If You're Ready for a RADICAL AWAKENING, Watch This | Dr. Shefali on Impact Theory | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "If You're Ready for a RADICAL AWAKENING, Watch This | Dr. Shefali on Impact Theory".


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Intro (00:00)

There's no such thing as the evil one out there. It is our inner that is represented on the outside on a global scale. So each one of us does matter. So that's why I always hone it down to what are you doing in your life, how are you buying into what is toxic and believing it to be true and causing your suffering. So that's where we take ownership finally. But we can only take ownership when we can see culture for what it is and name it. Oh, this is toxic, this is beneficial. And discern and not just take what culture gives you as the pill that you're meant to swallow and then wonder why you're suffering. You're suffering because there are toxicities that you're ingesting from culture that you are making your own and then you are adding to it. This episode is sponsored by Skillshare. And the first 1000 people to click the link in the description will get a free trial of Skillshare's premium membership. Enjoy the episode.

Understanding Radical Awakening And Human Nature

What is a Radical Awakening (01:08)

Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. I am joined by clinical psychologist and wildly best-selling author, Dr. Shafali. Dr. Shafali, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me back. I am super excited to have you back, very excited to actually be on set and share a space with you to talk about your new book, A Radical Awakening. You took on a big topic with this homie. Like you really put yourself out there. It's funny how the beginning of the book is like, hey, PS, I'm gonna piss some of you off. Bear with me, rock for the journey. And by the end, hopefully we'll be able to help you have these transformations. I thought, all right, let's see, like how hard she goes with this. You really like go into it. Like this was pretty straightforward, hard hitting. There were two things that I took away sort of as, really powerful, which is this idea that we are animals. You said, I wanna make sure people hear me. We don't come from animals. We are animals. And then that we have to own, completely own our internal lives. Talk to me about the idea of what a radical awakening is and like what those two elements mean. Okay, so at its basic core, a radical awakening has two layers. The first is to understand that we are living in a man constructed cultural matrix that has pretty much lied to us about our essence. And the second layer is, while it has done a lot of things to women, especially, now our radical awakening occurs when we see how we are co-creating and co-participating in the cultural lives. So those are the two layers. In terms of the two things you took away, which other people may not take away, these things stood out for you. - Well, one I wanna be clear that those are, in no way, shape, or form, the only things that I took away. They felt like things to anchor around in terms of the totality of the takeaway. And this conversation will be super interesting 'cause there's so much in your book. I was like, "Oh my God, this is amazing." And then there were parts where I had the reaction you told me I was gonna have, which is, this is crazy. And talking through both sides of that, I think are gonna be really interesting. So let's talk about the first one you bought up, about our animal nature.

We are animals (03:33)

And so the reason I had a whole section on our bio physiology and how it impacts our psychology is because we take our biological nature for granted. Yet, every woman knows around her menstrual cycle, her hormones are out of whack and it deeply impacts her psychology. So I grounded one of the themes in the book around our biology because we take for granted our wiring and males know that they are heavily influenced by their biological wiring. And so are we women. How our bodies are constructed has a deep impact on how our psychology's are. We are givers in our body. Vaginas are created to receive and to give. Breast lactate when our babies are born to give. Our very psychology is based on this biology of inherent nurturing, giving, connection, our oxytocin works in a different way than yours. Females have a different love hormone and connection ability than you. And this is very biologically based. And I think we are out of touch and out of sync with our bodies, with how our biology influences us. And because of that, we misunderstand ourselves. And certainly we misunderstand men and males who have testosterone and your sexuality is very differently driven because of your biology than ours. You know, our egg gets released once a month. So our hormonal cycle ovulates and pendulates over a whole 28-day cycle. Yours is every day, you know, 24 hours. You all have a different sexual energy about you because of your testosterone, which we have way lesser in our body. So all these ways cause misunderstanding. So when I say we are animals, it's to ground us in our biology and to make us remember that we are part of the animal species. And I think we as a humanity have forgotten who we really are, you know, by going to the top of the food chain as we have, we've forgotten our place in nature. So when I say we are animal, don't forget, you know, we are part of this wondrous kingdom, but we're not better than necessarily. And our minds have deluded us to believe we are so superior that we have decimated everything around us now. You know, so we'll be the only one standing and eventually we will corrupt ourselves. We are on that path of self-destruction.

We're having a biological experience (06:27)

- It's interesting. So when I look at human nature, so the idea of remembering that we're animals, I think is so important and to not lose sight of the words that I use for, I think, a very similar thing is you're having a biological experience. - Right. - And I'm always trying to get people to recontextualize whatever is happening, rage, joy, love, pursuit, anything, that recognizing that ultimately it comes down to how you feel, which is a game of neurochemistry. And if you don't understand that I could give you a billion dollars and you could still be suicidal and therefore obviously money is not the answer and neurochemistry ultimately is. Now it becomes a question of what are those levers that we can pull to manipulate our neurochemistry. Now in terms of maybe stepping up a level to the cultural implications of what it means to be a human to have gotten the bigger brain to not necessarily have more physical strength or sharper claws, but to instead climb using culture, using this where knowledge stacks, right? That I can actually hand it off to my offspring in a way, not even necessarily just my offspring, but everybody in the tribe so that a hundred years later, people are still learning an innovation that was learned a very long time ago, right?

