Season 1, Episode 40

Awakening to Your True Self: A Conversation with Max Gaenslen

In this episode, Lorne Brown has a conversation with Max Gaenslen, a teacher and trainer of integral transformative practice. He is also a Hoffman Process teacher and a coach. Max shares his personal story of a life-changing moment that he experienced on a Greyhound bus in December 2004. He was listening to a cassette tape by Franklin Quest that opened his eyes to a new way of living, leading him to embark on a journey of personal growth.

Max also shares how his practice can help people find the spark of the divine within themselves and bring their gifts to the world. He emphasizes that when people become aligned and authentic, they begin to perceive the world differently, and can recognize opportunities that they wouldn’t have noticed before. Max believes that when people are true to themselves, they can live a life of purpose and meaning.

Overall, this episode explores the themes of personal growth, transformation, and finding meaning in life. Max’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the potential for personal transformation, and the importance of living an authentic and purposeful life.

 

Key Topics

  • Personal growth and transformation
  • Finding meaning and purpose in life
  • Awakening to one’s true self
  • Integral transformative practice
  • Fertility struggles and the role of the practice in overcoming them
  • Authenticity and alignment with one’s true purpose
  • Perceiving opportunities and synchronicities in life

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Read This Episode Transcript

Lorne Brown:

By listening to The Conscious Fertility Podcast, you agree to not use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician or healthcare provider for any medical issues that you may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guest or contributors to the podcast. Welcome to Conscious Fertility, the show that listens to all of your fertility questions so that you can move from fear and suffering to peace of mind and joy. My name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and a clinical hypnotherapist. I’m on a mission to explore all the paths to peak fertility and joyful living. It’s time to learn how to be and receive so that you can create life on purpose.

Today on the Conscious Fertility Podcast, we have Max Gaenslen with us and he is a Hoffman Process teacher and a coach. He’s a senior teacher and trainer of The George Leonard and Michael Murphy’s Integral Transformative Practice and George Leonard’s Leonard Energy Training. He’s also a coordinator of the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research and a California state-certified educational specialist. And I got to share a little bit more about Max and I’m excited to talk to him. And after learning about this Hoffman Process, which we’re going to learn more about today, I’m like, “I got to have some of that.” And so I’m really looking forward to it.

I thought, Max, it’d be great if you can share a bit about your background and why we’re talking today about consciousness and awakening basically because you have a story that really touched me that you were on a Greyhound bus back in December 2004 and …

Max Gaenslen:

Correct.

Lorne Brown:

… you had a change in your life. And we’re going to tie all this into consciousness and even fertility because so many of our listeners that come to us, their wake-up call is an infertility diagnosis. And I thought, before we get into the Hoffman and the Integral Transformative Practices that you’re so familiar with, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why am I interviewing you, and I think it comes from what happened on that Greyhound bus?

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, thank you. Thank you so much, Lorne. I’ll back up a little from the Greyhound bus and say that it’s probably in the ’90s, I was listening to a cassette tape by Franklin Quest, it was some personal growth cassette tape and it asked the question, “If there was an I-beam going across both towers of the World Trade Center, what would you be willing to walk across that I-beam for?” And the answer that came to me was a career that I was happy with essentially because I was floundering a bit about what to do with my life at that time. And subsequent to that, I got a Bachelor of Science in Business and I had started a career as a business consultant.

And it seemed like I was off on my way to a successful career in corporate America and I hit a wall where I was really dissatisfied with a job that I was at and a number of other things happened. There was some relationship things and I really was in what we might call a dark night of the soul. When I found myself on that Greyhound bus, I had made the decision that I would take about three months off from work and then I assumed I would go and get another corporate job and I was really resistant. It was everything I could do to even force myself to send a resume and really not proactively following up or anything. And on this Greyhound bus, I was really going through it. I was really in a, well, dark night of the soul, is a one way to put it.

And I don’t know how I would put it at the time exactly, but I really was feeling like I had gifts, I had capacities, I had things that I wanted to bring to the world. And I was wondering why I wasn’t demonstrating who I really was or I was feeling inauthentic or I was feeling like I had something to give and I wasn’t connecting to it and I wasn’t bringing it to the world. And so I was asking myself, “What is the difference between people who really bring their gifts to the world and find fertile soil for that to flower and people who don’t?” And I’d already done at this point a lot of personal growth kinds of work. I’d done a lot of therapy. I’d been to workshops. I’d done meditation.

And in this Greyhound bus, I had this opening where I thought about, I’ll exaggerate a little bit. In therapy, we might lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling and free associate about our problems. And if we don’t have anything to complain about, our therapist doesn’t have a lot to say to us. I’m exaggerating, or in a personal growth workshop, it might be all about getting the high rise and getting the Audi and crushing it and having the right partner and then life is all good. Meditation might be like just escape the whole hell hole. Just wake up from the illusion of samsara and just open to your true nature. And I think there’s truth in all of these things, but none of it was coming together for me really to connect me to something and I really was at a loss for what that something was or how I could come about it.

And in that moment, I connected to this question of, “What is the difference between people who really connect to,” what I would say now is, “maybe the spark of the divine within them, their genius, their gifts and finding fertile soil for that in the world and people who don’t?” And I just had the realization that I want this to be my life’s work and it absolutely was not lost on me that I needed to be my own first client. And it was really remarkable. After I had that moment, a number of things happened that were synchronicities really, that led me towards a new path. My life reorganized itself over the next couple of years and a lot of that was people that I met that could help me and I did the Hoffman Process.

That experience was in December of 2004 and I basically decided I wanted to find or make something that coordinated all of these different disparate paths that I’d gone down that felt like these different trails that I was going on in different directions. And so I was going to do a lot of research of every personal growth thing in the world. And so the Hoffman Process, I went to it as R&D, but I definitely came out of, it changed forever. And I met people that connected me to Esalen, connected me to this therapeutic day school that I worked in. It was just a transformative time for me.

Lorne Brown:

When you described these synchronicities, it’s like when people do conscious work or whatever process, yours the Hoffman Process, the Hoffman type of work, and you get aligned, these things happen that really seem like miracles because I know a little bit about your story. Some of the positions you got on paper, you’re not supposed to get those positions, but yet things just lined up for you and you got hired over people that had more credentials than you, for example.

Max Gaenslen:

Yes, that’s true. For me, a lot of the synchronicities came with personal connections. Yeah. One example of something like that is when I was shifting from doing business consulting to wanting to do more personal growth work, I asked someone, who was a teacher of workshops at Esalen, if they’d have lunch with me and do an informational interview and they agreed. And I asked them about me doing workshops at Esalen and they said, “Oh, forget it. If you don’t have a best-selling book, they won’t even look at you. They get all these proposals all the time.” And by the way, that’s not true and I did actually wind up teaching a workshop and multiple workshops, but teaching at Esalen within the next, I don’t know, year or two. And I told that story when I taught it and it was because of meeting people actually. It was meeting people that brought me in.

So yeah, I think part of what happens is when we really get clear on what we want, our eyes open to things that we wouldn’t see. We can walk past an opportunity and not see it if our brains aren’t …

Lorne Brown:

Absolutely.

