Does being ripped and having a six-pack automatically make you more spiritual?
The answer is… confusing.
At this point, you’ve probably heard of JP Sears and seen his satirical comedy videos all over the internet, skewering everything you hold dear. Contrary to popular belief, I found out he’s a real person, and a pretty swell one at that.
JP Sears is a comedian, satirist, YouTuber, emotional healing coach and now the author of How to Be Ultra Spiritual: 12 1/2 Steps to Spiritual Superiority.
At this point, JP’s ridiculous videos have over 300 million views. If you haven’t checked out any of his videos, please do, either before this interview, after this interview, or whenever you want. They’re definitely worth a giggle. He’s also working on a brand new podcast and TV show – congrats JP, YOU are a shining star!
On this show with JP you’re about to learn
- The real reason the Carnivore Diet is blowing up the internet
- Ayahuasca abuse in pseudo-spiritual circles
- How your social media accounts are trying to control you
- And tons more.
Let’s go hang out with JP.
JP Sears: Meaningful Messages Through Humor
Abel: Alright, folks, JP Sears is a comedian, YouTuber, emotional healing coach, and now the author of How to Be Ultra Spiritual, 12 1/2 Steps to Spiritual Superiority.
You’ve likely seen his satirical comedy videos all over the internet, which have over 300 million views. And for the first time ever on Fat Burning Man, hopefully not the last, please welcome his enlightened-ness, Mr. JP Sears.
Abel, thank you for having me on and for making me sound relatively astute in that intro. I appreciate you not sharing any of the devious shadow that I carry.
Abel: It was relatively challenging, but I do have a good first question for you. Considering your family name is now in shambles, how are you coping with the Sears bankruptcy these days?
Man, I just disowned my family name. For 100 years it’s been like, “Ooh, cool, Sears and Roebuck,” and now it’s like, “Wow, y’all are going bankrupt.”
And, of course, it’s not my actual family that owns Sears, yet I think we can all agree that image is everything. The cover of the book is way more important than what’s on the inside of the book.
And I think it was also time to change my name anyway to JP Karma Rainbow Unicorn or…
Abel: Oh. Internet-friendly. Those are some good SEO terms.
I would think so. Or JPeezus. So, yeah, I think just disowning my family, because I’m afraid that the family name might hurt my image by 0.12%.
Abel: I would think so. Sears and spiritual don’t seem to go together at all.
Yeah. So, JP Karma Unicorn coming atcha.
Abel: Welcome. The world debut.
So, we were talking before we started this interview about how I really appreciate what you’re doing. In order to do good satire, you really do need to see things from both sides.
I would love for you to just explain that a little bit to the people who are listening, because sometimes when you, myself included, watch a video of yours, you can wind up a little bit confused.
Sure. And if you, the beautiful listener, if you haven’t seen any of my videos, I’ll just take a quick second to explain what I do.
My videos “make fun of” the spiritual world, the health world, nutrition world, exercise world, new-age topics, the self-development world, as well as a few social issues. Social justice warriors, millennials, things like that.
And anything that I’m “making fun of,” it’s something that’s important to me in my life.
So, I’m making fun of spirituality. Well, my spiritual life is incredibly important to me.
Making fun of functional fitness, I’ve been doing functional fitness since I was eighteen.
And so it’s important to me to have one foot in the world that I’m doing satire on.
But of course, one foot out of the world. To be able to step out of the world, have a sense of self outside of it, not just be self-identified with, “I’m a CrossFitter, I’m a meat eater,” and think I am the things that I do, so that I can have a little self-awareness.
And being able to have one foot in the world, because it’s important to me, and also one foot out of the world so I can see a little more objectively, if I can dare use that word.
That helps me see the ridiculousness of the given world I’m doing satire on.
And I think any world, any philosophy, practice, it will have ridiculousness around it. Probably great stuff as well, but also ridiculousness.
And part of what I love to point out through the artistic satire of my comedy videos is how our egos will infiltrate anything we do.
Our ego will try to gratify itself, make itself feel more significant through these otherwise noble looking things like exercise, spirituality, and meditation.
So, I do my best to shine the light of awareness on how our ego likes to become egotistical in these worlds.
Why to Stop Self-Identifying with Your Practice
Abel: And you play it off so well. But most people are doing that to themselves without even realizing it.
Any time you put a label on the way that you eat, for example, or the way that you exercise, what does that do to your psychology and your emotions?
What does that do to you without realizing it? And I’m speaking about the listener here.
I tend to think that it’s human nature to start to self-identify with what we do and what we believe.
