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325. Transform Your Life in Just Three Minutes a Day with Dr. Richard Dixey

the daily helping podcast Sep 03, 2023

Our guest today is not your typical meditation teacher; he’s a bridge between the worlds of hard science and deep spirituality. Meet Dr. Richard Dixey, a senior faculty member at Dharma College in Berkeley, California. With advanced degrees in biophysics and the history of philosophy science, Dr. Dixey formerly directed a bioelectronic research unit in London and served as the CEO of his own biotech company. Now, he dedicates his life to teaching meditation and runs the Light of Buddha Dharma Foundation in India. He’s the author of “Three Minutes a Day, a 14-week course to learn meditation and transform your life.”

Dr. Dixey is on a mission to blend the lines between science and spirituality. His unique background allows him to question the limitations of scientific materialism, citing historical perspectives from the Greeks and key figures like Galileo.

For those struggling to find time for meditation, Dr. Dixey has a practical solution. His book “Three Minutes a Day” offers a condensed yet effective approach to meditation, perfect for today’s fast-paced lifestyle. He underscores that the ultimate guide in meditation is one’s experience, not just third-party scientific validation. The program provides 14 different exercises that gradually build up your focus and self-awareness, aiming to move you from a state of brittle, adverted attention to engaged attention. Dr. Dixey outlines the concept of “six gates” through which we experience the world—our five senses plus the mind—and how we can channel our focus through them one at a time.

Dr. Dixey seeks to democratize meditation, breaking down barriers that might deter people from practicing it. His “three-minute” format serves as both an introduction and a foundation, hoping to lead practitioners to longer sessions eventually. He insists that achieving a balance between technological advancements and personal growth is not just a desire but a pressing need, for the sake of both individual well-being and collective wisdom.


The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“Meditation is a path to genuine freedom. You can be as rich as you like. You can have as many cars and boats and watches and girlfriends and all the rest of it as you like. But if you are just reactive, you are not free. In fact, a beggar on a street corner might be freer than you. And freedom is what we all want. We want that feeling of, man, I am in control of my life. That’s what meditation can offer.”



Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.




Produced by NOVA Media


Download Transcript Here


Dr. Richard Dixey:
Meditation is a path to genuine freedom. You can be as rich as you like. You can have as many cars and boats and watches and girlfriends and all the rest of it as you like. But if you are just reactive, you are not free. In fact, a beggar on a street corner might be free than you. And freedom is what we all want. We want that feeling of man, I am in control of my life. That’s what meditation can offer.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Hello and welcome to The Daily Helping with Dr. Richard Shuster, food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, tools to win at life. I’m your host, Dr. Richard. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from and whatever you do, this is the show that is going to help you become the best version of yourself. Each episode you will hear from some of the most amazing, talented and successful people on the planet who followed their passions and strive to help others. Join our movement to get a million people each day to commit acts of kindness for others. Together, we’re going to make the world a better place. Are you ready? Because it’s time for your daily helping.

Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Daily Helping podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Richard. And our guest today is brilliant and awesome. Richard Dixey, PhD, is a senior faculty member at Dharma College in Berkeley, California, a research scientist and lifelong student of Buddhism who holds advanced degrees in biophysics and the history of philosophy of science.

Dixey directed a Bioelectronic research unit at a London hospital before becoming CEO of his own biotech company. He moved to the US in 2007 to devote himself to teaching meditation, deepening his practice and running the light of Buddha Dharma Foundation in India with his wife, Wangmo, the eldest daughter of a well-known Tibetan lama, Tarthang Tulku. He’s here to talk to us today about his newest book, Three Minutes a Day, a 14-week course to learn meditation and transform your life. Richard, transforming your life is what we’re all about on the Daily helping. So it is awesome to have you here with us today.

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Thank you. Pleasure to be here.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
And this is going to be great. You know, we were talking a little bit before and I was particularly excited about this because we’ve had people on the show who’ve come and they’ve talked about spiritual practices and meditation, but you have this divergent path where you went hard into biophysics, hard into science and had a bioelectronic research unit. You started your own biotech company. So we got to do this. We got to hop on the Richard Dixey Time machine and tell us more about your journey. What puts you on the path you’re on today?

