Podcast Cover Image

E9 How To Find Meaning & Purpose In Your Life

April 2024

114 minutes

Stream on:

Audible Spotify Apple Youtube
0:00 / 0:00

Episode Notes

In this fun, far-ranging exploration, we look at the inner workings of purpose. In what ways purpose can serve us and in what ways it can create hindrances? We look at the impacts on purpose on our behaviors and how to healthily create purpose outside of work. We then turn to an in depth discussion of how to live a meaningful life. Leveraging the latest research in psychology we give an understanding of how we can create subjective meaning in life and ultimate have more fulfillment. A must watch episode!

is a global, leadership-strategy consulting company. 3Peak creates the roadmap that aligns behaviours, relationships and Functional Human-Systems™ to achieve your business strategy.

Co-Founder holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, and did extensive research in Consciousness, Trauma and Physical, Emotional & Mental Health in various Institutes and Research Centers around Europe.

Co-Founder is one of the most sought after therapists in the world, mastering diverse modalities and opening wellness centers in Istanbul, Santiago, New York and Berlin. Her approaches bridges transpersonal psychology, meditation, bioenergetics, family- and business-constellations and more.

Co-Founder has extensive experience advising Fortune 50 and FTSE 100 C-Suite Executives in leadership, strategy, team dynamics, and organizational change. Before coaching, Mino worked in finance, management consulting, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).


Mino Vlachos: Hello and welcome to the 3Peak Master Leadership Experience. My name is Mino and I'm joined by my colleagues Dr. Mazen Harb and Krisana Locke. We are the co founders of 3Peak Coaching & Solutions where master leaders build healthy systems. And with our business we support organizations to develop their top teams and to train their managers and employees. Today's topic, which I think will be a very fun one, is on purpose, personal purpose. And so we're going to have a very fun exploration of what is personal purpose, where does it serve us, where might it not serve us? And what are some of the things that might contribute to us developing a sense of personal purpose. And so today I'm going to start us off by I don't know if this is intimate or vulnerable, but we're going to get right into it. Krisana, do you have a personal purpose in life? And if so, what is your personal purpose in life?

Krisana Locke: My personal purpose in life my personal purpose in life is very much similar to what I share in life. And what gives me meaning in my life is to be joyful and to have meditation in my life and to share my joy and my love and to have loving relationship, loving connections with people. And my purpose in life, my personal purpose is to understand myself better through interactions with other people where I don't project on them. But I discover myself more by the interactions and listening and observing and just being there, being in my inner being state. I love this. I love to be with people and I love also my purpose and meaning is also to have time for myself, to enjoy my inner world through awareness and meditation, and to also give time and space for me to reflect, to dream, to bring in my creativity. Because this all gives me meaning. That's my purpose. Personal purpose.

Mino Vlachos: Thank you. It's like you just gave us. I was expecting to do a 90 minutes session and you gave us the cheat codes for meaning and purpose within 1 minute. So we will return to many of the things you just mentioned. Thank you for your wisdom. As you reflect on your life, do you feel like you always had this sense of purpose or has it evolved over time?

Krisana Locke: I never had a need to have a purpose in my life. I did not need to have a purpose. I had a purpose because many things, even early on in life, had meaning for me. So meaning with my family having meaning with my brothers and sisters and my mother and father having meaning with. Yes, when I was young, meaning meant being together, meaning and being intact and enjoying. And then meaning became more evolved when I had some strong experiences in my life when around the age of 1920, with my mother dying. And that brought me into a huge quest and understanding of the depth of life and death and meaning. So that threw me really into a lot of insight and self inquiry about myself and life and to go and live life and to also not be afraid to do this and also be able to be also totally connected with my family at the same time. But I needed to explore my life. So my exploration and my curiosity and to step out into life and adventure, that was my meaning in my twenty s, and then it evolved from there. So being curious and following my passions, that's the evolvement.

Mino Vlachos: I swear to you that we're probably going to spend the next hour or 90 minutes just unpacking versions of what Krisana shared. So if you only listen to the first five minutes, you've gotten everything you need. We're going to really, just now take our time to explore how someone else might be able to arrive to maybe some similar understandings. So before we go to that deeper understanding, I switch to now. Mazen, Mazen. Do you feel like you have a sense of your personal purpose in life? And if so, what is your personal.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Purpose at this moment right now? I have a hard time to understand the concept because I'm trying to embody that because I'm 100% in my purpose now. And, you know, if when a fish is in the water and you tell her, how is it to be in the water? Like, what is he even asking about? So I have a hard time. So something is asked from me to disconnect a little bit, to ponder about it outside of that moment. So I need a moment, actually. Give me the question in a slight different way too. So I get out from, yeah, so.

Mino Vlachos: Let me take you then a little bit back. Were there any moments of your life where you felt like you weren't living with purpose or on purpose? Let's start there. And if that is true, then maybe you made some shifts along the way to develop a stronger sense of purpose. Or were you always like, I know where I'm going and why I'm going. Tell me the truth.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Look, my father died. I was four years and a half, and that was it. And the purpose has started. So I have a hard time to see where I was not in purpose, even as a kid. So the question is why? Why kids has to suffer so much? And then I remember I was on the balcony for a year and a half, not able to grieve even the death because it was too overwhelming for me. And I'm like, I want to discover. And as a kid, I wish that no kid would feel that suffering of a death of a parent. And then the big question is, why? So I awakened to life as it is and not given like this at four year and a half. And then every single moment thereon was to understand. And, yeah, I played, I did everything. But there's something within us, like, I have to understand. I have to understand why we have to suffer so much and why kids need to suffer so much. And I promise myself that one day I will support that we get out of the suffering, mainly kids, because I used to blame adults and mainly understand how can we end this suffering for kids. So everything, yeah. The first part of my life was playful, but actually I was playing, in a sense, I was a joker. I was trying to change the energy of the moods because I could not be with it. So the purpose was not to live in struggle and to live in love, because I needed love in order to be supported enough so I reach an age where I can question all those questions. So, yeah, actually, very early on, I had very purposeful sense of where I'm going and what I have to achieve, yet not knowing on practically the details. But even as a very kid, I probably seen this image of me probably now, but I'm like, how? What? And it stressed me and gave me lots of fear because I didn't have guidance that has called in a more spiritual sense of where the path. And then I had this understanding, you will have to create your own path. And it scared the shit out of me. So I was torn between, you will have to find it on your own. There are lots of help on the way, but nobody knows your way other than you. So here, when you ask me about purpose, sitting with you, Minu, and with Krisana, where you know how much I appreciate both of you, I admire both of you, I respect both of you, I trust both of you immensely in life. And I'm like, yeah, it's difficult to say how to be outside of it. I'm a fish in a tank of water and you are swimming with me. And I can say how it feels, but I think Krisana will help give the other explanation of it. Like when she answered more the scientifical understanding of the journey, I can say the scientific understanding of inside of it, inside the water, how it feels.

Mino Vlachos: Thank you. So I'll share then a little bit about myself, because relative to the two of you, I experienced a lack of feeling purpose in my life and a feeling of kind of meaninglessness and nihilism growing up that has flourished at some point into a sense of purpose. And so I begin with when I was probably in my university years. Up until that point, I had been raised and identified as relatively religious. So I was raised as Christian, greek orthodox. It was something that I involved myself with as a teenager a lot, going to the church, being participating, active, and I took a course at university. I remember the professor stood up on the first day, the first lecture, and said, I've been accused of turning people atheists, but that's not my goal. It's just what ends up happening. And I remember just being like, what the hell is this? No way. And then all we did was read certain philosophical texts. We actually sat down and read the Bible. It was the first time in my life I read the Bible, even though I was Christian. And even just reading these things, it basically dislodged me from this belief system. And outside of that, then I was left with this big canvas of, like, so what's next? I don't believe in this kind of Christian or the way I've been raised to be christian way anymore. But the good and the bad was the good. They didn't try to insert anything. So I was not given a belief system to latch onto, which is, in a way, a blessing. The thing that was very difficult was I was then without any belief system and just didn't know how to orientate myself in life. So I felt very, again, this existential dread, this nihilism of, like, there's no meaning in life, there's no purpose in life. And so then I set out, I think probably that was one of the impetus for me to set out on my own quest to figure out what is going on. Is this true? Because I know this feels terrible. I just felt, like, emotionally horrible and very, again, disorientated, and it brought up a lot of dysfunction for me. So along the way, I went to kind of figure this whole thing out. And what I've started to realize is, if you look at the literature of what purpose is, and this is why I love Krisana, your answer is that purpose is actually a concept that fuses two other concepts together. Purpose, if I give you the equation, is meaning plus a goal. So to feel meaning in life is one thing, and to have a goal is a second thing. And purpose, the way we use it colloquially and we use it in business, is to have a meaningful goal. And so often we think we have to come up with this grand goal that will give us a sense of meaning. I would like to begin, and we're going to get into this more in a second by taking those two things and saying they're actually very separate. Having a sense of meaning and having a goal in life are two very different things. And so I'm actually going to start by talking about the goal first, and then in the second half, we're going to talk about meaning, which is going to be a really, I think, fun exploration. That's why I said, Krisana, you've already skipped ahead to the really juicy stuff. I'm going to start with this concept of having a goal in life. I'm going to actually switch the language a little bit for each of us and say, some of us might feel we might have a mission in life. So as it currently stands, I'm going to ask each one of us, do you feel like you have a mission in life? Is there something that kind of organizes your behavior day to day, Krisana, is there something that you feel like organizes your life and is a little bit of a mission you might have in life?