IQ Doesnt define intelligence (07:37)

- Right, but Tom, how innovative are we? Look around us, I mean, we are as destructive as we are creative. - So that sentence right there is exactly fascinating to me. And I'll say it the other way, we are as creative as we are destructive. And do you see it both ways or do you feel like the destructive force is somehow more powerful in our nature? - So being a psychologist, I am fascinated by this amazing mind we have. And it has to be in quotes because on one hand, it has the potential to create amazing things. But on the other hand, it's pretty deluded too. For example, we can be holding the idea of evolution on one hand and then believe in creation on the other hand. The same mind can do that. Our mind is constantly creating justifications. How can we justify slavery, for example? A good church going man can, you know, on the other hand be on top of a ship which has slaves at the bottom. How can we justify cruelty to animals the way we are? And how can we justify destroying the planet? How can we justify the Holocaust? Obviously, the people who did these inimitable evils justified. We're always justifying if you really break down our psychology. So on one hand, the mind is creative but is it a discerning mind? Is it a wise mind? I highly, highly disagree with anyone who will say, "We are wise." - As a default, you mean? - As a default. - As a default. - Where clever and we're really smart people. But are we as a default wise? Wisdom is something that we talk about has to be cultivated. And you and I know how hard it is to cultivate consciousness. You know, for the most part, the consciousness quotient on our planet is pretty abysmal. - You need to find that, something that you go into in the book.

We need a consciousness quotient (09:44)

- Well, there's no such objective thing but I talk about just as we talk about the intellectual quotient. We've got to come up with a consciousness quotient which has to do with-- - Is consciousness self-awareness? - Self-awareness, self-governance, self-reliance. You know, the ability to live in an interconnected fashion where we are not destroying each other and the earth, right? So where our mind defaults is self-preservation, right? We're really good at indulgence, comfort, and self-preservation. But are we really good at living together as an interconnected species? Look around, I don't see evidence of that. I see separation, I see hatred, I see divisiveness. That is also part of the human mind. So we just have to acknowledge that the human mind has potential for great creativity but it also has this potential for destruction. And when we decontextualize ourselves as being so superior, we enter this delusion of grandeur and we forget that we are causing wreaking havoc on our earth right now. You know, no one has wreaked so much havoc as the human. And in the last 30 years, you know, if you watch any David Adam Burrow nature video, he will end with some optimism but also with a grave warning that we have caused more calamity in the last 30 years than has ever been caused on the planet. So who has caused that? If not the great man, right? So we have to step back and become humble. So when I say we're animal, it's my call to, let's be humble, let's learn from how other animals live. Let's not pretend we are so fancy and superior because we're really not. And with that humility, now with curiosity, we can learn and grow.

Humanity's Obsession with Control and Perfectionism (11:32)

But I think we've entered a great narcissism as a species, as a humanity that we are just limitless. There's no stop button. We're on Mars, we're on the moon. And we kind of intake care of our children and our elderly. So what are we doing? - That's interesting. This is such a fascinating game to me of almost fractal like never ending complexity. - Yeah. - Which you do a good job of exploring in the book. You're constantly moving from one side of, "Hey, look, there are real problems "that have positioned you to be suffering "for whatever reason. "Oh, but hey, you also have to take ownership "of your internal world and recognize, "and I know you don't like hearing that." And I thought you navigate that really, really well. Staying on that topic for a second, how much of the sort of destruction and disconnect do you think is a function of time horizons versus nature? Because knowing that at one point, the entire human race was boiled down to the Cape of Hope at the tip of South Africa and reduced to like 6,000 total human beings on the planet. And from that, we've built back to the whatever 8 billion that we have now. So we've done an extraordinary job of keeping civilization alive, of accomplishing amazing things. And look, amazing is very subjective to me. Getting to the moon is amazing. To me, the fact that we wanna go to Mars and I think we'll eventually go to Mars is amazing. And yet I also recognize the duality of our how capable of destruction, how the madness of crowds can do things like make people think slavery is okay, right? So both of those things exist. So now as we bring it down to the individual, which you do so beautifully in your book, how do you help people navigate, like let's set aside for a second sort of the ami-boyed like nature, undulating nature of a crowd, which we can't really control and there's not a lot that you as an individual can do, but you can now get into your body and develop that self-awareness. How do you help people walk through that so that they lean to the side of the better angels of our nature and not to the more destructive elements? - Sure, so when you boil it down to the micro, you have to understand that this cultural matrix, which is so infinitely complex, is chasing something akin to dominance of the entire globe? Like you said, going to the moon is amazing. To me, it's a thirst for dominance, you know? And then I as a psychologist will say, "Why? Why do we need to dominate the moon?" Right? Why are we incessantly dominating? It comes from ego, for me, for you, it could come out of curiosity and exploration. So that's the good side of the ego, which does have that adventure spirit, but I get worried about it because in the micro, right, when we bring it down to the micro, I see this thirst for dominance and superiority. We are now trying to over-dominate our aging process. We're trying to over-control it all. We're coming from this desire of perfection and control. So on a micro level, I see that delusion playing out and increasing disconnection to who we authentically are. Right? - I wanna put a point on something in there. So is the reason that is problematic because it generates suffering in the mind of that individual? Or are you still looking at it only as a macro problem? - Both, right? The macro is the micro, the micro becomes the macro. Suffering is created because the more craving we have, the more we think we need to have. So for example, you and I talked about this in our last interview with our children, just take it just a two-year-old, right? Now because the two-year-old down the street is learning 16 languages or going to the Alps on a skiing trip and learning how to ski backwards, and then this one is going to the third world country, so-called third world country to live in the jungle. And then this one is going for La Crosse, and this one is going for sign language. Now that technology has allowed so much more exposure, it creates an insecurity that we should be doing it all. We can go to the moon, why not go to the moon? So we don't go to the moon that creates insecurity or you've been to the moon and I haven't been to the moon. We have that same philosophy with our children and it's a rabid delusion of endless craving that doesn't end now. I mean, I see it as a parent everywhere. It's a constant craving, constant insecurity. The fact that we can doesn't mean we necessarily should. And we see that mania on a very personal level. I see it in my office when women come feeling constantly insecure because now the other one has these huge implants that make her look amazing. So now my ordinary shape doesn't look amazing. Now I'm feeling more insecure. Or that one has lashes that come out like still here and mine are so stunted. Now I'm feeling insecure.

