How To Save The World In 2 Simple Steps | Emily Fletcher

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Hi friends, wow what an extreme delight
to get to speak to such stunning human beings in such a stunning location
and thank you Mia for that ridiculously kind intro and thank you to Vishen and
the entire A-Fest team for creating this. Now if any of you guys have heard me
speak before you probably thought that I was going to get up here and talk about
how meditation can improve your performance and honestly it would have
been easy for me to get up here and talk about the neuroscience behind why
meditation is the ultimate brain hack, how it can help you have better skin and
increase your neuro plasticity and decrease inflammation and reverse your
body age and get rid of depression and anxiety and insomnia and give you better
parking karma and even give you a better boner, without the injections. And that’s all true and it does. I got such
a lady boner right now. But you guys, I gave that talk at Dave’s Biohacking
conference last year and I’ve still got the brain octane oil to prove it and don’t get me wrong I love biohacking
and I love orgasms but as we are facing more and more dire circumstances as a
species I increasingly don’t care what your
resting heart rate is unless you’re going to take action with your newly
toned body, so I bravely titled this talk ‘How to save the world in 2 simple steps’
You guys wanna know what the steps are? I bet you do but that would make
for a very short talk and I’ve got 19 minutes left to go. And before we can talk about how to
save the world we have to first get clear about what we’re saving it from. Alright, so in my humble opinion we are
saving it from climate change, terrorism and the fact that much of our
food isn’t food anymore. A trifecta I affectionately refer to
as the three big Scaries. Now, I know that we can’t solve all three of
these problems in the next 20 minutes but what we can do is create a new model
so that we can reframe how we see these problems so that we can start to take
personal accountability for the solutions. So if we look at the fact that much of
our food isn’t food anymore, if we see that as the symptom what’s the underlying imbalance? Greed.
And if we look at terrorism, the underlying imbalance under that is
separateness and if we look at the collective decisions that have led us to
climate change I propose that the underlying imbalance
is actually something called the ‘I’ll be happy when syndrome which is the
mistaken belief that you can somehow acquire your way to happiness. Alright, so let’s start with food. We all have to eat right and here’s the
thing most of the food that we’re eating these days isn’t actually food, its food-like products. It doesn’t
resemble anything that came out of the earth. I was teaching meditation course in San
Francisco recently and I went into a grocery store in the lower-income part of town and I
really quickly realized that there was nothing there that I could actually eat.
It looked a little something like this. You guys, our food has been genetically
engineered, covered in pesticides, filled with preservatives and the animals that
are bred for consumption are often times given hormones. They live in filth and
they’re killed in ways that are unthinkably inhumane. Then it’s wrapped in plastic, we consume
it and we’re confused as to why we have allergies, depression and obesity. Right, yes yes, why is this
happening? Because most of us are shopping for food that is cheap instead
of high quality, right and corporations have lobbied our politicians to protect
the profit of the corporations making the food and not the health of the
consumers consuming it, right. So what’s the underlying imbalance here?
Greed. Now, corporations are feeding the
majority of humanity right now which is very different than what it was a few
short decades ago, right. We used to grow our own food or get it from local
farmers. Think about how different our grandparents’ food was than ours is.
All their vegetables were organic, imagine them eating a Lunchables, right. Gross. So corporations have one
priority and that trumps all other priorities and that’s to make a
profit, right, and their success is not judged by the quality of the product but
based on how profitable they are. Now look, I like money as
much as the next meditation teacher and we’re all like guilty of this, right
because we’re all running around trying to make money that we don’t really take
the time to prepare our food. Can you imagine taking the time to grow and
prepare three meals a day, right like who has the time for that? But here’s the thing, if our food is
making our children sick it might be time to re-examine our
collective values. So the next big story that I want to take a look at is terrorism. So according to the global terrorism
index, in 2014 the world experienced a 61 percent increase in terrorism, 61 percent. Imagine if you increased your body weight
by 61 percent. I bet you’d do something about it. Now the
same study said that the main factors associated with terrorism are hostilities between different ethnic,
religious and linguistic groups and also high levels of grievances between groups. So basically, we have a lot of unhappy
individuals viewing some people as same and some people as separate. Now before
you can terrorize someone you must first have an enemy and before you can have an
enemy you must first see them as separate. It’s a lot easier to do things
like this to someone if you feel like you’re harming an enemy and not harming
yourself. Now terrorism I feel like something
that’s like way far away and none of us are personally guilty of it but if we
agree that the underlying imbalance is actually looking at life from a place of
separateness then we’re all guilty of it. The last time you cut someone off in
traffic, you flipped someone of, you got mad at your mother in law, you chose, you know competition over
collaboration. These are all acts of separateness and