We see this whether it’s a religion, an eating practice, a way of exercising, and we start to confuse my way is the only way, and my way is me.
We start to think that who we are is what we’re doing and what we’re believing.
And I think that means that the beneficial thing that we’re doing can be the thing that makes us start losing ourselves.
Because if someone’s a vegan, cool, you’re doing veganism. But you are more than a vegan. That’s not who you are, it’s what you do.
If you’re a meat eater, that’s not who you are. That’s what you do, that’s how you eat.
I think all of us do this.
The question isn’t, “Do we do it?” but “How do we do it?”
We all lose ourselves into the things that are important to us.
Where we think, “Hey, I have to defend veganism as though it’s my religion, because I think it’s who I am. And if you start to see holes in veganism, then that threatens my sense of life.”
Even though it doesn’t threaten our life. But if we’re self-identified with it, we think it does.
So we start to become willing to die for our beliefs and our practices.
And I’m like, “Man, don’t serve the beliefs. Don’t serve the practices. Don’t worship CrossFit. Let those things serve you. Realize you are beyond those things.”
And I also think there’s a paradox. Anything that works for us will eventually start working against us if we stay rigidly attached to it.
I have friends of mine… I’m not sure if you’re aware of the RawBrahs, Daniel Eisenman and Timothy Eisenman…
So the three brothers, Daniel, Timothy, and Nathaniel, a handful of years ago, maybe a couple of handfuls of years ago, they started a YouTube channel because they started eating a raw vegan diet, and they were so stoked about it.
They had a very self-identified name: “We are the RawBrahs.” Started a YouTube channel on that, and built up a great following pretty quickly.
But then the thing that was working for them, raw veganism, started working against them.
And it’s not a knock on raw veganism, it’s just like, it worked for them and then it stopped working for them. And they were validating this through medical tests.
Six months into it, I think it was Daniel, his testosterone was at the level of an 80-year-old woman.
Just not good.
So they said, “Well, let’s try something different,” and they started eating meat and their health really bounced back.
Abel: Raw meat?
No, man I’ve seen them eat raw fish, but not raw meat.
But anyway, for me, that’s just an example of how something worked for a person and then started working against them. And luckily these friends of mine, the RawBrahs, weren’t willing to die for the cause.
They realized, “I am more than a raw vegan; raw veganism isn’t working for me anymore, so let me let that fade away, find something that serves me better.”
Anyway, I think that’s an example that we can all relate to in one way or another.
Abel: It’s a great example of how it plays out a lot of the times, whether it’s paleo, vegan, keto, or anything like that, people eventually get to this point where they’re just like, “It’s not worth it anymore.”
Unless you want to seriously be that one label for the rest of your existence, which I just can’t imagine. That’s being a slave to your label, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, I think you’re right.
And I think the miracle of who you are, the miracle of who anybody is, you are way bigger, way more magnificent than a practice, a philosophy, a way of eating, a way of living.
You are more than that. You really are.
And I think we make ourselves very limited if we try to stay in the narrow lane of, “I am the meat eater, I am the carnivore, I am the paleo, I am the vegan, I am the Buddhist.”
But at the same time, when something works for us like that, it might work for you for a year, it might work for you for 10 years, and it feels so scary for us to betray the thing that worked for us.
It’s like, “Wow. Eating paleo really worked for me for a season.”
But then if it starts to work against me, we can completely ignore that because we’re attached to the past.
We’re living in 2005 when it was still working for us, and because it worked for us then, we’re tattooing that memory into the forefront of our present consciousness and refusing to see what’s in front of us because we’re only focusing on what was behind us.
It worked for me then, so we hypnotize ourselves into believing, “Well, it’ll automatically work for me now and forevermore.”
Yet I don’t think so. I think everything has a shelf life. As we grow and expand, the things that worked well for us…
It’s like when you started lifting weights. And I’ll speak from my experience, when I started lifting weights, it was everything I could do to bench press the bar.
I remember being 11 years old, seeing people bench 45s, I’m like, “I’ll probably start with that.”
But then I started with the bar and I could barely do it, 45 pounds. But that was a good, challenging place for me to start. That bar worked for me.
But if I stayed attached to the bar and refused to let myself evolve and grow, if the bar doesn’t work anymore I need something heavier: Now I need 25s, now I need 35s on each side, now 45s, my fitness would have been greatly challenged, greatly restricted, if I didn’t allow myself to grow and evolve.
And just real quick, I’ll throw one example. You can be in the ocean, shipwrecked, scary scenario, but you’ve got a life preserver.
