Why Positive Thinking is BS with Dr John Demartini
Why Positive Thinking is BS with Dr John Demartini
Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians. Find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.
My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia for both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome to the Wellness Warriors podcast today. It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to my very distinguished guest, Dr John Demartini, who’s a world-renowned human behaviour expert with over four decades of research across multiple disciplines and a study of all of the ologies you can imagine, and his work’s been described by his students as the most comprehensive body of work, an extensive library of wisdom and wisdom of the highest and most valuable order.
What a pleasure. Thank you so much for finding the time and for joining me here today on the podcast, Dr Demartini.
Dr John Demartini: Oh no, thank you. I found out about it and I went, “absolutely” thank you.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you. I’d like to start with a little bit of your history and probably something that people are not aware of, or not many are really in tune with, where you started from, and I know that when you were growing up, there were learning difficulties at one point in time. I’d love to learn about how is it possible that someone of your stature started from such humble beginnings and from learning difficulties and from what I understand, some pretty negative kind of impressions of others giving you feedback around what you were capable of.
Dr John Demartini: Well, I did have a bit of challenge when I was young. I was born with an arm and leg turned inward, a deformity, and I had to wear braces from a year and a half old to four years old. But I think that that was a blessing because when I got out of the braces, I had a desire to run and I think I’ve been on the run all my life! So that’s allowed me to travel the world.
But I also had a speech impediment and starting at one and a half, I was going to a little, an individual that put strings and buttons into my mouth and I had to do all these exercises to try to use my muscles properly, and I had a speech and sound production challenge. By the time I got to first grade, I started a normal reading, went to remedial reading and finally had to wear a dunce cap because the teacher said, you know, “this isn’t working” So my parents came to school, my teacher said, “I’m afraid your son is never going to be able to read or never be able to write effectively” because my hand was writing backwards and I was reading backwards sometimes, and I wouldn’t get any meaning or any understanding out of it.
The only way I got through elementary school was by asking smart kids things because if I listened to them speak, I could understand enough to sort of pass, and that worked until I was 12 going on 13 when I finished elementary school, my parents moved from the city of Houston to the country and there I didn’t have a bunch of smart kids, we were in a very low socioeconomic area and I had nobody to ask questions to and I failed, and so I dropped out.
So I became a street kid at 13, and until 18. And then I was, I first lived in Texas, then I hitchhiked to California and hitchhiked down to Mexico, and then I made it over to Hawaii and I was into surfing at the time and Hawaii was the place, so I figured I’m going to go there. And my parents thought that you know, he’s going to excel in sports, so let him go. So they gave me a notarized piece of paper and said “go” and I hitchhiked off to California by myself, made it over to Hawaii and lived social climbing from starting under a bridge to a park bench to a bathroom, to an abandoned car, you name it.
And did you know, did pretty good in surfing and then I almost died when I was 17, and then I met this, as a result of that, I got led to this little class to listen to the speaker, and in one night, this one man, as an elderly man spoke, and the light bulb went on and I had this real unbelievable desire to want to go and someday become intelligent, learn how to read and speak properly. And that night I had a vision that I was going to be able to be intelligent and speak. And so I, you know, flew to LA, hitchhiked back to Texas, took a GED, tried to go back to school, failed, and then got so determined that I was going to overcome this, that I got with my mom and we started memorising a dictionary, 30 words a day. I would spend a day working on 30 words on how to spell it properly, how to pronounce it properly, and how to put it into some sort of meaning and we worked on 30 words a day until my vocabulary was strong enough to be able to read. And then I never stopped. I just started reading 20 hours a day, 18, 20 hours a day on anything and everything, and then my uncle sent me two giant, six by-six six-foot wooden crates of books on all different topics as a gift when he found out I was starting to learn to read, and I just started living to read. When they told you, “he’d never be able to read or write” I became a reader and writer. Now I’ve read 30,600-something books, and I’ve written probably 300 books. And I’ve, you know, when they tell you can’t do something, you end up wanting to do it, I guess. And I’ve been blessed. I wish I could tell that teacher, thank you, whatever you said was exactly what I needed for my destiny.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much for sharing a little about your background. What an incredible story to grow from to become such a learned man, and to be such an iconic sharer of knowledge all around the world. It’s quite remarkable, and I do identify with and understand that concept of when someone tells you no, it’s often the most powerful statement that they can ever make and you strive for greatness, which is what you’ve achieved in so many different areas.
