Episode Description: In this episode, we get to know Ray Good on his life as a DJ to starting up his own company in mindfulness meditation, The Good Place. Not to be confused with the tv show of the same name.
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/raygood/
Website – https://www.goodplace.com.au/
Viktor Frankl – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl
Calm – https://www.calm.com/
Posh Incredible Transformations – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/posh-incredible-transformations/id1377517663?mt=2
Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyrz1fZpMDHSfGm7t29ieOA/featured
Website – Poshinc.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Intro – 0:00
- Who Is Ray Good and The Good Place – 1:00
- What Type of Business Where You In Before? – 1:42
- How Did You Learn You Were Unhappy? – 4:26
- Making a Change and Trying a New Lifestyle – 7:03
- Making a Living Out of Mindfulness and Meditation – 11:31
- The Avicii Documentary and Keeping Up the Lifestyle – 12:47
- The Word Balance – 14:45
- Did You Practice TM for a While? What Has Your Mediation Journey Been? – 15:20
- What’s a Scientific Statement On Mindfulness That Stands Out For You? – 18:27
- What’s Your Relationship on Mindfulness and the Research? – 19:45
- An Increase Population in Practicing Mindfulness and Mediation – 22:00
- Working On a Festival and Meditation Practices – 23:14
- Focus Awareness, Open Monitoring, Metta/Love and Kindness Meditation – 24:08
- Meditation Journey – 27:11
- Working On Yourself Effects Everyone Around You Also – 29:10
- You Gotta Power Down to Power Up – 31:00
- Meditation Is an Exercise for Your Mental Health – 31:40
- Recognizing the Investment of 2% of Your Day – 32:25
- How Long Does It Take Someone to Realize Their Return On Investment – 33:34
- The Biggest Challenge On Adopting This Practice – 34:23
- We’re Always Working and We Need to Set Boundaries – 37:44
- Making It a Priority to Adapt It – 38:48
- Setting The Time Aside Is the Most Difficult Part – 39:28
- Having Your Space You Can Always Come Back To – 40:00
- Is Being a DJ and Playing Music Like Meditating? – 41:19
- Endless Possibilities In Mediation – 44:33
- Learning Not to Caught Up In Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions – 46:18
- Tips On a Daily Basis with Micro Meditation – 47:32
- How Long is Your Morning Mediation? – 50:18
- What Is Your Morning Mediation Like? – 50:33
- Observing Mediation – 52:04
- Do You Experience Any Emotionally Attached Experiences? – 53:54
- The Seat of the Soul – 57:02
- Last Thoughts/Closing – 58:22
Tiffany: I’m Tiffany Lopez, and you’re listening to “Posh Incredible Podcast”, where I interview ordinary people who are making extraordinary transformations in their lives and for others. I believe we’re all here to transcend and assist the ones around us to grow into the people they were born to be. The pathway of awakening is a noble life pursuit, and it starts now.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for, I guess, being on the podcast. I’m really excited to have you. I’ve been wanting to interview you since I met you last year in August. And I’m really happy we could make this work.
Ray: Oh, thank you. Thanks for inviting me on. It’s an honor to be here.
Tiffany: Yeah. So if you could, just give us a little background about yourself and what you do and what The Good Place is.
Ray: Okay. Well, The Good Place, I’m a mindfulness and resilience facilitator or meditation teacher, I guess. And yeah, The Good Place is my business and it’s all about helping people find their good place through mindfulness and resilience training.
Tiffany: Also his, the guest’s name is Ray Good. So, anywhere, he is The Good Place.
Ray: Yeah, so Raymond Good, but, you know, no one calls me Raymond. Everyone calls me Ray, Ray Good.
Tiffany: Awesome. Well, welcome to the show.
Ray: Thank you.
Tiffany: So what type of business were you in before you started the mindfulness and meditation and mental health?
Ray: Well, I have been an entrepreneur for 30 years. And before this,… Well, I’ll go back just to explain how the hell I got into meditation and then mindfulness, and then kind of how that’s kind of run with my career, I guess. So in the early 90s, I was a DJ, and I was playing all over the world. Had this crazy career. I was in world’s top 100 DJs, in DJ magazine, and I was playing in Berlin and Tokyo and all these places. It was amazing crazy life.
Tiffany: Living the life.
Ray: Living the life, living the life on the outside. But also at the same time, as well as a DJ, I was a promoter. So as I was putting on… Have you heard of Rave Parties?
Ray: So I was, like, one of the first people to bring Rave Parties to Australia sort of in 1990. And was putting on, like, big rave parties, had a import record store, we used to import records all over the world. And I had started a record label, putting out CDs as I record them, the first, like, mix DJ CDs. So I was kind of in my…I was, like, 22, and, you know, I was in the right place at the right time. And also, you know, I was really driven, hard worker. I come from a very working-class family.
Ray: Very poor working-class family. I grew up in the East End of London in the sort of 70s, which kind of late 60s, 70s, which gives away my age really. And so, you know, yeah, like, you know, come from very poor backgrounds. So I always had that working-class drive to succeed. And so sort of 22 I found myself in this situation where, you know, I was leading this crazy life. I was DJing all over the world, I had, you know, I was putting on these parties for thousands of people and making loads of money, and, you know, it was, you know, like, yeah, it was crazy. But at the same time, I’d achieved all this stuff that, you know, we all aspire to achieve, you know, like fame and recognition, and money, and you know, all this stuff, and…
Ray: Yeah, you know.
Ray: Everything that, you know, we think that when we’re going to achieve it, we’re going to be happy, and I kind of got there and quickly learned that I was really unhappy. It wasn’t the answer. It wasn’t, yeah.
Tiffany: How did you learn that you were unhappy? Sometimes we don’t know when we’re unhappy, right?
Ray: No. And I guess… Well, the stress. I couldn’t switch off. I mean, you know, I’m a type A personality. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking. I’m always looking for ideas. I’m always two steps ahead looking for the next thing. And, you know, with so many things going on, and this is, don’t forget, this is back before the internet, right? This is like the early 90s. There was no… I don’t even think there was… like, mobile phones had just come out, but there was no internet stuff.
