103: The Standing Meditation | Nate Rifkin

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Today I'm talking with my friend Nate Rifkin who has published a book on a little-known kind of meditation. I’ve been reading this book and it’s blown me away. I think you’re going to love what we have to share today. Nate used to be suicidal and drank alcohol every morning to get through the day. He dropped out of college, went broke, bankrupt, and even worked on the street corner waving around a sign to afford rent and food. But he’s managed to turn his life around, find love, and now has an incredible life. This kind of meditation was the driving force behind his transformation. Not only that, but I’ve already been practicing what he teaches in his book and I’ve got a crazy experience of my own… something happened to me that hasn’t happened in all my time meditating.

www.naterifkin.com

Episode Highlights:

  • Nate Rifkin transformed his life through meditation from being suicidal and relying on alcohol every morning to his current success.
  • Writing, hanging out with his wife, and practicing Daoist mysticism make Nate’s heart sing and get him out of bed in the morning.
  • The standing meditation comes from Daoism, the essence of which is creating harmony through balance.
  • The earth and the universe contain a storehouse of energy, and if you stand a certain way, it’s like turning on a faucet for that energy entering your body.
  • Typical self-help and mindset work wasn’t working for Nate and the more frustrated he got the worse his problems became.
  • He found himself looking at people who are bad people but still successful, and it only contributed to his feelings of anger and frustration.
  • Nate believed if he could visualize success, he would attract it like a magnet, not realizing that the anger he had buried deep inside of him was a much more powerful energy.
  • The transformation for Nate meant that he went from someone who set goals and his happiness was dependent upon reaching those goals to someone who was able to enjoy and appreciate the day to day process of living.
  • After all the self-help had failed him and he dropped out of college, he declared bankruptcy and got a job as a sign spinner on a street corner for three years.
  • Think about the cost/benefit analysis of different decisions; Nate decided he was happy to be a sign spinner because he was able to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on the job and felt he was able to use that time well because of it.
  • This also applies to how he spends money; he could spend $1 now, or invest it and have $1,000 later.
  • When you’re building a habit, it really does take a lot of work at first before your brain rewires itself.
  • Building habits also requires adopting new values where you value your longterm health and growth over your short term satisfaction.
  • Nate considers the standing meditation the foundational pillar of everything else he’s been able to do, because it is the practice that allowed all of his other practices to work.
  • The standing position is that you want to both relax, and elongate and straighten your spine, starting with your hips turned and tucked in forward as if you’re sitting on a high barstool.
  • The position requires that you unlock your knees, requiring you to really engage your thighs to hold yourself up.
  • Stand with your arms in a position as if you’re hugging a large tree.
  • This position helps your mind to not wander because you’re focusing on different parts of your body.
  • Justin has tried the standing meditation and experienced a huge spiritual release where he started crying uncontrollably and now incorporates it every morning.
  • Nate has been doing this for over 12 years and is now training to be a Daoist priest and getting his PhD in Chinese Energetic Medicine, so he now does spiritual and meditative practices for about 4 hours a day.
  • When Nate started with standing meditation, he only did 60 seconds at a time and added 5 seconds a day because the daily increase was imperceptible to his body but over time it adds up.
  • Nate knew he felt good when he meditated, but it was especially affirming when he would run into someone he hadn’t seen in a while and they noticed that he seemed different.
  • Nate has found that as he committed to spiritual practice, he would have to let go of some of his old relationships.
  • If Nate could give his 18 year old self any advice, it would be to practice the Daoist mysticism and meditation instead of just reading about it.

3 Key Points:

  1. Visualizing success and changing your surface-level mindset won’t work unless you release underlying emotion and trauma.
  2. Building habits requires a lot of work and the adoption of a new value system.
  3. Incremental, imperceptible changes add up over time.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “The essence of Daoism is creating harmony through balance." –Nate Rifkin
  • "A lot of what I was practicing in terms of self help was trying to affect what I was putting out on a very surface level, but I wasn’t addressing the deeper psychology and the deeper imbalances inside of me." –Nate Rifkin
  • "Time is a precious, precious resource. We can’t really buy more of it other than buying our way out of tasks like mowing the lawn." –Nate Rifkin
  • "You could read 100 books and not put any of it into practice." –Justin Francisco

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