Why Jack Canfield is hooked on Ayurveda and vipassana meditation
Most people associate Jack Canfield with Chicken Soup for the Soul. But believe it or not, these days, the bestselling author enjoys incorporating Ayurveda into his diet. “I don’t know all the technical terms,” he admits when we excitedly ask him which his doshas (bio-energy centres in the body) are. But he religiously follows a prescription Ayurveda diet by master healer Pankaj Naram, who Canfield let’s on he meets whenever he gets a chance to — both in Mumbai and the United States. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Canfield is so youthful at 74!
We caught up with the best selling author en route a drive back to his hotel from an event, just before he whizzed off to the airport for the final stop on his four-city India tour. Excerpts from the interview:
It’s been over 30 years since the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book came out in 1993. The landscape of the personal growth industry is vastly different from the ways things were back then...
Well, the industry is exploding right now. There is the old guard of Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy. But I like that there are a lot of young people in the industry now — in their 20s and 30s — who are teaching and are able to be more relevant in ways that the younger generation can understand.
The other thing that is different is that so much of this information is being delivered online and through social media via Youtube, Ted talks, podcasts, none of that was happening back then.It was either a book or a cassette tape.
There also seems to be a confluence of spirituality and self-help...
I’ve been spiritual my whole life. Started meditating in my 20s. And I’ve always taught that in my workshops — I think that its critical. If your psychology and your business aren’t informed, related to and aligned by spiritual values and principles — it’s not going to be that successful.
What are some of the newer spiritual practices that you are enjoying in your own day to day?
What’s new right now is all this scientific research coming out from things like Quantum Physics.
There is a group called Heart Math in California. They literally have all of these PhD scientists studying spirituality. For instance, you can learn to breath where you inhale and exhale through your heart, pretend there is an opening in your chest. You do that for three to four minutes and you drop into a very deep spiritual space, like meditation.
Now we also have the assistance of technology tracking sound waves (or binaural beats) to integrate the right and left hemisphere of your brain — achieving literally in weeks and months what would take Buddhist monks 10 years to achieve.
Have you tried vipassana meditation?
Yes, I took a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat about 25 years ago. And it was extremely valuable for me. I remember the ninth night, I went to sleep but I never lost consciousness. I watched my dreams come and go, I could hear people walking down the hall, I could hear the birds chirping in the morning.
I’ve been told that I have had past lives in India and I tend to believe given how easily all of this stuff comes to me.
You talk a lot in your coaching sessions about visualisation and manifestation. Are there any scientific metrics to establish how long it takes to manifest a desire?
Someone used this metaphor once: it takes rabbits 22 days to have their baby rabbits, it takes an elephant two years. So how long it takes depends on the size of the goal and also the level of vibration of the person holding the goal. So if you are in a very high state of vibration like a lot of these spiritual teachers are — it’s way faster.
Are you visualising wrong? Simple steps to manifest your dream life faster:
According to Jack Canfield, there are two types of visualisation: associated and disassociated.
“If you wanted to learn to ski — and are visualising yourself out there, watching yourself come down the mountain — that’s disassociated.
What you want to see, are the tips of your skis and the ski poles in your hand — from inside looking out, that’s much more powerful,” he explains.
While you are at it, feel the emotions you would be feeling if you were in that experience and incorporate all five senses including sound and smell.
“We know from brain research that it is more effective to do visualisations 30 days in a row — without missing one day,” Canfield adds.
Focus your energy on one goal for maximum impact.
What’s the fastest way for the layman to raise his vibration?
When I am in my sauna, I listen to Hindu chants. I’m a big believer in the power of chants because they get you into a positive vibration.
But in terms of the fastest and this is scientifically proven at the Heart Math Institute — inhale for the count of six — imagine the air coming into your heart and then exhale imagining that the air is coming out of your heart.
Then you think about somebody, someplace or something that you really appreciate. Appreciation and gratitude are two of the highest vibrations you can be in. You are energising your heart chakra if you will, by doing all of this. Also, imagine your heart physically getting bigger with every inhale.
It takes about three to six minutes tops, and by the end of it — you are so high, it’s ridiculous!
You seem as active as ever at 74. Do you just pause to take an afternoon nap?
Ha ha, no I never nap! My wife calls me the energiser bunny.
What’s your secret — biohacking?
I am sure I have a few biohacks, but none that I have studied. Good food, meditation, movement I think is critical. Every 15 minutes I get up and walk. I also have about 15 of the Arica (school’s) psychocalisthenics (reduces ages, promotes vital energy through the body) exercises that I do on the daily. I rotate that with qigong (Chinese healing art) — I have six movements that I do, where you are moving energy with your hands through your body — so you’re activating the healing energy within you. It’s great for human growth hormones, testosterone for men stays high, loads of things... I’m somebody who has studied possibly everything you have ever heard of.
What are you studying right now?
How to get rid of limiting beliefs using the Heart Freedom method. I am also co-writing a book with the lady who pretty much invented it.
Is that going to be out this year?
Well, one of my books will be out this year. I have four that I am working on — Living the Success Principles (stories of people who have had amazing breakthroughs), Unstuck (clearing limiting beliefs), Power of Wow (How do we create wow experiences for clients and students so that they go wow, really?) and finally, a children’s book called The Bully Inside (about a girl who thinks that everyone is picking on her, the real bully are her own thoughts.)