The Eye-opening Science of Spirituality | Dr. Anna Yusim

Anna YusimWe all want to live good lives, and so often we turn to science to help us out along the way. For better health, state of mind, relationships, and more? I love science, I’d even consider myself a research nerd. But, I’ve also come to realize, there’s a place for answers, ideas, and practices that are softer, less provable in a lab, yet equally, if not more, powerful in their ability to serve as a source of healing and possibility. And, some sense of spirituality is a part of this. 

Which begs the question, do we really have to choose science or spirituality, or are they actually incredibly complements to each other? My guest today is Dr. Anna Yusim –  psychiatrist, bestselling author of Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life, and founder of the Mental Health and Spirituality Center at Yale, who argues for a place for spirituality at the good life table.

Anna’s unique blend of traditional psychiatry and spiritual wisdom explores some fundamental questions: What does it really mean to live authentically? Where can we truly find guidance along this journey? And how can we achieve balance between our own needs and the needs of the collective in a world that often pulls us toward self-focus?

Raised between Moscow and Chicago, Anna was shaped deeply by her mathematically gifted mother’s spiritual curiosity that blossomed under the shadow of secrecy in the restricted USSR. Eventually training at Stanford and Yale Medical School, Anna became increasingly aware of the fact that everything she’d learned at the top institutions in the world wasn’t enough. It was leaving too many to suffer. So, she began centering more of her “other side,” spending years traveling the world to ashrams, temples and spiritual centers, seeking spiritual wisdom as medicine for the human condition.

As you listen in, open your mind and ask yourself: What new perspectives could expand how I see myself, my purpose and my place in the world? Are you ready to find fresh wisdom in unexpected places and chart your own authentic path toward living a good life marked by happiness, meaning and peace of mind? What’s the role of synchronicity, interconnectedness, and intuition in decision-making?

This conversation just may blow open some of your most fundamental assumptions and shift perspectives in a way that leads you nearer to what really matters – so you can ground yourself more deeply in truth and authenticity in this profound moment we call life. And acknowledge the simple fact that, there are things that exist outside the realm of the lab that can truly move the good life needle.

You can find Anna at: Website | Instagram

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  • You’ll also love the conversations we had with Lisa Miller, Ph.D. about the awakened brain.

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Episode Transcript:

Jonathan Fields (00:00:00) – A little bit of a step back in time, though. From what I understand, you were born in Moscow, headed to Chicago around five years old, but your mom also grew up and was quite gifted in mathematics, so sort of like a strong rationality orientation, yet at the same time also found herself then living in the former USSR, buying black market books on various religions and spiritual traditions. So it seems like the seeds of your inquiry sort of like doing this dance between traditional worlds and faith based, tradition based spirituality started before you even. Oh, for.

Anna Yusim (00:00:36) – Sure, for sure. I am certainly a product of my parents is their environment as well as their genetics. Very much so. And you’re exactly right. My mom is very, very rational on one hand because she went to the top university in Moscow, studied mathematics. Right. But all her life she’s been a seeker. She’s been seeking God and looking to understand the secrets of the cosmos. And that’s only continued as she’s gotten older.

Anna Yusim (00:00:58) – It’s been a bigger and bigger part of her life. My dad, in contrast, is a bona fide engineer, scientist, physicist. This is his thing, biomedical engineer. So this is totally his thing. And he likes the idea of having a community of faith, that we are Jews, that we have a history, and that history is our legacy. And his understanding of faith is that. And sure, he will light Shabbat candles, he’ll do these traditions, but it’s in a very, very different way than the way that my mom believes. And like for her spirituality, central for my dad’s spirituality is a little bit more peripheral and I am the perfect combination of the two of them. Super, super rational, like my dad and then super, super spiritual like my mom. And both of the extremes of super rationality and super spirituality, I feel like have gotten me in trouble. And so I try to, in a way, find that middle ground of being both and having moderation in both of these ways of knowing the world.

Jonathan Fields (00:01:53) – Yeah, I mean, it’s really interesting because oftentimes rationality and spirituality become almost like two warring factions. You either see the world one way or you see the world the other way. And the fundamental assumptions under each thought process or feeling process is often so different that one side really invalidates the other, which I’ve always found unfortunate because I think once I can really inform the other in powerful ways, if you open the doors for that to to be true and yet it’s so rarely happens. I’m curious what your take is on why there is often so much siloing.

Anna Yusim (00:02:27) – Yeah, I think that there’s so much siloing because these two different ways of knowing and being have two completely different methodologies in how we acquire information about them. Science is the basis for rationality and rationality, how our mind works in that way and all scientific inquiry is subject to experimentation, empirical coming from your mind, oftentimes from theories and subject to double blind, you know, control trials that which you can see with your eyes and that which you can hear with your ears is real.

Anna Yusim (00:03:01) – And that which isn’t is not. Spirituality is very much the opposite. It is subjective, transcendent, very difficult to quantify, very difficult to study, very difficult to go into in that empirical I need to see it kind of way. We all ask for proof of God. We all ask for proof of connection. We all want to have that, you know, deep union with the cosmos. If we are spiritual, we often will seek that. But those two ways of knowing and being are very much a dichotomy. And that’s why often the two science and spirituality or rationality and spirituality are strange bedfellows. And that’s why essentially this idea of the science of spirituality is very much a paradox.

Jonathan Fields (00:03:45) – That makes so much sense to me. In a bit of a past life, I actually owned a yoga center in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City and taught for a number of years. And so cool. When we started out, there were just two of us. And it’s not enough for me to just know this thing feels a certain way or works.

Jonathan Fields (00:03:59) – I need to understand the mechanism. And the other person was kind of like, Do you really care and why? I mean, if it delivers an outcome into your experience, isn’t that enough for you? And it’s interesting because that was about 20 some odd years ago now, and I find myself, as I get older, opening more and more to the fact that there are just certain things that are that I cannot explain. I still look for the science. I still look for the rational basis just because I want to know if it exists. I want to know what it says. And yet if it butts up against the edge of something and there’s a phenomenon where it doesn’t go all the way, it doesn’t explain it, but you still experience it as real. I become much more open to the notion that, okay, it just is and maybe we don’t have this rational basis for it that doesn’t invalidate the fact that this thing happens or exists.

Anna Yusim (00:04:46) – I feel like that’s a very valid statement because many people, especially the rational scientists who are listening to this, would not agree with that and actually are constantly looking for experimentation and proof.

Anna Yusim (00:04:55) – And when you don’t have it, they say either it’s not real or if you’re maybe a little bit more evolved, maybe it is real. But we just haven’t figured out how to measure it yet and think that that’s kind of where you’re coming from. Or maybe you’re coming from an even deeper statement that it’s real, but maybe it doesn’t lend itself to measurement or to quantification in the same way as would a more rational scientific question. If indeed you’re asking like, how do I know about the existence of God test that you know? Right. So yeah, I think it’s really fascinating and really important. And the other thing it makes me think about is the female versus masculine ways of knowing, right? The masculine way is I’m going to figure things out, rational, empirical versus I’m going to be and I’m going to experience the world and through my senses and what comes in as I am experiencing my being and being aware of my awareness, that is my deepest truth.

