#312 – Counterintelligence Special Agent John Lawyer

I think that we each have a higher purpose in life that’s probably unique to ourselves. I think that it can change throughout our life if we don’t know what our higher purpose is like, what do we want? Like what, what do we need? What, what’s our soul saying to us or our inner self or our base intuition saying that it wants or needs to do that most fits in alliance with what, what we are as a being. So mind may be helping other people find their way, you know, and it’s, if we, if we can find it, that’s great. We should, we should work on finding it, figuring out what it is. But then once we know it, once we figure out what our higher purpose is, how is it aligned with our daily life? Are we, are we living our higher purpose? Is it aligned with how we live our life? Are our values that we have things that we’re actually doing and living? And is it especially, is it aligned with our vocation or job because we spend so much time at work?

So if we’re not doing something that aligned with what we want to do and want to be or need to be, then we’re gonna be, I think extremely unhappy. The Tom Screen podcast is owned and made possible by ethical marketing service. If your business is struggling with Google or Facebook ads, maybe you’re frustrated, figuring it out or there’s a performance issue. Ethical marketing service has worked on hundreds of accounts and we can help in this area if you would like to find out if we can help. It’s a free no salesy consultation call and the link is in the description, enjoy the episode, Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service. On the episode. Today, we have John Lawyer John, welcome. Thank you, Thomas. I appreciate you having me on your show. I am very happy to have you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure. I am a spiritual guide and also uh a seeker, a student as well. And I run a nonprofit online spiritual community with my wife and another good friend of ours in the Balkans.

And our goal is to provide a meaningful, authentic and safe place for people to share spiritual journeys and come together and kind of see what their own unique path has to offer and support one another and try to have a better conversation about spirituality in the digital age. Thank you for the introduction. Um I don’t know if you know this about my podcast but I do enjoy, uh, speaking to military people. I’ve spoken to a lot of them before. Um, and, uh, it’s something about the, uh, the discipline side of that life that I, that I really, I really admire. Um, but there is, there’s obviously a before and after in relation to your story in the sense that you’ve gone from, from that, that life to something more spiritual. Um, would you mind starting with where you were before in terms of what’s significant to you? Sure. Uh you know, I joined the US army straight out of high school, uh skipped college and I enlisted as a counter intelligent special agent. I went to basic training, got my job training. And then after I got to my permanent duty station, I was there for probably six months and then 911 happened.

And so kind of my whole world changed the world of my kind of brothers and sisters in arms and we were at war. And so I spent about half my five year enlistment. So about 2.5 years in Kuwait as a soldier, uh doing counterintelligence, counterterrorism work. And I continued to do that work when I got out of the army as well as a civilian. Uh and actually my wife uh was a soldier as well and she actually, we were together for most of these trips. And so I also spent 18 months in Baghdad Iraq and I spent about 6.5 years consecutively in Kandahar, Afghanistan. So, like I said, doing counterintelligence work, counterterrorism. Uh and in Afghanistan, especially involved in like asymmetric warfare. And our job there was to protect Kandahar airfield, which at the time was the the busiest single runway on planet Earth, the planes landing every 30 seconds taking off. And so we had to keep the airfield green and protect people and protect the, the aircraft and such. And so it was kind of a, um, it was kind of my youth, you know, I, I spent 12 out of 15 years of the 1st 15 years of my adult life uh overseas in combat zones at war, uh exposed to lots of low grade trauma, you know, periodically exposed to some fairly high grade trauma and, uh, you know, you don’t realize it kind of when you’re in the bullying pot situation, you know.

Uh, but obviously when I got done with that and my wife and I, when we came home, uh there was a lot of healing to do and a lot of kind of a loss of identity. And, um, it probably took me about seven years to kind of find my bearings. And then, uh at one point I just kind of had a moment of clarity or understanding a couple of years ago and I kind of understood like this oneness with the universe and a very loving kindness kind of situation. And I understood what my higher purpose was, which is to kind of go out there and help people, help themselves find their homeless inside, whether they know it or not, it’s there and in the light that they have inside, whether they can see it. And that’s been kind of my, my daily existence for the last two years, two plus years now. Um, and it’s been a much better situation. Well, I’m glad to hear that. Um, just a side note. Do you help other vets with, um, with what you’re doing now, I, periodically I have a lot of friends that are vets, obviously.

