Show Notes – “The Greg Amundson Show / Episode Six”
Hello, friends, and welcome to episode number six of The Greg Amundson Show. I am so thrilled to have this opportunity to welcome you to the show today, because today we are going to discuss one of the most important topics for the modern day warrior. That topic is understanding the nature of karma or cause and effect, or as Christ taught, “Reap what you sow.”
This understanding of the nature of causality in life is so important, my friends, that I cannot overemphasize you really taking the time to deeply contemplate how your life is unfolding. Here’s what’s so exciting to understand and comprehend: Everything that you are experiencing in your life right now, in this moment, you thought into fruition. So we live in a world of cause and effect. The cause of everything that you are experiencing in your life, therefore the effect, resides in your mind. You are the cause for every effect in your entire life. Now, that is a radical concept, because what that means is we are responsible for everything that we are experiencing. That’s a scary thought sometimes, is it not? Because so often, the tendency of the mind is to project blame.
I recall when I was working as a deputy sheriff it never ceased to amaze me when I was interviewing the suspect of a horrific crime, trying to get to the root of why they committed the crime. More often than not, the person would say something to the effect of, “Well, they made me do it.” And inside, I used to laugh a little bit because I would think, “How on earth could someone make you perform the heinous act that you just did?” Yet, in that person’s undeveloped mind, they really did believe that the reason for their behavior, the reason for their action, thus the reason for their thinking was because of some external effect in their life. When in fact, as we step onto the path of the modern day warrior, as we begin to walk the spiritual fulfillment path that God is desirous of all of us eventually taking step onto, we learn and we come to grips with the hard fact, the hard truth that we are responsible. And the beginning of that responsibility takes place with the quality of our thinking. And thank goodness, Christ, in teaching this message, said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Because it’s only a moment in time that we may feel sorry for our self or that we may experience self-blame or self-judgment when we realize, “My goodness, I am responsible for everything I’m experiencing because I thought it so.”
Yet, here’s the real insight, and this is the meaning of “the truth will set you free.” If we thought a condition into our life that we’re no longer desirous of experiencing, guess what else we can do? We can think another thought and thus reap the benefit of that new way of thinking. We can create a new life. We can be born again in any given moment of our entire life.
Well, I’ve got a couple of really wonderful stories here in store for you today. However, I wanted to begin by once again reading to you from my book God In Me: Daily Devotions for a Heart Like Christ. This particular devotion is from May 3rd in the book. However, it is so fitting for our episode today that I wanted to share it with you.
“During challenging and difficult times, do not mistake the problem for your thinking about the problem. When experiences arise in your awareness, the habit of your mind is to label them as either good or bad. As you continue to mature in your relationship with God, you will learn to see everything through the perspective of Christ. Once you realize everything that you experience is ultimately for your good, you can begin to commune with God and ask his spirit to guide your thinking. Your thinking affects your life like a perfect karmic accounting system. Every thought you think and word you speak adds to a permanent mosaic, and your actions ripple through the fertile manifesting soil, which is God’s universe. In time, you will experience the harvest of every karmic seed you plant, and in this sense, you can experience the joy of heaven on earth. Therefore, draw close to God, and ask him to show you the opportunity and blessing in every moment of your life.” ~ God In Me
My friends, in a previous episode, I mentioned to you one of my dearest mentors. So sad that he’s passed away, my dear friend and longtime mentor Ken Gray. This passage that I read to you in many respects is dedicated to Ken because what this passage teaches is the essence of another law of the universe that Ken taught me. That law is known as the Law of Polarity or Contrast. You see, in every seemingly difficult challenge that we face, and every upset, and every discord, and every moment of sadness or pain, there is an equal and opposite return waiting for our discovery. That is the Law of Polarity. God can help you and I uplift the quality of our thinking in any given moment. He can essentially show us, in any given moment, regardless of what we’re experiencing, the silver lining, the bright side, the sunny day. It is always available to us. We simply may lack the eyes to see it. However, thank goodness for the presence of God in us because God can uplift our eyes. He can elevate the quality of our thinking. He could put a new and right spirit within us. He can create a clean heart within us in any given moment. We simply have to draw close to his presence and trust that everything we’re experiencing is ultimately for our good. Therefore, in a moment where we have had the tendency to label an experience as bad, we simultaneously know, despite our errant thinking that it’s bad, because either way our thinking makes it so. Yet, nevertheless, if we label a situation or an experience as bad, we can ask God to uplift the quality of our thinking and to show us the blessing that may be in disguise. Wow, isn’t that just awesome? I just love that way of thinking because that way of thinking can change your life. It can change your life in a profound way.
