David Welch: What does it mean to awaken and live an awakened life?
Anthony (Tony) Robbins: I think it means to get outside of your history, outside of your conditioning, outside of your culture and become present in this moment and see what’s real, right now, without the filters. It’s the ability to witness the mind and be the master of the mind, instead of having the mind master you. This mind is not going to cooperate and say, “well, let’s do this together.” I’ve found in my life that your heart, your soul and your spirit have got to direct that mind, to take charge of it, and use it…or it will use you. And so, I think awakening is learning how to step outside of mind’s control and step more into heart’s control and to really experience the joy of whatever is happening in your moment.
My major goal in life today is to really find ecstasy in this moment. If I can’t have this moment, with you, my dear friend, for all these years, how is some other thing in the future going to do it? I always tell people, if you can’t find ecstasy in this moment—more love, more joy, more acknowledgement, more economics, more rock and roll, more sex, more drugs…or, whatever you think you’re going to need to find it—it’s not going to make you happy long term. So, to me, that is the ability to see what’s real and to enjoy the moment completely and fully, and I think the more awakened we are, the more we see. I think that is the absolute grace in everything in our lives, including the things we call problems or challenges.
DAVID: Problems. Turn them into challenges, which is something you can deal with. Problems are something you worry about, but challenges….
TONY: There is another way to think about it, though, as I tell people today, when they come to Date With Destiny—especially, because we go so deep, you know, we get underneath what creates those problems. Which is that, the beliefs and the values and the rules that control the meanings we make up, and out of our meanings come emotions, and out of emotions come our lives. If you think this is the end, you’re going to have a very different response than if you think this is the beginning of a relationship, right? It changes what you feel, changes what you do. So, my whole view is, what you really have to be able to do, is decide once and for all that this is what my life is about. I want to be clear; I want to be opening to what is really real. I’m not going to let my past history control me and I think when people break out of that, there is a freedom they can’t experience any other way. There’s no material thing that can get people the joy that that freedom can get them.
DAVID: Excellent. Witness and Master the mind, drop into the heart, and experience freedom and joy. You have to love that!
What has happened in your life that you feel is significant in your awakening?
TONY: Gosh, there have been so many things along the way. My wife is a part of that. My children are a part of that. I mean, I believe motive does matter. I believe that if you focus on yourself, life is still going to support you in your endeavors because you are part of life. Life supports life. If your focus is how to take care of your family, motive does matter and you’re trying to support more of life and I think you’ve got a different level of insight. If you’re trying to support a community, you’ve got a whole different level of insight.
I look at my own life, you know, without bullshit and without exaggeration. It’s really been humanity for me as long as I can remember, that I want to make a difference with, and so the types of insights that you get are extraordinary. So, I think the demands of the situations I put myself in over the years, have caused me to have spiritual insights and breakthroughs and then I’ve also just pursued all the great teachers, just as you have, to see what I can learn from them so that I can take that information in, and find what rings true for me, and how can I articulate in my own experience what they’re teaching. There’s a variety of great people out there. As you know, my friends at One World Academy, Krishnaji and Anandagiri—dear, dear friends of mine, and I’ve learned an immense amount from them and have been able to share a lot with others. I think Byron Katie is just a real thing. I love her to death. She’s pure and her intent is only to serve and she brings people back to reality so quickly. Teaches them not to believe their limiting thoughts and to question them and find the real truth.
