Karuna: [00:00:06] Hi, I’m Karuna, I’m the founder and executive director of Mind Oasis and my guest on Meditation, Happy Hour Tea Talk and Truth with Karuna is Giovanni Dientsmann. How are you, Giovanni?

Giovanni: [00:00:18] Hi Karuna, I’m doing well. My pleasure to be here.

Karuna: [00:00:21] Good. So we’ve danced before. You’ve been on Author Spotlight on Mind Oasis in the past. Tell us just just quickly, we’ll get into it. But tell us about the book that you brought to Mind Oasis and if you have anything new in the hopper?

Giovanni: [00:00:38] Sure. So the book is called Mindful Self-Discipline, and it’s all about an approach to self-discipline that is not the military or the martial approach. It’s an approach more based on awareness. And so people are finding, especially people in the meditation and mindfulness circles are finding it refreshing perspective on this important topic.

Karuna: [00:01:00] Do you have anything new in the hopper?

Giovanni: [00:01:04] I am working on some courses, some a new version for the Mindful Self-Discipline app as well, and perhaps a new book. But I cannot tell- I cannot say much because this one, I’m going to be traditionally published by a big publisher in the space, and I should keep my mouth quiet for now. I was told,

Karuna: [00:01:24] Hey, but that’s exciting. So Giovanni, tell us a little bit about you. Like, tell us about your life so far as as you like to share it with people.

Giovanni: [00:01:34] Okay, so I’m a meditation teacher, I’m an author, and I coach people with self-discipline and also on the topic of anxiety. I’ve been meditating daily for over 20 years, more closer to twenty-two years now and I’ve tried so many-

Karuna: [00:01:51] Does that mean you started when you were five because you look young to say that! What?!

Giovanni: [00:01:56] I started when I was, what age is 15. Ok? I was 15 Yeah. So I’ve tried so many different styles, and for me, meditation was always part of a of a deeper spiritual journey. So I’ve sat with different Zen masters and yogis and monks and lamas and I’ve learned from a lot of different traditions until I kind of found the style of meditation, the tradition that mostly works for me. And in the meditation space, I saw that people come to meditation for many different reasons. For me, it was never about just kind of calming down and being and being happy in the moment. For me, meditation was always seen as a form of of empowerment, of of expanding my potential of mastering the monkey mind rather than just calming down and so self- the idea of self-discipline and willpower and kind of energy was always an aspect of meditation practice for me.

Karuna: [00:02:57] So we’re going to get into the self-discipline aspect because it’s very interesting. You actually are the first person I can think of who has presented the word discipline to me where it’s actually stuck. And it’s really, honestly, it’s transformed my life a bit and in a really – meaningful good way. But before we go there, apart from being a self disciplined master, do you have other things like family, friends where the heck in the world are you? 

Giovanni: [00:03:26] Yeah. Ok. So yes, I’m married and I have a two year old daughter called Lalita. It’s the name of an Indian goddess we chose for her, and I’ve practiced martial arts, kung fu, for many years. I still do. It’s it’s part of who I am and it’s a great sport and I love the philosophy and the discipline it brings. What else? I am in Australia? I lived in Sydney for many, many years, but now I’ve moved to a small beach town called Airlie Beach on the North of Australia. Tropical weather, never gets cold here, so I’m loving it.

Karuna: [00:04:05] Do you surf?

Giovanni: [00:04:07] I don’t surf, but I swim and I dive. Yeah, scuba dive.

Karuna: [00:04:13] Very cool. So I think the interesting, well, let me back up just a little bit. I want to tell a little bit of a story. So when I was preparing for the Author Spotlight that you did on Mind Oasis for a Mindful Self-Discipline, I prepared and I remember when we were going through our interview together, you were like, you were grateful that I actually prepared and I knew what you had written because maybe you had had interviewers ask you a lot of questions that clearly they hadn’t read the book. And I and I had, though it is a tome and I have to admit I’m sitting right here, look it! I have to admit I didn’t read every single word, but I read enough of it, and I kept texting my friend to say, I’m going to have a hell of a time with this guy. He’s all about self-discipline, and I’m a wild child, and I’m not sure how these two things are going to come together, right? And she was kind of laughing. She’s like, Karuna, you’re prepared. You’re going to be all right. And then as I listen to you, talk about self-discipline. What I realized was that the freedom that I experienced through my studies of Tibetan Buddhism is self-discipline. The act of the practices I engage in is a form of self-discipline. It’s just not the way that I had thought about it before. So I want to know how you got to… You could have picked anything and you got to self-discipline. Why?

