AMP #115 – Addiction, Stress, and the Way Out with Dr. Gabor Mate | Aubrey Marcus Podcast

so a few years ago at psychedelic science I had the pleasure of being introduced to a whole host of individuals and I remember that your speech particularly stood out and that was one not only for the information that you're providing but the means in the methods I mean you are someone who is really willing to go into the heart of the problem which at that time was heroin addictions in Vancouver where you're from go into the heart of the problem and start solving the problem not just from a scientific perspective but truly hands-on as well you know putting these theories to the test and helping people out of addiction which is actually the subject of your latest book and so it seems like still one of the the topics that you know when you talk to anybody you're one of the world-renowned experts in addiction so would love to just kind of dive in and get your take on the origins and the sources of addiction and then your journey on you know helping people through those perilous waters okay so right now we're living at a time when addiction is in the forefront because so many people are dying over overdoses so in the United States every month you have something like 140 hundred 30 people dying of overdoses which means that every month you have the equivalent of 911 happening Wow that puts it in perspective yeah and overdoses of what compounds America mostly opiates but not exclusively mm-hm and then if you consider the public alarm the resources media attention governmental mobilization and the intention to do something that was instigated by the 9/11 tragedy you compared to the absolute lack of action and lack of new thinking around addiction you can see that a behavioral social problem there and then a social problem is largely incomprehension misunderstanding of what addiction is actually all about now your current Attorney General and the state's Jeff Sessions has just talked about the beautiful work of Nancy Reagan did in the 1980s telling people just to say no and that worked really well that worked really well yeah I see today in policy yeah but he's saying yes we can put prevention back in again his idea of prevention is to tell people that the choose druggist is a bad idea in other words his thinking but the thinking of the legal system and the society is all that addiction is a choice that people make right but it makes it which makes you able to kind of almost justify these deaths in a certain way out it's their own fault and so they screw them and not that people actually say those words but that's the actions that they're taking Express that kind of I've heard people say that kind of thing that I know it's just Nature's Way of weeding out the idiots yes this kind of hostility towards the addict the other view is expressed by your Surgeon General who says that it's a brain disease which originates largely in genetics which is more humane at least it doesn't blame people and it allows for treatment so it's a step forward but it also misses the point because let me give you an addiction definition and let me ask you a question so addiction is manifested in any behavior that a person craves finds temporary pleasure or relief in but suffers negative consequences as a result of and still does not give up that's one of the diction is I said any behavior could be sex gambling food shopping or drugs or substances alcohol whatever it is so I'm going to ask you what or when but but that definition of we have you ever done addictive pattern in your life for sure okay so the question is going to be now what did you like about it what did it do for you in the short term well I was you know interested to actually talk to you about this in particular because I think I'm addicted to stress in a certain way like I think in in some aspect I create situations that put myself under considerable stress and I can't not myself continue to put myself in those situations you look forward to those situations in a perverse way I guess I do I guess it feels like a fuel it feels like I'm doing something valuable perhaps okay so it gives you a sense of failure I think so it makes me feel like now I'm really in the fight you know it's some-some identity piece whereas if I'm under stress then that makes me a bit more who I want to be Sub Zero I understand so then it actually gives some meaning to your life yeah some purpose some engagement know other people might say it was my pain other people might say distracts me from my problems well people might say it releases my stress other people might say it basically feel more powerful but whether it's what you said which is meaning and purpose and value or whether it's anything else but we see that the addiction is not the primary problem it's an attempt to solve a problem your problem is lack of value yep like a purpose lack of meaning and lack of may be vital engagement with life and so in other words to say that addiction is either a choice or it's a primary brain disease is 2mr point that it actually serves a function in your life and then the real question becomes where did you learn that you don't have value unless you engage with something how come you in the world well no it's more specific than that probably my father then it was in the world but at some point you learned that unless you were really active and doing something you lacked value hmm okay so the problem is the lack of sense of value the addiction is just an attempt to solve the problem now would you agree with me that any human being has intrinsic value doesn't matter who they are or what they did or didn't do 100% accept that's true for every us except you in my own yeah in your own pattern system yes I mean I can it's easy to understand these things and that's the thing I think with addiction you can mentally understand the concept but yeah to somatically believe it in such a way that you can transcend those behaviors becomes really challenging because I understand that fundamental truth everything you're saying makes sense yeah I don't know if after this conversation even even with greater illumination shed I'll still be able to quit my restaurant I teach you anything yeah I'm actually I'm actually trying to ensure light on a problem right which is that something some in your life you learned that you had no value unless you were performing or doing something stressful circus performing well yeah you know not even just performing but performing well right now given that value just to take your example is an essential human quality as we both agree then your disconnection from your value is your tunnel so something happened and unless until the deal with what happened