Ray: And it was just overwhelm because I was dealing with so many moving parts and there was, like, so much going on. And that lifestyle was really unhealthy. Like back then, people were still smoking in clubs and in Rave Parties, so I’d get home, my clothes would smell like cigarettes, and yeah, and I was up till, you know, 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. So I’d constantly, every week we’d call it club lag, which is the opposite to jet lag, where you kind of just chasing sleep all the time, and eating unhealthy, and, you know. And then on top of that all this stress and pressure, and, you know, I’d put these crazy parties on and I could lose thousands and thousands of, you know, dollars, and then I could make loads of money too. So you know, there’s was that big stress.
And my body just started to just burn out and that’s what happens, you know. You take all this stuff on and you can only do it for so long before you start to burn out, and I burned out really quickly. And so, I had to find, you know, alternative ways to kind of deal with that burnout, I guess, and also some tools and strategies to put in place to balance out all this stuff. Because I loved my life. I loved what I was doing. I loved DJing, and I was so passionate about music and putting on parties, and, you know, all this stuff. But I needed to balance it out.
And so, I started to get sick a lot. And that was the first sign that I noticed. Like every, you know, six months, I’d come down with, like, flu-like symptoms, and I’d be in bed for a week, and I started putting on weight, and I just felt like crap. And I was like, “There’s got to be a better way.” And funny enough, I got to London. I got off the plane, I was visiting some friends and playing some gigs in London. And I got off the plane, and I was so ill, I went to my friend’s house, and I was in bed for a week just sick on my back. This was probably like ’91. And while I was at my friend’s house, he had this book called “Fit for Life.” Have you ever heard of it?
Tiffany: No, who writes it?
Ray: It was, I think that it was a husband and wife, and their name was, like, Diamond Jim or Marian Diamond. It was an American book. And it was sitting next to my mate’s bed. And I’m sitting there just sick as a dog, and I pick it up and I start reading, and I was just like, “Whoa. And it was, this is, like, nearly 30 years ago. And they advocate in, you know, vegan lifestyle, juices, exercise, meditation, yoga. And all these, like, I didn’t know anything about this stuff. I read it, and by the end of it, I was like, “You know, I’m gonna jump in and give this a go, because, you know, from where I am now, I’ve got nothing to lose, and I don’t wanna keep feeling like this. So I’m gonna try this and see if it works.”
So I kind of really went on this, like, health and, like, health kick, I guess, and changed my diet. I went to a vegan diet, and I started doing juices, and, you know, exploring just ways that I could kind of balance out this crazy lifestyle. And then a friend told me about a meditation course. So I went along, and it was a TM. Have you heard of TM?
Tiffany: Yes, yes.
Ray: So it was a TM meditation course. So I went along and gave it a go, and I just… It really changed my life. And yeah, and I’ve had a daily meditation practice ever since. So, 27 years now. And it’s really been an important tool in my toolbox for helping me deal with a life of, you know, in business, and also, you know, the suffering of life, that all of us who are gonna… that we have to come across and deal with stages in our life. So yeah, so that’s how I got into meditation and really into sort of, I guess, personal development and health.
Like, really looking after my mind and my body was really important, because I was in it for the long… I’m in things for the long game. I’m not in for, like… And people around me back at that time when I was DJing, everyone was partying and going crazy, and drinking, and taking drugs, and getting loose. And, you know, for me, it was about… I was building a business. I was building a brand, I was DJing all over the world. I could say I had a… It was a long term career here. And I did it for 17 years, which is a long time. And I realized that the only way to survive in this game was to…you had to do, look after yourself to balance out the other side of things.
So, you know, that become really important to me. And also, it worked. I started to feel really good. I dropped a whole lot of weight, especially when I become vegan. And I just started, like, exploring. Like I did fasts. So I went off to Thailand and did a 10-day fast, and, you know, meditation retreats and yoga. And I just tried all these things, and it was just trying, like, what worked. You know, if this worked, I’d keep doing it. If this didn’t work, at least I gave it a go and kind of moved on to the next thing.
So yeah, so I did that for 17 years. And then I decided to retire. This was probably about 15 years ago, and, I kind of moved to the country in Tasmania. I was gonna, like, buy houses and renovate them and grow vegetables and do that whole, you know, river cottage kind of vibe. I lasted for three months and got really depressed, and was like, “Nah, you know. I needed to be back in the game and like, you know, just hustling and wheeling and dealing, it’s just in my blood.” And so, I moved to Melbourne and decided to hang up my headphones, decided to leave all that life behind me and free myself into opening up a restaurant and set up a chain of fast-casual seafood restaurants, which I, you know, I guess founded, scaled. And then, I ran that for 10 years and exited that about four years ago. So there’s a very long answer to your question. That’s my story.
Tiffany: That’s great. That’s a great story.
Ray: That’s how I got here. And then, three years ago, I decided to, once I exited, that I really wanted to, kind of, pursue something that I was really super passionate about, which was mindfulness and meditation. And, you know, it just ticked all the boxes for me to try and, you know, to make a living out of it, and to deepen my own practice, and to do good. There’s that word good. do good in the world, and kind of be of service to others as well and help others. Especially I work with a lot of, you know, high performers and entrepreneurs and people in business, and I have a very unique angle because, I guess, in my world, you know, meditation is still seen as a bit kind of sort of crystals candles and sandals, right?
Ray: And esoteric, and that’s completely changing, and we can talk about that, especially in the last five years, that’s completely flipped around. And, you know, and coming from a business background of being a type A personality, I kind of recognize… I know what people are going through. I know what entrepreneurs are going through. I know the biggest challenges is dealing with the voice in their head.
Tiffany: That’s everyone’s biggest challenge probably.
Ray: So yeah, and so, and that’s what led me to where I am today and what I’m doing, and I’m sitting here right now having this conversation.