That life preserver is going to work for you for a while. And then after a while, a matter of days or weeks, that life preserver is going to become waterlogged, and keeping it on basically means you’re wearing a vest of concrete.
However, we can be there in the ocean still stranded and thinking, “I’m not going to let go of this life preserver because it kept me afloat,” refusing to experience the new reality of the evolved situation where the life preserver that worked for us is now working against us.
So, man, I think us as people, we deserve to let ourselves be unattached from what worked for us; let those things serve us so that we can let them go and evolve, go on to the next thing that will work better for us.
Life Coaching to Comedy
Abel: Is there anything along those lines that you’re working on in your own life right now or have recently?
No, I’m pretty perfect at the moment, Abel. I’m just trying to relate to other people who have their struggles.
Yeah, man, very much so. Where do I begin? One place to begin is the past four years, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have my comedy videos really blow up and open so many amazing doors.
And before I was doing the comedy videos, I was doing life coaching for 15 years. Real sincere messages and working with people and teaching classes.
So, actually, starting back then, life coaching only being sincere, I let myself evolve beyond that to, “Let’s do comedy videos, too.”
That was a dramatic change. I had to let go of, “I am the sincere life coach.”
Now I’m more than that, I’m the sincere life coach and I’m a comedian.
And now, fast forward to four years into the comedy, which I still love comedy, that’s still working for me, yet I feel the evolution going beyond it, where now it’s important to me to bring back sincere messages, whether I’m lacing them with comedy or not.
And I abandoned just the purely sincere messages four years ago. I wouldn’t say I’m going back to them, but evolving to a place where I’ve been through this comedic world for four years, had it open up so many doors, that’s worked so well for me.
But if I stay in it, I think it’s going to confine me. So I’m finding new ways to express my sincere messages.
And one way that takes shape is if a company hires me to come in and speak or speak at the conference, and they say, “JP, will you come do comedy for us?”
I’ll say, “Yes. And can I also give a sincere message? Because that’s me, that’s where I’m at.”
They’ll say, “Yeah, that’s awesome.”
And I’ve got my membership program, and my podcast, I mentioned to you before we started, Abel, I started the Awaken with JP Sears show, launched at about 3 weeks ago.
That is not a comedy podcast. Though I’ll be myself, so my humor comes in.
But it’s very unapologetically sincere, deep-diving discussions, heart-to-heart with other people. And that was me feeling the urge, I’ve got to go beyond this comedy that’s working for me.
I’ve got to let my expression get bigger than that because I feel the urge. So did I half way answer the question?
I’m getting all excited here. I feel like I’m having a therapy session.
Abel: Of course, but it is important to talk about those separate worlds, isn’t it? I did musical comedy in Austin for years. It becomes its own toxic little world if you stay in that.
If people are only comedians and they only do comedy, and you’re only ripping on everything all the time, then that itself can be a toxic rabbit hole, in the same way that you were talking about if people are raw vegan for too long, or if it’s not serving them anymore, sometimes you need to branch out of that.
And it sounds like what you’re doing is really integrating with what you had abandoned before, to some degree.
I could totally relate to that. When I started this show, I was to some degree frustrated by the lack of progress in art that I was seeing, even in Austin, Texas, which should have been this mecca, but instead I saw real music being kicked out by iPhones and iPads and all of this soulless schlop.
And I’m like, “Ugh, but I have more I need to give to the world.”
And so I shut off playing live gigs for almost two years after playing 200-plus for many years, every year, and started this show.
And then this blew up and became big, and then I became that, I thought in my mind. But that’s toxic if it’s only that.
So it’s been really fun and interesting over the past few years, really integrating all those different pieces.
Because once you can see the similarities between you being sincere and you ripping on these movements and whatever the internet fad of the moment is, once you start integrating all those things, I think there’s a lot of wisdom that comes with that, isn’t there?
I think so. And to me it’s the wisdom of the holistic consciousness, because just like the body, you can take a look at one thing like the liver, cool.
The liver unto itself can become very toxic, not help us detox, but it would be a source of toxicity if it stays as its own entity.
But when the liver is connected to the colon, the urinary system, the cardiovascular system, okay, now the body can excrete these toxins that the liver has detoxed instead of the liver re-converting them into a toxic form.
So once upon a time, we focused on developing the liver, the heart, and then putting these pieces together into a whole. We all know the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
And I think it’s like that with areas of our lives. And I think it can be scary because when we get good at doing the liver, when you get good at doing the music, that becomes a comfort zone.