where you lost that connection to yourself we can't really help you with the addiction so the addiction is a secondary problem just by teaching you behaviors or mantras or trying to talk you into recognizing that your value it's never going to work we're going to deal with the underlying disconnects from yourself that's driving it so what I'm saying about addiction is that it's always an attempt to solve the problem it's not a primary problem and that the problem arose out of a childhood trauma and that trauma essentially disconnects of disconnect us from ourselves yeah so that's that's the bless' where we have to solve the problem of addiction is in looking at what's driving it the the addiction itself is just a symptom or a response to something is that something that we have to deal with so going back to the root cause of the problem something that in all of our medical treatment models we oftentimes fail to look at we're chasing symptoms all over the place rather than going to the root in the heart of the matter which is I think now why psychedelic medicine is showing to be so effective in so many different channels because it tends to go to the root of the issue whatever mechanism you want to attribute to it it finds a way to guide your attention and consciousness to the root of the problem and certainly has helped me unpack many many problems but yeah I mean I see exactly what you're saying and I then also remember a quote that you said that you know not all traumatized people are have addictions but all addicts have been traumatized it's the common ground between all addictions is a source of trauma and I never really looked at it that way but it's that conditional self-love model where if I performed well in a basketball game or in a test or something like that then I received love from my world at the time which was my parents yeah the thing that mattered most in those times where I didn't perform and I missed something I failed to do something I played a bad game because I wasn't paying attention or whatever it was the love was withdrawn and in some ways while people have a large amount more drama than me and it's not a poor me story there was a certain amount of trauma that got patterned from the you know love and then the removal of love I would caution you against comparing traumas yeah because we all have our own experience and it just doesn't work to compare one my trauma is less than yours or bigger than yours you know it's surely worth playing number one number two there's something else going on here as well there's something very familiar to you about being stressed familiar uncomfortable yeah know what's the root of the word familiar family yeah rich is to say you grew up in a very stressed family yeah that was the environment I don't anything about you but that that was you just told me that was the environment that you grow up in and and to some extent we recreate we all recreate the emotional resonances that we expenses children so until you willing to leave your family in that sense you're going to keep recreating this and you're still seeking that love that you didn't get to where you needed it at that time from the environment I totally relate now you're having to be big and athletic I'm not so basketball wasn't going to way I was going to get love but being smart and getting good grades and validating myself and then becoming a doctor's everybody would want me mm-hmm was my particular way so each find are are attempted solution to the trauma of being disconnected from our sense of value other people who find it in soothing that drugs provide or an alcohol or whatever it is but the underlying dynamic is always that childhood trauma and that trauma is always based on either things happening that should not happen such as abuse that happens to a lot of people or things not happening that should have happened but she's just being valued and accepted for who you are yeah now that makes perfect sense and what was interesting for me is my parents split when I was like less than two okay and then so on my father's side it's all of my stress and ik suggests super stressed all the time stressed up all night he was a commodities trader all the time stress also fairly neurotic about a variety of different things and so pattern that fortunately for me my mother's side was the opposite it was kind of more relaxed and just more unconditional love and so I bind myself wobbling between these two extremes you know very and unfortunately for me I had two different environments by which to go to pattern off two different models which I think has allowed me a little bit more elbow room to kind of flow back and forth between it but in this single nuclear family dynamic you know it's this incredibly strong patterning force probably way more than we even ever can imagine well look first of all if you Francis played when you were two they did notice in the wake up after a happy interlude of two years of joy and then decided to split no there was there were even a lot of stress between them now instant download the stresses of their parents how early for me in you two onwards already within the room so were pregnant woman is stressed and stress means that the stress hormones are high in her body they go to the percent of the baby so we can look at the heart rate patterns of the child when the mother is stressed and they're different I'm glad I'm not bearing children anytime soon yeah I got fixed myself for I will and I think you'll be able to bear children anyway okay maybe that's a biological fact you have to discover they could disappoint you and but but in any case it begins in you two and then basically children just absorb the stresses of their parents and if the mothers in pain the baby is in pain emotionally it's that simple but since it's the mother's soothing that the infant needs when to release that pain when the mothers in pain nothing releases the pain so that Timmy's you absorbed a lot of pain from early on not only that when the parents are stressed and troubled infants and children being narcissistic in the sense that it's all about themselves basically there's a deep sense of inadequacy and shame because the child believes that if this is happening it's because there's something wrong with me mm-hmm so there's a lot to compensate for and all these things that I'm talking about the essence of trauma so my book I addiction is really all about the fact that addiction is actually a normal response to abnormal circumstances it's just a desperate attempt on the part of the individual to soothe the pain to somehow paper over the lies but of course it can't do it it's a doomed a failed attempt but just to condemn somebody or to think that they have