Mel Schwartz, LCSW

#133 Possibility and Quantum Physics

The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz episode 133 is another bonus episode: a conversation you may not have heard between Christian de la Huerta and me at the Leaders Transforming Global Consciousness Summit 2022.

In this episode, Christian and I work through how the principles of quantum physics can apply to therapy, self-esteem, education, relationships, and every aspect of your lives.

I’d love to hear what you think! Be sure to leave a comment with your own thoughts and questions!

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Transcript of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz #133

MEL: Hello everybody and welcome to the Possibility Podcast. I’m your host Mel Schwartz. I practice psychotherapy, marriage counseling, and I am the author of the book The Possibility Principle, the companion to this podcast. I hope to be your thought provocateur and I’ll be introducing you to new ways of thinking and a new game plan for life.

CHRISTIAN: A few months ago, I was interviewed by our guest today on his show, The Possibility Podcast, and we had such an interesting, stimulating conversation that I wanted to share his work with you. So, without further ado, Mel Schwartz is a psychotherapist, two-time TEDx speaker, he’s the author most recently of The Possibility Principle, how quantum physics can improve the way you think, live, and love. He’s got a graduate degree from Columbia University, has written over 100 articles read by more than 7 million people, and is also a member of the International Society for Consciousness Studies. So, welcome Mel.

MEL: Well, thank you, Christian. I’m looking forward to getting back into the flow of consciousness with you.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, yeah, we sure did surf an interesting time together on that interview. So you write that we cannot transform what we see as out there until we come to an inner ecology of mind, which I love the way that you express yourself and the way that you capture these principles. What does that mean to you, an inner ecology of the mind?

MEL: Well, firstly, I have to give credit to the great social scientist, Gregory Bateson, for coining that phrase. At least I believe he coined it. You may have had a book by the same title, An Inner Ecology of Mind, which struck me. You know, one of the problems that pervades our world and our consciousness is this sense of separation, or what David Bohm called fragmentation. How can we expect to have environmental sensibility and a healthy ecology in what is outside of us when in fact our mind suffers from the absence of an inner ecology? So what we see, what we think we see, what consciousness is thoroughly participates in creating what we call out there. I frankly don’t believe it’s out there or in here. These are false distinctions. But for the sake of rational communication, we still make those distinctions.

MEL: So here’s an example. I believe I cite this in my book. Decades ago, the FDA in the United States decided that a particular pesticide was too toxic to allow the sale of in the United States. The pesticides were carcinogenic. However, they had no objection to shipping the product to Mexico. Now, did it occur to them that this pesticide would be sprayed on the crops in Mexico and exported back to the United States? That’s the absence of an inner ecology of mind. But more fundamentally, our minds operate from this illusion of separation, which comes from 17th century thinking. And through that illusion or delusion, it drives mind to think it’s okay to exploit, to exploit resources, to exploit one another, to compete individualistically in this random breakneck way. So out of that exploiting of the other, whether it be a people, a nation, a culture, or nature itself, we have the ecological disaster. But it begins with mind.

MEL: Now we see in indigenous peoples, historically and still presently, an ecology of mind. Famously, the Native Americans’ tradition was that whatever action they took, they would think seven generations forward as to how it might impact their lineage and their world and their environment. That’s an inner ecology of mind. It’s thinking beyond the minute and the specific, and it’s rippling out toward the whole. That’s a brief summation of what I mean by that term.

CHRISTIAN: No, that’s great, and it’s stuff that we’ve heard before from a spiritual perspective, like as above, so below, as within, so without. But what I love about your work is that you’re actually weaving in these concepts of quantum physics to help us understand and relate to these what up to now have been spiritual concepts. So say a little bit more about the 17th century worldview, because if you would have asked me when that split happened, I would have thought it was before that, that the split between the physical and the quote-unquote spiritual, from which stems this relationship to ourselves and to our bodies and to the planet where we otherize it and we have this artificial separation from each other. I thought that started, you know, before maybe the beginning of the patriarchy. So what exactly happened in the 17th century that heightened that or intensified that?

