Nearly every one of us has faced struggles at some point in our lives. During those difficult times, many of us asked ourselves “Why? Why is this happening to me?” Inner Observer, Vanzell Kirk III, is a meditation and mindfulness coach who like many of us went through difficult situations which led him to question his habits and his understanding of life. Read our interview below, where we talk about the importance of creating good habits and living in the now.
Please tell me about yourself and your love for meditation?
I started meditating about three years ago. It came to me through a series of very synchronized events. One of them being my meeting with this very advanced human being. He showed me some things in my life that I never told anyone, and with that, he proved to me that he had extrasensory skills.
A few weeks after my meeting with him I saw a commercial on Youtube, and it was an ad by a man named Tai Lopez. In the commercial, Tai Lopez mentioned that it takes 60-70 days to create a new habit. That was the first time in my life that I looked at my habits and I had to ask myself ‘What are the results that my habits are bringing me?’
Meeting this esoteric gentleman and just a few weeks later seeing this ad, I had to think to myself if there was something that I wanted to change about my self and my habits.
I realized that I was a mean guy. I just got out from the Marine Corp, and I knew that I had temper issues. I wanted to change that about myself, so I decided to meditate every single day for 60-70 days, Same time, same place. I was on it.
Fifty days in I realized that I made a new habit. Meditation started to be something that I didn’t have to push myself to do consciously. I knew that I created a new subconscious spot and I haven’t skipped a day since then. I teach meditation now.
Good for you. So let me ask you when you first started meditating and changing your habits, did you hear any feedback from your friends and family? Were agreeing with this or disagreeing?
Good question. I have to say the person who recognized it the most was my girlfriend. She would often make comments about me being nicer. I knew that the meditation was working, but the first indicator where I experienced a deep level of mindfulness was when I was driving back from work. At that time I still had a 9-5 job. I remember distinctly this gentlemen cutting me off, just a few inches in front of me. Of course, I had to slam on my breaks. I charged my arm up to go smack the horn and show the guy how angry I was, but I remember stopping my hand three inches from the horn and going like I don’t need to do that. I don’t have to be angry. I can be calm. You know, maybe he needs to get somewhere, perhaps his daughter is in the hospital.
I saw myself changing, and then I truly understood the mindfulness aspect and the awareness that I gained through meditation.
You radiate confidence through your social media accounts. Would you say that you gained that confidence through meditation as well or was it something that you always had?
I would say that I always had some level of confidence, but I was battling insecurity my entire life, and that was something that I had to overcome. I believe that through meditation you can gain confidence. Through it, I was able to understand who I really was.
Every single day I learn more and more about myself. Once I locked in who I was, I got empowered. Through self-empowerment came self-confidence.
Now I’m the most confident that I have ever been in my life because I know that I’m on my path. Pablo Picasso says that the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away. I know my purpose now because I have found the meaning of my life.
What advice would you give to a newbie? Somebody who is thinking about meditation? Maybe somebody who would like to develop better habits and self-awareness?
I come across this question a lot through my coaching. There is a lot of different information out there. We live in the information age, and it can get confusing.
I started with the app called Head Space. It is a guided meditation app, and I think if you don’t have a coach like myself or, meditation teachers, you have to learn how to walk through your mind. You have to become familiar with the idea of awareness.
Sometimes when people hop into meditation, they think that they have to control their thoughts immediately, and if they can’t, they feel like they don’t accomplish anything.
My tips are to find a quiet place, somewhere where you know you are going to be undisturbed for at least ten minutes. Breathe deep a few times and put some oxygen int your body, create some natural dopamine and focus on the breath. This is more Buddhism based meditation, but in every culture and in every meditation practice there is a focal point of breath.
I strongly suggest the concentration on your breathing, because our mind all day long thinks about the future and or the past. Our mind is constantly wondering, and it is often caught up between this combination of familiar future based on our recent past and fear of the future anxiety.
Concentrating on your breath is the key because it is the only thing that’s physically happening at the moment. It will help you expand your awareness of what’s happening in the now. Your mind will become trained into the default position and eventually, you will create a habit of it.