But I think both growth and happiness depend on us leaving our comfort zone.
And sometimes that comfort zone is saying, “Now I’ve got to integrate the music into something new, musical comedy, or I’ve got to integrate the comedy into something else or with something else,” which is scary, because we’ve never done it before.
It’s tempting to succumb to the siren songs of the comfort zone and stay there because it’s comfortable, but before too long we realize we’re living in the coffin of our comfort zone.
So, I think integrating, going into uncharted territory, bringing the parts of ourselves together, our interests together, is part of the call. And I think that’s part of becoming a whole being, living a holistic life.
Social Media and Human Connection
Abel: Yet, today in the age of Instagram, it does seem that almost everyone has their own little mini celebrity going on. Their own little myopic image of themselves that’s transmitted to the world that they must then become a slave to. In the world at large
And I think this has happened to some degree invisibly, but I’m like, “Wait a second, my parents have mini celebrity accounts on social media that are interacting with mine now, and this is tripping me out.”
And it’s tripping them out. It’s tripping everyone out. Because we’re more than our social media accounts, but we don’t always feel that way, do we?
100%, and we get validated for who we are. We don’t get validated for who we’re becoming because nobody knows that yet.
So, they can’t validate who we are in the process of becoming. And typically when we become it, we’ve got to own it for a while before it can really express itself and other people can recognize it.
So, yeah, I definitely hear that.
If you become the Instagram star because you’ve got the amazing glutes, then you’re like, “Oh, I am that. I’ve got to maintain that image because that’s what’s giving me approval.”
But then let’s just say you’re that woman and you want to start a family, but you don’t want to have a family because your body might be misshaped for a while or forever, so you’re scared about that.
So you start, “Maybe I’ll just not let that natural desire of mine to start a family be a part of my life, because I’m afraid of losing this mini celebrity kind of thing.”
But I think part of the recipe for growth and evolvement is betray two things.
Betray who we were. We’ve got to betray who we were in order to let ourselves become not only who we are, but also become who we’re going to be. Because just like the universe is always expanding, I think we are that as well, the macrocosm that’s found in the microcosm.
I think we are always in the process of expanding and becoming more, or at least realizing that we’re becoming more.
I don’t think, “Oh, I found myself.”
Cool, you found yourself in that moment, but next month you’re going to be more than that.
And the other sense that I think we need to betray in order to be true to ourselves and have a successful life is we have to betray who we think other people think we are.
So, we look at the Instagram account and whatever our profile is, we see people commenting, so we get a sense of, “Oh, this is who they think I am.”
And sometimes we start to become more true to that than we are to ourselves.
So, I think a willingness to betray who they think we are is essential. It’s scary to live, 100%, and it is very fulfilling, very rewarding, very expansive to do.
Abel: Yeah. Not that we’re in an advanced age, but it’s easy for 3 or 4 years to go by without thinking that they’ve even gone by, without thinking, “Perhaps I should evolve or change my thinking about certain things.”
We’re playing the same character.
But if you just go back to high school, for example, the difference between freshman year JP and senior year JP, that’s only the same three or four years, but at the same time, think about all the growth that has happened during that time, hopefully.
And why can’t we continue that throughout the rest of our lives?
Why can’t we continue that way of thinking, that every year, every month, every day, every moment, we should be evolving.
Maybe not striving, but hopefully moving on some trajectory, perhaps away from who we used to be, toward that wholeness that you were speaking about.
Oh, I love that thought. And I just think back to my old thinking, and maybe some other people still have this thinking, who knows?
But the old thinking is like, “Oh yeah, once you’re 18, you stop physically growing, therefore it’s easy to trick ourselves in to believing that we’re not growing, just because we’re not physically growing.”
And it’s almost like that’s when our psyches, our hearts, that’s when the real growth starts. When we leave home, when we leave the schools, and now we’re in this thing called my life, holy lord, now is when the growth spurt really starts.
I think that’s exciting, and I think you’re right, we don’t recognize that enough, because the growth is happening in this invisible realm called our mind, heart, and our psyche, so it’s easy to pretend it’s not there because we can’t see it.
I think that’s a trick our human minds play on us.
It says, “Well, if I can’t see something, then it’s not there.”
Abel: It’s brainwashing.
Abel: Let’s do some soul-washing, I like that.
But being trapped in that freshman character is where a lot of people are, especially on the internet, with social media and all of that, getting wrapped up in keto or the carnivore diet.
What’s your take on the carnivore diet that’s just overwhelming the internet these days with its awesomeness?