MEL: Well, you might be quite right. It may very well have begun earlier. I don’t have expertise as to that, but it makes sense to me. When I speak of 17th century thinking, I’m referring specifically to Newton and Descartes. Incredible to me that in an era where people were not reading books and there was no dissemination of information through technology, with the thinking and writing of two men, which so impact the way we think centuries later. Brief summation, Newton described reality as a giant machine, otherwise known as a machine-like reality or universe. Mechanism is a reference to that. In this machine-like reality, it’s comprised of parts. A machine has parts. The parts are separate and distinct from each other, and they only interact through force, causality, cause and effect. There’s no connection, let alone the notion of inseparability.

MEL: So the objects are separate and distinct. Now over time, it is my belief that we became the cogs in that machine. We began to see each other through difference rather than sameness, through separation, which led to a loss of empathy and compassion, which require wholeness and oneness. Furthermore, Newton provided us with the notion of determinism. If we have enough data, we might reasonably predict the future. This reliance on determinism came to have us abhor uncertainty. Uncertainty is the opposite of determinism. So with determinism, we analyze things to death. Analysis paralysis is a term people use now. The fear of making a mistake. You know, if you’re playing a chess match and you’re sitting back and calculating your moves, that makes sense. But if you’re living life that way, it doesn’t work. So I’m fond now of saying you can’t be in fear and in flow at the same time.

MEL: Now coming back to the science, determinism created this need to predict. Now quantum physics reveals that reality is thoroughly uncertain, discovered by Heisenberg in 1927 and providing us with the uncertainty principle. So I want to share with everybody that I don’t understand science, and I was not even an average science student. It is simply these principles that profoundly impacted me. You mentioned the Society for Consciousness Studies, of which I’m a member. I do not belong in this society. They’re brilliant academics and scientists, and I have no idea what they’re talking about scientifically. But they look to me for the takeaway. Perhaps I’m a social scientist.

MEL: So I came to see that our addiction to certainty and predictability are the cause of anxiety. When we need to know a future which is unknowable, then that creates fear. Our thought attaching to fear, what will happen, results in anxiety. So I developed an approach and a method and gave a TEDx talk on the fact that if we paradoxically or counterintuitively embrace uncertainty, then we get to navigate change in our lives. We are, again, the word I’m using today, we are in the flow. Antithetical to Newton’s 17th century predictability and determinism.

MEL: Coming back to the machine-like universe, cogs in the machine, separate and discrete from each other, I believe that led essentially to the loss of oneness. It led to the loss of compassion and empathy, and the resulting exploitation of resources and people. The extreme of individualism, which becomes the credo of cultures, certainly American and Western culture to a large extent, which has decimated us.

CHRISTIAN: Yes, yes. And so in alignment with your teachings about uncertainty, if there’s anything that we can be certain about, it’s uncertainty. That life is going to continue throwing curveballs our way, that we just, there’s no way to predict, there’s no way to see coming, including a global pandemic that maybe, I don’t know, five people on the planet foresaw. And so yeah, that feels disempowering and scary. But here’s what I’ve landed on and what I weave into my teachings and my clients, coaching with my clients that, all right, so that’s a fact, right? Life is going to continue throwing curveballs our way. That we can do nothing about. And what we can do something about is how we show up in response to those curveballs. And even just with that slight reframe, it pops us out of that helplessness victim mindset, what life did to me, me versus the world. And it pops us more into our own agency and personal empowerment. So let’s talk a little bit into uncertainty. That’s one of the three core principles that you write about. Let’s talk a little bit about quantum inseparability, which you alluded to. But tell us a little bit more deeply what it is, and how can it be applied toward healing that fragmentation of the 17th century paradigm that you so eloquently write about?

MEL: So, as you refer to this sense of oneness, although I consider myself spiritual and have spiritual inclinations and beliefs, I came to this sense of oneness by coming to understand a famous thought experiment in the world of physics, which occurred in the 1930s. The two titans of physics were in a debate, Einstein and Niels Bohr. And without delving too deeply into the details, it was about what would happen if two particles, which were entangled, they were as one, if they were separated by a great distance, these particles would have opposite spins, one positive, one negative. And the debate was, if we change the spin of one, what would happen to the other? Both agreed the other would have to change its spin, because they operate as a pair. But how long? Now Einstein said, well, we can calculate that the message would occur, couldn’t be faster than the speed of light. And Bohr said, no, no signal will be necessary, no message, it is as one. They could be separated by half a universe, it would be instantaneous. Einstein makes famous proclamations, God doesn’t play dice with the universe. If this were true, I’d rather be a cobbler than a physicist. Finally, in 1983, the technology is available to test the theory. Einstein loses, he’s no longer alive, nor is Bohr. Since then, I believe without exception, with greater and greater efficiency of technology, it continues to prove out there is no separation.

