Sam Morris is the founder of Zen Warrior Training®, an enlightened leadership and embodied wisdom coaching program.
In 1999, Sam endured a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the waist down. This incident catalyzed a deep dive into somatic healing arts, depth psychology, wisdom traditions, and the innate intelligence of the body.
Sam trains his clients in how to master the inner workings of the mind, body, and spirit and live from an enlightened state of presence in their businesses and in their personal lives.
Thank you to our No Barriers Podcast sponsors: Wells Fargo, Prudential, CoBank, Winnebago Industries Foundation, and Arrow Electronics.
Watch Sam Morris speak at the 2020 No Barriers Summit
Sam’s email: [email protected]
Follow Sam on Instagram at @zenwarriortraining
“Sometimes just telling ourselves a new story, or gaining a new perspective on the past isn’t enough to let oneself out of that mental prison. The direction we need to give ourselves is focus our attention on that which is happening right now, and the breath is happening right now, and energy inside the body is happening right now. And so, it really is a discipline to keep on bringing oneself into what’s occurring now versus where the mind would take us to past and future.”
Sam : Sometimes just telling ourselves a new story, or gaining a new perspective on the past isn't enough to let oneself out of that mental prison. The direction we need to give ourselves is focus our attention on that which is happening right now, and the breath is happening right now, and energy inside the body is happening right now. And so, it really is a discipline to keep on bringing oneself into what's occurring now versus where the mind would take us to past and future.
Erik : It's easy to talk about the successes, but what doesn't get talked about enough is the struggle. My name is Erik Weihenmayer. I've gotten the chance to ascend Mt. Everest, to climb the tallest mountain in every continent, to kayak the Grand Canyon, and I happen to be blind. It's been a struggle to live what I call a no barriers life, to define it, to push the parameters of what it means, and part of the equation is diving into the learning process, and trying to illuminate the universal elements that exist along the way.
Erik : In that unexplored terrain between those dark places we find ourselves in, in the summit, exists a map. That map, that way forward, is what we call no barriers.
Jeff : Sam Morris is the founder of Zen Warrior Training, an enlightened leadership and embodied wisdom coaching program. In 1999, Sam endured a spinal cord injury paralyzing him from the waist down. This incident catalyzed a deep dive into somatic healing arts, depth psychology, wisdom traditions, and the innate intelligence of the body.
Jeff : Sam trains his clients in how to master the inner workings of the mind and spirit, and live from an enlightened state of presence in their businesses and their professional lives. I'll tell y'all, Sam is the real deal. You're really going to enjoy this one.
Erik : Sam, awesome man. Welcome to The No Barriers Podcast. It's really fun to have you, and I know you've been part of a bunch of No Barriers summits, and you've been a part of our community, one of what we call pioneers for many years, so it's awesome to get to interview you on the podcast.
Sam : Awesome indeed. Thank you, Erik.
Erik : What is a Zen Warrior, and what is the goal. I hear words like self-actualized, centeredness, integration, mindfulness. I get confused. What am I striving for, and what is a Zen Warrior?
Sam : It's such a great question. If you think about what zen points to it really points to a state of mind of presence. Most of what we tend to think about when we think about mind is all of this activity going on, all the stories that our thoughts tell ourselves, a lot of which is useless stuff that we think about, 99% of the same thoughts over and over again, day in and day out, and zen, and I think the philosophy of zen, and the psychology behind zen, is pointing in the direction of freedom from all of that mental distraction and noise, a state of peace of mind, of centeredness, of calm, and I think we've all had moments of that. We've all had moments where it's just like everything dissolves and we just are completely present in the moment.
Sam : To me, those moments are the most incredible and ineffable moments where it's just like, wow, it's the big exhale. Everything is so peaceful, and you feel more like yourself than any other time. And so, that state of mind can be cultivated through practices like meditation, or breath work, or yoga. Embodiment practices can help us to experience that type of state of mind, or really state of no mind. It's really a place where the activity of the mind ceases and you're just there as awareness. That can be cultivated.