Jonathan Fields (00:05:47) – Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense.

Jonathan Fields (00:05:49) – And that overlay makes a lot of sense to me also. And I think so often we’re raised and sort of like within a culture, especially Western culture in the US, to assume certain roles. And along with those roles are certain ways that we’re supposed to quote, step into it the shoulds of how we’re supposed to think and feel or not think and feel get superimposed on us. And we often just never question those. We just say like, This is the way I’m supposed to be in the world because this is a way that I quote, fit in. And so I’ll think this way, I’ll speak this way, I’ll share this way without ever saying, well, maybe there are alternatives here, and maybe the roles that we step into and the parts of myself don’t have to sort of like conform to the norms that I’ve been told they do for my whole life.

Anna Yusim (00:06:35) – I love that. I love what you’re saying. And I think that that’s absolutely right. I feel like so often we’re trying to fit ourselves into a box, right? And these boxes are societally created and it’s boxes that we see everybody else fitting into.

Anna Yusim (00:06:45) – And we feel like if we don’t fit into that box, if we haven’t checked off these milestones by this age or if we aren’t living in this way or speaking in this way or accomplishing in this way or have this much money or whatever, you know, hierarchy you’re comparing your own progress to, then you’re not okay, or that you’re not enough or that you’re not worthy or you’re not lovable. All these things, right? We have all these like, mistaken illusions, really about our life and the meaning of our lives and our worth as human beings. And then on the other side of that is this whole other perspective of authenticity and being who you are. And it’s not to say that you want to throw away all those milestones because many of the things that people choose in the milestones they hit and the ways they choose to live their lives may indeed be super compatible and attractive to you on all levels. But it’s really asking that question Who am I really? And how much of what everybody else is doing fits into my deepest truth? And how much am I following the herd? It’s not bad if you follow the herd.

Anna Yusim (00:07:40) – Actually, most people follow the herd. But it’s also so important to follow your own bliss and to ask that question once in a while to figure out who am I really?

Jonathan Fields (00:07:49) – Is that sort of questioning part of what guided you after your formal education? Because you end up you end up at Stanford, you end up in Yale Med School and then doing a residency in New York. But then it seems like you move into this period after where you’ve got all of this really traditional training, like this is the way it’s done, this is the way that we work with people who are struggling in life, who are dealing with all sorts of different things. And yet it seems like you then enter after school and after residency this season of saying this is not enough. Like there’s got to be something else out there. And I’m wondering and you end up traveling to so many different countries living, working from ashrams in India to Thailand, learning Buddhism and what was going on with you, where you come at it like what are arguably the top academic institutions in the country, if not the world, trained in the way that it’s always been done? And then there’s something inside of you that says, but there’s still something else.

Anna Yusim (00:08:49) – Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s that’s been my whole life. That’s my life now. There’s always something else, right? It’s like always like I’m such a seeker, a consummate seeker. And that probably stems from just a genetic like basis, like a little tiny bit of anxiety, dissatisfaction at all times, like a little bit of a void that like an existential void that needs to be filled and a very deep curiosity, love of life, passion, wanting to figure it all out. And those two things together create that and create that drive. So that was exactly what was happening. And you’re exactly right that I had finished my formal education. My life was hitting all the milestones right on target, right at all the times, but something still felt off. Why wasn’t I happy? Why didn’t I want this white picket fence life and I was dating this amazing man? Why didn’t I want to just settle down and get married and have children? And why was that so attractive to everybody else around me and just not at that time attractive to me at all.

Anna Yusim (00:09:40) – And it was a question that I had to ask. And it was a really difficult question because you either succumb to the norms and do things because everybody else is doing it or you follow your own path, and that means criticism, judgment, all sorts of things from your family, from society, from everybody else. Oh, my God, What’s wrong with them? They’re not choosing this. They’re not. Doing that. And so you really have to like build up your boundaries and be strong and you have to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And I think that for me, that drive has always been so strong that I never could do it any other way. I always have to follow that inner light, and it’s been that way for my whole like every other decision in my life, like always. And even though many decisions I’ve made have been very conservative, societal da da da da da, starting my private practice, getting on faculty at Yale, you know, And then other decisions have been completely not that.

Anna Yusim (00:10:29) – And so I think it’s just somewhere within that. And all the decisions we made is our identity and who we are as a human being.

Jonathan Fields (00:10:36) – I’m curious also the way that you’re describing it, and as you mentioned, some people agree with you. Some people are like, yes, do it. And some people are like, what on earth are you doing? Especially in a world where you come out of academia and to a certain extent, you still have one foot in academia? There are a lot of raised eyebrows when you choose the path that you’ve chosen. What has been your experience of criticism and how do you navigate that in the choices that you’re making?

Anna Yusim (00:11:00) – Totally. I mean, I had so much fear of criticism, so I actually very specifically chose not to be affiliated with an academic institution. After I finished my residency, I started my private practice and I decided, you know what? I’m just a little tired of academia. I want to take a break. I want to think. I want to learn.

Anna Yusim (00:11:14) – I want to learn spirituality. This was my new project and I decided to learn it and then started integrating into my practice. And then ultimately I was like, I’m going to write a book about this. And I was so glad that I wasn’t affiliated with an academic institution because then I’d be like, What would they think about my saying this? Or am I saying that this sounds too woo woo, this sounds too fluffy? Where’s the scientific evidence? And truth be told, had a million references in my book. So I was very much like that voice was very front and center in the writing of my book, and yet it had a lot of very spiritual content that by some could be seen as woowoo. And when the book came out, I did have a fear that this is going to undermine my credibility, that there’s going to be people who judge me. ET cetera. Thankfully, that actually was not the case. And two former presidents of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Rodrigo Nunez and Dr. Pedro Ruiz, both endorsed my book and gave very strong endorsement.

Anna Yusim (00:12:08) – And it was written up in numerous journals with very positive reviews. And then as I was going around the country and presenting my book at different academic institutions, it was at Yale where I had gone to medical school, where they came to me and said and invited me to come on their clinical faculty. And I was like, Well, that’s an unexpected offer, that here I am, avoiding academia, writing this book on the interface of psychiatry and spirituality, and I’m invited to come on faculty where I went to medical school and I was like, This feels so right and so great. And that’s when the associate chair of the department at that time, Dr. Robert Rohrbach, who I was very close with when I was a student at Yale, and I started discussing the possibility of beginning to center mental health and spirituality Center at Yale, I was thrilled about this idea. It felt very in line with my mission, and I was like, This is what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to change psychiatry from the inside out, change it from within the academic institution, and to open the mind a little bit of open minded skeptics and maybe even some close minded skeptics about the value of spirituality in mental health care.

Anna Yusim (00:13:08) – So that’s how that happened. And I can give you much more about the center and all that, but that was like the path.

Jonathan Fields (00:13:13) – Yeah, because you’re kind of living in these different worlds. Do you find yourself code switching on an almost persistent basis to sort of tee things up to whoever it is that you’re in conversation with in a way where you feel like your integrity with the ideas, but also they’re open to receiving them for sure.