I want to read to you one additional passage from God In Me because this also brings to the forefront a very important topic, and that is the topic of focus or concentration, the power of our awareness. This particular passage is from July 31st in the book God In Me.
“In this very moment, every desire of your heart exists as formless energetic potential in God’s universe. Therefore, it is never a matter of getting what you want; it is simply a matter of receiving what you already have. This is accomplished in three ways. Number one, seek first the Kingdom of God. Number two, focus on what you desire, not the lack of it. And number three, praise God for his ability to provide all your needs. When your thoughts, words, emotions and actions are in harmony with God, the desires of your heart will be effortlessly placed at your feet. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else will be given to you.” ~ God In Me
This is so important. This principle I have mentioned before on two occasions on our show together. That’s because the significance of this particular Bible verse, “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” and the lesson that it entails and teaches is so profound. I have a hard time getting that Bible verse out of my mind. I’m constantly meditating on the profound blessing of that Bible verse because, my friends, it makes things so potentially easy. It makes things easy. It makes things effortless. It teaches us how to think. It teaches us what to do.
I remember, years ago, one of the most common questions that Coach Glassman would receive was, “Hey Coach, what is CrossFit?” And Coach Glassman answered by replying, “CrossFit is what CrossFit does.” And I just love that, the simplicity of that answer. CrossFit is what CrossFit does. It keeps it simple. What does CrossFit do? Well, CrossFit does high intensity, functional movement with constant variance. As simple as that. It’s brilliant. Coach Glassman’s simplicity was brilliant.
And, my friends, that’s the brilliance of this Bible verse. What do you and I do? What is our mission? To seek first the Kingdom of God. Why? Because when we seek God first and his righteousness, everything else is provided, and everything that is provided is ultimately for our good. I just love the teaching of Christ and the manner in which he taught because he was teaching people who are like you and I, simple-minded folk. We need to keep it simple. The KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Silly! And that’s the way that Christ taught because we need to comprehend a profound lesson in the simplest of terms, and Christ lays it out. He makes it as simple as could possibly be that even a child could understand. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Know where to focus your attention. Know where to focus your thinking. Know where to focus your hearing. Know where to focus your seeing, your perception. Focus on God and everything else will be added to you.
In modern psychology, in modern teaching, in the modern law of attraction, this is simply known as the Law of Supply. Knowing that our supply is unlimited. So rather than focusing on lack, focus on supply! Who is the source of ultimate supply? God. So let us put our focus on the source of our supply. Not worrying about what is to be supplied. Let’s go right to the source.
What I want to share with you first, a story, from the warrior tradition, and then I want to get into a few of the amazing lessons that I learned from my dad, Dr. Raymond Amundson. Before I go into the lessons that my dad taught me as a young man growing up, I want to share with you just an amazing story from the warrior tradition.
Many, many years ago, a great spiritual teacher was walking with his student through a forest. The student was greatly perplexed, greatly troubled for they had been searching for God for years. They’ve been on the spiritual path for years with a great deal of what they perceive as unfulfillment. They felt they were getting nowhere on the path. They wanted to find God, and it seemed to the student God was evading them. So in a moment of great despair, the student asked the teacher, “Teacher, how do I find God?” The teacher made no reply but kept walking for several minutes.
