About seven years ago, I listened to today's guest, Mark Divine, on Tom Bilyeu's Inside Quest. And I was immediately captivated, like I could not actually put into words the thoughts going through my head.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e346-the-mindset-of-a-zen-navy-seal-with-mark-divine-mental-health-coach/#show-notes
About seven years ago, I listened to today's guest, Mark Divine, on Tom Bilyeu's Inside Quest. And I was immediately captivated, like I could not actually put into words the thoughts going through my head. Early in this journey, he talked about things that I have always been interested in: martial arts, meditation, and yoga. I would come later to find that Mark was not only a Navy seal and an entrepreneur, business owner, author, podcast host, and Zen practitioner, but also just an incredible and giving human. It's an honor for me today to sit across from him and have this conversation on this podcast.
There are times in our lives when we have the opportunity to sit and have conversations with people who may be our heroes or mentors or people that we look up to, and I did not take that lightly. And I don't take your time lightly either because I know the huge amount of investment you spend when you come and share this experience with me and so, for that, I say thank you.
Mark's journey is really bathed in decisions like so many people to go and create the life, to be the conspire of your own journey and your own story. And like anyone on a vision quest to discover and better understand who he is, I'm incredibly excited about this episode.
Before we get in, I want to read a quote from his book, Unbeatable Mind, just to kind of lay the context and the groundwork for the expectation of what you're about to step into.
“Yoga reinforced the notion that daily training and practice was more important than any specific teacher or skill. The journey of disciplining and yolking the word yoga means to yolk the mind, body, and spirit to steal itself and focus on higher-order notions of being and living is one of the greatest secrets to personal development, just as the body will atrophy without constant training, the mind and spirit will not develop and will atrophy without a similar focus.”
My friends. I'm very excited to be with you today to share this incredible conversation with Mark Divine.
Learn More About Mark Divine at: https://markdivine.com/
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Michael: Hey! What's up Unbroken nation. Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Navy Seal, Mark Divine. Mark, my friend, how are you?
Mark: I'm awesome. Michael. Good to see you.
Michael: Of course, it it's an absolute honor. I'm so excited to have you here today. I'm gonna start the episode with a quote. “The massive men lead lives of quiet desperation, what is called resignation is confirmed desperation from the desperate city you go into the desperate country and you have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats, a stereotype, but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them for this comes after work, but it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. What does that mean to you?
Mark: Oh man. Well, it means when people, when the mass of people, which is, you know, pretty much everybody until they decide otherwise live by the story that they've been taught is the story of their culture or the norm, right? Normal is recent of a life to fit within their constraints, which are a construct, right? And so unfortunately, when you live to someone else's construct of reality, you're missing your own reality, your own potential, your own possibilities, your own creative force and energy. And it may seem okay for a while because you can have success if you follow the rules of that cons. And so, you can have financial success like you and I talked about on my podcast, you can have a lot of things that appear to be worthy, like even a great social media following or the success of the Kardashians. But you may also be living a life of just quiet desperation because your spirit's just crying out for the real, the truth, the life of no regrets at a spiritual holistic level life force level. Anyways, that's kind of a more drawn I could have given you a very simple answer is live a life of no regrets, right? So, you don't have the quiet desperation that you're gonna get to the end of your life. And you know, like when they interview people who are on them near their deathbeds that they rarely ever say they want more money, they want more accomplishments, they want more degrees, they want more like boats, they want more girlfriends. You know, they always say they wish they regret not spending more time with their family, they regret not following their passion and in aligning with their purpose, they regret not playing more, not reading more, not being more creative, not spending more time in nature. So, living a life of quiet desperation is allowing those regrets to build up, taking control and living the life you're meant to, or that's possible for you.
Michael: And that's a reality that I think unfortunately, so many people face.
Mark: Because this is not easy, right? What I just described in what you describe in your podcast is it's the path less taken, right? It's the right path, not the left path. The left path is the common, it's the ordinary, it's the habituated path, the right path is the unknown, you know, it's the scary path, but it's the path to freedom. Most people don't take it cuz it scares the shit out of him.
Michael: Yeah. I know that you were faced with an interesting decision to make in your youth that I want to get into. There was a sign on a door that called to you, right? There was something about this idea that you could be someone special but that day the store happened to be closed.
Mark: That's right, it was a store selling.
Michael: You made it selling something unique and you made a decision to go back. Why?
