Discover the foundation and benefits of Dynamic Listening with Dr. Robert Dee McDonald. Learn how to understand your mind, transform your emotional life, address painful memories, heal through stories, and practice the crucial skill of deep listening.
Whether you want to improve your relationships, your career, or your well-being, this episode will give you invaluable insights and tools to enhance your communication skills and unlock new levels of personal growth.
Episode HighlightsOur relation to our memories is the difference between profound happiness and PTSD. With the right technique, we can transform every relation and thus the state it causes. Click To Tweet"Listening is of profound importance. It's made of the ability to put myself in the shoes of another person, and I teach people how to do that and how to get out again. Because if you get in the shoes of another person and you can't… Click To TweetListening does not mean approving, but rather taking the time to hear and understand others Click To TweetNon-judgment is impossible; what most people truly want is no *negative* judgment Click To TweetEmotional health is the easy ability to enter (and exit) all three perspectives (me, you, observer) Click To Tweet
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About Dr. Robert Dee McDonald
Dr. Robert Dee McDonald is a renowned speaker, author, and coach who has taught in 19 countries for over 40 years. He is the creator of the Destination Method, a transpersonal coaching technique, and the co-author of two popular books on NLP and spirituality. He has a doctorate in divinity, a master’s in counseling and mental health, and is a certified NLP master trainer. He is also the co-founder of The Telos Healing Center and a former board member of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
Top Things You’ll Learn From Dr. Robert Dee McDonald
- What is The Destination Method
- How Dr. Robert has used it to help 250,000+ people resolve unnecessary suffering
- The simplest way to understand manifesting and what it really is
- Defining and understanding the mind
- Traditional psychology education lacks a consistent definition of the mind
- Identification and addressing of mental blockages rooted in understanding mind structure
- The mind’s structure is the same for all human beings, across all cultures
- Our collection of mental representations largely colors our state and entire life experience
- How to address trauma and emotional distress
- The Destination Method helps alleviate emotional distress by changing the way memory underlying the traumatic experience
- Most people have never experienced the deepest levels of listening. When they do, it’s profoundly healing.
- How to effectively listen and communicate
- Effective listening requires compassion and understanding, putting us in the other person’s shoes
- Professional listeners elicit more information by providing patient and non-negative judgmental support
- Codependence occurs when we cannot separate ourselves from another person’s perspective
- Disagreement and misunderstanding should be embraced and addressed constructively
- There are several levels of listening ability (ordered from least to most impactful):
- Recognition of fact
- Recognition of emotion
- Recognition of fact & emotion
- How to find peace and acceptance
- Looking for the positive instead of the negative has a positive impact on individual and collective lives
- Depth of understanding is undervalued in today’s society, but still important for personal growth and fulfillment
- The power of listening and empathy
- Lack of listening is responsible for countless conflicts and contentions globally
- Listening does not mean approving, but rather taking the time to hear and understand others
- Listening helps everyone, even those who have harmed others (by understanding their perspective)
- Empathy and listening are fundamental for civilization to exist
- Dr. Robert’s Upcoming Course: Dynamic Listening (mention NICK URBAN to save $250)
- Book: Tools of the Spirit
- TV Interview: Dr. Robert Dee McDonald on How to Resolve Grief
Nick Urban [00:00:05]:
What if in 1 to 3 hours, you could resolve the biggest obstacles holding you back from your version of your perfect life, whether that’s intense grief, that’s limiting beliefs, restlessness, and even all kinds of different physical problems? Not only is this possible, but our guest this week has worked for 50 years with a quarter of a 1000000 people around the world to do exactly that? Now this might seem like a departure from our usual topics of health, wellness, and performance, especially of the mind body variety, but let me assure you, this is a foundational layer? And in this episode, you’ll learn one of the most important and powerful skills to your overall quality of life, something that can help you actually make those behavior changes at a much faster rate? We all know the basics of healthy lifestyle, but it’s in the implementation, actually making those changes, that trips us all up? Joining us this week is a personal teacher of mine who I’ve actually directly studied under and will be joining again in about a month for his upcoming course? He is doctor Robert McDonald. Doctor Robert is the creator of the destination method, an author, an NLP master trainer, an internationally known speaker, cofounder of the Telos Healing Center, coauthor of Tools of the Spirit, a transpersonal coaching text and author of the best selling NLP book of all time called the new technology of achievement? Doctor Robert has taught at universities and institutes in 19 countries around the world for decades, he holds a doctor of divinity, a master of science in counseling and mental health, is a former board member of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and former director of mental and spiritual wellness at the center for new medicine? This will be a 2 part episode. The first one, you can find all the links to everything we discuss and information about his upcoming course and everything you need to know at mindbodypeak.com/ the number 126? And then the 2nd part of this episode, which will be released in the future, will be at mindbodypeak .com/127. If you want to see some of his work and the transformations people are getting in as little as 1 session, you can find those at teloscenter.comteloscenter.com. And if you wanna reach out to doctor Robert directly, he was nice enough to give out his email to all of you, and that is robert, robert, atteloscenter.com, spelled the same way as previously. Alright. Ladies and gentlemen, sit back, relax, and enjoy this essential conversation with doctor Robert McDonald? Doctor Robert, welcome to MINDBODY Peak Performance.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:03:39]:
Well, it’s good to be here. Thank you.
Nick Urban [00:03:42]:
Yeah. So my partner, Navia, actually introduced me to your work a while back. And then earlier this year, I went to your ultimate communication skills, and it really was the class on ultimate communication skills. I learned a on from that and not only learned, but I actually implemented what I’ve learned in my relationships, both professional and personal, and I’ve seen a huge friends, others have noticed too and made comments. So I wanted to get you on the show today and discuss both that and then also the more pressing part, and that is what is coming up down around the corner, about ultimate listening and dynamic listening and healing through storytelling? So will you be let’s begin today with what you’ve done for your health and performance so far today.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:04:33]:
What I’ve done for myself today for health and performance, well, I’ve taken a nap, and it’s been very good. And I’m I’m a big believer in naps. I made sure that once I felt a slight bit of tiredness, I thought, well, I’ll just make sure that I’m on top of my game here by making sure I’m I’m clear, my mind is clear, my body feels good, I’m strong? I woke up this morning, of course, and I took care of my body, mind, and spirit, through prayer, meditation, deep deep meditation, I did exercises to stretch my body, particularly my hamstrings, and then I made sure that I was fully more and more fully aligned internally? And that’s, of crucial importance. I I do that actually not simply in the morning when I wake up, but before I work with someone, I I see many, many clients and they come to me from all over the world? I see them on online. I do a lot of work on Zoom, and I’m always at the time when I’m working with the people, as I did this morning, I worked for a couple of hours with somebody in India, I made sure that I was, completely aligned body, mind, and spirit, so, I opened myself to the good, which is part of what it is that I’m aware about I look for the good, I find the good, praise the good, share the good, this is necessary as a conviction the conviction that in of goodness in myself and my client? As a consequence of that, I was wide open. I was able to do work that she described as pretty astounding. So I’m I’m very happy with the way that I organize my life to make sure that I’m at peak?
Nick Urban [00:06:20]:
And how do you go about that? Because a lot of people say they check with themselves and they align before they go into their day or before they make a big decision, what does that process look like to you?