Anna Yusim (00:13:31) – For sure. Oh my God. I do talks at churches, at synagogues, at Harvard University, at Yale. I mean, those are very different talks, as you can imagine. I give talks to my psychiatry colleagues and I give talks to spiritual believers at like a yoga meditation retreat center, or I give like a workshop at Kapalua. Very, very different workshops catered in very different ways. Everything that I give often will have the science attached to it. But the way that I speak, there are certain things that I’m a little bit more careful not to say or to say, but I think that we all do that right? We all do that to the audience that we are speaking to in order to be a better speaker.

Anna Yusim (00:14:06) – But for sure, for sure. I think for me it’s even more pronounced because there is such a dichotomy in these two disciplines, as you point out.

Jonathan Fields (00:14:12) – Yeah, it’s interesting that that you’re developing the center at Yale. Also, I recently was speaking with Matthew Kreutzmann, who’s one of the teachers who teaches this. It’s an undergrad class at Yale, completely spacing on the name of the class. Now, we’ll have to fill it in later.

Anna Yusim (00:14:24) – Oh, The Good Life with Laurie Santos.

Jonathan Fields (00:14:27) – No, it’s not Laurie’s class. It’s a Life worth Living is the name of the class, Right. So he co teaches us and basically he’s a Christian theology and he brings in all of these different traditions and basically is inviting people who’ve shown up to question everything. And in fact, in the very first lecture, he starts by saying to all the students, This class may destroy your life because all the assumptions that they’ve made in order to get to the place where they’re actually sitting in this room with him, it’s designed to literally make them question everything.

Jonathan Fields (00:14:59) – So it’s interesting to see you stepping in almost at the next level of education and saying, not necessarily this may blow up your career path or what you thought you were doing, but can we open the mind a little bit to some different ideas in a way that will benefit not just you, but hopefully society at large?

Anna Yusim (00:15:17) – Absolutely. And to eventually down the road, one of the goals of the Yale Center is that people will have degree granting programs and people will be able to actually study this and make this the subject of their inquiry and the subject of their life’s work. This is something that Lisa miller at Columbia has done at her spirituality, spirituality, mind, Body Institute, and she’s amazing. And people can study this, devote their whole life to it. And people do this often as a second degree after they’ve had very rich careers and then find spirituality and decide that they want to devote their life to it.

Jonathan Fields (00:15:49) – Yeah, I love that. We’ve actually had Lisa on a couple of years ago and just there’s so much overlap between your work and her work.

Jonathan Fields (00:15:56) – It’s great. You’ve used the word authenticity a couple of times now. It’s at the center of a lot of what you talk about, but you speak about it in a very specific way. So when you’re talking about authenticity, what do you actually talking about?

Anna Yusim (00:16:08) – Yeah, I think authenticity. Mean the way that I would say it is connecting to your soul and authenticity and or intuition is the voice of your soul. So what is the soul then? Right. The deeper question and this is it’s a very interesting question because it’s a question that in all of my medical schooling was never answered. And I’m a psychiatrist. I’m supposed to be a doctor of the soul. And this was one of the reasons that I undertook this whole journey was never having had the soul defined and yet supposed to be a doctor of the soul. I went on this journey around the world to try to understand what is it soul. And it brought me to ashrams in India, learning Buddhist meditation in Thailand, working with different shaman in South Africa and South America, and ultimately coming to study Kabbalah in, you know, Manhattan.

Anna Yusim (00:16:54) – And ultimately, you know, what is authenticity? Authenticity is feeling connected to your soul and allowing yourself to speak, be, act, make decisions from that place. So I went on all these places. So what is the soul then? You know, what is this? Ultimately? And I had many definitions that to contend with, and my favorite definition was given to me by a Mexican shaman named Fernando Broca, who said that the soul is comprised of two parts. The first part is that which connects you to everybody and everything. People will often say We’re one unified soul and that’s what they mean. The other part is your uniqueness, that which encapsulates your unique talent, skills, abilities, and the way that you can uniquely impact the world. So the soul is these two things. And so authenticity is being able to live in accordance with these two things, being able to connect to your uniqueness and to the way in which you’re connected to everybody and everything.

Jonathan Fields (00:17:45) – Yeah, which is really interesting also because it’s a different definition than most of us think about from sort of a Western theological approach to that, which is much more.

Jonathan Fields (00:17:54) – It is this essential ethereal thing that is transcends you and eventually survives you and depending on your beliefs, transfers into being after, being, after being. So what you’re laying out is, is different than I think if people are even open to the conversation around the soul, it’s probably a lot different than what they’ve been introduced to as the notion of a soul before.

Anna Yusim (00:18:15) – Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, think that’s absolutely right. And this was actually why I was trying to understand it, because everyone’s talking so, so soul psychiatry psyche means soul. It’s one of the definitions of it could also mean mind depending on how you translate it. I think that’s exactly right, that the soul could be something very transcendent and yet at the same time, it could be something that in its transcendent nature can be grounded into our everyday reality to enable us to be who we truly are. So it’s essentially like reaching out there to bring it in so that we can be ourselves, our true selves.

Jonathan Fields (00:18:48) – Yeah. So before we explore, what is the process around actually figuring out like this in our lives? What stops us from showing up in this way? Like if there is something in all of us that is connected to all and also truly distinct within us, and that if there are great benefits to actually really understanding what that is and living as that experience, why don’t we?

Anna Yusim (00:19:13) – It’s a great question.

Anna Yusim (00:19:14) – Why don’t we? I think that there’s many different answers for many different people. Think one of the key answers is that society and family and our spouse and our brother and our mother have certain ideas of how we should live our life and that oftentimes we won’t question what those ideas are, and we’ll go blindly down that path until something gets in our way. And then we start to question and then we can evaluate or not whether we want to live in accordance with our authenticity, with our soul, or kind of somewhere in between society’s expectations and what we might truly want. So that’s one reason, right? So the answer to that is because there’s a lot of societal pressure. Another answer is I want to live in accordance with my soul, but I just can’t. And that means like one of the translations of that is that by. Virtue of being a human being, you will self-sabotage that all of us have self-sabotaging tendencies and qualities. And it’s a question of how do you as a human being self-sabotage, how can you understand that self-sabotaging tendency and work with it in the service of yourself? And so things that separate us from, you know, being our true self and being able to live in accordance with our soul include, for instance, addictions.

Anna Yusim (00:20:25) – They include anger, they include hatred. They include all other so-called manifestations of ego, jealousy, all these things that are very innate to being human and part of the human experience, but can separate us from being our best self and lead us to sabotaging ourselves over and over.

Jonathan Fields (00:20:44) – What I’m wondering is, is there a third major category here, which is circumstance, You know, because nobody shows at the same starting line with I know people who hide who they are for reasons of safety.