Like I’ve, I’ve had my military friends and then all the people that I met when I was a civilian in all those places. And so I have a lot of people that are uh, military or foreign military. And so I, I help people, uh, personally, from time to time our community itself isn’t centered around veterans. Um, but there, there are people that have gone to war and are now on a spiritual path. So, yes. Uh, but it’s not necessarily the focus of what we do, but we’re happy to help vets when we have a chance. Well, you mentioned in your answer about the fact that you joined straight out of college, do you think, and look back about why it is that you joined? I think that I, I had always wanted to do so I saw Lawrence of Arabia. When I was a kid and I was, I’m like, I wanna do that. Uh I wanna do what he did and I wanted to go to the desert and I was, you know, I was fascinated by Jack Ryan, just like kids are, you know, Tom Clancy. And I wanted to do intelligence and I was fascinated by terrorism and counterterrorism kind of why they did it, why they felt the need to do it.

And I didn’t really understand it all. Um And so that interested me as well. Uh So I joined for, uh a lot of reasons and I also knew that I also knew that if I went to college at straight out of high school, that I probably would have wasted my time and money and other people’s time and money if I’d have gone to college. And so I realized that the army would make me go to work every day. So, um that was also a consideration, but mainly it was, it was a need to kind of go satisfy this ideological and inquisitive nature of myself. And are you glad that you did join? That’s a great question. Thomas. Uh Yeah. You know, I am, I don’t think that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if I hadn’t done right yet, I wouldn’t have met my wife of 20 years over 20 years now. And I’ve, I’ve helped a lot of people, uh, been able to mentor people in my time in the military, I made a lot of uh good relationships. I was part of a great darkness, the military, industrial complex.

But, uh and so I kind of have to live with that. But, you know, I don’t think I would change any of it because I think seeing that darkness, it, it helps contrast the light and see the light as well. So, uh no, I, I think that I would say that I would do it again. OK. Thank you for the answer. I think um in terms of uh the terminology, I think you’ve got this great body of knowledge about what it means. I think for the most part, people understand what it means to be in the army, or at least they think that they do and also perhaps in the marines. But in terms of counterintelligence, I think that um I think that there’s maybe some Jack Bauer kind of uh connotations there. Uh What does it mean on a day to day basis? Like, what does your day look like? A lot of paperwork? Uh uh You know, when we went to the schoolhouse and we were at Port Wu Arizona and our instructors used to tell us the first thing they told us was you guys aren’t James Bond, so don’t get it out of your head. Uh um I think there’s some interesting stuff, there’s surveillance, there’s counter surveillance, there is meeting, meeting human intelligence sources and trying to get them to give you information.

There’s a lot of, uh, learning how to lie and, and, and manipulate people. It’s all very, uh, there is a lot of cloak and dagger aspects to it, but really it is a lot of paperwork. It’s, uh, it’s really what it is designed to do is to keep, to prevent other nations and foreign intelligence services from spying on our country and our allies and, and to also do some work to collect intelligence. And then if you do find out someone’s spying to maybe help manipulate that situation in your favor, bypassing material or fake, fake information, that kind of stuff. So, yeah, it’s an interesting job. It can be really high level, it can be really low level, it can be all the way from like nation state type stuff and regions uh down to talking to, to low level people on the, on the on the battlefield. So it’s a very ranging profession. Uh And I kind of ran the gamut on it and did high level stuff and did little low level stuff. You know, there were times that I lived out on the economy in Kuwait City.