Insecurities and Delusional Consumerism (16:54)

Or her kid is studying and going to fancy museums every day and studying with the best artists in the world. And mine, I don't have the money, so mine is only playing with clay. You understand, it's become a culture of endless consumerism and it affects the woman, especially because she's the one who culture is objectifying and great and grave insecurities are being caused within her and a schism between her accepting her authentic self and her essence to this idea of perfectionism, the idea of that woman. I want to produce and curate that child. We have endless imagination, which is the beautiful thing about us. But it creates endless craving and endless suffering. - Okay. - You know? - Yo, yes.

We Are Animals (17:42)

This idea in your book about we're animals, I think is so brilliant for the reasons that you're touching on now. So putting it back in that context of beauty has utility. - Yes. - Now we can argue that it shouldn't, right? Sort of ought, almost moral imperative. But in terms of the natural world, we are an animal. It does. And there are things, they've done these studies on peak shift. So you take a mother bird that has this big red nose and she feeds her babies. So of course the baby sees the big red nose and they react that they're gonna be fed. The bigger, like if you make an artificial version of that mother and make the nose bigger and more red, then the baby actually eats more and gets like more hyped up to eat. And they call that concept peak shift. It's the reason women get just hilariously large breasts and do all that, right? 'Cause it does get an amplified reaction from the male, right? - Sure, sure. - So now you get into the tragedy of the commons. Where if I don't extend my eyelashes, where the tight fitting outfit, have the good body, get breast implants, somebody else is going to do it. And it does have utility. - Yes, it has great value. It takes the attention, if I'm heterosexual and I want the attention of the man, that man is gonna look at that woman. So I'm the wife, first I'm pissed off with the man. I'm real, you're in big trouble. Then I wanna be like where, I wanna be the object of desire, 100%. So there is some biological basis for why that man looks at that buxom woman. It's biologically wired in the man to be attracted to that. - Signs of fertility. - Yeah, signs of fertility, productivity, youth, and health, right? So that's very valuable. However, where we have gotten stuck as women right now, is that it's not just beauty for utility. There is a standard of beauty. And in some eras, it's been to look anorexic, to be completely androgynous looking. Today it's to be all, you know, shapely. The idea of beauty changes with cultural standards. And we, like puppets, keep running after that standard, trying to match it. You know, of course, the male will be wired in a certain way to be attracted to a certain kind of body, just in terms of what we talked about, fertility, health, and productivity. But when we women succumb to cultural standards, based on what culture imposes on us, and we defy our own natural bodies, and we go and mutate our own natural bodies to become that cultural standard. Now we are falling into the patriarchy and actually genuflecting, actually serving the patriarchy by falling prey to it. So women need to own that, yeah, a male could be wired to youth and beauty in that productive sense. And we need to be okay with that, and not get enraged and hold the man possessive. But we also need to not fall prey to it in our bodies. So we need to accept our aging. We need to accept our saggy bottoms. We need to accept our wrinkles and our cellulite.