Mark: You know, it's the same thing that spoke to me as what spoke to you when you stared at yourself in the mirror. You know, 13 years ago and said, no, not this anymore. And I was living, you know, I guess I feel that I'm incredibly fortunate to have had my midlife crisis at 21 years old, 22 years old because I already experienced that desperation already. You know, I could sense because I had started a meditation when I went to New York city, after graduating Colgate university, I went to New York city and I, and I was following that drum beat of that cultural norm, you know, to get into the white-collar work and become a consultant and then maybe likely into investment banking or trading, you know, and make a ton of money like my peers were and their fathers and parents. And maybe go back and run my family business, which had been around for over a hundred years and was not insignificant business, for 400 employees and had created a lot of wealth for our family or stability, I should say. And so, I was following that dream, and had I not found meditation where I could sit in quiet too and develop the stillness and develop the connection to my spirit, so to speak, that showed me the contrast, right? It created a contrast in my life. It created like this, this version of mark over here that felt really whole and calm and clear and then this version of Mark over here, which was just blindly and without knowing that this whole construct was basically shaped in my mind from my childhood up to, at that time, blindly following that path.
And I felt this discordance which you know, is the same discordance as that feeling of quiet desperation. Like, holy shit, this doesn't feel like me. I don't like this. It's not comfortable. I don't want to be in a suit and tie every day. I can't stand being inside all time, all the time at an office or pecking away at a computer. And I started to feel desperate mainly because I greatly accelerated the experience through meditation of what could be something different, you know, what could be the possibilities, what's real in my life in terms of why I'm on this planet. I wasn't on this planet just to make money. I was on this planet for a very specific purpose. I don't think I would've found that had I not found meditation.
So anyways, that contrast caused me to start asking questions, different kinds of question and it started out with the negation. And I think we actually find truth through negation by asking what's things aren't, because the true reality of our cells, we can't never actually describe. And so, you can only get there through negation. So, I ask myself, you know, who, when I ask, who am I? And I found, you know, that I started to say, well, I'm not, I don't feel like I'm a CPA, even though I've got a CPA, I don't feel, or heading toward that. I don't feel like, I should be a business guy, even though I'm in business, it just didn't feel like me.
So, I kind of started checking off the things that I wasn't through negation and that left, you know me to ask the question, well, what am I, who am I, if I'm not that, and I didn't have an answer. So, I just kept meditating on it. Kept meditating, kept meditating, hopeful that an answer would and that's when I saw that sign in the window. When I was walking home one day and the store was selling hope, was selling dreams, was a Navy recruiting office. And the poster was a picture of Navy seals. Didn't say Navy seals. It didn't say like US Navy seals be someone special on the bottom, it said be someone special. And then it just had pictures. And I had heard of the seals, but I really didn't know what they were and I certainly wasn't looking to be of the military. I was just looking for something, you know, for some identity besides what I was experiencing.
And I remember just standing trans fixed, going like, holy shit, that's it. You know, my voice has been in my inner spiritual voice had been trying to whisper to me that not only is that not it, that Mr. Mark Divine, CPA chasing after money and this life of, you know, growing quite a desperation, but you're meant to be a warrior. And I didn't really quite grasp that until I saw those pictures and it just spoke to me. I was like, that's what I am. That's what I'm meant to be. That's what I'm meant to do. Mind you, I didn't say I was meant to be a Navy seal obviously I'm meant to be a warrior. Cause I believe that our callings in life are more archetypal than specific, like a career slash job or vocational. Right? You can align your archetypal purpose with a vocation, like being a military warrior like you wanted to be. And like I was, but it doesn't have to be that way a warrior can show up in many different ways, you know, many different professions and I've been a warrior as an athlete, I've been a warrior as a Navy Seal, I've been a warrior as a thought leader, Podcaster, author.
So, that was it, I had cultivated the ability to listen better internally. And that's what allowed me to hear. You know, this discordant growing sense of Discontentment. I felt it. I heard it; it created an identity crisis early in my life. And then, I believe that when you start asking better questions and you start aligning with that spiritual drive or inner true essential nature of ourselves, then the universe starts to kind of organize itself along those lines. Right? Cuz you're repattering your mind and the mind is gonna show you what it needs in the world. And that's why I was shown that poster.
Michael: I think often people are shown the signs, but they just don't take heat of them. You know, and I know in your story, and this is why I asked the question that was right there, it's in front of you. It's like, Hey mark here, dude.