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Well, I was educated as a scientist, obviously, and did my first degree in actually what was then biochemistry. And I was educated in a period, this was in the late 60s, early 70s, when heroic science was very much the thing, DNA just been worked out, people really optimistic about science. And I remember my Oxford Don, who hated me, sitting down one day and looking at me and saying, Dixey, within 200 years, science will have explained everything. And I remember looking at this guy and going, you are such an idiot. There are many, many things that science will never explain. It was a profound intuition I had that there were things which were important and real which were not amenable to scientific analysis.

Now, I really fully understand why that was. And I actually took a year off. I went to India. I traveled extensively. I met many, many different, weird and wonderful people. I came back, finished my degree. I landed up actually running a laboratory called the Bioelectronic Research Unit in Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital in London for 14 years before starting a biotech, as you said.

And all during that time, this realization was cooking in me. Namely, this scientific materialism is a very effective way of validating a knowledge system. But that knowledge system is not complete. And so you land up with this enigma that you have this incomplete but very effective knowledge system. And what it has done is shadowed. The proper term is, it’s occulted other forms of knowledge.

Now, the problem with the occult is people make stuff up because there’s no basis to work out whether they’re telling you the way it is or the way it ain’t. They just make stuff up. Some of the occult is great, esoteric, astrology, and palmistry and all this stuff, but a lot of it’s pure and utter fantasy. And as a scientist, I raise my eyebrows a lot. And so one of the things that I’ve done during my career is kind of tick tock between these two positions.

Now, always in the back of my mind, there was this interest in the Asian meditation traditions. But it was only in the 1990s that I really came into contact with it because the biotech company I was running was actually looking at traditional medicines, the traditional knowledge systems and seeing if we can make them pharmaceutically, if we could test them pharmaceutically. And I began to bump into Asian practitioners of one form or another.

And I began to realize that there was this unbroken tradition of meditative insight that really dates back at least 2500 years and probably more where there is literally, you know, mastered a pupil, mastered a pupil, just a continual line. And this, of course, is the famous meditation traditions of India. And I became very interested in these and began to practice more and more. I met Tibetan teachers. I met Theravadan teachers. So I’ve taken teachings from many different people.

And then, I had the great good fortune to meet my wonderful wife, Wangmu, who is the eldest daughter of the first naturalized Tibetan in California. He came here in 1968, and he’s fully trained in Tibet. There are only ten Tibetan lamas left now who are fully trained in Tibet. So he really represents something of a cultural jewel in terms of what he carries. And he had written a whole series of books for Westerners. And I began to get very interested in the approach he was taking.

And what basically happened was when I retired from my biotech in 2007, Wangmo and I came to California. And not only did we start working in a foundation in India, which brings Buddhist monks back to India, but we also began working developing a college called Dharma College, which actually opened in 2012. And the idea of Dharma College is to basically take these Asian traditions and express them in fully contemporary language, because there is a big obstacle that comes up when people try and approach these things, namely the technical language that gets involved. People end up this very alienating, you know what it means. And as a result, they get very muddled.

And as part of that, I began teaching a meditation course and I began realizing a couple of things that are really important to say. The first is meditators from the second century had insights which are now being validated by cognitive psychology. I mean, it’s really quite remarkable. I mean, this is not just some small thing. There is major convergence.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Can you give us an example?

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Yeah. For example, meditators at that time said that consciousness was intermittent, but it flickers. It’s not continuous and they could see that in their meditation. Now, it’s understood that’s correct. The flicker fusion frequency measures the refreshing of the display, the sensory display. And it flickers at about 20 times a second. And that’s a remarkable thing for a second century text to say really clearly this is not like some small thing. It’s like a major meditation issue. And there it is confirmed in cognitive psychology.

There are lots of other examples which we can go into, but let’s just take that one. And I thought, wow, this is so interesting. These guys have developed a form of looking which they can validate clearly one to another, which turns out to be externally validated by scientific analysis. Now, this leads to a very interesting realization, and this is really the nub of what we were talking about before we started recording. I think it’s really important.

You can have a third person description of anything. You can talk about it in terms of its structure, its shape, its color, whatever. But that will never, ever, ever replicate the first-person description. Now, this extraordinarily simple point was made wonderfully by a philosopher who I really like called Thomas Nagel, and he wrote an article called What is It Like to Be a Bat?