Sam : And so, the warrior part of that is then taking on the challenges of life from that state of mind, from that peaceful centered disposition rather than battling through, and getting thrashed around by life, instead cultivating a state of a peace of mind on a regular basis so that when you show up to the challenges of life you can do so from a place of centeredness and presence versus from a place of feeling like you're in a fight with life.
Erik : And Jeff and I are athletes. We've experienced this idea of flow from time to time, like when I was kayaking on the Grand Canyon. I trained for kayaking for eight, 10 years, and I remember one rapid I went through and it was a massive wall on the left, and there's a giant hole on the right. I've always been scared in that process, and this one thing, it all came together. I could sense the space between my breaths. It seemed like time slowed down. It wasn't me against the river. I was right in it all. It was all surrounding me. It was so profound, and I remember that feeling lasted all the way throughout the day on the beach.
Erik : I can't separate it from a spiritual experience because it was really like, wow, there's something out there that I don't understand quite what it is. It's mysterious and maybe I'll never understand it, but I'm touching it.
Sam : Indeed.
Erik : My fingertips are grasping the periphery of it. Is that similar, is that flow state?
Sam : Absolutely. The flow state is a state where through the activities that we are doing ... And a flow state is a very specific state of mind that is a combination of an activity that is challenging enough to require our complete engagement combined with something that brings us enough joy that it's a neural concoction, and this has been studied quite a bit at this point, and they still don't quite understand what's going on, but there's this neural concoction where the thing that we already have a lot of talent with, combined with a challenge that challenges us to be on the edge of that talent, creates that very specific flow state of mind where time does appear to slow down and we are fully in the moment.
Sam : And when we're fully in the moment we almost can't help but have a spiritual experience, because I think the only thing separating us from having a spiritual experience at any given time is all of the habitual activities of our brains that is just so disruptive of that natural spiritual experience. And so, the flow state would be an active engagement in that way.
Erik : That's a little different, right? I talked to my yoga teacher about this, and he said, "Hey, you can have that experience sitting on your coach in your living room. You don't have to go kayak the Grand Canyon to get it," and so that's where I am. I have trouble on the couch getting there. It takes me this extreme athletic suffering, and exhaustion, and training to get there, and I'd like to get it on the couch.
Sam : Yeah. And I love that you said that because in a way, yes. In a way I would agree with that, that you can have an experience on the couch. It's a different type of practice. It's a different type of practice. When you're in flow state it's a hack into a meditative state, it absolutely is, where everything just dissolves. All that traditional mental activity just dissolves, and you're so engaged in the moment. And so, with something like meditation that's something that you just have to keep practicing over, and over, and over again, and of course when you're on the meditation pillow, or cushion, or whatever you're doing you're going to notice when I close my eyes, boy oh boy, it's not fun up there.
Erik : No.
Sam : It is not fun because we're experiencing these thoughts that are based in all of this unresolved emotional history that's going on inside of us. When we close our eyes and we tap into what's going on inside there's all this unconscious memory that's inside of us. I haven't paid that bill. "Man, I need to pay that bill. How am I going to pay my mortgage next year because I just lost my job? I just had this argument with my girlfriend, and I don't know where we are in our relationship." And all of that stuff is just going to be there.
Jeff : Or just I spilled coffee on the carpet, how am I going to get that out? My dog needs to go out, right?
Sam : Yeah.
Jeff : It's just so many other little things that just permeate through. Can I ask you, because I'm always fascinated by the juxtaposition between power, strength, and perseverance, and peace and platitude. Everything we're talking about here, that flow, but still not being complacent, not allowing that to be the dominant force. That's why I love Zen Warrior because Zen Warrior brings those two elements together, and I want to hear how you create that balance and what you're thinking with that.
