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One of My Favorite Episodes of All Time – with Dr. Daniel Lieberman

Guest Interview


Hello beautiful souls! I’m so excited to share with you my chat with Dr. Daniel Lieberman (psychiatrist and author of The Molecule Of More) as he takes us on a journey where the physical, spiritual, and mental collide – all while viewing this through a scientific lens. We talk about the relationship of the chemicals in the brain – such as dopamine – to the actions we take as human beings and how that can affect the world on a larger scale. We also talk about how we can use this  knowledge to create better understanding between others as well as build a stronger spiritual core. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to improve their physical, spiritual, and mental health.

To learn more about Dr. Daniel Lieberman and his work:
His books The Molecule of More and Spellbound are available at all major book retailers


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Julie Jancius 01:40

Hello, beautiful souls. Welcome back to the Angels and Awakening podcast. I’m your host and author, Julie Jancius. And friends, you’re not going to want to miss this conversation today. We’re here with Dr. Daniel Lieberman. And I know that you’re going to take away aha moment after aha moment after aha moment. Because as I’ve read his books The Molecule of More and Spellbound he really is piecing together some very, very interesting things that I don’t see anywhere else. So I’m very excited to have this conversation. I know that you’re going to have a lot of takeaways. Dr. Lieberman, thank you so much for being here. And welcome to the show.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 02:21
Thanks for having me. Julie. It’s great to be here.

Julie Jancius 02:23
Yeah. And did I read along the way too, that you’re a Harvard professor?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 02:27
You know, that’s a different Daniel Lieberman. We both used to be at [unintelligible]. And sometimes I would get his mail. So it’s a common confusion.

Julie Jancius 02:36
No, that’s okay. I wanted to be sure. All right. So I know people don’t know me when they’re coming in, and I just want you to have this background. So my dad passed away and we hadn’t been talking for a while because of some things going on. But I started hearing from him a month before I heard the news, and Spirit– I’m very in tune with my intuition, as you would probably say, Spirit just comes in with different messages. And at the beginning of the year, they started talking about the connections between dopamine and spirituality. And they were having me on this mission to look for the expert in this and you are the expert, you wrote the book on dopamine. You wrote the book on spirituality, and Spellbound in there. I’m so excited to have these conversations. Where I want to start is you talk about in The Molecule Of More dopamine, and the H & N chemical, and I’m very much ADHD. And I’m wondering if there is a connection between dopamine and intuition or dopamine and spirituality?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 03:54
I think there is. When most people think about dopamine, the first thing that comes to mind is the pleasure molecule, right? Dopamine is the molecule of sex and drugs and rock and roll, which is why I wrote the book because I thought people would be interested in that. But in fact, it’s really so much more. Dopamine, from an evolutionary perspective– which is maybe a good place to start– is very much about orienting us to the future, about making the future better, more secure than the present. So when you think about the kinds of things that give us a dopamine hit, a dopamine rush, it’s usually things that promise a more secure future, better survival in the future. That can be eating food when we’re hungry. It could be having sex, it could be winning some kind of a competition, getting an award or a prize. So dopamine oriented to the future. 

Now, if we compare the future and the present, there’s one extremely important difference and that is that the future has no physical reality. Right? Only the present moment has physical reality. When we think about the future, we’re thinking about abstract possibilities. And that’s an incredibly powerful thing that our brain is able to do. Some call it mental time travel. We project ourselves into the future, to try to figure out what’s going to be best for us. So for example, I’m in Washington DC. If I wanted to go to New York City, I could take the plane, I could take the train, or I could ride a bus. One of them’s going to be fast. One’s going to be cheap, and one’s going to be comfortable. And in order to decide which one I’m going to choose, I’m going to engage in mental time travel, I’m going to put myself in that bus seat or that airplane security line, and kind of think, okay, what’s going to be best for me for this trip? Now, that sounds pretty simple and straightforward. But when the human brain starts to be able to manage things that don’t have a physical existence, it opens up a world of possibilities. So we can start to think about things that will never have a physical existence, like the abstract laws of mathematics, and physics and chemistry. And this is what has made the human race so powerful, and enabled us to dominate our environment.