Anna Yusim (00:20:57) – 100% and safety being one thing and another thing being that we’re very lucky that we live in a society where we can even ask these questions and then choose whether we pursue them or not. In many societies, that’s not the case and safety being one of the key issues. But also just like even having this conversation, you don’t have the freedom to even consider or entertain that possibility. And that’s exactly right. The safety issue is a huge issue, especially with what’s happening with all the different human rights violations that are happening in our country.

Jonathan Fields (00:21:29) – For those listening in, if for some reason soul doesn’t resonate with you, I think the invitation would be like, get less hung up on the word that we’re using and just really explore the idea, the notion of something like both distinct and interconnected on a lot of different levels. Because I wonder if and I wonder if this happens in conversation with you, if the word alone is triggering for people and they dismiss the exploration simply because the word itself just feels like a not okay going there.

Anna Yusim (00:21:58) – Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting because like there’s many triggering words, right? Spirituality for many people is a triggering word. So we’re even wondering, do we even call our Yale Center a spirituality mental health center? Maybe we just call it a mind body center to kind of take the spirituality out of it, or do we use those words that we mean precisely to trigger and therefore desensitize people to, you know, the use of that and to make it more commonplace and kind of integrate it into our lexicon?

Jonathan Fields (00:22:24) – Yeah, it’s almost like an invitation to say, okay, so what’s going on that you’re having this reaction to it and let’s dance with that a little bit precisely.

Jonathan Fields (00:22:32) – You introduced the notion sort of like along these lines also of different faculties and logic, instinct, emotion, intuition as all being elements of the exploration. Tell me how these weave into this.

Anna Yusim (00:22:45) – Yeah, absolutely. So think rationality. Most of us know we have a rational mind and for many of us, our rationality could be even overdeveloped and be very, very strong. And that’s a loud, screaming voice that can tell us what is it that you need to do in a given decision. Our emotions could be equally strong if we are in touch with our emotions. Or are they? We could be, you know, sometimes detached from our emotions for many different reasons PTSD, all sorts of dissociative experiences. ET cetera. But the emotional voice can be just as strong, often yelling and screaming as well as to I feel this in this situation. These are both rationality and emotion, very important sources of information to make decisions, but not either of them. The only or key definition or the source in order to make those decisions.

Anna Yusim (00:23:29) – There’s also intuition and intuition in contrast to emotion rationality. Is that still quiet? Voice Sometimes people say the voice of the soul that can only be heard when the screaming of your rationality and your emotion temporarily ceases. And so oftentimes that intuition is what will break through when you’re about to make a mistake or where you’re trying to figure something out and you don’t know why, you know, because intuition can come to you in many different ways. It can come through a voice, through just unknowing. It can come through a bodily sensation. It can come through seeing something. It can come through a synchronicity, intuition. You can come to you through the external world, actually. So all of these things are important parts of how we make decisions. And I think for people to make the best decisions, especially about very important questions of life. So the most important questions, as Sigmund Freud said, are who do we love and what kind of work do we want to do ultimately? So to be able to make create our answers to those questions, being in touch with our rationality, our emotional self, and also our deeply intuitive self.

Jonathan Fields (00:24:32) – It sounds like they’re probably almost always just doing a dance with each other and all four probably have value. Like each contributes something different to the experience of being alive and also to the decision making process. And yet I feel like depending who you are and where you’ve come from, we probably validate or invalidate or elevate and denigrate different elements of this. And it seems like part of what you’re inviting us to think about is what if we just allow all four to have an equal seat at. The table and value their contribution rather than doubting them, because there’s wisdom that we get from all four of them. And when we eliminate any one or 2 or 3 were essentially eliminating important sources of insight we want more than anything is wisdom, is insight. So we can understand like, how do I be in the world better?

Anna Yusim (00:25:19) – Absolutely. I think that’s such a brilliant point. And often when patients come to me or one of my executive coaching clients in order to make an important decision, I will ask them, okay, I’d like you to speak to me about this decision from your rationality.

Anna Yusim (00:25:31) – What does your mind tell you? How about from your heart? What is your emotion? Tell you? How about now? From your intuition? What does your intuition believe you should do and then actually show them? Here are those three things. Because often, especially for big decisions that feel confusing, it’s like a jumbled mess in our head. And to be able to disentangle that a little bit makes things just that much more clear.

Jonathan Fields (00:25:49) – I wonder if you’re walking when you’re walking through a client, do you detect sort of like a physical reaction, like let’s talk about logic, like somebody moves forward and then let’s talk about intuition. And somebody sort of like recoils leans back and crosses arms. Do you see sort of like a physical reaction to the different invitations?

Anna Yusim (00:26:07) – I actually see the opposite. I think people love this line of questioning because especially if they feel confusion and have a difficult decision to make because it gives them some clarity and it takes that jumbled mess in their mind and enables them to put it into pretty little boxes.

Anna Yusim (00:26:21) – Right. And yes, sometimes people may say, I’m not sure what my intuition tells me. How do I how can I access that? And then we go into all the different types of intuition. You know, there’s four different types. I mean, there’s probably many others, but the four that have been defined are Claire audience, which is when you receive intuition through hearing something, hearing a voice. Claire Cognizance where you receive your intuition just by knowing. Claire Sentience. When you receive an intuition by feeling something in your body like the recoil. So actually someone recoiling in their body might indeed be an intuition. Yeah, right. And then there’s Claire. Sentience. Claire Sentience, Claire. Audience Claire, Cognizance and clairvoyance. The clairvoyance is when you see it. Yeah. When you actually see something in your mind’s eye. And I would argue that there’s another form of intuition which just comes from the outside world, that synchronicity could be if you are grounded and have a healthy relationship with reality, to be able to play in that realm of synchronicity could also be a powerful form of intuitive guidance.

Anna Yusim (00:27:16) – But too many synchronicities. You know, you’re also kind of going into that magical realm and can be a little bit psychotic and you don’t want to do that.

Jonathan Fields (00:27:24) – Yeah, it seems like it would be healthy invitation for anyone to basically say at a moment where they’re either experiencing they’re in a rut, they need to make a big decision whatever it is going on, to literally make an intentional process to ask themselves these questions like what if? What is my rational mind telling me? What is my instinct? And go through that process and see what insight almost like or feel into, to a certain extent, some of the insight that’s being offered to us. Do you feel like that would be an easy invitation for somebody to just do on their own without any interaction or guidance?

Anna Yusim (00:27:57) – I think somebody who is introspective and is aware of this process and is really in touch with themselves. Absolutely. You could just tell them they’ll be like, Oh yeah, let me see. This is what my intuition says. Absolutely.

Anna Yusim (00:28:07) – But I think for many people just depends on how people process the world and whether thinking about the world in that way or being able to be in touch with what your mind says, what is your heart saying? What is your intuition saying? For some people, no problem. They do it all the time. For other people, it’s like a completely new concept and a little hand-holding or just a friend To encourage and even pose the questions is a very useful thing.

Jonathan Fields (00:28:30) – Now that makes a lot of sense. One of the things that you talk about in sort of a foundational level is the notion of purpose. Purpose is really fascinating to me also because purpose is one of these threads that actually crosses the chasm between peer reviewed and published research. There’s actually a decent body of research on this topic, often phrased as purpose in life in the literature, and it certainly is this enduring thread in almost every spiritual and faith tradition and practice for generations and generations. When you use the word, what do you mean?