Krisana Locke: What organizes me in my life is organizing myself, organizing my interiority. For me, the word mission is very associated with religion, to save people. And I don't save people, but I give the utmost support for people to find themselves. So I will guide people and give utmost support. But I really don't have a mission. Overall mission in life, overall mission for myself is to really enjoy life, love life, be loving and awareness. So this is my overall qualities and insights, and it's my guiding light. That's my thank you, my purpose, mission.

Mino Vlachos: Thank you. For myself, before going to Mazen, I'm going to share about myself, and then we're going to go to Mazen. For me, again, this was something that evolved over time. But I had a concept or an idea of what I thought I needed to do in this life. So I don't know where it came from. It could be conditioning, it could be something I just planted myself. It could be compensation. But I really thought I needed to change the world. I needed to save the world like I need to save people. So there was this outward kind of mission in my early years that I had this very kind of masonic, probably, thing going on. And I even participated in these kind of whatever self development workshops or corporate workshops where they're like, we're going to help you define your purpose. And every time I sat down to create this goal, it was always this very like, now I kind of look back and laugh in a funny way. But I was like the divine masculine that's going to liberate the world and break the chains of the world. All of these concepts, it was all very mental. And there was all these stuff that I was probably stuffing in there that I didn't even know what I was talking about or what I was putting in there. So I had all these goals, goals, goals. And funny enough, the first time I met Krisana, when we met, she was doing a personal development workshop in Florida for seven days. And I remember it was the first night of that retreat. We met, I think, on the evening and did an evening session before diving into the one week curriculum. And I came loaded with all that stuff. And I don't know what, I don't know how. I don't even remember what we did, but we did something. And I remember we sat down to do some kind of sharing. And I remember I had this big revelation where I realized that all of the personal purpose and goals, quote unquote, I was carrying in life, how it was just all fabricated. I had completely made it all up. It was all a concept. And I came to understand that this thing about saving humanity, I realized I wasn't the main character. It was something that, for whatever reason, gave me tremendous freedom. It's like I'm not the main character, actually. I can, whatever, do something to support my fellow human, and that's something I do feel drawn to. But I'm not the savior. I'm not the Messiah. And so I actually, in that moment, I remember dropping all of that and just being, ah, it's not about me. There's like 8 billion other people. I can just do my part, and that's good enough. And so that was like a big moment, and I've never shared that with you, but that was when I first, the first day I met Krisana, about seven years ago. So thank you for that experience, Krisana.

Krisana Locke: Thank you. I think I remember I said, this week is going to be an experience where you have an experience. You did. Thank you.

Mino Vlachos: I had many experiences. I had a lifetime of experiences in that week, which we can talk about another time. So for me, my personal sense of purpose has evolved over time because I've needed to let go of things, shed things. And the research shows that actually, when people are operating from that definition of personal purpose, we have a goal in mind. It can actually, over time, increase narcissistic traits. We tend to think that we are the main character. We're out there to save the world. We're out there to do this goal so that is just one thing I posit for the listener is just to be careful actually about this whole personal purpose. I have a goal kind of thing and I'm here to change the world. I've learned firsthand how that actually might not help me because it was creating a lot of dysfunction in me and might create dysfunction in others and what I go to do into the world. So that is my kind of thing now what helps me personal purpose. I really enjoy sharing our work. I do feel a sense of mission with our company three peak coaching and solutions. I do want to help support, bring awareness into the world. It's something that I do imperfectly, but I'm trying to support in my imperfect way to bring into the world. And that gives me a lot of meaning and joy in life, to support others, to be there for them and to build something, to be creative and to enjoy my life. So Mazen, now I'm going to turn it to you. I know there's probably so many ways we could start to orientate you. My primary question is to begin is do you feel you have a mission in life? And my secondary question which I can ask again is when people have these goals, these very outcome orientated goals, how that starts to affect the brain and how we in our behavior. So let's start with the first one. Do you feel like you have a mission in life?

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes, again, I'm answering here in March 2024. I would be answering something completely else a week ago, a month ago, a year ago and even way ten years ago. So I'm answering now. What's my mission? Which has been stuck there since like the last four or five years. It's very present. My mission every morning when I wake up is to love myself unconditionally. When I mean by loving myself. The word love is very misunderstood. It's not the emotion of love, this is the emotion rising. And this is actually love is really misunderstood. When we unconditional love, unconditional love, it's unconditional acceptance of oneself. So when I wake up is really unconditional acceptance of myself, love myself with all my flaws, with all, with everything, who I am, what I am, loving this body that's really allowing me to enjoy this experience and loving the moment that comes after and accepting everything that arises. Knowing that everything is part of my reality and the moment I disconnect from that reality and I start blaming. This is where I start to be stressed, afraid, bringing, having anxiety. When I start like. And then actually I go back. This is the reality that I'm putting attention, my attention to my attention forms the reality that I'm in two. It's always reflecting back to me, do I really accept myself fully? Do I really accept this body fully? Do I really accept the friends around fully? Or I'm projecting my fears and my shadow and everything that's not going well within me, on everyone outside. And this is so awareness. My mission is awareness, awareness of who I am, what am I doing, how am I affecting reality around me? And that bring me a sense of unity within me and enjoyment within life and in every moment. So when I get out of it, I notice something is wrong, and then I start to inquire, and then I go back to it. That's my first answer.

Mino Vlachos: So for the second part, and I share this. This is actually like, I feel vulnerable sharing it because I am like, oh, man, I know the headspace I was in when I did this, but I come to you, as I have done many times, but a younger version of me comes to you and is like, Mazen, I have a big goal in life. I'm going to save humanity. I'm going to be the messiah. I'm the divine masculine that will liberate and break the chains. And I have this goal, and it's my purpose. In what ways will kind of tying my meaning in life to an outcome impact my behavior, my headspace? Tell us a little bit about tying things to outcomes.

Dr. Mazen Harb: I have to speak about time and space now, my favorite topic.

Mino Vlachos: And we will continue to talk about time and space today.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Nice. All right. Okay, I see where we're going. I need to explain time as a function of the mind. I'll repeat it. I need to explain the scientific understanding. What is time as only a function used by the mind to understand something about ourselves. So when we speak about the future, actually, okay, future doesn't exist because only the moment of time is in the now. When we speak about the future and think about it, that brings anxiety, brings the minds on. So when we start to understand that, we use the future sense.

Mino Vlachos: And then.

Dr. Mazen Harb: What reflects back to us that we are still caught in the game of time and caught in anxiety and in the mind games, when we think about the past, which is already something that's already moved, it doesn't exist at this moment because only the now exists. And when we think about the past, we relive it. We can never relive the past. We bring the past and we relive it in the present when we bring the past and then not accept it. And this is actually, where our depression, our depressive mood, starts to be, because it starts with blaming and victimhood. So time is nothing than a reflection of our minds playing the anxiety game of the future and depressive and blaming mood and victimhood of the past. Okay? It's difficult to digest that, but we're going to go deeper into this. There is something called intention. We have. Our first inaugurative podcast was intention, motivation, pleasure versus joy. I invite you to go back to our first podcast ever. Intention is not about the future. It's again about the now. To reconfigure where what I allow, my vessel will allow myself to start experiencing in whatever we call in a future time. But actually, I'll give an example. I have an intention to be a formula driver. Formula car driver. Right. That's an intention. So I imagine it. Imagine in the future, but it doesn't exist in the future. I just imagine it. So then my intention obliges me to go, but you don't have a driving driver license. Okay, then it started. The purpose in the moment is like, then, okay, I go, and then I learn how to drive. I take my driver license, and I start evolving. Evolving. So an intention is something that pull us toward a direction, but then we let go of it. There is no outcome. I didn't say I want to be the, you know, there's no outcome other than the now moment. So you go into the now and you do it, do it, do it, do it now. When we live in a goal and I want to have a purpose in life, and I wake up and what's my purpose? And we're always speaking about the future, we are prone to anxiety, we're prone to self blame, self hate. And as a masculine, oh, but the masculine should have a purpose. I'm like, this is lots of motivational speaking out there. And just, it's really pushing to overdoing and then losing the moment, losing the beingness. And then we go into a doingness, doingness. And then it's the self worthiness. We start to judge ourselves because we're not fulfilling our best, highest. I'm like, what does that even mean? If you live in the moment, our best, highest thing. And when we judge ourself, it's when we live in time where we're constantly judging ourself of what we did, when we're constantly thinking where we should be and never be in here and now. So actually never being in your true purpose. Purpose. Your true purpose is when you're doing that thing to be fully 100% with it because you already drew the intention. I know in a week I have to deliver something. I let go of that idea, and then every day I work. What is needed for that moment, my purpose is there, but I don't have to remind myself, to motivate myself. I know what I have to do. Does that make sense?