if we continue to act under this illusion of separateness we know how the
story plays out, it’s never a good one. I just want to check in with you guys how
you doing. This guy’s face is like “Um I thought this is going to take a relaxing
guided meditation and I’m looking at pictures of like terrorism.” I bet so I bet if you are watching this
on Youtube you probably hit pause and go watch a cute animal video on Youtube. Well sir, here you go. Pretty cute, huh. Yeah there’s actually polka music under
this. I mean it’s adorable but it also
illustrates that we’re stronger together than we are when we separate ourselves
from one another, yeah. And now back to our regularly scheduled
program of the three big scary. So this term climate change, right, we
hear it so much but it’s easy to get desensitized to it and I think it’s the
easiest of the three to ignore because even though the science is in, we
think that’s not my problem, like I recycle, I don’t smoke I was a brita, I’m
good, right. And also, the only way that it’s
impacting most of us right now is when complain about the weird weather over an
iced chai latte and a plastic cup and then head back to work. But let’s take a
deeper look at how climate change is actually already impacting our species. New Orleans is supposed to be underwater
in less than a hundred years. That means that your grandkids will
never go to Mardi Gras, right. Sea temperatures are rising. By 2050,
there is going to be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Florida is already experiencing mass
extinctions of species and some of the plastic drinking straws that we’re using,
they’re ending up in the nostrils of these ancient beauties and this video
was so upsetting, I couldn’t show you, I just wanted to show you a screenshot but the next time somebody gives you a plastic drinking straw maybe you recycle that
or just say no straw, please. Americans use 2.5 million plastic
bottles every hour. I must say that again Americans use 2.5 million plastic
bottles every hour. To use something one time that takes 70 million years to go
away doesn’t make any sense. Now my dear friend and student and
Tony Award winner with a killer Twitter feed tweeted. Her name is Laura
Benanti and she goes “Sometimes I throw something away and then I realize oh
wait there is no away, there is only the earth and the ocean,
right. Now I’ll give you, you know plastic has some redeeming qualities. It’s cheap,
it’s light and it’s convenient but when countries are going to war over water
we’re gonna see how truly inconvenient it was. So if climate change is the
symptom, what’s the underlying imbalance? The ‘I’ll be happy when syndrome’, right which is the mistaken belief that
we can somehow consume our way to happiness and the ‘I’ll be happy when
syndrome’ it shows up in achievement, it shows up in relationships but most of
all money. We think, If I could just make ten thousand dollars then I won’t have
to stress about my rent and then I will be happy and if you manage to do that
you think I could do a hundred thousand dollars, that would be great and if you do a
hundred thousand dollars then you think I bet could do a a million and once you get a
million dollars then you think I bet could do a hundred million dollars and
once you get a hundred million dollars then you want a jet and once you have a
hundred million dollars and a jet then you just missed the days you could
get high and go to the park and not have to worry about managing your money all
day, right. So our happiness becomes a little carrot
that just gets further and further and further and further away and then we die.
And I’m really sorry if this is bad news but your happiness does not lie on the
other side of any person, any place or anything. It doesn’t lie on the other side of an
engagement ring, or an acquisition of a company, or a million people on your
mailing list. Your happiness exists in one place and that is inside of you and
it exists in one time and that is right now. Right, and any attempt, any attempt to fill an internal void by
reaching to an external disposable thing wrapped in plastic is an addiction and
that addiction is fueling our need to consume. We’re all so busy running, you know, trying to
make money that we don’t take time to pack our food so we grab a
plastic to-go container. And we’re all so busy achieving that we get our coffee in
a plastic to-go cup and they we’re so caffeinated that we can’t sleep so we oversleep our alarm and we don’t
pack our food and it’s so we consume and we throw away, we consume and throw away, we consume and throw away. It is a vicious cycle and it is time for it to stop. Yes yes, it always seems so fun when Lisa Nichols does this. I just wanted to try it. So if we agree that food, terrorism and
climate change are actually the symptoms of the underlying imbalances of greed,
separateness and the ‘I’ll be happy when syndrome’, then how do we solve the underlying
imbalances? So I figure if i don’t talk about the solution soon someone’s gonna
jump out a window. So what’s the fastest way to up-level
your state of consciousness, right? What’s the thing, what’s the number one
thing that’s impacting every single decision that you make? Your state of
consciousness. Remember when Dave was talking about you can either let your life be led by a little labrador puppy or a very well
trained service animal, right, so your state of consciousness is the thing
that’s going to be impacting that. Now Einstein has already told us that no
problem can be solved at the same layer of consciousness with which it was
created. So how do we up-level our state of
consciousness? Meditation. Right, meditation takes your brain to the gym
like nothing else. And I know that might seem like an over
simplified solution but science has proven that when you meditate and I’m
not talking about any all-guided visualization. I’m talking about an-every-day, twice-a-day practice that helps you access a verifiable fourth state of consciousness. When you do that on a repeatable