One of your quotes I’d like to read to you because I’d like to understand what this means and it struck me as something quite powerful, “the magnificence of who you truly are is far greater than any fantasies you impose on yourself.”
Dr John Demartini: Okay. As we walk through our day, let’s say we walk into a mall and we see somebody and we might think, oh my God, they’re more intelligent, or they’re more successful, or they’re more wealthy, or they’re more stable in their relationship, or more maybe have a more attractive, you know, attractive person or something, or maybe they’re more socially connected, or maybe they’re more physically fit or attractive, or they’re more spiritually aware. Anytime we look at somebody and compare ourselves to them and exaggerate them, not knowing who they are, but just assuming that they are, and minimise ourselves. We can end up being too humble to admit what we see in others inside ourselves and disown a lot of parts of ourselves that we have that we’re not honouring. And when we do, we minimise ourselves and that’s not our authentic self, and then we will envy them, try to imitate them, inject some of their values into our lives and try to be somebody we’re not, and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.”
We can also walk in the mall and do the opposite. We can look down and think what an idiot and you know, what a failure and you know, poor guy, he’s got nothing or, well, look at his relationship, my God, thank God I got what I got, and we can go in the other direction around that wheel, and now we can tough ourselves up and feel too proud to admit what we see in others inside us. And the moment we’re too proud now we’re exaggerating ourselves and now we’re not being authentic. And so anytime we put people on pedestals or pits and minimise ourselves or exaggerate ourselves in relationships, we lose our identity that’s authentic and we puff ourselves up with personas and mass and facades about who we are, the chameleon camouflage effect, and we lose our identity.
And then what we do is we either subordinate ourselves to them and try to change ourselves to live in their values, which is futile, or we try to get others to live in our values, which is futile. A lot of people in marriage try to get the other person to live in their values and it’s futile. And so anytime you do that, you’re going to run into resistance and the way the resistance is there, it’s a gift because it’s letting you know you’re not authentic. It’s letting you know that you’re minimising or exaggerating yourself instead of being yourself. And I believe that the symptoms of our life are feedback mechanisms to help us become authentic.
But the moment we look at somebody and we go, what specifically about them do I admire or despise or dislike or look up on or down on, and then go, where do I have those behaviours? Where do I have what I see in them to the same degree? If I go look and have reflective awareness instead of deflective awareness, deflecting it means I’m too proud or too humble to admit it, but I have reflective awareness and I go, look, where do I have those behaviours? And I’ve done this for many, many decades, and I have yet to see a trait that you can judge in other people you don’t have. Even Romans 2:1, and the biblical writings in the New Testament, talked about this and it’s not new, great philosophers throughout the ages have talked about reflective awareness. But the moment you look inside yourself and see what you see in others and level the playing field and have equanimity within yourself and equity between yourself and others, your heart opens and you feel love instead of the judgement of putting on pedestals or pitch. You now have a love for somebody and now you get to be authentic and the magnificence of that authenticity and the love for yourself and other people that come from that, and the sustainable fair exchange that emerges in relationships with people, the noiseless of the brain and the presence of what happens when you’re there and the empowerment of physiology and in spirituality, in every area of our light, the magnificence of that is far greater than any of fantasies about who we’re supposed to be, or others are supposed to be about life. So that’s what the message is.
Felicity Cohen: It’s a really powerful message, and I think so many of us are often so caught up in some of those concepts, those feelings and, you know, thoughts that you’ve expressed around shame, guilt, pride, being, you know, those dominant kinds of areas that we tend to kind of focus on.
How do we avoid that concept of self-minimisation? Because I think, you know, so many people suffer from the feeling of low self-esteem.
