To Be or Not to Be a Victim

Show Notes

Imagine the power you could have over yourself if you were to break free from this crushing mentality and choose whether to be or not to be a victim.
  1. Near-death experiences
  2. Becoming the observer – how that can make the difference when faced with a crossroads that could mean life or death
  3. Knowing and feeling the difference between “I feel pain” vs “I am pain”
  4. Accepting and acknowledging that you’re in pain
  5. Talking about the difference between “self-help” as a crutch or distraction vs “self-help” as a tool to help you grow…
  6. The importance of not watching your life but living your life (watching the movie vs being in the movie)
  7. Learning to accept our reality as it is (vs as we think it should be) and responding to that, rising to the challenge vs letting our circumstances dictate our actions
  8. Understanding your life’s journey and taking the long game approach to finding inner peace vs. taking a pill approach
  9. Learning to discern the voices in your head and which ones to trust
Sukdev Benning wearing a winter coat

A conversation with Sukdev Benning

To be or not to be a victim… Imagine a life where everyone is against you, including yourself. Often we experience events (trauma) or relationships that train our minds to blame the outside world instead of taking accountability for ourselves. Often times this happens as the result of losing your power. Your sense of self-perception and choice to set boundaries and make a new start.

Join Sukdev Benning and me as we travel down this rabbit hole; you may find yourself on the other side.

Resources Mentioned


To Be or Not To Be a Victim – Sukdev Benning

Sukdev Benning: [00:00:00] Man, what an honor that you’re choosing me to start this off and kick this off with you.

So really excited to jump in.

Steven: [00:00:07] Excellent. Well, likewise, the honor is mine. thank you for joining. Today we’re talking to my very good friend Sukhdev and, he’s got an excellent story and, he helps a lot of people. But today I want to talk about something specific, something that really drove me to you.

When we initially talked on the phone, you know, I, I ended up on the phone with a “random guy on Instagram” and I’m like, what am I doing?

Sukdev Benning: [00:00:29] Hahaha

Steven: [00:00:30] The universe conspires and here we are connected. So, uh, when we first started talking, you told me your story about, you had a peanut allergy and then something amazing happened.

And the context of this episode, I really want to focus on the idea of being a victim, feeling like you’re a victim, choosing to be a victim and the inverse of all of that. How you can use that to actually empower you, separate yourself from all things victim. Cause I feel like a lot of people are struggling, especially in times like we are in, but it’s not a new idea, right. So we’ve all fallen prey to that. So, please share your story and we’ll go from there.

Sukdev Benning: [00:01:13] Well, sounds good. So, wow where do we begin? So basically, it’s almost as if my life was split up into two different pieces before this incident. And before this moment in time where I had that peanut allergy, I just want to say how; I was very much in the process of transformation myself. I was very much in the process of self-development wanting to find success in my careers. I was very driven in the arts, so be it in photography, music and filmmaking. And I was, I was going for, I was up there every morning and I was training hard and I was doing all the things, I was grateful, but something deep down inside, I still didn’t feel all the way there. I still didn’t feel like I was in the thick of my own skin.

And, when I, when this incident happened, it was basically I had a veggie burger and there was, I believe it was some kind of cashew or peanut inside of it. And I got into my car and basically I had three choices. One choice was to call the ambulance and wait for them to come pick me up.

Option two was to drive back home, find the EpiPen and stab myself with it, or option three was to drive myself to the hospital. And so, you know, being there, sitting there and going through this whole process, I was like, well, I’m just going to drive because I was already kind of a go getter and I wanted to get myself there.

So I began driving. And as I was driving, basically all of, my lungs started to swell up and I couldn’t breathe anymore. And it was as if I was suffocating and I wasn’t allowing any breath to come in, but it was really just the reactions to the peanut and everything that was going on. And through that process, it was as if ah life when it’s a slow motion.

And so I was driving and then it went like, whoom, like a movie scene type of feeling. And then I could literally feel myself moving out of my body. And when I came out of my body, I remember turning my head and seeing, just like this energy of death that was there and sitting next to me. In the passenger seat and death was like…

Steven: [00:03:42] Like energetic, like dark and scary, or it was just there.

Sukdev Benning: [00:03:46] It was just there, there was no judgment. It wasn’t trying to hurt me or anything like death is what it is like. It’s, it’s just, you know, it’s, Death in a way is a gatekeeper. That’s kind of what my understanding of it is. And it is now maybe it will change as we continue this journey. But, so as, as I was seeing death, death told me, well, you have two choices either you can pull over and keep going, or, no, sorry.

You can either pull over and let everything finish and let it all end, or you can keep going and don’t worry about it as well. And I remember driving at that moment and thinking to myself, wow. Like I can, all that stress I had, all that anxiety I had all that stuff that I was continuously trying to work on and trying to evolve and get stronger through.

I could just let it all go.