basis your brain and body not only flood with bliss chemicals but you also improve
your cognitive function so it stands to reason that if you’re happier
and your brain is working better you might be better able to solve these
problems that we’re facing. So how do we save the world in two
simple steps? Step 1: meditate in the morning and step
two: meditate in the afternoon. Yeah. Because as you heal yourself, you help to heal the collective and if
all this is sounding a little bit too much like a Miss America platform speech
for you, don’t worry I’m about to get to some
neuroscience and also full disclosure I was Florida’s Junior Miss in 1997. Don’t be
intimidated. Um so let’s start with climate change. How on earth could meditation help with
climate change? Short answer. Meditation is the fastest way to cure the ‘I’ll be
happy when’ syndrome because within 30 to 45 seconds of practicing this hour
medication that I teach, your brain and body floods with dopamine and serotonin
which are bliss chemicals, right, so it gives you access to your fulfillment
internally so you’re not under the illusion that your happiness lies on the
other side of the stuff. Basically it gives you the opportunity
to go through life as fulfilment looking for need instead of a bag of
need looking for fulfilment, and yes, that’s right, I quoted myself. So how does meditation impact terrorism? According to UNESCO, violence begins with
the mind. It must therefore be uprooted from the
mind. The simple answer to this is when you
meditate you get yourself out of fight or flight syndrome and terrorism is
decidedly fighting. Now, the more complex answer is when you meditate you light up
the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex which is basically just a fancy way of saying
the part of your brain that processes information about people it perceives
as separate. Also, when you meditate you strengthen the connection between the
insula which is your empathy center and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. So this strengthened connection gives
you the ability to have empathy for people that you perceive a separate. It
allows you to put yourself in the shoes of someone else. It allows you to go through life
realizing that there is only one thing and we’re all it, right and that that as you
hurt someone else, you’re actually hurting yourself. And as you help someone else, you’re
actually helping yourself. It allows you to realize that we cannot murder our way to
a peaceful planet. The Dalai Lama said “If we were to teach
every eight year old to meditate we would end war within a generation” and despite how the news and possibly
even this talk is making you feel, we’re actually living in the most peaceful
time in recorded history. Meditation is already being taught in
jails to veterans and even in schools. It’s shocking and heartwarming results. In San Francisco they’ve been teaching meditation for a year this one
particular school and suspension rates have dropped by 45%,
attendance rate has increased by 98% percent and on a citywide
study this school had the highest happiness levels of any other school in
the city. Yes. So how can sitting quietly in a chair
impact our food? Well, if the underlying imbalance is greed,
what’s the opposite of greed? Generosity. Yep, so that same connection that makes
you more empathetic. It also makes you more generous when
that dorsomedial prefrontal cortex lights up and connects to your insulin
which is the empathy centre. It actually makes you want to help
others. In a scientific study, meditators were proven to act with more generosity
than non-meditators, right. And here’s I think the other thing I’ve
noticed from teaching like 2,800 people to meditate is that as you start
meditating you become so much more intuitive about what your body is actually asking
for and you become so much less tolerant of food-like products. So if we can get a significant portion
of the planet meditating, then we might be buying different things
and corporations are very sensitive to what you buy because if you don’t buy
their product they don’t make money so we all have the power to vote with our
wallet. You guys we have to invest in
high-quality foods. Yes, it’s more expensive to buy organic. You can either pay the farmer now or you
can pay the doctor later. So to wrap all this up, right. If we believe that climate change and
terrorism and the food prices are actually symptoms of these underlying
imbalances and how do we solve the underlying imbalance by up-levelling
our state of consciousness and how do we up-level our state of consciousness?
Through meditation. I know it might seem too good to be true.
You’re like, wait a minute. You mean I can have better skin, better parking karma,
better sex and do my part to save the world? Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and
it’s called meditation. This is an exciting time to be alive. Neuroscience is catching up to what
these Indian dudes have been saying for 6,000 year, right. You’re no longer considered a total
freaky hippie-dippie if you step outside to meditate at work and I
know that if you’re listening to this, then you have a deep desire to leave
this world better than you found it and I know that I’m probably saying a lot of
things to you guys that you already know but I want this to be a call to action,
right. I want you to commit to your practice and I want you to go to your
tribes, to go to your communities and let’s get meditation taught in every
school, let’s get it taught in every jail. So I’ll leave you with this. If you don’t yet have a meditation
practice, what the bleep are you waiting for? And
if you do have a meditation practice, how are you using your unique gifts to
best save the world because the best way to hack your happiness that I know is by
being of service, by contributing to making this world a better place when
you leave it than it was when you found it. That’s it. The end Good bye.

 

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