Meditation, contemplation, all the spiritual practices, even therapy is all asking you to look within. You're not looking out there to solve your problem, you're looking within.
RJ Singh is all about Ultra Habits and the power of implementing positivity into your daily routine. His early life was one of violence, crime, jails, and addiction. With the support of mentors and supportive frameworks Singh embarked on the path of overcoming the pull of living in the shadows. Through his experiences he developed a system which empowers individuals to embark on the journey of living in awareness of mind, body, and spirit.
RJ Singh believes in limitless possibilities. He is a corporate and ultra-endurance athlete, family man and is dedicated to the pursuit of self-mastery. His life mission is to lead by example and share what he has learned about the power of habit and choice. “As a person stays sober longer, and they’re doing the work. They move into a place where they’ve read all the books, they’ve accumulated all the information, and you kind of realize that all that information is saying the same thing. Ultimately, within our heart and soul and being, we know the answers.”
– RJ Singh
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Mark Divine 0:00
This is Mark Divine Show and I’m your host Mark Divine. On the show I explore what it means to be fearless through the lens of the world’s most inspirational, compassionate, courageous leaders. My guests include notable folks from all walks of life; martial arts grandmasters, stoic philosophers, psychedelic researchers, and amazing individuals who’ve overcome serious hardship, such as massive addictions to become awesome in themselves. And that is, my guest today RJ Singh. On his own journey RJ has overcome chronic dysfunction, a life of violence, alcohol, meth addiction, youth detention, jails, holy cow. But with the support of mentors and new frameworks, he embarked on a path of overcoming all of that. And now he runs a program called Ultra Habits, and has a podcast and we’ve had several conversations. RJ, great to see you again. Thanks for joining the Mark Divine Show.
Mark Divine 0:52
So good to see you. Again. Welcome back in the Mark Divine Show, and I appreciate your persistence and finally getting this done.
RJ Singh 0:58
Yeah, man, I I’m like a dog on a bone, man. I will just not quit.
Mark Divine 1:04
Yes you are. We had that whole one where I forgot to record the darn thing. That’s hilarious. No, no, that’s right. We had we had technical issues, right. But there’s some weird clicking sound.
RJ Singh 1:12
Yeah, and then I finally got you on and it worked. So that was good. Good news.
Mark Divine 1:16
Yeah. So you know that I have a world record in burpees.
RJ Singh 1:20
Mark Divine 1:21
We have the world record for a six person team most burpees and 24 hours.
RJ Singh 1:24
I had no idea that is bizarre.
Mark Divine 1:27
Most Burpees in 24 hours mixed Team 35,393, achieved by Mark Divine, Melanie Swilka, Greg Amundson, Catherine Divine in Jim Brauh and Elizabeth Fulop from Australia.
RJ Singh 1:39
Mark Divine 1:39
September 11 2018.
RJ Singh 1:41
It was like a 911 thing. Yeah?
Mark Divine 1:43
On 911. We filmed it, it took forever for Guinness to find the, you know, view because COVID then happened right after that. And all the film was stuck in their headquarters. And they weren’t going into the office. So it literally took until late last year, before we finally got the actual certificate, you’re gonna go for the record? Is it going to be an individual?
RJ Singh 2:02
Yeah, so I’m gonna go for 11,000 in 24 hours.
Mark Divine 2:06
RJ Singh 2:06
You know what I should get you to train me because, so the way I’m training is, like I do for an ultra, but I don’t know if it’s appropriate. So what I’m trying to do is build time on like is feet, you know, like anything when you’re running, it sucks. And then I figured, like, I do burpees, it sucks and kind of getting used to just continuous burpees. And, and now I can do burpees for about an hour or two continuously, I would have to do 8 for 30 seconds, and then rest for 30 seconds. That’s kind of how I would need to go for 24 hours.
Mark Divine 2:36
RJ Singh 2:37
But I don’t really know what’s going to happen in hour 10, you know my glutes are probably going to start to feel it. I know, my chest might become a bit weird.
Mark Divine 2:46
Just like endurance training, your body will adapt as long as you’re training the right things. And with burpees it’s just burpees. Right? So you’re right and doing quantity. But strategy is really important. You can’t just dive in and do as many burpees as you can, like, you know that for so your strategy of 8 on 30 second, rest, do eight do three is that that might work, there might be a different strategy to consider because you, you might want to have a little bit of recovery each hour, that’s longer than that 30 seconds. You know, it’s time to do a little stretching, little mobility, right? Little spinal health, I’ll share that our strategy was everything right? The former World Record for our 24 hour period for six people was 14,000. We did 35,000!
RJ Singh 3:29
Yeah, you smashed it.
Mark Divine 3:30
It’s all in the strategy. The structure was amazing. Anyway, so good to see you. Wow, how things going? You look healthy look, are things going well?
