditation for 30 days, and not skip a day. And that's the kind of commitment that we're seeing people make because they realise it's important. And these meditations feel good. And so I asked her, Well, you know, of the 30 days, what what day are you on right now? She said, I'm on day 47. And that's the effect of these meditations that that people get as a result of the book. They feel so good immediately, the first time you try them, that people then keep on doing them as at practice, that's really been the what what we look for and hope to see is people adopting this as something they do every single morning.
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Tony Winyard 35:10
I'm wondering in the book, for people who are maybe not experienced meditators, or who put too much pressure on themselves about meditation, they think they're doing it wrong. There's so much conflicting advice on the Instagram and the internet. Do you help people through how to do it effectively?
Dr. Dawson Church 35:32
Absolutely. And again, that's translating the science into a practice that you can use. And so, what we find is there are several things that are effective. And then the bulk of what people are trying to do is ineffective. So science narrows it down to just a few steps that do this. And they involve neurofeedback, biofeedback, mindfulness, acupressure, breathing, heart coherence. So all those things put together, are able to bring people to these elevated states quickly.
Tony Winyard 36:06
And have you worked with any, any individuals who maybe have been in a really bad place, and by the help of the meditation, they've managed to really change their lives?
Dr. Dawson Church 36:19
Yeah, in, in listening to tell the story of a young man called Bryce rogo. And he wrote us a long letter about his experiences. And he was deployed four times to Iraq, and wound up with severe disabling PTSD. And he was discharged from the army. He did all kinds of things to try and solve his problem. He went to Japan, he went live in a Zen monastery for a while, learn Zen meditation. And then he stumbled across my website with my meditation on it, because we've had this meditation on the web for free for about 15 years. And he just did it the first time right off the internet. And he said, suddenly, just listening to that audio track and following along, I was in that place that I've longed to be for all these years. So it does help with with those things. And people that doesn't take take long, the first time you do it, you usually know something is happening. So you want to do something effective. And absolutely, it does help people who are struggling with PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other things. It needs persistence, it's worth doing it regularly. And then once you've recovered, you then move on to peak states. So we do have two phases to the work, but one is healing trauma. If you try and go to peak states without hitting trauma, then you may get to a peak state, but it won't be stable. Because in the background, under the surface in your unconscious subconscious, you have all of the characteristics of trauma unaddressed in your life, but you want to both heal trauma. And then once you're stable in that healing, move on and then experience those peak states. Because the cool thing is we do have the Enlightenment circuit in our brain, we sure do have the default mode network, making us suspicious, paranoid and miserable. But we have the Enlightenment network, making us resilient, creative and happy. So if that's the circuit you're firing day after day, week after week, moment after moment, that circuits getting bigger and better at conducting signals. It's affecting your whole body. We're seeing that it changes neurotransmitters, that it changes immune function, it changes physiology, it changes ageing. In one study of people's psychology, the researchers found that optimism, just the trade of optimism, thinking positively about what happens to you, is associated with 10 more years of life, you know, 10 more years, you live 10 years longer on average, if you're an optimist, and so it's definitely worth using the leverage point of your of your your psychology, your emotions, your spirituality, because it has a profound effect on your health and your longevity.
Tony Winyard 39:20
And then those 10 extra years, that wouldn't just simply be 10 years living longer, I presume, but 10 years better health span, rather than simply lifespan?
Dr. Dawson Church 39:29
That's correct. So as hard as he is as diabetes, less hepatitis, less of all these major compromisers of people's health,
Tony Winyard 39:41
I seem to remember when I looked on your website, you do something about EFT as well?
Dr. Dawson Church 39:48
Yeah, I work EFT tapping into almost everything I do. I wrote the most recent edition of EFT manual. I have the biggest training and certification programme in EFT in the world and EFT is simply using acupressure pressure or tapping on acupuncture points. And it very, very quickly regulates the stress response. And we will be seeing people using tapping EFT is that when they think of a stressor, a bad thing that happened in their lives, like that young man who was in Iraq, thinking about those bad events when you tap, and we use tapping as part of meditation as well, that the emotional midbrain, the fight or flight response, turns off. And people still remember the bad stuff that happened in their lives. They just no longer to get upset about it. So that's EFT.
Tony Winyard 40:40
And is it does EFT always involve one person doing it on another or Can someone do it on themselves.
Dr. Dawson Church 40:49
You do it on yourself, even if you're working with a practitioner. Like we have live practitioners have a platform called tapping place calm, and on tapping place calm, we work with a certified trained practitioner there, and they're tapping along but they're tapping with you, they're tapping on themselves, and you're tapping on yourself as well. And for trauma, we recommend working with a practitioner, or severe long term problems, life example relationships, self sabotage, money, issues, weight, it's much quicker to work with a practitioner. But for a tonne of common problems, anxiety, performance, stress, all these relatively minor issues. People tap themselves without a practitioner, and they very rapidly feel their stress response go down, and then they're much happier.