Dr John Demartini: Well, I’ve worked with self-esteem, I’ve been teaching now, November will be 50 years, 50 years now. And so, there’s a thing called elevated self-esteem and lowered self-esteem. One is pride, we’re elevating ourselves, and one is a shame, we’re minimising ourselves. And then in the centre between those is true self-worth, authentic self, that’s stable, these are fluctuating. And anytime you exaggerate yourself with pride because you’re looking down on people or minimise yourself because you’re looking up at people, you’re going to create symptomatology and you’re going to feel uncertain. If you exaggerate somebody else and minimise yourself, you’re going to feel less than, and then you’re going to be brain offloading decisions onto other people, and you’ll have uncertainty in yourself.
So we’re not here to compare ourselves to other people. We’re here to compare our actions to our own highest values, what’s meaningful to us, that’s authentic to us because when we live by our highest values, we’re most authentic. I was having dinner the other night with a two-time gold medalist here on my ship, and he was talking about when he goes up and he stands on the platform, he is about to dive into the water for a competitive gold medal, you know, acquisition, he said, if he looks to his right or his left, he lost the gold medal because he just compared himself to somebody, and he said, “oh, they got stronger thighs or stronger arms or whatever” and that’s a distraction. Anytime you exaggerate and minimise somebody to yourself or you to them, you have a distraction and you go into the amygdala, you have impulses and instincts, and that’s not where you perform at your peak. He says, “I look at the objective and I go back into my rehearsals. I do 8,000 rehearsals before I get into the water, and then I go on automatic pilot and I’m not focused on anybody else. I’m focused on my objective of getting the fastest return, you know, doing a perfect swim” and that’s what people do is they compare themselves to others.
Look at the social media world out there. We compare ourselves to other people instead of comparing our daily actions to our own highest values and sticking to priorities. Everybody has a set of priorities in life and a set of values, and anytime we’re doing the highest priority action, we raise our self-worth, and anytime we’re doing low-priority distractions, we lower it. So we’re not here to judge, which we tend to do when we’re doing low-priority things. We are here to be focused on the most meaningful, most productive, most inspiring, most fulfilling, and the most contributive action we can do daily.
I learned from a gentleman who’s a very wealthy man, and is known around the world, he said, one of his little statements that he has every morning is, “what is the greatest possible service that I can do to serve the greatest number of people today most efficiently and effectively with the resource I have today that I wait to do” it’s a great, great question. How can I serve the greatest number of people in the most efficient way? And if we focus on what is deeply meaningful to us, what’s deeply priority to us and that which serves the greatest number of people, our fulfilment levels are up and our self-worth is stable, and we don’t have these vacillations of pride and shame.
The addiction to pride forces the licensing effect to make us self-depreciate. There’s a thing called the licensing effect, and the second we go into pride, like a person, let’s say there’s a workout buff, and they go out and they work out for an hour and they go, “well, I feel proud. I did that. Look at that workout” and then that night to permit themselves to eat chocolate, drink too much wine and overeat, and then they feel shame, and then they use that as a motivation to go out and work out and then they feel proud, and this is called the licensing effect and it creates a yo-yo response and people who are addicted to pride are the ones that feel the lowest self-esteem because they’re comparing themselves to a fantasy of who they are.
So not only can you compare yourself to other people and minimise yourself, but you can also compare yourself to your fantasy side, to the side that only when you’re proud and then expecting yourself to only be one-sided. The two most common things that cause people self-depreciation are the expectation of a one-sided life, always up never down, always positive, never negative, always nice, never mean, always one-sided, and trying to live outside your own highest values and trying to live in somebody else’s values. Those are guaranteed to give you depreciated self-esteem.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you. And I do love the idea of just focusing on your values, your personal highest values, whatever they look like and avoiding those distractions so that you can focus on the goal because you’re far more likely to succeed at whatever it is that you’re aiming for.
Dr John Demartini: Everybody around you is projecting their values onto you, and they’re opportunists trying to get what they want and fulfil their life, which is perfectly understandable. But if you don’t say thank you, but no, thank you, you know, when you have a very focused day and it’s filled with that agenda with very high priority, very meaningful and productive things, it’s easy to say no to people that aren’t a priority, but if you don’t, you’re vulnerable. And so those are symptoms when they now occupy your mind and life and be, you know, they’re trying to get you to be somebody you’re not, trying to get you to fit in instead of standing out, and that’s there to kind of make you upset, to get you back to what’s the priority. I can’t tell him how important it is to prioritise your life and be of service to people – that’s the key to a rewarding life.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. As a human behaviour expert with so many years of experience, how do you feel the pandemic has changed human behaviour? Is there a specific area that you think people have responded to that has caused a shift in behaviour overall?