Mark: And oftentimes they are, but you just ignore them you missed them, like you said.
Michael: Or it's not the exact time. Right. Cause you had to go back to the recruiter's office.
Mark: That's right. Well, and it took me that happened. Let's say I joined the Navy November of 1989. That happened in 1986. It took me three more years to develop the courage to develop even the capacity and to be accepted into the Navy as one of two people in 1989, who got accepted to go into officer Canada school with a follow-on order to go to seal train. It wasn't like you can't just snap your fingers and say I'm gonna be a Navy seal and go be a Navy seal.
Michael: No shit. I would totally be that if I could. Were you obsessed with this? Was this consuming you like what was happening in that transpiring in that window of time?
Mark: Well, it was like a slow build initially it was me. You know, after I saw that poster, I even went and spoke to both the officer and listed recruiters and got them basically trying to tell me, don't do it, you know, trying to deter me cuz they knew the long, you know, the odds were pretty stacked against me, but I just sat with that and I had to sit with all the doubt I had to sit with all the people. You know, when I first was sharing the idea with people, I learned that that was a bad idea. You know, like we talked about earlier. People aren't necessarily your allies, your inner circle isn't necessarily your allies when you are considering a major transformation or change in your life because, you know, you're basically moving away from their codependent relationship with you and you're not gonna need them anymore they're not gonna need you. And so, a lot of times they'll try to hold you back or tell you don't do this, or you don't need this and I can't tell how many people told me I don't need to do. You know, the military is for people who can't do what you're doing.
Michael: And that's not true at all.
Mark: It's not true, but it is true. Right? And so, think about your situation and countless others like the military is an incredible path for people who perceive there to be limited other options. And it's a phenomenal jobs and skills training and character-building program for people who grew up in traumatic families or in the middle of nowhere to get off the farm, it's a phenomenal place to go, for the GI bill and to get cut your teeth for four to six years, I mean, in upstate New York, you know, and certainly with my father, the military was almost for losers like that was unspoken, but I hate saying that now because, but I believe he felt that it was for people who really couldn't or screwing up and the reason he felt that way is because he screwed up by getting drunk and driving his car into his fraternity house at union college and standing in front of a judge and the judge saying, you know, dude, you fucked up. You either can (a) spend some time in jail or (b) spend some time in the army. And he goes, (B) I'll take B. And so, he found himself in Germany in the 11th Airborne and there was a, you know, it was a decaying unit at the end of the cold war that didn't really have much of a mission. And so, they were all drinking, just morale was horrible and discipline was horrible and so, he had a horrible experience. And, you know, built on top of it being punishment. And so, for me to even hint that I might be thinking of in military was like, I was throwing everything away. And same thing with my mom. My mom, you know, told me that the Navy seals were baby killers. How could I do that? I'm like, Holy shit. So, I learned not to share those innermost dreams with people who were gonna not support it.
Michael: That's so powerful. I wrote a note of a quote that you said. You said: “You had to turn your back on your family and you had to kill your ego to find your path”
Mark: By the way, I would rephrase that. I don't think you can kill the ego, but you gotta kill the story that got you where you are, which is an aspect of your personality, right? It's the construct, which I love that term, it's a construct of your mind, that terms into a series of mental models and beliefs and identities that you hang onto as if that's you. And this is why, you know, the desperation is so hard to move away from because you're trapped in that identity. And so, you just, people just stay with it and live a life or regrets plural until or gratefully, they hit the midlife crisis or they have the huge, you know, health issue or something and they suddenly hit the wall and are forced to change. And that's actually a blessing in disguise.
So, meditation and self-inquiry is a way to avoid all that pain and suffering and to do a deliberative process of deconstructing those mental models and belief systems and habituated patterns and conditioning that got you, where you are, which isn't working. And then you realize you recognize that you have the power to create something entirely new and to reconstruct a new identity with whole new belief systems, mental models and patterns that you deliberately conditioned through habituation. And it takes a little bit of time, but at the end of that process, and then you also learn Michael that's an ongoing process. It's not a one and done, or I create this new kind of Michael Angio out of this different block or the same block and I change it. You become an ever-changing creation, an evolutionary force of your own. And so that the, you know, the Michael who shows up tomorrow is gonna be different than the person who shows up today because we're naturally allowing that river over mind to evolve in a more powerful direction and you're not trying to block it.