Giovanni: [00:05:51] Yeah. So other people- other people told me they, as I’m sharing, how I, how I am and how I go about my projects and my goals and physical exercise and meditation. They’re like, Whoa, wow, I wish I was as disciplined as you, and this would come again and again and again. And in the beginning of me running my blog, I asked this question of people like, what? What would you? What should I create a course on? And the topic of self-discipline was like highly voted. Like a lot of people voted for that topic. You know, like when I’m just reading books on spirituality, the terms of self-discipline comes here and there, but it’s almost like a given. It’s like, Hey, if you’re serious about this, you’ll be disciplined. And the things that all spiritual paths ask us to do is a form of discipline like we have to observe constantly, observer mind and discipline our thoughts and emotions so that they are more on the positive side, etc. But the word discipline is not that often used, but in books on personal growth and personal development, then that word is used a lot.

Giovanni: [00:06:57] And I said, like God, this comes this is what I’ve been practicing. And I was like up to that point, I was under the impression that everyone who didn’t have self-discipline is because they didn’t have a goal, like they were just kind of lazy. They were not motivated to achieve anything because if they are, you’re going to be disciplined about it, right? That’s the only way. And then I realized, like, No, I’ve been living inside my own bubble. That’s that’s not how the human mind works for most people. And so I started offering it as a form of coaching and of all forms of coaching that I was offering. This was the one that people were coming to again and again. And and, you know, people were coming in a discovery call and say, like, you know what, if I if I can’t make this change, like, I don’t know if I have a reason to live. And I said, Oh my God, this is really important, right? And then I felt like, OK, I’ve stumbled on something that is a deep core need for people in any area of life.

Karuna: [00:07:52] One reason I find this so interesting is even though I am a self-identified wild child, and even though my son, who’s now twenty five grown and A-OK, I would say, you know, pushed boundaries like normal teenagers do when he was young. I knew that he needed boundaries. And so from the time that he was a very young child, even though I’m a pretty liberal human, he had, you know, the times that we had bedtime and there was a bath and it happened at the same time and there was a book and it happened at the same time. And yes, really, there was an 8:30 bedtime. And if he didn’t like that, then he could read a book. But. In our home, 8:30 was the bedtime time, and we really stuck by that and then also, you know, sort of the rules and regulations that kept him safe. And and I think that in teenage years, then so children learn how to abide by the rules and the boundaries. So the adult gives them that gift. And then in their teenage years, they have to break free from that. They have to experiment and break outside of what it feels like to be boundary-less. But it’s interesting to go back to why I felt discipline was important when my kiddo was young and to to then look at how I’m applying those same sort of boundaries for freedom to my own personal life now. So my question to you is in your coaching, I mean, you’ve obviously hung out with a lot of people who have. Maybe. We could say failed, I don’t like that word, but let’s say failed. Then you’ve probably had people who have triumphed. Can you talk a little bit about those journeys with other people in your coaching?

Giovanni: [00:09:50] People who come to me, they have often been very successful in one area of their life, but they are struggling a lot in the other area. And they know that self-discipline was what allowed them to be successful in this area. But there are so many obstacles in another area that they don’t know how to deal with. It could be distraction, it could be procrastination, it could be self-doubt, a lack of clarity that many obstacles, but they have the sense that self-discipline is, is the key for them. Other people who come to me, like I’ve worked with some people who are really, really young and their life and their schedule was a mess. They were just spending a lot of time on computer games or other things of the sort. And but they also they had goals. So maybe that’s one thing common for everyone that comes to self-discipline is that they have a goal in some area of their life, and it’s important enough for them that they want to make a change. They know that if things continue like this, you know, time is going to pass and five years from now, I’m going to be in the same place. And so that that pushes them to want to learn this skill.

Karuna: [00:10:58] What are your personal goals right now?

Giovanni: [00:11:01] So I have goals basically in my work area and in my spirituality area and in the work area, although some goals are more kind of long term and others are more short term. Which one do you want to hear?

Karuna: [00:11:18] I want to hear them all. We want to hear all! Tell us all about it, right?