MEL: Now the skeptic might say, well, that’s odd, but that’s only in quantum physics.

CHRISTIAN: Before you move on from that, is that what, I think it was Einstein who coined spooky action at a distance, right? Like quantum entanglement.

MEL: That’s exactly correct. That’s right, Christian. He said, it’s spooky action at a distance. Einstein was suggesting there’s something else happening, but he called a hidden variable that could account for this. He still was insisting on traditional cause and effect.

MEL: So moving forward now, as I was saying, the skeptic might say, well, that’s only in the quantum world. Increasingly, for decades now, we see these phenomena of quantum physics popping up in our macro world. Now, physicists have been striving for what they call TOE, the theory of everything. How do you correlate the different reality between quantum and our everyday macro life, between Einstein’s relativity and the macro world? And I’m going to humbly apologize for suggesting I could possibly have an answer to this. But sometimes in simplicity and stupidity, we can see things. And my answer is, well, what is it that intervenes between the quantum world and our everyday macro world? Us. Consciousness. Perhaps there is no difference, but it’s our consciousness that has constructed the difference and therefore sees the difference as real.

MEL: At any rate, in my work, I’ve delved deeply into matters of synchronicity, oneness in my practice as a therapist. I’ve come to understand the sense of oneness on personal levels, which is inexplainable through classical physics or classical science. I know it. I experience it. Others do. So this sense of oneness doesn’t only exist in the quantum world. That’s silly. That’s just in denial of human experience. What is love, if not oneness?

CHRISTIAN: Beautiful, beautiful question. Let me ask you something about synchronicity, because I love that word and I love the concept. Sometimes I’ll use the phrase divine choreography in place, because some of the stuff that happens that I’ve witnessed and experienced, there is no way that it could be just a happenstance. And that certainly my little mind could never come up with all the players and synchronizing all the schedules and all the incidents that had to happen in order for a certain thing to happen synchronously. So how do you feel about that?

MEL: So synchronicity excites me. I’ve experienced it profoundly, studied it. I was bold enough as to teach people how to experience it, what they have to do. Let’s give credit now to the originator of the term, which I believe was Carl Jung, the scientist who collaborated with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli toward synchronicity. Several decades ago, when the tsunami hit Indonesia, I was on vacation in Mexico, and I read a report in the Times that said there was no reported death of wildlife. The animals have a sixth sense and they knew that the tsunami was coming. So I went up to my room to write an article. And the article was, humans used to have a sixth sense before the age of rational mind, severed mind and body. As I’m writing those words, the window to my room is open, a bird flies in the window and perches itself on the armrest of my chair. Birds don’t do that. So this is spine tingling to me. It’s a synchronicity. My mind, consciousness, and the physical universe for a moment become as one. There couldn’t be coincidence of cause and effect. So I send an email off to a colleague who has written a book on synchronicity, sharing this. He writes back to me, says, great synchronicity, Mel. He said, but it goes further. He said, let me tell you what I was doing when I opened your email. I was reading a book called How Animals Can Predict Earthquakes by Rupert Sheldrake, a British biologist. So then I contacted Sheldrake and he and I ended up giving a joint lecture at Yale on this notion of synchronicity. So you see folding upon folding of synchronicity. That is an altogether opposing sense of reality to the fragmentation of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm of separation.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, I love that. And that is so similar. If I remember correctly, when I studied psychology in college, your experience with a bird gave me chills because it reminded me of, I think was the original inspiration for Jung, which wasn’t it a bug or a butterfly in his window or something like that?