Patriarchy Conditioning (20:59)

This is part of our nature, but we want to control our nature. - I wanna use some of the language you use in the book, 'cause I thought you handled this issue so well. Explain to us how, 'cause you talk about, if I see a part of me that's flabby, I'm just gonna call it flabby. - Yeah. - But what is the key insight that you've had there that makes that not self-diminishing? - So we women have been raised to fit the standard of beauty, which is this ideal of perfectionism. So we are always seeking our worth through our beauty, most of us are, and it takes honesty to accept it. I hope women can accept that we all wanna be desired and be seen as youthful and beautiful. Hence, the cosmetic industry is booming, and will always boom, and the plastic surgery industry is filled with female clients. But we don't wanna own it, that this is what we covet. So when we are conditioned to want to look pretty and young, now when we see flabby parts of our body, we don't want to accept that this is part of nature. We want to make it beautiful. So if you were a woman and you said to me, "Hey, I have flabby underarms, I as your friend, knowing that we are all conditioned," we'll say, "No, you don't, it's so beautiful." Now, by imposing the judgment of beauty, and beauty is a judgment, we actually don't allow the woman to accept. Yeah, you flabby, you know? So we are constantly seeking to make everything fit this paradigm of beautiful, and actually that makes us more insecure. Instead of going, "Yeah, I have close feet." Yes, lots of cellulite. Instead of somebody, my best friend telling me, "No, you don't have cellulite." No, I do, you know? So when my daughter comes to me and goes, "Oh my goodness, I have pimples." I go, "Oh my goodness, yes, you do." You know, she goes, "Oh my goodness, I have a big nose." I go, "Oh my goodness, yes, you do." I don't say, "No, you don't." I go, "Call it whatever." Big, small, it is what it is.

You are fundamentally made the way you are made (23:12)

You know, my daughter will say sometimes maybe, that, "Oh, why am I not, you know, a size zero?" I go, "Because you're not." I don't go, "Yes, you are," or you can become skinny tomorrow. You are your body, except your body. How do you frame that for your daughter? Like if she said, "My arms are flabby," do you say, "Hey, you should be completely fine with that." But if you want non-flabby arms go to the gym, or do you have a totally different mechanism for that? Well, so with my daughter, if the complaining gets too loud, I'll go, "Okay, you could change your diet," or you could exercise more. But I fundamentally wanna tell her that you're fundamentally made the way you're made, you know? And you got to accept it. You cannot be a different skin tone, you cannot have a different eye color. Can you pay context? Yes. Can you not ever get 10 more? Yes. But it is what it is. You know, I always want to communicate to myself and to all women. At the end of the day, self-acceptance is your greatest sword. That is what is going to make you the most desirable to yourself and to others. Do not fall for standards of beauty. It is our wiring to wanna be desired. But it is also part of our wisdom to understand that the desire can sometimes be sexual. Sometimes it can be emotional, it can be intellectual. And after a certain youthful phase of our life, we can surrender to letting go some of that desire that comes from youth, right? And I wanna swim into go to the bottom of why we need to be desired so much, right? It's natural on some level to be desired. Every woman wants a compliment. The 80-year-old grandmother wants to be told, she's beautiful. Of course, men want to be told they're handsome and desirable too. But we in this modern era have gone so far to want to cancel our aging. We wanna act like we're not growing older. That is a fundamental problem that causes us suffering. And then we play into the patriarchy. You know, by wanting to look younger, we actually get oppressed by the patriarchy by our own internal oppression. - So the patriarchy is probably the thing that you and I are the farthest apart on. Help me understand your side better. Why does it seem important to tie that to masculinity? To men, I'm not sure which of those-- - No, it's a nothing to do with men or masculinity. It's like racism has really nothing to do with any one singular white person. It's a systemic reality that we live in. Right now in this modern era, we happen to be living in a very toxic patriarchy. There's nothing to do with men. - Can you define patriarchy then? - Sure. So patriarchy is a systemic endemic set of beliefs where the woman in the system is subjugated, is conditioned to be in service of, is silenced to put the other, in this case, the male, before them. And the male is the leader, the ruler, the governor, and the initiator of the cultural norms. And while in tribal communities, there was shared responsibilities. There was a great reverence for the woman. While the male may still be the leader because he's maybe bigger, there was a great reverence, I believe, for the feminine force of the woman. But in today's culture, it is suppressed. She's thought to be serviced. She's thought that she's not good enough. And that is the underpinning of a patriarchy. Now, does it mean that one man believes in it and another does, it doesn't matter at this point what one man believes in or not. It's the overarching system that places men in the stronger than position, physiologically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, they just have the run of the way right now. And women are trained to be in service of that.