There are some great teachers out there, so over the years I’ve, of course, looked for all of those. But, I think about a year and a half or two years ago, if you would have asked me, “do we have—my wife and I—do we have a magnificent life?” I would say, “are you crazy?” I mean, it’s like, I have this magnificent mission…I’ve got millions of people out in the world that I’ve been privileged to help, and I have all the love that comes from them because I get stopped every day of my life by people who say, “oh my God!…you’ve changed my life!” I always say, “no, you changed your life!…take some of the credit!…but I’m glad I helped.” So, I get that reinforcement every day of my life. I have four amazing kids, three grandkids. I’ve got 18 companies; we’re doing five billion in sales now. It’s just been amazing growth from nothing, from zero, and so, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, everything…I would say, we have this magnificent life. If you had asked me if I suffered, I would say, “what are you crazy?” ‘Cause most achievers don’t even think they have fear; they just have “concerns.” The achievers work for fear of stress. You know, I’m just stressed all the time. Well, if I follow your stress, it will take me to your deepest unconscious fear. And, so, suffering was not a word I would relate to in any way, shape or form, but about a year and a half ago, roughly, I started thinking about my life.
I started thinking about how the more that I’ve grown with all these companies…you know, when you’ve got 1,200 employees on three continents and eight different industries, what are the chances of somebody screwing up, right now? They are basically 100%. Somebody is doing something that’s not going to work and it’s not that people don’t care, it’s not that they’re not dedicated, it’s just that there are so many moving parts in my life. And so, the more people I care about, the more chance that somebody is upset or sad or hurt or worried, and if you care about people, it never stops. And so, I realized I was experiencing stress and frustration and was overwhelmed at times, along with my joy and ecstasy and happiness and gratitude. So I just said, “well, that is part of the process.” And, what I decided a year and a half ago is…it’s not. And part of that is how to deal with it, you know.
Sri Bhagavan, who created Oneness, is a dear, dear friend of mine. And I’ve had these beautiful experiences of spiritual states being around him. But, the states were magnificent, but it’s like…how do you create the consistency? I just began to look around and say, “my happiness is too cheap.” I give up my happiness because someone didn’t do what he or she is supposed to do. No, if your only way to be happy is if everybody in your life is going to do what they’re supposed to do, and your version of what they’re supposed to do, then you’re definitely never going to stay happy, especially if you’ve got a lot of people. So, I realized, I’m always going to have these upsets.
There are always these challenges to come back to. So what I’ve got to do is just decide I’m going to enjoy, no matter what happens, and I think that’s the most important decision of your life. You know, my friend
Krishnaji, talks about (the idea that) there are only two states. I’ve always talked about peak states and low states or high energy—energy-rich experiences or energy-poor experiences, ‘cause your energy is everything. My friend Krishnaji…I like the way he likens this to (the idea that) there are two states: empowering and dis-empowering states, like I would normally say. He said there are suffering states and there are beautiful states of being, and I like the language of it. It’s different and it made me think, you know? Suffering…I don’t suffer. But I thought, “isn’t anything other than a beautiful state a form of suffering?” I mean, if you’re frustrated, you’re angry, you’re overwhelmed, or you’re stressed…you’re not present for the people you love during that time and it doesn’t give you a better solution. But, if there’s a problem, if you’re in a beautiful state, a beautiful state doesn’t just happen, this beautiful state could be driven or creative or feeling playful or curious or a sense of awe.
There are just so many beautiful states to be in, so it’s not like you have to be happy every moment. You get all this beautiful diversity, but in both states, if there’s a problem to solve, you’re going to find it much better than if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out and fearful or disappointed or depressed or whatever people are feeling. So, I just decided to draw a line in the sand and say, “you know what?…I’m going to live in a beautiful state of being every day!” And Krishnaji…I really liked his language. It really appealed to me because everyone is teaching the same thing on suffering. There are so many teachers, talking about how we create suffering in the mind, and then we feel it in our bodies and our hearts. But what I liked was the idea—he said have a spiritual vision.
A spiritual vision is to live in a beautiful state. Most people have a vision for their business, they have a vision for their intimate life, hopefully, their personal life, their religious life, but really, do they have a spiritual vision? And, the idea that by living in a beautiful state, your whole life is changed and you change the lives of everyone else, I find to be really true. So, if you were to ask me before if I had a beautiful life, I would have said, “yes I have a beautiful life,” but the difference is, it’s like business; if you measure something once a year, you’re going to have bad years. If you are going to measure it once a month, the worst you can have is a bad month because you have 12 times to make it better.