MEL: Yes, he was working with a patient. I’m struggling at the moment to recall, but it will come to me. I’m sure the name of the bug, but she was, oh, she was discussing a piece of jewelry she had was shaped like a scarab, which is a term I was unfamiliar with, but that’s the type of bug. Jung was working with her to try to break her out of the confines of her rational mind. She was not open to wonder. She was strictly linear and rational. So as she’s discussing this jewelry piece in the shape of a scarab, there’s a tapping at the window behind Jung. He turns around, opens the window, puts his hands out, and it’s a scarab. He says, here’s your scarab. Purportedly that drove her past her rational mind and she opened up to wonderment.

CHRISTIAN: There it is. How else, how else the rational mind cannot explain that?

MEL: That’s right. It’s beyond logic. And you know, the problem is, Christian, when we simply say, well, that’s not rational, as though that’s the final word. Ration and logic, rather than being a tool in our toolbox, become our deity. Yes. How silly.

CHRISTIAN: Silly. Silly.

MEL: So often when someone may say to me, that’s not rational, I said, indeed, it’s not intended to be.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, so you also write that in the nanosecond before you become your next thought, you exist in a pure state of potential. So let’s talk about that and the third element of potentiality and a little bit about your recent thoughts about the superposition of thought.

MEL: Well, what I’m about to describe is the superposition. So just to explain, superposition, term from quantum physics, superposition refers to the fact that everything is in a state of absolute potential until an observation is made. And physics that we refer to something called a wave collapse. Light has a dual capacity. It exists as a wave or as a particle. But when an observation is made, a person, a device, the wave literally collapses and becomes a particle. And the wave represents pure possibility, pure potential. Particle is fixed. So I had a thought in regard to this wave collapse. But something similar happens to us. In my work, I’ve developed an approach, which is that our primary beliefs about ourselves, limiting or positive, are due to wave collapses in our identity. We come into life as a soul in a state, notwithstanding issues of karma and past lives, we come into life in a state of pure potentiality. What happens to that potentiality? Huge or chronic wave collapses early in life. It could be a teacher saying to you, I can’t believe how stupid that answer was. And you carry that belief and burden with you. Or a comment from a mom who said to a client of mine, she told my client when she was seven years old, she said, my pregnancy with you wasn’t planned, you were an accident. At 45, this woman still struggled with, I’m not lovable. Primary wave collapse. So out of the primary belief come millions of thoughts that conform to that belief.

MEL: So I thought, from reading physics, and from reading some of the philosopher Alfred North Weizsäck, who honestly is far too brilliant for me to understand most of his work, is I get this notion of superposition. What if I could learn to sense or see my thought before I become my thought? And I played around with it and kind of just motivated myself to try to capture that nanosecond, that there was a stirring or a sensation of thought before it became a thought. And David Bohm was very instrumental in my thinking here as well, who makes a distinction between thought and thinking. Well, I stumbled around and I found a way where I could learn to see thought. Now if I can see my thought, and if I can say to you as we’re talking, you know, I just had a thought come up. Let me tell you what my thought is telling me, that I am not my thought. I am having a thought. That is where potentiality and possibility lies. I’m having a thought. My state of superposition, my state of potential, is in the moment before I attach to the thought. That’s when I’m in a state of pure possibility or uncertainty.

MEL: So coming back to uncertainty, to me, certainty and predictability forecloses on possibility. Uncertainty, which we typically avoid, I thought uncertainty equals possibility. I’m in. I want to ride the wave of possibility. I teach exercises and methods and approaches to experience that nanosecond so it feels like several seconds, so that we can see the thought. This is no different than athletes train themselves so that that moment elongates and it feels much longer. Same phenomenon, I create, I help people create a muscle memory. It’s not hard. All you have to do is want to do it. And it works. And that to me allows the window for insight or wisdom to occur because then I’m not on automatic replay.

CHRISTIAN: And it sounds to me like what you’re pointing to is both in the sports metaphor, an example, in our personal lives, what that takes is presence. And I love, what excites me about your work is that, I mean, we’ve heard that before, like from Buddhist teachings, Hindu teachings, we are not our thoughts. But I love that you’re combining it with the science, with quantum physics to really help us understand that in a different way.