Max Gaenslen:

… [inaudible 00:07:52] what we’re looking for.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, so all the opportunities are there. I usually share when you do this kind of work, we’re going to get into what is this work … but when you do …

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

… this work, I say one of two things happen. The first thing, when you really become aligned, authentic, happened to how you experience it, that divine spark inside yourself, your perception to the external world, your perception to the situation changes. So you experience it differently because you’re different.

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

Or two, the outside world rearranges itself and you’re like, “I can’t make this stuff up. Look what’s happened,” and you get these opportunities. The way you described your journey like meditation, trying to find that peace and bliss or you went to the retreat where like, “Rah, rah, rah, I’m going to get my Ferrari, my [inaudible 00:08:31].”

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

Thank you, you’re describing some of my journeys, you’re just one of those early seekers, because in 2004, it sounds like part of you is waking up wanting to be something different. And that’s what puts you into the dark night of the soul, I imagine, where you’re in conflict with your true essence, your authentic self, which I hope you talk on it. The reason I think it’s so relevant you’re talking with us today is there is individuals, lots, but individuals having this wake up and going on this quest. It seems like today, when we’re recording this in spring of 2023, it seems like there’s a collective awakening. I think humanity is pretty much in their dark night of the soul where we feel shame, guilt, not enough. We’re just struggling.

That’s my sense. It’s been my experience. I don’t know how you feel about it. I’m fortunate I have tools, but I’m curious if you see that pretty much everybody’s now being almost forced to find these tools and do the work that you found in 2004.

Max Gaenslen:

I so resonate with what you said. I feel like the history of humanity is a bit of this cliffhanger and it takes place both intrapersonally within ourselves and it takes place externally in the culture. I’m very influenced by Michael Murphy, the founder of Esalen and his kind of philosophy that gave birth to Esalen, which is that the whole world is the divine waking up in form. A historian named Arthur Lovejoy said, “Evolution is the temporization of the great chain of being,” which what does that mean? So just in a very simple way, you can have rocks and minerals and above that evolutionarily, but also in the great chain of being, you might have plants above that. You might have life like animals, humans and there’s a lot of variations of these hierarchies.

And then above that, we might have spirits like consciousness without bodies or all the way up into whatever you want to call it, Brahman, God, The Divine, however we hold the metaphysics. But we’re in this progression, and in some ways, it’s easier to wake up than ever before. There’s more tools. There’s more consciousness. There’s yoga studios. There’s so much more awareness of the mind-body connection, mind-body medicine, alternatives, therapies, somatic therapies, all of these things. And yet, there’s also just the public discourse is such a cesspool of pointing the finger of so much projection and vindictiveness and just this us and them, this tribalism, this really primitive tribalism that we see.

I make the joke, we don’t see movies where Batman and Joker sit down and talk to each other about their childhood pain that drove their negative behavior and try to see it from the other person’s point of view because that’s not entertaining. What’s entertaining is Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker. So I think that Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker, there was a period of time where I really actually had difficulty with pop culture because it was such this us and them mentality and really healthy communication around difference is so rarely modeled or is virtually unmodeled in the culture. And I came to this thing, the Darth Vader-Luke Skywalker dichotomy is actually happening inside of all of us, if we want to use that. There’s our own Darth Vader, our own Luke Skywalker.

And often, if we overly identify with Luke Skywalker when we ignore certain things that might even bring us to a dark night of the soul, we confront our own self-negation, that voice of, “You can’t do it,” that voice of, “You’re not lovable,” that voice of, “You need this thing outside of yourself to be okay.” And I think that was unconsciously driving me. So just to bring this back to my own story, I think I was unconsciously driven by, “I need to have the right job. I need to have the right apartment. I need to have the right partner,” whatever it was for me to be okay, for me to be lovable and I had this just really self-negating voice talking to me. And I think that’s part of what was driving me.

And I think part of the clarity I came to in my dark night of the soul is, “How do I do this from a place of, ‘Where do I bring my light?’ How do I do this from a place of, ‘What is the contribution I really want to make?'” versus, “How do I not suck?” versus, “How do I finally be good enough in the world?” So to the bigger picture, I think we’re waking up internally and we have more resources to wake up internally and it’s a bit of a cliffhanger, “Are we going to wake up?” There’s also wars and environmental issues and polarizations of all kinds and so this human adventure is a cliffhanger and I think there’s more opportunity than ever before and there’s also threats.

Lorne Brown:

And you mentioned these external threats of these polarizations and you also mentioned we have the Darth Vader and Luke, the polarization inside ourselves. I’m curious, because as I said, I learned a little bit about the Hoffman because of how you’ve transformed. I don’t know how it works yet, but so curious because I love learning. The more tools, the better. In my work, I subscribe to the processes of, “If I want to see a change in the external role, I have to first have a change in my inner world. My consciousness has to change.” And you talked about how you are chasing the way of the shame, I think you described it, right?

Max Gaenslen:

Right, yes.

Lorne Brown:

Running from shame. And I’ve used that before as well. When people have shared in my profession, “You’re successful,” when they’ve come to my presentations, I would say, “I am successful because I’m so incredibly insecure because I was always an over tried to be an overachiever or excel because unconsciously I was trying to fill that void, that feeling of, ‘I’m not good enough, I’m not valuable if I wasn’t producing,'” right?

Max Gaenslen:

Right, yes.

Lorne Brown:

So now I’m in a different place and I think we resonate this way. And so my question for you is I still do things, but I have a different beingness about me that intends the doing, right?

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah.

Lorne Brown:

And so there’s more joy with it. Can you tell us a little bit of what the Hoffman is, but also just how I shared that idea, can you start to bring in your understanding of this? Because I can talk about it, but I’m here to learn from you, so I want to hear what you have to say about this.

Max Gaenslen:

I would say there’s like a resonance that happens when I am connected to, in the language of Hoffman, we use this for phrase, spiritual self, and that’s just you deeper than your conditioning, you deeper than your patterns, your programming. It’s your essence. It’s you connected to your wisdom, you connected to your resilience, your love, that aspect of you. And I think, when you can see the spirit in another person and just hold that person in whatever experience they’re in. Because I’ve been through my own dark nights of the soul, there’s a resonance. When I can hold this person and I can hold their Darth Vader and their Luke Skywalker, I can hold their shame and I can see them through this beautiful essence, this spirit and I so want them to connect to that.

And so there’s just this passion that I have when I’m connecting with people to have them connect to themselves, have them connect to their goodness, have them connect to how it is that they can hold themselves through this difficult human journey. The human journey is difficult. I think I’ll just leave it at that. They’re going to be ups and downs even when we do connect to our love and our light and all of that. I don’t think we reach a point where we don’t fall down and skin our knees. And it’s how do we hold ourselves in that and how do we move through that and just that passion I have to see people and have them feel seen and have them see themselves, so that they can wake up to who they truly are, I think is a …

So where it’s coming from in me is so different, and not to say I’m being completely altruistic about it, there’s no better use of my life than this work. So it’s very much like, “I get to do me by helping you connect to who you are.” And I think that if we do that … Bob Hoffman, the founder of the Hopin process said, “Peace on Earth one person at a time.” And if we feel seen, if we feel loved, if we feel safe to be who we really are, if we can love each other across differences and be synergistic like, “Hold, how do we come up with the solution that’s not my way or your way, but come up with something greater than either of us could have come up with ourselves and open up?” That, which is most personal, is most universal. Open up to that love within us and then the whole world advances. The whole world can wake up.