Dr John Demartini: Well, because we have a hierarchy of values, set of priorities we live by, in my case, my highest value was teaching and researching, writings underneath that, but cooking and driving are not on there. I haven’t cooked since I was 24 and I haven’t driven a car in 32 years, so I don’t do low-priority things because that devalues you. But anytime you’re doing the highest priority actions daily, you’re the most resilient and adaptable and objective, you’re most neutral. Anybody’s knocked it out of the ballpark and felt they’re on top of the world for the day, now they can handle almost anything, but anytime you’re doing and putting out fires, you are already into the amygdala, you’re already into the fight or flight kind of response, and you’re now vulnerable to being even more distressed.
The more polarised you are in your mind, the more infatuated, and resentful, the more you fear the loss of that what you seek, or fear the gain of that what you try to avoid and the less resilient and adaptable you are to change. So people that were doing things that were already high in their values, when COVID came, they just incrementally did little adaptations and got prepared and took on a new thing to be able to serve people and they kept ahead of the game. But the people were not, they got rigid in their response and they have very little ability to adapt, and these are the people that, you know, went through the quote, suffering the most, and that’s a mechanism to get them back onto priorities so they’re not in that, you know, rigid state.
So many people who saw things through the eyes of how is this serving me? They became not a victim of history they became a master of destiny and adapted and came up with new things. They went online, they created a new business, and they figured out how to reach people and serve people because they were focused on doing something. It’s meaningful when people are living by their highest values, they pursue challenges that inspire them, when people live by their lower values, they try to avoid challenges that de-spire them, and so keeping top priority is one of the most amazing things to help people adapt. And some people were at all scales with COVID, the people at the bottom that were basically in fight or flight mechanisms, they, you know, were devastated by COVID, but it’s not what happens to you on the outside. You have control over your perceptions, decisions and actions, no matter what happens on the outside. So if you change your perceptions and find out how is this going to help me change your decisions about how you respond and change your actions, the whole world doesn’t matter what goes on on the outside. We’ve all had situations we thought something terrible occurred and then a day, a week, a month, a year, five years later, we went, “oh, thank you for that” but why wait for the wisdom of the ages with the ageing process, we can get the wisdom, the ages without it by asking today, how is whatever’s happening helping me fulfil what’s meaningful to me. And if you do, you adapt very rapidly and you get on with creativity, you get back into your forebrain where you’re thinking creatively instead of your hindbrain, where you’re reacting emotionally.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much. All you have to do these days is to scroll through social media feeds to see someone touting positivity and inspirational quotes, thoughts and images that are constantly telling us to look on the bright side. Where do you think this obsession with positivity has come from?
Dr John Demartini: Well, I’m about to bust a bubble here! I’m not a positive thinker, the only time I’m a positive thinker is when people are focusing on the downsides, they need to balance them with an upside. But if they’re focusing on the upside, they need to balance it with the downside. If you’re infatuated with somebody and somebody says, “look, I’ve got a crypto here that’s going to make you a billionaire in a week” if you don’t look for the downside, you’re going to be gullible. You need a balance of both sides if you want to stabilise your life.
So positive thinking is a kind of opium of the masses, and because most people are comparing themselves to others and beating themselves up and they’re down, they think that they need positive thinking. But, I’m not a positive thinker, I gave it up at age 30 after doing a two-year study on that and finding out that our brain is homeostatic and is designed to have both positive and negative. And so it’s sold in the marketplace to the mass media and mass system because people are usually unfulfilled. After all, they’re comparing their current reality to fantasies all the time. When somebody’s in COVID and they’re going well, it used to be this way and I wish it was this way, they’re not taking what it is and using it to their advantage. And as long as you compare your current reality to a fantasy of the past or a fantasy of the future, you’re never going to be anything but depressed.