a brain disease now the brain does come into it because the brain is actually programmed by the environment and the most important aspect programming this circuitry of the brain is the emotional environment if the child goes up there's an article from Harvard University published five years ago that says that the the brain is shaped by interaction of genes and environment and the most important aspect of environment is the quality of adult-child responsiveness when your parents are stressed like your plants were they couldn't have been as responsive to you as they might have wished to be which means your brain would have been also affected it means that the stress circuitry in your brain would be inserted a high level and when it's not you don't feel normal so for you normal is to be stressed so having said all that healing is possible but this is the basic ground of addiction of all kinds and and of all kinds of diseases as well so getting into the healing part you know because this is something it's one thing to have awareness some thing to understand where the root is yeah and then the next step is to go in there and fix it you know because we're incredibly resilient malleable beings with we take the right steps okay so what are what are the steps to get in there and start to remediate dramas well recall what I said that the essence of stress or the story the essence of trauma is disconnection from the south that's the good news but if the trauma was that your parents split and run happy before you're two years old and that your father was demanding and judgmental and perhaps harsh with you and you didn't perform well if that was the trauma then you're stuck because that could never be undone that happened it'll never unhappen but if the result was if the trauma was what happened into in you internally that disconnection from yourself that connection can be regained at anytime so a Western medicine unfortunately as you eluded to earlier this is everything in terms of disease categories and these are there to be endured or to be mitigated or to be cured but there's no sense in Western medicine that I was trained in in a Western medical tradition of internal healing processes that could be invigorated or evolved or supported and yet the healing is in that reconnection with the self so there remains to do that but that is the goal and that is also the promise because it means that it's okay this stuff happened or good stuff that should've happened didn't happen but the connection with the authentic self is available to you at any time and it's interesting the connection with self to me has often felt like a transcendence of self almost as if in a lot of psychedelic medicine work that I've done you get a sense of loss of self which then ends up in a kind of counterintuitive way forming those stronger connections to self it's almost like you have to lose these stories about your identity identify as something greater than that that force of consciousness which then becomes your new self which you can be connected to well so there's the false self and ezreal self yeah and so we talk about is the loss of the Eagle vevo yourself now ego self not to criticize it but just describe it is the set of defensive compensations and identifications and false assumptions that we develop because you lost connection to it yourself and that egoic self once it develops to protect you against pain as it does in childhood it's very tenacious it does not allow let go of here because it's desperate for its survival because its survival is associated with your survival in childhood so it doesn't let go easily so when you're talking about the loss of the saw if you're talking about the loss of that ego itself and so they call ego there now then there's a larger self that look at the very word in addiction healing is recovery recovery means to find something again that's what it means to recover something you've heard it when you ask people what did you find when you recover it 99% of the time people say I find myself which means to say that the to sell the authentic self was never lost damaged or destroyed but it was obscured it was obscured by the false self so yes to get the true self you do have to use the new self which is what Jesus talked about by the way we talked about that unless you're born again you can't enter the kingdom of God now he wasn't talking about psychedelics he was just talking abut uh you might have been well I I don't necessarily think so but and and and and I know that we're speaking in the context of a conference and psychedelic healing so certainly talk about psychedelics but it's important to emphasize that that process of recovering the self of reconnecting is not dependent on any one particular modality now there's all kinds of roots to it psychedelics in the right context being it particularly powerful way but it's really not the only way so but but that loss of the end and indeed Jesus even said also said that those that cling to life will die and those are ones that I will live I'm rephrasing him but the words to that effect I could find them on my cellphone because I have them recorded on but basically saying that the egoic self has to die for the to cell to live which is what you're describing yeah and Jesus's modality in the actual myth is you know that forty day forty days in the dedication yeah yeah which is the you know this kind of classic Vision Quest the moment fasting time alone meditation which is what psychedelics can kind of get you to that place but there's tons of different ways that you can get there and that's the one in that classic story and I think it's funny that you know in unfortunately in the myth people look at Jesus's coming having been birthed as perfect from the start yeah I think it's a much more interesting myth when you look at him as a man who is uncovering his true God self the self that he and in in his deepest teaching says is in all of us well you have to you have to wonder why it took it thirty two years to manifest himself you know how many people's perfect vice in the beginning one hundred age eighteen now you know without getting into theology totally that 40 days in the desert and where he gets tempted right he gets tempted by the devil you know it gets attempted by power and wealth and fame and all that and any yes to say in other words he gets entered by the ego any is to say no I am NOT going to choose that because that's not authentic it's not we're healing or salvation line so it's very much a typical I would say arch difficult the story again about psychedelics some people listening may wondering what type of chattering about because they associate psychedelics with being hippies and dropping acid and