And that vision moves me. And so that’s the vision that gave rise to Esalen, the evolutionary panentheism, the divine waking up in form. It’s the whole picture and it’s individual, involution and evolution. So our personal evolution and our collective evolution are indissolubly linked. And so there’s a worldview of cosmology that lights me up and I feel like my individual work is a note in that symphony. So that’s a little bit about the collective, and to just share the Hoffman Process, I can talk a lot. I could-

Lorne Brown:

I’m going to interrupt you because I got a question for you on this because what you said sounds great and beautiful. I don’t know if I heard it from Gordon Neufeld where he says, “The greatest gift you can give a human being is to see them, hear them, love them, let them know they’re valued.” I think it originated maybe from Virginia Satir, a famous, I think that’s her name, psychologist. To do that though, there’s a step, which I think you’re going to talk about, to be present for somebody else, to see through the ego, to have compassion. You have to be whole and complete. You have to have that compassion for yourself. You have to be able to see, hear your yourself.

If you are not attached, and I think I’ve heard you describe this, if you’re in your false self, you’re not an authentic self, which is where a lot of us are, and like you said, most of us go there, here and there, but if we look at the world, majority of us are there, it’s difficult to have that utopia. However, there are tools to help you see you, hear you, love you, accept yourself, connect. And then when you’re connected, now you can hold the space for others and that stops the polarization. So how do you do it? How do you fill yourself up so you can hold space and be present and the other person can feel safe?

And we know through Porges’ work, there’s a thing happening with the vagal nervous system where they will feel safe and their body will start to behave differently. I’m curious to know … When I read Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, I’m like, “Great, how? How and how?”

Max Gaenslen:

Right, yes.

Lorne Brown:

So tell me a little bit more about your Hoffman Process and how the tools and stuff can help you get to this place where you can hold the space for yourself and others.

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, I love that question. And one thing I’ll say the word ego as a pejorative I think is interesting. I think we do have a false self. I absolutely do believe we have a false self and I also think we can maybe throw the baby out with the bath water.

Lorne Brown:

You don’t think the ego’s evil, nor do I, by the way, but a lot of people think the ego is part of us, so you got to love your ego too.

Max Gaenslen:

Right, yes, absolutely.

Lorne Brown:

It keeps us alive. Its intention is to keep us alive and safe, we have it, but I’m curious what you’re going to share about the ego part.

Max Gaenslen:

So we construct a self. And Bob Hoffman, he has a phrase he coined, “The negative love syndrome,” which essentially, it’s a process that he describes about how we take on this innate feeling of, “I need to fix myself. I need to become better.” When we’re little babies, when we’re born, when a newborn human infant comes into the world, it’s not like a flan or something that stands up within a day or whatever. A newborn human infant can’t lift its own head or it can’t roll over. It’s a long time before we can feed ourselves or get our own blanket when we’re cold. We’re entirely dependent on outside care for not only our many physical needs. We also need a consistent flow of unconditional love, of touch, of nurturing, of mirroring, of feeling seen to feel safe and connected and in order to thrive.

And many, I would say probably most, if not all of us, are born to parents with their own issues, their own patterns, their own unresolved maybe wounds from childhood. At the very least, they were new parents dealing with the challenges of work, relationships, money, running a household. It’s just the case that our parents aren’t able to be there for us all the time. They’re not able to always see us for who we really are and mirror our authenticity back to us. When I’m saying parents, the situation in which we grew up in, it’s not other caregivers, etcetera. And when we’re little, we’re in an egocentric stage of development. We’re incapable of the thought or the feeling that anything that’s happening isn’t about us.

When we’re really little, if we go to infancy, all we know is that we’re cold or scared or wet or hungry or lonely. We don’t have a sense of time. We don’t know that, “This too shall pass.” We’re not thinking, “Oh, I’m sure mom’s just got a few other things to do. I can’t expect to be her only priority.” We’re not thinking, “That dad guy’s got some issues, but shouldn’t take it personally. It’s not about me.” There is no, “It’s not about me.” We’re in this little egocentric stage of development and I’m saying thinking, this even happens before we have thought. We think, “Something else is more important. I’m not enough, “or, “I’m too much. I’m difficult.”

When we’re little and our needs aren’t being met, let alone if we’re experiencing neglect or abuse or trauma, it feels like it’s because of us. It feels like it’s because of what we did or what we didn’t do. And in a sense, that’s adaptive, because for one thing, to be that needy, to be that dependent and to recognize our parents as somehow incapable or compromised would be incredibly threatening. And at least, if it’s because of us, we can do something about it. We can change. We can adapt. So it’s like, “What do I have to do? What do I have to do in this system in order to fit in, in order to belong, in order to be lovable, in order to get my needs met?” right?

So in this environment, we construct, “Who do I have to be?” and it might be different in different families. You grow up in a Quaker family, you might learn that good people are pacifist. If you grow up in a military family, you might learn that real men … It can vary, but we learn within a particular environment when we’re really, really vulnerable, right? And so we take on the ways of being around us, we take on roles, we take on admonitions, “This is what good people do. This is what bad people do,” starting really young, starting before we have an intellect, starting before we have a thought, so it feels really deep. It feels really deep.

And so we act these patterns out, we take them with us into adulthood and we particularly act them out when we’re feeling disconnected, when we’re trying to be lovable, when we’re trying to make connections. And so I think taking time to say, “Okay, what did I construct? What are my patterns?” We use these language patterns in Hoffman like, “What did I take on? What are the admonitions I took on? What are the behaviors? What are the ways of being I took on?” so that we can look objectively, we can create some distance from ourselves. And then I think this is what a lot of maybe therapy does, maybe not in this exact way, but, “Okay, who did I decide I had to be?” and then disconnecting from that.

So in Hoffman, we do a lot of work around awareness, “What are my patterns? What are my ways of being that are getting in the way of me showing up fully, whatever it is? Maybe it’s behaviors, maybe it’s ways of being, maybe I’m a perfectionist. Maybe I need to rewrite an email five times.” It might be something really silly or it could be like other things, but we spend a lot of time talking about patterns and looking at this persona that we constructed, the false self that we constructed, “What are the roles? I’m the joker. I’m the achiever.” I can go on and on about this, but-

Lorne Brown:

The rescuer. The fixer.

Max Gaenslen:

Right, exactly, the rescuer, the fixer. And then we create this false self, and coming from the false self, and I think you were talking about this, even if we get the external things we want, it doesn’t feel fulfilling. If we’re coming from that false self, every Hoffman Process, someone will say some version of, “I crossed all the finish lines, I got the car, I have the high rise, I have the partner and I still feel like a fraud. I still feel like I’m not good enough. I feel like if they saw who I really was, they wouldn’t love me,” or, “I have to keep achieving,” or, “This could get taken away from me.”

Lorne Brown:

We’re going to pause for a second on this, because for our listeners, and this is what I’ve experienced with my patients on their treatment table, the story, every other story. And that’s what we’ve seen, people who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars that have done everything and they still … When you distill it down, no matter what on my table, “I am not enough,” either, “I’m not rich enough,” “I’m not pretty enough,” “I’m not smart enough,” whatever it is, but there’s something there. And I don’t know how the fabric of this universe has been created, but it seems like that is part of our journey here, is to remember we are enough, it seems like.