Mino Vlachos: In a way, fully. So one of the big breakthroughs for me came from shifting from I have a goal, so there's something I need to accomplish in my life for it to mean something to shifting to a question I wanted to investigate. So actually taking a different approach. So for me personally, what was really interesting to me at that point in time, this is, again, many years ago, was to shift from, like, I'm going to be the messiah to save the world. I shifted to something. What does it mean to be human? That was the question I had, well, what does it actually mean to be human? And can I go explore and experiment with every facet of being human? I would like to understand this question more. And that is what started to motivate me and bring meaning to my life, was to answer this question. So I think, again, there's this big pressure that's put on, for whatever reason, that you have to have this goal and you need to go do something, and then the outcome, and then you're good. What if we allow ourselves to be detectives or experimenters or scientists or journalists? Something that drives us with a bit of curiosity. So for me, it was, what does it really mean to be human? So I wanted to know, what is it like to be. To feel high, to feel low, to do this, to do that, to try it being this way, try and being that way. I like to play with the roles, play with the hats I was wearing, so I could experience all the different facets and factors. And in that way, it actually helped me stop judging myself, because when I did something, I was like, so this is part of what it means to be human. And then I would try something else out. So this is what it kind of means to be human, so I could get a holistic understanding, a whole total understanding of what it is to be human. That was my question. That was something that really interested me. So I want to ask Krisana, were there things that in life you had curiosity about, questions that you wanted to go? I don't know what role resonates with you. If it's a detective or a researcher or an experimenter, are there things that you wanted to play with? You had curiosity and you sought to find some understanding now in my life.

Krisana Locke: Or in my past? In your past, I wanted to explore the world. I was so curious to go into other cultures and to have adventures and I stepped out and started doing that in my early twenty s. I was so curious about behavior and culture and people. So let's say I'm a behaviorist and I researched people, anthropology, culture, Africa, India. I've traveled in these places and just to see how other, just the impact of culture and people and family structures and lives and totally different to how I grew up in Australia, from eastern society to western society. So it was very much that was my curiosity. Traveling, adventure and meeting people so different to me, meeting life, meeting everything. That was my square box that I grew up in. Even though it wasn't a square box, it was like step out of my comfort zone and meet life.

Mino Vlachos: So I'll just qualify by saying I've done therapy with many people, I've met many psychologists, I've met many business consultants. I truly consider you one of the most brilliant, impactful, effective therapists, psychologists, business coaches I've ever met. Did you have a goal to become those things or were you led more by your curiosity?

Krisana Locke: No, I did not have a goal. If someone had told me 20 years ago, 25 years ago, you know what, you're going to be in Berlin, living in Berlin, and you're going to be reaching out to so many people, have a company, have a platform, have an NGO, I would have said to myself, how would I come to that? But it is sheer life experience and me being in the world and me having to evolve aspects of myself. So as the more I evolved, the more I opened myself to life. I did a lot of self inquiry, I did a lot of also internal work with myself and to support myself. This came to me. It was both I was seeking, but I wouldn't say I was. I'm going out to seek something. So this is different to having a mission. I was seeking something, but it was probably a spiritual journey beyond any religious organization. So I really wanted to seek this. And we met. The door opened.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Beautiful.

Mino Vlachos: Mazen. Where have you had curiosity in your life? Where have you had questions that then led to you looking for certain understandings?

Dr. Mazen Harb: Where I didn't have questions, I approach life in a more masculine sense. I see Krisana more in a feminine sense and I see why she's he like she. I tried so many times, I got depressed so many times, I got anxious so many times I hit walls so many times because I knew where I would be, because I've seen. I knew where it is, my energy, and I didn't let go to do my feminine aspect. And I went trying very early on. I was like 20, and it should be here where I am now. I'm in my 40s now. And then I'm like, there was like 20 years that I have to accomplish all of that. The NGO, I already seen it when I was 2021, a business consultancy, I've seen it when I was 2021. Tantric energetics, more personal work. I've seen it very early on, even though I didn't have any qualification, like, how can I do it? So it's horrible to be conditioned to use the masculine alone, without the feminine aspect, which is the curiosity, the fun, the exploration, the openness, the yielding. Principles I went with, the more I go for it. Like, whoa, I come from a place where it's just funny enough, it's a place of the mind, of the doing. It's the doing. When I'm using the word masculine, I'm using the word of the physical, of the doing. We go there and do it. The feminine is more of the intuitive. We wait, we are more receptive. We wait until it moves and then we go and then create it. Man, I don't remember a wall or a closed door. I didn't hit. I cannot know which one. I didn't. My experience came from reaching the end of every alley, hitting the wall, and then say, actually, it doesn't work. And that was how I configured my consciousness, or how my consciousness wanted to learn. I really wanted to reach people through communications, through science. And I was against dogma, I was against how religion was feeding people without using the mind. So I said, you know what the best way, if I do experiments on my own and I start to study science, and I said, the best way is through scientific understanding and factual knowledge and facts about ourselves. So what I did was simple, let me try where it doesn't work. So I got the most rejections in my life. I got all the no's possible. I accumulated as much no possible. And then I could come and then experience. So my wisdom comes from all those things that didn't work and not from those things that worked, comes from those rejections, comes from where the doors were closed to me. But you're going to tell me, my God, you're so much masochistic. I'm like, no, actually, at all. The driving force was the yearning, was the burning inside of me, this passion of curiosity. I want to explore, I want to know, see, and that's the mix of really healthy, feminine and masculine within me. So I was bumped, I was sad, but actually, then the next morning I woke up, or next month or a year, it depends how long I was like more in a victimhood. And then I started again. So I would say the torch, the fire within me, never has been extinguished. It was diminished, but it was really this, the exploration. Go to the extreme again, I'm not recommending people to do that. I said, what if I do this experiment? I went to the extreme. I went to the extreme in eating, eating sweets. I went to extreme in whatever, smoking. I went to the extreme in all of that. And you know what? I came back from them. But I said, I don't want to believe people just because everybody has things to share. I wanted really to know. I wanted my body to understand and the love of science. And I defined by science, knowledge. And when I find by knowledge, knowing oneself is, was, will always, ever be the love of science, the loving of knowing ourselves. And then I cannot call it the love of wisdom because wisdom is the accumulation of all of that. So I cannot work for wisdom. I work for knowledge. And wisdom comes with all of that.

Mino Vlachos: So I'll just give one little for folks who are listening who might not be aware of certain principles from, I will call it more, I guess, eastern philosophy. When we talk about masculine feminine, these have been called different things in the west. So, for instance, Carl Jung called them animus anima. So it's not that it's a principle that's just in the east. Also in the west, we just have different names for it. The concept is that we have both inside each one of us. So we're not talking here about men and women. We're talking about two different things completely. So I just wanted to make that very clear. If no one's been introduced to that concept before and it's something that we can make a different episode about, because I think it's important at some point to talk about those concepts and where they might support us. So now I want us to start to talk a little bit about the workplace, and I keep kind of delaying. I think the juiciest part is we're going to get to meaning in a second, but we're still talking a little bit about purpose and goals. Whoa. I see Mazen is salivating here. Go ahead.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yeah, I'm like, I cannot hold myself. Thank you. See, the fire is burning. I had a note to share before, but then you really jumped into the workplace. I really want to introduce that part now of the podcast with the bigger definition of goal, because I know lots of business folks out there and a lot of even, like, non business, but just. It's the issue of goal. Funny, I call it the issue of goal. Whenever we put a goal and then allocate to it an emotion in the future, that whenever I achieve that goal, I will be happy. We are doomed to suffering, we are doomed to struggle. We are doomed to disempowerment. We are doomed to be a victim of all circumstances that is around us. Why? Because again, we're playing with time is so we're using the mind. It's just a reflection of our mind. If we put it outside, that means the goal. If I'm happy later on, that mean we're going to super judge ourselves. We're going to be filled with expectation, and we will always miss the now moment. We cannot be happy in the future. That concept doesn't exist. It only exists in our mind and gives pressure. We only can be happy now. We can be joyous now. And that joy will bring us to the future to achieve our goals. If we put an emotional thing in the future, we will be a hostage of our own selves. I repeat it. If we put a goal outside and based on that goal, I will feel this and I will get out of that. We become a hostage of it. We have to be it. And then start to work every day with purpose in the moment, to go, to establish the intention, we want to go, then we drop all expectation and then the work happens without questioning it. Just I needed to drop all of that because I know in the business world and all of us, and this is the very active, masculine aspect, I want it to be somewhere else, and then I allocate with it emotion. It's really the formula of unhappiness. And regardless if we earn so much money, regardless where we are in money or no money, this is the formula of unhappiness and suffering.