Cause I was exhausted, you know, although I was pushing and I had some really positive mindsets going, I was still deep down exhausted. And from a soul level, I felt, I felt done, you know, I felt done. And, but then there was something else inside of me. It was like, well, you know, you got nothing to lose.

Like just keep going. And so he ended up getting to the hospital just in time and you know, when I woke up from that incident, cause I had blocked out when I just got there. Everything was on max it’s as if all my sensitivities came online, I could feel the energy around me. I could hear things in my head and it was like, I thought I had some kind of brain damage because of the lack of oxygen or something.

But with that opened my eyes to was that we have so many things within us. We have so many sensors or ways of being, or ways of perceiving our reality that are available to us. It’s just that we choose not to see it, or we’ve also been programmed to function in a certain way so that we can maintain the society to work in a specific way.

So this incident was like a, an, almost like a, a blessing. But also a second chance for me and what it opened my eyes to was that it wasn’t so much about overworking or achieving results through tremendous amounts of effort. It was more about the journey. Like, how am I actually enjoying my moments?

Why am I even doing the things that I’m doing? Am I doing it because I feel like I am inadequate and I need to prove to someone that I am adequate, you know, or am I doing these things because it feels like just alongside am I doing these things because I just want to be better? I want to grow myself, et cetera.

In my case, it was really about not acknowledging how I really felt. And I was using these self-development tools and these self development techniques as a form of escape from the actual thing that was hurting inside of me. And so to relay this back to the topic of being a victim, I think it’s very important to realize that some people have gone through some tremendous amounts of pain and they have suffered from perpetrators or from people who have put things onto them.

And the first step to really moving beyond the victim mindset is to acknowledge that you’re hurt. You know, it was just to acknowledge that there’s something there that is not okay. And there’s something there that needs some assistance and getting out of our own way is so important because when we can do that, we open ourselves up to support because we don’t know everything.

You know, we’re born into a society with a set of rules. We’re born into a family with a set of rules. We’re born into a culture with a set of cultural norms that we have to abide by. But each of us has this unique blueprint that when we’re kids, we’re like exploring in our own worlds and there’s so much magic and sense of wonder in the moments.

And it’s almost as if, you know, we had that as kids. And then we started to just think about ourselves and in thinking about ourselves, we forgot, what we came here for and we forgot like what we’re actually here to do. And. So when that forgetting happens, based off the conditioning and whatnot, it says if someone takes themselves onto a path to remember all of that stuff, to remember that unique innocence that can never die from you, it’s always there inside.

It just a matter of, “are you willing to listen”? Are you willing to relax enough to feel the things that have gotten in the way? And when we can start doing that, we acknowledge what’s there. We give it full presence. We give it space to breathe and also space to leave and to transform. And I remember through my own healing journey, one of the things I experienced for the most part were symptoms of disassociation and not really being all there. And then I would use my environments as excuses. Like I don’t have enough money or, so-and-so, doesn’t like me, or I don’t have the right relationships around me or the city sucks or, you know, like blaming everything around me for the stuff that I was experiencing.

But only until they acknowledged just help how much pain I was in that’s when everything started to come back online. And I really started to feel myself coming back to my body and everything started to just click back online. And then from that space of having the acknowledgement, having the recognition of what is actually there, then the healing process begins, you know?

And that’s when, like healing has, has an interesting thing too, because when we think of the word healing, we think, like it happens like that you take an Advil and I’m healed, you know, the thing’s gone, Oh,

Steven: [00:10:12] instant gratification, right? Yeah.

Sukdev Benning: [00:10:15] Or, or you go to the doctor’s, you feel sick, they give you some kind of pill / medication, and then you’re healed per se.

And yeah, sometimes it works, but the deep healing comes when we see what we’re choosing. And then we acknowledge why we are choosing that. And we are able to really cognitively and embody the, feel it within your heart to why you’re choosing it. And then from that space, you choose something else. And that’s the kind of, that’s the path of healing.

That’s the path of integration and that’s the path of really starting to shift the victim mindset into being empowered. Because the more you can own how much you’re hurt, that’s three, you can really start to take your power back, you know? And yeah, just to continue real quick, cause that’s the, I’ll go for it please.

Yes. I got a flow going and so the, as I was thinking in the car, when I was driving and I had that moment, that choice of stopping or continuing. There was this moment of recognizing how much pain I’m actually in. And it was the first time in maybe years that I had really seen, I’m actually exhausted. I don’t like doing any of those self-development things.

They don’t serve me really. It’s just a mask that I’m trying to put on for XYZ reasons. And when I had that recognition, then it was like, okay, I can let it go. Now I can start making different choices. So, yeah, that’s, the story in short format.

Steven: [00:11:52] I love it in you, you kind of addressed one of my questions, so we’re, definitely on the same page, but I want to be careful how I say this.