Max Gaenslen:

Absolutely. And that really primitive, “What do I have to do to be a good boy or a good girl? What do I have to do to be alone?” It’s amazing to me, the resilience. I hear people telling horrifying stories of things that they’ve bounced back from and I also hear people like little things that happened in childhood that they took to mean something about who they are that’s crushing for them. And so to really actually recognize this and to connect to our innate lovability, to recognize that we took on these ideas like, “What do I have to do to be lovable?” and we do these things and we cross the finish lines and it’s actually … There’s a Hindu belief, “Atman is Brahman,” our own deepest subjectivity is one with the universal divine. Let me just-

Lorne Brown:

Grab the quote. I want to hear this. Is that what you’re [inaudible 00:26:30]?

Max Gaenslen:

Okay, so, “Atman is Brahman,” this is, as I understand it, I am by no stretch a Hindu scholar, and by the way, this is not Hoffman now, but if I were to say, “I’m holding a pencil and I can look at this pencil,” there’s a subject-object relationship with this pencil. I am the subject and this pencil is the object of my subjectivity. So okay, I have a subject-object. Then I could say, “Well, what about this hand? This hand is part of me, but if I were to cut my hand off, the me that I think of as me isn’t in the hand. It’s over here. Okay, so where am I? Is it my mind?” Well, I can meditate for a while and I can actually sit there and watch my thoughts like clouds in the sky. I can actually become quite separated and think, “Wow, that’s a weird thought there. There’s a judgment. There’s a whatever.”

So there’s a consciousness that’s deeper than thought. Well, what is that in looking at that consciousness? And if we back up at the deepest level, the consciousness that is staring through our face is one with the universal divine. So Atman is our own deepest subjectivity. Brahman is the field of divinity in which everything is arising.

Lorne Brown:

So questions around this and this is okay, because our listeners, if you are new, then this may be new, but if you’ve listened to other episodes, because we’re 30+ into this, and we have researchers, authors, people really looking at this from a physics point of perspective, they describe it as there’s a little C, big C, little consciousness, big consciousness.

Max Gaenslen:

Correct.

Lorne Brown:

I’ve heard higher self. What people are concluding or subscribing to is that this authentic self is something beyond your body. Is that what you’re describing as well?

Max Gaenslen:

I would say it might be the consciousness that’s looking through your face. Yes, it might be something beyond your body. I think the metaphysics of it are … I have a particular metaphysics that I subscribe to, but I would also say that it is my belief that the human mind has not evolved to the point that we are able to actually capture what is truly going on at the level of thought or concept. And I think the thoughts and concepts are helpful. They’re super powerful. They’re really helpful. And it’s been interesting to me teaching the Hoffman Process. I’ve had students that are Hindu, I’ve had students that are Christians, I’ve had students that are Buddhists, I’ve had students that are atheists and they can all tap into this. There’s something very humbling about, “There is something that is available to all of us.”

I remember I had one student, he’s in finance, he’s an atheist and I said, “All right, we’re going to hear the word spiritual about a thousand times. Just go with it. Just however you hold it and we have visualizations. You see your spiritual self and just have it be like Lord of the Rings. Picture whatever you want to picture and just go with the visualizations.” And he did and he had a great process. And I had a conversation with him afterwards and he had been listening a lot to a particular visualization of Hoffman’s called Spirit Guided Path and he was getting all this download of this great information from doing this visualization. And he was just like, “I don’t know how this stuff works.” I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know who”-

Lorne Brown:

But it works and that’s what-

Max Gaenslen:

It works.

Lorne Brown:

That’s what Dean Radin, who’s written many books, published many papers, one of them is Magic something, can’t remember the title of his book, but he actually brought it up and he’s a physicist talking that, if you keep asking, “Why? Why? How does it work? How does it work?” We have an answer [inaudible 00:29:51], but eventually, you’ll ask that question and then we don’t know …

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

… and all the mechanism, but we know it’s working. And this thought and feeling idea, this intention seems to somehow impact the fabric of consciousness. It’s not like, “I want, I get,” but how you are on the inside and the work that you do, the resilience and the tools that I will share a bit somehow influences the fabric of this world because I said one of two things happened. You experience it differently, so it’s just different because you’re no longer at the effect of the situation. You can still not like something, but it doesn’t trigger you. You’re at peace in the situation.

Max Gaenslen:

Right, right.

Lorne Brown:

Or two is, and you’ve described this and I’ve heard it said this way, it’s like these invisible hands come down from the heaven and open up doors that you didn’t know exist. These opportunities are always there. These synchronicities start to show up. Is that resonating with you? Is that-

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, that absolutely resonates. And I think we can even think about this universe that we’re in. Like the Big Bang Theory, there was a singularity, there was this thing by some explanations, it was smaller than a proton that suddenly expanded at many times the speed of light and created a universe. And in this thing, the singularity that was smaller than a proton, this thing contained something that would become everything in the universe, that would become the Milky Way, that would become Leonardo da Vinci, that would become tantra, that would become everything that is in the universe.

And so there was a potentiality in the singularity and we’re all expanding. And it was a unify … Like this little thing, we were all part of it. You and I, or we’ll say everything that would were to become you and I, and all our hopes and fears and all of that was in this thing that that’s in the universe, that something about the implicit nature of the universe that wants to expand and evolve into all the things of life and the world. I think about just grass growing up between the cracks in the sidewalk, just like the elan vital, the desire, the drive towards expression, towards growth in everything and we have that within us. That drive, that expression, that is within us, that is within this incredible universe and so we can connect to that. And there’s a zillion ways to look at this.

And so the metaphysics are interesting and I do love metaphysics and I can talk metaphysics for hours and there’s way more that I don’t know than that I do, but yes, there are forces at work and we can tap into those forces.

Lorne Brown:

And that’s that idea that we’re much more powerful than we’re probably aware of. As you said, we’re not using a portion of our mind at this stage. It hasn’t evolved yet. For our listeners, and we call this The Conscious Fertility Podcast, but at this point in time, we have so many listeners that are not trying to grow their families. They just like the material we’re having here. So they’re looking for better relationships. They’re looking for healing or health. They’re looking for a different job. They’re looking to be happy. They’re on the Greyhound bus and they’re like, “What’s the difference between those that are connected and having a good life and those that are not?” asking that question.

So I wanted to think about your approach to this because what I get asked a lot is, “What do I need to do?” And I’ve learned and the reason I wanted to create this podcast is we’ve really worked the human doing part and we’re just learning to be human beings and I think I’ve heard you talk about this too about being to doing. And I just wanted to know if you can touch on this because, “What do I need to do to have this baby? What do I need to do to have this relationship?” and I think the work that you share and that you teach, it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s actually you don’t do anything, but it’s about being or you’re doing is to get into your beingness.

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

Do I understand you that way because that’s the sense I get?

Max Gaenslen:

Absolutely. So actually in Hoffman, we do this little thing where we say, “Okay, go into the pattern of withdrawn,” and actually, we have people do it. They actually go and they physically take it on, “Go into withdrawn. All right, walk around the room. Make a connection. All right, go embody, whatever, exuberance. Embody your spiritual self. Embody joy, right? So you do the same exact exercise of walking around the room from different places of being. So we could just think at a party, if you’re being withdrawn, if you’re being as closed, if you’re in, “I’m not good enough,” how are you going to connect? Versus, “I am in good enough. I’m in self-love. I am in wholeness. I am in exuberance,” or whatever, not necessarily exuberance, maybe it’s grounded and settled, and then I connect from that.