Uh I spent a lot of time working at the embassy and did some high level stuff uh in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, a lot of my stuff was very tactical, very um immediate type stuff. So I kind of had a big range to it. Well, um, how to manipulate people is a very, uh, interesting topic. Um, have you as a result of your training? Have you noticed anything in, let’s say everyday life that you think? Hm. That resembles something that I, that I was taught once, I think. Yeah, I think that when you’re taught to manipulate people, you start to look around you and see, well, who else is manipulating people? Like, in, in, you know, it does open your eyes, right? That you, you’re trained. It’s funny like all us army courses are taught at, I think the eighth grade level. So here we are being taught, taught counterintelligence at the eighth grade level and you know, middle school level and, but we’re being taught to lie or being taught to manipulate, you know, all for good reasons.

I mean, it is, there’s a logic to it, there’s a common sense to it and then you see that you, you know, you see that the government, you know, does this on purpose and you see that corporations do this on purpose, you know. So you, yeah, you see that there is this effort out there to, I mean, you can see it on Madison Avenue, right? And the, the marketing complex of, of that grew out of, of marketing and sales from Madison Avenue and you know, the whole Mad Men thing, you know, where, you know, get change, getting someone to change. Uh I want into a need, I mean, that’s essentially the same thing. Right. It’s, it’s, it’s trying to appeal to someone’s core base, whatever to get them to, uh shipped allegiances and, and thought over to your perspective. So, yeah, I, I think it has opened my eyes into the manipulation that occurs at various levels of our society. So, uh, in a, in another industry, if you moved over to our advertising, you’d be a bit dangerous, then I think I could probably sell things.

Maybe II, I don’t, I don’t know. Um, my dad, my dad was a sales, a regional sales rep for a very large corporation before I was born. So, um, I guess it’s probably in my DNA somewhere. Well, all of my questions are, um, not asking for anything that would be perceived as confidential. But, um, do you have any stories that you can share in relation to, let’s say your more favored ones or more ones that you are proud of, uh, for your time as a counterintelligence agent. Uh You know, I think that, uh, I think the most important thing that we did, um, our, one of our main jobs was to try to keep people safe was to collect information, uh, analyze it and act on it in a way that that would keep people safe. And I think that, and that happened at various levels in my career and I would say that my time in Afghanistan was probably the most meaningful to me.

And uh I guess I was part of this unit there. That what we did was we collected information. Uh We try to get people to act on it uh and go out and like, neutralize the bad guys for us, you know, and capture them or, or whatever. And it was very difficult to find people who, because they were all all busy doing their own things. And so we kind of had to build our own capability to do it. And it was this very unique thing in Afghanistan. It was uh our unit kind of rose um and kind of did its own thing and we found our own way and we kind of just made it up and did it. And I think that we, I think that in doing so we protected a lot of people. There were like 50,000 people along Karar airport at the time. Um That’s a lot of lives. Would you mind telling me about the bronze star? Yeah, when I was in Kuwait, when I was a soldier, I was, I was a very low ranking soldier uh E four in the army. And uh for the work that I did on counterintelligence and counterterrorism in Kuwait, I was awarded a bronze star for um the, the things that I did, which was pretty rare for uh a junior enlisted person.

Uh So definitely, I’m definitely proud of that. I don’t talk about it much, but it’s something that is uh is definitely something that meant something to me. Uh especially having skipped college and, you know, it’s nice to have something to say. Ok, I did that. And was that to do with the 50,000 lives that you were referring to? Uh, no, that was in Kuwait and, and that was uh uh a different time for me that, that was more strategic. Um like we were, we were trying to prevent uh a hostile foreign nation uh that was trying to do bad things to us in Kuwait and also uh like global extremists like al Qaeda type uh extremists that were targeting our troops and stuff in Kuwait. So it was a much, that was kind of a different situation. It was uh a, a little more operational strategic type stuff there. All serious stuff, John, it was serious. It was uh it was an interesting career. I, I uh it was, it, you know, it, there, I did a lot of interesting things that probably I, I, I’ve, you know, I’ve thought about writing a book about all that.