Mino Vlachos: Yes. And so one of the things that I know that happens a lot in the corporate world is people feel like they don't feel sense of meaning in their work, like they feel like they don't have purpose in their work. And there's been a lot of research and interventions and things about how to align the organization's purpose with the individual's purpose. And the more we align our purpose with the organization's purpose, the more meaningful work feels. So if, for instance, the organization wants to go, whatever, save the whales, and I don't care about the whales, I'm not going to feel meaningful about that job. Whereas if the organization wants to go save whales, and I like saving whales, then there's a match. It's very simplistic. Right. And so then we have alignment between the organizational mission and my individual mission. One is that many organizations either lack a mission or are dishonest about their mission. So I just want to start there. What I mean by that is, if they lack one, they've lost sense of why they exist. They're this huge entity that sometimes can kind of stumble forward with inertia, is what I call it. They don't actually really understand, why are we even here? Who are we in service of? Why are we doing things for our customers that does exist? I do think that it's hard to maintain oneself over the long term in that way, but it is possible the other one is kind of hiding the real purpose, which is, we're here to save the whales, but in reality, we're a for profit business whose entire motivation is making money. So I've experienced this firsthand where I worked at a consulting company, and it was executive coaching, and the idea was that we were there to help people, support people, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But if you looked at what we talked about, what we measured, what we celebrated, it was all about making money, which is cool. I just thought it would be even cooler if they were honest about it. Like, this is an organization where we come to make money, so let's celebrate that instead of telling me, we're here to change people's lives, but all we do is celebrate money and never celebrate actually helping people. So being honest with organizational purpose will really help people feel a sense of meaning in their work. Because if you are honest about the organization's purpose, the other folks can fall under that umbrella. They can actually align themselves to that. So this is for executives, for leaders. Be honest. If you're there to make money, that's awesome. But just say it so people know what they're showing up to work for. If you're saying one thing and doing something else, it creates a dissonance that makes it very hard for people to align themselves with the organization. So one, just be honest. Even better. One, have a sense of purpose. Don't just drift aimlessly. Two, be honest about that sense of purpose. And now we get to the employee. This is just my personal perspective, and as mazen kind of mentioned earlier, it's March 2024. I change my mind about this probably every few weeks. So you're catching me in this moment of life, because there's no objective truth to this, my feeling is that employees expect too much of their employment. They expect it to fulfill all the buckets of meaning in life, and we're going to get to meaning in a second. I keep teasing it, but when I looked at it, and again, I went on a quest to really understand this, because I was really messed up on the inside. There are over, simplistically, three areas in life where we can find meaning. We can find it in our vocation, which is our work. We can find it in our avocation, which is our hobbies, our projects, the things we do outside of work. And we find it in our relationships. We can find a sense of meaning and purpose in all three of those. If we put all our eggs in one basket, we say work has to deliver 100% of my purpose. You're in for a tough time because one, it means you're going to probably be working to find meaning, which can increase addiction to work and all the negatives around burnout when it comes to work. And two, you're neglecting these other areas of life that will distribute and almost derisk your sense of meaning in life. If I also find meaning in my hobbies and I also find meaning in my relationships, even if work, I get fired in terms of at least meaning and purpose, I'll be okay, because I have two other areas that feel meaningful to me. If work is the only place I find meaning and I get fired, then what? My whole life will be an existential crisis. So my invitation is for folks who are employees. And I mean that. Anyone who's not in an executive leadership position to diversify their lives. And again, this is where I'm at in March 2024. I think my current belief system is that for people who are either courageous enough or stupid enough, or like us to start a business, find passion, find purpose in starting your business, and being a really fun journey. If you're not the owner of the.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Business, don't act like one.

Mino Vlachos: Enjoy being an employee. Enjoy having things outside of work that bring you meaning. Let the rest of us again, either courageous, stupid, crazy, I don't know what we are. We love the thrill of it, right? We're enjoying the ride. Let us put a lot of our meaning in that creation. And you focus on the role you have and the things you have outside of work that bring you meaning. Don't put all the investment in work itself. I think the most fun topic, which is how to find meaning in life. Mazen, was there anything you wanted to add to the topic of work?

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes, I'm going to resume actually what you said in a more biological sense. I just immediately wrote them down. I like what you said. Working, vocation, a vocation, hobbies and then relationship. I want to use the word balance, not the word harmony. At this moment. Harmony is more the deeper sense we're bringing inner harmony. Now let us move the most basic like balance before at least this need to try to go toward there. And it's not super difficult. That's why I'm not going to use harmony. I'm going to use balance. It's the easiest form of it. Otherwise gets too complicated for folks to try to achieve it. But balance is. Now that you mentioned those three, I'm going to go back to explain the evolution of any species. So, in a way, you spoke about work vocation. It's the productivity, an exercise that is productive for a species. A person, being an animal, doesn't matter. Hobbies. It's that what gives exploration and fun with others or alone. Animals have it. Relationship. It means connection, social engagement. So what now you drew is nothing more than the balance. The equation of balance. If those three are met, we have a balance fulfilled life. Regardless what job you do, regardless what's your goal? Because the goal is in the future. If you do it in the moment, if it's a sense of productivity. If I go to work, if my work is just to dig mine, whatever, or to clean up something, if I'm in the moment and I feel come home and I feel productive during that day, and then I find my hobby, something that's fun, something that brings curiosity and exploration. And also I connect to myself and others, that brings me a sense of fulfillment. So when we're searching for meaning in a more philosophical sense, in a spiritual sense, we're going out there, we travel, we go, we walk to Everest and then we go to Tibet to find meaning. I'm like, meaning is not somewhere far. Meaning is here at home, in yourself. And the equation is so simple. Find something to be productive. Give an example. When you see farmers or shepherds, they'll be laugh. They'll be laughing when they will be here speaking. They wake up in the morning. They don't ask the question of purpose and goal because it's embedded in them. They wake up, they bring their herds outside, they care of them, they come back home for the break. They feel fulfilled. Whenever we are productive, without overthinking, whenever we feel we accomplish something in the now, not in the future, we feel complete, then we deserve to go and have fun and bring a hobby. A farmer don't ask that question. He goes and does his thing. Then he goes at night, plays with his folks, they go in and play cards in the village. He goes home. If he connected, he connect to his wife, he connect to his kid. This is a very fulfilling life. But I don't know what happened to us in the 21st century. Everybody wants to become somewhere who are not. Go back to your ancestors. Most ancestors were farmers. Remember that. Most ancestors were in the land. It's only last 100, 150 years where we start to create something called, like those big cities and technological thing. It does not mean our biology change. Our biology cannot change when it comes to the balance of the quality of our lives. To have a meaning is to feel productive, regardless if you're paid or not for that job. I'm outside of work, I feel depressed. You know why you feel depressed outside of work? Because you're not doing anything during the day. That gives you accomplishment of productivity. When I leave work, I start to be productive by doing some small task I used to do, whatever. So anything that makes me give me a sense of productivity in the now and then, my hobbies, exercises, fun play and then connection with the people I love. The formula is simple. Anything outside of that is mumbo jumbo. And it's really to sell a dream that's outside of you. Probably it's a business scheme. Probably it's a business idea. It's nice. Somebody's trying to find a complete productive in their own amazing business idea. So it's for you to know, do you want to be a product of that or remember what 3d balance is? So, yeah, going back to the principle of the three, you can never go wrong. Never.

Mino Vlachos: It's perfect synchronicity. It is exactly the transition I was going to make into what I keep teasing. We're here, the moment has arrived. We're going tow out. Meaning Krisana talked about it in the very first, sharing in her first. So she was way ahead of us. But now we've arrived. I actually had this exact exercise where I had all these concepts again, I had this grandiosity. I had to be the next Alexander the Great. Like, I don't know, I don't know where again this stuff came from. And at some point, for some reason, I started thinking about my grandparents and my grandfather's. I'll just go through them very quickly. On my father's side, my grandfather was a blacksmith on a small island in Greece. And my grandmother was attending to the home and they had some animals, like a small farm farming. And she didn't finish elementary school. So that was my grandparents on my father's side, on my mother's side. My grandfather was an electrician. My grandmother came from farming, but then was basically raising the family in the home and then helping my grandfather with his store. He opened up a store, a little shop near the apartment in Athens. So all of them were coming from more of that background. And I sat with myself one day and I was like, okay, well, they didn't become president of the United States. Was their life meaningless? Would I look them in the eye and say, your life had no meaning? Of course. Like, I love my grandparents so much. I think they lived beautiful, rich, incredible lives, and they did it by finding meaning in their life. And meaning wasn't having this incredible goal. They did it through the things we're talking about. And it helped me reframe. And anytime I start to get overinflated where I'm like, I have to go save the world and change the world, I'm like, dude, a good life is the one my grandparents had. So can I just actually use their example and allow them to be role models for what a really nice life can be? And so with that, we turn to the concept of meaningfulness, which I think is really the juice of everything. That's what we really are striving for. We want to feel like life has meaning, and we put the goal onto it, because again, somehow, somewhere, we thought putting this big, giant goal, strapping it to meaning, would give us fulfillment, when I think it gives us the opposite. So what I thought would be interesting is a metaanalysis. So a paper that studied all the papers on meaning making came out, I think, a couple of years ago in annual reviews in psychology. And they really distilled, what are the things that make us feel a sense of meaning in life? So I'd like to go through each one. There's seven, and with each one of us, I'm going to call on one of us to share a little bit for the sake of time, because each one could be whatever, probably its own or ten podcasts in and of itself, but we're going to go through the seven things, and if you want the five minute version, you could just listen to Croissanta sharing in the beginning. Yes. Mazen.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Really exciting. I don't know, both of us here. I feel it. Like I'm like, this topic is. I hope we'll have another podcast on that part, too. But yeah, now we give the principle. There's a lot to explore in that. And again, that's the meaning. Funnily enough, now I feel meaning in what we're doing. And finally, enough, now we're explaining it. It's like looking at yourself in a mirror, in a holographic mirror. Please continue, mino. Just more. I want to share. We're excited. Yes, yes.

Mino Vlachos: So we're going to be going through seven things backed by a really amazing metaanalysis. So this is what research has shown us to be meaningful in life. The big caveat I really need to give is that meaning is subjective. There is no objective meaning. What does that mean? It means everything we're going to share. It doesn't have to be true. It just has to be what we resonate with, what we believe in. And this will make more sense as we get into it. But we don't have to actually scientifically prove that each one of these exists. We just have to allow humans to experience them because it makes our life richer. I'm all about what works for people, not what's technically, scientifically always going to be the thing we can prove in a lab. So some of these, it'll make more sense as we go and get into them. But I just wanted to say that it is a subjective thing. So if you subjectively experience these seven things, you're going to feel very meaningful. That's all that matters.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Okay.

