Prepare to learn something big and regain the clarity you need in your life right now. In this monumental episode, Rodney Flowers has a monk on his show for the first time. Monk Yun Rou is the host of the hit National Public Television show, “Longevity Tai Chi” and author of Mad Monk Manifesto, which he will talk about here. He shares what prompted him to write the book along with his intents and views. Monk Yun Rou explains the process of zooming out and the bringing together of yin and yang, of hot and cold. He also points out the effects of social media as a stimulus, how we are approaching it, and how the world should be responsibly using technology. Learn more about life, leadership, religion, and balance with Monk Yun Rou.
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Mad Monk Manifesto: Zooming Out Of Ourselves With Monk Yun Rou
I am excited about our show. The first time have I had a monk on my show. I tell you when I see the application come through. I almost hit the floor because I’m like, “I’m going to be talking to a monk.” I’m excited that I have someone here whose work is explicit. I love this guy’s attitude and his approach to certain things. Although I don’t always agree with some of the things and I feel that this is going to be an interesting show for all of you. As we get started, I ask and I want to prepare you to open your mind. I believe that a lot of times, if we can be open to new ideas, new concepts, new ways of doing things or ideas that can help us change. We’ll find that maybe some of those ideas, although we don’t agree with them, maybe they’re useful, maybe we can find some value in them especially in this time where it seems there’s so much division and conflict.
It’s a time for us to come together and learn on views that maybe we’ve been close to. It’s because of that we can’t seem to agree, which creates even further division. I want to invite you to be still. During this show, open your hearts, open your minds to some ideas, and if there are some things that maybe that resonate a little differently with you, or maybe they don’t resonate at all, hear them out and allow yourself to process them. Don’t judge them immediately, but let’s see how they could be helpful and valuable to us. How would they help us potentially to change the game? That’s what we’re here for.
I have Monk Yun Rou on the show with me. He was born and named Arthur Rosenfeld in New York City. He studied at Yale, Cornell and the University of California. He was ordained a Daoist monk in Guangzhou, China. He is the host of the hit National Public Television show, Longevity Tai Chi. He has authored more than fifteen books and countless articles. He began his formal martial arts training in 1980. He has received many awards for his work. He writes, teaches and speaks primarily in South Florida and all around the world. His latest work was inspired by ancient Eastern wisdom, Mad Monk Manifesto: A Prescription for Evolution, Revolution and Global Awakening. It is a tour guide to consciousness, a recipe for personal development, a prescription for an environmental risk restoration and a helpful handbook for social change. Please help me welcome Monk Yun Rou to the Game Changer Mentality podcast. Welcome to the show.
I’m happy to be with you. I’m looking forward to talking.
I don’t know if you’re as excited as I am because this is a monumental moment for me. After looking at your work and having a couple of conversations with you, I’m delighted and honored to have you on the show. I respect you for who you are and what you are contributing to society and to the world in general. As I was doing my research on you, looking at you and what you’re offering, I had to ask myself, how did a young boy from New York become a Daoist monk? How did that happen?
First of all, our admiration is mutual. I have the same thoughts about you. The answer to your question is that the easiest way to address it rather than going point by point and this happened, that happened, is to say that we’re all born with some seed in us to be or do certain things. Sometimes the world gets in the way and sometimes the world potentiates and supports our ambitions. Sometimes we do things in spite of what goes on in our lives. I believe that I was born with a seeking gene. I was a guy that looked at the world and thought, “I’m looking at the surface of the pond. I want to get below the surface. I want to get deeper.”