RJ Singh 3:38
Yeah, you know, it’s good. It’s, it’s 7am here in Melbourne. And, you know, I’ve got little kids. And so I’m continuously having to kind of augment my routine to serve them, but also my wife right, in terms of just being a husband and being an available dad and not getting caught up in my own…
Mark Divine 4:00
RJ Singh 4:01
Selfishness. Yes. And cause you know, Mark, you know, our wives, they don’t buy that shit, right?
Mark Divine 4:11
No, they know who we really are. They’re like, whatever, you know, whatever that thing is. you’re putting out in the world.
RJ Singh 4:16
Yeah, did you do the laundry?
Mark Divine 4:18
Exactly. That’s awesome. Well, yeah, that’s I call it Life being Lifey.
RJ Singh 4:23
Mark Divine 4:23
You know, ultimately, we’re doing these things really just to express ourselves in the world. But doesn’t mean we do them in spite of life happening, or in addition to life happening, it is life happening, right? And so if we’re not taking care of all the other important things while we’re doing this, whatever this is for you, it’s Ultra Habits. For me. It’s SEALFIT and my corporate training and podcasting, life happens through that. And so ultimately, balance isn’t like this tug of war between work and personal life. It’s an interweaving of everything to find over time, some sort of harmony Got a completely different way of looking at balance more of a holistic approach.
RJ Singh 5:03
I find, Mark that I think you could relate a given my DNA. If I wanted to put my head down and do crazy things in terms of like trying to break a Guinness Book of World Records every year,
Mark Divine 5:16
That stuff is easy.
RJ Singh 5:17
I could. Yes! Actually, yeah, it’s trying to include others in my life and having space for others and, you know, sacrifice for others and being there, you know, with family. That’s the challenge. And that’s the part, right?
Mark Divine 5:36
I am getting inundated with people who want to be on my podcast, who are just writting the latest book, right? They’re putting out their latest book. And then a lot of the most of them are just very smart, academics, scholars, consultants, or all the above. They’ve had a fairly predictable life path, right? These in childhood, they got into the great schools that got her Master’s, and they got their PhDs. And next thing, you know, they’re writing the book about happiness, or they’re writing the book about distractions, and they’re writing the book about whatever happening in the cultural norm edges.
And some of these are interesting conversations. I feel like they’re pretty formulaic. I also feel like I’m a little bit being used as, you know, a shout box for them. And so it’s like, I’m starting to resent some of that a little bit and thinking, well, gosh, I want to have conversations with real people.
RJ Singh 6:26
Mark Divine 6:27
Not that they’re not real people. But, you know, maybe their PhD is from the school of hard knocks, instead of Stanford, you know?
RJ Singh 6:33
Mark Divine 6:34
Maybe their life is their book, they’re not trying to pitch a piece of paper, you know, which is gonna just bring them some more ego identity and another line on their resume. And you have a PhD from the school of hard knocks. I’m not saying you’re not gonna write a book called Ultra Habits. And that would be a great book, I can’t wait to read it. I’m just saying you are you are in the book, your life is an expression. So listeners don’t know your background. How did you get your PhD in hard knocks? How do you translate that into becoming an elite athlete and World Record soon to be World Record Holder, and, you know, father, and, you know, balancing it all and actually having a pretty damn cool life?
RJ Singh 7:14
So I think that, to your point, some people come to performance, and they’re interested in performance, because they’ve kind of always been optimized. That’s not the case for me like…
Mark Divine 7:25
You were de-optimized.
RJ Singh 7:26
I was, not only de-optimized Mark, but the way I was living was killing me, right. I was an addict, hardcore meth addict, with alcoholism, as well. I think I’m a primary alcoholic.
Mark Divine 7:37
How many years ago was that?
RJ Singh 7:38
So I got caught up in the in the meth wave in California. I grew up in the Bay Area. I was 17. And this was 1998. And I was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol to the age of 26. So it wasn’t decades. But my addiction and attachment to substances was profound. It was like at a spiritual level, like the moment I drank, there was a connection there and a light turned on, that I had never switched on prior to that. I chased that. And then I met methamphetamine at age 17, I was an elite athlete. I was in the Olympic development program in soccer. I played in California, which is a very competitive state to play soccer, because of, you know, we got a big Latin American community, it’s a big state, you know, you’re in California, so you know, the gig.
But when I was out on the soccer field, I felt a sense of control, and a sense of flow, that all I wanted to do was play soccer. So like, I would not even go to school. And I would cut class and go to the soccer field on my own and just practice. But when I met alcohol and drugs, what happened was, I realized I could achieve that feeling faster, it was a hack. And it was much more profound as well, right? Like, you’re not out there on a soccer field, off your face, like in euphoria, right.