And that very simply just said, look, you can take bat physiologists, bat psychologists, bat environmentalists, bat anatomists, you can take all the bat experts. You can produce me a 6000-page encyclopedia on bats, but you will never know what it’s like to be a bat. I don’t care how many people you put in a room, you will never know what it’s like to be a bat. To know what it’s like to be a bat, you have to be a bat.

Now, we’re in the same boat. We all want to know what it’s like to be me. The problem is scientific analysis can never tell us what it’s like to be me. Scientific analysis can tell us about our brains. It can tell us about our bodies. It can tell us about our diet and our environment and this and that and the other thing. It will never tell us what it’s like to be me. No, it’s actually deeper than this, because modern experimental science was philosophically very problematic when it was originally developed.

And this is because the Greeks who developed scientia as the analysis of Capital T truth said this. They said, experiment will never find truth with a Capital T because if you interfere with anything, you can no longer separate it from yourself. You have involved yourself in your experiment. Of course, now in quantum mechanics, how absolutely true is that? But nonetheless, that was the insight they had.

So when experimental science was being developed by Galileo and then by Bacon, all these famous figures in the 17th century, they had to downplay personal experience. And in fact, Galileo made a point of saying personal experience is inherently unreliable. We have to abandon it and experiment to find the truth of things. And so modern experimental science is based on the presumption that the first-person perspective is unreliable.

Now, this is highly problematic for the following very simple reason. All we ever experience and all we ever can experience is a first person perspective. There is no other perspective. I don’t care. You read about blackholes, quasars, whatever you like. All of those statements are inferential. They’re not actual. You can never experience them except in a first-person sense. So we have this bizarre phenomenon that our contemporary educational systems worldwide, not just Western, everywhere, educates people into the concept that truth is external to them, and they are essentially irrelevant to it. All they are, is a nuisance that has to get out of the way to allow logical analysis and all the rest of it to work to find the quote truth.

The problem is that the only truth you can actually experience is first, personal. There is no other truth you can experience. And indeed, the result of that has been a crisis of truth. In fact, now, in what is now called postmodern society, there is such a problem with truth and with people claiming all kinds of bizarre things because they think it’s true and other people saying nothing is true. All this language which you see in politics in particular about truth, has arisen because of this fundamental misconception.

Now, the solution is really simple. We need to teach, alongside reading and writing, meditation. Because meditation is the systematic exploration of your own experience as experience, not using your experience to say things about the world or whatever. Your own experience becomes a subject of observation. And there are ways of systematically exploring your own experience. Now, if you do that, you learn all kinds of really quite surprising things which are otherwise totally lost on you.

One is you realize that you color what you think is happening by preconceptions which come from your memory. Indeed, that process, a map making you could call it process goes on moment to moment to moment about 20 times a second in our normal cognitive function. And it’s that map making that has taken homo sapiens from a naked ape wandering in the Savanna to driving around in Ferraris. That is what it has done. It’s enabled us to learn from experience and improve our position steadily, so we now dominate the planet, even though there are many, many animals that are far more evolved in terms of their physical form than we are.

So it’s a remarkably powerful tool, but it has a problem. It comes from the past by definition, because all the things you “know”, you only know because you recognize them. It’s in the language, you recognize. What do you mean by I recognize that, I recognize you or whatever? It means you have remembered a past example and said, oh, you’re one of those. I know what you are. The problem with that is it comes from the past.

Now, here is the rub. We’re living in rapid, technological, environmental, social, political change. The past is no longer guiding us very well, but people are still using the same unconscious reactivity in the face of these very difficult events. So what they end up doing is trying to put upon their current circumstances all these prior ideas about what is real. In fact, when you look at conspiracy theories, that is exactly what they are. They’re an attempt by people to paste on to what’s actually happening some previously learned idea about what it is some evil group of people doing X, Y and Z.

This is a failure to recognize actuality. What is actuality? It goes back to what I just said. Actuality is what actually happens to you. What actually happens to you, it comes to your five senses and your mind. The famous six senses. And if you have never, and most people have never, looked at the inputs from their five senses and their imaginations and thoughts in any formal manner, they have no means to react to actuality in a systematic way. That is highly, highly problematic.