So, the people that end up depreciating themselves and depressed, need positive thinking to see the upside, but people that are fantasising and infatuated and living in gullibility, need some healthy scepticism. So I’m not a believer in one-sidedness, I don’t promote positive thinking. I promote balanced thinking in life and I found that we’re way more stable if we can homeostasis, ourselves back into the home, into a balanced state. Throughout the ages, you know, we talked about it even Pythagoras talked about balanced physiology as wellness. How are you going to have balanced physiology if you’ve got an imbalanced mind? Not going to happen.
So, I’m only a positive thinker when somebody needs the upside to things, but I’m also a, I think it’s a healthy scepticism when you’re fantasising and infatuated. When you meet somebody and you’re conscious of the upsides and unconscious of the downsides with an infatuation, I don’t sit there and go, “well, what are the pauses of this person they already got those” I need to know the healthy scepticism and to say, “well, be on the lookout.” And what’s interesting is our intuition is whispering to us, but we’re ignoring it. When a woman sees a man that she’s highly infatuated with, if she’s got an intuition that says too good to be true, watch out, keep your eyes open, and she’s got an intuition, but if she’s not taking advantage of that intuition and looking at the downside, she’ll be hit broadsided by this individual that’s not who she’s fantasising. So fantasies need downsides and nightmares need upsides, and we need both sides to master our life, so I don’t promote one-sidedness.
Felicity Cohen: Life imbalance is what it’s all about by the sounds of things, balancing the positive and the negative and understanding the broader spectrum about, you know, where that fits on any given day in relationship to what you’re doing or aiming for in that particular moment.
Dr John Demartini: Exactly.
Felicity Cohen: Dr Demartini, what do you wish you knew about wellness? If you can cast your mind back 10 years ago.
Dr John Demartini: I don’t look back at I wish I had done anything differently, I don’t find that very productive. I don’t go, I don’t have, I don’t walk around with regrets. I always say that no matter what’s happened, it’s on the way. And so I don’t look back and go, “oh, I wish I’d have done this. I should have done that” I developed a methodology, which I call the Demartini method, which I teach in the break to experience, and what it does is it goes back, the only time you think you made a mistake in life that you regret is when you compare your actions to somebody else’s values and you hear yourself saying, I should, I ought to, I suppose too, I got to, I have to, I must, I need to, which are imperatives from outside authorities.
You don’t judge yourself in your actions, because you made the decision based on your assessment. You only judge yourself thinking you made a mistake and regret it when you compare yourself to somebody else’s values you’re infatuated with. So I don’t find that pretty productive. I don’t put people on pedestals or pits that way, I don’t find that meaningful. So I don’t have regrets, I can’t say I’ve got a regret. I have people ask me, what would you do different, I wouldn’t do anything different. I feel grateful for my life and all those things are exactly where needed to be to where I am. So why would I regret anything? I don’t look back at anything like that.
Felicity Cohen: What does wellness mean to you? What are some of your top tips for your well-being, for your wellness practices? Are there things that you like to do every day that are important for your self-care and well-being?
Dr John Demartini: Well, I’m a water guy. I drink water, water, water, water. I don’t drink tea and coffee and wine and alcohol. Now that’s not saying you can’t. I mean, people have a little glass of wine, I think there are some benefits there. I just don’t because I like to perform and I found my performances more effective when I just drink water more, the universal solvent, it’s a balanced PH you might say.
I don’t overeat. This morning I had some blueberries, I had a little bit of Greek yoghurt and I had some multi-grain toast, and at dinner last night, I had some brown rice and some vegetables with some corn and chicken in it, and just at lunch, I had some spinach, broccoli, barley, chicken soup and two grapes. I mean, I eat food. I learned from Paul Bragg when I was 18, and 17, that I don’t live to eat, I eat to live. I eat to perform, I don’t put anything in there that’s not going to maximise performance. So I’m not a hedonistic eater, I don’t have these volatilities, and I don’t fluctuate in weight.
I just have a rhythm, and I drink a lot of water and I eat with some rhythm in daily life. So I’m not erratic, I don’t do snacks and stuff, and people say, “well, you’re so disciplined” I go, “no, this is how I love to eat. This is who I am and this is how I love to do it.” I don’t feel like I’m repressing something to be this way or forcing something to be this way, it’s not willpower, it’s just what I love eating and doing. And I think that I do my little exercise, I’m moderate, I don’t do extreme exercise, at least in my perception, and I walk and I do what I love every day.