Now, the despair, the stress, the anxiety of the student only increased. The sound in his head was screaming at him. It’s all he could hear, was the sound of his own thinking. And suddenly, the teacher made a signal to stop by raising his hand in the air. The student stopped and a few moments later, the teacher said, “Can you hear that sound?” And all the student could hear was the sound of his own voice in his head banging between his ears. The student said, “What sound?” The teacher said, “Listen, about two miles away, do you hear the sound of the river?”
The student became very still, very silent, and then he began to hear the faint sound of water, running downstream, brushing against rocks and leaves and twigs, as it made its way to the ocean. And in that moment, “Satori!” which is a term for immediate instantaneous enlightenment. The student was enlightened. They’d found God in that moment. And with a great deal of gratitude, the student said to the teacher, “I can hear the sound of the river.” The teacher said, “Find God from there.”
Then their journey continued through the forest, and for several minutes, the student was still overjoyed with their moment of awakening, and then, like all things, it passed. Once again, the student returns to a mindset of despair and says, “But, Teacher, what would you have said if I would not have been able to have heard the sound of the river?” The teacher said, “I would have replied, ‘Find God from there.'”
Oh, I just love that story. There are so many levels, so many lessons contained in the simplicity of this story. I really want to touch on two. The first is the importance of stilling our mind. In the Bible it says, “Be still and know I am God.” I think that’s one of the most profound statements in the Bible. For all of you who are considering taking the daily practice of meditation, I think the direction in the Bible in that verse is very clear: “Be still.”
There are two qualities to stillness that are so important for the modern day warrior. The first is physical stillness, becoming physically still. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race, so to speak. It’s so easy to put all of our focus, all of our goals on the external, to include the external accomplishment of our own physical potential. Believe me, I was caught in that for years. When I first found CrossFit, all I wanted to see was my name and my score on the whiteboard. I recall, Coach Glassman used to say, “Men will die for points, but please don’t.” There’s nothing that we want more, our type A personality, than to win a workout, than to see our name on the whiteboard, than to set a new record. Yet, as my dear friend and long time mentor Mark Divine taught me, “A warrior must be skillful both in action and non-action, both in movement and stillness.” I elaborate on that profound lesson in my book Firebreather Fitness. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to that lesson that Mark taught me and the profound importance of meditation, of stillness for the mind and the body.
So the first lesson contained in the story that we open with today is the importance of being still both in the mind and the body. Notice the first thing that the teacher did in the story was he signaled for a halt. He ensured that the student and him were physically still. That physical stillness leads to the opportunity for the mind to settle.
My dear friend and mentor in yoga, Rolf Gates, former army ranger, now a modern day warrior yogi. I just love this guy. He wrote the book Meditations from the Mat, which I highly recommend. In a conversation on the quality of meditation, here’s what he offered me, because most of my mentors know me so well, and they know I’m a very visual, kinesthetic learner. So I either have to visualize it or I have to physically do it. So what Rolf offered me was a means to visualize the quality of meditation. Here’s what he said. He said, “Greg, imagine if you had a bottle of water, and in that water was some sand, some sediment. And imagine your intention was to make that sediment settle in the bottom of the water bottle. Would it do you any good to hold that water bottle in your hand and shake it up? No, of course not. That would only further agitate the sediment, the sand in the bottle. All you have to do, it’s so simple it’s probably overlooked, is you in fact have to do no thing. You do nothing. You just put the bottle down, and in a few moments the sand will settle and the water will become clear.”
Aw, man. I just love that lesson and that imagery, because, my friends, I promise you, when we sit down, we allow the mind to settle, and our vision, our perspective, our awareness can become clear. In that clarity and only in that clarity and stillness of mind are we able to experience the peace of God. We have to become still first. That’s the first lesson contained in this story.