Uh once upon a time. I don’t know if I ever will, but that was like a whole, I, I almost lived a whole life before I was 35. You know, I used to work 100 and 10 hours a week, seven days a week. It was, it was a uh an extreme experience even if I didn’t kind of realize how extreme it was at the time often, what I ask, um, military people is cos there’s a lot of crossover from the things you learn in the military to, let’s say business, for example. But is there anything that you took skills wise that you use today in your, in your current role? Uh Absolutely. Uh I, I was, uh I was really good at my job. I was, I was really, I read everything that I could, I was, I was a driven professional as it was like, I was in the military, I was, I was a soldier and then a civilian after. But I, I was very committed to doing this job and I was really good at it and I had the respect of my peers and my superiors. And so I can really, I can relate to high powered professionals.

I can relate to the people that, uh you know, when I used to walk into a room, people would, would stop and listen to what I had to say, even as a junior enlisted, you know, e four soldier. And so I can relate to people that had kind of these, these high, intense, high powered jobs in the world. Um from that time, and I think it’s useful to have that perspective, coming from a spiritual perspective now to be able to talk to people and translate things. I think it’s important to be able to speak common languages. Uh Even if we’re speaking the same language. We speak different languages sometimes. So, I think that’s extremely helpful for me. And did you get that same sense of brotherhood that often people get? Yeah, every time Veterans Day comes up I always think, and sometimes I’ll, I’ll reach out to friends or post about it on my social media. But I’ll tell them, you know, you know, ultimately once you’re over there and you’re in it and you think about why you did it and you, you wonder why you did it for so long. I think that, uh you know, at the end of the day, we did it for our country.

Yes, we did it for a lot of reasons, but at the end of the day we did it for each other. And I think that that brotherhood and sisterhood, those men and women that I served with for all those years in the desert as something that is extremely meaningful. And, um I find that that bond is, is it truly is a brotherhood and sisterhood? And um what would you say are some of the main mainstream misconceptions about uh the situation in Afghanistan? Yeah, we could do a whole podcast on that. Um But I would say that we didn’t, we didn’t lose Afghanistan. There was nothing to win. Uh I think that Afghanistan was a forgotten war once we invaded Iraq and I’m out of politics these days. I don’t really get into politics anymore. Um I will say that, I don’t think that we should have invaded Iraq and it was a really bad idea. Um, but, uh, Afghanistan was forgotten. I mean, we’re talking like, uh, like almost less than 18 months after 911, we’re rolling in across the Burman from Kuwait into Iraq and Afghanistan suddenly was a forgotten war, almost like Korea until 2009.

Uh, when Iraq started to quiet down so people just forgot about Afghanistan for like six or seven years and it wasn’t on anyone’s radar. I mean, I was in video teleconferences in Iraq in Baghdad. And the Afghan guys would come on and they would say something and people would literally kind of chuckle because no one cared what they said because it, that war didn’t matter. So I think that that completely changed the tone of what we could have done in Afghanistan or should have done. Uh, I think that going in to get rid of Al Qaeda, it kind of had to happen because Afghanistan was like this virtual buffet of terrorism. It wasn’t just Al Qaeda. It was, you had like 50 different, you know, terrorist groups from almost every region of the world. That’s why the whole world was happy for us to go do this thing after 911. So I, how we left Afghanistan this last time and, and how it ended. I, I have, I, I know people that died when that happened. I mean, I, there were people that, that I knew from my time, the Afghans and, you know, it’s, it, it was a tragic way to, to see it in the way that it did.