I’ve delegated all lower priority things to other people, and I stick to teaching, researching and writing, and I travel the world on my ship I do what I love every day, and I think that has a lot to do with wellness. I’m going on 68 here in a couple of months. So I think I’m doing pretty good for 68.
Felicity Cohen: Oh, you look amazing. You’ve found the fountain of youth because who would even know, you look ageless to me so it’s working for you.
So, in your experience of coaching, you know, I’d love to hear about a story, a personal experience that’s resulted in a tremendous transformation that you can share with us.
You’ve coached some incredible people throughout your work. Is there a specific story that you can share with us? You don’t have to name the person, but something that strikes you as a tremendous transformation through your teachings?
Dr John Demartini: Well, there’s lots of that. I’ve got thousands of stories that I could play with, but when you just said that somebody popped into my mind, so I might as well share that one, I guess. I had a girl that was 16 years old and her mother attended some of my seminars she was a typical 16-year-old girl kind of learning how to be independent, and her mother brought her to my Los Angeles presentation at the Fairmont and she had iPods on and didn’t hear a word I said. It was just listening to music and rocking out and her mom was a little embarrassed and kind of upset because she made her sit in the front row, and it didn’t disturb me because I know that 16-year-olds have their own world and that’s that they’re not wanting to come to listen to me sometimes. So the mother was a little bit disturbed by that, but she said, “sorry, for that disturbance.” At 19, three years later, she decided to come to the Breakthrough Experience, which is one of my signature programs, because her boyfriend dumped her and she was in pain.
She had a fantasy about who this was, got infatuated, didn’t look for the downsides and then got nailed by them when she found out he wasn’t what she thought. And she was too easily infatuated, anytime you’re the underdog, you’ll sacrifice for somebody and then you’ll end up getting burnt, right, learn. So now she comes to the Breakthrough Experience and we did the Demartini Method and helped her dissolve the infatuation and resentment that came along with that relationship and liberated her. And then we made her go through there and ask her, what do you want to do with your life? What do you love doing with your life? And she says, “I want to be a singer and I want to be an actress” and I said, “fantastic,” I said, “do you sing every day?” and she goes, “yeah” “and do you act?” “yeah, I’m mainly singing, but I’m also choreographing and imagining and acting and stuff.” I said, “well, then permit yourself to go after it. Start writing down what you want to do. What are some action steps that we know that if we do these action steps, you’re going to be closer to that objective because as long as you take an action step daily towards that objective, you’re going to be moving closer to that objective.”
So she started on that. She started taking some classes, she started getting some mentorship. She put together a little band. She did move forward on it. She came to another program I did call The Prophecy One Experience, which is about leadership and global vision and what you want to do on a global scale, and there she expanded, she says, “I want to be a global performer.” She permitted herself to jump out there, and I told her in The Breakthrough Experience that, as long as you minimise yourself to any singer out there, you’re going to play smaller than you could if you reflected and own what you see in the singer because at the level of the soul nothing’s missing in you.
Nothing’s missing, whatever you see in people you admire, you have it inside you, but you may not be honouring it yet. So I got her on this exercise where she goes and takes the leading singer, so she took Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce, and all these great singers, and she’d identified everything she admired in them and the things she disliked in them. And then she went inside her life, and where do I have that to the same degree? Quantitatively, qualitatively, and what’s the downside of theirs and what’s the upside of mine? And I had to level the playing field and it’s an exercise I do call, owning the traits of the greats, which is a very powerful exercise that I’ve taken a lot of celebrities through, and a lot of, a lot of interesting people through this. And when she got through, she didn’t notice a big difference in Madonna, didn’t notice a big difference in Lady Gaga, but when she finished Beyonce, by then she had a little band together and she was starting to show up in some of the LA events and, you know, the venues and even on a bus advertisement she was on, all of a sudden Beyonce contacted her and asked her to sing at her home for an outdoor event, and she called me in tears, and she said, “owning the traits of the greats, within two and a half weeks out of the blue, I’ve never even done anything, but been at a concert, I never met her, she contacted me and asked me to see in her freaking house!” I said, “that’s exactly what happens” see at the level of soul nothing’s missing in us, but when we put people on pedestals and minimise ourselves, we live in the illusion that we’re supposed to be living in their values and their forms, instead of honour the forms we have and our values.