What causes me to put the brakes on the most is that it’s trendy. It’s the new thing!
Abel: The new thing for cats.
Anything that people are doing because it’s trendy, to me it’s like, let’s be cautious about that.
So, I’m not saying it’s not going to work for you, but I’m just saying it won’t work for you just because you think it’s trendy and awesome and it’s the newest, therefore most exciting thing.
It’s at one of the ends of the extremes. And I think oftentimes the sweet spot is the place of balance in between the extremes.
Abel: Six months carnivore, six-month raw vegan.
Exactly, now I’m balanced.
P.S. I’m not an expert on any of this. I’m just someone who barely has opinions, so here come just a few opinions.
Abel: You have opinions. They’re more than barely.
Listening to some of the folks, the Rhonda Patricks, the Dom D’Agostinos, Chris Kressers, a lot of folks like that, the reverence I have for something like the carnivore diet is, its medical applications to help people for a specific therapeutic amount of time.
Obviously, keto is not as extreme, but keto has great medical applications.
Raw juice cleanses have incredible medical applications.
So, taking a therapeutic application and making that a permanent fixture in one’s life is something that I think we need to be mindful of.
I’m all about experimenting, but part of any experiment is paying attention to the results and the feedback.
Get extreme as you want, yet have the respect and reverence for your body to listen to the results of the experiments.
And I’m curious to turn that question back to you, Abel, your thoughts on, for example, the latest trend, the carnivore diet.
The Ridiculousness of Health Trends
Abel: Well, I think, like you said, there’s definitely a trend toward the extremes, especially on the internet these days, and you can turn these little cliques into communities, but artificially.
And what people don’t realize is how many of these trends are coming from the top down.
They’re coming from people who are not in health, they’re coming from marketers, they’re coming from people who are in this to make money.
And if you type in anything health-related onto the internet these days, 80% of it, I feel pretty comfortable saying, is going to be marketing hype.
I would agree.
Abel: Because those are the people who are holding the cash. Those are the people who are running the internet, which to some degree has become our outsourced brain.
We don’t really read books anymore. Even if we do go to school, we’re on our iPads or what have you. And so the internet is our external brain.
And one thing that I’m really concerned about… because there’s nothing wrong with the carnivore diet, especially for cats or for animals that it’s appropriate for.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not eating vegetables or plant matter for a while, whether you’re fasting or you’re just eating meat and you’re trying to do a reset. I think it’s really important to find the edges of whatever you’re doing so that you can find your way back to the sweet spot eventually.
What people do, though, too often I think, is drink a little bit too much of that kool-aid from the marketers.
They think it’s from the health people, but it’s from the marketers. They drink the kool-aid, and they’re like, “I’m a carnivore now.”
They don’t really realize it, but they’re an ambassador for that trend now. And so they’re doing the marketing for the marketers, who are just crushing it.
Abel: But that all happens quite invisibly, and it’s kinda snuck up on us in the past four or five years, I think, as social media has really changed and enveloped our lives and emotions and the internet, as well.
So, I think there are certain people… You studied with Paul Chek, for example. There are certain people and certain ways of thinking about food, many of them Eastern, not new at all, that are the pillars of healthy eating and living that you should always go back and re-examine, like eating your vegetables.
So when you say, “Not eating vegetables is the healthiest, newest thing,” I’m just waiting for a JP Sears video about it.
Abel: It’s just one of those things that’s not okay. We need to think more before we hop on these trends, is what I would say.
Yeah. And by the way, the carnivore diet is definitely on my list of videos to do.
This Grandma telling you, “You gotta eat your vegetables.” And now we look at vegetables like they’re junk food, like of course to be healthy you can’t eat your vegetables. But, yeah, it’s amusing.
Abel: I was bad today, I ate a carrot. One of those things.
People guilting themselves for eating spinach.
Kale got trendy. It got too trendy. That’s how you know kale got too trendy.
It did. Here’s an interesting angle, and I might have to work this into the video. I feel like we’re in a creative brainstorm right now, people.
Abel: Let’s do it.
Eating an omnivore diet, you get away from that. Now we’re at the extreme of the carnivore diet. It’s like, “Hey, we’re carnivores, we’re eating flesh, we’re made out of flesh.”
Then the next extreme is now we’re on the cannibal diet. Because we’re not plants, so you can’t eat plants anymore. You’ve got to eat flesh, it works better for us. Eat meat.
Abel: Overpopulation is a problem.
Then we realize, why eat meat from other species when you can eat meat from your own species? That’s what we’re designed to eat because that’s what we’re designed from.