Tiffany: Yeah. Your story sounds… Have you seen the OVG documentary?
Ray: I have seen it, the OVG documentary, yeah.
Tiffany: Your story about getting burnt out and in horrible health kind of reminds me of his journey a little bit too which is a little bit sad. But were you able to keep your lifestyle while you took on a new, like, kind of a new lifestyle? For example, you were going to Thailand, and you got into meditation and eating healthy and juicing. Did you find that your old lifestyle still was appealing and still was able…you were able to keep it up also in the clubs and promoting and stuff like that?
Ray: Yeah. And because of that lifestyle, it gave me that freedom time-wise, and also financially to actually, to pursue these other things that I wanted to do, you know. So, again, yeah, you know, it was about balance. It was about, you know, and it helped keep me focused and helped me deal with, you know, I needed both parts. And I think that’s the problem we’ve been…for entrepreneurs and people that are driving and starting their own businesses, they throw themselves into it, and then the important, the foundational stuff like looking after your health, looking after like mental and physical health, eating well, sleeping well, catching up with friends, you know, these things are essential.
These are the things that really make us happy. And, you know, working hard and making money is important for us too. But we got to balance it out. If you don’t have the balance, then you’ve got to have all these things, these pillars. You have to work all of these. It’s not just about working on your business and just working 20 hours a day, because eventually, you’re just gonna burn out.
Tiffany: Yeah, I love the word balance. And it’s something that’s been coming up a lot for me lately. I’ve been keeping a list of, like the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned over the past 10 years. And one of those is balance. And I used to just be one of those people who lived on the, like both sides of the extreme, and now I’m kind of seeing that everything needs a balance and it doesn’t have to be extreme. Or, like, I guess I’m having a different viewpoint of what extreme means and like what balance means, so that’s pretty cool. So did you practice TM for a while? Or did you choose like a different… And is that still your style or what’s been like your meditation…
Tiffany: Journey, yeah.
Ray: It’s not my style today. I’m a mindfulness teacher, secular mindfulness, so it has no religious connection whatsoever. It’s secular science-based mindfulness is basically what I teach. I stuck with the TM for maybe six months, and then, I kind of fell away from it, and then I came back to meditation. I saw this amazing guy in San Francisco. I was at some, I think it was like a health and well being conference in San Francisco. And I heard this guy talk, called, his name is Ram Dass, and he could… Have you heard of Ram Dass?
Tiffany: I have, yeah.
Ray: And that was his name that he was given by his Indian guru. And before this, his real name’s Richard Albert. And he was Harvard in the ‘ 60s with Timothy Leary, and these guys got kicked out for giving everyone acid. And so, Timothy Leary went off and did the whole crazy acid trip, and Richard Albert went to India found his guru, became Ram Dass, and then, you know, amazing thought leader and meditation teacher. And I heard him talk in San Francisco and he just really inspired me. He was such a beautiful man. And I never heard anyone talk that way before. And, of course, don’t forget back then, meditation was still all a little bit sort of crystals, candles and sandals and very woowoo.
But he really resonated with me, and he got me back into meditation. I kind of read some of his books. He had these, like, seminal books, like, “Be Here Now” and “Grist for the Mill.” And he was such a forward thinker and an amazing spiritual teacher. And he got me back into meditation. You know, I started, you know, I don’t know, I just took a real deep dive into it. I studied a lot of Buddhism, did a couple of retreat, 10-day silent retreats, which were crazy hard to do. And that’s another story for another time.
Tiffany: I haven’t done them, but I have friends who have.
Ray: Yeah, the first time I did it, I actually ran away after four days. It was just too much for me. And I went back and finished one like five years later. I was really determined to do it. But yeah, I really got into Buddhism. But I didn’t feel like I’m… I’m not Buddhist, but I could definitely relate to a lot of the teachings in Buddhism. And then about five years ago, I really can’t…but, you know, I did the meditations and still meditate every day. And then, yeah, secular mindfulness really started to take off about five years ago backed by a lot of science, and that really interested me, because, you know, I do like a little bit of woo, but the science, I love geeking out on all the science stuff. That’s really important. Like, when you read all that stuff about…
Tiffany: What’s, like, one thing that, like, what’s like a scientific study or statement or something that, like, stands out to you about mindfulness?
Ray: Wow. Well, I mean, just to give you an example, God, there’s so many. Like in 2000, I think it was 2004. There were 46 published journal articles on mindfulness and meditation, and today there’s over 5,800, so there’s so much science, and I’m not saying every single scientific study that’s been put out is completely true, or, you know. But there’s just so much. There’s so much great scientific stuff coming out on mindfulness. God for everything for, obviously reducing stress, building resilience and emotional intelligence, memory, creativity, productivity, communication, pain management, better sleep. So there’s just, you know, there’s so much stuff out there.
Tiffany: How do you… Oh, man, there was a question that just, like, came in and then it poof, went away.
Ray: It might come back.
Tiffany: But if you can maybe help me work through this. I have sometimes a difficult time synthesizing things that are in my head. But it kind of has to do with what… What do you make of the scientific information about mindfulness? Like, what’s your relationship to it or like beliefs around it? Like, how do you process that? I guess, how do you process that in your own head or in your own practice?
Ray: Well, how do I process it? Well, I love reading about it. I love studying. I spend a lot of time studying. I read a lot of books about it. I listen to a lot of podcasts. So, I’m like a sponge. I love kind of whatever I read sort of taking it in.
Tiffany: I’m the same way. I like study everything. Well, maybe it’ll come back. That wasn’t really quite the question.
Ray: And I’ve had some great teachers and mentors as well. So a former, my ex business partner, he’s a clinical psychologist, and he’s one of Australia’s leading mindfulness teachers at Monash University. And he works… His name’s Richard Chambers. So we work together, and he’s been a great mentor. And then, there’s another chap that works with him called Craig Hezar. He’s also at Monash University. And those two guys have really been a big influence on me. And they’re a lot about the science and they take through Monash University. They teach mindfulness on the core-curriculum to all the students. And so they’ve been a big influence on me for sure.