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:06:30]:
Well, specifically, the process is prayer. I do and I meditate. So prayer is basically speaking, with a positive attitude, making sure that I I I declare what it is that, I want to be so, in order to produce something that’s very strange, it’s in order to produce a result that is the future becomes the past? So when the when the future is the past, it means that it’s already done. This is what people mean when they talk about manifesting in the world. They don’t usually know that they mean that, but that’s that’s usually what they mean. To manifest requires that I know that what it is I want is already mine? Well, how do I how could I possibly know that? Well, it would mean that the future that I want is now my past and I relate to it as the past? This is a a big, unfortunately, unknown understanding in the in the manifesting world? I call it making sure that I’m aware that the future of the future if I’m in the future of my future, then that means that the future that I wanted has already happened. And so what I do is I declare that that’s So so declaration prayer is a lot like declaration. That kind of prayer, metaphysical prayer, is a a kind of a declaration that it’s already done and and give thanks for it.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:07:53]:
So a part of my getting prepared for the day is gratitude, and without gratitude, joy is impossible. The found the the source of joy in human life is, is thankfulness? To be thankful and to be sure to pay attention to what is so that is worthy of gratitude? Well, my whole life is worthy of gratitude. I’m I’m extremely thankful. And every day, I make a point of giving thanks. So some people will talk about it as they’re they get kind of upset about, well, wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean that’s some sort of religion or God or something? And words like God, religion, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, things like that oftentimes will frighten people instead of just changing the word over to the good? It’s just they just those words just mean the good. And when I, I so therefore, I in the morning, I what it looks like for me, when I wake up is I’m invariably I’m grateful and say that I’m grateful, I make a little prayer. I happen to be Christian, so I I talk and say, thank you, God, thank you, Jesus, but it it’s because of the way I was raised.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:09:02]:
If I were raised somewhere else, I wouldn’t be a Christian. So, the the my experience, to be a follower of someone who believes so deeply in peace and love and joy and mercy and forgiveness? So I follow that, I feel real good about it, and I say thank you, for that which other people think has not been done, but by giving thanks, it’s done in my mind, and therefore, I reap the benefits now?
Nick Urban [00:09:27]:
Okay. That makes perfect sense. So then tell us about your background. Like, what is how’d you get involved in this work and why did you pursue this? Because this is, like, not the typical coaching work that you see most people practicing?
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:09:43]:
I got involved in this work as a consequence of my family, upbringing. I was raised in an alcoholic and verbally abusive family, we we loved each other as best as we possibly could? I know that my parents, loved me. My brother and sister love me. I love them. But but the the family dynamic, many of the issues and, energies that were going on in the family had to do with alcoholism and and fear and, secrets, lots of family secrets? And so, as a consequence of of that, I wanted to find out what is there anything that could be done to heal myself and my friends, my family, and so on? And, I became, I’m I’m endlessly curious. I wanna know what’s going on. So I decided to find out. And, after going through the US army during the Vietnam War, I realized while while in there that I was deeply interested in learning? And so I Studied everything I possibly could.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:10:42]:
I got out, and I decided to become to go into psychology, and I got a bachelor’s degree, you know, BA in psychology. And and then I decided, well, I’ll just open a business? And I was very successful in the manufacturing and wholesale business, but it wasn’t enough, it didn’t touch me deeply? I wanted to be touched deeply. And while I was doing that, I learned that I was also counseling, coaching people, and having groups? I created the 1st, communication skills groups that I ever was the, was a leader of in 1970, so 53 years ago now, and I just kept doing that while I was in business? I’ve always been a self employed businessman, and I did the did all the work, necessary to then go on and get a master of science degree in counseling and mental health with an emphasis in marriage and family counseling, because it seemed to me that that was of deep importance to find out what I could do and how I could do to improve my life? Well, it turns out that, even with all that education and all that background and many, many workshops and and teaching courses and clients and so on it turns out that at no time did the university education teach me what I needed to learn? I needed to learn what the mind is. And The truth is in in the world of psychology, if anyone goes into a a university, goes to psychology department, and asks the people who are running the psychology department and the teachers, what are you studying? They’ll say psychology, and I say, well, what’s what are you actually studying? What is psychology? And when that question is asked, it’s interesting that invariably in those departments and with those people, there are arguments. They don’t actually have an agreement as to what psychology is. Some will say that it’s about behavior. Some will say it’s about cognition, changing the word thinking into a larger word cognition, but they don’t come to an agreement as to whether or not they’re studying the the mind or the brain? In fact, many of them in psychology say, we don’t pay attention to the mind at all? We we’re just interested in behavior, or, no, we’re just interested in the brain, or, no, we’re interested in the chemicals that produce the brain, and what we call thought, but they don’t define thought? And as a consequence of these, the teaching, the regular traditional teaching that does not define the mind, certainly at any consistent fashion, what happens is that nobody quite knows what they’re trying to accomplish? It looks like they’re trying to accomplish, some sort of healthiness in people, but, well, how do you do that? What what is the means by which a person changes their emotional life? How does that happen? And So I’m a stickler for that. I went and I go, okay.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:13:26]:
So let’s say that all psychologists, approve of self esteem and self worth and self love and self respect, in which they tend to say, so, okay, so what is that, and how do you get it? You know, California many years ago produced it took it cost $6,000,000, I think it was, for them to define self esteem in California but it’s, like, after the definition, so how does a person change? What changes so the person has greater self esteem, self worth, self confidence? In business, self confidence is crucial. Well, what is it that stops people from having that, and what is it that changes when a person changes from a sort of self doubt into self confidence? What changes? Well, the mind. But if we don’t have a definition of the mind, then we don’t know what changes? And and people say, well, it’s idiosyncratic. You know, different people have different ideas about what the mind is, and it might not be the same. That’s not true. The truth is the mind is the same in every culture around the world. I happen to have taught, courses, trained people. I’ve trained people in 19 countries around the world.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:14:30]:
I have a doctorate in theology, because I went beyond the physical, the emotional, the mental, and went into the spiritual? I wanted to find out all about that I could on that. I’m very glad about that. That helped me tremendously. And I’ve taught people how to change their lives in the twinkling of an eye, worldwide, and I’ve been doing that worldwide teaching since about 1980? So, I’m I’m very happy with that, but what I’m unhappy with, what I didn’t get, as I think your question was about, I didn’t get in any of the formal education what really was necessary, an articulation and and a conviction of what the mind is? Well, I happen to know precisely what the mind is, and as a consequence of that, I can ask people what they’re doing, that’s producing the the the issue they have, the blockage they have, and then I can ask them, to do a few things and find out if the mental form that creates it has been changed? And it’s pretty simple. I’m not special in my abilities to have people talk about my work as being kind of miraculous, it’s really it’s wrong. It’s it’s just I happen to know what the mind is and how it works, and I can teach people how to do it. When I tell people, they usually go, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that must be it, and then they go right back to sleep again, and they don’t notice that the mind is going on always. And, by the way, as I mentioned, the entire world of human beings has exactly the same underlying structure of the mind.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:16:02]:
The mind is made a mental picture sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells, and those mental picture sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells actually create emotions and the and actions? And our emotions and actions produce the results in our life? Well, every business person wants to know and every athlete wants to know, how do I get the results I want? It’s all result oriented. Well, if a person doesn’t know how the mind works, they can be wasting a great deal of energy trying to get results that they could get more directly.