I remember I was a little boy canoeing on a river in Connecticut. I saw a turtle by my canoe and being a boy, I want to grab the turtle and catch it. The turtle dived. I was trying to grab it with the paddle. The turtle went under the water and it came back up a little bit. I had this moment. I looked at him, I thought, “There’s an animal that when it’s head is above water, it’s looking at everything that I’m looking at.” When it goes down, somehow it becomes part of a world, privy to information and stuff that I cannot see. That became of a metaphor for the way I looked at everything. Turtles, as we may talk about, ended up being a strangely big part of my life for some reason.When you leave discernment and move into judgment, you sometimes enter a world of hurt. Click To Tweet
Maybe this is the reason, but I was always questing. I grew up at a time when Kung Fu, the TV show was on and David Carradine and Bruce Lee were kicking butt around on the movies. David Carradine was not a martial artist and he probably should have given up the role to Bruce Lee or another Asian guy. There are all kinds of racial stuff around that and prejudice around that other subject. Despite all that, he did a good job of conveying the mental and emotional equanimity the monks have in that show, which had flashbacks to the Shaolin Temple and his training as a boy. There were these yellow-robed monks. I think they were mustard-colored robe and they were his teachers.
One of those guys, Master Po, was played by actor, Keye Luke. That guy was blind so he was wandering around blind. He couldn’t see anything. Even so he could hear a cricket break wind at a thousand paces and he could kick butt all over town. I can’t say that when I was 8, 10, 12 years old, whatever it was back then, that I knew I wanted to be a monk. What I can say is I looked at that calm, cool, collected way of living and I thought, “That is different from the speed, creed, noise and bustle of New York City in my life. It must be fantastic to have a life like that.”
How do you feel now living in this world? I know you’re a monk and everything. You’re probably the master of cool, calm and collective. However, we live in a world where society is not that way. Looking at your book, I know that you are tackling some of the issues that are facilitating the hustle, the bustle and the conflicts that we are having in society. Is that the reason why you wrote Mad Monk Manifesto?
I have complex views and feelings about all the topics that the book covers from the environment to politics to personal growth, to the way we treat each other and the planet. I wrote the book because I wanted to get those down into one coherent document, which is why I called it a manifesto. The word manifesto connotes that thing. As far as being the master of cool, calm and collected, fortunately, my wife is not tuning in because if she were, she would have burst out laughing and rolled her eyes knowing you say that. The tension that you identified between the outside world as it is and the outside world as we would have it is mirrored in the inside world and the way we want to be sometimes versus the way we are.
Sometimes when people ask me about meditation, they say, “I teach meditation a lot around the world and I get all kinds of people trying it with me.” I have people say to me, “I know that meditation means you’ve got to stop all your thoughts. You’ve got to banish all your thoughts.” The answer to that is you vanish all your thoughts when you die. When you’re dead, you’re not thinking anymore. Until that time, you’re thinking. Even if you’re thinking about not thinking, you’re still thinking. There’s no such thing as not thinking. We cannot stop our brains from doing the things our brains do. What we can do is to decide whether or not to act on them, whether we give in to every little impulse or whether we find another way.
There are many far more accomplished monks in many different ways than I am. For none of them, I can promise you is the brain so still and quiet that impulses, negative thoughts and things simply never arise. That’s an unreasonable and inaccurate expectation. In this tension between things as they are versus as we want to have them, that’s where the work is done. If there were not that tension, we wouldn’t be in this interview. We wouldn’t be doing the show together. There would be no tension. Everything would be humming along, but it isn’t.
I know in your book you provide some possible solutions to that tension. Some of them are somewhat radical. You take an aggressive approach to certain things. I feel that it’s in an attempt to wake people up, to get people’s attention. I feel like some of the philosophies, concepts and ideas that you have, some of them have been heard before, some of them have been mentioned before, but not adhered to. I feel that this was an attempt to speak louder, make more noise and not only get your followers, but maybe leaders in political positions, government positions to hear these philosophies.
As you mentioned in your book, if we don’t change, if we don’t quiet the noise and release the tension, we’re looking at extinction. We’re looking at destroying ourselves not just as a culture or as people but as a world in general. When I was reading your book, you come across strong. I was looking at the title, it’s the Mad Monk Manifesto. I didn’t know if that was intentional, if you are representing how you feel emotionally about governments, about culture, about leaders, about people in general. Talk to me about that. What’s your intent here with the title and the way you express some of the views in your book?