Mino Vlachos: Drumroll. The first one is positive affect. When we feel positive emotions, we tend to feel like things are meaningful in life. Again, this is a correlation. And I will also caveat that in the west, we associate positive emotion as joy, excitement. But if you look at cultures from the east, they tend to think of positive affect as contentment, peace, acceptance. So when we have positive affect, both the more excitable version and probably the more rooted, grounded version, we tend to feel a sense of meaning in life. So now I'm going to ask Krisana, when you think about emotion, what do you think is the role of emotion, both positive and negative, in how we experience life and the meaning it gives to life?

Krisana Locke: Well, we have emotions, survival emotions, fear and anger, these emotions to help us. So when we know we're in situations that we have to use our biology and our bodies to get out of. The positive side of emotions and feelings of joy and contentment are outcomes of the subjective experience you have of.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Cooking.

Krisana Locke: A meal, of being with a lover or being with a loved one, seeing children playing. So it's very subjective to what in an internal aspect, and also what is happening in your environment, around you. So joy is created within and joyful atmosphere can give you an experience. But generally, the contentment and joy that we experience are outcomes of aligning ourselves to self inquire and to find. To find these in ourselves when we look deeply and go through negative aspects of ourselves and emotions, and to come out of them and out of that, you'll find positive, which is joy.

Mino Vlachos: If I can add to that. I noticed for myself in the work I've also done with you in the personal development, there are things that I had negative associations with. And once I was able to process them, weirdly enough, things that I considered to be at the time negative, I actually formed a positive association with them because they gave me some validity of going through something tough, or I felt gratitude because I learned something. And so over time, I was able to take things that were maybe challenging and catalyze and transform the emotion into something ironically positive. Can you tell me a little bit more about that process, Krisana?

Krisana Locke: So you mean when you felt something negative around you, have you had a negative, can you explain negative in emotions?

Mino Vlachos: Yeah. So I went through something challenging and I had a negative thing like, oh, look what happened to me, or this was very tough, or I feel afraid. And then when I was able to digest it, then eventually I was able to, whoa, I'm grateful I went through that experience. I learned something. It actually supported me. If I zoom out, it supported me to go through that. So something that I considered negative, actually, I have a positive feeling about it now.

Krisana Locke: So you framed it as a negative outside, but what was happening inside of you, you were experiencing an emotion and a sensation of either fear or sadness or anger. And the projection outside is, I'm feeling this. And so whatever I'm encountering, this is negative for me. So it's really to come in contact with these emotions to feel what is driving you and why you feel fear, why there's sadness, or why there's anger, or there's an expression that needs to be expressed. So when you start to come in contact with your feelings and also emotions or emotions that have been repressed or stagnated or you haven't come in contact with them, you get a better sense of yourself, how to have direction with yourself in your life, and how to move through these, to process them through the body, and also to have an outcome where your outside experience may not be negative anymore, but an experience that you've went through, and then you can have a different meaning and reality of it. So it's really exploring your emotions and your expression and your feelings.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes.

Mino Vlachos: And so this process we just talked about is one of the most meaningful endeavors we can go on. That is what the research shows. It's also what we can share anecdotally between the journeys that the three of us have been on. So that's the first one, is really the emotional landscape. I'm going to stick with Croissana for number two, and then mazen. Don't worry, there's more beautiful stuff for you to get in on. The second thing that brings us meaning in life are social connections. And I had this realization again when I was really pondering my family. And I have one memory that really stood out to me, is we were having a dinner with my extended family in Greece, and we had this very big dinner. And as the dinner was ending, the sun started to set, and I remember just being sitting around and just listening, and everyone was very happy and chatting. And it was one of those perfect moments. I do this once in a while in life. I kind of snapshot these moments like a still frame where everyone was just in this resonance, in this feeling of love and enjoying and basking in that kind of golden light pouring through. And I had this moment of, like, if I could just be frozen in this moment forever, how amazing would that be? But it was really the power of social connections. So, Krisana, I want to ask you, we think about how social connection can bring us meaning in life. What comes up for you as we explore that topic?

Krisana Locke: I would just like to share that what you experienced was a healthy family bonding because you were with your family, so healthy bonding. So you had a moment where everyone was happy, and we are family, and there's a biological bonding that we all belong and no one's missing or who's not missing. We're all here. So this was such a happy bonding on a family level, on a deep, biological level of belonging. Social connections help us, because when we are not islands and we don't live in isolation, and we're social animals, and it's inbuilt into our nervous system for millions and millions of years to survive. And so we feel safe, and we feel also connected to the fabric of society by being connected. There's a social engagement in our limbic system. Socially connecting with others is very healthy for the wellness of ourselves. People who, I've mentioned this in other times in podcasts, isolation is a terrible thing for people. When they cannot reach out anymore, they've forgotten that that is really important, especially when people get older. In older life, older people, they live alone. It's really important that there's neighbors that check on them or say hello to them or help them, because we cannot survive without social connection or bonding. So children need it, partners need it, friends need it, even in the street. If you feel isolated and you don't know what to do, just to even go to a cafe where you feel safe and be around people having a tea, there's something that there's a capacity for you, that you are part of a fabric of life with life happening around you, and you will feel safe because it is a safe environment. If you have that in your life, you can do this. So feeling socially connected isn't a, I must socially connect. I must have networks and socially connect online. It means the physical, visceral feeling in our body and our sensations when we're around people, physical people. So this is what's really important about social connecting and bonding.

Mino Vlachos: Beautiful.

Krisana Locke: We are social animals by nature.

Mino Vlachos: Beautiful. And I'll add to that even experiences like going to a concert, many people really enjoy that oceanic feeling of being in a group of people, a topic that there's much more to discuss on a different time. But now I move us to number three. So we've gone over emotion, social connection. Number three is a sense of spirituality, a sense of spiritual connection. And here we're not necessarily talking about religion, because spirituality or religiousness can exist within a religion, but you can also be in a religion and not have a spiritual connection. Again, we're not going to go deep necessarily into that difference today, but I want to focus on the spiritual connection today. So, Mazan, I'm going to ask you to share with us a little bit. In your estimation, what is spiritual connection and how does it help us feel a sense of meaning in life?

Dr. Mazen Harb: That's a big questioning. Where to go in. I feel like inside of you, you're smiling. I'm like, I'm going to bring this question to Mazen and I'm going to see you.

Mino Vlachos: Just wait. What else I have in store for you today, my friend?

Dr. Mazen Harb: There's still more.

Mino Vlachos: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Mazen Harb: So then let me jump on the train. The sense of spirituality again, you said it. Spirituality is not religion. Spirituality. Sense of spirituality is the sense of having connection to oneself. And once we have connection to oneself, we have connection to the outer. And once we have connection to oneself and the outer, we have connection to the whole universe. We have to know. We spend all our life knowing or not knowing, seeking that understanding of who we are. So when we starting having belief system, there are nothing more to give us a sense of spirituality, because we know without it we'll feel a vacuum. So every religious religion or any, it's based on belief system concepts. And they didn't happen by mistake. They happen because we know very well it gives us a huge meaning. And then it was more who's faster to go and fill that meaning? Religions we have at play, they really played the role to fulfill a gap. And that gap is really our connection to ourselves and to the microcosm we have within us. Once we are in a religion, we have a meaning. The issue is once we connect to that belief system, we have a meaning. The religion we have on this planet is create an identity. If I come and start to share my own belief system that's opposite to the other, it create the separation. And then it's my whose belief system is better, mine or yours? And then we went into wars last 1012 thousand years of wars, but only to answer how to have a meaning in our life. So the intention of religion is wonderful, the application of it, and then later on creating dogma, and then either this or no, and we'll kill you if it's not that. Remember, every religion there is killing in it. This is how it started. You cannot dominate on this planet without having through a rough pace of really infusing that. Not every religion, there's some religion, part of the religion, probably it's not killing, but I'm sure they did somewhere, somehow, some form of aggression, regardless how much pacifist they are. So all of it is really to answer the intention is super positive. The application is very difficult because we went from a very broad answer, a very meaningful answer, to really restricting it in belief system. This is the first sense of spirituality. The other way, and the most scary way is to drop all belief system. Then we become atheist. This is transition agnostic. So believe there is God. It gives us a meaning. At least there is God, at least I'm not alone there. And then it goes to agnostic, there is nothing but me, and it's good. That means we're questioning, we're questioning. And then it goes, funnily enough, it goes from a religious society, religious belief system, to one moment, not this religion, but there is God out there that feel connected, have a meaning of my life to go, you know what? That's it, that's it. There is nothing but me, full atheism. But actually it goes like from big to really small. And then once there is nothing but me, and then you're like, if you do not inquire more and you start meditating and bringing awareness. This is nihilism. There is nothing. There is absolutely nothing. You die, and then this is nihilism and you're stuck and the meaning. And you start to lose that meaning and you lose that meaning in your life. If awareness doesn't come, if meditation doesn't come, and then when meditation and awareness starts to come and knock on your door, there's nothing, absolutely nothing. And then you start to sit within yourself, and then you open a new door of awareness, of understanding of what is inside of me. And that's here. Another caveat or another pitfall. Then, because we are conditioned to have belief system, then we start to discover the inner. The inner is so rich, but we have to drop the belief system. And you start exploration of the inner. And then we start to create another belief system because we really need to feel safe in it. And then we go and then start teaching it based on that. But actually the inner, you're going into a journey where there's no belief system. It's really a door of the unknown. It's really a door of being super alive and always reconnecting to the self. And by and by, you are set to understand. Actually, you're not disconnected from the outside, and the belief system is just more separating you. Anyhow, I can go deeper in that, but I will stop at that now. So not to give it all, and it will be complicated.