Nick Urban [00:16:31]:
It’s really interesting when a whole field of study can’t even agree on what exactly it is that they’re studying. And, of course, how can you get the results that wanna get if you can’t even agree what the the whole process is?
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:16:44]:
Well yeah. And it’s it’s not the same, for example, in the medical model, which is not the psychology model and the counseling and coaching model, in the medical model, there is no disagreement. If you go to a medical, department at a university, and you say, hey. What are you studying? They’ll say medicine. You say, well, what do you mean? And then they’ll tell you. They’ll talk about chemicals and chemistry. They’ll talk and they’ll talk about, neurological structures, they’ll talk about the bodily structures of every sort? They’ll talk about the body. They’ll talk about medicine itself, the chemicals that are required.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:17:15]:
They know what they’re studying? They know what bones are, and they know what laryngitis is. You know? They they know, and this this is what we’re studying, and and our intent is to help resolve a a a physical suffering by helping people with their with medicine and other forms of intervention? So the medical model actually knows what it’s studying? But it’s not true in the world of psychology, and that’s unfortunate, but and what’s even more unfortunate than that is that in the world of psychology counseling, coaching, mental health, there’s an attempt to be like the medical model? Which is really unfortunate because in the medical model, the medical doctor says to the patient, I’m your doctor, you’re the patient, you don’t know anything about this, you need penicillin, and whether you argue with me or not is silly, and if you argue and you don’t want penicillin and I give you penicillin anyway, the penicillin will work. You you really don’t have any choice in the matter. Penicillin does what penicillin does, and I know and you don’t know and so there’s no point in talking to me, so just be quiet and accept my authority? Well, that’s the medical model. There’s one authority and it’s not the patient? In in the world of my world, which is what I create, I created the destination method. The destination method is an integration of compassion and technology and that, which produces very measurable results from in the destination method, the the authority is the client? That’s why I I I begin by asking the client what the client wants. In medical model, the pay the doctor says, this is what you’re gonna get, this is what you need. I’ll explain it to you, but you’re not a medical doctor so you really don’t have any say in this.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:18:57]:
Well, that’s not the case in the destination method. The destination method is, what do you want? And then I, as a destination method coach, assist the client, in getting exactly what they want, not what I think they should want? I don’t tell people, this is what you should want. I don’t do any diagnosis. I don’t do psychotherapy where it’s required to be a psychiatrist psychologist or psychiatrist. I find out what they want and help them to get it. And, typically, they get it, about 1 to 3 sessions, they get exactly what it is that they want.
Nick Urban [00:19:27]:
Yeah. A big part of that is change. And I’m guessing from, like, knowing your background that a lot of that has to do with suffering and resolving that suffering. And I think that the general perception is that this type of thing takes many months or years or even decades through the traditional talk therapy? And how is it that you’re able to go in in 1 to 3 sessions on average and, like, clears on the stuff? Like, what are people coming in with and what is it you’re able to help them with that causes that change?
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:20:00]:
Great question. Well, what people come to me with is is they’re wanting? They usually come and say what is unhelpful. They say what they don’t want. But that’s I expect that, that people are trained to say what they don’t want. So I say, what do you want? And they say, well, I don’t want to be unhappy anymore. Well, that’s what they don’t want. So I remind them that in the destination method, I’m like a taxi driver, even if somebody gets into a taxi somewhere, anywhere in the world, the taxi driver says, where do you wanna go? And if the passenger says, don’t turn left, don’t turn right, don’t go there, don’t go then the taxi driver says, Tank, I know what you don’t want, but what do you want? Where do you wanna go? What is the result that you want? Is very precise in the taxi world. So when I say to a client, so, what do you want? And they say, well, I no longer want to, have such low self esteem? I feel kinda like an imposter.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:20:52]:
I keep talking to myself and telling myself that I’m no good? I I don’t I don’t wanna, don’t want that. Well, then I know what they don’t want, but I don’t know what they want. So when I stay with them a little longer, I said, what do you want? And they they eventually say, well, if I no longer had that, you know, I don’t wanna continue doing what I’m doing. What I do want instead is self deemed self worth, self respect, I wanna feel confident, I wanna be able to speak in public without being afraid, I wanna eliminate my fear of the dark, my fear of public speaking, my fear of writing a grant, my fear whatever it might be, they go, you want to eliminate the fear? You wanna deal with the fear? Yeah. And what do you want as a result of that? Well, I I wanna have confidence and self respect and self esteem, this is quite clearly more about what they want than what they don’t want, and then I find out, well, what’s stopping you? And what’s stopping them is invariably within. It’s not externally. Intelligent people in business recognize this, that businesses don’t fail because there’s not enough money. They they fail because there’s lousy communication within the business, what people need are improved communication skills so that people know what each other is talking about and trust.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:22:05]:
If there isn’t trust and safety, a sense of comfort, real trust, like, I can rely on you, you’ve got my back, I’ve got yours, we’re not gonna be able to do business well together. So, there needs to be an internal change in order for me to to sort out, do I wanna work with this person? Do I trust this person? Am I trustworthy? Yes, I am. And then they need skills, how to talk, how to express themselves, what they feel, what they want, what they think. They need to be able to assert? Assertiveness training is of tremendous importance in business to be able to assert, not be aggressive, but also not be passive, to to tell the truth? So when I people will bring to me typical things like that or something serious like what they call post traumatic stress disorder, which is very, very, very, very popular now, a person says, well, I’ve had this trauma. Well, if we define trauma loosely enough, there isn’t anyone in the world who’s not traumatized by something? So everybody is underneath this diagnosis, which makes the diagnosis kind of silly, but the person says, okay. Whenever I think about driving over a bridge, I get afraid? And I can’t because I remember when, I was in a car accident near a bridge a long time ago, and they go, oh, so what stops you is is the memory. Well, post traumatic stress disorder is a language. Post means after.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:23:36]:
After there was a painful event, I have stress? And it’s a disorder because whenever I remember it, I have stress. So the thing that’s hard for people to understand about trauma is potentiate stress disorder is telling you in the title that the trauma doesn’t exist anymore? It was 10 years, 20 years, 30 years ago, or last week. It’s in the past, the trauma is not happening at all? And so what is it that they’re upset about is not the trauma, what they’re upset about is the memory of the trauma? And if they, pay attention to the memory of the trauma and if they want my assistance, I can help them to remember it just slightly differently? And that slight difference in the way they remember it, they no longer are upset when they remember it. So I don’t I don’t diagnose people, and I don’t cure PTSD. I just assist people so that they are able to think about the events, that they previously were unable to think about comfortably? Now they can think comfortably. I’ve worked with veterans have come back from, one time I worked, a black ops veteran, people who I I happened to have been around during the Vietnam War, so I was very lucky to work with a a man who had spent quite a long time in Vietnam, and, unfortunately, his legs were blown off there, and he would he trusted me to help him with what had happened to him, 38 years before I met him, because he was struggling? He couldn’t sleep at night. He would he he had to take 4 different kinds of pain medications to stop the pain in the legs that he no longer had? His legs were gone. So he had what’s called phantom pain.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:25:21]:
He had, had to wake up, as I mentioned, many times at night. He was trying trying to feel comfortable about those memories, he couldn’t? So I worked with him. I even videotaped that, matter of fact, years ago, a long time ago now, and assisted him so that he stopped taking his medication, he longer no longer felt bad about what happened, the traumatic memory no longer was painful at all, the memory doesn’t it didn’t bother him at all? Well, that meant that I had to know the structure of the mind. If I don’t know the structure of the mind, I could have talked to him for years and reassured him that he was okay and tell him, look, pay attention. You’re not there now. It wouldn’t make any difference. His mind has to change, and I knew that, so I help them do that? I’ve had those kinds of experiences with trauma. I’ve worked with countless women who’ve been raped or molested worldwide, I worked with a woman out in Holland who, she became relatively well known as a consequence of being on television there, and she had been raped by, a serial killer, a psychopathic serial killer, had raped her and left her for dead? He thought she was dead, she wasn’t, and she had to deal with this 20 years later? And, for 20 years she suffered with a terror, a horrible memory, and then it got even worse when he was let out of prison? So, I’ve worked with her once and she no longer had those kinds of fears, was okay? And she still, to this day, she lets me know how happy she is that, that we met.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:26:54]:
But it’s not about me being special. I wanna make this point. Anyone can do what it is I do, but they have to be dedicated? They have to first have a leaning in the direction of compassionate interest in the resolution of suffering. If they don’t have that, can’t manufacture that. That has to be kind of their talent. They lean in that direction. And then they have to actually be committed to the acquisition of the understandings and the tools? And that’s that’s a concern those those are require require effort.