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We're on a good trajectory (28:57)

Like if you were to transport somebody from Mars, somewhere far away where they've never encountered the culture that we're living in now, and just transplanted them here and asked, like is there a quality between sexes? I think they would say, "Ah, it's probably not perfect for sure, and there are definitely areas that you can improve, but it's good." And if we were having this conversation in the 1960s, that feels way more like just sort of where nobody's yet questioning it. And so obviously we're all colored by our own experiences, and because my experience is, I have a wife who is my peer in every way who went from a traditional housewife because that's what she was raised just subconsciously to be. And she decided one day that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. And so I had to go from, I have someone who cooks, cleans, lays out my clothes every day, like runs the household top to bottom. There's so many things I don't have to think about because she's doing them all for me to her saying, "Hey, by the way, I'm not gonna do any of that for you anymore. You're on your own for that." And now I'm gonna step in as a business leader. And to me, that was a very difficult transition just because it was so foreign, but it was so easy psychologically to say, "I want you to be whatever you want to be." So there was no sense of, "Well, but you're a woman, and you should be some kind of way." It was, and this is why this is one of my favorite shirts. To me, if you're human, you should be able to come to the table and play to the best of your ability and do whatever the hell you wanna do, and you shouldn't be judged on race, color, creed, sex, any of that. To me, because I grew up in that, it is so hard for me to see this top-down oppressive, what it feels like to me, and this is sort of my take on, I don't think of it as a patriarchy because that word is so tied to men, and that's so foreign to my experience. What I look at is certainly imperfect, and I see certainly over the last 50 years, women really having to fight to come into their own. But when I think about, how did they get left in a position where they had to fight this hard? 'Cause that's super unfair. And my answer to that isn't top-down, it's bottom-up. It is the nature of, for the vast amount of human history, life was what cruel, short, brutish, and deadly. I forget the exact quote, and it was two sides of an equation doing the best they could and accidentally creating structure. I don't think it's possible to, like we see monarchies have fallen throughout history, we see that empires come and go. It's ultimately a ball gets moving, and then it takes on a life of its own that well-outlives, whoever may have intentionally-- - I agree with you, it's not created by a man, it's a system, right, and that's why I said it's systemic, but I don't know whether I would agree with you so much that life before, and we don't know what we're talking about, when before. So the way I see a strong demarcation point is when we began to live owning land, with the agricultural revolution, and we decided to domesticate animals and to have property, and along with that, then another few thousand years later, came the marriage and the contract of that marriage, where the man not only controlled the land, but also the women and the children and the cattle, and the marital contract ensured that property went down the lineage, his lineage. And so he wasn't an evil man, he was just the stronger one, physiologically, and so began to own and then own and own, and we began to create institutions that took us further and further away from living interconnected in nature. I mean, we are so far from nature, you have to go looking for nature now, you know?

Exploring Culture, Nature, And Sexuality

Disconnected from nature (33:08)

- Yes. - We have dominated nature. We don't live in an interdependent relationship with nature. And I think along with that, as man grew in his dominance, women went further down in their submission. Now, of course, you don't see that in your very microscopic male-female relationship, but if you just pan out globally, there is a scourge of any sense of equity between males and females. I mean, I grew up in India, and I know India today, and I know the Middle East, and I know women even in the West. You know, when I came to America, I pedestrianized the Western woman thinking surely she has a voice, surely she is in her power. But then look how hard even the Me Too movement has shown how hard it was for women to speak out against real abuse because they have been subsumed in a culture that has conditioned them to stay mute. We have been disconnected from our knowing, and you as a male cannot have full appreciation for that because you didn't grow up like we did, you know? And I'm not saying, or you're clueless, you just can't know what we grew up with and what we face on a daily basis in terms of how we've been conditioned to be the good girl, to be silent, to be second, to be at the back. This is just every girl will say, yes, I have to fight that. I have to fight that idea that I need to be the perfect woman, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. I have to fight it, you know? And the fact that we have to fight it says that there's something to fight and there's a system in place that we constantly have to buffer ourselves against and that takes energy, it's exhausting. And most of us don't have the financial or intellectual resources or a great partner like you to do this fight, to fight the fight.

The villain of culture (35:04)

So we give up. - There's a subtle difference. I think between how you and I see it that may or may not be fruitful to explore, but let's try. - Okay. - So the way that I think about everything is utility. And so somebody has a goal, right? So let's say a woman doesn't want to be subservient, they want to make sure that their voice is heard and there is some hurdle. That could be the way that they were raised, the things they've internalized, the frame of reference, or it could be outright oppression. Certainly in other countries, I'm not blind to that. Where I think this, it becomes really important. And in your book, you talk about this. And so I don't in any way shape or form think I'm introducing you to a new idea. I'm putting, I guess, more emphasis. There are two sides that you present. A vision of a top-down culture that is actively holding you back. Like the way that I, the image that spontaneously popped into my mind when you called it the culture, the culture, was a villain, right? That the culture is a villain. And, but you're very clear that people have to take their power and you give very amazing steps. And so I really want to be heard in the context of, I think what you purport in the book is extraordinary. And there is only one minor shift, which is I think people will end up chasing their tail if they're trying to fight the villain of culture. - But it's not a villain, it's the unconsciousness. - Culture is unconscious. - Agreed. So, but-- - So that's not a villain, but we must battle and discern the unconsciousness and call it what it is. We cannot, on the other hand, glorify culture. Culture has passed down toxic messages for men and women and children and animals. And we are seeing the effects in the ravaged earth and mental illness is on the rise today more than it has been at any point in history. - Now you could say because there's more reporting and more testing. - I don't think it's just that, but I do think it's complicated. So for instance, I think if you said, as a layperson and I do not claim to be an expert, but I am very well read on the subject, what's the number one cause of mental illness? I would say it's diet. And when I think about what people do to their neurochemistry just by what they eat, I think we will find on a long enough timeline that that's been the biggest tragedy, which is why I resonate so well with your, you have to take ownership of your life. - Correct. So where does diet come from? Even if I go with your thesis that that's the cause, where is diet coming from? From our increasing disconnection to living off the earth, living in an interdependent way, our increasing greed and consumerism and machination and production, overproduction, everything is industrialized now. So who has done that? The modern human mind has done that. We have literally taken every industry, the fisheries, whaling, dairy and mechanized it to such a level of overproduction and destroyed the natural nature of the cow, for example, which then overpopulates the earth and which then pollutes the earth through methane. In every, if you go down any path, we will see that the modern human has created a culture of consumerism, greed and exploitation. And our women and children suffer because we are in the underbelly of that. Now I'm not blaming the man, I'm blaming the system that is set up to dominate the weak. - So my thesis is slightly different from yours is that the culture is a not entirely random artifact but it's a bottom up phenomenon that's born out of the biological realities of who we are.