I’m not correcting your story, but I’m just recalling how I remember you telling your story of being in the car and why it hit me so hard was you said, I realized I was losing my breath. I was, that was not breathing. And I thought I could turn to the side of the road and everything would be okay, or, you said it the other way around.

I could go to the hospital and everything would be okay. And then he said, or I could pull over to the side of the road, let go. And everything would be okay. That’s amazing. think about that. So you were so willing to just surrender and let everything go. You were so exhausted that if you just pulled over to the side of the road and let go, everything would be okay.

That’s, that’s such a deep internal struggle that I feel like we’re all struggling with. It’s just like, Oh my God, the pain is going to stop. It’s like what you see in the movies when someone’s like, Oh, I’m dying and the pain is gone.

The pain is finally gone. So there are so many directions we could go in.

Um, I’ll give you two to pick from.

Sukdev Benning: [00:13:02] Okay. And it’s just like the car. Here we go.

Steven: [00:13:08] I love it. So in that moment, I want to know. One of my deep curiosities is what is that, spark? What is that, factor, that variable, that caused you to choose hospital. So in the context of mental health, people who will consider hurting themselves, who do hurt themselves, people who consider taking their life and sometimes succeed.

What is that factor that causes that person to maybe do a “cry for help” and not go all the way because part of them wants to hang on. Heart of them is in so much pain. It’s not that they want to hurt themselves. They just want the pain to stop.

Sukdev Benning: [00:13:49] Yeah. Right.

Steven: [00:13:49] So what is that magic factor? What do you think it was for you looking back, or maybe in that moment that said, “I can do this”. I don’t want to let go. I want the pain to stop, but I don’t want to pull this side of the road. I want to go to the hospital. What was that thing?

Sukdev Benning: [00:14:03] So that thing for me, and you know, now that I’m thinking about it from this perspective, I’d say when I was in martial arts, I learned a lot about pain and a lot about the qualities that pain can give to you.

And what it’s really trying to teach you pain in a way is a very powerful teacher. And what it’s doing is it’s, it’s moments of growth. Like when, you’re going through a lot of pain, there’s moments of oh like you’re growing through it, you know, and I think it’s a quote from the Buddha who says pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

And I remember being in martial arts and having my fists on wood and having to do these long planks and eventually your body’s shaking and your knuckles that you can’t hold it any longer. And then the instructors like longer and longer, and you’re just developing this discipline to just persevere and perseverance is I’d say what happened for me in that moment was that I, I turned the pain into a meditative experience.

Cause that’s what I used to do. And in martial arts too, is that when everything starts to hurt, I could just go to this space where I would be so centered within myself and aware of, okay, I’m in pain, but I am not the pain. And that I find is the crucial difference, right? Is that when we are suffering or we’re going through things, we think that we are the pain.

We think that we are the thing that is causing us all this mental turmoil or emotional turmoil, but it’s not who you really are. You know, and, and, it’s hard to see that when you’re in pain, it’s hard to feel that when you’re in the storm of it all, but if you can get just centered enough within yourself and really just become the observer and watch.

Watch what you’re going through, then it becomes easier. And, for me, like the breathing thing had been something I had my entire life. I had suffered with asthma and this and that. And I was already a deep meditator at that point too. So I was able to take the observer role and literally it happened and it’s like, my consciousness was aware of it too.

And that I would say is the big piece, is that just observing what’s happening. Your soul is here to learn things. It’s here to grow through processes. It’s here to, become a diamond out of the, you know, to go through many different things before it can actually become the diamond, you know? And, so that, that was the main piece was becoming the observer.

Detaching from the idea that I am the pain, or I am even the joy, you know, and it’s more just welcoming the emotional experiences as they come and allowing the emotions to be your guide. You know, if, you’re in a lot of pain and you’re, and there’s things that are going on, chances are, there are certain choices you might be making in your life that are simply not serving.

And if we can make decisions on how we’re going to switch that. Then that’s when we can really start to, change the narrative of all of these things, you know? So the defining factor was really becoming the observer and recognizing that I’m not the pain. I am not my story. I am not the narrative that I keep telling myself.

Perhaps when I was younger, there were incidences that occurred that hurt. And, you know, I never really got a chance to acknowledge the hurt that happened then because I had to survive. And through that process, eventually, you know, you can kind of go back a little bit if you want to, but ultimately the energy of those moments that kind of made you feel a certain way, but you didn’t have a chance to feel it.

Those moments are stored in the body…

Steven: [00:18:19] Unprocessed.

Sukdev Benning: [00:18:19] And when exactly, and then if you could just tap into those spaces and just comes and goes, as you continue your experience, you know?

Steven: [00:18:29] Awesome. Cool. So I got two more and I want to share with you, uh, you reminded me of what got me some through some really dark days was telling myself, “I am not sad. I am not sadness. The essence of sadness.” I feel sad, but I am not sadness.