And so the case for meditation is entirely rational. It’s not based in some religious, mystical or indeed occult or esoteric issue. It’s based in a straightforward, scientifically valid analysis of experience. The key is can we find reliable meditation traditions? Fortunately, we can, because, as I say, there are these unbroken Asian lineages. The problem there is they were developed for monks. So most of them have you sitting for hours and hours, eight hours a day of stuff, having to sit and meditate. And that’s all very well if you want to be a monk. But for most moderns, that’s a hopelessly impossible task.

And so people read about meditation, they read how wonderful it is and how it can do good things for them, but then they find they’re unable to actually engage in it because they can’t give it the time or they have all kinds of preconceptions about what meditation is for. So what I did in this book was I realized, wow, you could actually really compress the key insights that meditation offer into something really digestible about the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Namely, you can address your experience as experience in a very short period of time.

And if you do it deliberately, and you do it every day, like filling a bathtub with a dripping tap, you gradually begin to develop a faculty of mind, which we all have inherently. It’s just we never use it. This faculty of mind enables you to find within yourself a calm center of engaged awareness which is being covered over the whole time by our reflexive reactivity. And as you manage to access that, all kinds of benefits ensue in terms of your ability to address phenomena, look at the actuality of your life, see where your preconceptions are coming from, work out what you might want to do next. All kinds of valuable benefits arise from something extraordinarily simple.

And this is the problem. It’s so simple that most people think, well, why bother? That’s because they’re being told that if a neurophysiologist writes a book saying 101 ways to be happy, the guy actually knows what he’s talking about. The problem is he’s not talking from his own perspective. He isn’t actually telling you anything useful. He’s merely giving you a bunch of third person information.

What you really need is someone who says, look, here’s this tradition, I practice it. This is what you should do. Don’t worry about the science. Actually, you can show the science makes sense, but the science merely confirms that we’re not nuts. That’s all it’s doing. It’s not really guiding us. Because at the end of the day, the person who guides you in meditation is yourself, because there’s nobody else who can meditate for you. You develop your own path.

And of course, as that happens, all the conspiracy theories fall away. All of this stuff that kind of dominates the way you think falls away and really big changes happen. And they happen for that simple reason that you’re finally addressing your own experience and not some inferred idea about the “world” that you read in a newspaper, being told at school, being told by your parents, whatever it is that you’ve built up for yourself. And that’s the background to this book.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
There’s a part of me that is still waiting to, in my mind, see how I can one day connect with a bat psychologist. But in all seriousness, this is really interesting because you talked about this almost in a philosophical kind of way, which I really love.

Dr. Richard Dixey:
It’s a philosophical point.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Yeah, it is. And what’s interesting to me, and I have seen research that talks about, although now of course research is just third-party information that kind of makes sense of it. Right. But that research on meditation has always been pretty clear about the physiological and psychological benefits of it. What I’ve never seen is data to suggest three minutes of meditation is equivalent to or as effective as sitting in the temple saying, ohm, for 300 hours like the Buddhist monks do.

Dr. Richard Dixey:
I’m not saying it is either.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Not really. I mean, let’s be clear, I’m not. We’ll come back to why. But if you meditate for eight hours a day and you actually meditate for eight hours a day, you don’t just sleep on your cushion. Then I think obviously you’re going to get more benefit.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
That’s fair.

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Come back to why three minutes is valuable.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Well, I guess and that’s probably the better way of stating this that I didn’t realize or have not been exposed to information that doing this on such a small scale is really like you said, it’s drinking a cup of coffee. It’s listening to one song on the radio like three minutes. Anybody can say, I can find three minutes in a day to do anything, right? And most people would agree with that. So talk to us about why you can do this in three minutes a day. And then I’d love if you’re open to this, to take us through what those three minutes might look like.

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Sure. I mean, obviously on a Zoom call, it’s difficult. In this book, they’re 14 weeks and they’re 14 different exercises. Starts off with candle watching. And then we do listening to a bell. There are various exercises we do. And the reason is because the background to meditation is worth understanding. So we’re born into a world that’s already there. That’s the fact of it. Eyes pop open, we’re in a crib or something and the world’s going on and we don’t have an instruction manual. We just have to kind of make it up as we go along. And indeed, childhood is pretty hair raising in where we’re literally working out what is real and what is not.

