Hi John. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to meet and hear your amazing story because it’s something amazing that you went through, and a realization that completely changed your life. I’m eager to listen and hear more about what you have to say. And also how it can actually support all the listeners who want to have an amazing life and get up every morning as we just said, and feeling amazing because it is available for everyone. So Hi, and welcome.
Can you tell me a little bit about what happened to you in these last few months or year?
Well, I had my awakening experience about a year and a half ago. And everything’s been rather different since that particular moment.I imagine starting there makes a lot of sense.
I was just living my life, you know, doing the normal thing and working to grow as I always do. And I have a podcast where I told a story in my personal life. And then I listened to the story myself. And in the moment that I heard the story, you know like when you’re listening to a podcast in the car, you don’t think oh, that’s me talking. I was just listening. And I heard the story and everything inside of me completely changed and not just internal, external too.
Can you say what was your impression when you heard the story? What did you realize then that made that shift inside of you?
In hindsight, it’s really easy to articulate. While it was happening, it was a little more difficult to understand what was happening. Essentially, who I believed I was couldn’t exist anymore – because of the emotional experience I had tied to my past. Once I experienced the emotions of the past and all of this that I’m experiencing related to the past kind of man who said that what I think it is, or thought it was, wasn’t anymore.
Right. So what I hear from you is that you had an experience, and it was related to having certain emotions. Then when you listened, actually what you thought about the experience and what you were hearing from you didn’t match. Is that right?
Well, it was just hearing the story in itself. I had compassion for myself. So once I had compassion for myself, I was like, Man, that sounds really painful. I hadn’t gone to really admitting to myself that the pain of the past existed. I had a story. I’m resilient, it happened. I need to move forward. And boom, there’s the box resilience and that’s it. So when I heard it, the resilience box kind of disappeared. And I was like, man, there was a lot of pain that I didn’t see there.
That’s really beautiful because what I hear is like your identity was set into being the resilient one. So in your life, you were constantly moving on and moving forward to where you want it to be not paying attention to maybe if it was truly painful, is that right?
I had no emotional awareness within myself.
And that day, actually, because you listened to that, and it felt because you were listening in your car, it felt like it could have been someone else. And because you had the distance between what you listened to and yourself…
Yeah, that’s exactly what it’s like. It’s like if you were telling me the story, and you told me a difficult thing for you and it’s sort of like, oh, man, that’s tough, I feel for you.
That was me listening to myself and I hadn’t felt for myself yet.
Right. So what happened is that the guy was actually in pain. You are him. And so the idea and the identity of ‘I am resilient’ broke in that moment and something happened within you, is that right?
I would say, I would say not only the resiliency identity, but basically all of them.
Basically my whole life, because it was a very long story of resiliency and rebellion.
And there was one chapter after another that was painful. Here’s a resiliency box, put it over there. Go do this. And then Wow, that was painful again, put it in another box and push it back over there and go do this. And then when that happened, I didn’t just break open the box that the previous one that I had built, but all of them all at the same time. All opened up.
Wow. Can you tell us more than about what happened and what did you realize what’s happening in you? When you realize, oh my god, everything I saw true about me is actually not.
Well, it wasn’t just about me, it’s about everything. Like, I have this perception of reality. And now my perception of everything is different. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
So I thought it was an existential crisis.
It was an awakening. On the outside, everything really changed. Internally, all of a sudden, I’m feeling all of my own past emotions. But at the same time, I tapped into this level of empathy that I didn’t know was possible. And I’m experiencing things like, okay, the planet is alive, and I can feel it. And it kind of hurts because it’s going in a direction that doesn’t feel good. Am I going crazy. That was my initial reaction to feeling something like that. And if I would go to the grocery store and I go to the meat department, I just, I would have all of this energy or emotion coming from it, like, oh, man, I can’t even go over there. And that was completely foreign to my previous experience. So essentially, my external perception of reality was being rather aggressively questioned, as well as my own perception of self. It was like going both ways. Everything was different, all at one time.
Right. And I bet it must have been super disorientating back then.
Oh yeah, I went to every form of escapism I knew initially, especially just eating lots of food. I probably gained like 15 or 20 pounds in the first three months because if you eat a bunch of food, you don’t feel all that stuff, right?
So that’s an old coping mechanism, right?
What you told me is that you actually took this year also to really integrate what was going on, so that you understood better what is happening within you.
Yeah, I kind of took this year as the idea of ‘I don’t know what’s going on. And I’m not going to try to answer that question right now.’, I’m just gonna kind of go. I like to describe it as you know how people have a quarter of midlife crises and they buy a car? I was like, well, I’m just gonna go travel and explore myself and we’ll see what I think when I’m done.
So that’s how we met is I was on that journey of I don’t know what’s going on but let’s go see some stuff.