And it also allows us to think about spirituality, things that do not have a corporeal existence but have a spiritual existence. So human beings have more dopamine than any other animal. And it seems as if we may be the only creatures that are able to think about these spiritual creatures, entities that don’t have a physical existence. 

Julie Jancius 06:49
That’s fascinating. So when it comes to ADD, and ADHD, I’ve heard people say that they have a lack of dopamine. And so they’re constantly looking to bring that dopamine, that joy in and constantly on this, like, breadcrumb trail of following the dopamine hits that they want to get. Because as I’ve been reading your work, it almost seems to me like dopamine is as necessary to our lives as food, water, shelter, clothing.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 07:25
I think that’s right. Yeah. You know, it’s funny. Just this week, I got an email from a reader saying, I have ADHD. And I’ve constantly been hearing that ADHD is caused by too little dopamine. But one of my problems is that I’m impulsive. And I’m pleasure seeking. And I thought that was a result of too much dopamine. Can you explain to me what’s going on?

Julie Jancius 07:51
Yes. That’s my question.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 07:54
Right, it’s very confusing. So here’s the thing, there is more than one dopamine pathway in the brain. And although dopamine is always focused on maximizing future resources, these different pathways do it in different ways. So we’ve got a more primitive pathway, and that one’s deep inside the brain. And I call that the desire pathway. That’s dopamine, making us want things. And of course, that’s incredibly important. If you don’t want things, there’s no reason to get up out of bed in the morning. There’s no reason to pursue things. There’s no reason to work and put forth efforts. And in fact, as a psychiatrist, I see a lot of patients suffering from depression. And one of the symptoms of depression is a lack of interest, a lack of desire. And it can be crippling, because really wanting things gives our lives meaning. It tells us what we should do and where we should put our energies. But sometimes wanting things can get out of control.

Julie Jancius 08:56
Yes, you wrote about that. Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 08:59
Sometimes our bodies make us want things that are not good for us like a third doughnut, or too much alcohol or the wrong dating partner. We can want all kinds of things that are bad for us. And so there’s a second dopamine pathway that compensates for that. That dopamine pathway goes up to the frontal lobes in the brain, the most sophisticated recently developed part of the brain from an evolutionary standpoint, and I call that pathway, the control pathway. Now, this pathway is also focused on the future, but it looks farther into the future. So the desire pathway might say, you know what, it would feel great to eat that third doughnut, but the control pathway says yeah, yeah, yeah, but it’s going to make us gain weight, and it’s not so good for our heart either. 

So the problem with ADHD is that you have an overactive desire circuit, and so it can make people impulsive, constantly chasing that next dopamine hit, and too little dopamine in the control pathway. The control pathway is also responsible for focus and concentration, allowing us to kind of exclude extraneous stimuli so that we can focus on that really difficult thing we’re trying to read and get through. So when doctors prescribe medications for ADHD– these are dopamine boosters like Adderall and concert up and Ritalin– But they preferentially boost dopamine and that control pathway that involves the frontal lobes, so that they can have a little bit more control over the desire pathway.

Julie Jancius 10:40
All right, I’m gonna get a little bit more complex with you. So you know how you hear those commercials on TV and they’re talking about prescription medicines, every single prescription that I have ever taken that has that ‘may cause suicidal thoughts’– I’m a higher than normal, like happiness threshold person, but it takes me to that very, very low place. So Adderall, Ritalin that I was on before Wellbutrin. And I think that these are great, great prescriptions that work for millions and millions of people and are wonderful. But for the tiny segment of us who have adverse reactions to medication. What do we do Dr. Lieberman to gain control over that control circuit?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 11:34
That’s a difficult, difficult question. Yeah, you know, these medications were great for the majority of people. But the brain has been called the most complicated structure in the entire universe. And it’s unpredictable. And everybody is a unique individual of all the organs in our body, probably the brain is the one that varies the most from individual to individual. So for some people, these medications are gonna have a very negative effect. And the question is, what do you do? And there’s no easy answer to that. 