Sam : That's right. Let's go back to the meditation cushion here and just look at it from this perspective, because the meditation cushion is just showing you what's there already, that's already happening unconsciously, you're just more focused on it when you close your eyes and you don't do anything. When you close your eyes and you don't do anything you're aware of all of the ways in which the mind will just lead you here, or lead you there, lead you there, lead you there, and then your feelings and your thoughts are constantly reacting to whatever impulse is currently happening in side of your thoughts, and the inside of your body.
Sam : And so, the feeling is "I need to get out of here. I need to stop this. How much time has passed? Am I done already? I'm hungry. I need to pee. I need to do this. I need to do that. This is boring." It's like all of this stuff is going on. Now, the more you can say "No body," and I say "No body, we're not going to do that. We're staying here right now." What that does is it creates a sense of the habitual mind, all of that chatter, is not going to be the boss. I'm going to be the boss. There's another part of us that goes, "No, no, no, no. I'm the boss."
Jeff : Can I ask you a question then?
Sam : Yeah.
Jeff : Because in meditation practice I'm always reminded that those permeating thoughts, that I shouldn't fight them.
Sam : That's right.
Jeff : That I should almost swipe them out of the way. Is that right? Instead of punching them in the face just swipe them away.
Sam : Rather than fighting them. There's nothing to fight with. The fighter would be another thought trying to fight with another thought. You know?
Jeff : Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Sam : Even that part thinking I need to fight with this is just more activity of the mind. Instead, the direction to give oneself is basically identifying activity of mind, activity of mind, activity of mind, activity of mind, so the part that goes I need to focus on this right now, and then you go, "I need to fight that thought, and then I need to focus on that right now," both those things are activity of the mind.
Sam : So instead, it's the awareness going activity of the mind, stay aware, stay present, just notice it happening, notice it happening, notice it happening, but stay here, stay here, stay here. The more you cultivate that ability to just stay here, stay here, stay here, stay here, stay here, the less you're jumping out of yourself and reacting to any given thought or feeling, and the more you're just present with what is, and the more it develops a sense of personal agency over the activity of your mind, so that no matter what situation you show up in.
Sam : Say now you're not on the meditation cushion, now you're in a boardroom, or now you're in a traffic jam instead of your body going into reaction, instead of your thoughts going into reaction, you just go, "Okay, I'm here. I'm here and that's fine. I'm okay. I'm okay right here where I am right now," and most of those thoughts in the mind they carry with them one thing, one commonality, and that is "I'm not okay. I'm not okay. I'm not okay. This isn't okay. This isn't okay. This isn't okay."
Sam : And so, the training is to go, "Actually, it's okay. It's fine."
Erik : God.
Sam : "I'm fine."
Erik : We have a lot of folks, including me, and you, and all of us throughout the No Barriers community with a lot of trauma and past challenges. I read your blog and I found it fascinating. You had a great sailing analogy which I think maybe you'll talk about. The idea was that psychotherapy and all these things are based on the idea that you go into your past and you unbury these unconscious things, and now you're aware, and now you're going to see your life and your experience through a new lens, and you'll be able to change your patterns.
Erik : But in that blog, you said that's not enough. I totally viscerally agree with that, because I've been going and doing a ton of counseling in the last few years trying to become a better person, and even though I'm seeing those past things through a new lens I'm still trapped in the experience of the body, and the energy of the body, and all the energy surrounding those things, and I just relive it more.
Erik : How do you move beyond awareness to being a warrior, and actually now being free from that stuff, or is that even possible?
Sam : That's a great question, and I'm sure that a ton of people in their own way listening to this can completely relate to what you were just saying. The way that I know to move past, to move beyond, this ... I call it a mental prison. We form these mental prisons that feel almost impossible to get out of, and there's nothing wrong with therapy. I have a great respect for therapy, and yet sometimes just telling ourselves a new story, or gaining a new perspective on the past, isn't enough to let oneself out of that mental prison. It's like now I understand it from a different perspective, and now I've forgiven someone, or whatever. I've done some work, but I still feel stuck. I still feel there's a limitation. I still feel like I'm in my own internal prison.