So I went through that struggle, particularly around the age of 17-18, of trying to do both, you know, I got involved in the juvenile justice system. So I became a ward of the court. Good family and immigrant family immigrant story, but they didn’t know how to cope and, and as a last ditch effort, my senior year in high school, I went to Belgium, I got off house arrest. And the judge knew I had an opportunity to go play soccer in Belgium. The thought was I’d stay out there my last year in high school, and it was in a small town in Westerlo. I would play on the youth team and my coach was on the adult team. And my ultimately, I guess the goal would be that I would try to get on the professional team. Within three months of being in Belgium. I was just drunk, you know, every day and every night and kind of in places that I didn’t understand the language and didn’t know where I was and I came home in my senior year in high school. That’s when I really got involved in drugs heavily. Yeah, that took me deeper into crime. I became a drug dealer. Lots of criminal charges of weapons charges, you know, possession for distribution. And you know, I was a good kid. But when I used, I just became this alter ego.
Mark Divine 10:11
I’m just kind of curious. Like, it sounds torturous, but was it like episodic? Were you like, clean for a few months, and then back into it, or how did it go?
RJ Singh 10:20
Yeah, Mark the the interesting thing was, whenever I would get clean, I would instantly want to start playing sport again, right? Like I move into who I am. And what would happen is I’d cling on and grit it and try to stay clean. And maybe I’d, you know, be clean for two weeks or three weeks, and I’d go and have a beer, and I’d have one beer. And two hours later, I’m getting high on methamphetamine. And then the next morning, I’m selling meth again. So it was like that fast, right? Like I would, as soon as I’d relapse, the crime would come with it, because I knew I kind of needed to support myself. And the only way that I wouldn’t let the addiction take over wholesale, was to control it through selling it. And so I would then go on another run for two years, until I’d get arrested.
So what would start with one beer, I mean, really, if you were to rewind the tape, say, I’m, you know, in 2005, I ended up in jail again, for a distribution and possession of firearms. But if you would rewind the tape on that, that runs started a year and a half before, where I might have been clean, and went and had a beer at a bar. And the next thing, full blown relapse. And then, you know, from there, I’m selling drugs. And that’s just how ferocious it was. for me. I had a couple influential men in my life that were ex US Marines. One was my soccer coach, who was a cop, and he fought really hard for me, but also was very hard on me, was very happy to come and arrest me. But at the same time, had a lot of time for me. And he had convinced me to go into the US Marine. So I was getting courted by the US Marines when I was 17. And I ended up going to jail. And when I got out, I connected with the Marines. And they were very good to me. like, they were very good at getting young men who were a bit wayward, you know, they would take us to events, and there was the Oakland Naval Yard. And you know, they take us bowling. And I remember when I was about 18, I got out of a short jail sentence, and they came and picked me up, and they took me to take the ASVAB. But I didn’t get a high enough score on the ASVAB without having a high school diploma. And so the, you know, I missed that boat. And by the time, I was probably ready to do it again, I was already back, you know, in trouble. So…
Mark Divine 12:46
I can see how the military is like a forced recovery, you know, some if you catch the individual the right place, because then, you know, you’re a bootcamp and you’re just, you’re surrounded by discipline and positive energy. Well, you know, may not look positive, the outside but you know, people who are motivating you to be your best self and bring out qualities that maybe you didn’t see in yourself. The military training is really good for that. Although, you know, it’s not necessarily going to heal addiction, per se.
RJ Singh 13:13
Mark Divine 13:14
it’s a container that can get someone the right tools or habits right that you can then do the work yourself.
RJ Singh 13:20
When I was 26. I ran, I kind of had enough of alcohol and didn’t really know what to do. I was in Australia and I just jumped on a plane and went to the French Foreign Legion.
Mark Divine 13:31
RJ Singh 13:32
Yeah, dude I walk rocked up at their, their fort in Paris and fucking I went there. And like, you know, it was madness. Like, we’re a bunch of kids that are just all over the joint and they’re yelling at us in French they refuse to speak, english, ignoring it.
Mark Divine 13:45
was a crazy, what did you do? Like go knock on the gate and say, hey, I want to be in the league.
RJ Singh 13:49
I had no money. I left Australia. I like didn’t tell my parents what I was doing. And I was like, I’m going to go to the French Foreign Legion because like, this is going to be the answer.
Mark Divine 14:00
Let’s talk about that siren call because that not many people really realize that, like the Foreign Legion has open arm policy, right? If you can get to that…
RJ Singh 14:06
Mark Divine 14:06
Meeting and you commit right.. There there’s some significant benefits if you stick around for a long enough time, right?