I think that one answer, and this is an extremely difficult one, is to try meditation. Meditation is difficult for anybody, it’s going to be 10 times as hard for somebody with ADHD. But medication is like lifting weights for the brain, just as a weightlifter is going to see their muscles get bigger, when you meditate, we can actually measure the outer part of your brain called the cortex thickening. And that’s the part of your brain that enables you to exert a little bit of control over your impulses. So I would recommend that I would take it easy. If I were just starting to lift weights, I would probably start with like five pound barbells. Right, I wouldn’t try and bench 200 pounds all at once. And so you’ve got to recognize that meditations are really, really hard for ADHD. And so maybe start out trying to do it for just two minutes. And just like a weightlifter might add one rep every week or every day, just add a little little bit at a time. But understand that meditation is about failure, right? Lifting weights is about failure. In fact, weightlifters use that word. They say I lift to failure, that means they keep lifting until they cannot do one more rep. And that leads to the fastest growth of muscles. When you meditate, you need to expect that your mind is going to wander over and over and over again, you gently bring it back to your breathing or something else. And that’s what it’s all about, mind wandering failure, bringing it back, strengthening your mind.

Julie Jancius 13:50
I think my listeners will absolutely love that because I think that sums me up to a T and why I’ve been so involved in spirituality, is because not only do I have these gifts, but with the way that my brain works. It helps so much to make me feel in control of my own life.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 14:11
You know, we call ADHD an illness. And that’s true, it does cause a significant amount of disability. It also comes with benefits though. People with ADHD can be more intuitive. They can be more creative. You see more ADHD among entrepreneurs because they just want to go out and they’re always looking for new things, things that are exciting. So a lot of people with ADHD if you told them, hey, I could take that illness away from you. They’d be like, no, no, no, no, this is the most important thing about me. And I value it so highly.

Julie Jancius 14:43
Oh, yeah. Well, and this is really fascinating, too, because I think one of the biggest comments that I get from people is Julie, I wish I could do what you do and take the risks that you have. But I just have so much fear and in– a lot of people with ADHD, they’ll say they are higher entrepreneurs because they don’t have that fear. So when somebody said to me, you know, you should start a podcast, I was like, okay, well, I’m gonna go learn how to do that. For those who do have that fear, do they have more of that H & N chemical that you talk about in the Molecule of More? How do they release that fear? Because it’s really not truth within them, they can go out and do the exact same things that I can do. How does their brain get over the fear so that they go do the thing they want to do?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 15:40
Yeah, you know, I think in some ways, it’s actually the mirror of ADHD. With ADHD, their desire circuit is much stronger than their control circuit. People with fear and anxiety, it’s the reverse. So remember, the control circuit is looking farther into the future. And anxiety is really about too much of a focus on that far future, constantly making sacrifices for the present. I’m not going to spend this money because tragedy might strike in a month or a year. I’m not going to relax now, because I’ve got to prepare for tomorrow. So I think that there is too much of a focus on the future, too much of a sacrifice of the present moment. And I think that for them, what they need to do is to just understand that this is part of who they are. And they need to accept those negative feelings of worry, and anxiety, and apprehension. But they can’t always believe it. 

They have to say, you know what, this is a feeling more than irrational thoughts, I want what’s best for myself, I want what’s best for the people around me, my fears are telling me the direction to that is to constantly sacrifice the present moment in order to secure the future. But that’s probably not accurate. I’m going to use my rational cognition to test that. And if it is, I’m just going to live with that anxiety. But I’m not going to let it rule my decisions all the time.