The reason I liked the word mad is that it has two connotations. One is angry and one is crazy. I like them both in association with an energetic and even strident. Although as a result of being a 40-year novelist and polishing my craft for so long, I don’t think that the voice in the book is strident, it is forceful. That’s why I picked the word mad because I like that blending of angry and outraged but also a little bit nuts. While I was writing the book, I thought much about the concept of the pendulum. The pendulum swings back and forth. When we want to get to equilibrium, that mid-point between the extreme points of the swing of the pendulum, if we are at one extreme, which I believe we are in the world, then in order to come back to the middle, we have to go all the way to the other extreme. Otherwise, all you get is a little incremental change off of the extreme you’re already in. That unfortunately, the stakes are as high as they are now with what we’ve done to the world.
That’s not enough. We have to swim all the way back in order to come to the center. That was my job to do that. That’s not to say that I don’t believe the positions I espouse. I do believe them. I want to talk about the difference between discernment and judgment. Discernment is noticing something, being aware of it. The coffee I poured into my mug, when I pick up the cup, I discern that the cup is hot that I better not put that to my lips because too hot is going to burn me. Judgment is a place where we leave discernment and we go into the other direction that is not healthy and is not desirable. That judgment might be that bloody idiot waitress, who put this down in front of me and on and on or what kind of a restaurant service or why do they make a coffee maker that makes it hot that I’m going to burn and all that chatter that comes as opposed to putting the coffee cup down and waiting a couple of minutes.
You notice it’s too hot so you go, “I’m looking forward to that coffee, but I’m not a machine. I don’t automatically put to my lips everything that’s in front of me. I have the choice. I’m not going to pick it up right now. I’ll wait for 5 minutes and I’m going to drink it.” This example that I gave is silly, humorous and trite, but the movement from discernment to judgment is incredibly important. It applies to many things from social issues like racism to political issues like who we elect for the president to environmental issues like what do we kill and destroy in the interest of our convenience and pleasure. When you leave discernment and move into judgment, you sometimes enter a world of hurt.
Who is this book for?
I’d like to think that it’s aimed at all thinking people who care about their lives and the world around them. It’s tempting to say it’s for everybody, but sadly, the description I offered does not regrettably apply to everybody. I would hope that it did. There are plenty of people and we both know plenty of them, I’m sure, who are either self-satisfied or have numbed themselves to the world or insulated themselves from it in a way that has stopped them from caring. Those people are not going to respond to this work, but that still leaves plenty of other people.
You take and get approached as questionable regarding certain religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam. Is there a message that you’re trying to get across? Do you feel like those religions are going to accept these philosophies? What’s your intent in the message here?People who affect change effectively are good at effecting change in themselves. Click To Tweet
I would like to make a tiny tweak in the word questionable and say questioning instead. The religion and the way I treat religion in the book is one of the handful of areas that seem to generate the most strife. I was aware of that after I wrote it. The thing is this, I’m not anti-religious. Nobody who is anti-religious becomes a monk. If I were an aggressive atheist, we would be having a different conversation. You wouldn’t be telling people that you have a monk on your show. You’d be telling them you had something else on the show. It’s not the principles of religions or even any particular religion that I have any beef with. What I have a beef with is people who use their views and the beliefs that they have chosen to cleave to in order to do destructive things in the world to others and to the world at large.
It’s not the belief system itself. It’s what people take from it and do to it. We could, for example, talk about the Abrahamic Bible, the Judeo-Christian Bible, the most widely translated and perhaps the most widely read book in the world. My view of this is offensive to fundamentalists of all strife, who take this book to be a literal word of God. They think that people didn’t write it. It’s expressing the word of God either through the prophets and authors of the book or directly as in the Ten Commandments. My feelings about this are that if we focus on the historicity, that is the question of whether things happened or people exist, was there a Jesus? Was there a Moses?