So that question of, “What am I doing?” there’s this whole admonition, “I got to do all the right things, so I can have all the right toys, so I can finally be enough.” And I often ask people like, “Okay, what is it that you think you would be? Who would you become, ‘If I had the thing I want. I had the family I want, if I had the job I want, if I had all the toys? What do I imagine that would give me? Who do I imagine I would become?’ and then cultivate those qualities within you. And it doesn’t mean don’t go get all the toys, but it’s like cultivate those qualities within you, ‘I would be joyful. I would be loving. I would be giving. I would be connected. I would become this kind of person.’ Okay, affirm that kind of person for yourself right now. It’s like create that person in you right now. Who would you become and come from that and then go get all the toys so that you’re not one of these people that’s like, ‘I went to get all the toys in order to be enough and now I still don’t feel like I’m enough’?”

Lorne Brown:

And when you have that, when you become that person, then you get to enjoy the toys or you won’t need the toys. So you’re not saying, you’re not doing, I don’t know what culture or religion is where you shine all materialism. You’re saying that you can enjoy all these material things of the world and all these manifestations when you feel, I’m going to use the word whole and complete, you didn’t use that word, but when you feel enough.

Max Gaenslen:

Right. That’s fine. That works then. And I think what happens is getting really clear on what the authentic reasons for wanting it are, then you can really go get the things that you want for the right reasons versus running out, trying to outrun your shame, trying to be good enough. If I get a boat, because I think if I have a boat, then I’ll finally be good enough, I’ll probably love getting the boat. I’ll probably really enjoy it for about, whatever, I’ll exaggerate, five minutes. And then someday I’ll be on that boat and I’ll realize, “Wow, my shame is still here. My shame is still with me on the boat. The boat didn’t …”

So it’s like learning to come from the place of self-love, self-compassion, “I’m good enough,” unhooking from the past really, being fully present, then I can fully enjoy the boat or maybe I don’t actually. Maybe if the boat was about, “I need to be good enough and I’m actually good enough,” maybe I don’t need the boat. But if I get the boat, at least I’m getting the boat for authentic reasons because I love boating.

Lorne Brown:

When you have this deep desire and it becomes a neediness, a desperate neediness, I’ve observed that it creates resistance in …

Max Gaenslen:

Exactly.

Lorne Brown:

… the system. And resistance prevents receptivity and allowing.

Max Gaenslen:

Exactly.

Lorne Brown:

We can tie this to the fertility podcast. We always say, in Chinese medicine, receptivity is a big part of conceiving. And so you don’t get to choose whether you want something. You want something, you don’t choose, but you can use tools to develop resilience, emotional resilience. And you can use tools, so you get to a place where, yes, you want it, but you no longer desperately need it. And you want it without the desperation, so it’s a desire without a need. Resistance is lowered and that’s what contributes to allowing receptivity. I’m curious, what would your thoughts be then … You’re talking about a boat, but a lot of couples that I see and the men that I see and the women that I see, singles, they have this deep desire. They feel like they really need to have this baby.

You talked touched on this earlier, but I create it where you talked about the child where they don’t feel enough, right? Like anything happens, if there’s a divorce, somehow it’s the kid’s fault, right?

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

And this idea of healing the planet is if we heal our hearts and minds and body, then we won’t feel separate and we won’t go and need to take from other people or attack other people. We’ll be able to hold the space like you shared. In fertility, it’s your wake-up call and it brings you to this kind of work, the transformation practice, [inaudible 00:37:54] stuff, stuff I’m doing in my practice. And you go from conscious fertility to conscious conception to conscious pregnancy to conscious parenting, so these children are raised by conscious parents.

Max Gaenslen:

I love that.

Lorne Brown:

And I believe this work does help the body on a physical level. The nervous system feels safe because of the tools that you share. And I don’t understand the fabrics of this universe, so not everybody is going to have a baby that wants to have a baby. These tools though get you to a place where you want the baby, and if you don’t have the baby, you’ll be disappointed, but you are still whole and complete and that’s 100% success, right? Nobody I see at the beginning can imagine that they would be okay without the baby.

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

However, the process is either they get the baby and they have this awakening or they don’t and they’re disappointed, but they’re not suffering, which is …

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

… pain. There’s pain and then pain without knowing is a form of suffering, right?

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

And so do you have anything to share? And we didn’t give a chance yet and maybe you can talk a little bit about what is the integral process, the Hoffman work that you do, Integral Transformative Practice. I’m curious what kind of things you could share and whether people want a boat, a new relationship, a new home, a new career or they’re looking to grow their family, think of them as you share some of the ideas that you have here because a lot of people are like, “No, there’s no way I will stop wanting this,” right?

Max Gaenslen:

Mm-hmm.

Lorne Brown:

And we’re not saying stop wanting it, but I think a lot of people’s wanting is desperate need. Not related to growing families, but we shared in our life, we chased things because we thought it was going to make us happy and it was a temporary happiness. So it wasn’t real love and joy. It was temporary and we’re looking for more of a, “It’s because it’s our essence. That’s why we feel this way,” versus, “The external thing is making us feel this way. We feel this way because we’re loving, not that we need this to be loving.” So I would love to hear more about your work, the Hoffman Process or the integral transformative process and thinking of our listeners who are looking to become powerful as a connect to their authentic self, looking for the how to, Max. That’s what I’m asking for.

Max Gaenslen:

Yes. So thank you. I love what you just shared and I totally resonate with it. And I want to say, just to use a real simple example, I’m sure you heard examples like this, but if I say I need someone to like me or I’m not okay and I approach that person from a desperation for this person to like me, what is my chance of making an authentic connection with them versus if I’m okay with myself the way I am and I want to make a connection with this person and then I go and I make the connection. So there’s that … I like what you said about just a relaxation in your nervous system. It’s amazing even just in the kinds of work I do, when people do cathartic work or even ground and center, relax the nervous system, headaches go away, irritable bowel syndrome, stomachaches, back pain, all these things.

There’s a back surgeon, David Hanscom wrote a book called Back In Control. He talks a lot about he works himself out of back surgery. He’s a back surgeon and he has people do emotional work first. They do like writing, expressive writing and all these things. He has this program they have to go through before they get back surgery. And then he works his way out of a job because they heal their emotional pain and their back pain goes away. And a lot of surgery doesn’t work. He talks about this in his book.

Lorne Brown:

I want to add just because people are like, “Really?” Yeah, there’s books on this. Bessel’s book, The Body Keeps The Score. Chinese medicine talked about this for millennia, that negative emotions get trapped in the body and we call this qi stagnation and it leads to pain and disease. And this is why I like modalities like breath work. Sometimes, just to move through things, I love the inner child work, meditation, EFT, all these somatic processes to get this out of the body or transform it, metabolize it.

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

And so what is some of the things that you guys do in integral practice?

