Other than being ultra spiritual, JP Sears is an emotional healing coach, international teachers, world traveller, and a curious student of life. His work empowers people to live more meaningful lives. JP presents classes, workshops, online seminars, and leads retreats at numerous locations around the world on inner healing and growth. He is also very active on his Youtube channel, where he encourages healing and growth through his entertainingly informative and inspiring videos.
Steve: Hi, everyone. I welcome today someone I have wanted to get on for a while… the infamous JP Sears. Hi, JP!
JP Sears: Hi, Steve.
Steve: How are you doing?
JP Sears: That's a good question. Delightfully dysfunctional is the best I can do today.
Steve: We're on a bit of a time difference. You are waking up in the morning, so maybe after this podcast, we can get you out of that dysfunctional funk.
JP Sears: Yeah. I hope so.
Steve: I think we can! I wanted to get JP on the show because I see what he's doing in his work with educating people about spirituality and life and relationships. It's important what he's doing with his long Jesus hair and his comical vibes… comical vibes I'm sure Jesus must have been pretty good at himself.
JP Sears: No question.
Steve: Definitely. My first question to you, JP, what got you started in doing these YouTube videos? It's like a new brand of comedy where you're on the intersection of spirituality, comedy, and a bit of sexuality and relationships and thrown in there. You found a real niche, so how did you manage to start with all this?
JP Sears: It's a good question. About two years ago, I just started doing YouTube videos about the nuances of relationships, how to be happy, how to overcome depression. I was doing those just to get myself out there, to better support my business of doing one-on-one coaching sessions with people.
It was probably two years and a half until I began to allow my more natural self to just come out through videos.
I've always had, some would say, a good sense of humor. Others would say an incredibly worked and demented mind! I allowed myself to just be more me on videos, and that's what we see in the conscious comedy videos.
I didn't plan on those going big if you want to call them big. I'll just be arrogant enough to say, "Boy. They were big, and Steve I'm a big deal, damn it."
Steve: One of your videos is at four million views, isn't it?
JP Sears: Yeah. It's getting up there. I certainly won't claim to have planned out like this. That suddenly I'm going to find the niche intersection that you talked about. It just happened. To me, it's important to do a dance with the audience, where they respond and really receive the message within the conscious comedy, and think, "OK. I'll do more of that."
It's like I let the audience be the dance partner, and they are leading. That's a little bit of how I got started in it.
The whole thing seems to be an edge that helps open doors for people to consider messages on relationships, spirituality, that otherwise just aren't going to be considered by people if they're talked about in a straightforward way.
Steve: It's a genius plan. Are you actually intending to teach in your videos?
JP Sears: My intention is that there's always a message in the videos. Of course, I'm biased. I make the damn videos so of course, I have to say, "Boy, they're deep and profound, aren't they?"
That is my intention. The message is always in the eye of the beholder. The question for the viewer is, "Do you see a message there? If so, what is the message you see? If you do see a message, what is it? What does it mean to you?"
I don't have the motivation to do comedy just for the sake of entertaining people and getting a laugh. While that's certainly a wonderful thing to do, it's not my thing. For me, the backbone of my heart and soul is to get messages out there. Messages that I certainly know I need to hear and I believe that there are other people who need to hear them, too.
It’s the old chestnut that we tend to teach what we need to learn the most. The videos always carry messages that not only I need to learn, but that are also invitations for other people to consider how to look at themselves in a new light.
The interesting thing about comedy - I mentioned before a little bit about how it tends to help people become more willing to look at what the deeper message is. When we look at someone and tell them, "Hey, you're dogmatic. You are just incredibly closed-minded about your belief system," we're going to be met with defensives. We'll become rigid, we won't consider it. That's how I am, at least when other people tell me things.
For me, comedy is like an alchemist who doesn't really carry anything that you need to defend against. It's a more lighthearted energy.
The alchemist metaphor is when we invite the comedy, the message as well as the entertainment of it, to come in. The alchemy goes to work and helps us transform some of the old stuff, the old residues of beliefs that we carry that don't really serve us.
Again, that's all my perspective. I don't know if any of that actually happens.