Is culture the villain or is biology? (38:51)

So you start, got only knows how many hundreds of thousands of years ago and it continues to echo while you can draw demarcation lines like the agrarian revolution, like the industrial revolution and they really do have very market, very rapid changes but they're still in many ways an echo of just like what we are, what the human mind is at its base layer and the thing that I am trying to thread the needle and get your insights on are this idea of my hypothesis is that if we overemphasize the culture is what you're fighting against versus the way your mind works is what you're fighting against. So my like really, you have two thesis in your book. One, your mind is messing with you two, the culture is messing with you. I think does that feel fair? - But they're very interconnected. - Agreed. - You and I are culture. I ask audiences all the time, who do you think is culture? It's you who's gonna go out there and deal with your children. Now you are your child's culture, right? And now you're in your child's mind. The child then carries it on. So the individual is the micro and the macro at the end of the day, right? We are constantly interconnected and influencing each other, right? So where's culture? I can't touch it, right? There's no such thing as the evil one out there. It is our inner that is represented on the outside on a global scale. So each one of us does matter.

Women and Sexuality (40:36)

So that's why I always hone it down to what are you doing in your life? How are you buying into what is toxic and believing it to be true and causing your suffering? How are you co-creating and co-participating in your reality, in your marriage, in your divorce, in your parenting, in every, in your diet, right? So that's where we take ownership finally. But we can only take ownership when we can see culture for what it is and name it. Oh, this is toxic. This is beneficial. And discern and not just take what culture gives you as the pill that you're meant to swallow and then wonder why you're suffering. You're suffering because there are toxicities that you're ingesting from culture, that you are making your own and then you are adding to it. - Makes a lot of sense. So now talk to me about how are the ways that we navigate that if our biology and the culture at large are giving us what I'll call beliefs, but you might have a more nuanced take on that. And that's what sort of toxifying our minds and trapping us. How do we begin to pull that apart? - Sure. So let's take just the example of our sexuality as women. So we are biological beings. We are highly sexual beings. We may not have a high sex drive as males do, but we have a highly flourishing sex drive, I'm sure. But look at what culture has done to our sexuality as a female sexual being. We have been marauded, we have been abducted from it, we have been pillaged from it and because of it, we have been raped and we have caused within ourselves great shame and divorce from our own sexuality. Yet it's been taken away from us by culture all the time. Ask any woman, she's nervous if she walks down a dark alley, if she gets into an elevator with five men, if she's in a room alone with men, she waits for the woman to come, why? Because that's partly biological, right? We're always gonna be smaller, we're always gonna be prey, but culture has kept us from our voice to speak up and fight against that and kept us divorced from our own sexuality, right? Most of us have grown up with huge inhibitions from religion, from education that we should not be sluts or whores or, you know, braids and vixens and we're not even taught to explore our sexuality. Those are things that bad girls do. So now we go into relationships not even knowing who we are sexually but we're in sexual relationships that immediately sets us up for lesser than dynamic, we are disempowered, we're disenfranchised, you know? So that's just one example, right? This is how young girls are raised and it's in the culture, be a good girl. We hear that so much growing up, be a good girl or good girl, boys don't hear that as much. Boys will be boys. So we're given a different message and we want love and worth, so we're very good and we try to be very perfect and we try to people please and we're trying to conflict avoid and that's how we're raised. And then what that does to us is that systematically, because we're seeking to get love and worth from the outside, we don't listen to our own inner knowing and we're increasingly disconnected from it and then when we're in a situation where our boundaries are being violated, we can't speak. We don't speak up and then we and to shame because we divorced ourselves, we abandoned ourselves, we betrayed ourselves but we don't find a voice. You know, I took 40 years to find my voice and I was outspoken but to truly find my voice, not the pleasing voice, not the voice that sought simply to get love and worth and desire from outside but the voice that truly believes herself, who understands herself, that took years to come. - Did you find it or build it? - Cultivated it because, well, I first had to find it because it was taken away from me and I'm not blaming my parents and I'm not blaming culture, it just is the way. I was raised to want love and worth from the outside. I just gave up, I was like, okay, I'll be who you want me to be, just love me. Let me think I'm worthy and I will do whatever it takes so I began to live a false self as most of us do to get love and worth from the outside. So it was first lost, so I had to first reclaim it and then nurture it back to life. So my own true self didn't believe me because I had betrayed it so many times so the true self is like, nope, I don't believe you. I'm gonna stay small, hidden behind my rock. So we have to say, I'm going to back you, I'm going to listen to you, I'm going to follow your way, I'm gonna honor you, I won't give you up for the love of the other. I'm going to water you, I'm going to blossom you. So this is the journey that I outlined in this book for women to follow. You've lost your voice, it was taken from you, but here's the pathway. If you're sitting right now in your couch feeling dislocated, feeling discombobulated, disenfranchised, lost to yourself, this book will give you the path to reclaim that voice and to build her up again. - It's interesting, in reading the book, it felt really universal to me, meaning that it felt like it applied to men as readily as it does women.