Sam : And so, one thing that we have to recognize is that we need to bring our awareness more into the full body. Now, something that's occurring when you're in a flow state, and just to tie this back into flow state, is the body is always engaged. There's always something that is engaging the intelligence of the body, but when I'm sitting there on my couch, or whatever, I'm just doing nothing with my body, then I'm going to be more focused on the activity of my mind.
Sam : The attention has to go somewhere because the one thing that we have that is always with us is our attention. Our attention has to find a place to go, and when our bodies are sedentary, and we're not engaged with something, our attention is going to go where there's all of this activity going on in what's called the default mode network of the brain, all of the traditional synaptic thoughts, and feelings, and processing that happens in that part of the brain, so we're just going to be distracted by the same thoughts.
Sam : And so, what we have to remember, this is where the somatic part, in other words the full body experience is important because we are not just thoughts. We are not just all of the activity of our mind. Our minds would like us to think that way because there's so much attention up there, but we are actually full body intelligences, and we have to connect to our breath, connect to the feeling inside of our body, and connect to the energy in our body, and get that the body is actually our energy source. We're not going to find new energy through thinking about something differently, amazingly.
Sam : Our brain thinks if I just think about something differently then I'll have more energy. When did that ever happen? We have to connect into the body where we actually have this supply of energy on tap, using the breath, using movement, using our other faculties that are physical faculties. The beauty about the body too is the body is here as a present moment experience, like our breath is always happening at the present moment. We can always bring our attention to that sensation which is always present, but our thoughts are always happening in past and future.
Sam : Our thoughts are going, "You haven't figured that thing out. That thing that someone said to you yesterday, and how are you going to talk to them tomorrow about the thing that they said yesterday?" That's what our brains are doing constantly is comparing notes about yesterday with hypothetical situations to tomorrow, or later today, or whatever. In the meantime, it's just crazy making. The direction we need to give ourselves is focus our attention on that which is happening right now, and the breath that's happening right now, and energy inside the body is happening right now.
Sam : And so, it really is a discipline to keep on bringing oneself into what's occurring now versus where the mind would take us to past and future.
Erik : Wow.
Jeff : You know what you need to do, Sam? You need to write a book called Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now for Dummies, and you can make millions, because you just distilled out that whole book, and made it palatable, and understandable for people like me. That's it. It's the power of right now and we forget it. We forget it, and that's really the cornerstone of all we're talking about right here, is just that precious present moment that we just neglect so often, right?
Erik : That's another discipline, to focus on the breath, and the body, and how you're feeling, how your stomach's feeling right then.
Sam : That's right. That's right. And when I say the feeling what I'm not talking about is I'm not talking about feelings. I'm not talking about emotions because the emotions that's still part of that whatever is the unprocessed emotional experience, so I'm talking about the feeling from a neutral and observant standpoint. If you check in with yourself there's both the feelings, which might have to do with an emotional experience, and then there's the feeling which is sensation. There is sensation occurring. There's energy happening, and if I just observe that energy and observe the breath that energy and that breath is always happening now. Always now. Always now. It's just a matter of bringing my attention to that which is occurring right now.
Erik : I remember reading the Dalai Lama's book and he was like, "If you want to be happy, be happy, and then you will be happy," and I'm going, "What?"
Sam : I think happiness and joy is symptomatic of being in the present moment because there is a new inspiration that is occurring, and if you think about what breath is it's actually inspiring, it's bringing spirit in, so when we talk about breath we're talking about actually inspiring, so there's new inspiration that's actually occurring in the moment.
Sam : There's the one way of looking at inspiration as this person has accomplished something that I have not accomplished, so that's inspiring, or whatever. There's a whole other form of inspiration that is let me inspire myself by getting rid of all of that crap that I'm holding on to in my thoughts and in my feelings, and really breath into the moment, really engage with the moment. Now, I'm inspiring myself through my breathing and through my energy, and I'm experiencing the newness and the freshness of this moment. I have never been here before.