The second is we have to develop the ability to discern the nature of our thinking. If all that we are doing is entertaining our lower level thought processes, God could be standing right next to us yelling in our ear and we would not be able to hear Him. He will not impose upon our free will. Where does our free will begin? In our mind, our thinking. That’s what separates us from every other creature, is our ability to think our reality into existence. And God will not impose on that.
Therefore, if we’re desirous of inviting God into our mind, if we want God to literally uplift and renew the quality of our thinking, we have to open the door. We have to welcome Him in. And the way that we open the door is by becoming still. There’s this beautiful saying in the spiritual tradition that “the door of our soul opens inward.” Isn’t that beautiful? We have to open the door of our soul and invite God in. He’s always there. His presence is always with us. We just might not be aware of it, because our thinking is so loud. The volume of our mind is turned up. We have to become still.
That stillness is created in two ways. One, being physically still. And number two, allowing the mind to settle. In a future episode, we are going to dedicate an entire episode together on the quality of meditation; the scientific method of stilling the mind through meditation. Yet you can begin today. All you have to do is sit down, close your eyes, and begin to bring awareness to your breath. Quite frankly, it’s as simple as that. Our mind was designed to experience the presence of God. All we have to do is set the condition, and the meditation will arise spontaneously. The condition is set when we sit down, close our eyes, and begin to bring awareness to the breath.
Wow, meditation has been such a blessing, a gift in my life, and what’s so unique is that is the one consistent factor that every single one of my mentors have shared. Every single one of my mentors, whom to this day I hold in the highest regard and if they are still living, I continue to seek them out for higher levels of education. Sadly, many have passed away. Yet, those that are still alive, I continue to seek their guidance, and what they continue to guide me to do is spend more time in meditation, putting first things first.
And here, my friends, is where we begin to see how all of the themes of not just our show today but of every previous episode that we’ve shared together are beginning to unite, or yoke. In order to put first things first, what do we have to do? What is the first thing? The first thing is the presence of God, seeking first the Kingdom of God. How do we begin to experience His Kingdom? By the direction we find in the Bible, in regards to meditation, “Be still and know I am God.” Wow, such a profound direction and there’s so much peace in knowing that you and I don’t have to do anything. God is more than able to handle every single detail of our life, if we just let him. And believe me, this is easier said than done. As someone who has spent the majority of my adult life in the warrior profession, I am hardwired to do things. I am hardwired to get things done. I mean, gosh, I taught the CrossFit Goal-Setting Course all around the country, and world, for about three years. What was the nature of my course? Set and achieve goals, and these goals were to be achieved in the world. These were for material achievement, these were for physical achievement. These were goals in the tangible realm.
Well, my goodness, now what I’m here to say is that the most important goal is knowing God. That’s number one, my friends. Seek first the Kingdom of God, just like it says in the Bible because that’s the master key. That’s the great secret. When we seek God first, when we put first things first, when we know how to prioritize our time, our energy, our attention, our awareness, everything else is not worked for, everything else doesn’t have to be subsequently achieved. Oh no, everything else is provided. Everything else is added to us.
Well, my friends, I want to share with you some of the wisdom from my dad. My dad, Dr. Raymond Amundson was a doctor of chiropractic, and a pastor. To this day, my mom and dad, who have both sadly passed away, have provided me the greatest spiritual guidance, the greatest spiritual leadership, the greatest example of a heart like Christ that I have ever known and likely will ever know. I’m so blessed because of my mom and dad. My dad played such a role in my life that even to this day I’m still unpacking the gifts of intellect, the gifts of education, the gifts of inspiration, the gifts of wisdom that my dad provided for me. In fact, many of the lessons that I’m only now beginning to unpack or unravel or inherit or understand, the lesson itself, the moment in time that my dad taught me was over 15 years ago, and it’s only now that I’m fully beginning to understand, fully beginning to appreciate what he taught me.