And then, like you said, population control. Boom. The cannibal diet.
Abel: That was a book about that. Jonathan Swift put that out, right? Control the population by eating all of the babies? I think that’s the original satire.
Oh, man, I didn’t see that.
Abel: He beat you to it. But anyway, let me ask you this. People don’t realize that they’re trapped in the characters. Before this interview started, I asked you, “Is this just a satirical character? Is this the real JP?” And it’s a bit of both.
But you’re switching from, to some degree, short-form back to long-form again with the podcast, with the long-form conversations where you can really get into anything.
And to me, that’s the thing that’s missing from the internet conversations between most people.
Maybe because we have internet platforms and whatever, we can do this, but most people don’t really have this depth of conversation, certainly not on the internet, because you’re trapped in your little avatar.
I think that’s only going to get worse. We can talk about things now, but they’re not going to stay this way with social media.
I’m more interested in where they’re all going.
Virtual reality and immersive realities for people will really be a big thing, especially for kids. I don’t really have a specific question about that, but what do you think about where all of this is going?
I think the more we get away from human connection, the worse off we are, period.
And that’s not me saying, “Oh, virtual reality, we didn’t have that when I was a kid, therefore I’m afraid of it.”
It’s cool. I am indifferent to virtual reality, but what scares me is when virtual reality, social media, constant inundation from alerts on our phones, all of that accumulates to distract us from real human connection, both connection with ourselves and other people.
If we’re highly connected to ourselves, then virtual reality might enhance our lives. If we are very disconnected from ourselves, then virtual reality will hurt our lives, because it disconnects us more.
We connect to that instead of being connected to ourselves.
So I look at all these things as power potentials. Any power can help or harm.
With that said, long-form conversations like this for me are a gift, because we’re having a real human connection, and that’s one of the reasons why I had the desire to start my podcast.
It’s like,”I need this, I want it for me.” Very important, human connection.
And I get more in touch with myself having real conversations like this, because, “Ooh, Abel asked me a question, now I’m thinking, I’ve never thought that I was thinking this thought, but I am.” And it’s great.
But the fractured reality that most of us live in of a tweet, 240 characters, 280 characters… And that’s a long tweet, by the way. That’s what we’re used to.
Or I scrolled past four seconds on Instagram and that was a long time to look at something.
Or we have an in-person conversation, but just because we’re in proximity doesn’t mean that we’re connected. So sometimes our attention spans are such that we only pay attention to each other for 7 seconds.
So, without intentional connection, I think our lives will feel more and more empty, less quality, less happiness, less fulfillment.
Yet with intentional connection, both to ourselves and other people, I think that’s what gives us more fulfillment, more genuine happiness.
Not gratification of a dopamine hit because, “Hey, I just looked and there’s all my likes on my Instagram.”
That’s not happiness, that’s gratification.
So, more gratification, more connection, more fulfillment, I think is more genuine happiness and what we need. Whether we’re looking for it or not, I think we need it.
Abel: It’s interesting, because a lot of people believe that we live in a state of progress, I guess you could say.
Whether it’s technological, medical, in terms of intelligence and wisdom about the Earth and where we came from, where we’re going, all of this. I would love to hear your comment on that.
Where are we at in terms of the collective mindshare of everyone on earth?
First I’ll say, do we live in an age of technical progress? Hell yeah.
But technical progress doesn’t necessarily mean life satisfaction progress.
Economic progress doesn’t necessarily mean fulfillment progress.
Yet, from my delusional point of view, on the whole of consciousness, life progress, I think we’re trending in a good direction. I really do.
A friend of mine, Ty Ward, yesterday he shared with me that annually there’s $275 billion in the courses industry, people selling online courses.
And so much of that is self-development, people wanting to better their lives, in effect essentially up-level their consciousness. And so the self-help industry is booming right now.
And personally, I don’t care about the economics of the self-help industry, but I think that’s a symptom of a good sign, that we’re trending in a good direction.
People care about feeling good nowadays.
And, again, not feeling good from gratification, but people care about feeling a fulfilled life, feeling a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. And I think we live in an exciting time for that.
A lot of potential for distraction, yet a lot of potential for us to find resources, people, connections, to really find meaning and purpose in our lives.
I might be optimistic, yet I might be realistic, but that’s my perspective.
And I’m curious, your perspective of the same question, where we’re at in human consciousness right now.
Abel: There are so many moving parts right now. More than ever, you could probably say.