MEL: I was always attracted to spiritual teachings, but I never delved in. They made sense to me at face value and I said, yeah, I’m in. But I didn’t dive in. I didn’t become a student of it. And it was at a turning point in my own life because of a matter of many personal crises that were occurring in my early 40s that I began to read this. And again, I don’t read the scientific formulas. That’s beyond me. I just read the principles. And my way of thinking, I know the theme of what you’re looking at here is transforming global consciousness in a way. I want to add another piece to that. There is a philosophy, a new way of knowing. I believe it was coming out of France several decades ago called transdisciplinarity. Edgar Morin, French philosopher, I believe is a leader in it. So we’re aware of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. They don’t go far enough. What I did, and not because I’m an intellectual, because I’m not, I’m an intellectual dilettante. I just poke around at what excites me, but I don’t delve in. So I’m reading physics and I’m reading philosophy and I’ll circle something in philosophy and I say, wow, interesting. Doesn’t completely make sense. I’ll get back to it. Something in physics. And then I take two different disciplines. I say, well, if this is so, and this is so, what happens when I bring them together and integrate them, and that’s when I have an explosion of creativity. That’s my alchemy. That’s what transdisciplinarity is. It’s taking these things that our mind divided, after all, mind made up, that philosophy and science are different. They’re just different labels we create. Our mind divided them. So rather than interdisciplinary, where we found a bridge or a tunnel to connect them, I’m saying I separate the divisions. I’ve trained my mind, continue to train my mind to not see separation, which is why I don’t use the word connection.

MEL: People talk about mind-body connection. I go, there is no mind-body connection. And they’re stunned. I said, the word connection implies there’s a separation. We have to watch our words. The reason we struggle, by the way, in making this shift to this new paradigm is we still use words that inform our thoughts, which keep us stuck in an old objective reality. I believe I’ve spoken with you before about the two be verbs, is, are, am, was, be. These are the only verbs that are inert and don’t move. All other verbs show movement. But we use these two be verbs in every sentence. They also speak of an objective separate reality. You are. There’s no participation here for me. You are, as opposed to removing the are and saying, may I tell you how I see you? May I tell you how I experience you? Now there’s a oneness. It’s perspective. It’s subjective. And objectivity is the death knell of relationship, because it brings us into battles of separation and right versus wrong and argumentation and no one listens. So I think these are at the core of the disasters we experience in the world. That’s where the shift of consciousness has to come from. And fundamentally, it means we have to start teaching this to the next generation of students, a new way of thinking. I don’t care what someone thinks. I care how they think.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, yeah, I love that conversation about the verb to be because in Spanish, there’s actually two forms of the verb to be said. Yes, that said is a more permanent state of being like I am. I am Cuban. I am, you know, a man, things that are pretty much established. And then there’s a stat which is a more of a transitory state of being like, I am feeling blah, blah, blah, or I am currently, you know, I am doing a podcast interview or anything like that. And as a fellow intellectual dilettante, at a whole different level than yours is like your way, like some of the conversations you have with those philosophers is like, go totally over my head. But I love the concepts and I love the way that you’re translating them. And I also want to, for that burgeoning teacher or healer who might be still dealing with issues of self-doubt, maybe dealing with stress or anxiety, let’s bring it in a little bit more to the less philosophical, a little bit more practical. And so I wanted to acknowledge your TEDx talk. One of them is called Breaking Free from Anxiety, which has had, I think, more than half a million views. So you had what, 18 minutes to answer that on the TEDx?

MEL: That one, Christian, was nine minutes.

CHRISTIAN: Nine minutes. Wow. So can you do it in two or three? Like how do you break free from anxiety?

MEL: So I’ll give it my best. Anxiety is about our thought seeking fear. When our thought attaches to fear, the result is anxiety. We have a fearful thought. Now I’m not proposing that it’s all due to predictability and seeking certainty. I’m saying it’s fundamentally due to it. As an aside, lest I forget to say it, low self-esteem will lead to anxiety. If I say this, what will they think? Oh my God, would that be a mistake? Should I say this? That’s low self-esteem. But still seeking certainty, what will they think? There’s a correlation between self-esteem and certainty. But in the talk, I’m essentially saying, look, if thought becomes afraid because it can’t predict the future, and the future is not predictable, then what Krishnamurti called freedom from the known is something we should seek, which is, I don’t know that future. What we call the future is a moment in time that hasn’t happened yet. All I can do is choose to embrace uncertainty, which provides resilience, and navigate along the way.