Giovanni: [00:11:22] So in terms of long term goals for my career, I have three. Only three. One of them is I want to sell a million copies of this book. I want a million people to have this book in their hands and at the moment, about six thousand, so we are still far away to go, but we’re going to get there.

Karuna: [00:11:42] If you’re listening, you have to know that I’m holding up his book, Mindful Self-Discipline. I’m sure you can get it all over the place. Unfortunately, I’m an Amazon girl. Don’t shoot me, but you can pick up a copy of Mindful Self-Discipline, and I would encourage you to do so. It’s a lovely read. Ok, keep going. So we’re – like nine hundred and ninety nine thousand away. That’s not bad.

Giovanni: [00:12:07] Yeah. So so that’s goal number one. Goal number two is about the Self-Discipline app that I want to grow it to a certain size. And I want to put in a lot of, I want to create a lot of mini courses for it. So I want it to be like the one stop solution for all things self-discipline. So if you’re struggling with decluttering your home, if you’re struggling with managing tasks in your digital life, if you’re struggling with getting motivation, I want to create courses about all of these different sub-topics of self-discipline. That’s goal number two. And then goal number three is that I want to build a system that lasts. I’m not here playing the short game. I don’t want to be a New York Times best seller. And then the book gets forgotten as it happens with so many New York Times best seller. I’m not even going after the New York Times best seller. I’m going after a legacy. I want to create a system that is relevant 50 years from now, one hundred years from now that people look back. And, you know, like that was this book back in twenty twenty. That was twenty twenty one that was published called Mind Self-Discipline. We’re still reading it today. It’s still one of the best books on the topic. That’s what I’m after.

Karuna: [00:13:11] Amazing. Ok, so then what’s your spiritual goals?

Giovanni: [00:13:17] Wow, OK. Nobody has ever asked me that in a podcast before.

Karuna: [00:13:21] That’s because I’m highly unique and I promise that I’m going to share my goals with you, so it’ll be in tandem. 

Giovanni: [00:13:29] So in the spiritual tradition that I’m in, I follow Hindu Tantra, which is the, just a bit of context. It’s the actual traditional tantra, not sexualized tantra that we see everywhere in the West these days. And in this particular tradition, we do certain practices to achieve what is called a Siddhi and a Siddhi means a perfection. Once you get a perfection in a certain practice, then you get certain, special skills, so to speak. Certain new channels of perception, you kind of grow spiritually from from Siddhi to Siddhi, from attainments to attainment. And so my goal and long term goal is I want to achieve as many Siddhi’s as I can in this lifetime.

Karuna: [00:14:20] Would that be Mahasiddhi?

Giovanni: [00:14:22] Well, the Mahasiddhi, I think, is a bigger, a bigger goal. Yeah, yeah. We don’t use this term in Hindu tantra, but I know it’s it’s used in Tibetan Tantra. Yeah.

Karuna: [00:14:34] So, I mentioned when we first got started that actually exploring the idea of self-discipline and mindful self-discipline with you has really affected me personally in this really beautiful way. And I’d like to share with you since you were so open and courageous with your goals, because now it’s going to be on my podcast that in two thousand years, people listen to him, they’ll be like, he said he was going to. So I woke up about, Oh, I don’t know, maybe four months ago, five months ago, it was shortly after we spoke and I was sniffing on the age of forty seven and I’ve done a lot of things with my life. I have a beautiful grown son. I have a kind, fun husband. We always say he’s lots of fun. I started Mind Oasis. It’s in year five. I can’t believe we’re saying that, but it’s amazing. And I’ve, you know, I’ve been touched by a lot of love in my life. I’ve been loved by many people and I love many people. And I was like, So what’s next? Like, I was kind of having what I would call a classic midlife crisis. I had bought a motorcycle. I had what was some of I had done some other like goofy, like very midlife crisis sort of things, not plastic surgery.