Sam : If you think about it, if you extend that beyond just our individual selves it's like, "Holy cow, history has never been written before in this moment. I'm writing new history as I'm going right now. How cool is that? In all of recorded history of mankind, and of the Earth, and of the cosmos this moment has never happened before, how cool is that?"
Erik : Nice.
Sam : That's a place I can only get outside of all of the crap from the past that's not helping me, and the only way I can be there is if I'm engaged with the energy and the breath that's happening right now.
Erik : Sam, I think you answered this, but just so I clarify it because I have you in front of me, man, so I'm being selfish.
Sam : Please.
Erik : You mentioned something in your workshop at No Barriers that hit me so hard, and it was the idea of love. Love is this beautiful emotion that everyone wants to feel, but especially as a parent, as a husband, love for me is painful. There's an element of pain and regret. I look back at this moment, and I often do in my mind, where I had my kids together. They were little kids and they were playing on a raft on this lake, and I was listening to them crack up as one jumped on the raft, and the other one would go flying off the raft, and then the other one would jump on the raft, and the other one would go flying off the raft, and they're squealing with delight.
Erik : I remember saying, "Lock into this moment. This is beautiful." It makes me cry almost when I think about it, and now when I think back at that loving moment I just go "I wish I had more. I could've been a better dad. I could've done this. I could've done that. Maybe I let my kids down." My kid's moving off now to Florida believe it or not, and I worry about her. How do you get love to feel like love and not all that other crap that gets in there, or am I just crazy? You can tell me that too. You just say, "Hey, you're nuts."
Sam : No. There's nothing nutty about that.
Jeff : You're nuts.
Sam : I'm sure a ton of people can relate to that, absolutely. What I hear is love mixed in with a sense of regret, and also a sense of an appreciation of the temporal nature of the moment, that the moment that you just experienced will not be experienced again.
Erik : Right.
Sam : Now, you can look at that through the lens of regret and go, "Oh my gosh. I will never have that experience again. Now, my kid has moved on," and et cetera. You can take that from that perspective, or you can take the nugget of wisdom that comes from that, which is saying, "Hey, really slow down, and be here, and be present with the moments as they pass, because they will not happen again. This moment will not happen again."
Sam : And then, that appreciation then starts to embed itself into your awareness so that the next time something special is happening there's naturally going to be less mental chatter in the way, because your system is now teaching itself, "Hey, slow down and appreciate what's happening right now. This won't happen again." Now, I think it is that temporal moment, that acknowledgement, that something is impermanent that allows us to appreciate what it is. Just having the experience of death is essential for us to be able to appreciate life.
Jeff : I wish somebody would've told me that 20 years ago, Sam.
Erik : I know.
Jeff : Because I feel like you're in your 20s and 30s there's this sense of impermanence. It's just you know nothing but that bulletproof young thing, and I'll tell you I didn't realize that. You don't realize that until you age I guess. Once you understand that hourglass is losing grains of sand every single say you're like now I'm going to reflect back on my kid when he was three years old and realize that this moment's going to last forever. It turns out it's not.
Sam : Right. Right.
Jeff : And it turns out it's fleeting and it goes away. Now, as a parent I think Erik you're saying ... I feel it, dude. I'm watching my kid who's taller than me now. I really crave those little baby moments, but they'll never be there again and I think about that a lot now. And so, I just think if there's anything I can take exactly from what you're saying right now in this little pocket is the joy of that moment needs to be cherished, and then as we pass by it, and it's gone, it's fun to reflect on those moments.
Jeff : I think what you're saying, I think I've read this with [Toll 00:27:44] as well, is don't be said about the moments that happened that aren't going to be there again. Celebrate them, and exactly what you said, allow them to enhance the present moment where you are now. Am I right with that?