If so, were those two men, the way that they are rendered in this book, once we start arguing about that thing, we already made a big mistake. Those two guys, among others, would be the first to point this out as would Buddha or Lao Tzu in my religion as with Muhammad, Zoroaster and all the rest of these great guys. They’re not interested in having you worship their actual physical beings as humans. They’re interested in having you hear their lesson. They have visions for the world. They want the world to look a certain way based on their mystical experience of something larger.
We have this saying, “Daodejing,” which means the way of things is big. It’s something I like a lot from that saying in a metaphor that I sometimes use. I believe I put it in my manifesto is that we have in our mind a zoom lens. If we’re beating our wife, beating our kid, we’re out on the street and we’ve pointed a gun at somebody or we’re doing some other terrible thing. We are at a place where we have dialed our lens down so that all we see is the gun in our hand or the street right in front of us or the face of a person right there and maybe our hand hitting it.
There’s nothing else in the world at that moment. We’ve constrained our view. We’ve zoomed in tightly that we have lost all perspective, not only on who and what we are, but where we are, what are the effects and ramifications of our actions. The idea that we ought to take time to use that zoom lens to zoom out so that we see first the whole street, then the whole block, then the whole city, then the whole state, then the whole country, then the whole planet. Zoom out until even the little planet Earth is this little blue thing hanging there and go out until we see galaxies and galaxies.
The more we take the larger few in this big perspective. This is exactly what Mad Monk Manifesto tries to help the reader too. Sometimes the turning of the barrel of the lens could be painful and difficult because there could be sand or grit in the barrel. It could hurt to zoom out somehow. Maybe it abrades our hand when we turn it, maybe the noise that it makes is like chalk on a blackboard. For whatever reason we might have pain and distress in the zooming out process. Nonetheless, the zooming out process is critical for us to see things. If you zoom out enough, then, for example, realize that the words of Muhammad were not intended to justify blowing up school buses full of children. The words of Moses or Jesus or the Abrahamic God were not intended to say that the Earth is our toilet. It’s here for you, meaning humanity, your followers, that means, you can spread urine and feces everywhere, crack it and break it until there’s nothing left. The process of zooming out is what I was trying to get at and most of all, in my discussions of religion.
I want to dive into that a little further because you tell a story about you trying out yoga. You weren’t good at it at all. You’re trying to get to the sensory point of performing yoga, performing the moves, and you couldn’t do it. You got to a place where you mentioned in here, and this was a statement that you made, I’m going to quote it. You said, “We don’t live in a culture that exalts the intuitive mind the way some Eastern cultures do.” I felt that this is what you’re getting at here. You talk about the zooming out. It’s understanding intuitively what we’re doing. It seems as though you’re taking an approach to say that we have lost this part of our selves. We’re focused on the outward feeling that we don’t have the inward sincerity with ourselves. This is the cause of many of the problems that exist. Am I correct in that?
I liked that you are on this. I can’t remember or recall that in any other interview around this book that somebody has asked me or quoted that. That is not exactly the same point as the zooming out. It’s a different connected and related point, but maybe not exactly the same point. Let me talk about this point that you’ve raised since we talked a lot about the other one. There is a symbol for Daoism, which everyone reading has seen, although they may not have realized that it was a symbol for Daoism for this philosophy and religion that I espouse. That symbol is the black and white interlocking fish that some people call the yin-yang symbol.
You see it in people’s cars. You see it on stickers. You see it on surfwear and this is especially popular in California. You see it everywhere. Generally, worldwide, it’s a recognizable symbol. Many people have seen it. The only partially correct view that most people have of that symbol is that it represents a juxtaposition of opposites. Some people refer to those little half circles as fish because they look like a fish. There’s a little tail where the circle ends, tapers into the other one. The white fish has a black eye and the blackfish has a white eye. People say that shows that in every female there’s a little male and every male there’s a little female. Every up there’s a little down and every hot there’s a little cold and on and on.