You know, there’s a difference. And getting to that point or being able to get to that point was like, it’s kind of like seeing, okay. I feel sad. Let that go, but that’s not me. That’s not the best and most center. Thank you for sharing that.

So two things, one, you had mentioned, before your story of our episode, you were doing all the self-improvement things, right? All the self-development you’re almost drunk on it. Right. But in that context it was a distraction.

So what is the difference between your old version of self-help, which was a distraction. And now your new version of self-help, cause I will challenge you. I have seen someone use meditation as a distraction because they live their life in meditation rather than actually enacting or living through

Sukdev Benning: [00:19:36] 100%,

Steven: [00:19:37] you know? So, that’s the first one. let’s just go with that.

Sukdev Benning: [00:19:42] I love that question.

Cause it’s, it’s such a good one. And okay. So back then it was a distraction, you know, but also there were things I got from that experience that I can take back with me that are always in there. Like my mind is very positive program, you know, or, the discipline of wanting to wake up and get things done is in place.

Now I can do that, as long as, as, I’m not doing it from a space of lack. And that’s the importance is that if you feel like you are not good enough, and then you need to do something to be good enough. Then that’s kind of the different, that’s where it makes a big difference. But if you start moving from a space of, wow, like I’m whole, like I’m just whole. I have moments of sadness. I have moments of joy. I have moments of grief, of moments of ecstasy. I have moments and moments like it’s moments stacked upon moments.

Now what I do is, I just check in with myself. I’m like, Hey, how am I feeling? What’s the pattern I’m in right now? Where am I going? What’s my vision? You know, what do I actually want to do?

How do I want to live my moments? And that’s where you can start using these more self-development techniques as forms of growth as forms of, okay, this is where I’m at. I am good with where I am. No, I’m excited, now I’m passionate, now I’m inspired. I really want to do this because it lights me up. Kind of like when you’re a kid and you are playing with action figures or you’re playing a video game or playing with some friends in the park, you’re just excited about life.

You’re just excited about your experiences and that’s where that’s pretty much where I’ve decided to take it now. Whereas before it was more of an unconscious, I have to do this because when I get there, then I’ll feel that way. You know, the thing, I think it’s destination addiction or something where you, where you believe that you need to get to a certain point before you’ll feel a certain way.

Steven: [00:21:57] Or Mark Manson in Subtle Art.. called it “living conditionally”.

Sukdev Benning: [00:22:02] Ah,

Steven: [00:22:02] “If I do this, I’ll be happy if I do this, then I’ll…”

Sukdev Benning: [00:22:05] There you go. But that’s, that’s exactly it. And now instead, it’s more like I am grateful for my life and something that I’ve adopted that has really changed everything for me was that every morning I wake up, it says if I have a brand new life available for me, blank canvas, and every night I go to sleep.

It says, if I’m dying, I’m going to sleep on ending the day. And I’m just full of gratitude for the morning. I wake up and I try to approach it with that approach as much as I possibly can. And even speaking to people, when I speak to people, it says, I try to make a conscious effort to make it as though this is the last time I’m ever going to speak to them.

And how would I approach that conversation? How would I, actually, would I leave my heart on the table. Am I willing to do that? I’m willing to say the things that, you know, I really feel it when I connect with the person. I want to say it. So those are kind of the places I’m working with, and to come back to what you said with, meditation, being a form of escape as well, can totally relate to that because there’s moments where, you know, you’re watching the movie.

But you’re not in it.

And, that was a big one for me too, because there was a large, I’d say probably about a year or so in my life where I was really the observer. I was the one sitting in the seat and just watching everything, just kind of getting lost in other people’s worlds and other people’s ambitions and dreams and not really acknowledging my own.

And, um, but those were all symptoms of feeling disassociated, you know, not connecting with my own emotional state, not connecting with what really lives inside, because it was safer to be the observer than it was to actually go through the pain or the hurt of rejection or the pain or hurt of, somebody’s not giving you what you really wanted to receive, you know, and that’s just a whole other thing that opens up out of that.

But, the main difference for me now is I check in first, it starts with you at the end of the day, you know, like when you open those eyes in the morning, it’s you who’s opening those eyes and it’s you who’s breathing in that air and it’s you who’s listening to people speak to you.

It’s your full experience and taking ownership of your experience is what changes the game.

Steven: [00:24:43] Excellent. So now I’m going to try to get a little tactical.

Sukdev Benning: [00:24:47] Ok

Steven: [00:24:48] For our listener.

Sukdev Benning: [00:24:50] Hmm.

Steven: [00:24:51] This sounds really good. I think it sounds good, right? This “sounds” good. But what about the individual who may be in a victim mindset, but doesn’t know it because that is their reality.