Max Gaenslen:

So I would say Hoffman … I’ll talk about both. I can talk about Hoffman and Integral Transformative Practice, which are two separate 501(c)(3) nonprofits, that I work for both. So what Hoffman has, there’s a lot of tools and practices for each of four steps of what they call the cycle of transformation. We call it cycle of transformation. The first is awareness. It’s noticing, “What’s the false self? What are the patterns? What are the admonitions? What are the self-limiting beliefs?” Becoming clear on that. And then the second step is expression. So expression, there’s a lot of ways to express. It’s using your voice, using your body, using your intention to step out of the box of your conditioning.

So often, we learn in our families of origin or in the situations that we grew up in, certain emotions are okay, certain emotions are not okay. Sometimes we learn that we can’t be hurt, we can’t feel hurt. “I’ll give you something to cry about,” or “Big boys don’t cry,” or whatever it is we learn. And so maybe we go straight to anger or maybe we learn that we can’t be angry and unexpressed emotion doesn’t go away. I liked your qi stagnation. It’s like qi stagnation. It congeals in the body, right? It takes energy. It takes energy to suppress our feelings or to continually be this false self or maybe we go always into rage. And so we have patterns of emotions.

So I want to be really clear. It’s not that certain emotions are good and certain emotions are bad. It’s not like hurt is bad or anger is bad. Sometimes being hurt or feeling sad is the most authentic response to a situation. Fear, the human race would not have evolved to where we are without fear. We wouldn’t learn to cross the street without fear. And there’s a difference between authentic hurt or authentic fear and patterns of, say, anxiety or patterns of depression of telling ourselves a story, “The world is ruined,” or, “It will never change. I’m too old,” “I’m too young,” whatever it is you’re going into depression. So becoming clear on, “What is my authentic expression?”

So anyway, so to talk about tools and practices, there’s a zillion. I punch pillows a lot. I yell off the mat, so that I’m not blowing up on other people, so I’m not blowing up on the highway.

Lorne Brown:

And we should let people know that you are drummer and percussionist, so that’s how you get a lot of that energy.

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, exactly. And it’s also saying, it’s like, “Go in limbic.” We start taking on our patterns really young. And so there’s a saying, I think it’s in 12-step, “You can’t think your way into a new way of acting, but you can act your way into a new way of thinking.” It’s stepping out of the box. It’s stepping out of the box of your expression. Expressive writing, really powerful. David Hanscom suggests writing and then shredding it every day. Just writing expressively for 20 minutes. Running, using the body. Punching bags, things like that. Moving the energy out of your body and really taking a stand saying, “No, I am not these patterns.”

You are not your patterns. You are not the strategies you learned. You are not the false self. You are not this persona that you constructed as a very young person to try to do the best you could at that time to navigate that situation. You are so much more than your patterns. You are so much more than your false self. You are your own deepest wisdom. You are your spiritual self. Connecting to who you really are and then expressing like, “To hell with this false self,” and finding ways to disconnect from that. And then coming to the step three is coming to a peace with the past. It’s fully expressing the hurt fully.

We have something called childhood day. We have people throw fits on behalf of their child, to express the things they couldn’t express as a child, and then at some point, unhooking from the past. I had this real moment, I did not want to forgive my dad. In my 20s actually, there was a series of letters I wrote back and forth to my dad. I was really wanting him to admit he was a crappy parent. And we had a very contentious series of letters. And actually at some point, I had the thought, I don’t want to let him off the hook. And I had the idea, I had the thought, “Well, who’s holding the other end of the hook? I’m holding the hook. I’m tethered to my dad if I am needing to hold onto my anger and my resentment and my blame.”

And so I did the work. I really honestly let go of the resentment, the hurt. And I went to my dad and I had a conversation with him about it. And I told him, “It’s all water under the bridge. I forgive you. It is done.” And I got a letter from him afterwards where he really owned a lot of what he felt were these weaknesses as a parent that he could never own. When I was coming at him, “You have to do this,” he got defensive, of course. And then when I relaxed, when I let go, when I said it’s water under the bridge, it’s ironic, I got the letter I wanted after I no longer wanted it, after I no longer needed it. And if I had gotten it when I wanted, it would have just reinforced my victim story.

Lorne Brown:

Of course. So you’ve changed and there’s your experience to it. And I’ll share that I’ve seen people they’ve cleared parents, so they’ve done a clearing with their parent.

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

Peace with the past, how you described it, not to their face, just energetically in their mind, rehearsed it. And then all of a sudden the relationship with their parent changed.

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, absolutely.

Lorne Brown:

And again, I always say one of two things happened. Your perception of it is, so maybe it has, hasn’t, but you think it has or they really have changed, but it doesn’t matter. You’re enjoying the relationship. So again, this is where there’s different ways to do these things, but we’re seeing the shifts, the opportunities. We’re seeing the change. We’re seeing the shift in the fabric of our lives. And so number one is notice, become aware. I share this with my listeners who’ve listened for a while. I have an approach.

And anytime I hear approach, I like to see if what I observed for all the approaches I’ve seen out there, they all fit into what I call NAC, notice, accept, choose again. Notice, everything that happens, you see it through the lens of your subconscious. Don’t take it personally. Don’t believe in the story. Everything is neutral. Give it meaning through the lens of your subconscious. So notice it, become aware. Two is surrender to what is. That’s your being authentic. This is a quote from Michael Brown, The Peace Process, “Rather than trying to feel better, get better at feeling.”

So if your emotion’s sad, feel it. And again, it’s not the subconscious programming. You use the term patterning. It’s not that. It’s like, “How do you really feel and accept it, surrender into it?” And then the choose again is when that resistance is low, because when you fully become present, when you fully are authentic and feel how you feel and surrender to accepting, “That’s how I feel right now,” the resistant lowers, you feel relief and now you’re going to choose again. So how do you want to be and start to experience that future self as if you have that person now?

Max Gaenslen:

I would say something about that anecdote I just told about my dad. I really resonate with what you’re saying. And so me coming to a different place, me coming to a peace, choosing again, if my dad had given me the letter I wanted when I wanted, it would have been the wrong time. And so for me, it would have reinforced my weakness. It would have reinforced that I’m a victim. It would have reinforced … And so when I was actually coming from a place of, “I don’t need anything from you. I’m whole and complete in myself, and therefore, I can connect with you, not from a need.”

Lorne Brown:

It’s the same when you talked about the boat, when you come to this place, what does the boat represent? What does it mean for you? And if you fill yourself up with that first, then you may come to the idea that you don’t want the boat or you don’t need it. And that’s the same thing with your father is you already came to that place of that you made peace with the past. And so whether he sent you that letter or not, didn’t matter because you’re already at peace, but when you got the letter, you could appreciate and enjoy it because of who you had become where you’re at. And like you said, if you got the boat when you hadn’t filled yourself up for what the boat represented, it wouldn’t have worked anyhow because it has nothing to do with your dad or it doesn’t have anything to do with the absence of the boat. It has to do with you not connecting to your authentic self. That’s how I interpret it.

Max Gaenslen:

Absolutely. And so much of what we think we want out there in the world, and again, we’re not saying don’t want the thing out there in the world, but so much of it, we can give ourselves. So much of it of like, “I love myself. I accept myself,” or, “I can cultivate these things within myself.” And so then when we’re not coming from the, “Need it from the outside,” we’re in such a better place to manifest it, attract it. I forget the word you used, but-

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, manifest it, create it. Yeah, co-create it.