Mino Vlachos: Thank you. You basically gave a bio of my early 20s, so thank you for. It's the exact process I was talking about earlier of going through. I was in a religion, in a belief system. I went through the class. I became more of an atheist nihilist. And then the door out began. When I started meditating, I was towards the end of university. So now, four years later, I sat down with myself. I didn't know what meditation was at all. And I just, whatever tried it closed my eyes. And it was the door, the portal for me to eventually create a sense of meaning for myself and a sense of connection outside of myself once again. So thank you for very much putting words to my own experience. Croissant, before we move on, I really do still want to hear from you on this topic because I think it is such a rich one and you have such a rich inner and outer world. What is spirituality for?

Krisana Locke: I, when this was coming up, I don't know why, but I remembered this experience I had when I was in Africa, in Malawi. It's a country traveling through the Malawi. And then we were around Lake Malawi, camping, and I went for a walk. And I was nature everywhere, but they said there was a pine forest. And so the nature in Africa, that's quite savannah like, but there was these pine forests. And I was walking into the pine forest, and it felt the atmosphere changed. It felt like I was stepping onto pine needles. And sound was different, and I stepped in, and it was not like a church, but it was cascading. And something shifted. And then as I walked in, I came in contact with an ecope deer. It's an animal. And we both were surprised. We stopped and we looked at each other. And in that instant, I did not know if I was this animal or if the animal was me. And that was such an experience. It was these big eyes, and we really surprised each other. And it was like I jumped into the animals, this beautiful animal's heart. It jumped into me. And this was such an experience beyond my thinking, beyond my feelings. And I would say that spiritual experience. So for spirituality, for me, it's something like a verb. It's spiriting in you.

Dr. Mazen Harb: I would like to use the. It helped me through hearing Krisana.

Krisana Locke: It was very touching.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yeah. And I could feel it. And then I always like to give the word communication, the scientific word. Spirituality is achieved once we start to understand our interconnectedness and that we are one in the reality we live in. Nothing is outside of us, because we're all interconnecting. And everything is bringing us that experience. It's very unique to me, but also Krisana's experience, very unique to her. It's not the same, but we're interconnected. I could perceive reality through my perception, yet interconnected. Krisana, the same way, Mino, you're the same way. And in that we're really part of all each other, the animals, nature, we're all part of one thing that have a perception from a different angle, but it's super interconnected. The opposite of it is not interconnectedness. And this is why we feel lost. And this is why means not to have a meaning, a sense of spirituality, the opposite of it. Not feeling interconnected, being isolated, feeling alone, thinking we are alone, and then understanding we are super interconnected.

Mino Vlachos: Humans are relationship machines. We talk about a lot that we're social creatures, social beings. But humans form relationships with everything and anything around them. We can form a relationship with a rock, with a star, with a tree, with a child, with a dog. These are the invisible threads that connect us, where we transport emotions across time and space. So when I have a relationship with my dog, no matter where I go in the world. I carry that relationship in my heart. I will always carry that dog with me. No matter where I go in the planet. I have a relationship to my mother. Across time and space. There will always be a corner of my heart where I have my mother with me. We carry these people. My grandfather passed away. I still have a relationship with him. I still relate with him all the time. I still call upon him for his support and his love. And I connect to the memories we used to have when I was a kid. So in that sense, my grandfather is still with me because the relationship is still there. The invisible string can't even be cut by death. So this to me, is spirituality. It is exactly what we've all been talking about. It is the interconnections that we have between everything and anything. And the more we are connected to the world around us, the more life feels very meaningful. So now we turn to the fourth thing that gives us meaning. We've talked about emotion, we've talked about social connection. We've talked about spirituality. The fourth won't be surprising. It is our connection to ourself. It is our own desire to cultivate self awareness. So Krisana, I'm going to ask you. In what ways does the journey of self awareness bring meaning to our lives?

Krisana Locke: When one understands, when one is not aware of themselves, then the journey begins. So self awareness is the spark. When you begin to become aware of your actions. You become to become aware of how you live your life. You become aware of how you relate with yourself, how you relate to others. So self awareness for me is really relating with myself, having an understanding of, I've said many times where I am, my emotions, my feelings, my sensations. And also not getting caught up in a lot of my thoughts or thoughts that may drive me in directions that doesn't validate what I should be doing. So self awareness is the key to the journey. And then you become much more aware of other aspects of life. So this is really important. Self regulation, self awareness. And the key to start with is with the body and then with the emotions and with your thoughts.

Mino Vlachos: Beautiful. So now we're going to move to the next one. This is going to be from Mazen. He's not prepared. So I'm very curious to see your reaction. The next thing, the metaanalysis found that was increasing meaning in our life is mental time travel.

Dr. Mazen Harb: It is.

Mino Vlachos: I'm going to read from the paper directly.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Okay.

Mino Vlachos: Diverse line of literature suggests that the ability to mentally project oneself into the past, into the future and even into alternative realities can enhance the feeling that life is meaningful. So I know that this is a top. I see your face. I wish if you're not watching the YouTube video, this would be a great time to watch the YouTube video. Sorry, iPhone and Spotify users. So this is really one of the things that helps make life feel meaningful again. We don't have a ton of time on the subject of time travel to.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Open up the whole.

Mino Vlachos: We don't want to open the whole universe of possibilities here. So mazen of anyone I've worked with, you have the most incredible ability to embody this. There's so many topics that we've discussed for years now. That's why I'm saying it would be years worth of discussions. I don't know how we could even open it, but I'll say a couple of things. One is within our company. 3Peak coaching and solutions. You are the vision. So you are able to responsibly cast an intention into the future in a way that allows us to organize and orientate ourselves and motivates us. Do I open this? I don't even know. You've also supported me to experience and play with alternative realities.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes.

Mino Vlachos: So this is where, when I was talking about subjective reality, I'm not here about what's true. Capital t true. I'm interested in what's effective for people. And so mazen and I have also experiences in playing with alternative realities. There's different words and labels you can hear online. Some of it is past life regression. There's all kinds of stuff, but we have fun with playing with time. So this is where I don't know what you even want to share on this topic. I know you're the guru of it. You're the one that always reminds us that time is not real. So this is your opportunity. You have a chance here to speak anything and everything on your heart about mental time travel and how that might support meaning in life.

Dr. Mazen Harb: First of all, I'm happy you're enjoying yourself. And I feel like, whoo, I'm full of all those different sensations and emotions. Thank you. I am a consciousness researcher. I'm not just a biologist, a physiologist, a neuroscientist, a sound healer, all those are labels. I'm a consciousness researcher, and funny enough, that's also a label. But just, I use it just to say that I enjoy exploring consciousness. That's it. Consciousness cannot be located only in one place. Consciousness is everywhere, all the time. It's like a radio. So when you start learning how to tune in and change the radio frequency. It's like the brainwave, why we feel and think this way, because our brainwave is at certain frequency. When we start learning how to go in within ourself, understand the microcosm, and then it's really represented, we start to be able to understand reality as it is and let go of the concept of time, which is really limiting us. And understanding time is a beautiful tool that we're believing in to make us move in this linear, physical reality. When you said it's one of the accomplishment, I didn't know. One of the meaningful thing, I didn't know. But all what I know is whenever we do mental time travel, it gives me lots of joy. So I'm like, oh, my God, I don't know where you found this article, but they know their thing. Exploring with you and with many others, exploring with myself, mental time travel and everything. It's really enjoyable. Yes, for sure. When it's done consciously with someone who knows what they're doing, and with not trying to have an outcome or change anything, I will explain to everyone how we do it on a day to day and a moment for moment. I'll start with the most easy and not the most esoteric, intuition. We clap. What is intuition? Do you remember, Krisana, we had this discussion in the car in Corsica when I was explaining intuition to a friend of us in the.

Krisana Locke: Oh, yes, yes.

Mino Vlachos: Intuition.