When I was a very young boy, I was beat up in a really bad way by a school bully whose name was Devon King. Devon King beat the heck out of me, because unbeknownst to me, in the school lunch line, I made a flirtatious remark to a beautiful woman named Rebecca, and I didn’t get the memo that Rebecca was apparently, according to Devon King, his girlfriend. So there I am, standing with many of my friends, sixth grade students, on the lawn waiting for my mom to pick me up, and suddenly a group of men approached me, eighth graders, one of whom is Devon King. He pins me against a tree, knees me in the groin, elbows me in the chest and then the neck and then the head, while the whole time saying, “Man, if I ever see you talking to my girlfriend again, I’m going to whip your ass.” And believe me he whipped it pretty good that day, so I certainly didn’t want another ass-whipping in the future.
Now there were so many layers to the despair that I experienced that moment. One was being unable to defend myself. I was so severely unprepared for that level of strength that he displayed and violence, the severity and speed of the onset of attack. I was completely caught unaware. The second great despair was, as this was unfolding, I recall looking to my friends for help. And they were just as terrified as I was, and they were backing away. They wanted no part of that beating. So there’s also that part of being let down, being let down by myself, being unable to defend myself, being let down by my friends. Then there’s all the other layers of ego-identification, the ego bruising that takes place, the feeling that my pride was lost, the feeling of embarrassment. On and on it went.
Well, I go home, beat up, and I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my dad, because my dad is a bodybuilder, one of the strongest men at that time that I’d ever known and he was also a great martial artist. So I thought, “This is great. I’m going to learn from my dad tonight how to defeat that bully. Give me a couple of weeks, Devon. I’m coming for you, man. You better watch out. I’m getting my revenge.” That was my thought process. “I’m coming for you!”
Well, my dad gets home that night, and I tell him what happened, and I’m really hoping that my dad is going to begin the martial art lesson immediately. Instead, what my dad says is, “Well, the next time that happens, just turn the other cheek. Greg, never resist force with force. Never resist violence with violence. Turn the other cheek.” Then he went on to bring out the Bible and conduct a Bible study with me on the lesson of Christ.
Well, at that time in my life, on that evening, that wasn’t what I needed. Looking back now, I see the great gift that my dad gave me. Yet in that moment, what I thought that I needed, what that young boy needed was a lesson in anti-bully. That’s what I really needed. Then to complicate matters further, I go to bed that night, and my dad wakes me up in the middle of the night with a startle, and says, “Greg! You know I might have made a mistake. Tomorrow let me teach you how to throw a strong right punch.” Now, I couldn’t go to sleep the rest of the night because now I’m really confused. What is it? Is it resist not evil or is it throw a good night big right? I’m confused as all heck.
In the morning, over breakfast, my dad says, “You know, Greg, I will teach you how to defend yourself. Everyone needs to know how to achieve a certain degree of self-protection from harm. Everyone needs to know that. Yet if I find out that you used violence against this person, I will be really, really sad. I’ll feel that you would have missed the mark. Because the best way to ensure that you never ever have to experience the effect of a bully again is to change your thinking about what happened.
And that is when it hit me. That’s when I understood. That’s when I began to realize that the pain of the beating, the pain of the fight, the pain of the assault was gone. It was over. It actually didn’t hurt that physically. What hurt was my thinking. What hurt was my thinking that it’s going to happen again. What hurt was my thinking that “Oh, my friends. They’re not going to like me anymore because they saw me get beat up.” What hurt was my thinking, “How am I going to face Rebecca again? What am I going to say to her? Now that she knows that I got beat up?” What hurt was my thinking. My thinking was causing me pain, a great deal of pain. And what my dad taught me was that if I could change my thinking, I would cease to attract another condition that had unfolded the day before.
Now, this is a fairly advanced concept for a sixth grade boy to understand. And even to this day, I’m still doing my very best to understand the true teaching of Christ, which is that everything that we experience in our life begins in our mind. We’re the architects and the building block that we have at our disposal is our thoughts and our words. That’s what it boils down to. And that is exactly what my dad taught me.