So, how does someone, you had a peanut allergy that was your, that was your wake-up call, right? What would they call it in an inception? That was your, nevermind. I forgot what they call it. What about the person who like that is their reality? It’s they hurt me. They, they did this to me. The world is against me.

I feel that ,that’s real.

Have you ever worked with anyone who was, I mean, we are all completely convinced of our reality, right? So how did. How did you unpack that? Or how can our listener kind of unpack that to maybe consider, well, maybe I have had a victim mindset. Maybe I can question that. How, how would they go about doing that?

Sukdev Benning: [00:25:42] I’d say the first thing is just acknowledge how you feel. Like anyone who I’ve met, who you know, is in a space where they feel as though everything and everyone is against them. They’re just in a lot of pain and, you know, maybe it’s real. Maybe sometimes some people are really against you and it feels like everything and everything is not going your way.

And it’s conjuring up emotions. It’s conjuring up things within you. And so I wouldn’t, I don’t like to tell people who feel as though everyone’s blaming them. I let them play the game because you know, it’s serving them in a way it’s helping them see something within themselves. Just to start, you know, and then I encourage to start seeing things from a different perspective, because if you deny the fact that you’re in pain because of, let’s use the COVID for example.

Right. So right now there’s a pandemic and all these things and people are saying, Oh, it’s because of the COVID and I’m feeling like this, and I’m feeling like that. And yeah. It’s a reality, it’s there and it’s causing some people a lot of pain and it’s causing them to question certain things and it’s making them feel down.

And then there’s others who, see that and they feel down and they feel frustrated, but then they decided to pivot and they decided to shift. We can’t deny what’s in our reality, but what we can do is how we respond to what is arising in our lives. And so if you’re in it and you can’t see on any other way, you got to feel what’s there.

We can’t run away from what’s there and through the simple feeling of it and acknowledging of it, give yourself an opportunity to choose something different afterwards, because the emotions that are coming up are your guides. They’re telling you, this is not for me. Sometimes you have to go through enough pain, enough suffering in order to have enough leverage to actually make that change.

You know, and for me, it was literally near death for me to make that change. Like it doesn’t have to go to that point. but yeah, that’s what I would say to that.

Steven: [00:27:58] That reminds me of the idea of sometimes having too high a tolerance for pain can kill you. You had a very high tolerance to where maybe you had a couple signs before that

Sukdev Benning: [00:28:09] 100%

Steven: [00:28:10] It was so high, the universe was like, yo, wake up!

Sukdev Benning: [00:28:13] I know a hundred percent. And that’s what it is, man. And the, and literally what you just did, like with your hands, like strangling, I was literally strangling myself, you know. Now I’m like, Oh, I have to remind myself to breathe, slow down, sit down in a meditation, clear my mind and bring myself back into my body and show myself some love and recognize that when I do leave or I am going into victim mentality, that it’s coming from a place of protection.

It’s coming from a space of real self love, actually, you know, and it’s. Go for it, but

Steven: [00:28:54] Let’s talk about that. That’s great because I have done a couple sessions of hypnotherapy and that’s where I learned that sometimes the, limiting beliefs that we have, if you talk to those beliefs in like a hypnosis, you learn that they are actually, they’re just trying to protect you.

Sukdev Benning: [00:29:12] Yes!

Steven: [00:29:12] They’re just trying to keep you safe. So you kind of touched on that.

Something about if I’m being a victim and I realized some of these feelings are protecting me, that’s huge for people to realize that; it’s, okay to have these feelings. But if you can knowledge what their function is, you can choose to find maybe more supportive methods of “protecting yourself”.

Sukdev Benning: [00:29:38] A hundred percent because you know, it’s, like I said earlier, too, when we’re, when we’re born into this world, we’re born into a family structure, born into a societal structure, into a cultural structure. And then we go to school, we’ll make new friends and things happen. Our amount of experience in terms of, you know, how to live is limited to our immediate environments.

And so if that’s the case, then, you know, the mind can only really can only do what it, can only do what it knows. Right. So if we only know that being a victim is what’s going to kind of get us through, that’s the only way, you know, then that’s the only way, you know, but until someone can introduce something where you open a book and you read something or you feel inspired and you watch a video of some kind, then, you know, inspiration strikes.

And that’s, what’s powerful about being in the moment because when we’re right here and now we’re not thinking about the past, when I think about the future, we’re just here and now just in this moment, there’s an abundance of opportunity available. So even if you’re in the victim mindset, if you can just listen to your environment, listen to your space, listen to the senses, the immediate senses.

From seeing something simple as the edge of a chair to touching the desk, to feeling a sip of your coffee, to just listening to the sounds around you just brings you right back here. And then from that space, you hit neutral. You’ve hit ground zero and you’re gifted every single time, a brand new canvas.

And from that space, when you start creating and doing things from that space, it changes the game.