Now, all we have are our five senses and our mind. There are six gates. So these things are popping at us the whole time. Things are appearing to our visual senses. We’re hearing stuff, we’re feeling stuff, we’re thinking stuff all at the same time. So if we were to give a metaphor, it’s like saying we’re a glass of water with chalk in it, and all this input is stirring us up. So we land up in this state of kind of confusion where we can’t see for ourselves, but we’re relying on our recognition to tell us what’s going on. We’re like, we’re flying on controls. If you were a pilot, you can’t see out the windshield, but you’re flying on controls. And it’s a bit like that for us.

So what meditation always does is it starts off saying, take one of the six gates. I don’t care which, just take one. Close everything else down. And initially, just look at that. Now I start with a candle, a visual gate. And three minutes of looking at a candle is a long time. You don’t realize how long three minutes is because most of us are distracted so much. We say, oh, I’m listening to a piece of pop music. We’re actually not. We’re doing five things at once. We’re thinking there’s stuff going on. And so we’re not really doing one thing at all. And of course, with mobile phones and all the rest of it, it is relentless.

So we learn to concentrate on one thing. And as we do so, we use our faculty of concentration. Now, contemporary educated people are very good at concentrating. This is because our whole educational system stresses concentrate, concentrate, focus, focus. This is a big element of contemporary education. It’s good for mechanized employment. There are lots of reasons why it’s been stressed so much, but it has. So most people can concentrate.

The problem is their concentration is brittle. That’s to say you concentrate on a candle flame, but there’s a car door that slams and immediately you’re, oh, what was that? Or a thought comes into you and immediately you’re going to that thought. Technically speaking, you are adverting. This is a really interesting word. Your attention is being adverted to something else. That’s where the word advertisement comes from. It’s designed to capture your attention. So your attention is being adverted this way, and that is brittle.

However, in the old manuals of meditation, there’s something really valuable, which is this, concentration has two elements, not one. There’s adverting, which is what we normally associate with concentration, and then there’s savoring. Now, savoring is interesting. In order to savor, you have to advert, but then you engage with what you’ve turned your attention to. A simple metaphor is you lift a cup of coffee to your lips, that’s adverting. You taste the coffee, that’s savoring. Technically speaking, the two words are vitarka and vicara in the old language.

Now, if you can learn to savor your experience, your concentration ceases to be brittle. What happens is you begin to dance with the meditation object. And if a car door slams or some other thing happens, you just dance with that. It’s just another element of the flavor you are engaged with. Now this begins to develop stability. Not because there’s nothing happening, not because you’re not thinking, not because there’s dead silence, but because you can engage with your experience.

Now, engaging with experience is very, very different from reacting to it. Now, most of us suffer from reflexive reactivity. All the time, we are reacting to things that arise in our sense fields with either like, don’t like, want, don’t want, good, bad. All the judgments that come up that drive us around to seek one thing or another. Engagement is entirely different. The best metaphor I can give is if you watch a concert, pianist or any kind of performer, there’s a point where they cease to be doing it and they suddenly are fully engaged. And that’s the moment when all the audience is locked on in this incredible spectacle of someone completely embedded in what they are doing. This is the famous thing about inner tennis and inner golf and all that, you engage.

Now, engaged attention is completely different from adverted attention. And it turns out we all have that faculty of engagement. We just learned. We just have never deliberately developed it. And as we go through this process of the 14 weeks, we gradually develop a faculty of engaged attention, and that has big consequences. Now, three minutes a day is long enough to do this enough to get a taste of what engaged attention is.

Now, this is the thing. Meditation is talking about your own experience for you. You, Dr. Richard, have your experience. Me, Dr. Richard, I have my experience. They are different. I can never know what’s going on in your head. You can never know what’s going on in my head. So if I say, well, it’s called Vitarka, you have no idea what I’m talking about. I can’t produce a cup and say, look, it’s this. It’s not that. It’s what’s going on inside my head.

So what this book is about is introducing these key insights systematically. So the guy who reads the book gets the experience. Now, once you’ve got the experience, you’re in a completely different boat. The metaphor that’s normally used is to say, try and explain what chocolate tastes like to someone who’s never tasted chocolate. You can’t, whatever words you use. You say it’s sweet. It’s a bit sticky. It melts in your mouth out of its chocolate. Give someone a piece of chocolate. Oh. Okay. That’s chocolate. It’s like that.