It’s interesting what you say because I think that in my experience of teaching or meeting people that have a deep spiritual calling they don’t always understand the emotional rush that can come with an awakening. We imagine that when there’s awakening, it’s all going to be beautiful and amazing but it’s not only that – would you agree with that? That it was also a path actually of encountering and meeting your path? So that you can meet it from another place.
It’s a super beautiful roller coaster. I had no idea. Awakening wasn’t even part of my reality. I didn’t know that I could even have an awakening. That just wasn’t part of my reality and life happens. I could say, Oh, I’m having awakenings. I hadn’t really encountered that vernacular, a lot of people with that kind of experience.
I had no idea until after it happened.
Actually, you started to see that there were a lot of emotions like you were saying, you were going out and you were going to the supermarket and you started to feel plenty of things that you didn’t feel or were not aware of before. So could you say that in your experience of awakening is also an opening to a new perspective? A new point of view? Instead of looking from ‘I am the one living this life and thinking everything, feeling everything’ …there’s something like a step back, you watch yourself actually, would you say that? Would you agree?
And so in that step back, you actually started to notice that there was a rush of emotions or just plenty of emotions from the past that had no space to come before.
They were definitely coming.
I guess consciousness would be the thing in the background and select the observer I had that relationship inside of me already. But I didn’t have it with emotions. So I could be very active like this is what’s going on in my head. It’s not me. These are the words, these are the sentences but I didn’t have any ability to like connect those happenings to the emotional past and understand where they were coming from because it wasn’t there. The awareness of the emotion wasn’t there.
I wasn’t a conscious feeler.
So that’s the thing that opened up for you in that experience.
Yeah, not only in myself. Everywhere else too, and I just feel and know things that I couldn’t know and feel before. And essentially, I’m re-learning to exist now. Now that I’ve calmed down and re learning to do this, I’m like, Okay, well, if I watch the football game, or the basketball game, or anything else on any screen, I feel terrible. Because I’m going in the wrong direction. With me, I feel really uncomfortable getting distracted. And because I can kind of feel that I’m going in an unconscious direction when I’m actively distracting myself. And that was a big part of the old life.
Right. So now you are more aware about your functioning, your old patterns. And it’s like there’s a place where you cannot lie to yourself anymore when you say that.
Oh, totally. Yeah. It’s beautiful and kind of annoying sometimes.
Sometimes you’re like, Oh my god, it was so much easier when it wasn’t conscious.
Yeah, yeah. It’s like, Oh man, I remember before when it was Friday night, and I got bored, I could just call somebody and go do something distracting and self destructive. And it was cool. Yeah. But now, if I think those things, I’m like, Oh, that’s really selfish. Like, if I was to go and just be a lesser version of myself, I feel like that’s just a selfish action to take. So I guess I won’t do that.
So would you mean that opened up a new awareness of your surroundings or your interconnectedness with everyone and everything?
Definitely, the interconnectedness thing is, there’s no question in my mind about it. I’ve had out of body experiences and I feel it and at this point, I feel like everybody’s here. Be a net positive. And we just don’t see that because of the way that we are conditioned. And so I am actively working to just be better and better versions of myself so that other people can see that they can be better versions of themselves too. And just, you know, humanity be a net positive. I feel like we have a bit of a responsibility, as you know, sentient beings, or consciousness or whatever it is that you want to describe us as to show up in this world and don’t have to change the world. We don’t all need to be someone who devotes the entirety of our existence to being a difference, but that’s what I want to do. But at the very least, being conscious and being a net positive, whatever that looks like.
Yeah. So I can totally feel that for myself too that as we awaken there’s a responsibility for something that is greater – that this consciousness is constantly calling to more consciousness. And so this way, what you were saying is that when you start to distract yourself or go unconscious or in the wrong direction, it’s only called wrong just because the internal feeling says this, You’re not to go there, right? It’s nothing wrong because it’s good or bad. It’s wrong only because internally you don’t feel aligned with yourself and with something greater, right.
Yeah. I’m not putting any kind of judgment on how anybody should behave in the world. It’s just my own internal experience. If I do this thing, I mean, I feel I’ve got to use the word ‘wrong’ again. Yeah, because that’s how I feel like oh, this is completely incongruent with my existence right now.
One other thing, that I love that you just said is how much when we awaken, there is this sense of responsibility for something that is greater for humanity, a sense of having to do something or act. But it doesn’t mean that everybody will become a teacher or will actually have an impact specifically on the world. It’s also just about the way I live – my relationship in my family, with my colleagues at my job. How do I relate to the earth? to ecology? Would you agree with that, or what’s your experience about that?