Julie Jancius 17:15
I love that. One of the chapters within your book, the Molecule of More brought me so much peace. And I want to kind of preface this with people because I started telling my husband about this and he’s like, that’s political. And I go, no, no, no, it’s the opposite of political, it’s learning how people’s brain works can bring us together to see that we’re more in common, and we have more peace and understanding with one another than we think. So in your book,The Molecule Of More you talk about how, based on the chemicals that people have more of within their brain, you can tell who’s more likely to vote liberal or democratic or not, are conservative, you can also tell for people and their service, like what they’re going to give if people are going to moreso, write a check, or if they’re going to donate of their time and be of service in that way. I think that that’s really, really fascinating. And I just wanted to bring this point up, because to me, this shows that who we are and how we behave, is not as conscious as people think that it is, is very, very subconscious and driven by these chemicals.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 18:37
I’m so glad that you liked that chapter, my co author and I took a lot of heat about it. And I think it’s because we did try to promote mutual understanding. And that’s not where our culture is right now. Our culture is mutual hatred. And it’s so sad. As a psychiatrist, I understand it. Hating other people is pleasurable. It gives us a sense of security, because we can say they’re all bad, and therefore I must be okay, because I don’t agree with them. And it soothes our own insecurities. But it’s childish, and it’s destructive. And really, what we are called upon to do as adults is to broaden our minds. And to try to see things from other people’s perspective. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. But it does mean that we have to live in harmony with them. And we need to make compromises so that we can be unified, and we can be unified in love for one another and for our country. And that’s going to enable us to do great things. 

So again, I’m so glad that that resonated with you. So let’s talk about it little bit. We’ve been talking about dopamine about the two dopamine circuits, but we need to bring in H & N here and now.

Julie Jancius 20:00
Yeah. Because the dopamine is the more more more more more, but this H & N is contentment.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 20:07
Yes, it is. Yes, it is. You know, I talked about dopamine being the pleasure molecule, but it’s a particular kind of pleasure. It’s an excitement. It’s an anticipation. It’s Wow, I’m gonna get a raise. My life is gonna get better. I just got a million views of my podcast. It’s wow, wow, wow. 

H & N pleasure, though, is different. It’s satisfaction. Its fulfillment, its contentment. And it uses different brain chemicals. For example, endorphins. One of the things that triggers endorphin is exercise. And it’s sometimes called the runner’s high. So let’s think for a minute about the pleasure you get from a hard workout. All right, you’ve just, you’ve just had this incredibly hard workout, you’re sitting there panting, and you’re like, Wow, I feel great. And I don’t need anything, right, this present moment is just fine. And I’m just gonna bask in the pleasure, very different feeling from wow, I just got a million views on my podcast, I wonder what’s going to happen to me next. It’s really a present pleasure versus a future pleasure, other kinds of things besides exercise that gives us here and now pleasure, our social interactions, you know, when you’re sitting over a cup of coffee, talking to your best friend, you’re just happy. It’s not about the future, it just feels good. You know, if you’re with your husband, or your wife, and you’re enjoying this moment of intimacy, it’s just in that present moment. It’s just so great. And it’s all about satisfaction, and fulfillment.

Julie Jancius 21:49
I just thought it was brilliant because the way that you outlined everything, made it come together as a collective oneness, like we are all one. It’s not like there’s a right and a left there, there really isn’t there, just the way that people’s brains work. And the other piece of that though, like at the end of your book, I thought it was just so fascinating, because I had this vision as I was reading it– you talk about how the Molecule Of More like more and more and more and more, more or less dopamine is driving us to use up all of humanity’s resources, right. And I think about that in terms of like the Great Lakes, and we live right here in Chicago, near Lake Michigan. And a couple of years ago, we had this company go in in Wisconsin, to make our TVs and it’s constantly filtering the water of Lake Michigan. There’s so many different examples of how we’re just using things up. 