Sam : That's absolutely right. Yeah. The feeling of regret indicates that there's something that almost where it's like I'm going to make the same mistake. I'm going to keep on not having a full appreciation for that moment. I didn't fully appreciate that moment in the past, and so I'm probably not going to appreciate the moments in the future, but we can make a choice when we have that experience. We can either stay in that space of regret, or we can say, "Good to know. Let me see what this regret is actually here to show me."
Sam : If I don't stay in the feeling, if I just assume that all of my experience is an intelligent experience, and an experience of sadness and regret is part of that intelligence, that it's actually here to serve me in some way, if we look at it from that perspective then the regret no longer is the controlling and dominant force. Then the regret, or the sadness, is actually saying, "Hey, this is the wake-up call. This is the wake-up call to fully appreciate these fleeting moments as they happen."
Erik : Awesome.
Jeff : Well said, man.
Erik : And Sam, this Zen Warrior expertise you just didn't get born that way, or you didn't drink a magical elixir. This is hard earned stuff. You've talked about not being defined by the past, but you had this tragic accident that left you in a chair, and you're a para, and so for you this Zen Warrior experience has been a personal journey.
Sam : Yeah.
Erik : Tell us about that.
Sam : Yeah, and thanks for asking. The story goes back before my injury, especially during my developing years as a teenager, really curious about what was stealing people's joy and fulfillment away from them. I was really curious about that, because I thought, "You know what? Life really should be fulfilling." We should be able to experience joy as a baseline. Now, what is it? Even highly successful people seem to be experiencing something that is creating a lack of joy, and a lack of fulfillment. Oftentimes, the more success someone has the father away they actually get from joy and fulfillment.
Sam : Once I read Zen Buddhist psychology and philosophy I thought this is something which is explaining exactly what I'm perceiving here, and it all had to do in the way in which our attachments to impermanent things are the things that cause us suffering, and that if we can let go of the attachment and keep on connecting into our present moment experience we can overcome our own internal suffering.
Sam : It just made sense to me and I thought, okay, I get this. I wouldn't say that I became a Buddhist, but I resonated with the teachings. I thought, okay, I understand that it's those things that we think we can hold on to that are creating our own sense of inner suffering. So then, when I was 24 I was an outdoor leader at the time, and I had just finished leading a cycling trek for nine teenagers across the US. We started in Seattle and we biked all the way to New Jersey, and we did it in a little less than two months, and we cooked all our own food, and camped every night, did it unsupported by vehicle support, and it was brutal. It was the most challenging thing that I had ever taken on doing a 3,800 mile cycling trek, and I thought, "Oh my gosh. This has got to be the most challenging thing I will ever do."
Sam : It was only two and a half months after that, that I was in the car accident. I like to look at it versus an incident versus an accident. The car incident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. I was riding in the backseat of a car driven by a drunk driver. He went off the road and hit a tree, and it broke my T12 vertebrae and I became paraplegic. I had the challenge of applying this psychology and philosophy to an incredibly traumatic challenge, unlike anything that I ever anticipated that I would ever have to go through.
Sam : But I applied the same principles of letting go, and being in the moment, and surrendering, and breathing and connecting to my energy. I just kept on doing that, and I also received a lot of training from people who are masters at the mind body connection. I experienced a lot of training over the next coming years that helped me to really move beyond the trauma and the shock of the experience, and move out of a sense of victimhood, and into a sense of empowerment little by little, and realized this is where the philosophy, the Buddhist philosophy and psychology was really put to the test. It's like now I'm really going to have to work with this on a whole other level.
Sam : And through all of the work that I did, and then studying psychology, studying philosophy, studying the ancient wisdom teachers, I just wanted to absorb as much as I possibly could, and I still do that to this day. I'm constantly absorbing new information, and new wisdom, that will help me to have a more embodied and fulfilling experience, and so it's really just been a process of absorbing a lot of wisdom and then going through my own experience which taught me the power of neuroplasticity and of reexamining one's life from that perspective of the victim of one's circumstances to the person who has overcome those circumstances doing nothing but the internal work. And so, it gave me a big appreciation for the possibility of re-writing and re-programming our own consciousness.
