In Part 1 of this article, I outlined the mechanism through which our brains “magically” connect us to one another and detailed the main ways that our ego interrupts this process. I recommend you start there if you haven’t already. In short though, mirror neurons emotionally bond us without us doing ANYTHING while our ego castrates them through analysis, judgement, and control.
With that out of the way, now we can talk solutions. Now we can reclaim that magic!
Fortunately for us, each isolating outburst of the ego has a corresponding “antidote”. These three antidotes can be practiced, just like anything else. Through this practice, we’re able to re-activate our bonding apparatus and reconnect with ourselves (the core of confidence) and everyone else on the planet.
Remember that real bonding happens on an emotional level while analysis, judgement, and control cut us off from that emotional process. Simply put, sometimes our ego decides that our emotions feel too overwhelming for us. When that happens, it employs analysis, judgement, and control to “protect” us from them. The antidotes then, are three ways in which we reconnect to that emotional process that we’ve previously avoided.
Antidote 1: Listen
Again, analysis is one of the ways that our ego tries to distract us from our feelings, thereby short-circuiting our natural bonding mechanism. When this happens, the solution is simple — just listen to the feelings in your body.
It’s simple, but as we all know it’s not easy. That voice in our head can be incredibly difficult to silence sometimes, especially when we’re experiencing feelings we’d really prefer not to feel. Those thoughts can be empowering. They make us feel as though they’re really helping us to solve whatever problem we perceive.
We must remember that they’re not helping us. No matter how seductive those thoughts are, they’re simply distracting us from the feelings in our body. All we have to do to reverse this disconnecting process is just listen.
Antidote 2: Accept
When our ego employs judgement to distract us from our emotions and disconnect us from ourselves and others, all we need to do in response is accept those feelings. Remember that ANYTHING you’re feeling at the current moment — no matter how gut-wrenching — is the most direct path to greater connection to yourself and others.
There are no “good” feelings and “bad” feelings… there’s only connection. Again, it can be extremely difficult to stop judgments from flooding our brain when we decide something is too uncomfortable for us. But the solution is simple: just accept those feelings and give them a corresponding embrace.
Antidote 3: Surrender
I know… it’s the “s” word — easily one of mens’ least favorite words. And it’s the reason why most men still struggle with women after roughly five thousand years of us trying to figure it out. We want to be the victorious champions, the conquering heroes! Surrender is definitely not a word associated with our mental perception of how this is supposed to go. We want to control the outcome. Again though, this only ends in further isolation.
I’m not talking about surrender in terms of defeat. Instead, we must admit to ourselves that our egos just flat out suck at connection. We must instead turn that task over to the magical mechanism that’s evolved over billions of years to do the connecting for us!
When we’re hit with feelings we deem to be uncomfortable our bodies tense up as a means of control. All we have to do is let go and surrender to those feelings.
The final necessary piece that allows you to move from analysis, judgement, and control and into listening, accepting, and surrender is DEEP BREATHS. As the ego gets anxious your breaths will always become shorter as your lungs constrict. In order to listen, accept, and surrender to the feelings in your body and let your natural bonding apparatus work its magic, deep breaths are necessary.
Turning our egos off and allowing our inborn connecting mechanism to do all of the work for is through listening, accepting, and surrendering is simple — but it isn’t easy. One of the main issues that guys come to me with is that it’s difficult for them to get their heads to be quiet. This issue is typically exasperated when they’re in a situation that causes anxiety, such as a crowded social gathering or seeing someone they’re really attracted to.
It’s also difficult because the difference between being in your head vs in your body isn’t an analytical difference — it’s a feeling. How do you teach someone to ride a bike? You can’t really explain it. You just push them and hope they find that feeling of balance before they fall. Listening, accepting, and surrendering to your feelings is the same thing. The first step is simply learning to identify the feeling of doing it — the feeling you had in all of your best conversations — vs when you’re not.
Because it can be so difficult, I recommend learning to find that LAS feeling in various circumstances. It’s best to begin practicing in the easiest circumstance, and then working your way up the different levels of difficulty as the previous becomes more accessible.