Karuna: [00:16:00] And I was like, Well, what’s next? And I was like, You know what? I’m going to climb a really big mountain. And I was running and in my tradition and Tibetan Buddhism, you know, the deity that I’m working with is fierce and fearless and sort of, oh, you could call it like kind of a death destroyer. So he looks pretty bad ass, right? And I had this little voice on one shoulder that said, Who are you to think that you can climb a big mountain? And then I had this really big voice from within that said, Who are you not to climb a big mountain? And so I started imagineering it and I happen to live near Boulder, Colorado, and I have a good friend who’s taking an expedition to Nepal in 20223 to a twenty three thousand foot mountain. And as you know and others know who have a physical practice, you know, you don’t you don’t get off the couch and climb a twenty three thousand foot mountain, right? You have to put in incremental goals to get to the higher goal. And so I came home and I I started asking people like, What do you do if you want to climb a really big mountain, the highest mountain I’ve ever climbed as nineteen thousand three hundred and twenty one feet.

Karuna: [00:17:19] And it’s kind of a different game when you get above twenty thousand feet. So I started to lean into. People with knowledge, and then I started creating a game plan, and then I created incremental goals of how to get there. And then I sort of back laid. The day to day things that have to happen in order for me to get to those objectives that include going to Mount Baker for a six day intro to mountaineering course where you do a summit, but along the way you’re getting the skills that you need. And I think that really came from your book and our time together in that. If you have and I’m not saying everybody has a damn twenty three thousand foot mountain, I know it’s insane. But I am saying that even if it’s you just… want to have read all the classics, by the time you croak, you have to have a plan. Can you talk about? When you look at planning, how do you look at planning, how if somebody heard this podcast and they’re like, I’m going to change my life because Giovani said mindful self-discipline is the way to do it. What’s your first advice that you give people?

Giovanni: [00:18:46] First of all, thanks a lot for sharing that I was very moved to to hear and everyone has a mountain that they want to climb and I’ll be a physical mountain, but everyone has a mountain that they want to climb in their lives. Um, so the question is, what is the first thing that I would get people to go to go through or talk about if they want to be more more disciplined? I would probably start at figuring out your why. Because discipline makes sense when you have why, when you have a goal, when you have a purpose. And unfortunately, many people these days, they don’t have a clear sense of purpose. Viktor Frankl, probably one of the biggest voices in this field. He says that society is living a crisis of meaning. And if that was the case when he said it, I imagine what he would think now when people spend hours and hours a day on Tik-Tok. Or like the they’re just seeking the stimulation of quick dopamine of instant gratification, one thing after another and each time easier and painless to do that. So the brain is like, why not? Well, there are many consequences. So I would start by making sure that that person either has a clear goal or the person is open to figuring out what are the deeper goals that I want to pursue in my life. And then when you have a goal, then self-discipline makes sense. So let’s say the self-discipline is purpose’s best friend. If you have a purpose, then you want self discipline. If you have no purpose, if you have no clear goal, no ambitions, nothing that you want to change, then it makes no sense to talk about self-discipline. Now, once we have a clear idea of a goal, I would I would check in like, is that goal your own goal? Or is it the goal that you think you need to pursue because everyone else is pursuing? In other words, in the psychological literature they talk about, they have-to goals and they want-to goals.

Karuna: [00:20:42] Oh, tell us more!

Giovanni: [00:20:44] Yeah. So a have-to goal is the things that you are seeking because you are kind of consciously or unconsciously imitating other people. Now everyone is going to this type of university and having this type of job and building this type of life and then buying one car and then another and wanting to accumulate money and you get pulled by that gravity. And there’s a gravity pulling you to want the same things that people around you want. And in most cases, that is a a have to go. It’s something that you feel you have to do. But it doesn’t come from your heart and self-discipline will help you achieve those goals. There’s there’s no doubt, but you will not be really fulfilled. Now a want-to goal is something that comes from deep within you. It’s something that is related to your core values. It could be something related to spirituality. It could be something related to personal growth to service. It could be, you know, like from one of my clients. Like, I want to produce inspiring original music like that is a want-to like. No one around him is doing that. He didn’t pick that up from anyone else, like it comes from within. So I would make sure that you are pursuing the right goals in your life because those are the ones that will make you happier.

