Transcript for Episode 23 – Payal Khurana & Elliot Larkin

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human experience is putting the

mindfulness back into your everyday with

my guests pile Corona and Elliot Larkin

of find mindfulness pile Elliot welcome

to hxp Thank You Xavier so before we get

into what fine mindfulness is if you

could both just give us a short synopsis

of your backgrounds what are your

respective stories the question I’m

asking is who are you pile why don’t you

start us off okay so a little bit about

me I came to America when I was two

years old my parents brought me over

here they shipped me over here when I

was two years old from India um so you

know I was raised in an American society

but with an Indian Eastern background I

was taught a lot of the Eastern

traditions and I was also at the same

time told to live a very quote-unquote

successful monetarily monetarily life so

you know I followed my parents direction

then they kind of gave me a become a

lawyer doctor or an engineer and I chose

to become an engineer and so to keep

this a little shorter I lived in

corporate America for about eight years

of my life and I kind of realized there

wasn’t my heart wasn’t happy so I left

it all behind I left behind a six-figure

salary and decided to try something of

my own and started a

a startup incubator with a good college

friend of mine and throughout all of

that I’ve really just tried to stay

aware of myself and I think within that

journey likely have found the path of

focusing on awareness so right now

that’s where we’re at is doing the

incubator and working on fine

mindfulness very cool and Elliot what

about yourself so I came from a

background very wealthy family in South

Florida and growing up ahead essentially

everything I could have ever wanted and

you know I graduated you from the

University of Florida with a degree in

art history and management and while I

was in college I kind of had a really

difficult time assimilating to the

lifestyle I was in and everyone around

me seemed to be having a good time with

in the things that they were doing but I

felt kind of out of place and having

everything I could have ever wanted I

was wondering what was going to bring me

happiness and I stumbled upon a couple

books that began to change my life and

look inward and go into mindfulness and

I ended a meeting pile and working on

fine mine with fullness with her very

cool okay so moving on right into your

mindfulness project pile if you could

just give us a brief introduction of

what you guys are doing at fine

mindfulness and maybe a history of how

you got into doing what you’re doing

sharp definitely thanks for that

question because I you know telling my

story it’s so hard to leave out such big

parts of mindfulness but in without

saying Who I am but the way this all

kind of came about was you know oats

starting that journey of wanting to look


and when I was I would say in my early

20s maybe even late teens and you know

constantly trying to look externally but

realizing that it was really about

looking within and um you know honing my

practice throughout the years and as I

started ass incubator one of the things

that I noticed working with all these

entrepreneurs is you know they’re

constantly overwhelmed by the external

they were you know always stressed out

about what was the next thing they had

to do for their startup focusing on

family focusing on friends like there

was all these things that they’re

constantly juggling and they never took

the time to step inside themselves and

so you know for me in that moment I kind

of looked at it as an opportunity I’m

always helping a lot of friends with you

know discovering mindfulness and and it

was kind of like wool I’m already doing

this so why not you know share this gift

and it actually can’t comes down to kind

of one moment so I’m hanging out with a

bunch of my friends one of them being an

entrepreneur who is the CEO of 100

hundred person company and he’s pitching

a new idea to us and he’s all over the

place he’s kind of like um you know

really not in himself not confident and

another friend of mine who knows that

I’ve been passionate about meditation

and she suggested she say hey why don’t

you two go in a corner and meditate for

about three minutes and come back so we

did you know I took him to a corner let

him through a quick meditation grounded

him and we came back and he met it to AB

he pitched again and he was a whole

nother person you know he was confident

he was clear he was concise he was you

know he believed what he was saying and

we could see it and we could feel it

was just a whole different person and

this was a five minute difference and in

that moment was when I was like okay you

know all these tools they can be helpful

to these entrepreneurs so I created a

shell of a four-week program and I sat

on it for for about 6-7 months you know

I was doing all these other things and

one day we held a kind of a job fair at

starter space the incubator that i

co-founded and in walks Elliot and we’re

just you know talking and you know he

didn’t seem to be that interested in

what was happening at starter space so I

just asked him was like hey so what are

you passionate about and the first thing

out of his mouth was meditation and it

is just so interesting to me that how

kind of life happens and things line up

because in that moment you know it was

so quick for me to say hey well I have

this program that have been working on

would you be interested in helping me

and it was a very quick yes and you know

we got together and we poured hours and

days and our hearts into this program

and I will let you I’ll let him give a

little bit of his perspective as well

but that was that was how it all came

together hmm so it sounds like you had a

very serendipitous moment there with

finding Elliot very cool so if we could

just get let’s just get right into it

let’s dig into it what is the DNA of