So you talk about– not in a doom and gloom way, I think as human beings, we’re gonna figure this out, we have a lot of creative, smart humanity. But you kind of put in there, this thing that made me chuckle where you said, when AI becomes conscious, and they look at humanity, they’re going to say, humans are the problem, this more and more and more, more and more is the problem. And I go, Oh, I never thought of this before. But immediately, I got a vision of The Matrix, you know, the very first movie that we saw in late 1990s, where they flipped to the pods, and humans are all in these pods in the matrix. And the first time all of us saw that in the 90s. We were like, How dare these machines put us in pods. I don’t think anybody ever stopped to consider why they put us in pods. Because as you say, humans, like as soon as consciousness wakes up, and this AI wakes up, they’re gonna say, humans are the problem here, we have to do something with the humans. And I could see where they would put us in pods, have a stop using all of the resources. But then you very like, gently bring the reader to this point where you’re like, what humanity needs, what consciousness needs, and you’re right on track here because other people are saying this. 

And I don’t know if you’ve ever watched The Office with the actor Dwight, Rainn Wilson, but he’s come to this conclusion because he just wrote Soul Boom, Why The World Needs Spiritual Revolution. And that’s the conclusion that you come to in your book is that the Molecule Of More has to be balanced out with balance, harmony, spirituality, and that is kind of maybe the flip side. Are they two sides of the same coin?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 24:54
Yeah, you know, from the very dawn of life. It’s been all about dealing with scarcity. If that’s what’s driven evolution is trying to find niches of resources of nutrition so that life can stay alive. And Dopamine is a product of that. Dopamine is constantly driving us to get more. Because when we evolved, we were constantly on the brink of starvation, we were constantly on the brink of extinction. And so dopamine doesn’t let us rest, or else that’s going to be the end of the human race. The problem is, though, that it’s been so successful. That in developed countries, the number one problem is not starvation, it’s obesity, because we’ve got these brains that have not evolved at the same rate as our ability to use tools. And so even though for many of us, a high calorie food is all around us, we still have this craving more and more, more and more and more. And it’s not just obesity, it’s leading us to consume the resources of the Earth, and that’s causing us problems. 

Now, the hope is that another dopaminergic ability we have, and that is technology, is going to save us. And I think that there’s plenty of reason for optimism, we’re doing well, in many areas, our air has never been cleaner, our water has never been cleaner, in spite of the fact that we still have work to be done. Every year in the United States, more and more land is returned to the wilderness because our farming becomes more efficient, and we need fewer acres to feed the country. So we’re doing really well in terms of everything, basically, except climate change, you know, we’re still putting co2 into the air, we’re seeing temperatures rise. I’m confident we’re gonna figure that one out, though, just like we figured out clean water, clean air and returning land to wilderness. 

But there’s other problems. You know, another problem is that birth rates are declining very, very rapidly. And we see it I think, most dramatically in Japan, where we’re seeing the population collapsing. They’re having, on average, less than one new birth per person, per woman. I’m sorry. So really, that’s per couple. And so their population is crashing. And it’s because there’s so many other interesting things to do besides raising children, right? There’s education, there’s work, there’s buying stuff, there’s taking vacations, and we see it in so many countries. So dopamine does threaten us. You know, it threatens us in terms of building weapons of mass destruction, like nuclear weapons and chemical weapons. And I think that as Rainn Wilson points out, our spirituality has not caught up with our technology. And we need to evolve spiritually, to make sure that we don’t destroy ourselves technologically.