RJ Singh 14:12
Yeah. So you know what, in hindsight, if I was the person I was today, that would have been an interesting move. But I think that condition that I went there in, you know, like, I was not fit. I could have probably packed it because I was athletic enough. You had to do like six pull ups. I was a bit concerned about that. But like the running and all that was wasn’t an issue. But yeah, you rock up there. You knock on the door. They come. They take your passport, and you’re literally kind of sequestered in a room. It was a bit like jail. So like I wasn’t too uncomfortable with the process, right? Like you’re in a waiting room during the day. You’re eating lots of croissants, and you know, you’re not getting protein. And so the drill sergeants, you’re getting yelled at continuously in French and you You’ve got no idea what they’re saying. And because they’re already French and a bit kind of arrogant, they’re not going to, and they know you’re like American or whatever they’re like, they’re not catering for you, right? So I was there, and I ended up bolting after a month and a half, because what ends up happening is you go to a boot camp, and that’s when you start to kind of for real become a legionnaire. But that was a really interesting experience being there. Because, you know, there’s a lot of singing, a lot of marching, you’re doing a lot of work. It’s kind of free labor for them too in many ways, and there’s not a lot of, there’s not a lot of rules. I mean, you you would know this as a military man, like the French Foreign Legion, you go there, you’re not really part of the traditional framework, so they kind of can use you how they want from what I understand. Like they’re fighting a lot of insurgencies. And they’re not doing traditional things. And that’s where, from what I understand they send the French Foreign Legion where they don’t really want to send the French military. You’re expendable.
Mark Divine 15:56
That’s right, it’s kind of like an NGO private military contractor, you know, it’s the weirdest thing.
RJ Singh 16:04
Yeah, it is weird. Because, yeah, you’re exactly right. I mean, they’re, you’re effectively mercenaries. And there were a lot of people from, you know, African X colonies that were, you know, they didn’t have much, you know that, they were poor, that was their only option. And then there were people that were coming from, like random people coming from Japan and China, where you’re like: What did you do? Like, is there are people there to escape crime, right, like, yeah, so that was an interesting.
Mark Divine 16:29
Well you made it a month and a half. So good job with that. It would have been interesting to, to hear more about what that experience would have been like.
RJ Singh 16:35
Mark Divine 16:36
here did you find your break from the addictions? What was? What was the turning point?
RJ Singh 16:40
You know, I left the United States came to Australia, the American Immigration, they, they canceled my green card effectively, right. So my parents are US citizens. My siblings are but I had never bothered to become a US citizen, being born in Australia and kind of getting involved in crime and never having time to go become a US citizen. It was to my detriment, because after 911, American policy changed, even for domestic criminals, right. It’d be just became a lot more severe. So anyone they could boot out, they started to really look at. And rightfully so I think. So, I ended up coming back to Australia. One of the things I said to my dad when I left, at that time, I hacked to a business degree. In San Francisco, I used an ex girlfriend’s transcripts to get into a pretty prestigious university. Yep. That’s a true story. Mark, never graduated high school and use her transcripts. And I scanned it and and submitted it with my name. And they, I was in.
Mark Divine 17:39
RJ Singh 17:40
Yeah, it was crazy. And I have this degree, you know, and I knew I could put some sentences together. And I could write and I thought, Well, look, I’ll come to Australia. And I’ll start over. And within 18 months, I was, I had 3 DUI’s, and here in Australia, they’re, they’re very serious with drunk driving. So I was facing a prison sentence here. And I just had this moment of clarity where I was standing in my living room, and I’m 28 or something, and I’m just, I knew I was done. And the obsession to drink was kind of immediately lifted, I think there was a crack in my armor. And it was one of those, what we call in recovery, gift of desperation, moments. I knew that I needed to get sober, and I knew how to get sober. But something else was critical there. First of all, I made the decision that if I was going to go to jail, again, here in Australia, I was going to go sober. And I was going to do things on my terms. And in many ways, that was the first decision I’ve ever made in the right direction. So that was one critical component making the decision that I was done, and I had enough. And the other was I had met an entrepreneur in Melbourne, who is extremely high net worth now. And he was very young at the time, and he was building a business and I was working for him as a salesperson. And I told him everything. And he didn’t fire me. Not only did he not fire me, and decided to take me under his wing.
Mark Divine 19:14
You found a mentor, and you had a higher self kind of slap.
RJ Singh 19:18
Mark Divine 19:19
Yeah. And they happen around the same time.
RJ Singh 19:20
Exactly. So if I really break that moment down, I think surrendering and kind of being at my knees, made me completely teachable. And then I’ve got someone saying, Here’s a path, here’s a new identity, right? Because I see something in you, you don’t see in yourself, and I can help bring that out in you. And here’s the actual path. So follow me. So now so I’m on my knees. I’m at a surrender point. But I’m given another option. And I think that was a critical moment for me.
Mark Divine 19:51
Yeah, that’s cool. I imagine. You know, this is just how the universe works when you start allowing the positive aspects of consciousness Spirit, God, whatever to reveal itself through the flow through you through us, then simultaneously, we have the aperture open wider. And we see the support. The support was always there before, but our aperture was closed due to our addiction, due to our contractive state of being, and so we just couldn’t proceed the support that was there for us all along, or the information, the path the way out. So it’s so interesting that every time I talk to someone who’s had to kind of like this bottom of the barrel, like I’m on my knees moments, and they make a shift, well almost immediately the mentor shows up right or the the positive path shows up my son because the apertures suddenly expanded and they can now see what was already there.