Tiffany: That’s amazing.
Ray: And there’s so many neuroscientists and, you know, entrepreneurs and, you know, there’s so much information coming…like Tim Ferriss, you know, Tim Ferriss from Podcaster. You know, in his last book, he interviewed, I think it was, like, 120 of the world’s top performers across, you know, many different genres from science, sports, entertainment, business. And 80% of them all had the same habit. They all had a meditation practice. So, you know, it’s just such an exciting space to be involved in. And, I mean, you’ve got apps like Calm. Have you heard of Calm?
Tiffany: I love Calm.
Ray: Which has just been valued at, I think it’s $1 billion. There are seven-year old tech company and they’ve been valued at a billion dollars. Headspace, they’ve got, I think 32 million users, I read somewhere. And in America at the moment, I think I read… No, I know that I read that, in the last five years is jumped from 4% of the population that practiced meditation to 14%. So it’s 32 million people in America are turning to mindfulness and meditation, which says a lot about the world that we live in, I guess.
Tiffany: I know I have in the past two years, I’ve not missed a day of meditating.
Ray: Yeah, cool.
Tiffany: And I’ve seen huge differences and shifts in my own, just within me, and how I interact with my internal world and also the external world.
Tiffany: What would you say… Okay, so I have so many questions for you mostly. But is there anything you want to say? I consider what you do as, like, an art. And sometimes when artists get the opportunity to make art, they have something that they wanna do, or that’s, like, pressing on them. And then, you know, they have somebody who wants them to do something. So, like, is there anything that you would wanna talk about, or anything that you’re really excited about right now or anything that you’d like to share?
Ray: Yeah. I mean, so last week, I was presented at a big conference in Melbourne, it was called Pause Fest, and it’s kind of, like, the Australian version of South by Southwest. And that was really fun. And I’ve been working on that for a while, and I developed three different meditation practices. And it was the first time I’d presented and done a guided meditation to a live, large audience. And I did that. And that was really exciting. So there was three meditations that I did that neuroscientists have found activates specific brain regions to elicit different results. So, the first meditation I did was called a Focused Awareness, and this helps you to be more productive and to deactivate the stress response.
On day two, I did a Open Monitoring meditation, which is really good for creativity and innovation. And on day three, I did a meditation called Meta or which is also called Loving Kindness, which science shows can boost your happiness and emotional intelligence. So three very different meditations that do three different things. And so, that was really exciting because I believe that, you know, a lot of people when they do meditation apps, it’s quite limiting. You know, you might focus on the breath or just the body. And that stuff’s great, you know, you need to do that as well. But then there’s these other areas that you need to include as well. So especially for, you know, creativity and innovation to do meditations that allow your thoughts to actually, you know, to generate thoughts, to generate ideas is really exciting.
And then also, to do these meditations, where you develop self compassion for yourself and for others is really powerful, and is essential to mindfulness practice, because, you know, we’re so hard on ourselves, We’re our harshest critics, right? We’re really demanding and judgmental and self critical, and love to compare us to others. And, you know, we need to develop that capacity as well. So, you know, so that was really exciting to do those three, different types of meditation. And I think moving forward, that’s something that I’m really excited about presenting to people, and I think it’s something that’s going to be an area that a lot of people get excited about.
In fact, I read last last week that they did a world wellness forum in the States, where they had all these wellness leaders and they were talking about exactly the same thing, these three different types of meditation are essential to get in a good balance, you know. So don’t just focus on one, incorporate all three, and you’re, you know, it’s gonna be so much better for you. You know, you’re gonna build your concentration and focus. You’re gonna deactivate stress. You’re gonna be more creative, innovative, and you’re gonna feel more compassionate to yourself and to the world, and that’s a good thing, right? Because the world needs more empathy and compassion and loving kindness.
We live in a world that’s pretty crazy, right? We feel so disconnected from each other. And I also read something really interesting that, you know, people are so lonely these days. You know, like, five years ago, there was a big survey in America, most people had like three to five really close friends and today that’s disappearing. People have no friends. So yeah, that’s my mission, like pushing those three meditations and, you know, teaching people.
Tiffany: Thank you so much for sharing. I have noticed something within my own meditation practice. And if we’re talking about meditation journey, it started with just being aware of my breath. And then I wanted a little bit more. It’s like, okay, I realize I can be in this space and observe, but, like, I wanna do something in this space that will help me in the outside world. So then I started looking for meditations that provided me like, direction, how to bring in loving kindness. Like, I do compassion, meditations. I do like a bunch of stuff that I’m trying to, like, bring in.
I love variety. So, like, I’ll do, like, a bunch of different things. Sometimes I spend hours a day meditating because I just want so much. And I think it’s interesting that what you bring up with, because it answers my question, the one that I lost. Like, what do you do with the information with the studies? And now I see that what you do with them,. You build it into your… Like, you structure them, and you make them useful for other people. And so thank you so much for sharing. Isn’t it funny how, like, things circle back.
But I think what you’re saying goes along with the shifts that I’m also seeing. It’s like, “Okay, there’s 32 million people meditating now,” Now, how do we take that a step further? What do we do with that now that we have people who are observing themselves? We help them. You know, like, there’s so much to meditation. There’s so much you can do. There’s so many different ways that you can meditate. And I feel like you’re helping people use meditation in a way that even further benefits their lives and the lives around them.
Tiffany: And I think that’s really cool.
Ray: Because that’s the thing I think people forget is that, you know, if you work on yourself, it doesn’t just affect you, it affects the people around you. So the good thing about, you know, you become less reactive. And think about that in a house where a man comes home, he’s aggressive, and, you know, he might lash out to his wife or their child, you know. Whereas, if you come home, had a meditation, calm down, and be less reactive.