Anna Yusim (00:29:00) – I think purpose is a combination of two things, you know, and you know that I have unusual definitions here.

Anna Yusim (00:29:06) – So we’ll actually go to this idea of a sole purpose because we are bringing in soul. And in my book I talk about sole purpose. And the sole purpose is a combination of one’s sole contribution and one sole correction. So I’ll explain what both of those mean to you. So contribution is basically what you have come into this world to contribute to the world, like the way in which you share your light with the world that is unique to you, which could be a whole bunch of things, which could be being an amazing podcast, or it could be being a doctor. It could be being a mother, a father, being a janitor. And this is your contribution that you’re making God bless, right? And it’s also like a little bit deeper like it could be. My purpose is to change the world in this way, Change the world by elevating human consciousness, change the world by introducing clean, green technology into our ecosystem. This is so contribution. So correction is another thing. So corrections are similar to what Sigmund Freud.

Anna Yusim (00:29:59) – Referred to as a repetition, compulsion. It’s those things that come up in your life time and again, often much to your chagrin and dismay, and despite your best efforts to change it. So it’s those hard lessons of life that life keeps teaching you. That is your vulnerable point. Like the most difficult thing for you. And you could know your soul correction by asking yourself the question of what is the most challenging, painful thing in your life right now or has been? And usually those are the soul corrections. And we’ve all come into this world to correct many things. Our souls have come. You know, that’s a theory that your soul has come to correct many things. So my definition of one’s purpose, or one sole purpose, is a combination of your soul correction, working on that and correcting what you’ve come into this world to correct, like undertaking that challenge and facing it head on together with living your soul contribution and making the contribution you’re meant to make?

Jonathan Fields (00:30:57) – Yeah, I mean, there’s an interesting overlap with the notion of karma in there, which is almost to a certain extent the work that you’re doing here is towards, in theory, an aspiration of liberation from the process of sort of like coming to repeat.

Jonathan Fields (00:31:11) – And it’s a series of corrections both in thought and in action. But the ultimate goal, depending on the tradition, is to remove yourself from that cycle, to reach a state of transcendence where you actually don’t drop back into the cycle anymore. Is that part of your belief system?

Anna Yusim (00:31:28) – Yeah, I think karma is fascinating. Absolutely. This is kind of more eastern belief systems. And you know, it’s interesting because on one hand, sure, we reap what we sow, right? And there’s a principle of universal justice and that if you go to horrible things to people, those things are going to come back to you. And I’ve certainly known people for whom that’s very much the case. And those things might be delayed in time because it gives people some mercy, some time to repent, some time to change their ways. But like if people don’t change, then the lessons become much more difficult in this karmic way. Right? And then I’ve also heard this idea that there’s no more karma, you know, that like, you know, we’ve come to a point where we can choose whether or not we believe in karma and we don’t have to believe in karma anymore.

Anna Yusim (00:32:09) – And karma is gone. And it’s not what you reap, what you sow. It’s like you reap what you are able to manifest so manifest to the best of your ability. So I don’t know what the truth is. I certainly didn’t make the rules, but I think they’re all very interesting to entertain.

Jonathan Fields (00:32:23) – Yeah, indeed. Sort of around this conversation also in eliciting like what is purpose meaning to my life? Like answering the questions you’ve just posed. One of the things that you invite folks to explore is the notion of guidance. And again, this is one of those domains where some people are going to be like, No, I’m out and others will be like, Tell me more. And there tends to be a very strong divide. You know, the view of, well, there is guidance that comes either from within or from without That will help me answer these questions along the way is a tough concept for a lot of people.

Anna Yusim (00:32:54) – Yeah. And on the other hand, we’re always seeking guidance to make all the important decisions.

Anna Yusim (00:32:58) – Right? We ask a friend, we’ll read a book, we’ll go to a professional, we’ll go to a therapist like we are guidance seekers as a society. But the idea that the guidance is being sought not from a peer or another individual or a professional or a book, but it’s being sought from the divine that the guidance is from above, that there’s actually somebody or something that might know even better than us, right? And think that this is what people have trouble with because it’s idea of giving away your power. So it’s a very interesting thing, right? Because sometimes you don’t know a decision and you’re like, Just please show me the best path and you open yourself up to that and then think that, you know, often that guidance will come to you in one of two ways, either from within or from without. Like you said, from within. It will come as one of your intuitive flashes, like you’ll know or from without. It’ll come as something outside of yourself will happen to you that will then lead you to know.

Anna Yusim (00:33:52) – That’s like synchronicity leading to intuition. And yeah, I think that it’s like that really interesting space that I love to play in. It’s a little bit of that space of magic that you could certainly see. If I roll the dice and I’m trying to make a decision as to like what is the best course of action for tonight. Like where should I go tonight? There’s a few things, a few events going on. Should go here, here and here. Not really that important. And let’s see what the universe says. So you see, like who invites you to whichever one, something like that. Or you see what your intuition or what you’re pulled into. But then some other more important decisions that you might not know. Like people go to church and are like, Please help me to make the very best decision. Please guide me in the very best way. 90% of Americans believe in God, right? So 90% of us are have some sort of relationship with the divine. And probably many of those people have turned to the divine when they feel lost and need some form of guidance.

Anna Yusim (00:34:49) – So I think for many it could feel foreign and alien, and for others it could actually feel quite familiar and like coming home.

Jonathan Fields (00:34:57) – Yeah, I feel like there’s an age. Lead to this. Also immediately, one of the trends that we see happening in the last generation in the US at least, is the growing nones, the non-affiliated, the people who are actually like leaving traditional organized religion. And yet many of those people will also say if you ask them like a spiritual person, they’ll say yes. And I wonder what your take is on this. My sense has been that what people are running from more is the what feels like a restrictive and dogmatic interpretation by other human beings who are older than them of what the fundamental ideas are. And people increasingly, they just want to know, like, how can I get as close to the truth as possible and make up my own mind? But I don’t necessarily want to completely run away from this whole thing?

Anna Yusim (00:35:42) – Yeah, absolutely. I heard a fascinating talk by Zack Bush at the Summit series just recently.

Anna Yusim (00:35:47) – There is a little conference here, and he was talking about precisely this, about the Nones and how that is the fastest growing group. And the nones are a fascinating phenomena indeed. And that is one of the fastest growing groups right now. And Nones, by the way, means people who are neither spiritual nor religious. And this is the atheists of society. And according to my definition of spirituality, you can actually be a very spiritual atheist, because spirituality to me means a connection to something greater than oneself, even though obviously neither spiritual nor religion negates that. But you can have a lot of atheists who are very connected to something greater than themselves, which could be Mother Nature, a set of collective values. ET cetera. So oftentimes the so-called nones will find other ways, as do we all, to affiliate in other communities and other groups and other belief systems and certain transcendent values that for them are very much their community, their Bible. If you say that they would never use that word, obviously, but, you know, they have their own human needs met in the way that other people who do believe have their human needs met through Bibles and churches and synagogues.