Universal for Men and Women? (45:51)

And I'm curious to know if you feel that way or if you feel that there's, and I have really heard you in terms of the cultural message of boys will be boys versus be a good girl. So I totally understand that part. But in terms of, I would say finding your voice, not being afraid to be who you are, and again, this is me sort of in context of me, what I had to learn in my journey was to speak up, to be heard, to be more aggressive, to be tougher, to channel masculine energy, which you would not think that a guy would have to do, but that really has been my journey. Do you think that the strategies that you lay out in the book will work for anybody, or do you think the particular strategies that you lay out are distinctly useful for women? - Strategies for the reclamation of the voice is for everybody. I just hone in on some very key female oriented messages that have been passed down to the girl's years that are unique. But my next book is probably gonna be on the awakening of the man. So there will be more specific male oriented messages that are kind of nuanced. But the pathway, how it gets lost, and how to reclaim it is universal, as you said. So this book is for anyone who's lost their sense of self and their place in the world, and so afraid to reclaim that, that is universal. But there are some nuances that girls will understand more than a boy when they read this. - Sure. Yeah, I hear you. I understand why you're saying that. But it is very useful information. I'll be very curious to see if you do the next book on the Awakening of the Man. That'll be fun to do as well.

Sex and marriage (47:48)

Talk to me about sex and marriage. You wrote this after you got divorced while you were getting divorced? - I was awakening through the whole process and then finally wrote the book, maybe after my divorce. - So it's really intriguing to see you sort of break out of talk about cultural norms, break out of that, introduce new ideas, ways for people to be. You touch on monogamy, being polygamous, like you go into a lot of places that I found really interesting. What's your take on sexuality in the context of a marriage specifically? - Well, so before I zero in on sexuality, let's take a step back and understand marriage and how marriage has been severely controlled by religion and the judicial system. So legality of marriage, that's why you have a contract and the prohibitions that come from religion around how you have to be married. Many people don't want to even have sex before marriage because religion has said you need to be pure and chaste and sex is for procreation in some cultures. So religion has played a heavy hand in coloring the marital understanding in a couple and the judicial system has really laid down the legalities and made it very hard to break the contract. So now the person is entering this contract with very stringent ideas around what that relationship will be. And because it's a contract, there's some sort of like you owe me something and you better fulfill the contract. And if you don't fulfill the contract, you are going to be judged in a particular way, right? Breaking the contract is frowned upon, right? You looked on as a failure or a cheater or a betrayer. You're not meant to break this contract. So marriage has severe cultural pressures for longevity, right? You're praised if you stay and stick it out and it has religious implications and legal implications. So already it's heavy duty. It's not just like, oh, I love you. No, now it's like a lot of baggage with it. Now sex within the marriage can be, you know, again misunderstood that your sex belongs to me now. Your sexual desire belongs to me. You can't even desire anyone, right? Most men will say, I cannot talk about my desires to my wife, right? It takes real open communication for the woman, especially to feel secure if her partner, the male talks about desire outside and vice versa. So now because marriage is about possession, control and ownership, sex becomes about ownership, control and possession. On top of the fact that we are not an openly sexual culture, right? Sex is not something you talk about at the dining table. It's not something, you know, you're like having coffee with your buddy, you're like, hey, how many times did you orgasm last night? You don't talk about these things. This is taboo, right? So sex is severely legislated within the mind, inhibited within the mind, especially the mind of the female. And now you're supposed to have great sex in the marriage, but look how loaded it is before we can even talk about it, right? So all of this needs to come out of the closet and we need to adult up and talk about sex in a more normative, normalised, non-judgmental, non-shaming way. And open up to the possibility of all possibilities. You know, and I do see a trend going of people talking about being fluid in their sexuality. And that's wonderful. Let's talk about it. We've not even been able to talk about it until now. - So in sort of post-awakening, so we've got the post-awakening female, we've got the post-awakening male, what does that look like?