Steven: [00:31:32] I love that, touch the desk. That that was, a practice that got me through my days of unrelenting anxiety. Sometimes I would just touch the wooden desk. The wooden desk is attached to the metal legs, connected to the wooden floor. I feel my feet on the floor, my feet on the floor. My mother taught me this.

It sounds so simple, but it works. So, What comes to mind when you think of either videos, books, teachers, et cetera, that inspired you on your journey because a theme of yours throughout this episode is stillness, centered-ness. Meditation, breathing, hand on your heart. It’s it is you. That is your vibe brother.

What got you? What molded you to this? What were some resources that we can share with our listener?

Sukdev Benning: [00:32:22] So when I first started, it was actually my mom who introduced me to Deepak Chopra actually. And he had a bunch of these sort of guided meditations early on, and I just remembered listening to it and getting into the zone of that, those guided meditation.

So I would start, and it was just music basically for the most part of his, audio journeys. And. What happened was, that I’d have the thoughts running like, Oh, what should I eat? Or what may do later, or, Oh, maybe I should do this. Like, all of these thoughts are running ideas or whatnot, but then in between the thoughts, there’s a space.

And so just just as the observer, I let myself land in between the thoughts. And at first, when I started doing it, It was like, maybe like it was such a small window. It was like maybe like 0.5 seconds, you know, that I could have that space, but I got there every day. I practiced it every day. I practiced every day slowly but surely, maybe about like a year in, maybe even a few months in that window got bigger and bigger and bigger.

And now it’s like, it’s almost like open air for me now, you know? And I can just go there. You can just go into that space. That’s the practice, that’s the discipline. But what I would say is more important is that that’s something that worked for me.

And whenever individuals asked me, what could I read? What are some good resources for me to go into that I can all start to feel more at peace with myself? The first thing I say is. Because my journey was a long one. You know what I’m saying? You can save yourself some time. If you can, you learn what you really need, you know? Yeah. If I tell you to meditate, 10 times every week, do a hundred pushups, it might not necessarily work for you because each individual has their own unique story, their own unique background and their own unique way of being.

And I’d say the first thing is to really get in touch with that. Get in touch with what lights you up, get in touch with what you really want to do. What are you really passionate about? What are you really excited about? And once you start moving towards that, all of the kind of inner work stuff, all that just starts to come out on its own, as you’re going into the edges of what really lights you up.

And through that process, you will discover things that you really deeply resonate with. It’s just going to come to you or people are going to say things and you’re going to feel it right away. So I always prefer to, at least in my one to ones anyways, like we really work on, you know, working that out.

What is it that really resonates most for you? And then we develop rituals and habits according to that person and I found that to be the most effective way, rather than being like OK read Eckhart Tolle, read this, you know, because for some people being in the present moment, You know, it’s not like they won’t necessarily have the full understanding of what that is because they’re so used to, being on the go, being creative, having multiple different realities occurring in their minds at one time.

And I think it’s important to accept all of them to accept all of those parts of you. And through that, you’re, you’re creating more liberation and space for you to live because ultimately. We’re here to live. You know, we’re here to experience our lives.

Steven: [00:36:04] So it’s thank you for all that, because it’s almost the answer no one wants to hear, but it’s the answer everyone needs to hear.

It’s a long game. It’s you would almost be doing someone, a disservice by saying here, read this book because in their mind, they’re like, thanks for the Advil back to our early, your earlier comment. Thanks for the book you have healed me and it’ll do their journey a disservice.

It’s almost, they have to start from within and they will naturally gravitate towards whatever the universe presents to them. And if it’s a, it’s a match, they’ll, keep going.

Sukdev Benning: [00:36:36] Kind of that’s it. Exactly. And because I did it the other way, you know, I did it. Okay. I read this blog; five tips on how to reduce anxiety.

Okay. I’m going to do those five things, you know, or, like how to cure depression and do this, do that. And some of them work, you know, they do. But like we’re such unique beings, each of us, and we have such amazing and incredible inner worlds that nobody even really gets to see or know. It’s like the one person who’s with you, your entire life is you.

So you might as well listen to yourself. Like I think it, even for me like the work I do, it’s not about telling people what to do. It’s not about, training them to be like this or to be like that it’s more opening the windows so that they can really see themselves within themselves. And there’s so much available to you just within, and sometimes when we’re in it, we don’t see it right away.

And that’s where a little bit of guidance or, someone holding space for you can really help that situation evolve. But yeah, man, it’s, a really about the longterm game though, because putting the bandage over things or just putting it under the rug, it’s going to come back, might as well get working towards the stuff that really does light you up and just pull the whole carpet out, see what’s there and decide if you want to keep it or not.

Steven: [00:38:09] And if I may add to that other piece is learning the difference between the voices in your head. Is it the voice of ego or is it the voice? I always say it’s ego versus spirit and I am currently learning to trust the spirit voice.