MEL: The best example I can give is I was working with a woman who was very unhappily married. She had no children. She and her husband were financially independent. They tried counseling. It didn’t work. So I asked her curiously, why do you stay married? She said, I don’t know who I would be as a divorced woman. There it was, fear of the unknown. I said, well, you know who you are as a married woman, and that’s not working. As an unmarried woman, there’s awful possibilities. So I created a visualization for her, which I speak about in my TEDx talk. I had her imagine walking into a river, and imagine the river was the current of her life. I said, walk into the river. You’re not going to sink, and get into the flow. And after a moment or two, I asked her, where was she? She said, I went into the river, but I grabbed a hold of a boulder in the middle. And I said, why? She said, the river turns to the right up ahead, and I don’t know where it’s going. I said, that’s your future. Perhaps that’s you as a divorced woman. Let go of the boulder. That doesn’t mean you’re hapless. You can navigate to either direction that you want, but you have to get into the flow. So that’s a brief illustration about the concept of how you break free. Fundamentally, there are skills and tools that I teach and provide, which anyone can learn from going to my website and reading my book.

CHRISTIAN: Great. And so you also point us in a direction of one of our shared areas of passion and expertise, which is relationships. And in this new book, The Possibility Principle, you also get into how to break through communication impasses, which I write about in my book as power struggles. So talk a little bit about that. How do we break through these communication impasses?

MEL: This has very much to do with the shift in worldview, again, which is fundamentally, it is speaking in language of objectivity that is ruinous to relationship, because we engage in the battle over who’s right and who’s wrong. And we make objective statements. When I work with a couple and they’re in an argument, an objective argument, I say, leave the facts aside. Facts belong in the courtroom. Feelings are the foundation of relationship. And so I may say to the husband, do you love your wife? Of course I do. And I say to her, so instead of arguing the fact, tell him how you feel and ask him, do you care how I feel? And then we get to the heart of the matter. I teach couples and individuals to speak without using two V verbs, because if I say you are insensitive, focus on the word are, we know your reaction, no I’m not. So if I say, I really experience you as insensitive, may explain to you why, you might lean in. Other techniques, I created a method which I call the 5% rule, which is in a disagreement, the instinct is to have our thoughts prepared to repudiate or rebut whatever we’re hearing is wrong, contrary to your intuition there. Pause and look for some small percentage that you can affirm. It doesn’t mean you surrender. Just find something to affirm you can agree with and validate. Compare that. Now we’ve shifted the energy. We desperately want someone to know something different or see something different. But we have to take a moment and think, how can I do that? I need to have them leaning in, not back on their heels. Right versus wrong, objective debate, there’s nowhere. Leaning in is the key that I would share to a new approach to relationship and communication. If you’re being charged with something, lean in with curiosity and it has an entirely different direction.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah. And I love that piece of wisdom of avoiding the to be verb. I would add to that too, what I would add to that too is avoid words like always and never, like you always, you never, hang it up, end of conversation.

MEL: Absolutely true. I mean, it’s completely distracting. But again, that instinct, the right versus wrong, it’s part of what I call either or thinking Christian, which I believe came to us from Aristotle. It’s attributed to him. Either or thinking, when I’m asked an either or question, so Mel, what do you think? Is this good or bad? I won’t answer. I can’t answer. I’m proud to say I’ve trained my mind to not accept the fragmentation, the lack of wholeness of either or compartments. So either or leads us to, if you’re right, then I’m wrong and how’s that going to feel? No, we break past either or thinking. I do that by what I call leaning in. You’re experiencing me differently than I think of myself. I’m curious. Help me understand how you’re experiencing me. There’s no right or wrong or battle there. These are keys. If only we were taught this in school.

CHRISTIAN: Yes, yes. My God, you know, with a psychiatrist father, with, you know, psychology, majoring in psychology, studying with the Jesuits for four years in high school, I never got any of this stuff. I never understood the ego mind and all its machinations and shenanigans. And it’s like, wow, how I wish I would have known that and all the stuff we’re talking about at a younger age.

MEL: You imagine if communication, emotional intelligence, a emerging worldview, were taught to kids in grade school. My God, what a world. We would be living in a different universe. So I do believe that the precipice or the only opportunity to transform consciousness, save the planet, create harmony is through education. But that begs the question, okay, how are you going to do that when most education is state run?