I’m not saying that we should have stayed. Uh, but, but how it happened was, I don’t think a great thing. Um, but, you know, I, I can, I can say this and I would want people to know this when, when I was there, when an Afghan looked at you, it didn’t matter if they were Taliban didn’t matter if they were government. Afghan government, you know, side whatever side they were on. They, when they looked at you, it wasn’t like they were looking at you like they would beat you. It was like they were looking through you in a way that they knew that they’d already won, like, and that they didn’t care that we were there in, in, in any meaningful sort of way. Um, it’s a different place and we’re talking about a landlocked country with deserts and mountains. Uh, so I think that Afghanistan, I call it the swamp of sadness. It’s a very sad place. Uh, and we weren’t, you know, we, we keep, can’t lose something when there is really no definition of victory, right? So, um, I guess that’s kind of my thoughts on Afghanistan. Well, thank you for that. I noticed, um, as not the most, as you say, you like to stay out of certain topics.

Um, but I do think having informed, I don’t know if opinions is the right word, but informed knowledge about a particular place is better than just, you know, people speculating about things. So I appreciate your answer in terms of, um, the, the swamp of sadness. It sort of reminds me of this. Um, before and after that I referred to it as in terms of you, you will, it’s almost like, um going from one end of the spectrum to the other in the sense that you were involved in some very serious stuff. And now you’re uh I would say like a very spiritual dude. Um What’s the thinking that goes from one end to the other like that? How can you um share that with us? Yeah. And I, and I actually appreciate you asking all those questions because a lot of people won’t even talk about it. So I think it’s nice to actually for people to hear about it. So thank you for that. And I, I think that, you know, having gone through all that darkness and, and been through the trauma and the depression and the anxiety and everything that came with it, you know, it’s, I think that’s a lot of times you end up with people that are uh in the self help business, the spiritual business, religious, whatever, you know, whatever they’re out there trying to help people.

And I think a lot of the people that are doing that have seen darkness, they’ve gone through their own trauma, they’ve gone, you know, a lot of times they’ve seen something in the world that triggered this thing inside them and sometimes not, you know, but often and so I think that that’s why it’s, it’s valuable to me is because it took me a long time to journey through the world and, and get through that darkness, even though I kind of didn’t know why I was in it sometimes. Right. Uh, and then coming out the other side and still not being healed for seven years, took seven years after I’d been there at, you know, overseas for 15 years. So we’re talking about 22 years later, um, or whatever it, you know, my desire is to say, well, that’s a lot of stuff that happened. How can I shorten someone’s trip through it or, uh, help them find their own way? I think that’s what it’s about for me is. And also having been part of something like the, the western military industrial complex, you know, when you’re something part, when you’re, when you’re part of something that’s that dark and don’t get me wrong.

I, I think that the US and the West does some really good things. So I’m not completely, you know, but it’s still dark. I think that you want to give back to the world. I wanna get back to the world. And so that’s part of it too. It’s, it’s, it’s me wanting to get back to the world, uh set the balance of the universe, right? For myself, I believe in, in, in the balance of the universe and, and light and dark and karma. And so I think looking at that journey, that’s how I look at it with where I was and, and where I’m going, I think I can help people help themselves because I think that, you know, everybody needs to be empowered within themselves. No, two spiritual paths are gonna look the same. I think an atheist can be spiritual. I think, you know, a religious person can be spiritual or if you’re just a spiritualist, right? So I think that’s kind of a complicated answer to that question. I appreciate the answer. It gives me loads of follow up. Um But before we move on from uh that part of your life, when is it that you decide to leave? And what are the, the thoughts that are going on in your head around that time?

You know, no one ever asked me that question. You’re the first person I’ve been on a lot of podcasts. You’re the first person that has ever asked me that question. And I always thought about how I would answer it, but I will answer it truthfully I got fired. Um And I’d, I’ve been doing this job for 12 years out of 15 years. I’ve been, you know, I was really good at my job. But, uh the base has stopped getting attacked as much. It was pretty safe. They started saluting and, uh, my wife, a good friend of mine and my wife. We, we all worked in the same unit and the war was changing. Um, things were, were diff, you know, things had just changed. They didn’t really need us anymore. Um, and we were, we were expendable. We were contractors. Um, and, and we were kind of just discarded. Uh, and so it was a, it was a very difficult time in my life. I had a bad commander. I’d always had good commanders and, uh, I’d had a bad commander and it was, and then there were some other, uh, characters that were, uh, in the equation that it was just one of those perfect storms and I ended up without a job.