Max Gaenslen:

We’re in a place where we can create it.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, you’re in the allowing receptivity. Things start to flow. You get some synchronicity. So we got notice, express emotions, peace with the past and what’s number four?

Max Gaenslen:

Number four is new ways of being and the new ways of being aren’t really so new. It’s really about being who you really are. It’s creating that separation. It’s unhooking from whatever it is, the patterns of the past, this false self that I constructed, my resentments, my anger, my blaming. By the way, I’m by no stretch suggesting I’ve done all of this perfectly in the world, but I’ve made some progress, and letting go and then, “Who am I really? How do I really want to show up? Who is this person? What am I really about?” And so it’s about, yeah, connecting to my love, my light, my authenticity and bringing that to the world, so it can be like, “How can I have the most joy in my life? How can I connect with authenticity? How can I be a blessing to the lives I touch?” and come from that place of desire for connection from the new ways of being.

And we do a lot of this through visualization in Hoffman, where I was coming from pattern, where I was coming from the false self, where I was coming from trying to be good enough. Same situation, “How do I come from spirit? How do I come from authenticity?” And really by doing the steps, the awareness, the really connecting, “How did I learn? This isn’t who I want to be,” really connecting to our intention, really expressing. There’s this idea like, “I should forgive and be loving because that’s what good people do,” and so we tell ourselves. We really have to know what we are forgiving and to fully give ourselves permission to get angry first as a step. Punch the pillow, use all curse, whatever it is, really allow that expression, clearing out the pipes, so the qi can flow and then at some point letting go of things that we’re holding against ourselves.

And it’s not a spin campaign. It’s not a spin campaign to say, “I forgive you. Therefore, the things that you did don’t matter. It’s not to condone the acts. It’s not to not take responsibility for my life.” I had a lot of resistance to the idea of self-compassion because I thought, “Well, if I’m self-compassionate, I’m not going to berate myself into being a better person.” I was being driven by this shame of like, “You better do this thing.” And I thought, “Well, if I let myself be okay just the way I am, why wouldn’t I just sit on the couch and eat Haagen-Dazs and watch reruns?”

And what I actually found was the opposite was really true. It’s like when I came to a place of self-compassion, I can actually own my foibles and flaws much better than I did before. And I can do things like I can apologize, I can recognize I’m wrong, I can notice my weaknesses and I’ll be like, “Okay, I have a lot of patterns. I have a lot of foibles and flaws and I can hold myself in love and do the best I can and take each step.”

Lorne Brown:

It’s neat what you’ve shared because it’s been my experience and observation of others doing this kind of work, is when you have that self-love and care how you feel, it’s like you said, it’s counterintuitive. You think you would not want to grow anymore and be of service, but it’s quite the opposite. It happens naturally. And it reminds me of, when you use the example of the Big Bang and expands, so if we’re connecting to that big consciousness, it wants to expand, it wants evolution, it wants growth. So the more you connect to your beingness, you are going to want to continue to grow because that is in your DNA, so to speak. And people just feel like sharing and giving.

That’s why I think it will help heal the world as we become more awake and conscious because you don’t want to just sit on the couch. Some days you do, but for the most part, you want to contribute, but you’re contributing out of a lovingness, I’m going to use that word loosely, versus, “I need to get something out of it.”

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

It’s unconditional. Other thing I want to ask you about the word forgiveness, it’s neat for me, I don’t know why it’s a bit of a … It’s not a trigger word, but forgiveness ties into, “Then I’ve done something wrong,” there’s a guilt behind it. And again, this could be just semantics, but I usually use the word acceptance. To me, it has a different charge to it if words could have charges or vibration, charges to it. Because if I have to forgive you, Max, it’s like, “I’m here and you’re here.”

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

“I’m forgiving you. You wronged me. You’re the guilty. I’m the judge. I’m forgiving you,” but if I can accept you for the guy who did this, it’s just like, “Because it happened. I accept you. I didn’t like it, but I accept that’s who you were and I still love you,” that kind of idea. And so for me, this is a me thing. I just have found that I’ve never resonated with the word forgiveness so much since I’ve done the conscious work. And the word I use is I accept myself with the person who thinks this way and I can accept for other people who’ve done things intentionally, unintentionally because if I can get into the acceptance, I just get into … And it’s not a spiritual bypass. I’m not like, “Oh, trust me, I did it at the beginning. Oh, I’m supposed to love everybody.”

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

So it was like I’m being spiritual, but it wasn’t authentic. I’m talking authentic like, “I didn’t like what you did, but I am in a place where I’m okay that that’s what happened today.”

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, I love that.

Lorne Brown:

“I accept that.”

Max Gaenslen:

I’m going to start playing with that. I’m going to start using both and notice how they feel, forgiveness and acceptance.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, because if you came up to me and said, “Lorne, you know I forgive you for this,” depends on how whole and complete I’d be, I think it could trigger me, right?

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, I agree actually and I don’t, by the way, when I recognize that I have done something unskillful or that I’ve hurt somebody and I feel like I need to apologize, I’m doing it the other way. Well, there’s myself and there’s-

Lorne Brown:

But I would say I can say sorry. I can say sorry because I know that it will help the person and now in this … Because we’re all in these moments. So 15 minutes ago or call it 15 years ago, I know better, so I do better. So as soon as I’m aware that I could have done it differently and I want to do it differently, then very easily, I can say sorry.

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah. So what I was about to say is, actually in that situation, if I hurt someone, I don’t feel comfortable asking for forgiveness, except in very specific situations. I might in a particular context that’s very specific, but I wouldn’t typically ask for forgiveness. I would typically say, “I’m sorry. I apologize. Can we talk about this? Is there something we can do?” It would be typic. And the other is, for example, with my dad, in that story, I did not say, “I forgive you.” Originally, I think the first thing I said was, “I love you,” and it actually organically morphed to him feeling bad, telling me about things he felt bad about as a dad and me saying, “It’s all water under the bridge.” And it evolved into that being the right thing to say in that context. But yeah, I think I’ve definitely heard stories of people saying, they went to their parents and said, “I forgive you,” and the parent says like, “What the F for?”

Lorne Brown:

And my teacher-

Max Gaenslen:

“You know what I did for you? Who are you to forgive me?”

Lorne Brown:

Right, yeah. Well, my teacher always said, “We did this clearing and we never did it with the person.”

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

Because the clearings about doing it with their authentic self, so you can do it in your mind, where if you do it in person, you may get ego back at you.

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

Because of time, I have some questions for you, so I want to ask you some … Because I really want to pick into your experience and knowledge with the work that you’re doing and I think my listeners will be interested, but it’s a personal question that I think you said it in a different way, but we’re more the same than different …

Max Gaenslen:

Right.

Lorne Brown:

… what’s going on.  So since I’ve had my journey of my Greyhound bus, I’ll use that as I got awakened. What I’ve noticed, this dark soul of the night, whatever you call it, is that it’s really uncomfortable. As I become aware that I have fear, I have shame and I have guilt and these programs not enough, I thought it would be all bliss and awesomeness, but I have to say that this work, I find often, this waking up, is to be not comfortable. And I’m curious, am I unique to that doing it wrong or have you worked with so many people? Is this something that is to be expected and what can you speak on that?