Steve: It's a beautiful way of thinking about comedy. We don't often have that conversation in our society. What really is comedy? What can it be useful for? Obviously, it's useful for laughing and letting go of stress, but then I think what you said there is actually a spiritual way of looking at comedy. How can we actually use it as you're using it, to first of all put us in a state in our bodies where we have a light heart?
As you said, I feel lighthearted when I watch your stuff. Therefore, the message can come in a lot easier and you can share that message with friends. You feel, "Ah, this thing was so funny. I learned something from it, as well."
It's powerful, really powerful stuff.
JP Sears: Thank you for that, by the way. It's a lovely compliment.
I find it ironic; how a lot of us would look at, call it the spiritual realm. We take away one of the messages, lessons from the spiritual realm that says, "Don't take life too seriously." Personally, I love that message. Don't take life too seriously. This is all just an illusion. It's obviously a very persistent illusion.
For those of us that value that message, "Don't take life too seriously," it becomes ironic how we then take a very serious attitude towards our spiritual practice that, by definition, says, "Don't take life too seriously."
Finally, let's not take too seriously these not too serious spiritual beliefs and practices I have. I personally love the lighthearted message. By the way, I also know that always being lighthearted, always laughing, in and of itself is a way of becoming out of balance, deflecting from ourselves.
I know there's the shadow side of comedy, yet I think the world, at large, if I could call it that, has quite a hunger and need for the lighthearted comedy, so that we better learn how not to take ourselves too seriously and not to take our beliefs so seriously.
For me, if I could just have a magic wand... one of the intentions behind any comedy video I do - there's always the intention to invite people to look at their beliefs, give themselves permission to have their beliefs, but not believe their beliefs. In other words, it's taking a lighthearted attitude to something that's very heavy, structured, and stable inside of us, our beliefs.
Steve: I get that message, definitely. It's funny… what you said there, about having the serious look at the non-serious stuff. I was recently reading Ken Wilber's book called "No Boundary." He talks about the dualism of language and that, because humans have named stuff, there's this dualistic thing in a language where there's always going to be an opposite.
If you look Osho’s (the now deceased spiritual leader) videos up on YouTube, he's got a really lighthearted sense of humor. If you want to live in this higher realm of consciousness, then there must be this lightheartedness without the opposite. Do you think?
JP Sears: The message I get from your wonderful insight, Steve, is that lightheartedness helps us find the space in between the two opposites. Any time we get polarized, we're lost in an illusion. My hand's raised. I'm in that club often. Let's forgive ourselves. Let's do our best to recognize it when it happens. I believe it's like Ram Dass has said, "You can't get out of jail until you know you're in one."
When we realize it: "Hey, I'm in this jail of illusion. I'm very polarized about whatever it is I'm polarized about, essentially everything, and I can go from one extreme to the other."
For me, the intention of the lighthearted comedy is to help us take the cement boots off from wherever we rooted ourselves and whatever extreme polarity that we're at, our own personal dogma that we buy into because it feels safe and familiar, where our sense of certainty has no correlation to the actual truth. It just has a high correlation to "I feel safer believing this and being certain about this."
When we're rooted there, the alchemist of comedy comes in and adds levity to the gravity that's otherwise got us rooted in the polarity, so that we can have space in between. It's like the eye of the hurricane. It's the most peaceful part of a hurricane. It's stillness. When we're in the periphery of the hurricane and with our extreme polarities, it wears us out. That's what a lot of us are looking for, even though we may not know that that's what we're looking for.
I'll also appreciate both worlds. The delusional world of relativity, of "Here are the extremes." I want to go into that. It's very enjoyable. I also want to be able to step out of it, to the best of my ability, and have a bit of a resting place in the space in between, even if I'm there for half a second, maybe three seconds at a time on a good day. Who knows?
To me, Bruce Lee said it well. "Be like water." Be able to be fluid, move from one place to the next. Be dynamic. Go into the extremes, and then step out of them.
Even this place of stillness in between, the eye of the hurricane, if we're not willing to be like water and even move out of that and into the extremes, get delusional, step out of it, then our stance in the space in between becomes extreme, in and of itself. That becomes our dogma where we root ourselves. That's when we get pretty ultra-spiritual and start believing our beliefs are actually true.