Although that is correct in so far as it goes and this describes what you’re asking about East and West well. The bigger picture and the more interesting part of that yin-yang symbol is the fact that those two halves, those two sections of the symbol, together they form a circle. The circle was made at a time long before movies. We didn’t even have a still camera back then. All we had was the ability to carve something or draw something. The static image on the page or on your bumper sticker was all that was available to the originators of that symbol. What they’re trying to connote in that symbol is motion. It’s dynamism. It’s change. It’s a dynamic thing you’re looking at. It’s not a snapshot. It’s a movie.
What it’s showing is that yin and yang, the black and the white are constantly interchanging one with each other all the time. That thing is turning. It’s a dynamic and moving thing. It’s not a static thing. When you asked me about East and West, you’re asking me about intuition versus rationality. You asked me about the zooming in and out. Let’s see if we can frame it this way. In Western culture, there has come to be a great emphasis on rational thought, intellection, logic and emotionless, figuring stuff out in a scientific way, in an analytic way. In the East, there has been historically, and we should make this a caveat here.
When we say the East, we’re talking about many different countries, each of which has their own culture and their own history and not all of them are the same. They don’t like to be lump together any more than we want to be lump together with Russia. Let’s say that on that side of planet Earth, if you want to think about this from a global point of view, they’re a little bit heavier on the intuition and emotion side. We’re a little bit heavier on the intellectual and rational side. Planet Earth needs both. Like the yin-yang needs both the black and the white fish.
You can’t have the whole thing without the balanced and harmonious interplay of those two seemingly opposing forces. One cannot even exist absent the other. After all, if you’ve never seen heat, how can you possibly find any meaning in the word cold or vice-versa? We only know cold because we go inside, we go burr. We were talking about when we first got on, it says it’s cold out. What does that mean? It means that you want to get in your car and turn on the heater. It means you want to go put on your heated seat if you’ve got one of those.
You want to sit in front of the space heater. You want to turn on your steam heat. You want to take a hot bath or hot shower. The cold only exists because in your mind is like, “This is not a good feeling. I wish I could get warm now.” If you don’t know what warm is, cold is meaningless. If you don’t know what intuitive is, rational is meaningless. These two things have to be brought together into balance. One of the missions of the Daoist philosophy is to do that for each of us to help each of us do it for ourselves and out in the world.The worst leader is the one whom everybody fears. Click To Tweet
I feel that your book made a point to speak to the American culture when it comes to this because you pointed out some of the things that you feel in the American culture is causing a lot of anger and a lot of destruction. It’s all based on this analytical, logical approach to success, approach to well-being, approach to what media is describing as the American dream or the so-called way of life. You made some direct statements as it relates to digital media, getting out of the rat race, statements about healing anger and why the American culture is angry.
The fact we can change this anger. Here’s what you said. I’m going to quote you again. Your recommendation was, “To limit our exposure to damaging stimuli by tuning out the digital world and tuning into each other.” It’s two points we’re talking about here, exalting the intuitive minds where there’s an individual responsibility here. There’s this message of community. Tuning in to each other and limiting the exposure of the digital world. That’s a bold statement, especially now as AI is becoming more popular. It would be more of a digital world. It sounds like we’re going in the wrong direction.
We are completely wrong. You put out a lot of stuff. Let me tease out 1 or 2 little things that we can nail down. Let me talk about our personal habits and change. In the last couple of months, I noticed I was putting on a little belt and I work out quite a lot. I’m vegan. If I’m putting it on, that means that I’m doing something wrong and I’ve got to figure out what it is. I was musing about this and my wife, as she always does, provides us a chilling sounding board for me sometimes. She looks at me and says, “You’re eating two fake coconut vegan ice cream bars every night before you go to bed.” I said, “I’m not.” She said, “Let me show you the empty box.”