Michael: And you should embrace it. And I think people embrace it, fear that so desperately, that's where the desperation for me is to exist. I was so scared of potential, so scared of what could be, because we get inundated with these ideas of what we're supposed to be from the people around us, from our community, from our upbringing, I mean, from television these days, right? And you know, it's deep concentration and focus that I believe allows you to step into that place of creating the, mental capacity to be able to evolve into what you have the capability of being. One of the things I've been very curious about, cuz people always talk about, you know, meditation, journaling we're not saying anything new, but what I want to dive into is there a space in your journey where you've had to reconcile, like being a warrior, but also being Zen? Like how do that's such a dichotomy, like how does that exist in sync with each other?
Mark: I don't see it as a dichotomy. It's just a misperception. And so, combining an action and non-action is like thinking about the Navy seal warrior and the Zen warrior, both are incredibly important. And the Zen has been missing even in the warrior arts for many, many years. Right? As you think about like the samurai or even the Spartans, right? Maybe they didn't call the samurai, didn't the Spartans probably didn't call it me. But they did it. And they understood that you had to combine the hard with the soft, the action with the inaction and they had to come together. And I've used in my training with my clients at unbeatable mind this idea of an infinity loop and on one side of that infinity loop is action. It's a creative expression, it's performance it's doing. And the other side of that infinity loop is non-action, it's being, it's receptivity and, you know, akin to the yin and the yang. The yin is receptivity, it's the feminine principle. The Yang is activity in the masculine principle.
So ideally, you know, you are moving between these two in a constant pattern, a smooth pattern, right? Action. Non-action recovery, receptivity, creativity, action, doing, learning, recovering. And so, this, these become two aspects of how you operate and who you are. And the more adept you become at this philosophy, which usually means the more work of introspection and the more work you spend on the internal, the creative, the inside, then the more these things, this idea collapses to a single point. And this is what it means by being perfectly present in perfect presence, there's both action and stillness, and you're not living from memory or imagination. You're just here and your actions and thoughts and words become aligned in total integrity and they're spontaneous. The Japanese warriors have a word for that called Bushido effortless perfection, and that's what I strive for. Ironically, if you take infinity loop and you collapse it on itself, it becomes the yin yang symbol and the Yin Yang symbol. You see often in one version of it, you see a black dot in the white side of it and a white dot in the black side, or oftentimes of just a dot in the middle. And that is akin to what I was talking about, where ultimately there's action in inaction and inaction in action, I know it's hard to say that, but they coexist and they co arise and I call that simultaneity.
Michael: I was literally about to ask you if there's equilibrium?
Mark: And then just takes time to train that. But ultimately, it's equilibrium. It's imbalance it. It's not experienced that way in the time space continuum, because action and doing always takes longer than being, which is spontaneous. Like for instance, you know, taking our examples, we made our decision to change our lives in a single moment that then took years to play out. Right? And so, in the field of potential in the Yin field, all potential lies and one thought, one powerful thought, or one decision, one choice, one intention can change everything in the field of action, but you can't without an extraordinarily powerful mind, you can't change everything right now with the snap of a finger, it takes time to play out because you have a lot of inertia, a lot of buildup of energy, past energy and momentum with things from choices you made years ago, and the way you were thinking years ago, but you'll never change if you don't make that choice. So, you make the choice and then you start changing things and if you start getting really, really clear, you recognize, oh, the master choice is to change, to transform in the direction, right? If that direction is the right direction, because it's aligned with your purpose, your archetype of purpose, and you're very clear upon how you're gonna fulfill that purpose that would be in my world, my mission then you can start getting really clear about what actions or behaviors can I change right now to deconstruct and move away quickly from the way I was living to where I wanna go. And you can take like five powerful actions a day and within a year you can transform everything in your life.
But that's unusual level of thinking, right? Yeah. it's not impossible, it's great. And in fact, today it's more possible than ever before, because of all the information that's out there, all the podcasts, all the mentors, all the great books, everything that like you relied on. I didn't have any of that I had Napoleon Hills Thinking Grow Rich. And I had Jim Ron's book and then Tony Robbins. Right. So, which he helped me, literally just become more positive and understand how important it's to be positive and not negative. Right?