The one that is. It’s funny. I have the words in my head. We’ll always say, but what if you just trusted me? What if you just took a cold shower? What if you just did the thing? Because it felt good. Not because it’s what you should or should not be doing. That is something I’ve had zero confidence in. So I want to connect that back together for our listener.

And back to my comment about the victim mindset is their reality. It is their reality. It is real. Right. And it’s not, not real, but it’s not ideal. So it’s learning to trust the voice of “everyone’s against me”, she’s after me, but he’s after me versus “you are okay”, you’re seeing this the way you are, but now it’s time to take care of yourself.


Sukdev Benning: [00:39:08] Yess, it’s a hundred percent, you know. And, I find that; you nailed it on the head with that. Like you are okay. You’re seeing this in a certain way. And it’s really like realizing that you are the center of your reality, you really are, that you are the driver of your own reality in a lot of different ways.

And in some ways know too, you know, there’s, there’s a bunch of things we don’t know yet, but I believe that being able to really know and recognize the voices in the head and also just see them for what they are and recognize like, wow, like. And I find something powerful is that when people have a lot of, let’s say negative self-talk I always asked them, like, would you talk to your best friend that way?

You know, would you talk to your lover that way? What would you speak to an outsider that way? And instantly they get quiet. It’s like, yeah, exactly. So speaking to yourself in that way was like serving in some way, you know? And then they’re like, okay, Like speaking to putting yourself down, like not letting yourself go for what late to work can become a comfort zone.

You know, it can become a space that nourishes a person in a way. It feeds them in a way. And so you can’t really pull them out of that. They have to recognize that it is doing something for them. In some way, shape or form.

Steven: [00:40:40] It’s fuel, so something I’ve, I’ve learned as I’m sure you have to, through the different phases, you have to literally change what kind of fuel you run off…

Sukdev Benning: [00:40:49] Ooh that’s good…

Steven: [00:40:50] So at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

It was ego that’s, that’s a high octane. Right? But once you come to terms, it’s your ego. I was literally like, yo, what do I do? I have no fire because I came to terms with that I was ego driven, but now what feeds me? And it’s very challenging to find what feeds you is joy, what feeds you is self fulfillment and, and all these other things.

Sukdev Benning: [00:41:13] Oh yeah, man, you nailed that. That’s beautiful. I feel that. And that’s the thing with spirit, you know, when you say it has that tone to, it has that texture to it. It’s grace, you know, grace, embody body grace, like it’s nonjudgmental. It’s not trying to overcome, or it’s not trying to do anything outward per se.

It’s, it’s so filled with contentment and rich in inspiration and it just has an ease to it, you nailed it with that.

Steven: [00:41:48] So I’m so glad you came here. I’m so glad we reconnected. We’re going to start to close out. What is your, why? Why are you here? This, I saw your video. You said, I am, I am experiencing the human.

I don’t want to take your words. You said I’m experiencing the human experience or something like that. Please share your why. I’m struggling with a why I’m sure our listener may or may not be, but it’s always good to hear someone else’s when you share that with us.

Sukdev Benning: [00:42:17] Oh, a hundred percent. So for me, my, why is my life is the temple for my soul’s growth.

And so

Steven: [00:42:28] That is your why that’s.. So it’s not so that I can do this. So I, can do that. There’s really, there’s no task. There’s just being. Right

Sukdev Benning: [00:42:37] Being here, but there are tasks in that, you know, there’s tasks where, like a lot of my work that I do with people, I learned so much about myself because there’s, you know, when we, when we attract individuals, we’ll attract people who are mirroring things back to us in so many ways.

And sometimes I’ll get people who trigger me and I’m like, I don’t want to deal with this person and, you know,

Steven: [00:43:04] That’s a whole nother episode…

Sukdev Benning: [00:43:06] Relationships. Yeah. I’m in that process myself and really understanding what intimacy is really understanding deep connections. But anyways, like that’s another level of soul growth for me, you know?

But. Yeah, the tasks too, like being a creative or getting inspiration, like sometimes I’ll get these visions of creating something, some kind of music or books, or like all kinds of different things, and then figuring out which ones you want to do and figuring out your big vision of what you want to put out there.

That’s a whole process, but for me, my core, why is I’m really here to share my journey through this work of spiritual growth that I’m on. And also, be a guide for individuals who are also into that, who are also looking to experience more levels of their own consciousness, and also begin to implement those in a real world concrete way. Like bridging these things about energy and these things about intuition into their day-to-day lives.

And, That’s something that totally lights me up because it’s an alignment with me and my own growth too. So there are tasks involved with this Why, you know, there’s a lot of them,

Steven: [00:44:33] Please. Uh, I didn’t mean to take that away from you. I just thought it was brilliant that your statement wasn’t, I’m here to change the world.