Karuna: [00:22:00] What I love about that is on Mind Oasis, and I guess. Well, I have to give credit where credit’s due, so this really comes from Kelly Ann Lindsey, and she’s one of my teachers and she actually had the meditation teacher training that I took so that then I could start Mind Oasis. And she has us ask the question, what does your heart most desire or what does your heart most long for? And you can do it in your practice daily, meaning sometimes you know, like if if I’ve had a hell of a week, sometimes the answer that comes up is I just want a little calm or a little quiet. And then there’s other times that it’s the big goal. So the other I didn’t answer fully the question about my own personal goals, but my spiritual goal is I want complete freedom. And in that freedom for all sentient beings, so not for me, but so that I can be useful because we need useful people in this world. So that heartfelt desire is what we talk a lot about on Mind Oasis as fueling, so it’s like the jet engine fuel for your meditation practice because. I don’t know. Ok. You could get calm. You could have more peace. But there’s so much more that you can have through your meditation practice when you understand what your heartfelt desire is, and that’s what I’m hearing from you. So I want to know a little bit about your meditation practice, how you present meditation because you do have another book that was an earlier book around meditation. Tell us a little bit about that and tell us a little bit about how you approach meditation practice.

Giovanni: [00:23:51] Sure. So that book is called practical meditation. And in that book that the book is basically an expression of my journey of having tried so many different styles throughout the years until I kind of found what works for me. My point of view is that meditation is something incredibly personal. It’s just like there are hundreds of different types of physical activity and sports. But if you if you only think that it’s either running or lifting weights, you may may try them both and, you know, don’t really like them. And then you feel OK. Exercise is not for me, and it’s simpler these days. People think like meditation. It’s either mantra or breathing, right? It’s one of them paying attention to the breath. It’s one of these two things, and maybe you don’t like any, but there’s like so many different styles of meditation, and it’s such an important practice. It’s something that we will be doing for the rest of our lives if we want the benefits. So it’s worth spending the time figuring out what style of meditation zen of teachings work best for you. There’s not one that is better than the other. It’s just what is uniquely suited to your temperament, to your goals, to your personality. And so that is one of my my views about meditation that is probably different from what people find out there a lot.

Karuna: [00:25:05] Yeah, especially, I have to say, because I don’t know how it is in your lineage or tradition, but I think that in my lineage and tradition, there’s a pretty. -I want to say regimented, but I want to say like sort of, you know, if if you engage in Samatha practices, which you know is calm, abiding, based around, typically around the breath and and the teacher, then there’s the hope, the promise that you can fully awaken. And it’s a bit of a prescription like this is how you do it.

Giovanni: [00:25:50] Most likely inside, they’re like there’s so many different lineages in Tibetan Buddhism. Each of them probably has a slightly different path and practices that they. Yeah. Yeah.

Karuna: [00:26:03] For sure.

Giovanni: [00:26:04] I remember when I read the book Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Néel, and she has spent it was, I think, a century ago she was a Western woman and she spent many, many years in Tibet studying with different lamas and also with the with all the different religious figures of Tibet. And her conclusions, like all lineages of Tibet, emphasize that you need to master concentration. That’s kind of the foundation for everything. But they say, like the object that’s used for concentration is almost irrelevant. If you want to focus on your breath, you focus on your breath. If you want to focus on an image of a deity, you can do that. If you want to focus on a pebble on a piece of crystal at anything that helps your mind be centered and achieve that calm abiding on one object. That’s fine. And so there’s already a big room for people to to experiment with and see what they like.

Karuna: [00:26:59] Yeah. Tell us, Giovanni, how do people connect with you? So like websites, books, all that good stuff. How do we connect with you?

Giovanni: [00:27:11] Sure. So I have two websites,, and that’s focused on meditation and wellbeing. And my second website, where I’m putting most, almost all of my effort now is That’s the same title of the book is the same title of the app, so people can join the newsletter there. And they have. There are some free bonuses they can download. They can obviously also get the books, and I run free live classes on inside timer every week. So for those of you in the U.S., that would be Sunday’s five p.m. ESD. So if you want to join and watch me speaking live about self-discipline, I’ll be there.

Karuna: [00:27:53] Very cool. So But where most of your efforts are these days and where people can connect with you via a newsletter, is that mindful 

Karuna: [00:27:53]  Awesome. Giovanni, what’s your truth?

Giovanni: [00:28:14] Can you expand on that question? You know, whatever comes. My truth is that there’s this whole universe is a play of consciousness. It’s an expression of something that lies beyond everything. And we, too, are an expression of that infinite consciousness. And so let us play on, let us live without fear. Let us live. Knowing who we truly are and expressing ourselves.