She brings me out the empty boxes. I go, “You don’t realize that I’m sitting and working on my computer, maybe I ate one. They are only the size of my thumb, those things at night. I went and gotten another one.” She says, “You’re a monk. Where’s your willpower? Don’t do that. You should be able to have 100 pounds of those things in the house. You should walk serenely by them like the Queen Mary sailing.” I said, “This is the way I dealt with that problem. I’m weak.” This whole idea of willpower is a misunderstood psychological phenomenon. What people who affect change effectively, were good at effecting change in themselves, particularly, are good at.
It’s not being the kind of person who can necessarily sit there at the desk as the ice cream bar melts away right in front of them on a plate, 3 inches away from their keyboard. That’s an unusual kind of person and not too many of them are rats. Sooner or later, you’re going to take a bite. Everybody takes a bite. If you take a bite, you can take another bite. It’s making a mess because it’s melting and pointing at you, but you better finish it before it starts dripping on the floor. This is a human condition. It’s a human condition that has to do with physiology and the way the body responds to sugar, the way the brain responds to sugar and on and on.
All other conversation, but what we can do is I looked at her and I said, “Please don’t buy those products anymore. Please, if you want to eat one, go to the ice cream parlor on your way home if you want one. Don’t bring one here because if they’re not in the house, I’ve got no problem and the weight is going to come off. I will not have this stimulus that I have to wrestle with.” In other words, I’m making a choice. You asked me about these stimuli. If I make a choice not to have the stimulus present, then I don’t have to be involved in the psychopathic fixation on my relationship with this stimulus. I don’t do that. That stuff is not in the house. It’s a nonissue and now I’m skinny again a month later. It’s easy, I don’t do it. I’m not going to drop what I’m doing, get in the car, go and drive and buy those things. I’m going to eat them if they’re right in front of me. I make sure they’re not easily available. This kind of choice and decision is well supported by neuroscience, by psychiatrists and psychologists. It’s an easy thing about change. You had brought up many different points.
It seems like the story you’re telling here is stemming back to the idea that perhaps the digital media is the stimulus that’s causing us to eat ice cream that does eventually make us fat and kill us.
I use for writing my books a program called Microsoft Word, which is a popular program for writers. It’s the standard. My publishers all want that format for the documents I send them and so on. Microsoft Word has the latest version, at least. It has a little button on the bottom of the document on the right-hand side, which says focus. When you click on that button, what it does is enlarges the documents so that it obscures all the other things on your computer screen. You don’t see that you’ve got email coming in or you don’t see that you’ve got a message coming in or you don’t see something titillating on your web browser. You don’t see news of the election or whatever it is or the Coronavirus, which we’re dealing with now.
That’s a handy little tool. You click on that focus button and now you’re absent to all those distractions. Can you feel the urge to click on the focus button again so that you go back? You can, but the focus button is not having the ice cream in the refrigerator. People think from my writings that I’m anti-technology and I don’t think that’s a fair statement. I like my tech stuff as much as the next guy I’m talking to on a nice pair of headphones or whatever. I have a good computer. It’s not new but it’s good enough. It has got a nice screen and all that.
Admittedly, I’m not a gadget freak. I don’t go out and buy the latest, greatest thing. I don’t play any video games. I still see the value of technology. I see the progress that we’ve made in certain areas in our life. The thing that I find problematic is that we have an obsession with it, which has elevated its importance in our lives. To a point where far more important things such as how we take care of each other, ourselves and the Earth have become distant 2nd, 3rd and 4th place preoccupations. Part of this is our failing and part of it is the design of the people who build technology to accomplish exactly that because there is profit in it. This connects back to the material culture and the juxtaposition of East and West that we began this thread.
I should make the caveat that China is a tyrannical and authoritarian regime like Russia or Venezuela and Cuba, other places. I am not a fan of that government and I don’t want anybody to take away that I’m a sycophantic sinophile and think that everything that goes on in China is much better than the United States. I don’t think that at all. The philosophy that we’ve been talking about all this time is one that is rooted in a culture that no longer exists anywhere on Earth. This is an ancient philosophy. It came from a time when people didn’t have any computer screens.