Dr. Mazen Harb: We're like, but what is intuition? We always know in the moment what is needed, but that what is needed later on, another moment, it changes. And then vision and knowing. But if I do that, we'll go to that. Consciousness doesn't need time to move in timelines. Intuition, I'll give it more of an understanding can be. Again, it's a moral, because whenever we define something, we define an angle of perception of it. When I have a vision about our company, when I have a vision where we're going, and then with it comes the intuition, we are capable to go see the spectrum, like the spectrum of what might be, and we see actually the outcome of it. It's not conducive. So we have an ability in our consciousness to go and then check different timelines, different probabilities. This is how the brain goes. We go check different probabilities. This is how fast our consciousness work within ourselves. And then suddenly you have an intuition to go the word there, and you're like, how can I trust my intuition? I don't want to trust my intuition. When we have an intuition, that mean our consciousness was able to check all probability and found the probability that's more conducive to us moving forward. You might say I followed my intuition and saw something bad. And I'm like, no, this is judging it as if we know everything. The mind we have, the conscious mind, cannot know what's good or bad based on what really happened. There is something we need to go to sometimes. We need to have some pitfalls we need to fall sometimes before achieving where we need to be. So intuition is the truth and it's always changing in the moment. So we always have to go. It's the opposite of a belief system. Knowing that the intuition is the micro and the macrocosm. Is that consciousness jumping, working through time and space, going through all those probabilities? Yes, it's like the AI, but a zillion time better everything at once. And then intuition comes. Do this and you hear even sometimes your own voice or a voice go this way. Why would I go this way? And we start questioning. Then we go into our mind and we let go of this connection with ourselves. This is one way to understand mental time travel. Everybody does it. The other way to understand it is through hypnosis. When we people do hypnosis in a state of super relaxation, very safe with a good hypnotist. And then they go into irregression. What we call past actually doesn't exist. It's good for people first they don't believe in it. To understand, we start to call past life. But actually it's more of a simultaneous life or simultaneous happening. Okay, it's a really complicated topic, but we'll go at that. To be able in hypnosis to get into a life or an experience that our consciousness has been through, it is we change the frequency so I can be here and then we can go and experience changing the frequency of the brain and then experience the emotions that happened during that episode. So I'm not going to go deeper. All I want to say, yes, it gives a lot of meaning. There's a lot to explore out there. There is a lot beyond our very scientific, very linear way of thinking. And then we are conditioned to time. There is another universe of science that's yet to be discovered and super fun, super exciting. And actually it's through the science of awareness, through the science of the self, through the science of consciousness. The rules and principle the science takes is everything. What's quantum physics, quantum dynamics, relativity and everything that Einstein, Planck and all of the other beautiful geniuses came before and spoke about and the eastern philosophy put together. So all of it is science and the ones who like. But it's not. No, everything is reported in science, but you still don't get it. It does not mean it's not true. So I will keep it at that. Yes, I'm done.

Mino Vlachos: Thank you again. Could be 1015, 100 podcasts on its own. Well, I'll add, and I'm going to use some words that I don't know could be offensive, but I'm going to use them anyways. When we feel anxiety and depression, we're slaves of time. And when we do mental time travel, we become the masters of time. It doesn't matter if it's necessarily capital t true. It just matters our relative experience of it, our subjective experience of it. And I know that recently, there's been a lot of movies in the last five, probably years around the multiverse, right? So we're opening up our collective understanding of some of these concepts and popularizing them. So the more we tap into things like multiverse, and again, just to have fun with these concepts, then we actually increase the amount of meaning we experience in life. So now we shift to number six out of seven, which is mortality awareness. Basically understanding that at some point we will leave this body. And for some, that triggers a sense of terror and anxiety, fear. And for others, it can actually create intense sense of meaning in life. This one is for Krisana. I would like you to just tell us a little bit about. It's such a crazy topic to open up. I was going to ask you as a casual question, but.

Dr. Mazen Harb: My God, what.

Mino Vlachos: Do you make of our relationship with death? Again, it's a question that we could talk about for hours, but we're going to do the truncated version. Okay. What is your perspective on death?

Krisana Locke: My perspective on death I have encountered seeing my mother die at home. And that was a beautiful experience. Her life and death. The door. She didn't die in hospital. We took care of her at home. So I really had a deep experience, especially when your mother, and she was only 50 when she died. That's such a deep experience. Mortality awareness. Okay. I am living life so fully now that by the time when my time in this body ends, then I will be very happy that I've really lived my life. I do know life is a preparation for death, and meditation and understanding my interiority is preparing me for that big door into the beyond. Because we're here now and we don't know, we have beliefs about it, but I trust and I don't know what it will be when that time comes, when that door opens. I'm sure I will have signs when I'm drawing near, and when I do, I would prepare myself in the most beautiful celebrative way that I am going to be entering a new door, going through, into another consciousness, and it's.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Into.

Krisana Locke: An unknown, and I will embrace it. But I don't know, because I don't know what that I'm not into the future. I'm not worried about that. But I do know if I live my life, and I live it totally, and I live it with enjoyment, with love, with passion, with compassion, with awareness, I know by the time that time happens, I will say I am fulfilled, because I am quite fulfilled. I'm fulfilled in my life, but not that much, because I still want to live life. There's more to be lived.

Mino Vlachos: Please don't leave the body right now.

Krisana Locke: No, we have to finish the podcast. So if someone says, I'm not afraid to die, one never knows the circumstances. But to really, I've explored a lot through meditation and I've explored a lot through tibetan meditation techniques and seeing your many techniques to watch your body. So the identification of the body, seeing yourself dying, or many different experiments, but really to live life first, and then when that happens, it happens.

Mino Vlachos: Mazen, can I ask you a question? And then of course, whatever you also have to share is I'm looking at the paper right now, and one of the things that it talks about is that psychologists, man, they have beautiful words for everything. There's something called terror management theory, terror management theory, which is used to explore how the awareness of mortality has the potential to evoke paralyzing.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes, yes.

Mino Vlachos: Can you speak to us a little bit about. Because Krasana gave one of the most beautiful answers I've heard in my life. And so I also want for maybe the rest of us humans, if we have fear of death, like real anxiety about death. What's your perspective on that, Mazin?

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes. So Krisana gave the voice of wisdom, the inner voice. She gave the feminine, again, not because she's in a female body, but the feminine understanding of life, which is life giving, life earning, life giving. And this is the most beautiful thing. She's nature, and that's the nature in its element. I would even finish on that. But then here comes the masculine, which is the mind, because I know our mind is, oh, I want to know.

Mino Vlachos: I want to know.

Dr. Mazen Harb: So I'm going to give it a certain understanding here. It's something that, yeah, I research again, when you go very deep in consciousness research, one of the things you research more is that there is one truth and one belief system that is across every single human on this planet. And actually that defined them. Why they are human in this body and everything where everybody agrees on the denial of death. That's what unite the humans. Imagine there are different planets out there and different civilization, and those civilization live. Imagine for 500 years, hundred thousand of years, right? They will have a different aspect. How they would know that we are human from Earth. They need to check a thread that unites the human from Earth, right? And they go mix galactically and they meet somewhere. They exactly would tune in. Ah, that's an earthling. How do you define an earthling? Battling with the ultimate truth, with the absolution, with the most absolute of things yet denying it. And then those aliens will be like, that is weird. It's so absolute. Why they're denying it. And this is the question, and this is probably, they put it here in this paper as mortality awareness. We are denying collectively this truth and we live as, no, don't speak about that. No, doesn't exist. There is no other denial that we all collectively, regardless of the culture we unite on. So that's one thing. Another thing. I'll give you an experiment. I love science. Imagine if tomorrow I tell you, you wake up Mino, you are immortal, you do not die. What would you feel? Would you do your taxpayer? Would you do your taxpayers now? Or you would do it later?

Mino Vlachos: In this moment, in my current life now, a younger version of me would have answers differently. Current me would probably not change anything about my life, because I have oriented myself to the life I really want to live and gives me meaning. So if you gave me $10 billion or told me I'll live forever, I don't think I would change. I would probably just feel a little bit more relaxed day to day because.

Dr. Mazen Harb: You are on your purpose.

Mino Vlachos: I'm on my purpose. I just have some anxieties about whatever money and this thing and that thing, and patience and time is still something I play with in a way that brings me at times pressure. If you told me I had infinite time where I'm like, okay, so I can try for infinity to get this experiment to work.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Cool.

Mino Vlachos: But younger me, if you want, I could do a younger me too.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yeah. Imagine now the rest of society, they wake up and they say, oh, we can live until 500 years, 1000 years, what happened?

Mino Vlachos: Yeah, I would probably stop doing things. Like there would be some motivation within me would probably drop exactly to do certain tasks I was doing.

Dr. Mazen Harb: So do you see why in this article, they say mortality awareness, it gives meaning to know that we're not immortal in this body. So it motivates us to wake up in the morning and take the best out of it and make the best out of it. So actually, mortality, it gives a meaning. So again, everything is a concept, a belief system. So we create a concept outside of ourselves to give us motivation and meaningfulness. But it does. Okay, now I'm going to hit hard. But it does not mean mortality is true. What do I mean by that? If you do not know meditation and awareness and knowing going within mortality is 100% true, you will die. And this is fearful, this is scary, it's horrible. And everything around you will die and cease to exist. Once you start to know yourself and going within, you understand, actually, you will never die. You'll let go of the body, but who you are never dies. And again, it's going to might be conceptual. And I invite everyone to deepen their experience with knowing oneself, connecting to oneself, going instantness, going in silence. The ones who knows awareness, the ones who knows meditation deeply doesn't fear death and knows when death arrives. And I know experiences. I did lots of consciousness research. Most people, they get the signals that they will leave the body. Because nobody makes you leave the body other than your own consciousness. Yeah, it's also different. Difficult one to digest. That's why I'm so relaxed, because I realize across all the studies I've done, nobody leaves the body if it's not timely, because there is a consciousness still taking care. It's a different topic for a different time, but we have to play it to be motivated and to do those project. It's still collective belief. Let us play with it, but it does not mean it is true. It's like time. We're using it as a way to accomplish and to experience something within time and space defined also by death.

Mino Vlachos: So that bridges to the last one. Each one of these is getting more interesting, right? Yeah. We started with emotion and calling a friend. Now we're talking about the existential fabric of consciousness, the number seven. The last one that we're going to talk about is existential mattering, that I am significant within the fabric of time and space within the universe. So I'll read again from the paper. Mattering is tied to the belief that one's existent will continue to influence others across time and space. So I'm going to put my spin on it a little bit.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Yes, I wanted to say, please answer first. We really would like to hear your spin on it.