tipping out all the time and we have to emphasize that although psychedelic healing is in a part of plant healing is in a part of human experience for thousands of years it can also be misused so very much depends on context and action and guidance so nobody's suggesting that take this substance and you'll be healed but however there's a lot of experience that in the right context the direct guidance with the proper intention a lot of people have had beneficial and even life-altering and even life-saving experiences with psychedelics and you've seen those first end and I think that's also important too when when people talk about MDMA healing trauma no one's proven that MDMA heals trauma what we've proven is that mdma-assisted psychotherapy is a trauma you know using this as a tool to get into those deeper states with the skilled both substance and practitioner right combining to release that you know I think is a very powerful means ayahuasca though I'm curious because it seems to almost have its own self guided practitioner and it seems in my experiences to you feel guided by and sometimes you can call that the force of ayahuasca mother ayahuasca but it feels like an entity itself almost like a guidance counselor who's taking you on that journey so that you can have these experiences almost unguided I mean you're in the context the set and setting has to be right the container has to be right the medicine all of that but do you when you're you know working with people with ayahuasca do you let the ayahuasca work in that kind of unguided manner or do you act as kind of another secondary guide to help guide people through to their issues well instead of saying what you say in three weeks ago I conducted a healing session with hi it's AMA ties individual using not MDMA but something similar to it and my colleague and I took a little bit of it just so that we could be on the same wavelength the person took the therapeutic around and it was a process of psychotherapy under the impact of this particular substance it was a certainly powerful to be a part of and the amount of processing of trauma that took place an amount of reconnecting with self that took place within the six seven hour period was beyond what it would take years in traditional psychotherapy to achieve but there was no sense of presence there other than those of us in the room and and and the substance W at all partly ingested with ayahuasca with the plant medicines people often talk about the sense of presence being there and my I'm not an Iowa scare I don't leave ceremonies I don't chant I don't think I do I don't think across the songs I don't do the energetic healing I facilitated beforehand and afterwards but doing ceremony I'm just a son participant and participants off often and in the Iowa's carers I work with the curanderos I work with they'll talk about ayahuasca as a presence as a teacher as a as a Madre as a mother as a grandmother and participants often experience that but now however the presence is evoked by the chanting the presence is revoked by the ceremony so I don't believe that somebody sitting on their own in a room by themselves where there's no practice and highly experienced shamanic guidance would have the same experience as they would in a ceremonial context where that specific chanting and energetic work is available but the iowa scars i work with the curanderos the people who lead this family they're not just sing a playlist of songs randomly they'll know what to chant to whom at what at what particular time based on what kind of energies they reading that person emanating at that moment and their dreaded their astonishingly accurate and the participants after will say afterwards will say well just when i such and such they chant it to me and that's something happened so there's a dynamic interaction between the effect of the plant inside that person's individual organism and the context in which is taking place sure so would the entity show up for some people if they just did it on their own probably it would but not nearly as beneficially yeah I mean the shamans themselves act is that you know I think the Quechua word is Chaka Runa the bridge to help perform bring that that sense of entity or that sense of connection to something greater into the individual for sure and that certainly experienced some paradigm altering you know case studies of that as well well I wish I could say that I have but you know what for all that I work with the plant and I think it's I don't think I know it's powerful work and it's almost the favorite activities I have in a sense of but it's transformational potential is for human beings I've never had the entity show for me very sense right well you know what even as I say that I realize it is not true there were times when I felt held and kind of rocked you know by something I actually did just my mind I says no I didn't so I have but some people invert the clear sense of entity and presence much more acutely than I have yeah for me I've drank 17 times and it's been hasn't been every single time you know but sometimes it's very clear sometimes it's a straight up conversation sometimes it's conversation with the visual you know where we're literally conversing with each other and sometimes it is just that that force you know that sense of a great mother of wisdom more infinite than any human could ever aspire to you know kind of holding you and saying everything without needing any words to say it with you know I've had many people tell me that in retreats that I lead but I've never had that experience she's never come and presented herself and talked to me I maybe I haven't opened to very enough yet really also you know everybody has different experiences and we have our own way but that comes interactive dynamic interaction that you described I can also tell you this never happened wow that's interesting well yeah there's still journey ahead who knows who knows which way to go or maybe either different paths I don't know yeah absolutely so there's you know another thing you know with this trauma that's kind of sets up it doesn't just set up patterns of addiction though I mean some of your other work has shown that these traumas can create certain stressors and emotional patterns that can also be – physical illness as well well we've had people that are retreats that severe physical illnesses that actually got significantly better after Western medicine has written them off and that's not surprising to me it's what I would expect because it's a false separation of mind and body that dominates Western medicine the medical tradition image untrained separates mind from the body whereas neither in science nor in reality can you separate