Exploring Self-Esteem, Monogamy And Unbreakable Spirit

The lie of monogamy (51:38)

To you is it, at one point, I think, I'm gonna get close. This is almost a quote that the rules of monogamy are a lie. And I don't know if you mean that biologically 'cause you also give this stat about, I think, 83, 86%, something along there, pre-agrarian society, indigenous societies, 83, 86%, we're polygynous. - And all animals, non-human animals, are polygynous by nature. - So when I say the lie of monogamy, I say it because it's been sanctified as holy monogamy. - Monogamy. - Monogamy, and that's the lie. It's a great choice. It's a wonderful choice, but it's a choice. But it's been given to us as the only way to have relationships, that's the lie, and that it's sanctified. And that somebody who is not part of that box is a cheater, a horrible human being, a villain, an evil person. How do you help people cross a chasm between sort of, I'm encountering these ideas, probably, when I'm pre-awakening, how do they navigate, like when they've got insecurities and they've got jealousies and they have a fantasy about, you know, I'm with one person.

Nathalie Scripture (52:49)

How do you help them? Is it like compartmentalized? Don't think about that yet first. First you have to claim your voice. - Right, right, right. All of what we're talking about on the individual level boils down to our lack of worth. I call it the pill that kills. It's our unworthiness. So we can't really have any wise conscious discussion about heavy topics like monogamy, without an acknowledgement that we're coming from great, deep grave insecurity within. It's the insecurity within us that makes us want to dominate and control the other. And I believe, like you said, the scourge of humanity or mental illness is the diet. For me, the scourge of humanity and mental illness is our deep void, our insecurity, which is causing us to want to go to Mars and colonize it and go to every corner of the earth and dominate it, similarly with our partners. Dominate every part, every thought, every desire. It comes because we are not whole from within. So we are an attachment to our partners. We have attached to the idea that we own them and they owe us something. This is a faulty idea which comes from insecurity. So at the end of it all, I talk about how we can heal the deep grave insecurities that we have, which is why we can't have open, honest, authentic, transparent relationships with ourselves, leave alone with someone else. We're not even authentic with ourselves 'cause we're with a false fake personality trying to get love and worth from the outside. - And how do we, and this is a theme in the book, that the one person you need to fall in love with is yourself. - Yes.

Where self-esteem comes from (54:41)

- So do we fall in love? Like, is there, so I would say to have self-worth, you have to do something you believe is worthy. Do you think there's anything like that or no? This is a pure realization that you are enough right now. - It's a pure realization. It doesn't come from your doing. The doing can help with your worth, but the doing can only truly be aligned doing when you are aligned with your own in ourself. So we are worthy as we are. It comes from deep self-acceptance as we are, and this is what is sorely missing. And it starts from our childhood conditioning because our parents were conditioned to seek, to crave, to be successful, to achieve, to get love and worth from external sources. This is what they pass down to their children. Children grew up with a void. Who am I? I guess I'm only as good as the love and worth I get from the outside. Let me keep seeking it. So we're all seeking something from the outside. We're all on a hamster wheel looking for love on Mars and going to the ends of the earth when it's all right here. And this is why I don't look at going to Mars as an accomplishment because we're not even here. - And so when you talk about that thing inside, is that an unbreakable spirit that there's no amount of child abuse?

Unbreakable spirit (55:52)

As much as I hate that this is true, your childhood really seems to impact the trajectory of your life. - Yes, that is, it really does. So can that thing be broken and would need to sort of be reconstructed or is it a simple stripping away and you will find something waiting for you? - So people have different ideas. You know, who knows what, there's no real thing we're talking about. So it's a model of looking at it, yeah, it's a theory. So the way I look at it is that there's an essence that is indestructible, but we are taking away from it. And we're taking away from it because we're conditioned to look for love and worth in these fake false ways that I call the layers of the ego. So we all create these disguises and layers of the ego that take us further and further away from this essence. So part of awakening is not an additive process. It's a subtractive process where you subtract, subtract, undo, unlayer, un-siduce yourself from the lies that you've been told by culture. Don't buy into it, don't buy into it. The more you let go, you get liberated from these tethers. And there's your true self, but it's a hell of a process.


Outro (57:10)

- Dr. Shafali, thank you for writing the book. Thank you for coming on. Thank you for letting me play with some of these ideas in real time. - Thank you. - It was really wonderful. I think your book has just extraordinary gifts in it in terms of how to navigate this stuff. Very powerful. I hope you do write the next book. That would be amazing. Where can people find you and continue to engage with these ideas? - So on my website, drshafali.com, I do a lot of courses. I help people in real time through hours and hours of practical courses so they can go on my website and explore. - That's amazing. Guys, trust me. Whenever we have somebody on that has clinical psychology work behind them, it is such a gift. She's bringing an untold number of hours of actually working with live real people to help them get through their problems and she's put all that magic in the book. Be sure to check it out. And speaking of things that you should check out if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care.

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