Steve: I love Bruce Lee and his work, and I know that quote. I'm thinking this comedy, this lightheartedness, is almost like the fire melts the hardened ice back to the water. It can be hard, when you're in a really tough place, to switch to lightheartedness.
But, I think it's doable. I'm wondering if you agree with that, and also, how would you recommend for people to bring more lightheartedness into their lives and into their relationships? I'm guessing it's not just thinking about funny stuff to say. The comedy comes after the lightheartedness rather than the comedy coming before the lightheartedness.
Do you agree with that?
JP Sears: I do agree. There is lightheartedness to be found anywhere. That's part of our proverbial co-creative power where lightheartedness is always a matter of how are we perceiving a given situation and how we perceive the situation or ourselves or another person. That's part of our creative power. It's wonderful.
How do we get there? I think it's super easy to say and more challenging to do, especially when we get emotionally charged. When we are emotionally charged, the intelligent part of our brain literally gets de-energized and it can be when we're in the heat of the battle or at least we think we're in the battle. The battles probably never existed.
I think it was Alan Watts who said, "Nothing is as it seems." When we feel the heaviness going on in our life, I don't think any of us can be reminded too often… Nothing is as it seems. Ask yourself, what if it's just not that? What if it isn't as it seems? What else could actually be the truth of the matter here?
For example the thought, “it seems like the world is out to get me”. What if that isn't as it seems? It seems that way, but it isn't that way. What if we are willing to question the certainty of our belief?
Along with that, it's very much worth reminding ourselves that we're delusional without shaming ourselves for it. I love reminding myself and even saying out loud, "Yeah, I'm delusional as hell." Approaching that with a sense of self-acceptance. I accept my delusion. I'm looking at the world through my delusional eyes. Who knows the truth?
We tend to laminate and attach a sense of shame to our delusional selves. You get something wrong. You weren't accurate. You're wrong. You get an F on the test. We're never really rewarded for our delusional nature until we learn how to actually reward ourselves for it and appreciate it.
To me, accepting delusion is very important. In fact, that's when you look at any good comedian, what they're doing is they're simply playing with people's delusion.
Who’s gets a laughter response is a comedian, they're setting up the joke and they're getting our minds to think in one direction. Then when the punch line is delivered, all of a sudden what that punch line delivers is something on the opposite end of the spectrum.
They get you thinking one way, but they deliver the punch line in a completely opposite direction than what you were thinking. Then that space in between as we go from what we were expecting to what's actually delivered. That space in between, that's insecurity. That's confusion. That's what creates the emotional response of laughter.
That's always a reminder to us that we're delusional. That's what's actually being played with. Here's what I think, then here's the reality of what's delivered, then we laugh our delusional way to the reality of the joke if you will.
If we weren't delusional, it would be impossible to laugh.
Steve: Interesting way of thinking about it… Impossible to laugh if we weren't delusional…
JP Sears: That might be a very delusional thing for me to say, but I'm OK with it.
Steve: Haha! But that's a really deep statement if we think about it. What you’re saying about “nothing is what it seems” is very crucial because I heard it recently... he definitely wasn't the first person to say it, but Dr Joe Dispenza, at his workshop I went to in Arizona, said, "We only see one per cent of the visible light spectrum."
Many people can sense other dimensions. There's just so much happening outside this third-dimensional reality that we can see. Physicists will argue the same point. It's not just about taking ayahuasca or magic mushrooms to get there.
Scientists know this, there is stuff going on way beyond what we know. What “nothing is what it seems” is really, on many levels, at its core level, just saying, "Take yourself really lightheartedly because we don't know what's going around you." It's like saying, "Be more mystical."
JP: On that note, I'll have some more ayahuasca! [sips drink] By the way, that unicorn looking at the top of your head, Steve, it looks like it needs some more water.
You mentioned mystical. I love that word. It's a relative word of mystery. The mystery is what really fills up our lives with meaning. The more we allow ourselves to be in a relationship with mystery, I think the bigger and more expansive our inner sense actually is.