When I’ve taken over companies, I’ve learned to measure some aspects three times a day from the beginning. Because the more you measure it, the better you get at it. The more you know what the truth is, the truth sets you free…you make new choices, and you can shift things. The more times you shift, the closer you get to where you want to be faster, so it used to be if you asked me if I had a beautiful life, I’d look at my life as a whole…a magnificent life. Now, I look at it moment to moment and if I’m suffering, which everybody does, it comes up like the sun, I just kill it while it’s little. I kill it while…I don’t wait until it’s Godzilla taking the city, I kill that little bastard when it’s just starting to show up…when I’m just feeling that little bit of tension inside and, you know, I breathe inside, I come back to the center of my being and I just release it and let it go and trust that there’s something deeper and richer in the experience. I start to appreciate something around me. I learn something. I grow.
I focus on love, which to me is an action, what I’m grateful for and the energy goes away. In fact, the more you do it, the better you get. I’ve found, in the last year and a half, my wife and I at least, as great as our relationship was and as great as our life was, the level of joy has multiplied ten-fold—that would be a minimum. My wife would probably tell you a hundred-fold and I don’t think she would be exaggerating, just because we don’t have those pauses in between that inevitably are always there. It’s like, oh, this is so great, oh, but this happened, oh, but that happened. And so, I tell people the most important decision of your life is not what you are going to eat for dinner tonight, although that’s pretty damn important because it will affect your physical destiny; I believe the most important decision you will ever make is who you spend your time with, because who you spend time with is who you become, whether it’s your wife, family, or co- workers.
The most important decision is, are you going to live in a state of happiness or a beautiful state for the rest of your life no matter what? Not, “I’ll live in a beautiful state, I’ll be happy, unless my wife leaves me.” Well, if she leaves you then you’re not really committed to being in a beautiful state. It’s like, oh…I’m going to be happy as long as my health is good. I mean, I got tested on this as I shared with you off audio just recently because you know, as I developed all this beautiful state approaches to things and I’ve been really living it and then life of course throws you a bigger challenge, like severe spinal stenosis and nerve pain down my arm at a level just under 10.999 where you can’t breathe, you can’t sleep, you can’t do anything and I haven’t learned how to separate pain from suffering. The pain is what’s going through my body; the suffering is, how could this have happened to me after all that I’ve done?…oh, my God, how am I going to survive this?…oh, my God, what’s going to happen to me? The story is the suffering. The pain is a different piece. You can deal with pain.
So, I’ve had a chance to practice it and it’s given me, as life always does, a chance to live something even more intense because I know if I can figure this out, then I can help millions of other people. So, that’s the direction that I’m heading in my life now. What’s even more so, is helping people find that beautiful state in every moment of their life and not accept, not tolerate all those other emotions. You know, we all get what we tolerate and if you tolerate feeling pissed off or frustrated over people not doing what they’re supposed to do…well, you’re going to be feeling those feelings all the time. So, now I know when I go to my email or my text, I know, you know, in a few hours there will be lots of other new challenges. But, it’s like, well that’s what I’m made for…I solve those challenges and it’s kind of fun and what are they going to be today? Instead of thinking they shouldn’t be there.
My biggest message to people is: The biggest problem you’ll have is that you’ll think you’re not supposed to have them. Problems are a sign of life, problems cause us to grow, problems basically provide the stimulation for the greatest expansion in our spirit and our soul…if we don’t just let them hurt ourselves. It’s like pain…you know, pain is a sign to get you to move into action, not to suffer. But most of us take pain and just suffer and try to manage it.
DAVID: Right, I realized for me it’s the mind that kind of starts all that stuff. As soon as that thought starts that is not really serving me, not really serving the moment and not serving this blissful state, I just say, “I love you David.” Out loud, if I can, and the thought goes away.
TONY: That’s really cool.
David Welch: is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award-winning movie “Peaceful Warrior” and a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qi gong practice.