my into my body so what happens emotionally because of the interconnections of the brain and the bone marrow and the heart and the lungs and the gut and the immune system in the nervous system these are all one unit and you can just imagine if you have a certain emotion like fear that would change your physiology in a split second well that happens 24/7 so our emotional life is always an interaction with our physiology that means that certain emotional patterns will have a negative impact on your physiology and I've certainly seen in decades of medical practice that certain and childhood events will set up emotional and behavioral patterns that will stress somebody which itself will predispose to disease so what are you talking about cancer rheumatoid arthritis or ALS or multiple sclerosis or colitis or Crohn's disease in every case the significant childhood trauma which then becomes translated into certain rigid coping mechanisms which then pretty supposed to disease yeah and if you can reverse those patterns quite a lot of healing is possible yeah it's interesting I'm I don't know are you familiar with dr. Joe Dispenza book you were the placebo yeah well I'm not that but I've absolutely with his previous book okay yeah well it was really eye-opening for me to read that because placebo is this thing that science kind of discards dismisses yeah you count for it in all the studies no it's just the placebo effect like wait a minute just the placebo effect what you're saying is that the mind is curing the body in every known condition because you're accounting for it in every known condition how about and the great point did he make this how about let's focus on that thing about the focus on the fact that the mind can cure the body and he also has a lot of case studies of the nocebo that affect where the mind believes that it's going to become ill or some harmful effect will happen and how much that effects and despite that being proven over and over and over and over again you know the the Western model typically just disregards it disregards the ability from the mind to heal the body and it's really baffling that we're still in an era with that information available but we can't make that shift noise the not only of those case studies available we even have the science to show why they're plausible so there's a real disregard of science in the practice of medicine this at least is a very narrow view of science and this dispenses book there's Kelly Turner's or in a book called radical recovery where she's collected a lot of people who on their own recovered from so-called fatal illnesses in any ways that Western medicine can explain there's a very famous book dying to be me by Anita Moorjani was deathly ill the informa is got three weeks to live and has an out-of-body experience and which transforms her view of herself and she was sort of Hospital completely healed and still is years later this example that I've seen not to say that there's an easy answer to everything but to say that the mind-body unity and how to explore it and how to work with it is an important aerial investigation and practice that Western medicine completely ignores yeah I mean in think that's a really good point this is an easy thing to do because what you're talking about is altering your emotional and mental you know state of being in chemistry like think how hard it is to get a song that's stuck in your head out of your head that's right you know like it's hard to get a song out of your head yeah is and then but think about having to do that and Dispenza talks about that when he was healing his own body they are going through and truly unifying and uniting all of your beliefs in a way that you can actually translate it emotionally into the body into the cells into the secretions of the neuro chemicals that are going to alter your stage that's right that's hard-ass work or it can come in a transcendent beautiful out-of-body moment you know that some people are fortunate enough to experience but if you're going to go down the road of creating that yourself it's a very challenging path it's challenging and personally I don't know that I'd know how to do it for myself it's one thing for me to advise others and to write my books about the mind body and it be or what but it's quite another even to deal with some very simple basic patterns of life you know that that are not helping me but I difficulty giving them up you know so self-police so it's difficult work but but again it's possible and plausible and there there is all kinds of reason why it is plausible impossible that is scientifically not even controversial so it's a question of where do we put our attention yeah and unfortunately in the West we tend to put our attention on things back at best but sometimes is particularly successful when it comes to acute issues acute things you know but in terms of chronic conditions whether the mind or the body were desperately poor at healing man at best we mitigate the symptoms yeah one of these things that I know you spent quite a bit of time on is a DD and ADHD right and this is this kind of rampant catch-all disorder that everybody seems to have these days and not only that the medication for it is pretty much a recreational drug for most of the people I know can be yeah yeah and it's it's a very interesting time we live in and I think you have some interesting takes on kind of where this comes from and what this is actually a symptom of what is the root of a DD and ADHD well my first book was on that and I wrote that after I was diagnosed with it myself in my 50s but but I never bought into the idea that it's a genetic disease or a disease at all because tuning out the absent-minded is discarded attention it's not a disease it's actually nature given coping mechanism so if I were to stress you right now I mean really threaten you or abused you you have a number of options one is to fight back there is to escape or the two other of your colleagues in the room here you could ask for help yeah but what if you couldn't do any of those things then what your mind would do is one of the things you might could do to protect you at least from the stress of it is to scatter your attention to tune out make sense now if you take the environment I grew up in as an infant this is a highly stressed environment and as an infant I can either ask for help nor relieve or fight back then my mind is tuning out when my brain is developing which develops only the impact of the environment as I said earlier yeah so that means I'm tuning out a lot when my brain circuits are being formed so the tuning garden gets programmed in it's kind of a default setting in my mind in my brain and now 50 years later or in some