RJ Singh 20:45
Yeah, Mark, I think that the ability to see the connections in life, and you know, I ebb and flow with that ability dependent on where my spirit is. And you’re 100%, right, I think keeping our levels of awareness open and being in tune, and not on autopilot is important.
Mark Divine 21:09
I think that, you know, to me, the positivist aspect of just why we practice, right, and then we’ll call practice, you can throw habits in their habit formation, training for something, any attempt to become better, when you get more evolved, what you’re actually realize is, all of that is just ultimately, an attempt to scrub away anything that’s contracting us, it’s not a process of adding something that is missing from your life, it’s the process of scrubbing and cleaning all the mud off the filter. So you know, back to that aperture example, like, for a metaphors so that you can perceive more.
RJ Singh 21:46
Mark Divine 21:47
And as you perceive more, it’s not, it’s not you reaching out, it’s actually what’s flowing through you. What’s flowing through the body-mind is able to now it has more access, the mind is working better. So now it’s it’s basically lighting up more possibilities, more opportunities, you’re seeing more connections, and you’re feeling that flow or that movement, right, that was here to force stuck, energetically. I know it’s a little bit of a metaphysical take on it. But I’m back to this idea of what you know, who is the doer and what’s really happening here. You know, energy is flowing through this body- mind, RJ body-mind, or this Mark body mind. And the only thing that I known as you know, when I identify as Mark, the only thing I can do is block that source block that energy. Right? So if I could just get the heck out of the way, this is why like surrendering the idea of surrender, and acceptance and forgiveness is so important, because that’s removing the crud, that gets yourself out of the way, opens up the aperture.
RJ Singh 22:45
Mark Divine 22:45
It’s a little bit different perspective than the grasping for some achievement in personal growth or spiritual development, or even healing, right? And the western model is always this grasping, I’m going to achieve this, I’m going to get that, I’m going to go for this, I’m gonna go for that. And this model that I’m describing is more just okay, that’s fine. But what we’re really trying to do is subtract, not add to our lives.
RJ Singh 23:07
Mark Divine 23:07
Subtract the negative.
RJ Singh 23:08
I’m 100%. With you, Mark, I would add, in the recovery community, you see people when they newly get sober, they’re on this mission to accumulate information. They’re on the spiritual marketplace, right? Because they have to be, you know, they become a bit annoying. They kind of pontificate. They’re the ones that share all this stuff with everyone that will listen and they kind of…
Mark Divine 23:30
The ego is now glomming on to the being the one in recovery, and who’s making all this progress.
RJ Singh 23:35
And yeah, but I look at those individuals with love as well, because I see what’s happening now to the person that hasn’t gone through that process, they get a bit like, ah. But what ends up happening as a person stays sober longer, and they’re doing the work. They move into a place where they’ve read all the books, they’ve accumulated all the information, and you kind of realize that all that information is saying the same thing. And you’re not necessarily using that information. Like for me when I read books now, and I’m interested in let’s say, I read your book. I’m reading that book, or your book, to not look at what information can I accumulate and stack upon? But how do I engage that information to then reduce the stuff that’s getting in my way? It’s a process of reduction. Right? And that’s exactly what you’re saying. And I completely agree. I mean, because I guess what we subscribe to is that ultimately, within our heart and soul and being, we know the answers.
Mark Divine 24:35
That’s right. It’s all you know, air quotes within. That’s why meditation, contemplation, all the spiritual practices, even therapy, Western psychotherapy is all you’re looking within. You’re not looking out there to solve your problem you’re looking within, right and so that idea of going within is not one of attainment. It’s one of subtraction. In the yogic term is neti neti looking at your life and saying that’s not this not that not this not That not this not that, get rid of all that stuff. You know, when you look at addiction, you know, for instance for you is it was alcohol and alcohol then led to meth. So ultimately there was some trauma and or some genetic programming that allowed alcohol to be, you know a dominant force in your life.
So when you begin to do the neti neti, you’re like, Okay, alcohol is not good for me, but there’s this massive attraction to it. That’s what we call the addiction, right? And so that you get to trace that back to its source by saying, Not this, not that and keep on removing things that trigger the alcohol until you get to the that emotional kind of zero point that it could be psycho, physical, it’s biological. It’s, you know, energetic, right. And so you kind of pierce it from those different perspectives, and bring it to light, so to speak, by subtracting everything down to the zero point. And then once you get there, generally the the addiction can go away. I’m not saying this is easy work takes a lot of takes a lot of courage.
RJ Singh 26:01
Yeah. And reprogramming them.