You know, what we do ripples out and affects people around us, our societies, our communities, our countries, and the planet. So it’s a really powerful, it’s really powerful. It’s a very powerful thing, and the world… And we’re living in a world that everyone’s just so stressed. You know, we’re living in a world that’s very volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous ways. We’re struggling with time scarcity, information overload, decision fatigue, and most people really struggling switching off and unplugging.
And, you know, here we have this technique in mindfulness. It’s been around for two and a half thousand years. That’s more important today than it’s ever been, you know. We live in a world that’s just… Yeah, the world is so crazy at the moment. And it just gives us that space that we can go to, where we can switch off and just, you know, go inside and yeah. And, you know, three practices like compassion, and love, and kindness, we develop resilience, you know, emotional intelligence gets boosted. We’ve got more self-awareness, you know, better social skills. Yeah, there’s just so many benefits to it, is, you know, why wouldn’t…and I guess that’s why it is becoming so popular. Why wouldn’t you do?
We all need to stop. It’s like, you know, especially for entrepreneurs and business people, you need to power down to power up. So you gotta take time out to recharge. Simple as that. It’s like your phone, right? You have to recharge your phone. It’s the same with our brains. We’re running on all this old software, and we’re living in a world where we’re just bombarded with information. And we’ve got these amazing supercomputers that tell us anything and everything that we need. And well, that’s amazing, but we’re still gotta look after our minds, because our minds is our most precious asset, right? So I think meditation is like in the same way that people exercise to look after their physical health, meditation is exercise for your mental health. And that’s what I tell people. And when people say to me, “Look, what is it that you do?” And that’s how I explain it as well.
Tiffany: I think Oprah would call, you’ve gotta power down to power up, a tweetable moment.
Ray: Well, she’s a meditator, right?
Ray: I mean, like, you look at all that, like many of the world’s, like people like Steve Jobs, you know, LeBron James, Novak Djokovic, they use mindfulness to help them block out distraction and find their flow. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Rey Daario, Tim Ferriss, Arianna Huffington, the Richmond Football Team, if you’re in America you wanna know who they are. They’re a famous football team. But there’s many teams. Many of the world’s top performers are using mindfulness and meditation. And it’s not because they’ve got tons of free time, right? Because they’re all so busy. It’s that they recognize the return on investment. They recognize it. They’re gonna be less stressed. They’re gonna make better decisions. They’re gonna be more productive, and they’re gonna reach their goals faster. So they know that investing 2% of their day into a practice that’s gonna radically improve the other 98%, that’s a good return on investment.
Tiffany: Only 2% of your day, guys.
Ray: Two percent. What’s 2%? Like how much time do we waste on social media. Come on, seriously, like, instead of, like, flicking through your feed for 10 minutes. And here’s the thing, right? There’s a famous Harvard study that showed that beginners who meditated for eight weeks literally grew the gray areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion, which is a great thing. And the area of the brain associated with stress, the medulla, shrank, and it only takes 10 minutes a day to reap those benefits. So that’s a good return on investment.
Tiffany: I was impressed. Thank you for saying that, because my next question was going to be how long does it take somebody to realize their return on investment?
Ray: I’d say it could be instant, like, if you’re say someone that just, you feel stressed out, and you can’t stop thinking. If you sat down and did say, a simple, focused awareness meditation where you focused your attention on say, sounds or the breath or the body, you’d find after that 10 minutes, your mind would start to calm and settle down instantly. So it could be instant. But meditation is a lifelong practice. It’s not like, “Okay, I’m gonna do this and get this result every day.” It’s like, I’ve been doing it for 27 years, and, you know, it’s a lifelong journey. And, yeah, you gotta take it day-by-day.
Tiffany: What would you say is the biggest challenge people overcome in, I guess deciding to adopt this practice? Like, what’s the biggest challenge or the biggest hurdle? Or is it that setting time aside? Is it the…Yeah, I don’t know. What is your experience and how do you overcome it? Or how do you help people overcome it? And I’m not really even sure if those are the types of people that you’re encountering right now, or if you’re already, you know, if the people that you encounter are like, “I’m down for this. Teach me how.”
Ray: Everyone’s down with it, right? It doesn’t matter. Everyone’s like, “Oh, yeah, I need to meditate. I need to meditate. I can’t stop my thoughts.” Which I should actually add, meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. It’s completely normal to have thoughts during your meditation. It’s about learning to not get caught up in your thoughts. That’s the essence of mindfulness. So completely normal to think, I just wanna get that in there now. It’s not about sitting in the lowest position with your fingers like, in some weird thing, and like, I’m not thinking that’s completely not what it’s about, and people get that wrong from the start.
Tiffany: I like the way you put that.
Ray: But it’s true, right? So true, because we’ve been sold this, like, whole idea about mindfulness and meditation.
Tiffany: Clear your mind.
Ray: Yeah, clear your mind, beautiful models sitting on some beach in Thailand, and it’s like the worst marketing and branding in history. It’s not about that. We’re learning to train our minds to have a better relationship with our minds. It’s completely not about that. I mean, it can be if you want it to be about that, but it’s not about that. It’s about learning to have a healthier relationship with the voice in your head as we said earlier. But coming back to your question, when I teach people everyone’s like, “Yeah, I wanna switch off. I wanna learn how to switch off”. Everyone’s super keen. It’s like after New Year’s when you say, “Well, I’m going on this diet. I’m going to lose like five kilos.” And then like, three days later you’re kind of sitting on the couch just…
Tiffany: Back to the old habits.
Ray: Back to the old habits, right? So it’s the hardest thing. That’s the biggest obstacle for people. My wife, you know, she’s been with me on this journey. And, you know, she knows the benefits of, you know, she’s a dietitian. She’s a dietitian at the hospital around the corner. She can see… she’s got a real science brain. I’ve bombarded her with so much science about this stuff over the past years. She can see the benefits, but actually, carving the time out to do it every day is the hardest thing to do. And that’s the biggest obstacle for people is actually making it a habit that they do every single day. And that’s the challenge, is getting people to continue with the practice and do it every single day. So I mean, I’ve been doing it for 27 years. It’s the most important thing I do every day. But it’s also the first thing I do every day. As soon as I APM, Arise, Pee, Meditate. That’s my like thing, you know.