Anna Yusim (00:36:58) – And the other group that I think is also super, super interesting, which is the fastest growing group, is the spiritual but not religious group. And these are the people who consider themselves to be spiritual, but specifically choose not to be affiliated with any specific group. And it’s the people who will go to Kundalini yoga and then go home to come thermal beads and then maybe go to a cacao ceremony and then maybe do some ayahuasca. And you know, it’s that group. And I went to a very interesting talk by Zack Bush at the Summit series just recently about this. And this is a whole cultural phenomena right now that’s happening where not only do these people share the values of spiritual but not religious, but they actually apparently share the majority of their values about everything in their life, including cutting down the rainforest and how they live and the food they eat and the people they affiliate with and the the kinds of relationships that they have or want to have. So it’s a very, very interesting thing. And when you’re spiritual but not religious, oftentimes the lack of a large social group, a cohesive group that the religious people have, is lacking.

Anna Yusim (00:38:03) – And so many times people are able to do all these things on their own or within their small affiliative circles. And so you can download apps to do the majority of these spiritual but not religious things. And then what’s happening with so many of these people is that they’re affiliating in their own intentional communities. And so there is a lot of intentional communities being built all over the world now with these spiritual but not religious people. And I’ve seen many of these communities and it’s a fascinating social phenomena that I think is going to get much, much more attention and recognition as time goes on.

Jonathan Fields (00:38:34) – Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense to me. If you look at it, almost any spiritual tradition, any faith based, any traditional religion across almost every population, they generally always have like three core elements. There’s there’s the teacher by all different names, there’s the Dharma or the teachings, and then there’s there’s a community. And it’s like, if any one of those is missing, I almost feel like that we feel that there’s a pain in our lives, but we don’t really understand where the suffering is coming from.

Jonathan Fields (00:39:03) – And the tradition itself generally doesn’t work. Things fall apart. It doesn’t like you need these three pillars of the stool. And it sounds like what you’re describing is that people are figuring out how to actually reassemble those three pillars in ways that just make sense for them without calling it any kind of without it looking like anything that they’ve come from in the past.

Anna Yusim (00:39:24) – I think that’s exactly right. We’re all looking to build ourselves anew, and we want something that we haven’t had before because the dissatisfaction with the past is not something we want to take into the future, but we don’t know what it’s supposed to look like. And so there’s a little bit of that mystery and adventure, and that’s also what is excites people about it, because you want to live the mystery and you want to create a new.

Jonathan Fields (00:39:43) – Yeah. One of the dances that that you write about and that you’ve been sort of like sharing and referencing is this notion of the individual and the collective and like the notion of I’m one being, I have a certain amount of.

Jonathan Fields (00:39:59) – Individuality. There’s something which makes me distinct. You talk about, like then actually harnessing personal power around this thing, and yet at the same time, also always within the context of acknowledging that you are part of something bigger. Which is interesting because do you feel like there’s sometimes a tension there or almost a competitiveness, or is that a Western overlay that actually doesn’t really have to be that it’s driven largely by ego?

Anna Yusim (00:40:27) – Yeah, I think it is there and it does not have to be there, but I think it’s also just not even necessarily a conflict per se, but just, you know, how we can hold to conflictual emotions, how we hold these two conflictual realities where we are ourselves and define our sense of self, you know, through our deepest core values, desires and then at the same time are very much members of society and are constantly within this dance and dialectic. So I think, you know, this is our in the Western world, sense of self is much more individual. The eastern sense of self is much more collective.

Anna Yusim (00:41:06) – But so much of us are bringing so many Eastern traditions into our Western lives. And so we’re kind of existing between these two worlds and really enjoying like that flow, that flow and the dialectic that results.

Jonathan Fields (00:41:18) – Yeah, it’s interesting. I recently was exposed some really powerful indigenous wisdom and I think oftentimes and maybe it’s, it’s maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s a Western mindset. We sort of like we look east for like the other ideas, not realizing that often, you know, the people who were here before us in the very place that we are and are still here in many ways have stunning wisdom for us to access. And some of this wisdom was really around the notion of like the idea of individuality was important, but also like everything referenced the well-being, the health, the functioning of the collective, and that was the heartbeat of everything. And we’ve drifted so, so much away from that, I think, in modern life. And circling back to like your early training in psychiatry, when people come to you and they’re suffering, how much suffering do you feel is related to the notion of us sort of.

Jonathan Fields (00:42:15) – Not doing the dance between honoring ourselves and also honoring the role that we play in the collective in a way that is healthy for all.

Anna Yusim (00:42:27) – Yeah, for sure. For sure. I think that that’s such a brilliant question and I think that’s so often, you know, analysis, paralysis. We get caught up in our own minds with thinking about ourselves and our lives and our misery and our suffering and and we go to therapy for it. I’m not a therapist, and I’m there like, trying to guide people through this. And it’s just so heavy and it’s so heavy and so slow and so burdensome and oh, and on the other side of it all is the way in which we can be a cog in the wheel. And then we take ourselves out of ourselves and we give ourselves over to solving a collective problem and to doing good things for the world and to start to get away from our own pain, suffering and existential angst and start trying to heal others and to give of ourselves. And then something totally changes and our pain and suffering often goes away.

Anna Yusim (00:43:14) – And another sort of, you know, idea about this is that, you know, in the Holocaust, when people were so concerned with survival and the survival of themselves in the collective, all these neuroses that we as human beings have anxiety, depression. People didn’t have time for that. You didn’t have time for anxiety and depression when you don’t know where your next food is going to meal is going to come from, right? In times of survival crises, neuroses go way, way down. And, you know, in a way, all the neuroses that we have a luxury for us to have. And that’s the paradox, you know, of all this. And think the more that we can separate ourselves from our, like, the selfish part of our oneness and be able to use our unique skills in the service of others, the happier we become and the more fulfilled we become.

Jonathan Fields (00:44:00) – Yeah, it’s interesting because in the last generation or two, even in the US, certainly the rates of diagnosis and treatment for anxiety, for depression, for all these different things has gone up dramatically, exponentially.

Jonathan Fields (00:44:12) – And people sometimes argue like, is it just that we’ve gotten so much better at diagnosing these things and like offering treatments or has it really been an increase in all of these at the same time? I mean, people point to so many different phenomena which could be leading to it, But what you’re describing is in fact, a part of this. There has also been a really dramatic shift in, quote, civic mindedness over the last two generations as a part of this is just how we live. Too much more rugged individualism or just like utterly self-centered, neurotic individualism these days. And you wonder how much that really plays into, you know, is it really just we’ve gotten so much better at diagnosing or has just the core of us wandered away from being other focused in a healthy, constructive way, in a way that makes us basically just sit there almost stewing and having more time and energy to come up with all the things we struggle with.

Anna Yusim (00:45:07) – It’s such a great point, you know, and what this makes me think of is how so many people, by virtue of dissatisfaction with the current system, are looking to secede, like in their own ways of creating these intentional communities and trying to find ways or, you know, this is too hard, this societal issue is too great for me to deal with.