What else I want to share with you regarding my dad is the power of right thinking, the power of prayer. As I grew older, I began to take more and more interest in chiropractic care. As I mentioned, my dad was a chiropractor. He would create health in people by creating an adjustment. The way that my dad described to me the nature of illness in the human body was that the human body is in itself a perfect creation. God made you and I in his image. Therefore, you and I are perfect. We’re made in the image of God. We’re perfect. The only thing that prevents that perfection from manifesting in any area of our life is misalignment, being out of alignment. Therefore, the adjustment would put the body, the spine, the central nervous system back into proper alignment, and in that alignment, the presence of God was able to flow through every nerve of our body. Every cell would then radiate with His presence, and we would naturally return to what was our birthright: perfect health. The body naturally returned to health once we were in physical alignment.
Well, for years, my dad’s understanding of the adjustment was on the physical level. And when I would go into my dad’s office and watch him adjust his patients, when I would watch the interactions which always fascinated me that my dad could put his hands on someone and apply very specific focused pressure to a vertebrae on the spine and health could be immediately almost instantaneously achieved, wow, I thought he was working miracles. And in many respects he was. I used to love to just be in that presence when these adjustments took place, and I loved to have my own body adjusted by my dad.
Well, something began to shift in the way my dad continued to adjust his patients as his relationship with God began to grow stronger. As my dad began to deepen his relationship and understanding of the power and word and healing potential of God, my dad ultimately began to gravitate away from physical adjustment, to mental and spiritual adjustment. So what would begin to happen is before my dad would go in to the adjustment room and consult with the patient, my dad unbeknownst to the patient would pray for the health of the patient. He would pray in such a manner that he was praying not only for the physical health of the patient, but the mental health. And as my dad gained greater and greater understanding of the power of the mind, my dad would pray for the mindset of the patient, that the patient’s mind would radiate with thoughts of health and wellness. Then once that prayer was set, my dad would go into the room with the patient and he would still give a manual adjustment. However, the number of adjustments he would give was far less than it had been a few years prior. And as my dad’s journey continued, as his relationship with God continued to grow, and as he gained greater understanding of the power that we all have to heal ourselves and each other, he would cease to lay hands on the patient altogether. It was simply the prayer and then his presence in the room with the patient that created health.
And let me tell you something, when my dad passed away, there were over 2000 people at Presentation Church, in Stockton, California that came to pay their respects. The majority of these people, I never knew. And here’s what’s really amazing. Many of the people that came to pay their respects to my dad had never personally met my dad. It was the son or the daughter, the husband, a wife, a friend of a patient of my dad’s because my dad had taught them that power of right thinking. My dad had instilled in them the Word of God, and when we get filled with the Word of God, we naturally have an aspiration to share, and teach that Word with others. In many respects, this show is a perfect example of that. I’m simply continuing to share with you what my dad shared with me.
So my friends, to wrap up our show together, I really want to leave you with the words that my dad said to me once. I think this is such a fitting way to end our episode together. When I asked my dad as a young boy when he was still very focused on the physical adjustment of the human body, when I asked my dad what an adjustment did, here’s what he said, “Son, sometimes you have to be a little cracked to let the light in.” And as anyone that’s received a chiropractic adjustment knows or anyone that has physically manipulated their own body in such a way that they can hear the audible adjustment, the crack take place, we know that in that moment of crack, great health is possible. And just like my dad said, that crack lets the light of God in. And as my dad’s journey continued, that crack that he was offering people had far less to do with a physical adjustment and more a mental adjustment. For when we crack open our old ways of thinking, then a new and right spirit can be within us. The presence of God can enfold our soul. We can be lifted to the highest realms possible.
So, my friends, until next time, may you be a little bit cracked open. May the light and love and life of God fill your mind, your heart and your soul. God bless you, my friends, and I will talk to you back here very, very soon on our next episode together of The Greg Amundson Show. Take care.
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