Michael: Yeah. And that's kinda the direction I actually wanted to go. It's so funny you say that. When I wrote my first book, I started it with a very strong sentence because I wanted it to resonate with people. Child abuse is war. But we live in war all the time like there's the literal war there's wars you've been in, there are the military wars, there's the war of the mind, there's the war of the experience. Like I think about Sun Tzu often in this, there's the art of war, but you said something I think is really important. You said you have to kind of let go. You have to let your past be what it is to be able to move into who you are. People get trapped Mark; how do you get untrapped from war?
Mark: As a warrior you learn and this is an important thing to learn that fighting the enemy with revenge, with wrath, with hate, weakens you and makes you a worse person. You turn into essentially your own war criminal and that is not necessary. You can be a warrior with love in your heart. You can be a warrior with forgiveness and acceptance and you can be a warrior with non-attachment to fighting, you know, with negative energy and, and just do the job, just get it done. You know, that's the ultimate warrior, we ultimate warrior Navy seals is doing because they serve the country not because they're playing raffle, negative energy, you know, vehemently opposed to the individuals they're trying to destroy. The ultimate warrior has love and respect for his or her enemies. And the ultimate warrior, the trained warrior is the last one to use violence. This is why, like, if we trained our culture this way, there would be no violence because you're literally training as a warrior in the way I'm talking about this holistic sense, evolves the character to the highest level possible and an enlightened warrior would never use violence unless it was absolutely necessary and there were no other options whatsoever. And then it would use violence, discriminately and with forgiveness and love in her heart.
Michael: Is there a place for the dark side of energy to be a factor in that conversation?
Mark: You can't get away from dark side of energy. You know, we think we live in this world, we do live in this factual word of polarities, but in the real world, in the spiritual sense, there is no polarity. There's it's just like a scale of consciousness and there's less consciousness and there's more consciousness and less consciousness in the world duality we look at as evil and more consciousness in the world duality, we look at as love.
If you step into fear, if you're a loving person, but you're not permanently there, you're not vibrating there, you haven't trained yourself to be. It's just a temporary state and you can get triggered into fear, which then turns into anger and aggression and retribution then you're no better than someone who's permanently there, you just temporarily are able to pull yourself out of it. I mean, you could say you're better when you're out of it, but when you're in it, you're at the same level of energy. This is why war on blank leads to more blank. War on terror leads to more terror. The war on drugs leads to more drugs. War on poverty led to more poverty is because you're meeting the negative energy at the same level that created it and it just exacerbates it, it magnifies it. So, at an individual level, you know, if you wanna fight things that are bad in your life, don't fight it at the same level that created it. You have to go to a whole new level and that level includes acceptance, forgiveness and self-love.
Michael: That's like the magic pill, right? And I think people struggle and I did for a long time because I thought self-acceptance and love was drugs and money and food and cars. And then what I realized actually what it was being okay with who I am. But so many people struggle with that, with that idea that they have control over their identity. And I'll reference what you mentioned earlier, this idea about the construct of the matrix. And I do fully believe we had the ability to change everything around us, to be the arbitrator of our future, to be the one in control. But I don't think people understand the framework of the baseline of stepping into that level of control. Does that come through meditation? Does that come through Zen?
Mark: Well, it comes through some practice that takes you away from the limiting constructs and the contraction into believing the stories. And so, a practice like yoga and I don't mean stretchy bendy, yoga. I mean the practice of unification, which is yoga, reintegration, you know, and yoga shows up in many forms, you know, in its Buddhist form is meditation in its, you know, Chinese form as Chiang, you know, or Kung Fu or the martial arts, you know, that I did, or in its Western form which is unbeatable mind it's a Western form of yoga. As I understood yoga, which is the oldest science of personal development on the known to human God, thousands and thousands of years old. And so, a path of yoga or a path of integration or wholeness is a practice. It means you are recognizing that through effort, you can improve your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your being, which will lead you to be more positive to vibrate at a higher level, to have more health and energy and abundance in the world. And then as you continue that practice, you're led more into the spiritual dimensions and you start making decisions more from that perspective and not for the material success and the achievements and the resume.