of the cases five years later that one is diagnosed with what they call is a disease but it's not a disease excuse me it's a condition that was meant to be a temporary state under conditions of duress but not becomes a long-term trade because the stress was so long-lasting and then you're given this diagnosis and and if we go back to the question that you posed of why we're seeing all of the stones in society right now it's because the parenting environment many families have become so stressed that more more kids are incensed I having to tune out and that's not the parents fault it has to do with the disconnection in society the lack of community the lack of support the economic stress on people both parents parents have to be absent the whole day for the child because they have to make a living and all and and the parent stresses themselves that become absorbed by the child and this is in the best meaning and most loving families let alone families where there is severe trauma and maybe abuse and so on so it's a mark of the culture that more and more children are having to tune out and are being diagnosed and then again what medicine medicine does you've got this disease and we're just going to change the biology of your brain temporarily by means of this particular chemical but they're not looking at how to help that child develop new brain circuits what conditions do children need for the development in the home and in the schools and the families and so if medication needs to be a part of it in some cases what I've taken them myself I'm not against them but they're not the answer at the very best they mitigate symptoms they don't deal with causes I mean all my books where they're in addiction or stress and health or or a DD I'm just interested in the roots of things because until we which means to be radical it's the radical actually means root so to be radical you have to go to the roots of things and deal with that as you said in the beginning rather than just with the effects an ad be an addiction and disease are effects they're not causes do you feel like you were able to do that with your own struggles with a DD did you Ray well III her it's been a decade that I were more that I've taken medication for it it's like when I've tried them more recently I mean years ago now all I get is negative side effect right I no longer get benefit which means my brain must has changed you know and yeah I've dealt with a lot of it but that means looking at the stresses in my life looking at my physical health exercise you know I eat it means some mindfulness practice in my case belatedly in life I've discovered I've discovered Yoga Yoga Yoga is discovered me as finally dealing with the stresses in my marriage relationship you know because they're the most stressed you are the most scattered your minds going to be well it seems like it mimics the original trigger you know these stressful environments right mimic the original trigger which scatters your attention as an additional coping mechanism absolutely yeah so if you deal with all that then why wouldn't it get better yeah which is very different than just taking a pill right so if you want to take pills well see them as a short gap holding action why you doing while you go and do the work that you really need to do and it was actually than ayahuasca ceremony that the shaman I was working with and we had somebody in the group who really severe EDD and to pneumonia shaman comes over to me and says I just got what it is about I said yeah what is it it's an intense fear of the present moment and of course it is because as children because we become scared of the present moment when the present moment is painful right why wouldn't he be scared of it and every try and escape from it at all costs and if we could find a way to come back to the present moment which say come back to ourselves that's what the healing is and that's where the fun is that's where the magic is you know if you're always escaping the present moment you know you're not going to taste nearly the cornucopia of pleasure that's available in this life maybe you'll diminish and scatter some of the pain but you're also not going to experience the positive I mean that is where you know that is where the juice is that's the juice of the pear what it is and the thing about escape from the present is that when you escape from the pain he also escapes from the joy yeah because life holds supposed to responsibilities pretty even-handedly as potentials depending on circumstances and if you determine not to experience the one you're not likely to experience the other either yeah now that makes a lot of sense if you could go back and offer some wisdom to younger gab or what would that wisdom be it at different stages let's say 18 year old gavel or 30 year old fifty year old what would you what wisdom would you offer would it be the same advice all throughout you know when we ask the question I'm just so grateful but I'm not any of those and I'd love to have my body back at age 18 right would be with what I know now but I don't wanna go through that stuff again when I look at my Diaries in the forties in my forties just frustration and depression this is despite very successful professional life sure and three kids and a wife that loves me none of that made any difference in Charlie so what should I give is not to look for the solutions aside yourself don't keep thinking that if you do this or get that you'll be happy but that both problem and this resolution exist within you right now at this very moment so put the attention there and get the help so you can put the attention that you can't do it on your own so Tobias way to ask for help we be vulnerable be open and be very curious about what's happening inside you and it's not going to be to your protocol activism or your work Holzem or going to bed with this person of that person that's going to that's going to improve the quality of your life ultimately it seems to be one of the great myths that we're all subject to and then we all fall under this idea that changing something externally is going to permanently change our internal environment oh if I just get to this thing if I just get this thing and had this thing happen everything's going to be all right everything is just a false summit it's just another stop in this mountain that you'll always be looking for until you start pointing that focus and attention inward and then miraculously what I found is the more internal work I do the more the external gets easy so the better my career gets the more available love options I have everything ends up working out so where you think like oh I don't have time to focus inside I got to focus on this outside it's