And then during the day, I’ll do a couple of little micro-meditations just to kind of, like, calm me down, or just to refocus. And then I try and do a meditation after when I finish work to help me transition from like, work life to home life. That’s really important for me to kind of like say, “Okay, work finished, let that go.” Because especially now we live in a world where we don’t switch off, right? We work.
Tiffany: Works on our phone…
Ray: All the time.
Tifanny: …our phone’s connected to us.
Ray: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Tifanny. It’s always working.
Ray: We’re always working. And you need to, we need to set boundaries. You know, and no wonder people are so unhappy and stressed out, they can’t, they don’t know how to switch off. So that’s what I do, you know, I do that a lot of people might meditate before bed to help them sleep. You know, it’s a really good way of helping you sleep. So yeah, creating the habit is the hardest part, and sticking with it, and I guess that’s why having someone like a coach like me keeps people accountable. But it’s really tough. A lot of people have the intention, “I’m gonna meditate.” And then after a couple of weeks, they kind of fall off the bandwagon. You know, “I don’t feel…” you know, maybe they don’t feel enlightened or whatever reason, but I don’t know.
I can honestly say from my heart, once you start and you really get into it, it’s the most important thing that you can do. It’s such an important tool in your toolbox and even more so today. So give it a go. And you just got to, yeah, you just got to make it a priority. Treat it like any other appointment that you won’t miss. Put it in your diary, put it in your icause, set a reminder and try to do it the same time, same place every day. Pick somewhere that you’re not gonna be disturbed. Like, find a little space in the house for you, you know. Get a nice cushion, and, you know, and that’s your space, that’s your place to go to and just sit and be. But yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard because we’ve got, there’s so many… We’ve gotten this never-ending to-do list that we’re never gonna finish. So people think of it as being another thing on the to-do list, which it’s not.
Tiffany: So my friends know that I meditate, and they always say, “Oh, I need to meditate.” So they have the same response. And the most difficult thing for them is setting the time aside. But like, I can see certain places where they may be able to, like, set the time aside, and to do it. And so, what do you think prevents people from, like, yeah, maybe it’s a benefit, I would say looking, like, if you’re having trouble creating a meditation practice, look at the long term, kind of how you did when you reached your situation where you were, like, not healthy and sad and, like, hating life, but also had this like great life too. You looked at the long term. You had real, like, long term focused. That’s a good recommendation.
I know that when I’m at home, like, in New York, I always meditate in my bedroom. And to me, that’s my place to go even when I’m not home. I imagine that I’m in my bedroom, because that kind of, like, brings me into my meditative state. And I know that that’s always available to me. And so, one thing about having a space that I find really valuable, and having that space that you meditate in all the time, is that you can always come back to it no matter where you are.
Ray: Yeah it’s true.
Tiffany: And it’s like, just it’s your space. It’s your time. It’s your everything. Like, craziness could be happening around you in your real-world, wherever you are. But if you imagine, like, for me, I imagine I’m in my bedroom, all of a sudden, and that kind of everything just kind of falls away. So sometimes I listen to music and meditate. But I would imagine that playing music is like meditation is it?
Ray: Like, you mean DJing?
Ray: Yes, very much so. I mean, when you meditate, so when you’re playing music very much so, you just get into the zone, you know, where you’re really focused on what you’re doing and you take people on a journey. You know, you’re really, which I used to love, you know. For two or three hours, you’d have all these people, hundreds, thousands of people in front of you and you’re taking them on this musical journey. And when they’re dancing, and, kind of, you know, they’re in the moment, which is what mindfulness is all about, living more in the present moment. And you’re really in the moment. You’re in the music you know, you can just be so in the moment. Like, when you’re on the dance floor, you’re not thinking about work are you? Or like, you know, someone that’s pissed you off.
So yeah, there’s a lot of similarities. And music can be a really useful tool in meditation. Like, sometimes I lead meditations where there’s no music. Other times, I use music, and I like to use sound as the object of my meditations as well. Because in mindfulness, you tend to use, we engage our senses to bring us into the present moment. So whenever we engage our senses, they keep us in the present moment. So you can’t hear a sound in the past, or in the future. When you’re listening to something, you’re listening to it right now. We’re in the present moment. And that’s what mindfulness is all about, being fully present, aware and engaged in the present moment, instead of being caught up thinking about the past or the future, which we do half our life. Again, there’s another famous Harvard studies showed that it was 47% of our time, we’re thinking about the past or the future, and rarely in the present moment.
So yeah, music is another great medium to get into a meditative state and to use sound is great. When I do my meditations, that’s one of the things I do, is, I focus on sound around me. It’s a really good way of getting into a meditative state, so, yeah.
Tiffany: That’s interesting. That’s super interesting.
Ray: And lot of people don’t…
Tiffany: Using the senses.
Ray: Yeah. So when you say do a breath meditation or a body scan, we’re focusing on the breath that’s bringing us into the present moment, and it’s building focus and concentration, self-awareness, but not everyone wants to focus on the breath. And that’s the thing about having a teacher. There’s different ways of meditating, and that you can make it very tailored to you, and what works for you and what you enjoy. And I find a lot of people like to use sound. Sound is a really great way of keeping you into the present moment. So, like this morning, I did a bike ride to the river, I sat down, did a 10-minute meditation, you know, focused on my body for a couple of minutes. And then used sound to keep me into the present moment. But there’s so many different other things, you know, you can… There’s so many different ways that you can meditate. There’s hundreds of different ways to meditate.
Tiffany: That’s one of my favorite things about meditation is there’s endless possibilities You don’t have to do it any one way. You can find a way that works for you.
Ray: Exactly, yeah.
Tiffany: And just explore. So when you said focus on the sound or your senses, it reminded me of, are you familiar with a channel, she’s, like, this old woman who channels. Her name is Abraham Hicks or the channel is called Abraham Hicks.