Mark Divine 26:02
But the point is, it’s an inward journey. It’s not outward searching for something to replace it. And this is why like with habit forming, which is I know, your your kind of thing. A lot of people say, Yeah, well, one way to, you know, to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with something good. And I said, well, that’s, that gets you about halfway there.
RJ Singh 26:21
Mark Divine 26:22
RJ Singh 26:23
Mark Divine 26:23
But you also have to then simultaneously go within and ferret out through that neti neti process of why the energy was stuck in that bad habit to begin with.
RJ Singh 26:32
Well, what I find, and and you and I’ve had this conversation before, when I got sober, I started running crazy amounts of distance, right?
Mark Divine 26:43
Which is another addiction.
RJ Singh 26:43
Mark Divine 26:44
That’s what I just talked about. You just did the replacement theory.
RJ Singh 26:47
Mark Divine 26:47
And that’s good. That’s like, it’s a better habit to go out, run up, you know, 20 miles a day than it is to drink 20 bucks. For sure.
RJ Singh 26:54
Right. To your point, this is where you went. And I mean, I’m lucky that I’m in 12 step, right, because I think if you have a good sponsor, they’ll recognize that, that you’re just effectively switching one for the other. And some people never move beyond that. They’ll just replace alcohol and drugs with something that is less harmful, or something that is better for them. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, I always tell my sponsees that at some point in your recovery, you’re going to have to be able to sit in a room by yourself without going insane.
Mark Divine 27:27
That’s rights, so yeah. So let me just let me try to analyze what you’re saying a little bit. I saw this in CrossFit. You know, I had a CrossFit gym for 10 years.
RJ Singh 27:34
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, yeah.
Mark Divine 27:35
That beautiful program is a magnet for addicts. Right. So people just transferring one addiction to another right. Usually, it’s like eating or, or alcohol or sex, or whatever. And then they transfer that addiction to CrossFit. And so that’s great, they get super healthy, right, their bodies look amazing. And they’re just as messed up as they were before, they’re just physiologically a little healthier. And there’s still just dropping all sorts of hand grenades of dysfunction around every relationship they have. And because wherever you go, there you are, it doesn’t matter. If you’re, you know, it might help if your body’s a little healthier.
And I say that only, because if your body’s healthier, then you’re going to be able to do the inner work better, because your brains gonna be more functional. And you know, you’ll be able to meditate better. But if you haven’t developed the self awareness, that it’s still an addictive pattern, and you’re hiding from something like you said, you’re not able to sit in a room without going crazy alone, then you’re always running from that, you know, I interview a ton of people who are always trying to accomplish the next latest and greatest thing, as you’re like, What are you running from? Like, why, you know, why at 72 do you need to be known as the oldest guy, you know, in the world to do this latest crazy feat? Like is it really is your ego really still trying to still needs that external validation, you just don’t have the sense of you’re good enough yet, or worthy. And so find that trauma, find that trauma trigger and recognize your worthiness. And if you still want to do those things, great, but don’t do it because you’re running from yourself.
RJ Singh 29:06
For me, when I started Ultra running, I’d already been a year sober. And I think I’m grateful for that. Because funnily enough, when I got sober in 2010, I started hiking. And then because I like to move, I started running with the gear. But I didn’t know there was actually a sport at that time, you know, trail running. I didn’t know and I’m glad I didn’t know. Because I think if I would have known then I would have just gone off. Because that would have been a very easy way for me to just kind of alleviate the madness that was between my ears. And I did the work. And then I came back to running later after I did an MBA. And it was a new crucible. It was a very intentional thing because I was kind of looking so I have crucibles in my life like these times where I just kind of that’s what the burpees challenge is. It’s a new crucible for me where I just know, I need existential pressure.
Mark Divine 30:04
Yeah, that’s why we have Kokorol, it’s a great way to really get unstuck from things that are, you know, you’re aware of right, you’re not hiding from you’re aware of them. But in that intensity of that challenge, you can break through and accelerate your growth. So deliberately designing crucible challenge or participating in one with awareness, that is going to surface a lot of patterns, and a lot of things that you resist, and you have to burn through that resistance is a very useful training tool.
RJ Singh 30:35
Let me ask you something Mark. So, I find that when I get into a place where my demons come up, you know, every few years, things come up for me. And I find that, for instance, I had gone through some challenges a couple of months ago, and I really started to go back to a meditative practice. But I found that being still at times actually inflamed. What was going on for me, and I needed to move. What’s your view on that? Like, is there a time where meditation can create more mental chatter that kind of digs you more in the hole, like?