In fact, what they did was they sat and watched the river. They were keen observers of nature. They utilize their intelligence, which was at least as great as ours now by applying that observational power, deductive power and emotional insights into understanding the way the world works. What’s happened now, this is a great takeaway point I hope, is that we have introduced between us and nature a veil of technology, which obscures the way things are and results in us missing a lot and making a lot of destructive and poor decisions.
If they wanted to learn more about you, purchase your book, dive deeper into your philosophy, how can they connect with you?
MonkYunRou.com is my website. You can also find that the URL also has another URL, which is PlayTaiChi.com. On that website, you’ll find a link to my classes, speaking and my books. We’d been talking about Mad Monk Manifesto, which is available on Amazon as a low-price paperback and also a number of forthcoming books. The next one out, which gives this same medicine but in a strawberry milkshake that’s a little more delicious to drink and not quite provocative but still I hope fun to read is called Turtle Planet. I mentioned turtles. This one uses turtles as a metaphor for us to understand ourselves in the world. Both those books are on Amazon.We think so little of ourselves in each other these days that we frame the reason to do the right thing as being our own benefit. Click To Tweet
We’re going to be bringing you back. I haven’t read the forthcoming book yet, but this one was interesting, as this conversation that we’re having. I want to talk about leadership. I read a lot of leadership books and done a lot of leadership studies. You categorize different leadership positions from bad, good to best. It was interesting how you cope those out. If you could, because you would be best to describe this, give us your philosophy on leadership.
Daoist philosophy has a different view of what a leader is than we are enjoying here in the US and in other places in the world. From the point of view of my philosophy and religion, the worst leader is the one whom everybody fears. Slightly better than that is the one who everybody thinks they’re neutral about the leader. A little bit better than that is the leader that everybody loves and admires, but the best leader, and this is such a contrast to what we were experiencing these days, the best leader is the one nobody knows. It is the leader whose name nobody recognizes. It’s the leader whose face nobody has seen. It is the leader whose actions are subtle, self-effacing, effective and all-encompassing and benevolent that nobody even knows that person is pulling strings. They think that they are enjoying a period of great peace, achievement, prosperity and harmony because this is the cycle on the turn of planet Earth. They don’t even realize that there is an intelligence behind it. That kind of leader, king, president or a spiritual leader is the most vaunted and the most desirable.
I want to say to you that it was one of the key takeaways from me reading this book. It’s not the most popular way of leadership, especially, here in Corporate America or anywhere. It’s not portrayed as a good avatar for leadership, but at the same time, for me it was a little jarring because it’s true. It was the ego that was sticking out to me that dies in this particular type of leadership completely. No one wants to be to the leader as unknown or unseen or unheard of or unpopular. A lot of times, most people get into those positions for those things. I’ve heard of servant leadership, which is a step below this type of leadership.
This takes it a step further, something that I aspire to accomplish. Thank you for that. For those of you reading, pick up this book, Mad Monk Manifesto. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to cover some other topics that I would like to discuss with you. I definitely got to have you back to not only talk about your forthcoming book, but even more so this one because you got into civil disobedience and self-cultivation. These are some inspiring and yet the topics that most of us are not discussing. They’re worth bringing to the forefront and being open to what some of these things mean, especially civil disobedience when it comes to doing things right. What does that mean as an individual?
Somehow, we have sold ourselves so short and we’ve set the bar low. We think little of ourselves in each other these days that we frame the reason to do the right thing as being our benefit. In other words, if we do the right thing, something good is going to come to us. If we treat that guy right, he’s a tire salesman. Although I don’t need any tires now, sometime down the line, I might need a set of tires. If I help him out and if I’m nice to him now, maybe he’ll remember me in a couple of years when I go into with my van and I need some new tires, he’s going to be, “You’re the guy.” This idea that we do the right thing because it’s good for us, that this is a horrible phrase which makes me annoyed that I hear all the time is enlightened self-interest. This is an oxymoron if there ever was one. It’s not enlightened self-interest. That’s assuming that people are selfish and narcissistic that they only will do something right in the world if they’re going to get something out of it in the end. I don’t believe that about people and I don’t think we should promote that idea.