What we’ve done, to a large extent, is insulated ourselves from some of the madness. If you don’t need to work behind a desk or in a city which, very fortunately for us, we no longer do, we’ve chosen not to.
So, our regular life is much more similar in a lot of ways to how I grew up, which is in the backwoods of New Hampshire, no cable television, two and a half channels, Dad had to climb up on the roof to switch the antenna around in the snow back in the day.
But there was so much time for self-reflection. There was so much time for thinking all of this through, and being bored, and having that uninterrupted time, which has really gone away.
We’ve had to fight to get that back, and we do that very much intentionally, and then combine that with what I’m doing now.
I’m doing six of these interviews today, each one’s about an hour long. And, yes, it does take a lot of effort, but I love it.
Like you were just saying, I love having deep conversations. It’s really awkward at parties. People are like, “Are you interviewing me?”
“No, I’m just weird. I’m just like this. I love this, I love these conversations.”
I’m interested in you. Well, sorry.
How to Spot a Fake Guru
Abel: But that’s what I would say. We are coming up on time though, and I want to make sure that I ask you a couple of things.
One of them, I think, is more important than ever, is how do you spot a fake guru, especially on the internet these days?
Because I feel like you can see most of the people though who are watching it, they’re like, “What? He’s the smartest, coolest guy ever.”
Man, good question, a fake guru. Someone who doesn’t share their shadow side. Someone who doesn’t share their real struggles and challenges, to me, is a fake guru.
Someone who only comes across with the facade of, “I’ve got it figured out, let me teach you how, too.”
A real guru, they’ll have stuff figured out. They can obviously help you to help yourself, but if they’re not also real and authentic enough to be vulnerable, share their struggles, then I want no part of it.
I also think a characteristic of a fake guru would be someone who comes across with the message that essentially says, “I can do it for you. You just need my course, my thing I’m selling.”
Call it a real guru, is someone who is the mountain guide.
Nobody’s going to climb the mountain of your self-development for you, yet having a mountain guide who can help you navigate the mountain of your life, to me is the hallmark of a real guru.
Someone who doesn’t really help people, but they help people to help themselves.
But to me, it disempowers people when there’s the marketing model that says, “I can do it for you.” Because that means I’m taking your power.
I need you to believe you are disempowered to the point of needing me in my empowerment, so I think it actually disempowers people more, hence a fake guru.
Whereas a real guru, I think, gives us our power back, helps us give ourselves our power back, honestly.
Abel: What about spirituality as a status symbol these days? Because that seems to be more true than ever, doesn’t it?
Yeah. I get amused by that. Of course we use spirituality as our status symbol. For crying out loud, I’ve got this big, stupid, purple amethyst rock on my desk. Status symbol.
Abel: Much bigger than mine.
Oh, yeah, yeah, I’m way more advanced than you, Abel.
Abel: By the way, I heard Buddha was very attached to your new book.
Yeah, I helped the Buddha to get unattached to his idea of unattachment, and then he got very attached to my book, because he learned it from my book.
Abel: Sounds very helpful.
Spirituality is a status symbol.
Of course it happens. Here’s my Mala beads, bro, and all the look and the fashion.
And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, yet I think if we know we’re doing it… If some part of us is trying to gain a sense of significance through our spiritual status, then we lose ourselves less to it.
But if we’re trying to gain a sense of significance through our spiritual status but don’t know it, then I daresay, we’re probably losing ourselves to it.
Can You Level-Up with Psychedelics?
Abel: What about abusing psychedelics really, really hard? Is that up-leveling your spirituality?
Because that’s pretty trendy these days, too, especially synthetic psychedelics sometimes.
Yeah. It’s very trendy and it is something that I have concern about where people use a “sacred substance.” And they can start to use it in an addictive, compulsive way where they treat it like a crutch.
And in other words, let’s just say it’s a sacred substance. They start using the sacred substance in a very un-sacred way, yet they rationalize, “I’m doing it in a sacred way, because it’s a sacred substance.”
So, if you don’t see the potential shadow side, then I daresay you don’t see it probably because you’re in it.
And then I think if someone’s using it as a crutch, then it’s disempowering them.
If it’s like, “It’s the weekend, I got to do ayahuasca again, because that’s where I get connected.”
Well, maybe you’re actually weakening your legs by relying on the crutch too much.
I think all these things are tools. And I think a tool has its constructive benefits when we use it at the right times and don’t use it at the wrong times.
99% of the time, the carpenter isn’t whacking stuff with the hammer. If he or she was, there’d be a lot of destruction.