Tiffany: Well, anyways, Esther and Jerry Hicks are the people who, I guess bring this channel in. And whose channeling is like really esoteric thing. But I heard and I used to be, like, it used to be something that I would just, like, turn on like YouTube and listen to occasionally, and I heard her say, “Don’t try to, like in meditation, don’t try to…” And this is your sound thing that’s coming in. “Don’t try to, like, block out your thoughts or your, while you’re meditating. Just listen for the sound of the fan or something. Like, try to tune into the sound of the fan.” And I never really understood what that meant. And I’ve tried it. Like, “Okay, like, where’s the fan noise?” Like, I’m listening for the noise, but, like, when you said, use the senses, like, it kind of just clicked for me. Like…
Ray: Oh, there you go.
Tiffany: Like, yeah, you don’t have to be in silence. You can listen for the non-silence.
Ray: Yeah, exactly.
Tiffany: And that also tunes you in.
Ray: Yeah. Yeah. You can listen to sound or listen to the space between sound, you know. That’s gonna get you into the present moment, you know.
Tiffany: Aha, thank you.
Ray: And, you know, everyone’s different as well. We thought some people see their thoughts as a visual image, others hear it as a sound. And then you touched on something, it’s not about stopping our thoughts in meditation. It really isn’t. It’s about sitting back, giving them a little bit of space and just letting them come and pass, because we can’t stop our thoughts. It’s impossible. In the same way our heartbeats, our mind thinks, but it’s learning not to get caught up in those thoughts. That’s the essence. That’s the valuable lesson and the skill that we learn, you know. And that’s such a hard thing to do, because a lot of the time we do get caught up in our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. And that’s okay as well. It’s just when you kind of start ruminating over something that you kind of after three days, you know, someone cuts you off at the traffic lights and three days later, you’re still thinking about it? That’s not helpful. That’s not healthy, so yeah.
Tiffany: Sometimes, you know, like, when you let a thought go or a feeling go, I’ve noticed that it does come up like three days later. I’m like, “I thought I let that one go.” Like, what’s going on here? That’s funny. Do you have any tips on… Like, you’ve given us a lot of tips, but do you have any tips on what may like the audience or listeners can do? I know you’ve said to like, just, you know, make it a habit to meditate. All you need is 2% of your day and to create your own space. You’ve given so many tips, but like, is there anything the audience can do on a daily basis, like a small thing that they can do to… A lot of people say, “Just focus on your breath,” or “Listen for the sounds.” like. you’ve given us a lot. But what do you think is like the most, or easiest or most valuable? Or a lot of people that you interact with, what do they latch on to? If there is a common theme?
Ray: Well, I think one of the things through teaching that I find that people get the most benefit out is called a micro-meditation, where just throughout the day, you just take a couple of times out throughout the day just to stop, and even just do a minute or two minutes, just focus on the breath or the body or sounds, and people really find that really beneficial especially during the day. Like, maybe set a little reminder on your phone. “At 3:00, I’m gonna stop and just focus for two minutes and do that.” I kind of look at it like, you know, if you’re reading a page and you’ve got, you know, the full stop, so like your meditation in the morning and in the evening, and the commas throughout the copy. Well, that’s like the little micro-meditations. They’re your little commas throughout your day.
So people find that that’s a really great. And, you know, even if you’re just doing one or two minutes, at least that’s something. You know, you’re stopping, you’re getting out of your head, you’re getting into the present moment, you’re giving just even one or two minutes can be really beneficial. So if you don’t think that you’ve got the time, just do one or two-minute meditation throughout the day, and you’d be surprised at how you feel afterwards, especially, like. because, you know, we’re like, at 3:00, you know, we’ll feel so tired, “Well, I’m gonna slam a coffee or maybe have a little sweet break or something like that,” because we’ve run out of glucose in our brains, and so we’re feeling that way.
But instead, well, I’m gonna check my Instagram feed.” Stop, close your eyes or, you don’t have to close your eyes and just do a one or two-minute meditation and see. But the important thing is to notice how do you feel before, and then how do you feel after. Because you’ll be surprised, you know. A lot of people get a lot of benefits just doing even one or two-minute meditations throughout the day. So definitely give that a crack.
Tiffany: Awesome. I love that. Micro-meditation.
Ray: Micro-meditations. Yeah, really, really important. And that adds up during the day as well. So, you know, like I meditate first thing in the morning, and it sets me up for a more mindful day. But those little mindful check-ins throughout the day, it’s just like a little recharge.
Tiffany: How long is your morning meditation?
Ray: For a long time, it was like 20 minutes. And recently, it’s kind of it switches between sort of 20 to 10 minutes. So 10 to 20 minutes is generally what I do in the mornings now.
Tiffany: And what is your morning meditation like if you’re happy to share. I’m curious.
Ray: Yeah. So I do what’s called an open-monitoring meditation, which is a little bit more of an advanced practice, I guess, where there’s no focus in the meditation. So I sit, and I’m just open to whatever comes into my awareness. So if thoughts come up, feelings, sounds, body sensations, I just sit and observe them and just allow them. And then I use my hands. I just come back to the feeling of my hands. So if I get caught up in thinking, and it’s two minutes late, and I’ve kind of gone into, you know, thinking for two minutes, I kind of just come back to the feeling in my hands, and then that just gets me back into that space. And for me, I really love that meditation. It’s a meditation that I do a lot. But it can depend as well. Like, if like sometimes I might add some gratitude into my meditation where, I kind of just ask myself what am I grateful for, that’s really important. Because we spend so much of our time just, you know, going from one goal, to the next goal, to the next goal. We don’t stop to appreciate all the good stuff that’s going on.
So sometimes I’ll add a little bit of gratitude at the end of my meditation. And then, if I’m feeling like, you know, like hard on myself, or beating myself up, or I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps. I might do the loving-kindness meditation just at the end as well. So I do an open monitoring practice, and then either do a gratitude or loving-kindness at the end just to kind of finish it off. So that’s my personal meditation practice.