It’s almost like you need a reason to do the right thing.
The reason is it’s the right thing. That’s what the right thing means.
There’s much more to talk about, but I want to thank you for coming on the show, sharing your time and wisdom with us. Thank you for writing the book. I know we’ve had conversations about the tone and the aggressive nature of the book, but it’s necessary. If not anything else, it starts the conversation. If we can start talking about some of these things, whether or not we agree with them, but if we can have a conversation, perhaps we can have a meeting of the mind. We can make progress. If we don’t have the conversation, things remain a status quo and we all know what that leads. I thank you for your manifesto.
I thank you for this conversation, which was quite wonderful.
As we depart, I always ask each guest that comes on the show, what is your game-changing mentality message you would like to leave with the audience?
It’s not all about you. Much of our self-help, self-cultivation, self-improvement, much of our work to better ourselves or change ourselves or get ourselves to where we want to be is focused on the idea that it’s all about us. If we go back to that zoom lens, you’re going to find that it’s a lot easier and more effective to make the changes that you want to do and see in your life by dialing that lens out to see that you are a part of something much larger. If you do that, you’re going find the things that you have been struggling with because they seem monumental and large, obstructive and undefeatable are not that at all. They’re small.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me.
There you have it, another successful episode of the Game Changer Mentality. Go out and get this book on Amazon, Audible, Kindle, whatever you use for your reading. Check out the Mad Monk Manifesto. You will not be disappointed. This is a good read. If you’re looking for something to stimulate your mind, open you up to some new ideas, new philosophy on how we can bring about change not only to ourselves, but to our communities, to our society. It’s our world at large. Thank you for reading. Until next time.
- Monk Yun Rou
- Mad Monk Manifesto: A Prescription for Evolution, Revolution and Global Awakening
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About Monk Yun Rou
Yun Rou (the name means Soft Cloud) has been called the new Alan Watts. Born Arthur Rosenfeld in New York City, he received his academic background at Yale, Cornell, and the University of California, and was ordained a Daoist monk in Guangzhou, China in 2012. Host of the hit National Public Television show “Longevity Tai Chi”, he is the author more than 15 books, including award-winning novels optioned for film in Hollywood and Asia. In recent years his non-fiction books offer Daoist prescriptions for the challenges of culture, society, and everyday living, while his novels bring a New York literary sensibility to the emerging “Silkpunk” genre, blending Chinese history, science fiction, and fantasy into rollicking, thought-provoking reads. His articles have appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Parade, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, WebMD, Fox Business News, and numerous other websites and newspapers.
Monk Yun Rou began his formal martial arts training in 1980 and has studied with some of China’s top tai chi grandmasters. In 2011 he was named Tai Chi Master of The Year at the World Congress on Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Action On Film Festival recently chose him for their Maverick Award (previous recipients include David Carradine, John Savage, and Talia Shire) and established an award for writing excellence in his name. In July 2014, Yunrou was the opening and closing keynote speaker at the International Tai Chi Symposium in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2016, the American Heart Association profiled Yunrou as an inspirational resource.
The Florida Sun-Sentinel called Yun Rou’s novel A Cure For Gravity one of the 10 best books of the year 2000. His bestseller The Truth About Chronic Pain (New York: Basic Books, 2003) was a finalist for the prestigious Books for a Better Life award for his bestseller, his title Tai Chi – The Perfect Exercise (Da Capo Press, June 2013) is widely regarded as a standard work in the field. Mad Monk Manifesto is his first book with Mango Publishing, but will not be his last. Yunrou writes, teaches and speaks in South Florida and around the world.
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