Nick Urban [00:27:22]:
So what I’m think I’m hearing you say is that all suffering has a memory at its core, and it’s the relation to that memory that we have that causes the ongoing
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:27:34]:
No. I I’m not saying all suffering, has memory at its core because some suffering is about something that hasn’t happened at all. With no memory, there’s an expectation? This is called anxiety. So, traumatic memory is always about the past, so a trauma must be about the past. It was, like, I was harmed as a child, or I was harmed as a teenager, or I was harmed as an adult, whatever it is. That’s about the past? I got a painful memory about the past, but anxiety is never about the past, it’s never a memory, like, oh, anxiety is what might happen tomorrow, the next day, my business might fail, my marriage might fail? I might become a bag lady on the street? Oh my what it’s what if questions. Well, what if, you know, what if I get in a car accident? What, you know, what if, all this stuff fails and I’m poverty stricken? These are anxiety producing internal questions. So the what what all suffering has in common is is the mind? So if we think about it this way, the mind, human mind, is made of representations? So that, what I mean by representation is right now, if I say to you, what’s the Eiffel Tower look like? I’m not looking at the Eiffel Tower and neither are you, and it’s like and yet I know what the Eiffel Tower looks like because I have a representation of it that I see in my mind’s eye, I don’t in other words, I don’t see it anywhere in the room and I’m not in Paris, I don’t see the Eiffel Tower anywhere physically, but I see it mentally.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:29:11]:
Well, the mind is made of mental pictures like that? That’s an image. Mental pictures and sounds, what I say to myself in my mind’s ear. Mental picture sounds, feelings, what I kinesthetically feel, bodily feel, and what I smell and what I taste, mental representations are the mind? So if I alter my mental representation, what else is altered? Well, if I change what I see in my mind’s eye, it will change my emotional life? Anytime there’s a mental change, it has the power to change emotional experience. Motivation? Most business people are profoundly interested in motivation, and they don’t know what the mind is. So how are they gonna assist somebody in being motivated? So motivation means that I have that I have mental representations that move me toward what I want and away from what I don’t want. Well, those representations will come in the form of pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells, just as just as memories, painful memories, come in the form of pictures, sounds, feelings, taste, and smells? Anxiety comes in the form of pictures, sounds, feelings, taste, and smells. All emotions, doesn’t matter what they are, they they come, and emotional suffering, we talked about, comes from the mind. Change the mind, you’ll change your emotional life, change your emotional life, you’ll change the results you get in your life so if we think about it as hierarchically arranged, results are the bottom, the thing that I want, the measurable results that I want.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:30:38]:
Well, I want more money in my life, I want a new house, I want a car, I want a relationship, I want whatever it might be, finish the university, that comes from actions. Actions give me give me results, and actions are colored by emotions? Well, both actions and emotions are caused by thoughts. Thoughts create actions and emotions, which then create results. And they go, well, is it that simple? Yeah. It is that simple, but a person has to study to know what’s a thought made of, and then when we have enough thoughts, when we organize thoughts, organized thoughts create beliefs. So beliefs at a higher level. Beliefs contain organized thoughts. Beliefs if you change your belief, you’ll change your thoughts, you change your thoughts, you change your actions, change your actions, change your results.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:31:28]:
So if I believe that I’m worthless, then I’ll act in accordance and I’ll produce those results in in life? And beyond beliefs is identity. Who do I think I am? What have I learned in my life? What do I feel? What do I want? What do I think? So if I’m up here in this place of identity and make a change about who I think I am, everything below that changes? It’s a very pervasive change. So identity is a very high level of change, but people don’t have to go to an identity level to change their behavior. They can just simply change what they say to themselves in their mind’s ear. If they keep hearing every day, life is and then you die, they have this kind of, oh my god. No. Life is shit. Then you die.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:32:10]:
Or I’m worthless. I’m a fraud. I’m no good. Or they hear not their voice, but they hear their mother, father, sister, brother, their boss’s voice, they hear somebody’s teacher’s voice, and it just goes on and on? That internal voice, which is a thought, will create emotions that will disallow the kind of behaviors necessary to have success? So if we change the thought, then we don’t even have to go to beliefs and and identity. Although, I do that. I often, most of the time, much of the time go there, but it’s so simple to change things at the level of thought and then we get a change in emotions and actions and, therefore, we get a change in the results that people get in life? These kinds of things I’m talking about, I take for granted I the hierarchy that I just created, I just pointed out to you, this is a hierarchy that I found, that I’ve created, that I’ve always called the creative order? Creative order is that there’s an order to creation. So if I wanna create something, I need to understand that I want results? Results come from actions. Actions come from my thoughts.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:33:15]:
Thoughts come from my beliefs. Beliefs come from my identity. Identity is linked to soul or that which is between the infinite and the finite and and then a soul, is linked to that which is infinite and beyond knowing, the unimaginable? Well, from the spirit, through soul, through identity, through beliefs, through thoughts, through actions and emotions, come results? So the higher up I go in the creative order, the more powerful the change is? When I’m working with clients, I don’t explain all that stuff because they don’t need to know all that stuff. I just help them because I know that’s how it works. I know the path. I’m like a taxi driver. They say they wanna go they wanna change something. I know how to change it, and I just help them to go to the level that is need that needs the change? And typically, it’s just a thought level, but it might be a belief level, in which case I have many ways to help people change their beliefs about themselves, in fact, that’s what’s coming up in November, on November 7th through 12th, I’m teaching the dynamic listening training it’s a train it’s a professional level training for profession for professional level listening skills.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:34:28]:
It’s not it’s not just hanging around, fly by night training. It’s an actual training. It’s for people who really wanna know professional level listening skills because they want to be able to create safety and rapport at the deepest level, and then they also wanna know what’s in that course, which is therapeutic metaphors, that means the stories that produce deep change, healing change, healing stories, they need to know they wanna know about that, I teach that and how that works and they do it in the class, and then finally, I teach them how to change beliefs, core, core limiting beliefs.