Erik : Are there days where you still go, "Man, I shouldn't got in that car." You know what I mean? As well as you've re-programmed, and really gone on this journey, is it still on ongoing discipline?
Sam : It sucks. It sucks. It absolutely sucks. And so, it's not that the suck is gone. It's that you embrace the suck, especially given the fact that sometimes I'll be in so much physical pain from spasms, or I've had a longstanding history of problems with pressure ulcers where I've spent over two years of my life hospitalized, completely immobilized due to healing from pressure ulcer surgeries. That's the real disability for me. The other stuff, the other just being paralyzed from the waist down is almost like an inconvenience, but the pressure sore thing is a real actual disability. It sucks.
Jeff : When you talk about the disillusion of the ego, and pushing it away, it allows you to be okay with this next step, right?
Sam : That's right.
Jeff : That's why near death experiences you're like it's okay. I'm good. I'm moving on to this next thing, and so that's why I would ask you as you embraced that cut of the cord of the ego through those processes, and then the education you've had, I just wonder how you balance that with saying I'm good with staying here for right now because I've got work to do.
Sam : That's a great question. I've never been asked that question before, so I love that question. Thank you, Jeff. I would say both are true. On the one hand, it's like I get that the whole notion of I'm not afraid of death at all because I see that death is a continuity. There's a continuity versus an end, and it's not about an end, it's about a continuity. It's about something dissolving. It's about the physical form going, and then the consciousness however it continues will continue.
Sam : I also see that can be also applied to my day-to-day experience too where the ongoing dissolution of my ego allows me to get, you know what? Things are fine the way they are actually. Even with the amount of suffering that I'm experiencing, or I should say even with the challenges that are presenting themselves things are actually fine. I don't have to suffer at the behest of my challenges. I can experience the challenges without the weighty-ness of thinking that things need to be different, which is actually what creates the suffering.
Sam : It's just going, okay, these challenges are here, that's what I'm dealing, now if I'm in a place of conflict with those challenges internally then there's a sense of the experience that I'm having is not the experience that I should be having. That's what's necessary in order for suffering to manifest. It's that thought. The experience that I'm having is different from what I deserve to be experiencing. It's that conflict which creates the internal suffering.
Erik : And that's the ego.
Sam : And that's the ego, exactly. I can do this dying to the ego on a day-to-day basis versus waiting until my physical form goes away, and then those physical challenges go away. I've actually got an opportunity to practice this every day that when my physical body does go away I'll have that much more practice having done this on a day-to-day basis so that when that transition happens it happens not because I was in an intolerable place, but because I kept on dying to that which I thought should be over, and over, and over again day after day, and then I'm in a more evolved place when my physical body does go to evolve into whatever the next thing is.
Jeff : That is fantastic, man. That is just so well and succinctly put. I value those words. It's so great the way you put it, because a lot of people can cure this, and I have conversations with friends, a lot of people interpret this and just say it's too ethereal, it's too nebulous, it's too this, it's too that, but I think the way that you are phrasing it Sam is real palatable, it's tangible, and you can really understand that, and I'm just grateful for the way that you put it out there.
Sam : Thank you. I appreciate that. I think part of my job in life is to take Eckhart Tolle's weirdness and to normalize it into something that everyone can understand because not everyone can connect. He's got some incredible wisdom to share, but not everyone can connect to that type of energy. I think I'm more accessible to the masses than that.
Erik : Sam, you are accessible to the masses, and so we have a lot of folks listening that I think may want to reach out to you, so how can you help our audience? You do workshops. You do coaching. Tell us all about that.
Sam : With the No Barriers audience I'll just give my email address. Just reach out to me at [email protected], which is Z-E-N-W-A-R-R-I-O-R-T-R-A-I-N-I_N-G.com. Zen Warrior Training. [email protected] That's my direct email, and just reach out to me and I'm happy to follow up with anyone in the No Barriers community.