And the last quick opinionated thing I have to say about that is, at times I’ve seen people who are very addicted to psychedelic substances lecture me about how un-addictive these substances are.
They’ll say, “There’s no addictive properties in this. I use it all day, every day, and I do, and I’m not addicted.”
Well, you know what? Gambling doesn’t have chemically addictive properties to it either, and people get tremendously addicted to gambling, which has no addictive properties to it.
But we can get very psychologically addicted to gambling, and we can get very psychologically addicted to psychedelic substances.
So it’s kind of like The Lord of the Rings, there’s great power in it.
And as Spider-Man’s uncle would tell him, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
If you were your own shaman, you’re probably trashing yourself just to state it bluntly.
Abel: I don’t have a ton of experience, but we did go down to Peru and went through a number of ceremonies there. And it was not recreational.
It was not something that I wanted a whole lot more of right now. It’s not.
The idea, and this kind of came down to me from some of my teachers, is that if you are going to experiment with those sorts of things, then the idea is that maybe you experience that, you make a little bookmark in your mind, you go through those experiences, you deal with it, you reintegrate with the goal being that you can do the same thing without any substances later.
You can do that just going on a walk, or in a sitting meditation, or throughout your day-to-day life.
That’s the goal. It’s not to be loaded up on psychedelics all the time.
Yeah, absolutely. What I heard you say, and I love it Abel, if you use a psychedelic as a bookmark to teach yourself what a connection to Earth or Mother Nature, God, teach you what that’s like so you can find it without the substance.
A crutch used in an appropriate way essentially teaches your weak leg how to walk again.
So the crutch teaches you how to not need the crutch anymore.
But if you say, “Well, it’s easier to walk with a crutch, I’ll keep walking with the crutch,” you actually make your own legs weaker.
So, yeah, I think there’s great benefit to the substances, and I think there’s great detriment. I think it depends on us.
Where to Find JP Sears
Abel: Yeah. We could talk all day, but we do have to go. So before we do, please tell folks a little bit about your work, where they can find you, and your new book, and anything else you’re working on.
Yeah, I appreciate that, Abel. My work, it’s all about conscious comedy.
And I’m super-passionate about my new podcast, the Awaken with JP Sears Show, it’s in all the podcast places, feel free to check that out if you’d like.
And of course, my book you mentioned came out last year. It’s a parody book on the new-age spiritual culture, it’s called How to Be Ultra Spiritual: 12 1/2 Steps to Spiritual Superiority.
Abel: It is a great book to read. I had quite a few giggles.
JP, I really appreciate your work. Thanks once again for coming on the show. I’ll have to invite you back, because we could talk all day.
I’d love to, Abel. Thank you for having me on, and then thank you for doing your work in the world, my friend, you’re a bright shining light.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review that’s short and sweet for The Wild Diet that came in on Amazon from North Carolina:
“Down 20 pounds in six weeks and have not been hungry.“
Well jeez, slam dunk, nice, awesome. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Twenty pounds is some serious progress.
Thank you so much for putting what you’ve learned on this show and read in the book into action, and thanks for writing in and sharing your results with us.
If you took your health into your own hands and you’re feeling swell yourself, then I’d love to hear about it.
Make sure that you’re signed up for the free newsletter and when I send you a note, just hit reply to my email and let me know how you’re doing. Send a comment, tell me your story. I read every single one and I obviously can’t respond to everyone, but I reply to as many as I can.
In other news, my wife, Alyson and I recently returned from a month-long cross country road trip/camping trip where we drove from Colorado to New Hampshire and back, and recorded hundreds of 360 virtual reality adventure tours.
I’ll be releasing them on abeljames.com in a brand spanking new 360 VR series we’re calling Adventures with Abel.
We’ve already toured the Badlands in South Dakota, recorded adorable baby bison and barking prairie dogs, even some big-horned sheep dangling from cliffs.
In the videos, you’ll also see a Yellowstone Park Ranger herding baby bison with his pickup truck. You could see boiling mud pots and erupting geysers. You can even see an elk mama nibbling on a geothermal hot spring.
We’ll also be releasing a few tours of Mount Evans with mountain goats, Serpent Mound in Ohio, the great American Stonehenge, Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast and even my favorite fishing spot in the backwoods where I grew up.
You can check out all of that and more, with a new 360 degree VR with spatial audio-video, totally crazy, for free, at abeljames.com. Look forward to a brand new video every day for the next year.
We’re releasing it ourselves, totally free and free of outside advertising and I hope you enjoy it.
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What did you think of this interview with JP? Did you watch any of his videos online yet? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!