Karuna: [00:28:51] When you look out into the future, what kind of a world do you see for your daughter?

Giovanni: [00:29:00] I see a world. In which people who have awareness and and self-discipline and willpower, they’re going to be so much ahead of everyone else because the whole world is going to get each time more and more distracted, more and more lost in a sea of pleasure and instant gratification and entertainment that comes from their phones and internet. So those people who. Have a deeper sense of purpose and can remain disciplined and focused on that. They’re going to be living very different lives.

Karuna: [00:29:40] Awesome.

Giovanni: [00:29:41] So sorry that it’s not a more optimistic view, but I am, I am concerned about the future of humanity.

Karuna: [00:29:52] Yeah, but you’re also doing something about it. You.

Giovanni: [00:29:56] Yeah, I’m doing my what I can.

Karuna: [00:29:59] Good. I actually thought that was a very I thought that was a largely optimistic perspective, to be honest with you, because what I heard? I’ll tell you what I heard, what I heard is that. These touchstones, these efforts that we make and by we I mean like you and I mean me and I mean the communities that support our work, that support one another, that they matter. Um. Neither of us, to my knowledge, are becoming millionaires off of doing the work and. And yet. The work is. Important because it’s going to become increasingly important as folks who. Aren’t doing the work continue to be swayed by the challenges of our technological world? Yeah. Absolutely.

Giovanni: [00:31:04] You know, it’s we are not meant to function the way that we are functioning lately, for most people, it’s it’s not healthy and it’s there is a reason why the rates of suicide is increasing. Rates of depression and anxiety is increasing. And at the same time, we notice this among the newer generations, like there’s kind of a cynicism, like a distrust about everything and. Kind of I don’t know, it just seems maybe I’m a very traditional guy because I know spirituality, more traditional values and kind of more linked to to ethics and morality and, you know, these deeper values. But it seems that the morally speaking seems to be degrading as as a species. And that’s concerning for me.

Karuna: [00:31:58] It’s interesting you would say that. I’ve just started writing a little bit for Elephant Journal and the article that I’m working on right now, actually that I quote you is called Discipline as the Path to Freedom and Happiness. And I start out by acknowledging that I’m a reformed wild child and and that discipline used to be the bad word. But then I go on to say that. It’s tough to – feel good about yourself if you’re not ethically aligned, and I think that even folks who are playing in the fire at the moment wake up with sort of a morality hangover because I think that the essence of who we are is tied deeply to helping others. Actually, I think that’s kind of the human way. And when we don’t do that, it doesn’t feel good. And I know that from personal experience as a reformed mean girl. I think that degradation, the moral degradation. I think there’s hope. I think that there’s people doing hard work and they will continue to hold the light up. Yeah, yeah. Well, Giovanni, it’s always a delight. Oh, wait a minute. Are we going to do something? I think we’re going to do something together.

Giovanni: [00:33:49] Oh, yes, you want to talk about it.

Karuna: [00:33:51] I think we should talk about it. What are we going to do?

Giovanni: [00:33:55] So we’re going to launch a 10 week course, Mindful, Self-Disciplined course in Mind Oasis. You and I.

Karuna: [00:34:05] Yes. And because I am a disciplined woman at this point, I will be getting my act together to pull this all together. But I’ll share why I’m excited about it. And then maybe you can share why you’re excited about, but here’s why I’m excited. It I tend to teach on my own. Actually, I’ve never partnered with anyone because I’m an only child, and that’s the way I roll. But I was excited about partnering with you because I think we both bring two unique perspectives to the table. I think that you are a little bit more traditional and disciplined, and I think that I’m a little less traditional and maybe I’m leaning into discipline. And to me, if I were a consumer, if I were someone that was looking, you know, that wasn’t necessarily all Giovanni, but it wasn’t all Karuna, either. I might be like, Oh, I’m going to get like both of these worlds and can see how those journeys sort of intersect. And I feel like we collectively do have a good synergy together. So that’s why I’m excited. How about you?