Jeff : Sam, I know you've already read Nestor's book, and I keep telling people about it. Erik, if you haven't read it yet it's almost like Sam is taking The Power of Now, How to Change Your Mind, and Breath, those three books and just brings them together as a consolidated narrative. But Michael Pollan's book How to Change Your Mind, and James Nestor's book Breath, those two books are fantastic and I recommend them to everybody, or more importantly-
Sam : And The Untethered Soul. Michael Singer too. I would add The Untethered Soul to this list, yeah.
Jeff : All right. Then I got to put that on there too. I would say to all our listeners that what Sam has done is taken all this stuff that I've read and maybe gotten some of it, little pockets of it here and there, and he really presents it in a powerful way, and to me that's what Zen Warrior coaching is, right?
Sam : That's right.
Jeff : What you're doing is taking all these different disciplines and reaching somebody where they are.
Sam : That's exactly what it is. Exactly. Yep, well said.
Erik : And Sam you have a website too, right?.
Sam : Yeah. You can go to zenwarriortraining.com. You can follow me on Instagram at Zen Warrior Training. I may be changing my Instagram handle to Official Sam Morris, but I'll let anyone know, so it's either at Zen Warrior Training, or at Official Sam Morris, one of those two.
Erik : Cool. All right.
Jeff : And who would most benefit, or who is a typical client of yours? Who is the guy and gal who come to you and that you really can help? Because there's a lot of us that I feel like maybe we've plateaued emotionally, or personally as well.
Sam : That's right.
Jeff : And that all those things are intertwined, right?
Sam : They are all tied together. Exactly. The tendency for us is at some point there's a kink in the hose, and the free flow of energy just slows down or almost ties, and my job as I see it is to help identify where did that kink come from, looking at not only from the level of the personal narrative, the experience of what did I do in my history, or what was done to me, which is along the therapeutic mindset, but also what do I do with my body, and my breath, and my energy, to help to alleviate that kink so that I can actually be present, and actually design a future based not on my experience of myself from my past, but what I envision possible in the future.
Sam : With that kink still in place you can't even envision what the future might look like, because you still feel like you have some kind of past experience which is preventing that from opening up. My job, as I see it, is to open up that hose so that the energy can flow freely through it, because we all deserve that. That's our birthright.
Erik : Thank you so much for being a part of this. Thanks for all you do for No Barriers. I can't wait to hear you at the next summit, and we'll be in touch.
Sam : This has been super fun. Thank you Jeff. Thank you Erik. Thank you Pauline. This has been super fun.
Erik : All right.
Jeff : Thanks brother. Sam, man, fantastic. Thanks for what you do and keep fighting the good fight.
Sam : Absolutely. Take care guys.
Erik : No barriers.
Jeff : Hey everybody. We've got a really special No Barriers announcement for you. We're psyched to share that our documentary From my Window is now live. It's been selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premier. Last summer, I joined Erik and a small team of folks to help Melissa Simpson climb a beautiful peak here in Colorado, and from my window documents that journey as well as highlights some of the other challenges and triumphs Melissa's endured to conquer the mountain within.
Jeff : Go to Vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks to watch, and then drop us a line at [email protected] with your thoughts and feedback. Thanks.
Erik : We would like to thank our generous sponsors that make our No Barriers Podcast possible. Wells Fargo, Prudential, CoBank, Aero Electronics, and Winnebago. Thank you so much for your support. It means everything to us.
The production team behind this podcast includes senior producer Pauline Shaffer, sound design editing and mixing by Tyler Cottman, and marketing support by Heather Zoccali, Stevie Dinardo, Erica Howey, and Alex Schafer. Special thanks to The Dan Ryan Band for our intro song Guidance. And thanks to all of you for listening. If you enjoy this podcast we encourage you to subscribe to it, share it, and give us a review. The show notes can be found at nobarrierspodcast.com.