Circumstance 1: Meditation
There is no easier way to practice quieting your ego and getting more in touch with yourself than when you’re alone, typically in the comfort and safety of home. I recommend starting with ten minutes in the morning and at night, and working up to fifteen and then twenty minutes as it becomes more natural for you. Simply notice the times when your ego distracts you with analysis, judgement, and control, thank him for the challenge, take deep breaths, and practice finding that feeling.
I can always tell when a client has been slacking on his meditation exercises because his experiences practicing this in all of the other circumstances becomes near impossible. He’ll complain how his brain wouldn’t stop racing in a social situation the night before. I’ll ask him how his meditation has been going, but I already know the answer.
If you can’t find that feeling by yourself, you won’t be able to find it in the company of others and you’ll remain isolated from genuine connection.
Circumstance 2: Out in Public
Listening, accepting, and surrendering to the feelings in your body becomes considerably more difficult when you encounter other people who are looking at you with their analysis, judgements, and walls of control raised. If you’ve been finding that LAS feeling successfully in your meditation, then this is your next level of challenge.
Every time you encounter another human being you’re either practicing letting your ego run the show or your practicing finding that feeling with the help of deep breaths. Every time you encounter another human being you’re either getting better or getting worse.
All conversations begin with an emotional connection, and you can practice this every time you pass by another person. You can make eye contact and smile with no emotional connection. Or you can take a deep breath, find that LAS feeling, and make eye contact and smile with the full vulnerability of your feelings behind it. The difference between these two — and the difference in the responses you’ll receive — is astounding.
Circumstance 3: In Conversation
Is it getting easier for you to listen, accept, and surrender to your feelings while sharing emotional vulnerability and connection with everyone you encounter? Are you noticing people greeting you with more genuine emotion? Good! Now it’s time to step up the difficulty.
Forming language naturally requires more brain power and makes it more difficult to connect to our feelings. I can’t even say the words “thermonuclear dynamics” without completely disconnecting from the feelings in my body.
In every conversation though, you’re either practicing letting your ego run the show, or you’re practicing connecting with yourself and the other person (people) on a deeply emotional level. It’s natural for you to pop into your head from time to time during a conversation. The question is, how many times can you recover and come back to your feelings? In every conversation you’re either getting better or getting worse. Practice, practice, practice.
You’ll know you’re doing this right when you begin feeling a deeper level of connection with the individuals you’re conversing with.
Circumstance 4: With Your Sexuality
Our sexual feelings are one of the most difficult things to be comfortable with, and some of the most typical things that cause our ego to take over. The oldest and most popular religious traditions teach that upon gaining consciousness, covering our sexuality was one of the first things humans did. Seeing someone we find attractive and immediately tensing up, losing our breath, and jumping into our heads is much more common than not.
In order to become more comfortable with our sexuality, I recommend putting yourself in a place where your sexual feelings are naturally triggered. This could be the beach, a burlesque show, a yoga class, the gym — basically anywhere where people you find attractive are scantily clad. Once your sexual feelings are triggered, simply practice your meditation. Deep breaths will be extremely necessary. As you take them, find that LAS feeling. Be aware that your ego will try to distract you and many of the feelings that come up can be uncomfortable.
Just listen, just accept, just surrender, and let your body’s natural means of connection take over. Just don’t be surprised when you notice women checking you out as you do so.
This is all incredibly simple. Again though, it’s difficult. It will typically take 1-3 weeks of trying to find the LAS feeling in different circumstances before you’ll notice differences in how people respond. It can sound like a lot in our society of instant-gratification. However, when you consider that you’re undoing a lifetime of ego programming it’s not that bad.
Once it starts to click though, everything becomes so simple you’ll wonder why you ever had any trouble with this in the first place. Deep, lasting confidence and instant connections with everyone isn’t a mystery. It’s our natural way of being. All we have to do is let go and let nature take over, or apply for live training if you’d like a short cut.