The more we disconnect from mystery, put on the blinders, close our eyes, believe our beliefs, it starts to diminish our life. It makes us feel empty inside. No matter how many cars we buy or how much status we acquire.
It's just not enough to fill up that inner sensation that I think can only be fulfilled through our relationship with mystery. Mystery, by definition, implies there's a lot you don't know. It's really telling us not only are we delusional, but we also need to be delusional and it's a great thing we're delusional.
What makes a movie good is how delusional we are about it. If we know all about the movie, we know exactly what's happening, what's going to happen, how it ends. "Oh, I haven't seen that movie. Don't tell me the ending," there's a reason why nobody wants to know the ending.
Our delusion helps to connect us more with mystery, which gives us a deeper inner fulfilment. It's like this great mystical friend of ours, delusion. We oftentimes treat it like an enemy. We try and get rid of it.
Steve: What is the opposite of mystery?
JP Sears: I would call it a certainty. Mystery is a realm that says, "I don't know." Certainty is a realm that says, "I know." When we say I know and I'm certain, it doesn't at all mean that we actually know. It means I know what's going on here.
It was Socrates who said, "The only thing that I know is that I don't know." Our human ego has to be afraid of the unknown. For anything it can't control - which is everything to do with mystery - it creates the fear response.
Of course, it's very scary. We’ll often find resistance about going deeper into the mystery of our life.
It's very scary because we're looking at our sense of self that we've tied to our job, relationships, roles that we play. It's very scary to actually begin to feel, "I am not that and I don't know who I am beyond these roles."
Steve: I like it when that happens.
You touched on some important points there, again. To wrap up we can talk about how we can bring more mystery into our being because I feel that mystery is synonymous with lightheartedness. When you bring the two together you have a much more graceful way of going about life. You feel in your body a lot more calmness. It's a peak state of being, I think.
How can we, on a practical level bring more lightheartedness into your life?
JP Sears: A thought that comes to my mind, it's been very important to me. It's a question I start my day with and I consider multiple times a day. In fact, I've got a note written on my desk right now with the question that says, "What wants to live through me? What wants to live through me?"
It's a mystery. I know my ego wants to control. It wants to determine what I'm going to make happen in my life, what I'm going to do. Yeah, I need some of that. My ego wants to have a sense of control and I also do my best to allow something more to come in, whether it's my soul, higher self, spirit, whatever the heck's up there.
I believe we're all connected to a deeper purpose beyond our ego's own agenda here. That deeper purpose, it wants to live throughout. Just like a newborn baby, nature is pushing it through the birth canal. It wants to go through the birth canal, at least the higher consciousness of it wants to. The question is, "How much am I resisting it?"
I love the question, "What wants to live through me?" What defeats this question is when we try and answer that with certainty. If I were to sit here and say, "Steve, what wants to live through me is conscious comedy through these videos" then I've created a ceiling. I've just created a sense of certainty.
While that might be true, maybe that does want to live through me. Maybe there's a lot more that it constricts and doesn't allow it to be included. What wants to live through me?
One other thing I would invite people to consider. This is probably not at all foreign territory to you, Steve is sexuality. If we are in a place of using our sexuality in a truly intimate, surrendered way rather than controlling, I think that's us having a drink of the mystery. For me, true lovemaking is about surrendering control. When we surrender control I think we swim in the mystery.
We're experiencing something through the intimate connection with the other person that is beyond us. The two parts making a whole allow us to have a beautiful drink of something beyond us, which I think is a relative mystery to us. The more we surrender control and let that happen, the more we're dancing in the realm of mystery.
Steve: I agree. I thank you for your time today, JP. It's been an honor. I think everyone listening is going to get a lot out of it. Just for everyone listening or watching, where can they find out more about your work?
JP Sears: You can jump on my YouTube channel, Awaken With JP. You're welcome to subscribe to my channel. I put out new videos every week, sometimes multiple times a week. I'd love to stay connected with you all there.
Steve: I thoroughly recommend everyone doing that! Thanks so much, JP for being here.
JP Sears: You're welcome, Steve. I appreciate you having me on, my friend.