Anna Yusim (00:45:24) – I’m so tired of this. I don’t want to because what do you do when you’re dissatisfied with something and with something that seems to be outside of yourself? Right? You either try to change the system or you’re like, I’m done with the system. I’m out of here. More and more people lately, I think, are like, I’m done with the system, I’m out of here. And I think that this is in part because the fear, the divisiveness, like all that’s happened, you know, inspired by Covid, but probably before that as well, and that we haven’t really recovered as a nation and as individuals from this blow to our sense of solidarity and unity and safety in this world. And we’re all ultimately trying to make ourselves safe and give ourselves some semblance of peace of mind and people are finding that what used to give them safety was at least, you know, the stability of our government no longer is for some people. And so they’re like, now what? And then you have people finding other solutions.

Anna Yusim (00:46:13) – Scott Galloway wrote a really interesting article on the succession culture that we have called Quitters just recently. And so it’s yeah, it’s very interesting where people are going and how people’s minds are working in this regard.

Jonathan Fields (00:46:24) – Yeah, I think we’re in such an interesting moment. One of the words that you’ve also offered up a couple of times in this conversation is is synchronicity. And again, this is one of those words where I think some folks would hear it and assume they know what you’re talking about. But because I don’t think they necessarily do, What are you talking about when you use that word?

Anna Yusim (00:46:41) – So synchronicity is a word that was created by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung to describe the co-occurrence of two events that are not causally related, such as? I have a thought about a friend of mine and then immediately that friend calls me. Now did my thinking about that friend cause my friend to call me? Probably not. You never know, right? In this quantum world, probably not. But the fact that that happened, I had this thought and then my friend called me immediately in my mind.

Anna Yusim (00:47:09) – I related these two events, but one didn’t cause the other. And to me that relationship was meaningful. And that is a synchronicity. Other examples are I have a dream about somebody and then I bump into them the next day, right? My dream didn’t cause me to bump into that person, but somehow that co-occurrence the meaningful nature of that makes it a synchronicity. So it’s essentially a meaningful coincidence.

Jonathan Fields (00:47:33) – Is synchronicity harness able to relieve suffering and feel better and maybe connect us more?

Anna Yusim (00:47:39) – Yeah, I think synchronicity is one of the ways that people connect to something greater than themselves, right? And sometimes seek guidance from something greater if that’s what they’re looking for. You know, if one of the things people are looking for is self transcendence or deeper self connection, perhaps through that transcendence, synchronicity certainly can do it. And when people believe in synchronicities, they start to notice more synchronicities. When people are looking for guidance and when they’re open to that guidance and how it appears, they start to notice more synchronicities.

Anna Yusim (00:48:10) – Now there’s certain synchronicities that will happen in the lives of non-believers that then lead them to become believers. So making this them called an open mind. And for that I was intersection of mental health and spirituality. And for that we interviewed a skeptic, Michael Sherman.

Jonathan Fields (00:48:28) – He’s kind of a legendary skeptic.

Anna Yusim (00:48:29) – Legendary skeptic of anything spiritual. And he had this amazing synchronicity that something like on his wedding day, there was a little pocket radio that went off. And so his bride’s father, I believe, had passed if something like this. But the story might not be exact, but his bride’s father had passed and at a very opportune moment on their wedding day, a little pocket radio went off completely on its own playing that. Father and the daughter’s very favorite song, which to the daughter was evidence that the father was with them on that day. And even for a skeptic like Michael Sherman, that was really meaningful. That was you know, so even skeptics can have synchronicities that shake up their skepticism. You know, people experience miracles.

Anna Yusim (00:49:21) – And what I’m actually working on a book right now on the science of miracles, with the miracle being defined as something highly beneficial, yet statistically improbable. And so when skeptics experience miracles, their belief is shaken up, their skepticism and shaken up. So skeptics have become believers through synchronicities and miracles. And I actually think that, you know, on like a miracle is just a meaningful coincidence, but a little bit more pronounced. They’re essentially on the same spectrum as one another.

Jonathan Fields (00:49:52) – So how much does openness really play into the notion of synchronicity then? Because what you described is like, well, it helps if you’re actually open to the notion that these things exist in the real, because maybe you’ll be more receptive to the fact that they are around you and happening more. But what you’re also describing is people who are literally not only not open but outright skeptical of it, still experience these things.

Anna Yusim (00:50:13) – Absolutely. Absolutely. So I think openness plays a huge role in that. The more open you are, the more likely you are to find experience and interpret something as a synchronicity, because you can have what most people would call a meaningful coincidence.

Anna Yusim (00:50:28) – And then a skeptic would be like, That’s totally random. It means nothing to me, completely not meaningful. It might be a coincidence, but it’s not meaningful, you know. So a synchronicity makes it a meaningful coincidence, so for sure. And then you can have somebody who’s completely closed minded. And the synchronicity of a miracle is so profound that they can’t help but at least challenge their belief.

Jonathan Fields (00:50:48) – And I think so many of us have actually had those experiences. You know, like I’m somebody who’s probably spiritually open but skeptical. I’m open to being persuaded by rational or just experiential means. But I always start out questioning a lot of things. And I think that’s sort of like almost like a healthy way to be, at least in the way that I step into my life. But there is also and you spoke about this earlier in our conversation, like synchronicity can be really interesting, healthy, beneficial like, but when we start to over rely or over depend on everything, there are signs for everything.

Jonathan Fields (00:51:23) – Everything is a synchronicity. This can actually lead us to a not very good place.

Anna Yusim (00:51:28) – Absolutely. And that could lead you to being psychotic. You know, I worked in the Bellevue Emergency room as part of my residency training, the psychiatric emergency room psychiatrist. And a lot of people would come in believing they’re Jesus Christ. Why do you believe your Jesus Christ? Well, because this happened and this happened and this is really meaningful to me. So obviously, I’m Jesus. You know, that’s an unhealthy relationship with meaningful coincidences or with coincidences, right? So in order for synchronicities to be able to be beautiful and magical and play a healthy role in your life, you have to have a very, very grounded perspective and a healthy relationship with reality. If it’s anybody who kind of tends a little bit towards the psychotic realm, synchronicities can actually push you in the direction of psychosis and are very unhealthy, such as, Oh, I heard this on the radio. The radio was talking directly to me. And what it means is, is the FBI is after me and they’re going to show up at your door in two seconds.

Anna Yusim (00:52:22) – I’ve heard many, many stories like that. And that’s, you know, people’s world. And that means that things are a little bit, you know, too far right of center.

Jonathan Fields (00:52:28) – What’s your sense on the relationship between synchronicity and fortune or luck?

Anna Yusim (00:52:34) – It’s a great question. I feel that fortune and luck favor the prepared, of course. And so if we are open to fortune, if we expect fortune, this is actually what I’m writing about in my book on miracles, that one of the key because one of the questions of the book is how do we as human beings increase the likelihood of miracles in our lives? Right. And so we do it through expecting and we expect miracles. And then we are open to miracles and we find miracles and we find synchronicities and we’re able to see the good in all the things that happened, even if it’s nothing that is easily apparent. But you start to create a gratitude practice and you get your life to a very, very high level of gratitude, of thankfulness, of just being in sync with what is happening in your life, and keep raising your vibration higher and higher.