Mark Divine 31:19
Ok, here’s my perspective on this, the chatter is there. When you’re constantly in movement, you just don’t notice it, there’s something else at the forefront of your consciousness, your mind operates in many levels, the key is to bring those levels into your awareness. And then to begin to do a couple different things. One is to distance yourself from all that busyness, all that stuff, right. And this is the process of witnessing, right? So beginning, you know, first starts at mind level where you’re literally are like partitioning your mind. And you’re like setting up shop and you’re beginning to distance yourself, disengage from being grabbed by or being drawn into the thoughts. And so example there is like, you’re having this anger moment, and you’re just like, I’m so angry, versus that’s anger still comes up, but you’re watching enough from a distance thing, wow, look at that as anger arising, and just letting it pass and not getting, you know, completely drawn off. So first is at the mind level, then second is just comes it just naturally, the aperture opens. And it’s it’s pure awareness. It is the stillness that’s watching, RJ, right? Watching everything that’s happening. So back to your question, the thoughts are always there. When people first sit down and meditate, all of a sudden, all the externalities are gone. And boy, what was just the background hum, that they barely noticed, is now like a, you know, 100 peace symphony. It’s like this cacophony in their minds and literally is maddening. It’s like, oh, my god, I can’t stand this, right? And so then they think, Okay, well, fine, that’s fine, go do something, right. So one of the precursors to or tools to really begin to get a hold of that mind current that’s all over the place, is concentration and endurance training is a form of concentration, which is why it’s so valuable, or just a mantra or box breathing for us. We just do box breathing for arousal, control and concentration attend to control those three things. Just focus on the pattern, inhale five, hold five, exhale five, hold five. And so then what that does is it takes your dominant mindstream. And it narrowly focuses on that one thing. And when it does that, then all the other stuff starts to eventually slowly settle down a little bit. And you can find that kind of that stillness again, then when you take your foot off the gas pedal, that stuff will arise. But because you’ve had that concentration, gotten now the mental stability, and the power of your mind, then you can create that, that shift with your mind where you’re watching it, instead of just caught up in it. So concentration is really important to practice as a prerequisite. That’s like, meditation bootcamp, is concentration camp, and then you go into meditation as kind of becoming mindful aware of the content, then you can work with the content in your mind.
RJ Singh 33:57
That’s Brilliant. I, I, my relationship with meditation, I was a solid meditator. And then I had kids. And then I found it was a first thing that kind of went because I was quite structured and around my practice, and then when I wasn’t able to meet my practice, I just felt like I let myself down and and, and then over time, it became inconsistent. And then I completely stopped. And I’ve reintroduced it, but trying to find the right practice at the right so I wake up in the morning, with a lot of negativity in my mind, and a lot of physical energy that I feel requires me to move. And so when I try to sit still in the morning, I don’t feel that is the best time to meditate. But then when I try to do it at the end of the day after the work and the kids, I’m a bit shattered and I oscillate between box breathing or concentration meditation to more of a another style of meditation where I’m just more spacious, and I’m just kind of letting things arise. And being a habit orientated person, it’s one of the things in my program, where I still haven’t found the right framework, if that makes sense.
Mark Divine 35:12
Think of the just as sequencing like in a workout or training program, it’s just sequencing. It’s absolutely right, that if you have a lot of energies in your physical energy and physiological energy, we need to move that energy. One way to move it is with the breath. Another is through movement, yeah exercise. So if you’re like that, then the movement comes before the meditation. So you’re right there. But you’re also right in saying that, wow, by the end of the day, your your mind and your willpower, and your just the mental strength has been diminished. And so it’s going to be more difficult, right? Without training, you know, to do your meditation. So think about this way, think about your physical training, and your breath work. And your meditation all is the same training thing. And so you wake up in first of all, your practice starts, the moment you open your eyes, or the moment your your inner eyes open, and the world wakes up to you. And you’re like, oh, yeah, here’s another day, what a grateful opportunity, huge opportunity I have today to continue my evolutionary journey. Because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Your practice starts immediately with intercepting the negative thought patterns and overriding it with a mantra and with gratitude. So your practice, actually, and you could call that a meditation is more of a contemplation practice. Okay, so then whatever else you do prep, but then you’re gonna go do your physical movement to move that energy. And that’s concentration training, especially for an endurance athlete. And it’s breath control training, because you’re controlling your breathing. So you’re combining these three elements into one, then when we’re done with the movement, you know, don’t just hop in the shower and go about your day, you take an extra 20 minutes now, to take, use the breath, practice box breathing to turn inward. So now you’re going from the heart physical movement, not to just moving the breath, which is going to move the mind. And then you turn around, where you take your attention from outward focus to inward focus. And so you do that for five or seven minutes, or maybe 10. And then just let go of all efforting and go into that spacious awareness space. And you’ll have already burned off all the energy of agitation, you’ve done the concentration, you’ve done, the turning around, turning inward, right, you’re turning attention inward. And now your mind is much more prepped for that spacious awareness.
RJ Singh 37:23
That’s actually a good plan, because I will always exercise and you’re right, like the best time for me, and many people like me, and I mean, Mark, you would know this better than anyone like I believe this to be true that yoga, the physical yoga was really done is preparation for meditation, right? It wasn’t this whole what it is today.