Tiffany: So this is probably not… I mean, I’m just curious. Do you do anything with the information you get from your, just observing meditation? You’re like, Oh, I have this feeling, or I noticed this feeling or this sensation afterwards. Do you do anything with that information? Or do you just kind of let it be whatever it was in the meditation?
Ray: Yeah, not really. It’s kind of, that was there and then it’s kind of, you know, sometimes, like, a really good idea might come up to me and I kind of like, “Ah,” just note to myself have to remember that and then I just come back to the meditation. So, you know, often good ideas come to me, but it’s not about, you know, the meditation is not about coming up with good ideas, but occasionally it does. But it’s, yeah, no, not really. So it’s more about the meditation. But then that’s the thing, you know, that 10 minutes that you spend, as we say, on the cushion, that rolls over into the rest of your life, so that, you know, that 10 minutes rolls over into the other 23 hours and 15 minutes. You know, you’re more self-aware, you’re more focused, Yeah. So from that 10 minutes… and that’s where the real benefits lie, right? It’s not the 10 minutes that we do on the meditation cushion. It’s how we take that and that show up for the rest of our life, or that day. And so, yeah, that stuff rolls over into the rest of my day, I find, you know, and I have a much better day. I’m less reactive. Yeah, I’m more focused, I’m more productive, and I’m more compassionate to myself, and hopefully to people around me as well.
Tiffany: Yeah. We’re getting close to be hour, so I wanna be cognizant of your time, but one of the questions that I had…So, I think it’s just really cool that you’ve been meditating for 27 years, we’ll call it 30, and you’re still very human, like, not human, but, like, you’re factual, and, like, into studying the science behind things. And sometimes I feel like meditation can be misunderstood as people going, like, way over to the woo woo side.
Ray: Right, okay.
Tiffany: And, like, you still very much have your, I guess your type A personality and your business orientatedness and your ability to, you know, like, speak to large groups and make something that’s, like, maybe woo woo into something that will benefit them in the long run in their lives and their careers. So I think that’s pretty cool. And I guess just like any other human there’s, we’re emotional beings, right?
Tiffany: Do you still experience times where you’re emotionally latched on to something that’s difficult to let go. And like, how do you do what? Just keep it? I don’t know. Do you just let it be? Or how has meditation helped you deal with like, difficult or emotional situations?
Ray: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’re all human beings. Just because you have a meditation practice doesn’t mean that you’re gonna be like, you’re not gonna experience difficult emotions and feelings, of course, but it just gives you the perspective to deal with them in maybe in a different way. Like, when I was younger, if I get angry, I’d like punch a wall or do something, like, crazy like that and end up breaking my toe or my… you know, And I guess, with age, I mean, I’m 51 you kind of don’t do that stuff anymore.
But then meditation, or, you know, with training, mental training, we’re less reactive. We’re able to, kind of, they call it the sacred pause. Before you do that, you know, you’re able to stop and just kind of, instead of reacting, I think that’s the thing, you kind of are much better at just stopping, kind of thinking things through instead of reacting. So that’s really important, I think. And that’s something that meditation gives you the ability to kind of, you know, step back and respond wisely, instead of react blindly to what’s going on.
There’s a great quote by a guy called Viktor Frankl who was a Holocaust survivor, His whole family was wiped out in the Holocaust. And he said, I think it was between stimulus and response, there is a space, and in that space, we have the power to choose our response. And in that response lies our growth and our freedom. And it’s so powerful, and I love that, because that’s the thing. It’s about just giving you that space to respond instead of react, I think, which is really important.
Tiffany: Awesome. I’ve been studying the soul recently. And there’s a book called “The Seat of the Soul” that I read probably just a few weeks ago. It may have been that book, it may have been a different one. I don’t know. I’ve read so many books that sometimes they’re all just blended together. But one of the things that makes our soul grow to this person, I don’t remember the author’s name, but I’ll put it in the show notes and also include Viktor Frankl and everybody else we’ve talked about today or mentioned in the links below.
But that space, that pause, that space that Viktor Frankl’s talking about where we have the choice, and that’s where you know, our growth leads, that also is where the soul grows. It’s in that choice and not doing things because that’s our habit or because we’re reacting, but because we have the choice, and when we have the choice, we choose the path that we want to choose not the path that we have been, I don’t know, like, that we always chose in the past. It’s like that new space that allows for growth. So I thought there was a cool link there.
Tiffany: Anyways, do you have any last, I could talk to you for hours. But do you have anything else you’d like to say? Or any asks of the audience or anything? I’ll definitely include your information where people can find you, maybe where you’ll be.
Ray: Yeah, I’m on YouTube channels, Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn and my website, thegoodplace.com.au. There’s a show on TV. There’s a TV show out with the same name. But yeah. So yeah, if anyone’s got any questions, feel free to hit me up. I’m happy to help.
Tiffany: Awesome. Thank you so much. I actually wanted, I have a friend in Collingwood and I visited his apartment recently, and he’s a graphic designer. And he had this black and white poster that said, “You’ve come to the good party at the good house, so you’re gonna have a good time” or something like that. I wish I would have taken a picture of it for you.
Ray: I’d like to have seen that.
Tiffany: But he had this business idea where he wanted to brand like a good, the good name. And so, he was coming up with all of this, like, material and I was like, “There’s a “Good Place” like, very good. I know him. Do you know him?” And he also he’s from the UK and he also was a DJ.
Ray: Oh, really?
Tiffany: So you guys have like a lot in common.
Ray: Is his name Good?
Tiffany: No, no. his name is Robin.
Ray: So I beat him there.
Tiffany: Yeah. You beat him there. He doesn’t have the Good name. But he tried to. He tried to make the Good name. But yeah, it’s just super. I guess, what do you call that? A synchronicity?
Ray: Yeah. There you go. So it’s sort of that spreading the good word.
Tiffany: Well, thank you so much for being on the show it was really great to have you.
Ray: No problem. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Tiffany: Yeah, of course.