How to Magically Reconnect With Everyone — Part 2

Within 30 days of the workshop I’m going on dates regularly and having the deepest most intimate connections I’ve ever had in my life.”  -SMOKC

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.

How to Magically Reconnect With Everyone – Part 1

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According to an ancient Hindu legend, there was once a time when all human beings were Gods.

But they abused their power and so Brahma, the chief God, decided to take it and hide it in a place where it could never be found. He decided to hold a council of the Gods to help him decide the best spot.

“Let’s bury it deep in the earth,” said the Gods.

Brahma answered, “No, that will not do. Humans will dig into the earth and find it.”

“Okay, let’s sink it in the deepest ocean then,” replied the Gods.

But Brahma said, “No, not there. For they will learn to dive and they will find it.”

Then the Gods said, “What about the highest mountain top, out in the farthest corner of earth?”

But again Brahma replied, “No, that will not do either. They will eventually climb every mountain, scale every peak, and once again take up their divinity.”

The rest of the Gods were exasperated. They threw up their arms in surrender. “There is no place!” they hollered. “The humans will proliferate, and they will find it anywhere we put it.”

Brahma was quiet for a time. He thought long and deep. Finally he looked up at the rest of the Gods with a knowing twinkle in his eye. “Here is what we shall do,” he said. “We will hide their divinity deep down in the one place they will never look – the very center of their own being.”

The rest of the Gods rejoiced. Of course! It was the perfect place! They all formally agreed on it, and the deed was done.

Ages passed, and since that time humans have been on a desperate and unending search — travelling every corner of the planet, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring – for the one thing they know they’ve lost… something already within themselves.

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In my thirteen years coaching men on their dating lives, I’ve heard a lot of the same questions asked over and over.

“How do I talk to women?”

“What do I say?”

“How do I get her to like me?”

“How do I make more friends?”

“How do I flirt?”

“How can I be more confident?”

If you’re reading this now, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve asked at least one of these questions — either to yourself or someone else. If you’ve ever asked one of these questions, chances are you’ve gotten the wrong answer.

Why?

Because you’re asking the wrong question.

What if I told you that you have mechanisms in your brain which build the strongest bonds in the known universe  — both platonic and romantic — with every human being on the planet? What if I told you these magical brain mechanisms works without you having to do ANYTHING  — just like your heartbeat?

I’m not talking about the kinds of connections where you talk about sports, collaborate in business, or chase women or whatever. I’m talking about the kinds of connections that are the number one determining factor in your overall happiness. I’m talking about the kind of connections that — if we don’t have them — are the leading cause of addiction, depression, anxiety, and suicide.

If we have this magical connecting thing inside of us, why do we still feel lonely and disconnected from others? It’s a good question, and one that nearly every human being has asked himself at one point or another.

Before I answer the “why”, let me first identify these mechanisms:

The first magical part of our brain that I’ve been referring to is our collection of mirror neurons (the largest amount carried of any species in the known universe by a long-shot). In short, our mirror neurons fire when someone in our periphery exhibits some emotion or behavior. This triggers the release of brain chemicals that cause us to feel the same feelings and behave in similar ways as the person we’ve observed (Preston & Waal, Decety, Gallese), with yawning being the most accessible example of this .

An emotional bond forms whenever we empathize with — or feel the same feelings as — another person. Our mirror neurons automatically do this for us.

The second mechanism in the brain which “magically” bonds us with other living things is the release of oxytocin when we make prolonged eye contact (Uväs-Moberg) or share physical contact (Field). For the unaware, oxytocin makes us feel bonded to others. Combine a shot of that with the emotional connection provided by your mirror neurons and voilá, you’ve got the strongest bond in the known universe,  courtesy of your brain.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Try to stare into a stranger’s eyes and touch them and more often than not you’ll be met with hostility. Usually we need to allow first our mirror neurons to do some emotional harmonizing before another person will feel comfortable allowing themselves to become more bonded with another person.

But again, if our mirror neurons do this automatically for us then why do most of us still feel so disconnected?