mindfulness how does it work let’s

puzzle this together for our listeners

so I feel like mindfulness first and

foremost is about awareness being aware

of your body or wherever your thoughts

your emotions and aware of what’s going

on around you in the external

environment and so

you have to be able to have a desire to

change the status quo because so often

we find ourselves and habit patterns of

waking up you know brushing our teeth

going to work coming back and doing the

same pattern it it almost makes it easy

to be on autopilot and not challenge

ourselves and mindfulness is in essence

being aware of what you’re doing when

you’re doing it and there’s another

aspect of it that I’d like pile to speak

about right now definitely um so you

know when when I think of the DNA it is

this awareness right and it’s this

awareness of being present and also

looking within so you know I truly

believe that we’re all born with a

compass an inner compass and that if we

were we were thrown into we’re thrown

into a forest without our digital phones

that we carry around with us without an

actual physical compass we would know

which way to go I truly was every cell

in my body believe that but the thing is

is we all get socialized we all you know

we have our families we have our friends

we we have everyone constantly all these

external things kind of telling us what

we want what what to do and you know

they’re constantly influencing our

compass and we kind of lose touch with

that so you know I think one of the

biggest parts the DNA of mindfulness is

being able to get back to that to be

able to be able to tap back into that

inner compass to a way back to our our

true selves unlike that I mean do you do

you guys feel like mindfulness is

becoming or meditation even is becoming

more and more commonplace I mean why do

you think there’s there’s such

big paradigm shift towards being more

mindful I mean the East has been doing

this for thousands of years what makes

you think the West is finally and

catching up that’s so such a beautiful

question because mindfulness is trending

in America and around the world right

now because of how our society is

progressing people now have access to

way more than they did a hundred years

ago and they have constant stimulation

there are so many choices one would

think that our quality of life would be

at an all-time high but if you look at

statistics they’re showing higher rates

of depression so severe that it drives

many Americans to suicide she take one

of American America’s idols Robin

Williams for example someone who

everyone thought was just a happy person

and someone that everyone looked at with

such reverence and how he was not able

to handle his depression and how that

his whole life you know all the

stimulation and everything ended up

ending his life I I i agree with Elliot

you know it’s it’s if you think about it

like like you said the East has been

doing this for years and I personally

think the West was possibly naturally

doing it before before the iphone kind

of got thrown in into our lives and now

if you notice like more and more

Americans are constantly tapped out of

themselves and into their phones on the

internet you know it’s just constantly

having to be turned on like you can you

can be reached at any time now then how

often are people actually present you

know in a line in a grocery store and

not looking at their phone how often are

they having I you know I don’t know if

you you guys pay attention to this but

when you go to restaurants now is people

are just looking down at their phones so

there’s a group of five people and

they’re looking at their phones and that

all being said it just it brings

this need for mindfulness now because

people are like how do i turn it off and

mindfulness is such a great tool to turn

it off hmm you know I really find your

answers very to the point and I like

that so but I think there needs to be a

distinction between made between

mindfulness and meditation I mean okay

because they’re not the same thing or

are they no they’re not I meditation is

a tool to allow us to be more mindful

and that’s the the biggest thing is

mindfulness is something that we

practice during our you know entire day

we don’t you know this idea that

meditation is you know it it’s this

thing that we do to get us to be more

aware right yeah so what do you guys I

mean what is the practical what do you

guys think the impact can be like what

do you what what have you seen in your

own lives from practicing mindfulness do

you want to go for a celly yeah so I

guess I can take my own example you know

before when i would get home I would

feel like I would want to turn on the TV

and distract myself just to to relax and

I felt like so so much heaviness and

fatigue coming home from work and this

just desire just to get home and just

waiting for the weekend and I guess once

i started practicing more mindfulness i

started to see a space in where I had a

decision so instead of maybe going

directly to that TV and to the free

refrigerator to kind of numb myself I

had a moment of clarity where I could be

like hey this is one option but this

doesn’t have to be how it is and i was

able to make a decision okay maybe I


go for a walk or repair a nice dinner

for a friend or you know maybe I’m

recognizing hey I’m feeling really

unclear right now I’m going to go take a

few minutes to be by myself and just

relaxed and meditate and then come back

out and interact with the world and all

the things that are unfolding and I just

I see that as an incredible change and

it also has made me a lot more efficient

in my work a lot less wasting time don’t

need to follow through go through

facebook all the time anymore and things

like that definitely i agree with a lot

of what Elliott sang impact why’s it

just it allows us to recognize these

patterns that we have you know it’s it’s

sometimes it’s hard to see these

patterns because we’re do what we’ve