Julie Jancius 27:57
Yeah. So that leads into your next book. So you got dopamine on one side of the coin, you got the spirituality balance, harmony on the other. And I started reading your book, Spellbound. And I was really, really fascinated, because, again, like, I think I was more excited for this interview than any other interview I’ve had, you know, since we started the podcast, because you’re just so brilliant and like the ideas that come across your books are definitely must reads, In Spellbound, what really touched me at the beginning is how you talk about stories, and how stories have so impacted humanity. Because within spirituality, there is this deep storytelling and expression of there are angels coming through from the other side, and they’re here to help you and you have a guardian angel. And understanding a lot of spirituality is about sharing stories as they relate to how we see things. But you talk about in a very moving way, how necessary stories are to humanity. Can you touch on that and why that is.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 29:22
For whatever reason, our brains evolved to understand the world in terms of story. And let me give you a couple of examples. Stories have predictable characteristics that across all stories. There’s a protagonist, somebody that we identify with, there’s usually a villain, somebody that puts obstacles in their protagonist’s way, making it difficult for them to reach their goal, their basic elements. So imagine watching a sporting event, and you don’t really care who wins, it’s hard to make sense of it if you’re not rooting for a team. If you care who wins and you’re rooting for one team, you’ve got a good guy and a bad guy. And it’s a lot easier to understand it. If you don’t care who wins the game. In some ways, doesn’t make any sense. Similarly, imagine going to, let’s say, sort of a modern, experimental artistic movie, in which there are no good guys, and there are no bad guys. And we don’t have the usual plot points of a traditional story. It’s impossible to understand it. And you might come out of that movie and an hour later, somebody might say, hey, tell me what happened in that movie. And you’re like, I don’t remember anything. And it’s because there was no story. 

I’m currently working on a project in which a bunch of psychiatrists are looking at patient data. And it’s in spreadsheet form. Okay, so it’s like medications taken in the past, symptoms the patient is experiencing all in spreadsheet, and doctors read it, and they retain nothing. And so what I’m doing is I’m working with some programmers to extract that data, and turn it into a narrative turning into a story. So this is a 32-year-old woman who’s been experiencing depression since 1985, when she developed cancer, and she’s never emotionally recovered from that. Okay, now I can understand, because now I’ve got a human being. Now I’ve got a story. And so it’s simply that our brains are wired to understand the world that way. And if we don’t have stories, we don’t have understanding. 

Julie Jancius 31:43
And I was further on in your book where you talk about more like your fairy tale stories, and that when children are listening to those, they retain so much more when they’re either reading it or hearing it, rather than watching it. Why is that?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 32:03
Fairy tales are very special stories. And the reason is that fairy tales weren’t written by any one individual. Fairy tales sort of arose organically out of the population of humanity. And the reason for that is that they originated in the oral tradition. Originally, fairy tales were not written down. Somebody just came up with a story. And they told it and was like, wow, that’s a great story. And then it was told over and over and over again. And each time it was told it was slightly changed. So maybe somebody would tell the story. And certain parts would resonate with an audience and certain parts would bore them. All right, next time they tell the story, they’re going to emphasize the good parts and kind of weed out the boring parts. Some fairy tales, like Cinderella, for example, are 1000s of years old. And so it’s almost like evolution, it evolves into being more and more powerful, and more and more accurate reflection of the unconscious mind, the part of the mind that responds emotionally to a powerful story. And so fairy tales are among the most powerful stories, because they’re among the oldest. And therefore they’ve had this opportunity to evolve into this very special, very important idea.

Julie Jancius 33:27
I think this is fascinating, because even before I was reading your work, what I was getting intuitively from the other side was that this is what the angels say, expression is so important, your interpretation of the stories is so important. And there’s a lot of people out in the world today, who need to be telling stories, or need to be molding and sculpting what they’re seeing within their mind and bringing it out into the world and expressing it to the world because the world needs the stories to understand who they are. But a lot of times what happens is a person’s egoic mind comes in and says, who am I to write a book? Or who am I to do this? Who are you not to say these stories need to be continued on? And I think that there’s a momentum and a life force that kind of is added to them as they continue to be adapted to our modern world.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 34:28
I think that is so true. You know, earlier, we spoke about how everybody is an individual, everybody’s brain is different. The stories that we tell have a common skeleton to them. They have common bones, but everybody’s taken on that story is different. And I think that if you’ve got a story, and you’re not writing it down, and you’re not sharing it, you’re depriving humanity of something really, really valuable. You see the world In a way that nobody else does. And I think that one of your jobs in life is to share that perspective, because it’s valuable, and it will enrich everybody else to be able to get that perspective.

