To give a little context, Rogan’s two guests are Sam Harris and Dan Harris (no relation). Sam is a world renown neuroscientist and science advocate, while Dan is an ABC news anchor. You may wonder why an ABC news anchor would be a part of this conversation, but, Dan has a pretty wild back story. A few years back, Dan had a panic attack live on air during an ABC broadcast. He searched for answers for why it happened and basically determined it was because he came back from multiple years of covering news stories in war zones and became depressed due to lack of stimulation. To counterattack this he began self-medicating with drugs. This all culminated with an on air meltdown. So, Dan sought treatment and ended up becoming an outspoken meditation advocate. He wrote a book called ‘10% Happier’ and launched an app with same title that guides you through basic meditation. His goal was to demystify meditation and show the public how beneficial it can be, without any grandiose promises about how it will solve all your problems (hence the title 10% happier title). He turned his whole life around, got out of his own head and credits meditation as being the catalyst for this change.
Every person has a running dialog inside their own head, and for some (most to some degree), this dialogue can be extremely taxing on their day to day life, ranging from over-thought-out worries, to full on depression, and everything in between. The point of meditation isn’t to not have those thoughts, the point of mediation is to internalize those thoughts and become aware that they are just that, thoughts. As Dan says: “you have a head-on collision with your inner-asshole”. But, allowing that collision to happen and being mindful of it, makes you more able to control those thoughts in your everyday life. Dan has a beautiful way of describing the process of mindfulness meditation: its a bicep curl for your brain. Doing it a few times won’t do much for you, but over time, as you continue notice this inner-dialogue, and refocus onto something else, your brain changes physiologically, and in turn, you become less hijacked by the voice in your head. Meditating gives you a chance to take a step back from the never ending stream of thoughts and see that these thoughts are merely just passing through.
As somebody who also tends to have a mind that races, I recently got into meditation. It takes dedication and obviously I’m still a beginner, but its amazing the benefits that you feel. If this sounds too spiritual for your taste, fair enough, but this shit really works. There is a ton of science behind it and meditation is proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and your blood pressure, as well as help you sleep and improve both your mood and immune system. From brain scans researchers have done, it has been shown that meditation can literally alter the chemistry of your brain for the better. If you feel like your mind is racing too much, give it a go, it might help you a little, even if its just a 10% difference.
There is some other interesting stuff in the video like when Rogan talks about how he takes enough edible pot that he feels like the worlds going to end and then hops in an isolation tank. There are some unique parallels to doing edibles or psychedelics to mediating. Both force you to confront your thoughts, albeit in very different ways, but positive trips often have similar effects to meditation, in that you are clear minded and feel in control of your thoughts. There is some interesting science behind psychedelics that I will definitely blog about down the road as well.