Ultimately though the practice itself becomes the obstacles, because then you track and identify yourself as this person who has got this practice and this practice is what's leading you to that wholeness or fullness. And so, then you become task oriented and task saturated with the practice and you meant you're not able to like, literally surrender into the reality, the true reality, your true nature, your central nature, which is beyond doing or effort. This is actually what happened to me. Like my Zen practice was one of concentration and it was extraordinary, powerful way for me to train my mind. And then of course the seals amplified that because seal training is just like concentration on steroids. You know, seals are extraordinarily, focused and attentive to their task and their mission and very talent but that doesn't work for developing at a spiritual level, cuz efforting eventually will lead you only so far. And then you have to let go. You have to be able to surrender. You have to be able to step into that yin because all practice is all on that left side of that infinity loop. Right? It's all on loop or the whichever side you saw when you were, when I was drawing that loop it's on the actions, the young side. And finding total peace, contentment and presence, or being able to live in this now moment where, you know, where the act of perceiving is everything and the perceiver and the perceived collapse into the moment that can only be found through total surrender.
Michael: So, I've often thought to myself, perception is reality.
Mark: Yeah, well, perceiving is reality. Perception is seen there's three aspects to how we show up in the world. Let me use the term knower. There's the knower, which is you or me? There is the known, which is either knowledge or this perceived reality or an object. Right? And then there's this process, which is the knowing. And my correction there wasn't meant to say you're wrong, but it means you're close to the truth, but the real truth is what's only real in the moment is the act is the knowing and the known and the knower are not real in that moment. They're temporary aspects of this time space continuum, we call physical life that are created and co-created to help us experience that, which we are knowing in that moment.
This is my philosophy, but I do believe after you, when you investigate deeply on a path of on a spiritual practice. And I don't mean like religion, I mean like true spiritual practice, where you're trying to understand the nature of reality and your reality or what you would call your whole self, your spiritual self or whatever. One is inevitably led to this conclusion, that the body is a projection or creation of the mind and this entire world that exists in time and space is also a projection of the mind or creation of the mind and that everything is actually happening in this one timeless eternal moment, which is not like timeless because it goes on forever but it's happening in only one moment, this moment, which is beyond times beyond even the understanding of.
Michael: And that makes me think of a quote that your mentor taught you one day, one lifetime, right?
Mark: What really that becomes is one moment, one lifetime. But you know, to help a warrior kind of orient the life, the idea was let's just make it at least a day. Don't construct your life beyond this day. Everything exists beyond this day is either fantasy, if you're untrain or it's a created future, and you talked about visualization earlier. It's a created future that you decide upon, and then you imagine it and then you visualize it and then that, what that does is imprints a memory because the brain, when you think with your brain, you always are thinking with memory or fantasy. And fantasy is built upon some sort of imagery or idea that you've seen or heard or read. Constructed out of something maybe that happened in altered state experience, like a psychedelic journey, you know, so like some of our best sci-fi came from psychedelic journeys and some of our coolest art and whatnot.
And so, when we think solely with our brain, meaning when you're merged with your thoughts and you haven't developed this witnessing capacity, which accrues through meditation practice and other types of practices similar, then you're always, thinking and acting from memory in the past sense that's something that happened to you. And usually that's a memory of some disaster because we tend to magnify the bad and the negative in our lives over the positive. And so, that leads us to have more of that because we remember that and we fixate on it in our memory, or it's some imagined future, which is often unknown to us. And so, it becomes either fear or desire. Let's say you look at a billionaire and you're like, wow, I wish I had a yacht like that, but I don't know how I could ever get there, and it's not me, that's him or her. And so, you know, there's this sense that you, it's not you, which creates this gap, this fear.
And so, when you practice in the way that I'm talking about you in this one day, one lifetime principle is that you look at that and say, you know what? None of that exists, what really exists is what's right in front of me right now. And you practice just starting out with just today, what if today was my last day on this plan? How can I live this day with no regrets? And I'm not talking about going into a back a feast of this, you know, as if the meteor was gonna hit the earth, that's a different story, right? Go ahead and drink up a storm, have a good time cuz if that's truly the last day, then let's go, go out the bank. But I'm talking about is with the expectation that the sun will rise tomorrow, and especially with a warrior, it's not a guarantee, it's not a guarantee with anybody for that.
So, what can make today the best day possible, where I'm moving toward fulfilling my purpose. I'm moving toward bringing more love and light into the world. And I'm gonna go to sleep tonight with learning, growing, and no regrets. And wow, what a powerful principle, because you completely construct your life very differently than just barreled along in survival mode or kind of like the walking zombie of the average business professional, you know, just going through the motions.