So the idea of a three-minute meditation practice is to introduce into your experience actual engagement with your sense gates. You can then just keep doing your three minutes and it will build up like any habit. If you do something for three minutes a day deliberately, it will build up. It really will. It’s just that we’re normally not deliberative at all. But if you do anything for three minutes a day and just keep on going, it will build up.

But of course, once you’ve opened that door and you’ve realized there’s a whole world you could experience in your own experience, once you actually open that door, you might decide to meditate longer. That’s fine if you want to go down that road, but the benefit will be given to you just by repeating something really small. Now, the key is that the reflexivity that we suffer from, the reactiveness that we suffer from makes us stressed. It makes us manipulable by Google, by Facebook, by social media, by politicians, dog whistles. We are being manipulated because our adverting is unconscious.

And so our attention is being grabbed by clever people and now, of course, by artificial intelligence, which is going to be appallingly clever at doing this, grabbing our attention this way and that, for our well-being. It’s for the other guy’s well-being. They want to sell us something. They want us to trust, to follow them, in their political course. Whatever it is they want us to do, they are grabbing us. We need to take our control back. That means we need to stop being unconscious of our reactivity.

The moment you cease being unconsciously reactive, when an advertisement comes in front of you, you say that’s a nice, looking advertisement. Do I want to buy that watch? Do I really think Eric Clapton is a Rolex watch? Oh, no. They’re just trying to trick me into thinking that because like Eric Clapton, I want to buy a Rolex watch. That’s what’s happening. You suddenly have choices you never had before. That makes a big difference to your life. And then many of the conflicts that people suffer from where they find themselves badly adjusted or they’ve got family difficulties or whatever, all of them come down to this same thing. There are triggers that trigger us into reactivity.

The moment you become conscious of your triggering, you have like a magical sword. You can just say, well, actually I’m okay with that. Everything changes. Like people can’t believe it. What’s happened to you? What are you doing? Like, how come you’ve got so much self-control? Well, you’re not suppose you haven’t got self-control. What’s happened is you’ve ceased to be unconsciously reactive. And this is why the meditation research is so overwhelmingly positive. It shows that people become less reactive and so they suffer from less stress and less pain because stress and pain are a function of reactivity. That’s where they come from.

And so once you start doing this, the proper term is emotional resilience, you become more resilient to phenomena that are occurring to you. And as I say, in modernity, the pace of change is so great. I mean, in the last, you imagine I bought the first iPhone in Hong Kong in 2007. I was one of the first people to get one 15 years ago. It’s hard to imagine. What was the world like before iPhones? I don’t know, some other world. The change that’s happening is so rapid. We are struggling to keep up. We need to develop internal resources urgently. And this is the wonderful thing. These Asian traditions have exactly what we need.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with scientific analysis. We’re living in the golden age of scientific discovery, without question. I mean, I read the newspapers and I read the scientific blogs and quanta and all these things. I am amazed by the progress we’re making. But personally, we’re making no progress, whatsoever. In fact, you read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, written in the 150 A.D. When they didn’t have light bulbs. It’s a modern man talking about what it’s like to be a human being. Nothing has changed. That’s what’s so crazy. And it’s because we are unconscious of our reactivity. We cannot change.

And of course, we get better and better weapons, more and more reactive technologies. Oh, my God, this is seriously dangerous. We really have to grow up. And the growing up is bringing the missing bit, the personal bit into our extraordinary technological culture. If you combine those two things together, you will achieve wisdom and power combined, not just power in the hands of children. I mean, some of our politicians are quite literally children and you think, my God, this is so dangerous. The power is getting greater and greater and these people are absolutely psychologically naive. And so that to me is where the issue is. And it has enormous import. And it’s a deeply philosophical point, but it’s also deeply practical one.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
This has been wild. I have loved hearing you describe these things, which again, my favorite episodes are the ones where there’s something that’s so obvious and so easy to implement, yet it opens up a whole new world and transforms people’s lives. Dr. Richard, this is like a Dr. Richard explosion over here. So as you know, I love to ask everybody who comes on my show just this one question, and that is, what is your biggest helping, the single, most important piece of information you’d like somebody to walk away with after hearing our conversation today?