Then we play small and we don’t level the playing field and have an open heart. And the moment we level the playing field and we see that nothing’s missing in us, we get the opportunities that are on the same scales of people we are appreciating. Well, she got this performance opened up some new doors, now she’s got a team that does it, she’s got albums out, she’s bowing around the world, she’s a wealthy girl. I mean, she has gone on and she’s leaving her mark in the industry. She just came out with a new one the other day and I just sent her a letter, I said, “freaking amazing.”
So that just popped into my head. Here’s a young girl, 16 years old that had a dream, started applying the principles that stand the test of time, owning the traits of the greats, started not comparing herself to people, but to owning whatever she saw in people and level the playing field, and now is playing with the bigger leagues. And I’ve seen that happen in so many thousands of cases when people permit themselves to shine, not shrink and realise the magnificence of who they are instead of comparing themselves to others and not appreciating who they are.
Felicity Cohen: What a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing, I love that. So, can you share for our listeners who may not necessarily be familiar with your body of work, just in a short snapshot, what is the Demartini Method?
Dr John Demartini: Yeah, the Demartini Method is something I started working on when I was 18. So in a few months, it’ll be 50 years I’ve been working on it. I wanted to help people find the hidden order in their chaos in life. I believe that there was a way of sorting through whatever we’re experiencing in life and turning it into something that you can be graced over because it’s never what happens to it’s how we perceive it. So it’s a science on how to transform perceptions in such a way that no matter what happens in your life, you can use it to do something extraordinary. And what it is is a series of questions that make you conscious of what you’re possibly unconscious of. I lie to be fully conscious, so if you’re infatuated with somebody it’s also looking at the downsides to balance you, and if you’re resentful to somebody that’s looking at the upside and it’s dissolving pride and shame, infatuation, resentment, grief, and reliefs, and any polarities that are in the mind that are noise, it occupies space and time of the mind and distracts us and how to dissolve it so we have a clear mind, a poised and present mind where we have genius and creativity, and it helps empower all seven areas of life.
I mean, I’ve been developing this for 50 years now. And so it’s a series of very precise questions to make you cognisant of things you’re overlooking in your awareness because of subjective bias and because of false teachings that you’ve been indoctrinated by your society. We have as Paul Dirac, the Nobel prize winner, who I started studying with when I was 18, said, “it’s not that we don’t know so much, we know so much that isn’t so, and we’re bombarded by false constructs.” Like we’re supposed to be positive all the time. You know, we’ve been taught by our grandmother, be nice, don’t be mean, be kind, don’t be cruel, be positive, don’t be negative, be giving, don’t be taking, be generous, don’t be stingy, and yet, five minutes later, she’s yelling at grandpa and demanding from him. And so it’s hypocrisy and we’re trained on this one-sided perfection instead of honouring the two sides which make up the true perfection.
You know, I’m not a nice person. I’m not a mean person. Those are personas. I’m a human being, if you support my values, I can be pretty nice. If you challenge them, I can be mean as a tiger. I’m a human being with both sides and I don’t need to get rid of any part of myself to love myself and people are trying to get rid of themselves because they’re comparing themselves to a fantasy idealism that to moral hypocrisy that they can’t live by, and then wondering what’s wrong with. And then they don’t have confidence in themselves because they keep trying to be something that’s not obtainable.
In Buddhism, there was a great Buddhist teaching that, the desire for that which is unobtainable and the desire to avoid that which is unavoidable, is a source of human suffering. And most people are running around trying to get rid of half of themselves and trying to seek only one side of themselves instead of embracing the wholeness of themselves, and that’s primarily because of these moral hypocrisies that we get trapped by, by subordinating to outer authorities, instead of giving ourself to be our own authority to our lives. You’re the authority of your life, and you’re here to contribute to other people in an inspiring way that makes a difference, that’s it. It’s not a narcissistic pursuit, it’s not an altruistic pursuit, it’s a balance of those where you have the sustainable fair exchange.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much. So you’ve read probably enough books to fill the state library of, you know, any large capital city, I can’t profess to say that I’ve read that many books, but I’m an avid reader. Do you have a favourite book or are you reading something at the moment that you’d like to share with us?