Michael: I wanna step into that gap for a moment. Because I think that that's obviously, as you said, the disconnect, that's where the fear is, that's where all the things that stop you from being able to build and create that thing that you want in your life, or believe or envision you can have exists. Where is the space to move through the gap? Like, what is it? Is there a tool? Is there a thought process? How do you go from man, I can see it, but I live life like I got a million years left?
Mark: There are many paths, right? As there are many paths as there are people, but there are certain obstacles and certain generalities that we can point to that have worked well for others and work well for me and for my and for my plans. First is it's very difficult to step into that gap if you're radically unhealthy, right? Like when you were 350 pounds and smoking cigarettes every day and drinking, and when I used to drink every day, like, it was difficult for me because that becomes your obsession even the opposite of that becomes your obsession. Like, I wish I wasn't doing this or I drank a little bit too much last night so, you're you're starting the day at a deficit and I don't know how many people listening right now probably thinking, yeah, that's me. I drink a glass of wine every night. Well, that's fine. But maybe, you know, maybe it shouldn't be every night because you started at a deficit or if it's too glasses of wine to start a depth, maybe not one but two.
And so, that becomes kind of the focus. So, you gotta get yourself physically healthy because of a physically healthy body means a physically healthy brain, which means now your brain is gonna be supporting you in your spiritual practice or your holistic practice, your life practice.
So then that the second thing is stress.
So, getting healthy will help alleviate a lot of the built-up stress and rebalance the body. But we also take on stress every day and your brain get agitated. And so, we end up with this kind of like these loops in our brain, where we get triggered all the time, because our brain is agitated and also trained to be triggered into fight or flight. So, we become unable to concentrate and to settle down, to find any stillness, which is the path to finding that space that we're talking about, to create a new identity. And so, I prescribe and have been since 2006, a practice called box breathing, which is basically, you know, nostril deep breathing with a hold after the inhale in the exhale; five in five, hold five out five hold and what this does, is it massages your vagus nerves, it gives you all this oxygen in life force, it strengthens your mind, it's a concentration practice and it's arousal control practice, which means it's activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which is countering the fight or flight response, the symptomatic nervous response.
And so, it's taking your brain and body into a state of calm, alertness, know which if they were to do a QEG, you, you have kind of an alpha beta high, alpha, low beta kind of brainwaves in your executive functioning areas in your Cortex which has felt or experienced as subjective state of calm, alertness and with that calm alertness, you're able to turn your attention inward, to begin to investigate the nature of your inner reality, that yin, that potential side of that infinity loop and away from just outward focus and action. And so, this is where now a practice of meditation starts to become effective.
And most people don't ever get there because they're too agitated, they're too outta shape and they haven't trained the arousal control response to get into that sympathetic or balanced state. And so, they try to sit down and meditate and their minds are all over the place, like what Tom Bilyeu calls thinkitating. And now sitting down and breathing and listening to head space or something has health benefits, but it's not the same as meditating the way I'm talking about, where calm your body mind, and you're able to turn your attention inward and now you're looking for the source of awareness itself. The aspect of you that absolutely just is here present knows that it's alive and knows that it's thinking and is even aware while you're dreaming and sleeping, it's beyond the consciousness of the mind, it's pure awareness and you look for that. And when you intentionally look for that when you've trained your mind through arousal control, attention control, concentration, and mindful awareness, which are four steps or preliminary stages in this meditative process, then you're able to turn attention, turn your inward attention around, to look for attention itself, to look for awareness itself in a way one of my meditation instructors, Dan Brown called his awareness, finding awareness through awareness. It can't not find itself.
Michael: Yeah. That makes perfect sense to me.
Mark: And awareness is found in that present moment. So, you just keep coming back to that present moment, coming back to that present moment, coming back to that present moment. One of the most profound practices, which has become my practice after I learned to stop efforting and to surrender is the practice of asking who am I? And this was Roman Harsh's practice. The Indian Sage, it comes from a tradition of yogis who found that this is the simple and most profound way and didn't require a cave or part of a monastery or do all sorts of ablations and cleansings, and 30 years of meditation is just keep coming back to asking yourself who am I? And you find at the reality level, as you get more and more acute with your awareness, first of all, you're not the things that you do or accomplish in your life. Like I am not the Navy seal, I am not the NBA CPA, I'm not the guy ha doing this podcast or hosting this podcast, that is an aspect of the reality, but it's not my true reality. So, move beyond that. You go into the internal, the concepts, right? The virtual world, I am not these thoughts. I am not these beliefs. I am not this identity, okay, and so then you ask if I'm not that then who am I? And you keep getting closer and closer to the truth, right? Like you look around in your awareness and try to find Michael like close your eyes and everyone's listening. Don't do it with you're driving close your eyes and try to find Sally, Mark, John, Bill, Fred, like where do you look? Is it in your heart? Is it in your big toe? Is it somewhere in your brain, you were like, no, it's an identity? It's an idea. Okay. So, then where's that idea? Is it in the left side of my brain, the right side of my brain? Is it in my forehead or is it in my belly? All the idea is what is an idea, right? And I have that idea, then it's gone, then it's gone, then I have another idea, then it's gone and I have another idea.