That’s why I believe in 60-70 day trick. After some time your awareness becomes engrained into the present moment, and your identity then starts to develop, or your awareness of your true identity starts to develop of being in the present moment.
And that’s exactly what the ego is. It is just a false perception of your identity based on the things that happened to you in the past and how you reacted to them. When you focus on the now you gain power. You are no longer having stressful thoughts about the past or the future. You can learn to see the beauty of the present moment.
What do you think most people struggle with?
Can’t speak for others, but from what I observe, I think that people have a hard time dealing with the ego. Ego is based on the first seven years of your life. Those seven years is the observatory period. We gather information based on our environment and the people in that environment. From that information, we learn how to survive and also how to react to things. In that time frame, we are taught how to celebrate and how to be happy, but we are never taught how to deal with negative emotions like guilt or shame.
When we don’t learn how to deal with those negative emotions, we then unconsciously suppress them. And we start to develop habits based on how we deal with things. Later on, those habits become personality traits, and after that, it becomes your reality, your identity. Then you live your life through the filter of that false identity instead of your true self, your inner observer, as I like to call it.
People have a hard time coming to the understanding of it because they have lived this reactionary based reality for their entire lives, and they have this inner knowing that this isn’t enough or people often tell me that they don’t feel fulfilled.
I also think that people struggle with the battle of their mind. What I love to explain is how our heart is a thousand times magnetically stronger than our brain. We have three brains, we have thinking brain, our heart brain, and we have our stomach, our guts. And all these three hearts have neurons, brain tissue, and they all work in conjunction with each other, but we have to learn how to dissociate from our thinking mind and to drop it to our heart where we can make true decisions.
The more I work people, the more I see how they are caught up in their thoughts. One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “Problem cant be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” When people are trying to alter, eliminate or modulate old thoughts based on how embedded they are to their subconscious mind, they are just battling it at the same level that created it, and it is never going to be solved.
So what we have to do is to learn how to get out of the mind and get into the heart and get into our subconscious mind and bring awareness to these aspects of our life and once we can shine some light we can really see them for what they are.
They are just thoughts or beliefs and a belief is only a thought you continue to think.
If you could advise a bunch of random people what would you say?
Be mindful of what you consume. The consumption is not just food; it is also the music that you listen to, the television that you watch.
I actually haven’t watched television in a few years now, but if you are watching a tv program, you know it is called a program for a reason. It programs your subconscious mind. If you are watching things that are making you feel scared or stressed, you have to realize that it is unhealthy to be having these high levels of stress pumping adrenalin and hormones into your body especially late in the evening before you go to bed.
After some time we get addicted to those hormones. So change what you consume. Change what goes into your body. More water than juice and sodas.
Also, watch what you consume when you are around people on a daily basis. I genuinely believe that you are the five people that you hang out with. If you are hanging out with people who are negative or have a victim mentality, you are not going to get to the level of abundance or prosperity that you truly desire.
What would you say was your biggest struggle in life?
My biggest struggle was thinking that life was happening to me and not happening for me. I was feeling victimized and living in my own reality. It was that, and also, overcoming the stress, anxiety, and fear that were unnecessary. Every moment is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.
When I realized that my entire life changed. The biggest things that came out of my stress were frustration. The frustration came from the feeling like I wasn’t in control, and through lack of control, I felt powerless. When you feel powerless, you feel like you are not good enough. You feel like you are not deserving of love, acceptance and because I felt that way I tried to control my life in any way that I could.
I dominated the Marine Corp, and that was cool, and it worked while I was there, but when I got out of the Marine Corps, I realized that controlling mechanism, that fear was not going to fly.
That was my biggest thing. I had to break down and get to my base. I had to cry and ask my self why is this is happening to me, you know. And it is because of my thoughts and my beliefs that I held. In my own family line this lack of control and frustration, anger has been passed down for hundreds of years.
I realize now that there is no such a thing as control. We can monitor and be observant of things, but there is no controlling of what happens to us. We have to learn to know that we don’t have to go through life living in frustration and anger.