Dr John Demartini: Well, people ask me, you know, because you know, I’ve read like 30,600 books and they said, “well, how in the, what? That’s insane” and I go, “yeah, I know I’m insane.” I’m fine with that, you can call me, whatever you say about me, it’s true in some form or fashion, so I’ve already owned all my traits, you know. So I said, there’s one book, it’s two volumes, but one book that I tell everybody to read and it’s called, Syntopicon, volumes one and two, Syntopicon, S Y N T O P I C O N volumes one and two. It’s by Mortimer Adler, it was done back, I think in the fifties, and it’s two big volumes, about 900 pages each, and it’s a summary and a synthesis, a syncretic synthesis of the greatest minds in the last 2,700 years in the Western world. And it’s a summary of their ideas, the most important ideas for the sake of human existence. And it’s a great one, and I have it on my computer so I can pull it up any time and read it. I’ve read it many, many times, started reading it when I was 21 and I finished the volume, there’s 57 volumes in the whole thing, almost 60 volumes in the whole thing, but there’s only these two, the first two is what I tell people to read. But I read those things back then for over two years, and what a gold mine of knowledge. It’s a PhD in life, and it helps you understand people from almost any walk of life by the time you’re done. So I tell people that, I’m not interested in a, you know, self-help fad, I’m interested in more of a classic. This is a classic, so you’re standing on the shoulder of the greatest minds who lived, you know, so you’re taking in Einstein and you’re taking in Sir Isaac Newton, and you’re taking in Emanuel Cans, and you’re taking in, Huggins and, and Freud and you’re summarising the great minds and the ideas that are most important ideas for a human being to live on. It’s a summary of all the greatest ideas from the greatest minds, over 250 thinkers, summarised.
Felicity Cohen: Sounds amazing, and I’m going to book shopping tonight. So you’ve travelled to pretty much so many different parts of the world, and you’ve spoken and delivered your keynote speaking addresses in over a hundred countries.
Dr John Demartini: Yeah, one hundred and seventy.
Felicity Cohen: Wow. Do you have a favourite place in the world to visit and why?
Dr John Demartini: Well, I live on this magnificent ship and thanks to COVID, I’m doing a lot from the ship. Right now I’m on the ship talking to you. So it travels all over the world, so it’s in every country imaginable, and being here and reaching the world, and then when I’m done with my podcast, I go out and go into someplace like I’m in Amsterdam today, or know, Rotterdam a couple of days ago, I’m going to Hamburg tomorrow. Every day is a different place. So, I’ve always said the universe is my playground, the world is my home, every country’s a room in the house, every city’s a platform to share my heart and soul, and so I get to go to cities all over the world and just share from my apartment here. And to me, that’s the best place because I can be in the Antarctic to the Arctic to up to Mississippi or wherever we want to go we just, we vote and we go there and we decide to go where we want to go, tell the captain, “let’s go.”
So that’s the place. I don’t have a city, a place, I’m nomadic in that respect. I learned from Einstein when I was 18, in one of his books, he said, “I’m not a man of my family, my community, my city, my state, or my nation. I’m a citizen of the world” and Epictetus talked about Socrates in the same fashion and says, “I’m not a man of Corinth. I’m not a man of Athens. I’m a citizen of the world” and I love that. And I wrote that down when I was 18, studying those two philosophers and I thought, that’s it, I’m going to be a citizen in the world, and my ship is called The World, so that’s, I’m a citizen of the world.
Felicity Cohen: You’re an incredible citizen of the world, and thank you so much for taking the time and for sharing a little bit of your journey and all of the wonderful teachings that we can learn from you.
I hope one day that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back here in Australia. We’d love to see you here again, and thank you so much for joining me on the Wellness Warriors podcast.
Dr John Demartini: Thank you for having me. And we will, we’ll be sailing in there, I think next year, so we’ll be back. Sometimes I’ll be flying there, I’ve been to Australia. I love it. I was married to an Australian until she passed away. So Australia’s like staying home for me, I love Australia.
Felicity Cohen: Look forward to welcoming you back. Many thanks, Dr Demartini.
Dr John Demartini: Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you.