Well, thank you for, uh, being transparent about it. Um, did you, I mean, how, uh, how did you take it? And did you feel it was justified? I don’t think it was justified. I think there’s probably plenty they could have fired me. So, for, for the 6.5 years that I’ve been there, you know, um, I, you know, one of those situations where I think we all do stuff that’s probably justifiable, um, to get to get rid of at some point. But no, I, I didn’t feel it was justified. Um, I was pretty heartbroken. I’d worked for this unit for 6.5 years I’d helped build it. Um, I mean, we won for perspective. We won dod counterterrorism team of the year two years in a row. The Department of Defense, uh, we were the Air Force Office, special investigations. They’re kind of like NCIS, we were their large detachment of the year for two out of three years with a runner up in the middle. And, I mean, we were, we were a major unit doing big things and, uh, a lot of that I had really helped a lot with, I was very central to a lot of that. I don’t mind saying that.

So it hurt, it hurt bad and I got fired via email. Um, so that, that made it even harder. Uh, very impersonal. Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, it was, it. And, you know, I was, I wasn’t a soldier anymore. It was a, I was a civilian but, you know, I still had a lot of loyalty to my country. I still had a lot of loyalty to my unit. So, yeah, it was, it was one of those things where, and my whole identity was tied up in my job that I’ve been doing for 15 years and most of that in the desert at war. So, yeah, I was very lost. I did, I didn’t even know who I was when I went home. Like, I had no idea who I was outside of. Like, you know, when you’re directing troops on the ground and you’re telling planes where to go and you’re, you know, all this intelligence that you’re, you know, it’s, it’s this, like, and you also, like, I used to go to the VA and they would say, well, are you addicted to alcohol or drugs and be, like, I’m addicted to war? Like, that’s, that’s hard to say. I can say it. Now. I was a war junkie, you know, uh, it’s actually a pretty good movie with it.

It’s actually a comedy drama. It’s got Tina Fey, it’s called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. It actually deals with, with war being addicted to war and Sebastian Junger who, who, uh, did a documentary, I think he was, uh, stationed with a, he was a journalist, a writer, stationed with a, a unit for about 18 months. He talks about being addicted to wars. Well, he’s in a TED talk on it. Um, but yeah, that, that was, that was kind of how it all ended up and, you know, I, I needed to leave. I was, you know, I was messed up. I was, uh, I was still professional mostly but, you know, once, once you’ve been at war for 12 years you can’t be a functional human really anymore. So, um, it was definitely time for me to go. So, how long did they give you? And, um, what do you do on day one? Well, I was, it was immediate because, I mean, I have a top secret security clearance and they, they, when you’re, whenever you’re terminated, they just, you know, kick you out, uh, kick you out in the cold. I had to, it was create around Christmas time. So all the planes were full. So I just kind of had to sit around Afghanistan for about 23 weeks waiting for, for a plane out.

Um, so it was just, uh, kind of a miserable thing there for a while. I actually flew back to, from Kandahar to Dubai on Christmas Eve and I ended up landing in, in DFW in Dallas, uh, with my wife, we both got back together um, on Christmas day of 2014 Christmas Day. Ok. That’s a, that’s a strange day to come back on. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Not a lot going on. Not many shops open. Um, but I guess this is that, uh, period from then on is the beginning of your seven years. Is that right? Yeah. The next next seven years I just tried to heal. Um, that first year I was back, I, like I said, I went to the VA, I actually ended up getting paired with a therapist counselor who practiced Eastern faith Eastern medicine, which is super rare in the VA system, uh, or any medical system really. And so that, that introduced me to mindfulness, meditation and some other things that, uh I couldn’t fully wrap my head around at the time, but I think definitely stuck in my head and helped me a bit, you know, until I, until I finally was able to kind of get my feet back under me a little bit.