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Hey, this book comes with a free app. And you download it from the cover of the book. I want people to just do this for three minutes a day. Just do it. And what they will find is it will open a door into their experience, which they always intuited was there, but they never had a systematic way of approaching. And the contract I make with the reader is very simple. I say, look, you guys just give me three minutes of your time. Me, I’ll explain everything I want you to do. There won’t be anything I’m asking you to do that won’t be really obvious, because this isn’t mystical. This isn’t religious. This is like learning to play the violin. This is really a skill.

And so I am really, really confident that if people are willing to do that little swap, give me three minutes, I’ll tell you exactly what you’re doing. By the end of it, they’ll find themselves having insights which were before unavailable. They weren’t able to ask questions because they didn’t have the ability to be non-reactive. And the non-reactivity is intensely important. Now, when I say non-reactive, what I mean is that you are engaged in your experience. You’re not bouncing off it and being churned up.

Now, to finish the metaphor, the cloudy water which settles is the first phase of meditation. It’s called Shamatha. It literally means calmness meditation. As the water settles, it becomes clear. And the word for that in the old language is vipassana. Pasana means seeing, and Vi means clear, clear seeing. So the clear water that you get when you are not reactive is the fruit of non-reactivity. It is vipassana. And all vipassana means is you have the clarity to make good decisions. People say, oh, you’re becoming wise as if there’s some magical thing that’s happened. Really, all it is, is you’re no longer muddled up with unconscious reactivity, and that is a huge benefit.

And as a human being, it opens the door to being a human being, being a human, not being just reactive all the time, mechanical. And as AI comes along, we’re going to see this more and more and more that our reactivity is going to be being triggered everywhere. And as we take the throne of our being, as we achieve vipassana, we will be able to use this technology to make our life more effective, to do things better, but never be dominated by it. And that will enable us to avoid being manipulated by people who either want to exploit us for our money or our attention or whatever it is, we will become free. And to me that is the real benefit.

Meditation is a path to genuine freedom. You can be as rich as you like. You can have as many cars and boats and watches and girlfriends and all the rest of it as you like. But if you are just reactive, you are not free. In fact, a beggar on a street corner might be free than you. And freedom is what we all want. We want that feeling of man, I am in control of my life. That’s what meditation can offer.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Love it. I love it. Richard, tell us where people can find out more about you online and their hands on your newest book, which is now available everywhere, right?

Dr. Richard Dixey:
Yes. The book’s out on Amazon. So actually it’s also in Barnes and Noble and Indie, all three sources. It’s available. It’s called Three Minutes, a Fourteen-Week Course to Learn Meditation, Transform Your Life. I have a website, Richard Dixey. I’m D-I-X-E-Y. We were the original Dixey’s actually before the IES came along, apparently. Anyway. So I’ve got an authorial website You can contact me there and it’s got the other books I’ve written. But you know, and it’s got background, all of the interviews like this one. Hopefully when it comes out, will be posted there, too, so you can find out about me there.

I teach at Dharma College. Dharma, And there we have a whole bunch of courses about cognition, recognition, how we make the world, meditation, wellness, caring, all kinds of things. All in this same vein of using contemporary language to express these profound insights that come from the traditions of Asia.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Perfect. And we’ll have everything Richard Dixey in the show notes at the all new So we’ve got the podcast link there for those of you used to checking it out at Well, Richard, I enjoyed our conversation immensely today learned a lot. Thank you so much for doing what you do, writing this wonderful book and sharing your wisdom with us today.

Dr. Richard Dixey:
It’s been a pleasure.

Dr. Richard Shuster:
Absolutely. And I also want to thank each and every one of you who took time out of your day to listen to this conversation. If you liked it, if you learned something, if you’re going to run to the store and get a candle that you’re going to start staring at for three minutes a day, go give us a follow and a five star review on your podcast app of choice, because that is what helps other people find the show. But most importantly, go out there today and do something nice for somebody else, even if you don’t know who they are and post in your social media feeds using the hashtag #MyDailyHelping because the happiest people are those that help others.


There is incredible potential that lies within each and every one of us to create positive change in our lives (and the lives of others) while achieving our dreams.

This is the Power of You!