That answer is where things start to get difficult for us. The reason why our magical bonding mechanisms seems to be broken more often than not is that we’re not using them. Why? Because our brains kind of suck at multitasking.

When we’re tapping into our problem-solving abilities (“How do I achieve x?”) or other more analytical brain processes, it’s almost impossible to let that magical bonding process occur at the same time. It’s like that advice you’ve heard but never quite understood: you “get the girl” when you stop trying to get the girl.

Men in particular struggle with this. The mirror neuron system in women, on average, is more active than ours. Additionally, it’s easier for women, on average, to multitask (Brizendine). On other words, it’s typically easier for a woman to tackle a logical problem one minute and emotionally connect the next than it is for us.

This is all relative though. While former UFC champion Ronda Rousey would still lose a fight against similarly trained male fighters, she’d still kick most guys’ asses on the planet. The biggest block for us in achieving deep emotional connections is societal conditioning.

Girls are often encouraged to develop emotional intelligence and connections from a young age. Boys, on the other hand, are often punished for being emotional and rewarded solely for their analytical and athletic prowess. It can be said that girls get love when they emote, while boys get love by figuring stuff out and accomplishing. It’s no surprise that men then spend their adult lives logically trying to figure out how to get love (and why 99% of the dating advice we receive is analytical and doomed to fail.)

If there’s one thing that my work with thousands of men has taught me, it’s that despite these hurdles we face, any man can re-develop his ability to share these deep connections that we’re all dying for. In order to teach men to access that magical part of themselves and connect with anyone, I like to start by highlighting the ways which our analytical brain regularly cuts us off from these mechanisms.

There are three overarching ways in which our brain isolates us from others despite our best attempts to connect:

  1. Analyzing/figuring out

“What should I do?” “What should I say?” “What does this mean?” Here’s a hint, whatever answer your analysis gives you is incomplete or just flat out wrong (typically infected with your fears and insecurities.) Moreso, while you’re thinking about something you believe is helpful, you’re actually just shutting down your magical connecting device because thinking about something is easier than emotional intimacy.

  1. Judgement

It starts with us: “I’m not good enough for them.” “I’m too good for them.” “I’m a weirdo.” Then, that judgement is projected outward: “She’s an asshole.” “Those people suck.” “This is stupid.” It’s all the same though, just isolating us further from others because that voice in our head (aka, our ego) knows it’s much safer that way.

  1. Defensiveness/Control

Most of us walk around most of the day with our guards up. We try to manage the responses from those around us in order to achieve what we believe to be the optimal result. You can’t blame us. When we put ourselves out there emotionally and we’re punished for it by the unpredictable responses of others (as in our childhood) it really hurts. However, those walls we create around ourselves only serve to isolate us further. They make us feel like no one understands us, no one could possibly get us, and that we really are alone.

Why does that voice in our head (ego) seem so intent on keeping us miserable? That answer is easy when you consider it’s primary function: safety and security. Want to have food available and a quality roof over your head for the foreseeable future? Your advanced analytical capabilities have that covered. Want to create the most prosperous society in the history of the world? All hail analytical thinking!

But when it comes to happiness and connection, that voice straight-up sucks. Not on purpose, he just wants to keep you safe and secure. There’s nothing scarier to him than the unknown, and there’s nothing more spontaneous, more unpredictable, and more chaotic than our emotions.

Our ego is terrified of his unpredictable, emotional, free-loving neighbor. So he attempts to figure out how to analyze, judge, and control him to try to prevent any embarrassing outbursts. He tries, but he fails miserably — repressed emotions become unstable emotions.

He’s not completely wrong though. Sometimes there are people we’re better off keeping a distance from. But at this time in history — as we prescribe more drugs to combat depression and spend more time staring at glowing screens than into others’ eyes — we arguably need that connection more than ever.

It’s time to take some risks before it’s too late.

So how do we overcome five-thousand years of conditioning, achieve harmony in our brain, and enjoy the deep connections we were meant to? Check out Part 2 to find out.