Julie Jancius 35:13
Wow, that’s so amazing. Okay, I have a question for you about intuition. Because you said a couple of things in Spellbound that are really fascinating. People are happier. Well, this is just kind of satisfaction, but when people are using their intuition, people are happier, you find they have more life satisfaction over the course of their life, when they’re using their intuition. Why is this? And I’ve read before that scientists don’t know where the intuition comes from. But we know where dopamine comes from and what it creates an H & N and what it creates, do we know what intuition really is and where it comes from?

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 35:58
Yes, we do. We’ve got a very good understanding of it. In fact, before I get into the explanation, though, I want to talk about models for just a moment. Okay. All right. So I’ve got a wooden table here in front of me. And I think that we could both agree that it is solid, right? I would agree you would agree. But a physicist would disagree. A physicist would come in and say, You know what, no, no, no, it’s made up of atoms. And atoms are 99% empty space. And so that table in front of you is not solid at all. It’s kind of this ghostly haze of subatomic probabilities. And I think we go fine, You’re right, you’re right. That’s a valid way of looking at it. 

So the point I want to make is that there are different ways of looking at things. And they’re useful in different ways. And there’s lots of valid models. So one way you can look at intuition is it’s a kind of a spiritual thing. It comes from the soul, which does not have a material existence. Another way of looking at it, though, is that intuition is generated by the brain, by atoms and molecules, which make up cells, and the cells have chemical and electrical activity. And I think in some way, we’re talking about the same thing, just like talking about a solid table and a subatomic table. It’s the same thing. It’s just different preferences. As a physician, I prefer to talk about atoms and molecules. But I think that talking about it in terms of Souls is equally as interesting and equally as valid. 

So let me talk about the neural basis of intuition for a moment, okay. All right. So the brain is made up of billions of individual cells that make trillions of connections with one another. We are aware, we’re conscious of only a very small percentage of the activity that’s going on in our head. Everything else is outside of our awareness, it’s outside of our control. And we call that the unconscious mind. The conscious mind, which we sometimes called the ego, and ego can have a negative connotation, because it can mean stuck up and self centered. But the way psychologists use it, it just means ‘I.’ It’s Latin for I. And it just means who you talk about with a conscious I. The ego can only do one thing at once. Okay, so if you try to read a sentence in a book and plan what you’re going to make for dinner at the same time, it falls apart. The unconscious mind, though, can do tons and tons of things at once. The unconscious mind is half a million times more powerful than the ego. And when we say that, that’s the intuition. That’s part of it.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 39:03
The unconscious mind doing tons of stuff. Intuition is one of them. So what is intuition? Intuition is the unconscious mind, pulling in tons and tons of data from your environment, what you see what you hear what you smell, that our ego is totally unaware of your ego is only able to pay attention to one thing, keep your eyes on the road, when you’re driving, your unconscious mind is pulling in so much more. And then it’s processing it outside of your awareness. So intuition feels like magic. It’s like, I look at this person, and I just know that this person is XYZ, and it comes to me like magic. Well, it’s actually this incredibly powerful half million times more powerful unconscious mind holding in data that you are unaware era of processing it in ways you think you’re incapable of, and handing you these wonderful answers. And it’s not just intuition. It’s inspiration, where these incredibly valuable ideas seem to come out of nowhere. It’s insight where you get that aha moment and everything comes together. This is your unconscious mind furiously working in the background, and presenting you with some of the most valuable things. And the reason why it makes us happy is because I think one of the most important things in life is cultivating a good relationship with your unconscious mind. And generally, when you have this contact with it, when the two of you come together, it feels so good.