Mark Divine 37:44
The way there was sequence was foundational ethical principles First, like get your life in order, eat well sleep well, don’t overdo it with, you know, anything, kind of middle path. And then we layer in the exercise the asana, and that’s to make the body healthy and the brain healthy, and to give you the discipline, and then we go work with the breath. And then after the breath, we work with the tuning out our sensory perceptions to bring our awareness from the outer world into the inner space. And then we get into concentration training. And only after all that, do you actually do air quotes, meditation and kind of the yogic sense. So you got this world record thing coming up? What else is going on in your life?
RJ Singh 38:23
Yeah, so world record attempt, starting a new business, so Ultra Habits is part of a bigger plan. So here in Australia, I, I work with companies to help them grow in terms of their revenues. And I also focus on sales training within companies incorporating habits into that, so sales habits, and we also look at the kind of their inner world. So we’re starting a new business called Ultra Growth Ventures, which is going to be focusing on helping businesses grow, but the individuals within those businesses grow as well. That’s happening January 1, 2024. But this world record attempt is really, you know, you made a great point earlier, I am in a place now where I just knew that I needed a new crucible. Something that would really stretch me and I was kind of thinking about what that was, and you know, had the benefit of listening to your buddy Goggins and I was like, yeah, this is it was the right time for me to listen to Goggins he’s, he’s not always for me, but there’s a time and place for Goggins. So…
Mark Divine 39:29
RJ Singh 39:29
I had a listen to him and things became a bit clearer. This event, we’re going to be trying to raise a million dollars for mental health.
Mark Divine 39:36
RJ Singh 39:36
Here in Australia. And so that’s going to be happening Jan. 1, 2024. But, yeah, just really focusing on you know, the family wife, having conversations, like I do with you. And yeah, just optimizing. It’s really what it’s about for me.
Mark Divine 39:52
That’s awesome. I can’t wait to hear about that. But all that especially the world record attempt, and we’ll share share our little secrets.
RJ Singh 39:59
Yeah. A that’d be great. It’s such a I mean, I mean, you know, we talked about the connections and like, I honestly didn’t know you did that, like, what’s the chances of that? Right? Like, because I’ve been thinking, Okay, well, how am I gonna go about this? Who’s done this before? I mean, that’s just weird, right? Like, there you go.
Mark Divine 40:15
And there’s someone in our tribe, Unbeatable Mind SEALFIT tribe, who’s that same year, got the world record for 12 hours?
RJ Singh 40:23
Mark Divine 40:23
And he did like, I can’t remember the number, but it’s pretty insane number for 12 hours. Anyways, that’s awesome. And where are folks, you know, if someone’s like, really inspired to learn more about follow your journey? Where do you like to send them to social media?
RJ Singh 40:37
Mark Divine 40:46
Awesome. We’ll put that in the show notes. RJ has been a real pleasure chatting with you again. And I love you know, just mixing up trying to figure out how to optimize and how to overcome trauma. And it’s really valuable stuffs like what you said right now, mental health is a big problem worldwide. There’s a lot of negativity and violence in the world. And people are suffering from that. And so this is really these conversations are really important. So I appreciate it.
RJ Singh 41:11
Yeah. This is the anecdote.
Mark Divine 41:12
That’s right. All right, brother.
RJ Singh 41:14
Mark Divine 41:15
RJ Singh 41:16
You too mate.
Mark Divine 41:17
Hooyah! I love conversation with RJ Singh. And that was just awesome. And I love to be able to share my ideas on process for sequencing meditation into your physical training. Great stuff there. Our show notes are up at MarkDivine.com, as well as the video on YouTube channel. So share it with your friends, if you enjoy it. You can reach out to me on Twitter at Mark Divine or on Instagram and Facebook @ Real Mark Divine or on my LinkedIn profile. Divine Inspiration is a new newsletter comes out every Tuesday where I disseminate Top of my mind blog habits, podcast notes, interesting things that come across my desk that I think you would find value in go to MarkDivine.com to subscribe and share it with your friends as well. Thanks so much for my terrific team, Jason Sanderson. Catherine Divine and Geoff Haskell will help produce the show and the newsletter and bring guests like RJ to you. Every week. ratings or reviews are very helpful. So if you haven’t done so, please consider rating and reviewing wherever you listen to the show. It helps other people find it and keeps us in business here. Thanks so much for being part of the change you want to see in the world over at sealfit.com We are helping people build strong body strong minds and do it with strong teams. So if you want to train like a Navy SEAL, or get trained by a Navy SEAL, or just level up a game that some of the concepts and principles of these incredible warriors then go to sealfit.com and check it out. Till next time. This is your host Mark Divine. Hooyah!
Transcribed by Catherine and https://otter.ai