actually the opposite the more you focus internally the easier everything gets external absolutely and the very American dream the pursuit of happiness when you pursuing happiness it's something outside of you that you're running after it's a dead end you know it's actually not a pursuit it's a it's an investigation and inquiry into the self and and it's a totally – but that the external will reflect the internal now having said that I want to be careful because they're people in your country in my Canada who no fault of their own or in terrible circumstances they just happen to be the wrong color or the wrong class and they didn't create that so we don't want to defame people by blaming them for their life circumstances they didn't well I didn't choose to be a Jewish infant under the Nazis right I didn't create that so we're not talking about that part of it that putter it has to be kept in mind but what is true is that for any one person the more they understand themselves and it doesn't matter what class or situation they're in the more they understand themselves the more and the more they will get related to themselves the motor feet and they'll have to respond to their life circumstances yeah even in the worst circumstances if you can help manage your internal environment you can help manage the thing that matters the most I think one of the most compelling and stories I read was from Ryan holidays book obstacle is the way and it was someone who is stuck in a prisoner of war camp PW camp in Vietnam and horrible conditions daily torture and in his own mind he played around the golf on his favorite course back home just to keep his mind saying and controlled those thoughts and would play the hole sometimes he'd get in the sand trap after you know swing himself out of the sand trap played this every single day and while people around him were dying and suffering you know he was managed to keep that thread and eventually got out survived eventually got out one out to that and the cool end to the stories he went out to his course that he played in his head every day and shot par Wow and made it out there and and in the moral of that is yes the external world can be real but by managing your internal reaction to it you can minimize the suffering associated with the pain well absolutely and that is a wonderful quote from from Victor Frankel and Franco was a psychiatrist from Austria who as a young man served time you can call it that in concentration camps and he went through the the worst camps like Auschwitz and Dachau and Buchenwald and he survived and he actually writes and as I'm speaking I'm searching for the quote on my cell phone here but I'll find it in a minute here and here's what he says he says became stimulus centers and he actually learnt this in the camps between stimulus and response there's a space in that spaces our part to choose our response in our response lies our growth and our freedom everything can be taken from a man but one thing the last of the UN freedoms to choose one's attitude than any given set of circumstances to choose one's own way and very similar to which the story used recounted there's a story in The New Yorker a few months ago of a black panther from here I think from Oakland where we're speaking who gets framed and jailed and a completely false murder charge and he's in solitary confinement for three a half decades Wow literally spent most of that and he survived and each state exactly what your prisoner of war camp the story also implies he just in his mind he said I will not be subject to this I wanna let them do this to me I will not let them destroy me now I don't think you're saying and I'm not saying it's just easy like that and anybody can do it but it's possible for him things to be that responsible yeah for their responses no matter what the circumstance it's at least possible and the question that we are asked is how do we help ourselves and how do we help other people obtain that degree of responsibility that degree of ability to respond yeah absolutely and how do we look at these external circumstances as potential training grounds as ways that we can hone this response I mean in the most extreme stimulus you can develop the most extreme skills and power you know an ability to master those so whatever situation you're in whatever dark place you find yourself in you can use that as the grindstone to sharpen the steel of your will and your spirit even though this yogi that I met in September and I did this yoga program I told you about I told them listen I can help a lot of people but internally I just said all right I'm shifting my ghostess you know and and I said that goes back to suffering in my early childhood and he said along the lines of what you're saying is well when you suffer a lot you should become wiser if you let that teach you yeah and and that means you should be the most joyful at all because you have learned all this stuff and he said that suffering or your Sentinel long time ago what's holding you back now he says is simply that you've got a sharp mind they can cut like a scalpel to the truth and help a lot of people see reality but internally you don't know how to use the mind you keep the sharp knife of yours keeps cutting yourself and you know just a little conversation and then the practice that follow this later use differently I can see the smile coming out of even with even when you talk about it yeah the beautiful thing it's beautiful to that even you know you just recently discovered yoga it's not too late to learn new things and develop new practices wherever you are I think it's one of those other fallacies of the mind we love telling yourself oh it's too late bullshit it's not too late it's never too late there's always an opportunity to learn and grow as well so my line about that is I'm steady need to be now and I'm really glad I'm not as stupid than young as when I was 72 that's beautiful and I think it's a good way to end where would you like people to to go to I know you got a great website blog up and some books out where would you like to if people want to learn more about what you do well I speak all over the place or the my speaking events so I was listed at my website visit my website at is it my website your hand on youtube awesome and by the way I'll be offering some online courses finally I'm getting into the 21st century so outstanding and if people understood again they can sign up at my website awesome well windows come out I'll make sure to share all the links and let everybody who's listening now for sure thank you Gabbar has been a true pleasure and an honor happy we got a chance to sit down that was great enjoy talking with you thank you yeah for sure