Julie Jancius 40:45

It does. I want to go back to a point that you’re making, is it your soul’s voice, your intuition? Is it something that’s just happening within the brain, I see it more as both the brain is like the computer processor, that’s able to do something to be able to access that intuition. And that state of being, because it does, to me, feel like a different state of being when you’re really able to channel and tune in. But as a person who uses her intuition for a living, I can tell you that, you know, I never use my intuition or try and do readings when I’m at social events or having a cocktail, or we have some substances that are now legal in Illinois, you know, if I ever use those, you can’t get to that same state through when you’re in a state where your body is using marijuana. So there has to be some brain correlation. It’s just a matter of I think it could be both the brain plus the soul.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 41:57
I think that’s right. I think that’s right. You know, I do believe in God. I believe in spiritual beings. And the way I see it is that spiritual beings make themselves known, make us aware of their presence in two different ways. Oddly, they do it through the conscious mind, okay. And so one example of this is, you might be taking a walk in the woods, or you might be at the beach at sunset and you’re seeing natural beauty. And that enables you to better understand the spiritual world by looking at the physical beauty of the natural world. So that’s how the spiritual world comes in consciously. When it comes in unconsciously, though, I think it’s more direct. It’s using the power of our brains that are unconscious, and it’s kind of like, Whoa, I just had a spiritual experience. I just had a mystical experience. And for me, those are the most pleasant, most important moments of my life, when I have these kind of mystical experiences where I feel like the curtain of the ordinary has been drawn away. And I’m getting a view into a very beautiful, very different world.

Julie Jancius 43:17
It’s incredible. It really is. So I was telling you the story at the beginning, but my dad passed away on August 5, of 2015. And I immediately began hearing every single morning that I brush my daughter’s hair ‘She needs a hairbrush like I used, she needs a hairbrush like I used.’ It was a month before his family tracked us down to let us know. And immediately when I got the news, I saw through my mind’s eye, this vision of my dad combing my hair, because I was thinking the entire month. I’m freaking going crazy. What is this voice in my mind saying, I am losing it. The only hairbrush I’ve ever used for my kiddo is this big ol’ paddle brush, and the only brush I ever use for myself. But I got this vision of my dad combing my hair immediately when I found out that he had passed and he used to use this unique brush with a wooden handlebar and these bores bristles. And I go, Oh my God, my dad’s been talking to me, my daughter has his hair and she needs the same type of brush. And, and so I’ve had so many of those experiences where you’re right. It’s just the most incredible feeling in the world when you’re, oh my goodness, like there’s something so much bigger and it’s deep within us. And it’s talking to us and there’s something so profound about connecting with that part of ourselves. There’s another part that I wanted to get to but I just wanted to reiterate for people that Dr. Lieberman says the intuition is a half million times more powerful than your conscious mind, the egoic mind, as I call it. And you also say it arrives at decisions that your egoic mind would never come to. The intuition finds things that you would have never thought of otherwise. Yeah, that’s right.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 45:17
That’s right. It’s extremely powerful. It’s extremely valuable. We do have to remember though, that the egoist mind does have some advantages. And that is that it thinks rationally, and rationality is so powerful. And so the magic really happens when the two come together. And so you get an intuition. And then you maybe test it rationally, and you try to heal the split that exists. And that’s the pleasure. That’s the beauty. That’s the power of bringing the two together. That’s amazing.

Julie Jancius 45:51
Everybody, you need his two books Spellbound, and the Molecule of More. Dr. Lieberman, thank you for being here. Let everybody know where they can find you online, maybe your socials,

Dr. Daniel Lieberman 46:04
I have a website, danielzlieberman.com. But more than anything else, I love to write books. 

Julie Jancius 46:10
Thank you. We’ll put that in the show notes. And thank you so much just for taking time out of your day to be here.
Dr. Daniel Lieberman 46:16
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been great.

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