Max Gaenslen:

I’ll tell you, I really think it’s important to recognize all sides of human nature, whatever you want to call it, the gremlin, the dark side, the shadow. Those are different things, I don’t want to conflate all of those things, but I think there are a lot of people out there who do the spiritual bypass, they say it’s all love and light. And there’s a lot of stories of gurus doing really emotionally destructive things to their flock. There’s a lot of things like emotional manipulation, sexual manipulation. There’s a lot of bad stories.

And I think Christina Grote recently did an Integral Transformative Practice. So I’ve talked a bit more about Hoffman, but the body, mind, heart and soul or what Hoffman calls the quadrinity, really having, doing your work in all these aspects, having a physical practice, being in the body, feeling the body, somatic practice, exercise, healthy eating, emotional, having healthy relationships, having conversations, clearing emotions, expressing emotions, intellectually learning, having healthy paradigms and spiritually having a practice that’s spiritual is really important to have a fully integrated integral approach.

And I think sometimes people say, “Okay, I’m just going to be love and light,” and it’s actually, “I am Luke Skywalker and then I’m ignoring the Darth Vader,” I think that is hugely destructive and I think it is the cause of a lot of the issues in the world. There is so much projection in the story, “We are the good people. Those are the bad people. We are justified in our vindictiveness because those people over there are doing this, like, ‘Oh, I’m the good person.'”

And there’s so much of like, “If everyone would just follow our plan, everything would work on earth,” and the reason it’s not working is because those people over there didn’t do this and it’s amazing how much that unconscious, unexpressed, unrecognized, we learned, “This is what good people do. This is what bad people do,” and that repressed self comes out in a lot of ways and the public conversation is absolutely full of it. It’s a lot of projection. And I think if we can own it, then it’s not comfortable.

Lorne Brown:

So that’s good because there’s moments of feeling light and free and connected.

Max Gaenslen:

Absolutely.

Lorne Brown:

Every time I get into these periods where feeling light, connected, feeling powerful as a great manifester, I’m like, “I’ve arrived,” and bang, I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” And I’m working through and using the tools. And I have to say, I just did breath work yesterday, for example, and I’m sitting there breathing, and all of a sudden, some fear and shame and then just crying like a baby, it’s good to get it out. This is what you’re talking about, express like punch your pillows.

Max Gaenslen:

Yeah, so that is why I think it’s really important to both have the cathartic side, the expressive side, the love and light side. You actually need both. And to recognize, own it like, “Okay, I am actually not happy to see my ex in another relationship. I’m being a little vindictive, and guess what? That’s part of human nature. And I also know that, when I’m holding onto my vindictiveness, I don’t feel as good as when I’m on the other side and on the love and light side. So what can I do to clear my vindictiveness?” And maybe it’s not expressed to them or have it leak out sideways on the freeway, but it’s like go punch a pillow, go hit a … Do whatever it is, but get it out and actually own your aggression. We have an amygdala, we have a limbic system, and actually, let it … Clear the pipes out and then move on.

So that’s why the sequencing is really important, the expression moving into whatever it is, compassion, love, light, those things, but recognizing all sides of our nature, not pretending we don’t have a limbic system, not pretending … Someone used the phrase, what is the phrase? Our New Year’s resolution self. We want to just pretend, “Oh, no, I’m this person,” and this is what we want to project to the world. And it’s bullshit. And people who don’t own it, it leaks out sideways.

Lorne Brown:

So it’s about being authentic and authentic …

Max Gaenslen:

Authentic.

Lorne Brown:

… you can be angry, you can be sad and you have tools. And so I want to lead people to a couple of resources. And you mentioned in passing there, Christina Grote, who I’m grateful for because she introduced us, she is Episode 29. Her episode is called I’m Unlocking Extraordinary Capacities, and so that’s episode 29 in The Conscious Fertility Podcast. And we got with us here today, Max Gaenslen and I want you to know that there’s a couple ways to find him and we’ll put in the show notes, but do you want to share a little bit how they find you through Esalen, Hoffman and the ITP sites, just so they can find out where these tools are to help them tap into this kind of work, to help them tap into their authentic self so they can experience more joy in their life by working through their shadow side as well as they create and manifest what they want in this world?

Max Gaenslen:

Sure, so there’s the Hoffman Institute, hoffmaninstitute.org. There’s Integral Transformative Practice or ITP, itp-international.org. And there’s the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, esalen.org, and all of these offer programs that are transformative. And mostly what I discussed in this was largely Hoffman. I think Christina speaks a lot about ITP and I would just say find, authentic paths, find tools and they can connect with me through website, max@hoffmaninstitute.org.

Lorne Brown:

max@hoffmaninstitute.org, that’s your email?

Max Gaenslen:

That’s a Hoffman email, yeah.

Lorne Brown:

Okay. And then is there IG, Facebook? Anything else that you don’t have to share, but you want? Is there a way-

Max Gaenslen:

I do actually pretty regularly on IG. I lead little practices. And so @hoffmanprocess, its Instagram, hoffmanprocess is the name of it, all one word hoffmanprocess. It’s like #hoffmanprocess or whatever.

Lorne Brown:

Max, we’re going to talk again because there’s so much I want to ask you. And again, we just touched the surface here, but I’m hoping with our listeners that the resources, if anything from this talk, it’s the tools. You use the word tools and that’s what it is to me. These aren’t dogmas, these aren’t religions. These are tools, which I feel help you build emotional resilience and confidence to deal with this world life situations. And the more tools I have, so I keep learning, the more tools is just something I keep pulling out of my toolbox that I’m going to use for this situation. And that’s why I develop the confidence because I just know I don’t have to control the outcome because I know I got tools to help me deal with the outcome and that allows me to be more present. And I think that’s been your experience because reading your bio and what you’ve done, you have accumulated a lot of tools in your life.

Max Gaenslen:

And life is a practice and enjoying practice for its own sake, as George Leonard used to say, and not turning ourselves into an endless fix-it project, but noticing that what we come up with, it’s like going to the gym. When we go to the gym, we’re actually tearing down muscles when we’re lifting weights and then they heal. And when they heal, they heal back stronger. And so it’s about experiencing life healing, using our tools, showing up, having our own backs. Thank you, Lorne. It was wonderful to meet you and-

Lorne Brown:

And thank you, Max.

Speaker 3:

If you’re looking for support to grow your family, contact Acubalance Wellness Center. At Acubalance, they help you reach your peak fertility potential through their integrative approach, using low-level laser therapy, fertility acupuncture and naturopathic medicine. Download the Acubalance fertility diet and Dr. Brown’s video for mastering manifestation and clearing subconscious blocks. Go to acubalance ca. That’s A-C-U, balance, dot-ca.

Lorne Brown:

Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of Conscious Fertility, the show that helps you receive life on purpose. Please take a moment to subscribe to the show and join the community of women and men on their path to peak fertility and choosing to live consciously on purpose. I would love to continue this conversation with you, so please direct message me on Instagram @lorne_brown_official. That’s Instagram, lorne_brown_official or you can visit my websites, lornebrown.com and acubalance.ca. Until the next episode, stay curious, and for a few moments, bring your awareness to your heart center and breathe.

 

Where To Find Max

Email: Max@hoffmaninstitute.org

Hoffmaninstitute.org

Itphoneinternational.org.

Escalin.org

Hosts & Guests

Lorne Brown
Max Gaenslen

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