CHRISTIAN: Yeah. So let me ask you this, because you mentioned self-esteem earlier. And I believe, you know, my experience with working with people for 30 years at the core of most of our issues is that, is low self-esteem.

MEL: Absolutely.

CHRISTIAN: What would you like to share with us about building, how we build authentic self-esteem?

MEL: Another core one of my passions. In the US, all psychological diagnoses come from a book called the DSM, which is the Bible of psychiatric diagnosis. There’s no diagnosis for low self-esteem, regrettably, probably because there’s no medication to profit from the sale of. I can only speak to American culture. I believe the term self-esteem is not only misunderstood, it’s a misnomer. Because if you ask most people or a parent, what will give you children good self-esteem? They’ll say, oh, being popular, really good grades, being athletic. And I’ll point out, that’s not self-esteem. That’s actually what I call other esteem. What we do is we either seek approval from others, or we certainly avoid this approval. We judge ourselves and then project that judgment onto others. So we make other people our judge. I will say to people I work with, the only judge I have is the dude who works in the courthouse with a woman. Anyone else’s people with opinions, if I elevate your opinion to a judgment, I’m doing that. So we pursue other esteem. There are mythologies like act strong, never show weakness. Well, I write acting strong is acting that’s weak. Release your vulnerability, share your insecurity, and two things happen. Number one, you’re no longer hiding it, so it releases the insecurity. And two, by sharing your insecurity, you’re actually demonstrating to yourself that you’re not afraid of what the other person thinks. You’re coming into authenticity with yourself. This is the core of authentic self-esteem. But again, I don’t know in what cultures authentic self-esteem is intrinsic or taught. I’m unaware. All I can speak of is in Western culture, we teach the opposite. And there isn’t an individual or a couple that I work with over my 27 years of practice in therapy, so I’m now talking about countless thousands of people, that this doesn’t come up in some way. Self-esteem is ruinous to your relationship with yourself, to others, and to the universe as a whole. I mean, let’s look at Putin or Trump. People mistakenly refer to these people as having strong egos. They have the most fragile egos. They have no self-esteem. They’re completely in pursuit of other esteem.

CHRISTIAN: Yes. And over-concentration for poor self-esteem.

MEL: Right. So all tyrants, I shouldn’t make a universal statement there. I’m sure there are exceptions. The tendency is for tyrants to be in pursuit of greater and greater other esteem because there’s a fragility of their own self-worth. Hitler being a prime example.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, brilliant. I believe you’re offering a gift to participants who want to find out more about your work and will have a link to your website and how they can get on your email list. You want to talk a little bit about what you’re offering?

MEL: Certainly. I’m offering a copy of my book, The Possibility Principle, which we can deliver either as a hardcover or as a Kindle or an audiobook. So by writing to me at Mel at and tell me which version you prefer. And if it’s a hardcover, of course, I’ll need the address, but just initiate the communication with me by email and we’ll pick it up from there.

CHRISTIAN: That’s great and incredibly generous. I had assumed that it was just the e-book, but it’s so much more easy and simple to handle. There’s something so beautiful about holding the book.

MEL: Me too. I can describe the book as well.

CHRISTIAN: Mel, thank you so much. Is there anything that you want to say to wrap up our time together? Either share about your work, any offerings, any new projects that you’re working on?

MEL: I’m looking forward to be offering retreats, one week retreats, moving into a realm of everything that we’re discussing, self-esteem, relationship, communication. And we’ll have a link to your website and from there they can access all your sources.

CHRISTIAN: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for taking your time and sharing your wisdom and your experience with us here at the Summit. And thank you for doing all that you do on all our behalf.

MEL: Thank you, Christian, and thank you for being such an enlightened seeker of consciousness and wisdom yourself.

MEL: I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Possibility Podcast. I welcome your feedback on this and any episode. Please send me an email at mel at or leave a comment in the show notes for this episode at If you like what you’re hearing, please take a moment to rate and review the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Your reviews really help boost the visibility for the show and it’s a great way for you to show your support. Finally, please make sure to subscribe to the Possibility Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts and that way you’ll never miss an episode. Thanks again and please remember to always welcome uncertainty into your life and embrace new possibilities.

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