been doing them for years and

mindfulness gives us that that awareness

so you’ll hear awareness a lot in this

conversation and to me like one of the

the biggest impacts that it’s have had

on my life is is stepping out of stories

that you know we we can create like our

minds can be so crazy at times you know

it’s it’s kind of like one thing happens

and we turn it into like a tornado is

going to show up in two minutes you know

it and the best way I can describe that

is you know I send a text message to a

friend and they don’t respond right away

and I’m used to them responding right

away and for some reason all of a sudden

i create the story that this person is

mad at me and i don’t know why they’re

not responding and oh my gosh i’m a

horrible person and I don’t deserve

friends and you know it’s this chatter

that this mind creates and and so I feel

like mindfulness allows it comes back to

this awareness to be like oh you know

you know that same story again it would

be I send a text to a friend

she doesn’t reply and if i start the

pattern of the story of o she’s mad at

me I’m able to recognize oh wait I’m

creating a story I don’t know if she’s

mad at me like how about I pick up the

phone in collar or how about I just

patiently wait so it’s that recognition

of this story that we’re creating versus

diving deep into that story hmm I really

like that and you know that there seems

to be a sort of Buddhist tangent to what

you guys are doing it Buddha had this

quote that said something like you know

do not dwell in the past do not dream of

the future concentrate the mind on the

present moment and it really seems that

you guys are doing that with with your

program so I guess my next question is

you know what what can people expect

from signing up I mean why should a

person like me I meditate and I’d liked

I’d like to think I’m mindful but why

should I sign up for your course and why

what what do you guys what exactly are

people to expect for from signing up

well I personally think it’s it’s easy

um well sorry it’s hard sometimes to

start and you have it on your own you

know to get the biggest benefit it’s to

do things consistently and if we want to

change our lives in any way we have to

be willing to do things we haven’t done

before so you know doing a program like

find mindfulness it’s we have a

community you know you’ve multiple

people doing this at the same time as

you so there’s an energy there and

there’s a support there so I think

that’s one of the number one things and

they’re all doing it at the same time as

you in the sense of we’re all on the

same flow together and it’s you know

it’s committing to the space the space

of an exploration and the space to

examine like what you think about most

what you feel the most you know we’ve

created for weeks that

each week has a theme and we send over

some pretty unbiased but pretty amazing

meditations Elliot as you can tell has

an amazing voice so you know I think

they they get to experience this

four-week program that we’ve spent a lot

of time on content with that with people

that are on their same level okay who

who are in this goes to Elliott who are

your influences I mean both of you can

answer this but Elliott first who are

your influences entrepreneurs may

leaders some of the people who have

changed changed your perspective on your

thinking and evolved the way you see the

world yeah absolutely well the first

person who I was introduced to in terms

of mindfulness was a man named Dan

Millman with his book the way of the

peaceful warrior and the reason this

related to me so much was because I was

in college at the time and this story is

about a college student who gets to see

what his life would be like if he

continues on the path that he was on and

I really resonated with that and it’s it

scared me and so I started reading other

books like by authors like Eckhart Tolle

the power of now and Michael singers the

untethered soul and these people were

all talking about the same thing and

it’s they’re talking about that

awareness and that you have the power to

to make your own future and by being

present right now and that you don’t

have to just go along with the status

quo all the time and it makes me think

of more recent people who have taken up

the cause for mindfulness like Russell

Brand who’s literally just reading pages

of these authors on his podcast and

Oprah who’s having them in for

interviews and it’s just really neat for

me to see people with such power using

it to

help others to gain those did take take

control of their own lives yeah and I I

want to echo Eliot’s Eckhart Tolle a new

earth was a huge influence on me and the

way he calls out the ego and you know

explains how our ego takes over at times

I think is beautiful and it’s you know

it’s mindfulness that gives you that

awareness to when your ego is speaking

or when it’s truly you and then another

person that was a huge influence on me

was Elizabeth Gilbert and I think that’s

kind of controversial because she’s not

you know a quote-unquote mindful leader

but she was super vulnerable and eat

pray love and she shared her experience

on experimenting with meditation you

know she flew to India and lived in an

ashram and shared how difficult it can

be to watch her thoughts and I just I

loved you know her openness and her her

willingness to get curious and I think

mindfulness does a lot in that in that

respect very cool so what are some of

the personal mindful hacks that you can

use or teach a person someone like me or

even someone listening to the podcast

right now that they can maybe implement

into their life right away awesome um I

think so a couple things we had what we

did kind of a mindful lab a couple weeks

ago and one of the questions we were

asking people is what was your first

thought this morning and I think it’s a

great tool to ask yourself you know some

people couldn’t answer what their first

thought was and that is an insight in