So if you were to summarize the, shall we say the journey you went on in that seven years going from? Uh, would you, would you say, um, dealing with trauma initially, uh to the point where you’re at now? How, how would you summarize that period of your life? Yeah. It’s a very difficult period in my life. Um, like I’d gotten out of the desert and I, you know, the swamp of sadness of Afghanistan, but I was still stuck right in the swamp. Like I just couldn’t move out of it. And I had PTSD or complex ptsd, whatever you wanna call it. I had a hyper vigilance, uh depression. I even have O CD. I even had a had probably still have O CD uh developed. I had a whole ho a host of, I have Gulf War syndrome and uh all kinds of other physical elements that had come along with, you know, uh being over there for so long. Um So it, it was, it was a really kind of dark journey for me. I never gave up. I’m a positive person even, even though I had all these problems, I, I had moments of positivity because I was always kind of a positive person and I always try to lead with kindness.

And that’s why I think that really helped me not completely lose myself is that I still had this inner positivity, even though I was going through all this pain and suffering. Uh I think it really helped sustain me. And so I did end up as a statistic, you know, and um I think my interpretation of one of your previous answers is that uh you, you now have the ability to help someone who might be going through the same thing as what you went through. So if you could speak to someone who needed help and they were in the position that you were in day one, they get back. What advice do you give them? I would say that slow things down. Uh And I would say, have grace for yourself and know that, that you’re the most important thing to you. And so self love is gonna be really important and that time will help because I think time is an underrated aspect sometimes and in healing and that there’s gonna be some work that has to be done on, on how we feel.

And what were attached to, you know, letting go is this this big thing of uh attachments to forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, judging ourselves, judging others. This idea of letting go is very powerful. And so, um I think I would start by saying those things and, and also understanding that if it was someone that’s been through kind of institutional existence, especially the military, I would say, you know, that, that we’re conditioned to believe that we’re ok to keep going to fight to, um, fight through it. Uh, and that we have to kind of put that aside and we’re also in our, so I don’t think our society teaches self care, self love very well. So, um, those are all the things I would start with as a kind of a base. And how do you practice those things now? Self care or self love. Yeah. Self care is uh really important to me. I try to make sure that every day that I put myself first because I don’t think that I’m any good to anybody else.

I’m not good to myself. I’m not good to my wife. I’m not good to anybody that I’m talking to from a spiritual perspective, guidance perspective. I’m a, I’m a certified professional coach now too. Um I’m not good to anyone. If I don’t have that self care, I’m, I’m not good to anyone if I don’t have love of myself and if I love myself, um I start by II, I remind myself through verbal affirmations. I think the spoken word has a lot of power, tremendous power and especially if we can wake up in the morning and talk to ourselves a little bit. Um I meditate. Uh I do mindfulness meditation. I do, I do bathing meditation a couple times a week. Uh bath, pillow, hot bath candles, that kind of thing. Take care of myself, uh try to exercise, eat well sleep, right. You know, because I think that we can’t have a spiritual journey that is super meaningful if we’re not also grounded, centered in this day to day reality that we occupy.

So I think there’s that intersection between lifestyle and spirituality. And if we’re taking care of ourselves, suddenly we have more room to kind of uh be spiritual, think about how, what our connection is with the universe and all that kind of stuff. Well, this gets into um perhaps the, the after part of your story, um The I think the word spirituality uh is used differently, well, means different things to different people. So how would you define that word or how do you use it? I think it’s anything that a person does to see a connection to something that is beyond their prototypical physical self. So I think it could range from anything from consciousness, just base consciousness, which science has yet to explain. Like science kind of knows it exists, but science still can’t get behind consciousness yet. So it could range from consciousness to, you know, you could call it super consciousness or the divine or the the capital s self, you know, the divine self inside or the divine.