Tony Winyard 41:41
So if someone was interested in learning more about this, and they wanted to work with a practitioner, from what you've just said, they could do this online. So even though you're in a state, someone in England, for example, would be able to contact you and go via doing it via zoom, for example.
Dr. Dawson Church 41:57
Yeah, they're doing it with cartridges online, virtually one woman emailed us if he wants to go and said that she had been tried to quit vaping actually been a smoker for 30 years, then become a vapour. But after two or three years of vaping, she knew it was really felt bad, it was bad for our health, you wanted to quit. And so she went on to having placed calm and work with a practitioner. And again, that's really efficient, because they know how to guide you. And in a single 20 minutes session, she quit vaping. So it isn't always that fast. But for some people, it just produces really, really rapid reductions, because of course, the vaping was tied to stress, and then she reduced her stress and the vaping went away.
Tony Winyard 42:40
So people want to find out more about this and where to find out about the tapping and also about your book and so on where what places should they look?
Dr. Dawson Church 42:49
the best way to do it is to go to my website, tappinggift.com because you can get a free mini manual there, as well as a meditation that will guide you into a relaxed state and also give you affirmations for boosting your immunity. We found in several clinical trials that when people get less stressed, their immune response improves. And today in today's world, that immune response is really important. In one clinical trial people doing a week solid week at a retreat centre, tapping meditation for a whole week, their levels of immunoglobulins which are these molecules that neutralise the spike protein on coronaviruses. Their levels of immunoglobulins rose by 113% in a week, so if anyone wants to look it up, just look up bark ba ch at all 2019 you'll find the original study published there. But yeah, so we found dramatic improvements in immunity as we did especially immunity meditation that's also a tapping gift calm so that's the that's a good place to start.
Tony Winyard 44:01
And are you active on social media we talk a little bit a little bit where were they where would they look on social media to find
Dr. Dawson Church 44:12
you can go to our EFT is called EFT universe that's social media page and connect with other people there. And also a big YouTube channel and can talk along with people there. So for example, when we are practitioners work with a client, they'll often videotape those sessions and put them up on our YouTube channel. And you just go and tap along with a practitioner tapping with a client on an issue similar to yours. And what is the name of the YouTube channel? Again, EFT universe Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT, universe
Tony Winyard 44:48
and Dawson. Is there a book that's really moved us all in the last few months or years?
Dr. Dawson Church 44:54
I I'm a member of a best selling group of authors called the Transformational Leadership Council and our members write all kinds of wonderful books. One that really had an effect on me was my friend Andrew Newberg, his book called How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain. And if you want to really get inspired by how these methods are having an effect physically on shaping your brain, that's a great choice. For a general book, I always recommend my friend Jack Canfield, his book, The Success Principles, because Jack had viewed hundreds of people and then distil the principles for life success, into 64, like three page little readings on those. And I just wish I'd had I told you when I was 18, 20, 25, it's like having a mentor with the best advice of the world. So Jack Canfield, his book, The success principles is right here on my desk, I look at it every few days, and just read one success principle. So that's a great guide.
Tony Winyard 46:04
And finally, before we finish, is there a quotation that you particularly like,
Dr. Dawson Church 46:13
one of the quotations that really has been a guide, to me, is the one that everyone knows saying that we are spiritual beings on a human path, I am a spiritual being on a human path. And in fact, you're more than that you are the universe looking out through human eyes. And when you move at these elevated states, you discover what the Hindus call non duality, that there is no I am a there is no body or there is a me and, and the universe, there's just one unitary consciousness of which I'm apart. And so living as though you're one with everything, that experience of living every single day, as the one with everything is powerful. And so that idea that we can sit meditation, surrender our small, little visions of a limited life, a limited self, and merge with the all that is, and be the one all that is and know that we are the all it is. And then when we go grocery shopping, and do our team meeting, or do a podcast like this, we're doing it with the knowledge that this is what the the human expression of non local universe happens to be doing at the moment.
Tony Winyard 47:34
Well, thank you very much for your time. And I really do hope people do, check out your book and the website, and this happened and so on. It sounds like it gets a little better.
Dr. Dawson Church 47:46
Thank you. It's a joy. Thanks, Tony.
Tony Winyard 47:50
Next week is Episode 31. With Tricia Nelson, and she spent the past three decades studying addictive personalities. She's an internationally acclaimed author, a transformational speaker, and an emotional eating expert. So we're gonna find out a lot more about emotional eating about addictive personalities, and so forth in next week's episode with Tricia Nelson. If you know anyone who would find some some real value from the information that Dawsen Church has shared with us this week, please do share this episode with them. And hope you have a great week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tony Winyard comm See you next time on the habits and health podcast
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