  1. It made me feel relaxed and at the moment, which has been a persistent challenge. Someone once disagreed with my interpretation of Frankl's book. I read it and concluded that the three things that matter are work, love and suffering with dignity. It does seem more nuanced to call the latter "choosing one's own way."

  2. In my personal experience- my perspective- We all are energy when you really break things down ( break matter- form down )- so these traumas- stresses basically changes our energy vibration thus leading to physical ailments- sickness- disease , etc.
    Loved this interview- very good info 👍

  3. My college ( celebrates Ayuhasca….I do not. It is very hard on the liver…prepare with a raw cleansing diet.CONNECT with the EARTH. Learning mindfulness and grounding in the real.

  4. at 19:05 the lead, back on track in conversation, is benevolent and expansively sentient to others, over the next two minutes.. kudos

  5. I'm already a big fan of Dr Maté and listen to many of his long talks while I am creating, but today, listening brings the added bonus of discovering a very qualified and insightful host! I will be following this channel.

  6. Wow indeed very personal and vulnerable as well as incredibly insightful. Thank you for this conversation Aubrey, it really gave me healing vibes! Blessings

  7. Uh……..Yeshua (Jesus, if you must) was (IS) not a MYTH….(just sayin')…… Besides that, love the interview, especially Dr. Mate' and his approach to trauma and/or addiction! Revolutionary! (PS: As an interviewer, make it less about YOU, more about others in the abstract)

  8. I love that Dr. GAbor is extremely professional about the psychedelic subject. He isnt hippy about it like other people try to sell it.

  9. can anyone tell me, it there any of gabors books are available in german? i checked on amazon but cant find any… i am so involved and totatly touched by his words..

  10. Great video. Thanks!!! Dr. Gabor Mate is a wonderful compassionate smart caring human being. He helps alot of people. Wish there were more people in this world like him. Read his books. ☆

  11. In my experience, hugely analytical beings, like Maté have that occurrence with Ayahuasca. I mean, the medicine still has profound effects, but the otherworldly experiences, which are common to those, more light-hearted in their constitution seems to be absent. I have drunk the brew 5 times.

  12. This is a very interesting video. I would like to add that there is more to the equation when dealing with something like ADHD. Think of the most celebrated Olympiad in history, Michael Phelps. I doubt he would be able to sit still for long, however, since he swims so intensely, he would probably be relaxed enough to do it occasionally. Phelps is a great example of someone who learns best by doing, and he was lucky to have a mother who refused to prescribe drugs for him. Phelps also found a terrific coach that is still with him to this day. In fact, they are in business together, selling lap pools to people who want to use them for training and health. Kinesthetic people do best with sports because they learn best by doing. They can easily have more difficulty dealing with a school environment (that can be very abusive with bullying) where you have to sit and listen to someone talk most of the day. And then most of your lessons and homework involve more sitting. Fidgeting is not uncommon. Getting distracted because you would rather be moving around is another tip in behavior, yet it is usually met with punishment. Drug rehab is like that, too, and exercise is not incorporated at a level where it becomes therapeutic. Lecturing to people for hours about their drug problems, etc., when they (also) need to be doing things while discussing certain issues, is a key to overcoming addiction. Iceland has proven this already, and they are the only country that has done so. Read more, here. ~~~~>…“People can get addicted to drink, cars, money, sex, calories, cocaine – whatever,” says Milkman. “The idea of behavioral addiction became our trademark.”

    This idea spawned another: “Why not orchestrate a social movement around natural highs: around people getting high on their own brain chemistry – because it seems obvious to me that people want to change their consciousness – without the deleterious effects of drugs?”… (More here) ~~~~> AND Kinesthetic learning ~~~~>

  13. ayahuasca is certainly a powerfull tool to temporarily and deeply connect with yourself and also release certain protective mechanisms that the body has developed to deal with trauma.. But: it's not available for everyone right now and it's effect on your everyday life is limited. let me explain:

    i'd like you to imagine addiction as the incapacity of you to be alone and still, without distractions. because when you do that, you are also forced to connect with yourself. negative emotions, thoughts or pain might come up and we fear or dislike that or simply have fomo. imho there is only one effective way to deal with it longterm: learn to be alone and still without distractions, every day. no need for meditation posture.. lean back or lie down in a confortable position and be still for long periods of time every day. try to be empty and feel your body. if anything comes up feel, suffer or observe.. it will go away after a while. no tv, music, internet, food, drugs, sexfantasies or anything i am forgetting (you can eat afterwards because food will make you drowsy and fall asleep) .. "peace with yourself" might take some time to come but imho it's the only way to get there.

    do this before and after doing the needfull and instead of what you might call addictive or distractive behaviour.

    the alternative accepted way of dealing with this is to find productive ways of distracting yourself. but i think you will always fear being still and alone.

    the worst way would be overindulgance in destructive distractive behaviours.

  14. It is truly mind blowing that most people are not intetested in the Root cause of things. I have been studying this very thing on my own for years. Frowned upon by society as a whole. Best interview ever!!!

  15. I like what you said about adhd. And so many send kids to dr get pills and never look at their environment first.

  16. I completely agree about the placebo effect and i am living proof i believe, and yet people look at me like im crazy. Usually

  17. I have been saying the self medication for a long time and people want to think that is denial?? This guy is so on point!!!

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published