Uh I would, I would use any of that and say that it’s a very broad term. It’s almost so broad as to be almost unusable at times. Um So I think we have to approach it like that and talk about it like that. So I, I love that question. It’s kind of like good or bad. The, the word is so general, it’s actually quite difficult to define. Yeah, absolutely. So, um this is one from your profile. It sounds like an interesting question. What is the stream of unconsciousness? Yes. We have all these things that when we’re young, we’re told that we’re this or we’re that or we’re not this and you know, we do this or don’t do that all it’s taught to us by our parents, by our teachers, by and then by our coworkers, eventually uh friends that were all these things and that we’re supposed to do, we, you know where that we can’t do and we should do. And so all these layers that, that kind of build up on us over time. And I, that’s the stream of unconsciousness, this whole of society uh that pulls us down this way that everything’s supposed to go and we kind of have to take a step out of that stream of consciousness and think, who am I like?

What am I like? What are, what are my values? What do I believe in? What, what are my beliefs? What, what am I separate from all of this? And I, I don’t think that we ask those questions or think about it in those terms. And so that’s kind of how I see the the stream of unconsciousness. Do you think it’s sort of similar to the phrase where people are, like, sleepwalking into things, things are just happening to them. Yeah. Absolutely. It’s, it’s, and it can be a very warm thing safe. It’s, it’s, you know, the mind and the ego have kept us alive for thousands of years and, you know, in doing so they, it, it, doing the safe thing, doing the thing that’s always been done. You know, I think that it’s the easy way and I’m not saying that it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that it’s worth asking the question of, should I step out of it and look around and the opposite of that presumably is like your higher purpose.

Have you got thoughts you can share on your higher purpose? I, I really believe deeply in higher purpose or Dharma. I think that we each have a higher purpose in life that’s probably unique to ourselves. I think that it can change throughout our life. And I think that if, if we don’t know what our higher purpose is like, what do we want? Like what, what do we need, what, what’s our soul saying to us or our inner self or our base intuition saying that it wants or needs to do that most fits in alliance with what, what we are as a being. Uh So mine may be helping other people find their way, you know, and it, it’s, if we if we can find it, that’s great. We should, we should work on finding it, figuring out what it is. But then once we know it, once we figure out what our higher purpose is, how is it aligned with our daily life? Are we, are we living our higher purpose?

Is it aligned with how we live our life are our values that we have things that we’re actually doing and living? And is it especially a lot? Is it aligned with our vocation or job? Because we spend so much time at work? So if we’re not doing something that aligns with what we want to do and want to be or need to be, then we’re going to be, I think extremely unhappy. Would you say that’s one of the things which actually helped you recover is um figuring out your higher purpose and then making sure it aligns with your daily activity. Absolutely. I think that knowing what it was and then saying I’m gonna go do this with my life has absolutely been fundamentally, life changing and the, in, in every way it was amazing. And um II, I keep using the phrase, but I just think the uh the contrast or the before and after of your story is amazing. And um I really appreciate you sharing it. Is there anything that I should have asked you about today? No, I, you’re a, a really great host and you asked very thoughtful questions.

So I, I definitely appreciate the conversation and uh if people wanna hire you or get in touch, where do they go? Uh Our main website for our community is uh kisha.org, kishar.org. And they can find uh links to get into our spiritual community there or get us for one on one guidance or coaching sessions and all of our socials. And we have a decent uh youtube channel. It’s got a lot of good uh advice and spiritual guidance on it as well. It’s, it’s free and very artful. So check that out as well. John, do you have any closing thoughts for us today? I always try to tell people that don’t chase perfection uh in, in this world, we all walk together. Perfect is probably not gonna happen. There’s that perfection within us connected to the universe or divine or whatever. Probably you can connect to that, but don’t try to just walk, walk perfection in our real world. It’s not, it’s not something we need to do. There’s more time, we have more time than we think. And, and, and again, love yourself.

I would say that’s the advice that I would give people. Well, uh I appreciate your time. Um Thank you for your contribution in general and thank you for being a great podcast guest. Yeah. Thank you for being a great podcast host.