Mino Vlachos: So I'm going to pick up right where you left off, which is the concept of separation. And it's really around again, the concept of connection. It's all intertwined for me. When I started to tap in to meditation, the more extended and started creating relationships and bonds outside of myself, whether it's with a rock, with a tree, with a dog, with a human, I started to understand that I'm not alone. And then I started to feel a relationship with the universe. So you can tell me, you can define universe any way you want. What you can't doubt is that I create a relationship with my concept of the universe so we can relate and form connection with everything infinity around us. And that is what I started to do through meditation. Not intentionally, not consciously. It wasn't like I was sitting there, like, I'm going to relate with the universe. But I started to really understand, why don't I have a relationship with matter or antimatter or this galaxy or that galaxy or time or whatever this thing called universe is? The more I started to extend myself and see myself as part of a whole. Like, why is a human separate from universe? Why am I separate from infinity? I don't feel like I'm separate from infinity. It doesn't make mathematical sense to my brain. So I am part of infinity. I am one in this ocean that we call life, universe, existence. And when I felt that connection, then I felt a sense of significance. Because universe is me and I am universe. I cannot separate them. Only when I separate them can I see myself as small and pathetic and human and irrelevant. Because, yeah, tomorrow a car can hit me in New York and I leave the body, I'm gone. But something within me, mathematically, scientifically, will continue. My matter will become something else. My molecules will rearrange themselves into something else. The building blocks of who I am physically will become something else. Even in that, even if you don't believe in spirituality, even if you don't believe in consciousness, a fact of the universe is matter cannot be created or destroyed. It can be transformed. So all you can do is transform who I am into something else. And so will I have a post post this life. Will I have a human consciousness that thinks the same way I do? I doubt it. I don't know, but I doubt it. I doubt I will be a human reflecting on my life in the way humans do. Will my body transform into something else? Absolutely. That's inevitable. And in that way, I carry on into something else. For me, that gives me a sense of significance. For me, that has helped me feel like existentially I matter. I can also make those things happen in this time and place. As a human podcast, I have different thoughts about the concept of legacy, but I do feel like I can do something to support the next few generations of humans on this earth. And that is one of the things that every day keeps me motivated. With threepeak, there was one day, I think I've shared this with Mazen, where I was struggling with my motivation. And I felt know we started a business and we started knocking on doors and those doors were closed, closed, closed. And I kept being like, well, if no one on this planet, I started to catastrophize. If no one on this planet in this time and space wants what we have to offer, but I believe it's valuable, what do I do with that? And I was on a plane to Germany and I had this epiphany that there are kids that are going to be born 200 years from now who will inherit, I believe some things that are going to be tough because I don't think we're building replenishing sustainable systems. And for those kids, I call them the kids of 22. 22. For those kids, I would like to leave something. Maybe they find it, maybe they don't, maybe they know it's there in some esoteric sense, maybe they don't. But that's what motivates me, is that for those kids, 200 years from now, when they want something, some kind of support across time and space, I left something that might support them to build a society on a different foundation. So even in that local sense, if I expand my time horizon, I can feel incredible sense of meaning, even when I'm getting no's nose, nose, rejection, rejection, rejection at work. So for me, that is how I start to parse out my existential meaning. And the last thing I'd like to share, which is again, about my personal relationship with the universe, sometimes I use the american indigenous First nations, great spirit. When I think about my relationship with great spirit and I meditate that earlier version of me, that who was nihilistic and felt like everything was meaningless and cold and dark, wasn't connected with great spirit, wasn't connected with universe. Now when I've created a relationship and I feel into this entity, what I feel is not, yeah, bubbly, warm, like, oh, I love you, love you, love you. But what I feel is something different, which is total and complete acceptance. And in that sense, I feel love. It's a cool love, but it's a love nonetheless. And I feel like all of creation around me supports me in that way and doesn't necessarily support me to get the Mercedes, the Ferrari. What it supports me is to just be me, to just exist in this time and space, to just enjoy being who I am and being the experiment of Mino. And that's all that's, I think, asked of me, is to do the experiment called Mino, and each one of us does the experiment called Mazen and Krisana and Joe and Sally. And in that I don't feel judgment. I think the universe is putting on a big play, and we get to be a player in that play.

Dr. Mazen Harb: That'S deep, deep, beautiful, and allow it to sink in.

Mino Vlachos: Is there anything either of you would like to add to our topic of existential mattering and significance?

Krisana Locke: One of my experiences when I lived in Chile, I went to San Pedro de Atacama. It's the highest desert in the world at such a high altitude. And I arrived, this is many years ago, and I arrived in the afternoon. And so I slept in a small heart, small pencion, and when I woke up, it was already dark time, nighttime. And when I stepped outside, I had never seen so many stars in all of my life, because there was no pollution. And it was such an existential meeting moment of my God, there is so much more than my limiting sense of myself. So many stars, so many. I've never seen so many planets, so much beyond. And it was just mind blowing. My mind was blown, I was in awe. It was like you could touch them. As I'm talking, I see a lot of my experiences of existential happenings is through nature. Is this so? I really encourage people to go to these places, to really explore, to be in nature, because even a blade of grass after meditating with the dewdrop on it is such a universe in itself.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Wow. I'm very touched and rejoiced. I invite the speaker, if they're still with us, to really do a small experiment. There was like lots of valleys and hills. And during this podcast of emotions and feeling and sensation, what if I tell you here now, that what you felt, some very subjective to you, but some others, we literally now were feeling it, and you say, but I heard it another time, again, time doesn't exist as you know it, and it does not mean now when you hear it, we're not present with you. So the moment you'll be listening to this one, do not consider we existed in the past, it doesn't exist. It exists, and then it's a projection of us in the now moment with you. So every feeling you're going through, we are with you. And you might feel know. I feel things around my heart when Mina was sharing, when this Ana was hearing. And I know by fact you will feel the same exact thing. Beyond time and space, we're constantly sharing through the electromagnetic field of our hearts, through those frequencies. Doesn't need time nor space to be felt. And this experiment you will be noticing you're feeling sensations, feelings and emotions, knowing by fact we are aware, now you are feeling them. And it doesn't matter if you hear it now or in ten years, this podcast, it will be the same. You will feel us in ten years, us, what we felt at this juncture of time. And one last departing word. Because I love to give experiments proofs when we speak about consciousness. Remember when you were a kid and you were growing up, there was a tiny voice in your head.

Mino Vlachos: Your own.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Voice, sometimes guiding you. And this voice still exists for the ones who relate through auditory and not visually. I relate a lot through auditory sensation. We each one differently. You grew up, you grew up, you were small, you perceived yourself as small. Remember? And try to see that that voice of you that is guiding you never aged even one bit. How can it be? I leave you with that question. How can it be that voice that's guiding you never aged. It's always the same tone, it's always the same age. Regardless if you change, it's the voice of your consciousness that exists beyond time and space that is guiding you because you are an extension of it in the physical body. I don't want you to believe everything we said today. I want you to go and question and explore your consciousness and trust that your consciousness will be so happy that you're questioning it and explore it. And it will give you all the signs and all the path to go. Discover it based on what you're capable of.

Mino Vlachos: Lovely. And so in the last now almost 2 hours, because we've had a lot of fun today, we covered a lot of topics. We talked about purpose and how purpose is meaning plus a goal, and how having a goal can sometimes shift our behavior and increase things like anxiety, depression. And it makes it difficult to actually feel a sense of fulfillment in life because we've put a lot of pressure for something outside of ourselves. We talked about how this also applies in the workplace, and how sometimes the companies can be doing a better job of having an organizational meaning and purpose, and then the employees can find their own meaning and purpose, both within work, but also outside of work. And then we had a lot of fun talking about meaning all the different things, at least in terms of the meta analysis that's been done that bring us meaning in life. And so with that, I'd like each one of us to give some closing thoughts, and then we will slowly close this podcast. So, Krisana, what would you like to give us as a parting gift as we leave this podcast?

Krisana Locke: My parting gift is for everyone to recognize and establish trust in yourself, trust in your body. That's the first step on the journey.

Mino Vlachos: Beautiful. Mazan, what parting words do you have for us today?

Dr. Mazen Harb: Something. At the beginning of the podcast, I said I'm not going to answer about it in one word, in one sentence. I will answer. The meaning of life is to experience life. That's it. Either you experience it and you're aware that that's why you are here for, or you refuse to partake and you struggle with the decision that you decided to do experience life. So you can also remember who you are.

Mino Vlachos: My parting words are if you recall some of the stories that each one of us shared around things that felt meaningful. I love when Krisana shares her stories. You can really sense you're there with her and the deer, or when she was talking about the blade of grass and the dew drop. Each one of those stories, you can feel like there's almost electricity in the air. That electricity, in my opinion, is connection. It is the connection and the relationships we form with ourselves and outside of ourselves, whether that's, I've said it many times to a rock or to the entire cosmos, whether it's to a beautiful starry night in a place that doesn't have light pollution, or it's our dog, our family, our children.

Dr. Mazen Harb: Connection.

Mino Vlachos: Connection. It is for us to open back up to form connection, and from there, meaning will follow. And with that, we thank you for listening to this podcast episode.