And so, we find out that we're just a bunch of thought streams that come and go and arise, but what's always present is awareness. And so, you say, well, I'm not even those thought streams and without those sauce streams, I still am. Oh. So that's who I am. I am that which exists beyond before and after all of those other things beyond this idea that because even like, what is this physical body? When you look at it at a quantum level, it's no different than a chair it's just organized differently. Right? It Quantum bits and bites and qubits, and that are organized into atoms, that are organized into molecules, that are organized into cells, that are organized into organs, that are organized into this thing we call human body, but you deconstruct it all and we're just energy. And so is that chair and so is this microphone, so am I, am I really any different than this microphone? I am in the sense that I have more consciences. Anyways, it's a fascinating journey. And I encourage everyone to take that journey because it transforms everything in terms of how you view the world and how you live your life, because you, then you find that still center point in your actions and it makes you more powerful and you have the full access to your entire creative force as a human being. You don't live with limitation.
Michael: That's exactly the journey I went down. And I'm so glad that you brought light to that and I, I hope that people will rewind and go and listen to what you just said again. Mark, this has been an absolutely incredible conversation, my friend. Before I ask you my last question, can you please tell everyone where they can find you?
Mark: Yeah. Look for me in the quantum, but I'm just kidding. I am actually a hardcore Navy seal too. So, don't think I'm all every fairy here. I'm just fascinated with this stuff. markdivine.com is my website. And it kind of could point you to the other stuff. If you're interested in our training, unbeatable mind, go to unbeatablemind.com
If you are a warrior and you wanna challenge yourself in the hardest training in the world, check out sealfit.com and I'm available. You know, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook at realmarkdivine, Twitter @markdivine. I've just marked divine stuff like that. All the books are on Amazon, you know, easy day to find. If you were looking, if you're interested in what I'm having to say, then there's two, probably places start with my books. One is called unbeatable mind and that's like my philosophy of self-published book, kind of like yours, unbroken, where I talk about my philosophies of life. And I don't really get into the metaphysics like we did here because I wrote that in 2014 and I've updated it but I kept it at a practical level as you know, cause you you've read that. But go into box breathing and concentration and you know, like get people on a path to wholeness. And then the way of the seal is really so unbeatable mind is really more about the Yin inside of that equation and the way the seal is the Yang like, how do you bring this stuff into, to kick ass and take names in the real world with practical skills, thinking like a Navy seal and leading like a Navy seal.
Michael: I love it. And I love both of those books. So, I do highly recommend. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
Mark: Yeah, I love that. Well, it's similar to what it means to be unbeatable. It's to be whole, if you're whole, you can't be broken. If you're not whole, then it means you're already broken, or you just haven't, maybe you haven't been deliberately broken, but you just came into this world and you learn how to put the pieces together. Right? So, to be unbroken means to be whole, what is to be whole means, you have to find that out for yourself, it's gonna be different for everybody.
Michael: I love it. Thank you so much for being here, my friend.
Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.
Please like, subscribe, comment, tell a friend.
And Until Next Time.
My friends, Be Unbroken.
I'll see ya.
Mark's many and varied experiences have shaped his direction, but there is nothing that has had a bigger impact on his life than his time in the military.
He has seen veterans give everything they have to protect their country, however on their return to civilian life, they often deal with physical, mental and emotional trauma - and it goes untreated. The Courage Foundation was founded to holistically help veterans heal themselves holistically and restore a sense of purpose, hope and connection.
Today, Mark continues to lead, teach, innovate and ideate.
A sought after speaker, insightful interviewer on his podcast The Mark Divine Show, and best selling author he pushes limits and minds. A key component of his message is the importance of leveraging technology to positively impact the world.