itself is you’re not paying attention to

that is sometimes we’re just jumping up

grabbing our phone getting on our email

it’s not allowing that space

so what I’d say is hey give it a shot

you know for the next week you know pay

attention to what is your first thought

and see how it affects you know just pay

attention to how it affects the rest of

your day another one I would say is to

use triggers something like opening a

door so when you turn the knob to take

it take a breath and take that that

little moment that you have to take a

breath and come back into your body and

you know wherever your mind is wandering

you know to ask yourself where is my

mind right now is it in this room that

I’m actually in or is it in the past is

it in the future is it you know in a

whole different country that I’m

actually existing in right now so it’s

asking that question where is my mind

right now at different parts of the day

i love that trigger i’ve been working

with the trigger of every time i turn on

my car I just paused for a moment and

take a deep breath to come back because

it just helps so much and I’ve also

found another trigger that’s been very

helpful is using an online meditation

timer which is you can find that as an

online meditation timer com or an

insight meditation phone app where you

can set a timer for two hours or an hour

with intervals of five minutes or 10

minutes or 15 minutes and I each

interval there is a gong that goes off

just one time and whenever I hear that

gong I evaluate how I work how it how’s

everything going am I being efficient

with my time am I needing a break or to

just take a glass of water or doing some

stretches or whatever and just taking a

moment to breathe every time I have that

that interval so that’s very effective

and then most importantly which is not

really a hack but it’s something that

everyone can do starting today

is committing to spending five minutes

in the morning to just observe the

breath just observing the inhale and the

exhale without looking at the phone just

setting a timer for five minutes in the

morning and just doing it each day

whether you want to or not this is the

thing that I’ll make the biggest change

and in our lives very cool so I just

want to shift a little bit just to find

out more about you guys so people can

learn about who you are and so why all

this goes to you if you could go back in

time and tell yourself one thing that

would change the direction of your life

what would it be um I love this question

thanks I would go back and tell myself

to experiment experiment experiment

experiment um when I look at the way you

know in my early 20s you know even late

you know teens the way I kind of took

the approach to life is I i took the

here’s the map here this is where you go

now go and I didn’t ask any questions I

was told to go to college and either be

a lawyer doctor or an engineer so I

chose one of those I didn’t explore I

didn’t even see that there were other

majors I didn’t see that I could study

other things I just I did an experiment

and then you know after college it was

go straight into working for a

corporation I didn’t even try anything

else so I think if experimenting would

be a huge thing and I think that’s

something that I bring into my daily

life now and Elliot same same question

well this reminds me of a quote from

American Buddhist her name is Emma

children and she talked about

approaching everything with these three

qualities the quality of gentleness the

quality patients and the quality of

laughter and I racine myself that for so

long I didn’t I approach life with too

much seriousness with too much

and just being able to to relax and

smile and appreciate the smaller things

has made it such an impact in my life

and helped me to have more compassion

for other people now when I see them

coming from a place of yeah you know

maybe being judgmental of themselves and

I appreciate that hmm excellent i like

both of those so pile and but this goes

to both of you um what would you say is

your biggest fear and your greatest

source of strength mmm I think my

biggest fear right now is fear of

failure um it scares me on a daily basis

that you know all of this that I’m doing

is going to just implode in my face and

I will fail but I think my biggest

source of strength is being able to

continue to act even in that fear you

know is still showing up and doing the

work and regardless of what the outcome

will be just doing what I love Elliott

and firing it back at you man okay so my

biggest fear yes just getting to the

root of it is is that failure as well

it’s it’s needing to to fulfill the

expectations that I feel like I’ve been

placed on me and it’s funny that I’ve

placed them on myself as well so at

first they were to you know have a job

that my parents always wanted me to have

and after letting that go I see in

myself I’ve created this expectation of

myself to find peace and I have a fear

of of not achieving that piece and I

recognize the irony in that but it’s a

you know just a funny thing I notice

inside of myself and then I think the

biggest strength I have is

my determination and my drive to always

try my best no matter what I’m doing

excellent I love both of those so where

can people find your website and sign up

for your course and so it’s just at WWF

I in mindfulness calm and we’re on

twitter it’s seek mindfully and we’d

love to you know have some conversations

with people on what their thoughts are

on mindfulness and the different

experiences they’ve had and you know

we’d love to start the conversation so

please reach out awesome well I just

want to thank you guys so much for being

on the human experience and I really dig

what you guys are doing I think it’s

great and I suggest that people go and

sign up for your course thank you guys

both so much for being here thank you

thank you thanks guys this is the human

experience and we are signing out

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