Anna Yusim (00:53:20) – Through that, you start to attract miracles, attract more synchronicities and all of that attracts luck. Of course, people who have miracles are very lucky. Hmm.

Jonathan Fields (00:53:30) – Interesting. I mean, it ties in with I remember reading some research from Richard Wiseman on On Luck and he basically took a group of people, had them self identify as either lucky or unlucky. And then he showed them a newspaper and basically said, count the number of pictures in this newspaper. For the most part, the people who identified as lucky, they took something like 10s and they said there are 42 pictures in this newspaper. The people who self-identified as unlucky took like three minutes or so and often came up with around the same number and it turns out on the inside. Front cover of that page above the fold printing and large block letters. It said, There are 42 pictures in this newspaper. The people who self identified as unlucky were so focused on the task and only the task that all they saw was the pictures, because that’s all they were looking for.

Jonathan Fields (00:54:17) – The people who identified as lucky were open to something beyond that. And because of that, they got this early hint that let them actually get a lot luckier. And being able to do this in a fraction of the time. Absolutely. It’s such a fascinating example of how openness plays into all of this.

Anna Yusim (00:54:32) – I love that and think that’s so beautiful. And that shows like the openness as well as intentionality, as well as expectation, as well as visualization, as well as being able to use your own identity and shift your identity and shift core beliefs about your inherent worth or your lucky ness. ET cetera. How that can completely shift what you drawn to your life.

Jonathan Fields (00:54:53) – Yeah, interconnectedness is another thing that we’ve been weaving through this conversation, and I think a lot of people have this notion of interconnectedness. I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I’m connected to other people who are immediately in relationship in my life. And again, you have a slightly different and more expansive definition when you use this word.

Jonathan Fields (00:55:12) – Yeah.

Anna Yusim (00:55:12) – I mean, the way that this chapter and interconnectedness came to be was that interconnectedness is actually an offshoot of intuition. And so there is all of us who are intuitive and we can receive messages or downloads, but and where are we getting the downloads from? Right. It’s a good question. But another question is our connection to other human beings. And some people are able to read other people really, really well. So individuals are empaths and are able to feel other people and sometimes even mistake what they’re feeling to actually be with the other person next to them is feeling. And so there’s empaths. And then there’s people who are like really extreme empaths who are actually very psychic and telepathic, you know, like all of it is on that spectrum of intuitive, empathic, telepathic and telepathic is I there are some people and I’ve met those people who will tell you what you are thinking and what’s going on in your mind, or just like going in there and being able to really understand. And this is where my interconnectedness chapter came from, was to study the nature of those kind of connections.

Anna Yusim (00:56:22) – And I’ve had some very profound connections like that with clients and patients of mine where I might have a dream about them of something that then came true or something that I might not know, or that a patient might have something like that about me, that there is like this way that we’re connected outside the normal channels. That just shows that there’s this deeper way of interconnectedness among human beings.

Jonathan Fields (00:56:43) – And this again, is is I think, one of the areas in particular where somebody who’s listening along and saying, I can buy into a lot of this definitely stuff, but did we just start talking about telepathy? Because that’s where I tap out. And I’m not saying we personally, but there are no doubt going to be people who are like, I don’t know, people.

Anna Yusim (00:57:03) – Probably would have tapped out long before. It’s synchronicity. They’re not with us anymore, Jonathan Don’t worry.

Jonathan Fields (00:57:09) – But let’s say somebody is with us and they’re like, Can you somehow share something that would allow my rationally oriented brain that is really wanting to lead right now to buy into at least the possibility that there is this other way that we communicate with people?

Anna Yusim (00:57:23) – Yeah, I’ll share this experience that I had with one of my patients.

Anna Yusim (00:57:26) – So this was many years ago. It’s a patient I’ve been seeing for six years at the time and I was studying Kabbalah at the time and we went on a trip to the gravesites and homes of some of the greatest capitalists of the world. So it was a trip to the Ukraine and Poland, and I was on this trip and went to bed one night and woke up at 2 a.m. like startled, like something was so wrong and I had no idea what it was. And I had patients described to me waking up in this start and I felt like, I know what this is. I’m having a midnight panic attack and I’m like, Don’t even have panic attacks. What is happening? So I felt compelled immediately to check my email. And a minute prior to my waking, a patient of mine had emailed me that he was feeling suicidal and I was like, Oh my God, how is this happening? This is crazy. So by virtue of having woken up in the middle of the night and gotten that email, I was able to call my patient and literally and metaphorically essentially talk him off the ledge.

Anna Yusim (00:58:22) – And so if I had not awoken, maybe he would have been fine or maybe he wouldn’t have, but I don’t know. But for me, it was this crazy thing that he was in the US and I was 5000 miles and like ten time zones away. And I got this message that something was not okay. Like I got this some sort of strange communication that then led me to wake up in a start and take care of my patient.

Jonathan Fields (00:58:46) – Yeah. And again, I think this might be one of those areas where people hear you share that and then they’ll start to think, Oh yeah, like I’m actually I remember I was connected to my mom or to my sibling or to my closest friend since I was three. And something happened and I just sensed. That something was off and I needed to reach out. And I think a lot more people will say like, Yeah, I get that because I’ve experienced it. I felt that. But then you use this word telepathy. Is that really what we’re talking about here? It’s because I think a lot of people hear the word telepathy and they literally like like I’m having a conversation like verbally, I’m reading somebody’s mind.

Jonathan Fields (00:59:18) – Like there’s a scrolling thing, like, this is what they’re thinking or feeling. Yeah, it sounds like what you’re talking about is something more primal and maybe less, you know, like, traditionally.

Anna Yusim (00:59:29) – Yeah. Yeah. So the way that I would describe that is like that experience that happened is communication outside the normal channels. And that’s probably how I would describe something like telepathy as well, communication outside the normal channels, you know? So yes, I think people have like a very specific notion of what telepathy is. I’m sitting with you, let me download exactly what’s going on in your brain, but think that that experience, according to that definition of communication outside the normal channels also fits, you know, fits that.

Jonathan Fields (00:59:58) – Bill Yeah. All of the things that we’ve been talking about, when you distill it down, it lives between the sweet spot between like traditional practices and what people would think were non traditional depending on where you come from. But at the end of the day, what we’re talking about is how do we as human beings live better lives? And what the invitation I’m hearing a lot of is open up your mind.

Jonathan Fields (01:00:18) – Consider the interconnectedness of all of us. Consider like your sense of spirituality, what it is and what it is, and how you can create it on your terms. And then really just sit down and map your own path and don’t be afraid to really show up as who you are with your own sense of identity and purpose. And it feels like a good place for us to wrap this up and come full circle as well. So in this container of Good Life project, if I offer up the phrase to live a good life, what comes up.

Anna Yusim (01:00:46) – To love with the full heart and to harness joy wherever possible? Thank you.

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