Nick Urban [00:35:04]:
Doctor Robert, I wanna continue on dynamic listening in one second because that’s a very fascinating topic, and I’m sure most people listening right now already Think that they’re a great listener because I personally believe that I believe that I was a great listener, and pretty much everyone I talk to tells me the same thing that they’re one of the best listeners out there they’ve come across? And that’s not often the case, and we’ll get into that in a second why. But back on the previous topic of the of your creative order, of course, like, it’s tempting to wanna change identity immediately because of all the downstream effects that can have. But are there any, like, exercises or things we can do to notice our thoughts that are not serving us the way we want or go about working on the lowest level right there?
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:35:49]:
No. It’s just a question oneself. What I do to find out what’s going on is that I go, oh, wow. You know, I don’t feel quite right. When I think about going to that party? I I don’t feel quite right. When I think about asking that person to pay me the money they owe me, I don’t feel quite right. Kind of an what does that mean, don’t feel quite right? It doesn’t say what I do feel? That sentence, I don’t feel quite right, does not say anything about what I do feel, and that’s what people have been trained to do. What’s needed is to come down, this is what I do, I feel what? I feel some tension, bodily tension in my stomach or in my heart area come to the come home to the body, notice what’s there, as opposed to say, you know, I feel anxiety? Well, nobody in the world knows what the world word anxiety means to you.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:36:37]:
What does anxiety well, I feel tension in my heart, and I call that anxiety. The label doesn’t matter? I know, I feel the tension in my heart, and say, oh, when do I feel tension in the heart? When I think about asking, let’s say I’m a closer or let’s say I need to close a sale or something or whatever it might be, whether it’s in business or personal transformation, and I get this feeling, well then I go, well, this feeling does not come from the air. Where does it come from? And so an intelligent way to address one’s and understand about thought, creating emotions, is to pay attention to the the result of the, of the thought, and that is going to be felt bodily experience, let that let that feeling be stronger instead of trying to get rid of it? I don’t have to look into my identity to do that. I just notice, okay, let it get stronger until it gets strong enough until it becomes an image I can see or a sense since I can hear or a memory that I go, oh, yeah, I’m thinking about such and such. And when memories are made of pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells, so what is it I’m looking at? What is it I’m hearing? And I go, oh, this feeling, I got it. I’m I’m I’m saying to myself, I’m stupid, or I’ll never succeed, or I’m a bad person, or whatever it might be? Well, when I hear it, I need to quote it. I need to actually hear the sound the sound and quote it. When I quote it, I go, that’s exactly the sentence structure that produces this.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:38:12]:
If I hear some other sentence structure, it doesn’t produce that? It has to be that sentence structure. And then I alter that sound. If I alter that sound, the emotional reaction, which is in the felt, in the body, will and must change? Unless it’s held together by a belief. If it’s held together by a belief, then it will find a new way to do itself? But, typically, about 75% or so, it’s not held together by a belief. If it’s held together by beliefs, then we have to know how to work with beliefs. So when I teach people how to do what I do, and that’s my course Healing the Wounded Heart, I go deeply into what methods work for what? You know, what what are the I teach 8 of the most powerful interventions there are, and I go, this works for that, and this works for that, and that works for that, so on, and I and I point out to them, well, yeah, you can change thoughts very easily. You can change words like, I’m no good, you know, I’m worthless, I’m helpless, I’m hopeless, I can change those words very easily and have a change because the thought changes, but if, in fact, afterward, that is there, it’s still there, it’s it’s not a failure, it’s feedback. There’s no such thing as failure, actually.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:39:28]:
There’s just feedback. We get information about what what what doesn’t work, and we start then looking for what does work. And then we go, okay, so it’s not changing the thought that needs to be done. It’s going to the level of belief? And once we if we’ve discovered that the person has been holding a belief that is essentially organized thought, then we need to change the belief? And there are many, many methods for changing belief, they’re much too complicated to explain here today, but many of them and and, essentially, the essence of changing belief is changing the way in which I see and hear my experience? So, the attitude, change in change my attitude, change the way that I hold the world, and so that there’s a new a new way to hold it? Beliefs are beliefs are organized thoughts that say, well, generally speaking, if I go to a door, there’s gonna be a door handle or a doorknob somewhere? As I believe that, I walked up there, and I already have that programmed. I go, hey. That’s what it is. And so if I have that same sort of program about my value and it’s no good, my value is no good, I just believe that, then I have to alter that, that belief and the attitude that it produces? And that can be done, definitely. Once we alter belief, thoughts change? Thoughts cannot remain the same when the belief changes.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:40:54]:
And identity will change beliefs. Identity level changes, will change beliefs? So you go, well, what what’s an example of an identity level change I think is reasonable here? Well, I don’t know if there are many people who remember Muhammad Ali, what it used to be called, his name was Cassius Clay. I don’t know how many people remember that stuff, but Muhammad Ali, who was a champion of the World in Boxing heavyweight champion, his, his birth name was Cassius Clay and he decided to change that? He decided to change his identity, who he was? Now, that’s one way to think of identity as the name. So he changed from Cassius Clay to, Muhammad Ali. When he changed this and came into complete adoption of the meaning behind that change, everything else changed? His identity changed, his, his beliefs about the world and himself changed, his thoughts about the world and himself and behavior changed, everything changed. So identity level change is very high, and can be addressed? And I do it. I help people make whatever level change they wanna make. For example, in codependence, when people are codependent, it’s kind of a popular thing.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:42:05]:
It used to be called co alcoholism back in the day. Co codependence is simply a confusion of identity? A person doesn’t know where they end and another person begins, and so they’re I’ve confused my identity with my mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers or husband or wife? I’ve confused my identity with somebody else, and the consequence of that confusion is that I think their pain is my pain when in fact, if I knew my identity, I’d go, no. It’s not. I’d be able to separate out. And so relieving people of, codependence is an identity level change, and I happen to have created the means by which that occurs, and I’ve taught it worldwide for a long time? So we can change identities, and, we can have spiritual awakenings. We can go right on as high as you wanna go? I don’t tell people, hey, listen, you’re gonna see me, we’re gonna do a spiritual level change or identity will change? I don’t do any of that. I do the simplest, easiest thing first. Simple, easy.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:43:08]:
They might come in saying, I you know, I heard you can work with identity, change my identity? I said, well, to what? I I have no idea. What is there a problem? What do you want? So the first question to ask a client is do you wanna continue to have, the problem you have? And if they say yes, they want to continue to have the problem, well, then we don’t do any work together.