Giovanni: [00:35:10] Yeah, absolutely. I am excited because, you know, people who come to Mind Oasis, they are already at a different level of of consciousness, they are seeking something deeper in their life. And often the difference between having deeper values and being able to live those deeper values is self-discipline. So I would love a world in which good people are disciplined because that means that good people are more empowered. I mean, if you think about it, the problem in our world and this is, you know, some forms of spirituality have also played a role in this because traditionally spirituality has been kind of associated with, you know, denying the world and the materialistic side of life and the body and etc.. And in this sense, I’m not traditional. I am very modern. I think that we need a new form of spirituality that integrates the whole being, you know, values such as career success and relationship happiness and money and recognition. These do not need to be seen as anti spiritual. They are forms of empowerment. They are desires that live in people’s hearts. And if you are seeking your healthy desires in a way that is helping you grow as a human being and that is going to help other people in one way or another, then go for it.

Giovanni: [00:36:29] Why not? One of the problems in this world is that people who are virtuous are not powerful and people in power are often not virtuous and people who are…. Kind and compassionate are often not famous, and people who are famous are often not kind and compassionate. You know? I would like a world in which the past human beings have more power, more recognition, more influence, more impact. And I think that that’s self-discipline is what can allow us to be more empowered. I know that empowerment is a word that is thrown a lot these days and can be feel a little bit cliché, but it’s in the sense of. Having stronger values and having the ability that the power to live your life in harmony with them, to live authentically with your values, and that is going to take some energy that is going to take some, some willpower that’s going to take some awareness. You know, in Buddhism, there’s this word vidya, which is energy or effort. And there are many lists of virtues in Buddhism there, like the eight factors of enlightenment and the five this and the seventeen that.

Karuna: [00:37:44] We like lists a lot Giovanni!

Giovanni: [00:37:45] The Buddha loved list. The Buddha loved lists and what you notice that this word Vidya makes it to most of those lists. Yeah, right. And and this for me video is a form of of empowerment is being disciplined. It’s being on track. It’s giving in your best. And I think that good people need that.

Karuna: [00:38:09] It’s just – it just feels so fucking good. It does. It’s freedom and happiness on a platter through. Determination and yeah, we’ll wrap up, but I just want to add that. Something I teach two emotions, too meditation aversions, one which I would call kind of the basic and one which is more advanced and I don’t mean like it’s like a stepladder. But what I mean is we explore more advanced sort of techniques and also maybe just, you know, you have to have kind of a base in order to grow from the base. And the first is the base and the second is where you grow. And what I’ve noticed is. People want the results of meditation without putting in the hard work, and it’s sort of a metaphor for life and unfortunately. Or maybe fortunately to me. All you kind of have to do is to show up for your practice every day, and if you show up for your practice every day, it doesn’t take very long. No matter the technique to begin to… First notice the monkey mind and then to befriend the monkey mind and… Literally, you just have to have a consistent practice. And once you have, and to me, you have to have a little discipline in order to have a consistent practice. And it’s – I wish it was more complex than that and I used to think it was. But I’ve just found in my personal practice and the practice of of my students that if they just really say, I’m going to meditate 20 minutes a day. And they do it six out of seven days a week or seven out of seven. That that everything changes and in a really short amount of time, it’s literally the discipline that gets you to the freedom.

Giovanni: [00:40:16] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Karuna: [00:40:20] Awesome. Ok, so Mindful Self-Discipline is where people find you. You have an amazing newsletter. I love it. It’s one of the ones I actually open. You and I are going to do something fun in 2022. And so you either have to go to Mind or you have to go to Or you can go to both get the both of best worlds of both worlds. And then you’ll know when we’re going to come together for our collaboration, Giovanni. Anything else you want to share?

Giovanni: [00:40:54] Just comes to mind a quote from Henry David Thoreau in which he said that the highest aim in life is that which requires the highest and finest discipline. And you know, we are speaking here to an audience of spiritual seekers or practitioners. And from my point of view, and that’s how I end the book, it’s it’s a chapter that I was not sure. Should I add this or should I not add this? And I and I left it in there? Our spiritual practice is the highest and finest discipline, because it’s full time, it’s full time, it’s it’s observing ourselves, it’s constantly growing and noticing the nature of our mind and of the thoughts and emotions that are coming in and little by little coaching ourselves to be more on the wholesome side of things. And that I would agree with role is the highest and finest discipline.

Karuna: [00:41:45] Love it, mindful self-discipline. Giovanni, so much love always thank you for joining me on Tea, Talk, and Truth with Karuna. And again, you can go to Giovanni’s website or and find out more. Thank you so much. Thank you. 

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