I’m here to light people. It was just, I’m here to be in there. So there’s a tremendous amount of magic in that, because if everyone would just be and be centered and care for themselves at radiates. You kind of remove the “should”, like I’m here to do this, so I should do that to complete that task. You’re just you’re here.

So I meant to compliment your statement

Sukdev Benning: [00:45:02] I took it that way to a hundred percent. So thank you. Um, but yeah, like being here and I find that’s makes the biggest difference too, right? if you bring it down to the simplest forms, sometimes we make it too complicated. Like I, my Why needs to be like Tony Robbins, or I need to be like that.

And we watch people on TV and, we think that we need, in order for us to be successful, we need to be like them. But, narrow it down to the simplest things. Most of our lives are filled with mundane things. You wake up in the morning, you make your bed, brush your teeth, cook breakfast, you eat, you have a coffee or tea?

And then you go off, you start working. And most of the stuff that we make huge is kind of fantasy, but when you break it down to the real concrete level of things on a moment by moment basis, they’re very simple. Very simple. And it’s, really a way of living. It’s a lifestyle and you can choose your lifestyle.

Some people like it crazy and fast and

Steven: [00:46:10] They feed off it. Right. It’s their fuel…

Sukdev Benning: [00:46:12] Exactly. Like you said. Yeah. It’s their fuel and that’s fine. You know? I think removing the judgment from needing to be someone and just be yourself is the game changer.

Steven: [00:46:26] Hm. I love it. Well, thank you so much for being here. Is there anything you’d like to share?

This is, this is your moment.

Sukdev Benning: [00:46:33] Oh man. Well, thank you so much for having me. I just want to say that and I really thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. And if there’s any words that I’d want to leave to the listener is that, you know, even as you’re listening to this and you’re feeling as though things might not be going the way you want them to go, know that everything is temporary and all you really have is now, you know.

And so if, if things are going in a certain way in this moment, what’s one thing that will light you up. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but just that one little thing that will let you up just in this moment, whether it’s going for a run or it’s reading a book, Or, um, smoking a joint, something, whatever it is, you know, that one little thing that lights you up, just go do that without any judgment.

You don’t need to share it with everyone, live your life.

Steven: [00:47:30] I have to add to that. Like,

Sukdev Benning: [00:47:31] Yess, hahaha

Steven: [00:47:33] What was so great about you saying it that way is I feel like a lot of people are uncomfortable in pain, et cetera. And a lot of times the focus is what can I do to that pain to make it go away. You said nothing about the discomfort you went the opposite direction. You said, how can I light myself up?

Sometimes I think a lot of the times, with our culture and medicine, the way all that’s programmed us, we’re thinking, what medicine can I take to fix the problem versus what can I do to light me up. Thank you for sharing it in that direction. I’m not, sure that’s like an obvious thing to people.

Sukdev Benning: [00:48:13] A hundred percent and it’s like a cognitive reed switch, you know, we got to do, but also, yeah, again, if you’re in pain, you have a headache.

I get, I mean, you do need to take an Advil and just, you know, I don’t recommend..

Steven: [00:48:25] Or go for a walk, have the uncomfortable conversation..

Sukdev Benning: [00:48:30] Yeah, exactly. That’s what living is, you know, and I’ve had fun with it. Like I. Sometimes when I’m in dramas or I’m going through emotional storms or breakups or, like relationships ending and whatnot. I’m like, wow, like this is a pretty crazy episode in the life of Sukhdev right now, you know?

And you just, it’s part of the thing. It’s part of the, as part of the flow.

Steven: [00:48:53] Excellent. All right, brother. Love you, man. Thanks for being here.

Sukdev Benning: [00:48:56] Love you too, man. Thanks so much. I’d love to catch up again soon.

Steven: [00:49:00] A hundred percent.

Sukdev Benning: [00:49:01] All right. Speak soon.

Connect with Guests & Host

Sukdev Benning wearing a winter coat

Sukdev Benning

Sukdev Benning is a guide who helps visionaries clear their inner clutter so that they can design their lives’ purpose.At birth, I was given the name Sukhdev. Which translates to “The Lord of Happiness” in English. However, most of my time here was spent on the opposite spectrum of “Happiness”.This side, on the other hand, turned out to be one of my greatest teachers. I discovered a deep passion for music and photography in my early 20’s. Upon pursuing a career in the arts, my life took a quick turn.

After experiencing a near-death experience in my car. I had suddenly found myself in a new world. One of which included high sensitivity to energy, and intuition, as well as a profound experience in operating from spirit. From this point, I spent most of my time learning about this “new” side of me. Only to realize that this “New” side was everything I had always wanted. And that crossing the bridge required me to do a few things. As I was no longer bringing all my worries, doubts, and fears with me. After making the commitment to being of service, I continue with my artistic endeavors as it enables me to explore the depths of my being.

Steven Fage host

Steven Fage

If you enjoyed this content or have any questions/thoughts about it, I would love to connect.

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