Nick Urban [00:43:28]:
Let’s talk more about dynamic listening. What it is, what it looks like, how that fits into storytelling. If you think men need more work at this than women on average? Let’s dig into this now.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:43:42]:
Okay. Well, In terms of men and women, it’s oftentimes thought that women are better listeners than men or the other way around. In fact, unless a person’s been trained in how to listen, they’re equally ineffective? Listening requires a suspension of, knowing? Or another way to say that is humility. So that I have to to listen well I must be able to leave my point of view? So there are 3 points of view, my point of view, another person’s point of view, and an observer point of view. I must be able to leave my point of view, take the point of view of the other person, which is my client, and suspend my my way of seeing the world, and find out what’s their way of seeing the world, that suspension requires humility. In fact, the virtue of humility comes when I’m able to take another person’s point of view? Most people are stuck in their own point of view. They they’re stuck well, they’re stuck somewhere. They’re either stuck in their own point of view or they’re stuck in another person’s point of view? If they’re stuck in another person’s point of view, they become codependent.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:44:52]:
But, they people get stuck out of their own point of view or flexibility? So health, emotional health, is defined in the destination method has easy access to the 3 points of view, and in order to listen well, I must be able to put myself in another person’s point of view and I and then ask questions humbly until the and so I actually wanna know, and then I listen without, without a negative judgment. Now I I I purposely put the adjective negative judgment? I do not listen judgmentless. There there’s no such thing as being without judgment this is the most popular thing I see in popular culture is they go, you know what I want? I I just want I don’t wanna be judged at all. No judgment? No judgment. You know? No. I think you’re wonderful, so there’s no judgment here. No. That’s not true.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:45:47]:
It’s just patently falls, if you think I’m wonderful, you’ve made a judgment? Yeah. So and to say there’s no judgment is a judgment. There is no way to avoid judgment and be a human being at the same time? So what do people mean when they say, don’t judge me? What they they don’t mean don’t judge me, they mean don’t condemn me, don’t negatively judge me. That’s what they really want. I want it and everybody I meet wants it. Look, don’t judge me negatively, judge me positively, look at me and go, you’re worthy of talking to? You don’t have to praise me and think I’m wonderful. You don’t have to say I’m the best person in the world, but that I’m worthy of talking to. That’s a judgment? There is no possibility of escaping judgment and being a human being at the same time.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:46:37]:
It cannot be done. Try it. And if you disagree with me, that’s a result of a judgment? So judgment is always part of being a human being. It’s judgment’s necessary to tell the difference between a swimming pool and a baseball diamond? We have to be able to determine the difference between one thing and another. So, what what happens in effective and deep and professional level listening skills is I carry a judgment. I carry a judgment into the work, and the judgment is that the person I’m talking to is good, their being is good, their behavior might not be good, behavior might be terrible? I talk with people who’ve engaged in such terrible behaviors that make you wanna vomit, but that that’s their behavior can be terrible, but the being is good, and so I walk in with a with a conviction, a judgment that they’re good, and then I say, okay. Let me find out what is it they’re doing, and in order for me to find that out, I must listen well. I must find out? Well, what, you know, what is it that you’re saying? And the person says, well, I’m telling you what I’m saying.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:47:48]:
I feel I feel really bad? I feel on my case, I feel sad and angry and all that, and, and so if I hear that and I say, well, what what are you talking about? And they say they say, well, you know, my dog’s dead, and that’s so terrible, and then I think I’m being compassionate and I bring out a picture of my dog and I say, I got a dog? It means I haven’t put myself in their shoes to realize that talking about my dog is not exactly what they wanna do? What they’re interested in doing is sharing with me the grief that they have over their dog being dead? So I need to be able to hear them and be with them in their pain, not be afraid of their pain or my own, but be with them and notice that they want to be free of it and they need to be heard? I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who are stunned to be in the presence of someone who can listen? It’s a shock. If I often say this. If I could teach the world one skill and I had no and I’m gonna die and nobody’s gonna know anything else, had to teach them how to listen? Because it’s what’s missing. I mean, take a look at what’s going on in our world and throughout throughout the USA and the rest of the world, the gigantic, horrible kinds of contentions and the the fighting, the unending fighting? It’s it’s based on the inability to listen, to listen well? Listening doesn’t mean that I approve of what the other person is saying. It means I’ve taken long enough time to hear them out, to let to be present with them, put myself in their shoes? Because guess what? Everybody, all the time, is doing the best they can given the givens of their life? If I talk to somebody, who’s harmed, like, I’ve worked with many people who harm their children, so I work with them, if I say, well, this person’s not worth listening to, then I won’t listen to them and no one will? And then then there’s reduces the chance of the person having some kind of relationship that allows them to look a little more deeply into themselves to find out the answer to this question, would how would you feel if somebody did that to you? That’s what’s missing. So if I can listen well, I can assist, potentially, in in someone, even somebody who’s seriously disturbed about things? Yes. Listening is fundamental for civilization. If I can’t put myself in the shoes of another, we don’t have civilization.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:50:23]:
Civilization requires the ability, to see the world from the other person’s eyes and to treat and to come up with this, you know, I’d like to I’d like you to treat me in a way that, I’d like to treat you, I don’t wanna treat you in a way that I wouldn’t wanna be treated, so I’m gonna change my behavior. This is do unto others, the golden rule that comes from compassion and understanding? So listening effectively comes from that place, that’s the foundation of effective listening, putting myself in the shoes of another, and be able to listen to and give back to the person who’s speaking what they feel, what they want, and the reasons for their feeling? And they start telling me about it, and pretty soon they’ll tell me more. Effective professional listeners are typically responded to by the client by the client telling more and more and more and more and more because they finally have somebody who’s patient and taking the time to hear them out and has a positive judgment? I’m gonna emphasize this because I think it’s one of the most horrible things that ever happened to our nation, this thought that it’s possible to be non judgmental? It’s absolutely horrible, and, well, that’s a judgment of mine, isn’t it? I’ve just judged it? Well, what if I said it’s good? That’s a judgment. What if I said it’s not horrible at all, it’s neutral? That’s a judgment. There’s no way. You cannot avoid judgment. So, this idea that we can produces a great deal of suffering because then I can get on my couch, oh god. You know, I’m I’m so upset about that child molester.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:52:03]:
I shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t have a judgment about child molestation. What? Really? People start to feel guilty and ashamed of things that actually are so. Yes, I’m upset about it? Yes, that behavior is unacceptable? It’s atrocious. It’s unacceptable. It must be stopped. That’s a judgment. But that doesn’t mean that I have to regard the human being as evil.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:52:33]:
See, what’s happened in the in the nation is this confusion of the word ego ego and evil. People say, well, that’s your ego, and they say it in a tone of voice, like, somehow it’s horrible? Well, guess what happened if you didn’t have an ego? You wouldn’t be able to you wouldn’t be able to know what to buy at the grocery store. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store? You wouldn’t be an I? Ego simply means I am. So when people start thinking ego is somehow evil or devilish or satanic or something, they they just haven’t been paying attention? What we need is to move away from, cynicism, cynicism is a presumption of the negative, and presume the good? So I say to people, look for the good, find the good, praise the good, whatever it might be? But that requires, with most people, a lot of discussion nowadays because there’s so much pressure to believe in the bad, that a cynical person says, you opened the door for me. I know why you did that. You wanted to humiliate me. Wait a minute. How did you come up with this conclusion? Well, that’s what people do when they wanna dominate and humiliate.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:53:47]:
What? So looking for the negative instead of going, thank you, I appreciate that, looking for the negative will produce terrible consequences in in individual lives and in collective lives and societal lives, community, and so on? So it’s like, look for the positive on purpose, deliberately, but to teach this, of course, runs smack into people going, that’s not this and that’s not that, so I have to spend some time asking questions? I don’t do what I’m doing now. I’m talking without listening. I don’t do that when I’m assisting somebody in awakening to a new level, I don’t do what I’m doing now? I’m what I’m doing now is rattling on about different things that have are controversial, and somebody might agree, and somebody might disagree, and there’s no time nor room nor an audience to talk to to bounce it back and forth where I could say, well, this is what I mean, to help a person come to a a deeper understanding? Here’s the reason why, depth is not as prized as it used to be. When we have when we’re watching television and every one second, the scene changes, movies are like that now, we have rapid, rapid, rapid social media, there’s there’s no there’s no pull toward depth. Well, depth means slow down. That’s what it requires, in-depth understanding, in-depth heartfelt feelings. Well, that’s not as popular as it used to be, unfortunately. It still exists, of course, but it’s it’s not as popular in in the public sphere.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:55:18]:
So listening is of profound importance. It’s made of the ability to put myself in the shoes of another person, and and I teach people how to do that and how to get out again? Because if you get in the shoes of another person to listen well and you can’t get out again, this will be very, painful to you eventually? It’s called codependence. You mean if I become defensive about something? If I feel like I need to to justify, I I just need to ask myself, what what is it that I did? Do I approve of it? If if I’m frightened, the need the word need is not clear. So it’s like, if I’m frightened and upset? Well, then, clearly, I’ve got a problem. But if I if I go into it and go, you know, I don’t think you understand. I would like you to understand, maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but I’m gonna give it another try, here’s my motivation for why I did that. I hope you can understand, but if it moves from hope you can understand to, oh my God, I’m really upset because you don’t understand, then there’s something going on with me? And I need to find out what that is. How can I become more comfortable in the face of disagreement or misunderstanding? So the the the goal in my life, and I believe in the lives of everyone, to come home to the body, come home to peace of mind, I’ve got to be at peace within and say, this is true of me, not to be non judgmental, that’s not the means by which it occurs, but to be at peace with myself as I am? And that takes a bit of work.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:57:31]:
I’m in the process of doing that with myself all the time. I make mistakes all the time. I need to find out? Do I regret that mistake? Yes. Well, then apologize. And then I do. Why I apologize? Because I want things clean between myself and someone else where I made a mistake that might have hurt that person? And what I go, oh, yeah. I did that. I’m sorry about that.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:57:54]:
I really, yeah, I didn’t want to I I really regret my behavior. A real apology. There are very few real apologies I hear in social media. Apologies are usually false apologies in social media such as, I’m sorry you feel that way. That’s that’s not an apology at all. That’s kind of sympathy. It’s too bad that you feel that way. An apology is regret.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:58:16]:
I regret that I spilled the coffee on your new clothes? I’m sorry. Okay? That’s I regret it’s not, I’m sorry. You feel bad that your clothes are ruined. That’s just kind of sympathy? So to really apologize requires, I notice my behavior is one that’s less than I’d like it to be. In fact, I wouldn’t like to treat I wouldn’t like to be treated the way I just treated you? And so I noticed that, and I’m sorry that I treated you because I wouldn’t want you to do that with me. Really, Nick? I I treated you that way, Nick, and I, I wouldn’t want you to treat me that way, so I’m sorry. It’s a standard? So I’m telling you I have a standard that you can rely on in the future. That’s an apology.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:58:58]:
Well, we we don’t have much of that now. And this is my experience, I’ve I see it that way. I watch a a fair bit of of the media, and that’s, seems to me that it’s a it’s so it seems like pulling teeth for people to just take responsibility. Okay. If I did that, I did that. Man, if I if I care about myself and about you, I’m gonna wanna clean up my communication. Tell the truth? So I wanna be independent, and that brings us to the definition of independence. And there’s a huge struggle, it seems to me, today.
Dr. Robert McDonald [00:59:38]:
People wanna be independent and they wanna be dependent at the same time. Big, big time struggle. People are going, I wanna be independent, but, at the same time, they wanna be able to rest their head and let somebody else do it. They wanna be dependent. Well, independence and dependence is a profound struggle. There are ways to resolve that particular conflict, which, I teach people how to do, but independence is exactly the same thing as honesty? So to the degree that I’m honest, it’s a degree to which I’m independent. And if I can’t be honest because I’m afraid of it, well, then I’m not independent.
Nick Urban [01:00:13]:
Doctor Robert, in this very first part of our show together today and next week, I want to put a wrap on this part, and we’ll talk about 2 other things, and then we’ll go on to the 2nd part. And between then, you can let people know how they can reach out to you. They can join if they are interested in joining the course before it happens? And before we go on to that, I know when I was in your last course in July, you mentioned that there are, like, 3 stages of listening and it made it easy for me to conceptualize the difference between, like, very simplistic listening that most people are doing on a daily basis versus the as you called it, I think it was level 3 listening, which is different and much more profound than the 1st level?
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:00:59]:
I don’t usually think of those levels of listening. There’s certain, I certainly can listen at a level that’s, I think you must mean this, whereby I, I distract. A person talks to me and they say, hey, listen. You know, I ran over my dog today, and I distract by talking about my dog. And that’s a serious problem in relationship in that the person hasn’t been heard at all, I change the subject. So the words come in. I know the words. The person did tell me that their dog died.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:01:34]:
They told me that they themselves drove ran over their own dog, and they feel guilty about it, and I just say, well, I got a dog, and I’m on the same topic, dogs, but I haven’t noticed, what they’re saying about their the actual experience and their and the feelings for the experience? So that is moves people away from listening, well, and it puts them and it distracts from what the person has said? There’s another level of listening where the person would I respond to just the data, which is, oh, so your dog’s dead? And that that’s just hearing data, and many people are, seems to me most people think that listening is purely that. Persons, they listen, somebody talks and tells them their life story or whatever it might be and the listener just notices the facts, the data, the step by step stuff, and says, okay, so you were born here and you went there and that happened and just get content? That’s another level of listening, which is just content, just data, that, may be the only thing that can be done. If a person speaks to me at that level, I can’t do anything but listen at level because there’s nothing else, but what if they talk to me about, the feelings that they have? The dog is dead and they feel really bad about it, you know, because, you know so what they’re saying is they’re not only telling me that the facts, the data, the content, which is the dog is dead, but that they have an emotional experience, and I if I if I hear just the feeling, that’s a certain level, similar to just the data or just the feeling? When I hear somebody who tells me the feeling that they have and the reason for the feeling, so that they say it’s causal, once I get that, then I’m listening at a very deep level, not the deepest level, but on a very deep, deep level, when I hear the person tell me what their emotion is, what what happened, and they claim that that’s the that the cause of that, of the emotion that they’re experiencing now comes from some data that they’re giving me? And then there’s a deeper level, which is whether or not they’re responsible for the emotion? So if I’m if I’m stuck at only at either distracting because I wanna talk about myself so much, I don’t wanna talk about them at all, that’s, ineffective listening? If I if if the person is telling me deep feelings and reasons for feelings and taking responsibility, but all I can do is hear the data, that’s a just a different form of distraction? So I must be able to identify with some precision At what level, the person is speaking to me? And then I must be able to join that level, give back that level of listening, so that the person walks away? The goal of that, the person Feels profoundly heard? What happens when people feel heard is they’ll tell you more. That’s one of the reasons why people actually don’t wanna listen, because they don’t want them the other person to talk anymore. They want them to shut up. So they go, well, they know better than to listen well because if they listen well, the other person will say, wow, I’m being heard, and they’ll start telling more. But my work is the resolution of unnecessary human suffering? And because that’s my work, I want to hear the person at the deepest possible level that they’re capable of accessing and then I go there with them? I go right there with them to the deepest level of what they’re feeling, the reason for their feeling, whether or not they take responsibility for it, and Whether or not they have something that they wanna stop doing or something they wanna start doing. So I I stay at the with them? I’m with them, like like dolphins in the water.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:05:29]:
I’m with them so that or birds, a flock of birds that fly together and then change direction? I’m right there with them. And this is a, this can be taught? What can’t be taught is the leaning in the direction where the person enjoys that, the leaning toward compassion, the leaning toward understanding, that that can’t be taught. Some people are geniuses at making a lot of money, they’re not geniuses at listening, and they don’t care. They just wanna they they have all kinds of ways that they do it. Well, that’s great. You know, God bless them. Do do what you’re leaning at. But many people want to be heard, and they wanna know how to hear.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:06:11]:
They lean toward compassion, they lean toward understanding, and they just need tools? And so I teach them. Like like, let’s say a a child goes to a doctor when they’re of 7 years old and they go, wow. I wanna be a doctor. I like the smell of alcohol and being in the doctor’s office and then, well, there are people who will teach they don’t they don’t know at 7 all the things they need to know, and they won’t be able to know them till they’ve studied, and now they’re in their thirties, and now they really can do what they wanted when they were 7? But guess what? Between 7 and 30, they got a lot of studying to do, but they have to have the leaning. My point is, what is the natural leaning of the person? Is it toward compassion and understanding? Well, if it is, then they they then a, a, that’s great, b, they need teaching, they need to learn, they need training. This is how you can improve your ability to, manifest compassion and to assist people in the resolution of their suffering? One way is listening? It isn’t the only way. It’s, it’s fundamental. Can’t do without listening, But there are many other ways.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:07:20]:
The the the metaphors that we use in in the storytelling that I teach in this class in November, By the way, those the people who are interested in this, they can just, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but if they if if you’re interested, then just email me. Don’t worry about it. Just tell me you’re interested, and I’ll get back to you. But if people want to know how they they wanna be a better and better listener. They they can go by getting trained in that, and then if they want to learn tools like storytelling tools they’re not gonna wanna know storytelling tools unless they’re leaning toward helping people resolve suffering. But when they do want that, stories are astonishingly powerful for helping, children and adults? I’ve worked with so many kids, and it’s it’s so wonderful because their their lives are obviously made of stories, and, I just help them to embellish the stories they currently have, to make stories that are better and better for them, that reduce their fear? So they’re not afraid of, the dark anymore? They’re not afraid of getting sick. They’re not afraid of their parents dying. They’re not afraid of wetting the bed.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:08:33]:
They’re not afraid of how does that come how does that come about? Stories. The, you know, the stories will stories teach children what’s real and what’s not real, what’s true and what’s not true, what’s healthy and what’s not healthy, stories impact the physiology. Now a lot of people say, well, that can’t be true. The mind can’t create chemicals, but it’s not true. The mind does create chemicals, and anybody knows that. It thinks about it for a minute. If you think about eating a lemon that doesn’t exist, I don’t have a lemon in my hands, but if I think about eating a lemon right now, and I am, I can feel already saliva coming into my mouth that wasn’t there prior to my thinking about eating a lemon? The saliva is chemical. My body has created chemicals as a consequence of my thoughts? Well, do you think that might have something to do with physical health? Adrenaline adrenaline is is created by thought.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:09:31]:
If I’m convinced that there’s a tiger behind my couch here, my heart rate will go up, my blood pressure will go up, adrenaline will shoot through my body? And if that’s sustained over a period of time, my body will get sick. Thoughts can cause sickness? And I’ve worked with children who’ve had, for example, bodily symptoms like rashes. They talk to him about story with a story, and the rash is gone? Well, that’s impossible, isn’t it? It can’t be done. No one would agree with that if they hear me talking about it on this talk and I don’t wanna blame them? It sounds crazy. Then the best thing they can do is try it? Just try it. And if they don’t try it, well then Well, then then they don’t know whether or not it’s so. In other words, be scientific about it. Part I mean, if you help somebody resolve an issue with their father or mother by forgiving the father mother that forgiveness becomes a profound intervention? But if I don’t know the nature and structure of forgiveness, if I don’t know what the mind is, I I can talk to them.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:10:37]:
I can tell them. Hey. Why don’t you go over there and forgive them? Forgive your father. I go, yeah. What a why didn’t I think of that? But they don’t know what to do. It requires understanding what the mind is. The mind must change. Forgiveness means to let go of the demand that the past is different than it was.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:10:57]:
Wow. Well, how do I do that? Well, all I know that I can tell you now is the past is a result of what you’re thinking now, So we must change our thoughts about the past. Suddenly, I no longer demand that the past be different. When I do that, I’m free of the past for the first time. Well, that can be done? And I do that all the time.
Nick Urban [01:11:19]:
And, also, I’ve heard plenty of interviews with big celebrities, business people, you name it. A lot of them mentioned storytelling as one of the most important skills they’ve developed over their lifetimes because it helps you build relationships faster and deeper, it helps you, like, retain information, it helps you change and transform in ways that other scientific lingo and jargon can’t?
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:11:44]:
What I’ve developed is a step by step means by which we can elicit stories this current story that doesn’t work And then change that current story to one that works.
Nick Urban [01:11:55]:
Beautiful. Perfect note to wrap our 1st part of the interview. If any of you guys decide to take up Robert on his offer, his email will be I don’t know if you should put it in the show notes. I don’t want you to get too many emails.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:12:08]:
I will keep put it in there and make sure everybody everybody sees my email address because you can email me, and I will respond. Look at my website and you can see, the new, the handout or the flyer? Unless you have that flyer. I don’t know if you have that flyer. Do you?
Nick Urban [01:12:25]:
I have it. Yes. And I’ll also put in the show notes links to some of the other interviews that I’ve seen you on and you working with clients if those are publicly available, I’m not sure if they are, but I’ll look around and put these resources in the show notes. In that way, people can look at and actually see your method in practice and see real life examples of the results people are getting? And I can speak from personal experience that Robert is the real deal? And if you guys decide to show up, I will be there also, and we will learn a lot in the 6 days we have together.
Dr. Robert McDonald [01:12:59]:
Mean, by the way, those videos are many of them, if not most of them, are on the 1st page of my website. They can click on there and see several interviews that I did with Carolyn Lovewell, they just click they just watch the video working with shock, trauma, and grief. Click on it, and you’ll see me resolve shock, trauma, and grief with the woman who found her mother dead in the tub? So, yeah, all of that’s possible.
Nick Urban [01:13:22]:
Alright, doctor Robert. Thank you for joining me on the Mind Body Deep Performance podcast. Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this episode, which we’ll be releasing next week? I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and hit the thumbs up. I love knowing who’s in the 1% committed to reaching their full potential? Comment 1% below so that I know who you are. For all the resources and links, meet me on my website at mind body peak.com. I appreciate you and look forward to connecting with you.
Connect with Dr. Robert Dee McDonald
This Podcast Is Brought to You By
Nick Urban is a Biohacker, Data Scientist, Athlete, Founder of Outliyr, and the Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast. He is a Certified CHEK Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, and a Performance Health Coach. Nick is driven by curiosity which has led him to study ancient medical systems (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hermetic Principles, etc), and modern science.
Music by Luke Hall
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