Yeah, that’s actually been one of my primary thoughts with myself right now. Because I know that I have a tendency to go really fast and think really big, and I’m like, okay, I want to change the whole world tomorrow. I need to slow down, it’s not going to work that way. But recognizing that if you follow the things inside of you that you feel, which is what I’m doing, for example, the way that I eat or the way that I consume The way that I live my life, energetically I know that I put out whatever it is that I’m doing. So the people around me, their lives change because of my own behavior. And that’s actually changing the world, just like that. If you choose to meditate every day, and you spend time with other people, and they see that you’re doing that, like, Oh, you know what, I can meditate too, or you choose to not consume animal products because something inside of you tells you not to do it. Then other people around you like, Hey, you know what, he’s not eating meat at this dinner. I don’t feel so bad because I’m not the only one. Just living in congruence with those feelings that you get, you’re holding a space to allow other people to not feel alienated doing it. You’re being an example when other people see someone else doing something, they think that they can do it and make it easier, make it seem more attainable.
It’s like, you become the demonstration of something, you don’t even have to teach it. You be it. And it shines on everyone around you. And you said that and that’s exactly what I would agree with. It’s exactly that. You don’t even have to say it. People can feel it.
Tell me a little bit about how you are in this opening and this awakening that’s happening for you, and you embodying more that you can, everything that you feel and being that…how does it change people around? So how could people who are listening know that by allowing themselves to be fully who they are, not holding back and living by what is true for them…How can it change people around?
I have specific examples, like I chose to move in the direction of eating a plant based diet that doesn’t have animal products. And I have friends around me who have made the same decision, and also some who are just taking like, smaller steps in that direction. I am choosing to think about the way that I vocalize things too. It’s important that I don’t say them in a way that messes with myself… But I feel that drinking alcohol is very incongruent with the direction that I want to go. And it feels pretty terrible when I do. So I’m choosing not to because of the way that it makes me feel. So when I’m at a social gathering, I’m choosing not to drink. And how many other people are thinking about that? Every single person who drinks thinks about not drinking before they do it. You know what I mean? Maybe not every single one. But if you’re in a group of 20 people, and there’s the potential to have a drink, at least half of them are going to think about making that choice before they do it, and if they see someone else saying, ‘Oh yeah, I’m good.’ They’re more inclined like, Oh, you know what? Yeah. I don’t need to do that either.
So what I hear when you say that is like you being you is actually a space of allowance for people to connect with that and be true to themselves.
It’s exactly that.
Holding the space. Yeah, you even just being willing to talk about these things is holding a space. You don’t have to tell people this is what I think, this is what I believe, all of that, but just tell people yeah, this is how I live. This is my experience. I’m not telling you to do anything. I’m not telling you. Do what however you want. I have no judgment on your life. This is just the way I view things. And I’ve learned that everywhere I go. There’s somebody who was looking for somebody to hold that space for them. I’ll be at the gym in the sun. I’ll be talking to someone like Oh, wow. And then they get excited. They start talking about it. They’re open. I live in Las Vegas. And it’s not the most common thing to run into somebody who’s just completely open to say whatever it is, you can tell me that you think you’re an alien. You can tell me anything. It’s cool. You can tell me about the challenges or the triumphs or whatever part of the journey of living your highest self you’re in. The biggest struggle is that a lot of the things that hold us back from our highest self, are these vices. Like for example I’ve used food as a coping mechanism and people don’t like feel like it’s okay to say something like that.
Yeah. Well, would you also say that maybe people don’t even see that it’s a coping mechanism, that the awareness is not even there? That it’s also that there isn’t an awareness about what is really going on. What’s socially acceptable, it’s kind of normalized to certain ways.
Exactly. Having a drink is something normal, having three drinks is something normal eating even when you’re not hungry or plenty of these things, working like crazy, you know, hundreds, or 60 or 80 hours a week, same thing. It seems normal. It’s very much a cultural norm. That’s been hard for me. Because guess which culture I was raised in?
The one with the one with all of those norms. I grew up in America. I was even in the military. They’re very big on working a lot of hours. And they’re very big on using alcohol and food to avoid the fact that you’re working a bunch of hours doing something you don’t want to do.
And one thing that I think is different when you encounter these opening these awakenings is that you do feel that you are different from the rest. And it’s almost like you are going against the flow of society or most people. Could you talk about that? Did you have any feelings like that? Do you have to deal with that?
There’s the social experience and the internal experience, right? So in the social experience, this has been a big part of my last year actually, is I really enjoy spending time with people and engaging, but a lot of social activities, pull you out of engaging and into being distracted together. And so for my experience, a lot of times, I just don’t want to socialize, like I want to socialize, but I don’t want to go do the thing that’s being like the socialization activity, because I’m socializing with people and there’s a TV on, it’s kind of uncomfortable. I actually don’t like to hear TVs.
So and then there’s an internal experience and it’s there’s the internal one is even more difficult – the internal one and this has probably been the primary struggle for me in the last few months, is there’s this incredibly loud and irritating voice that keeps on telling you that I need to do something to be a part of the GDP. It just keeps on saying it, like you need to go like, what are you going to do for this? What do you do for that? And I don’t actually need to go make money right now, but there’s something in my head, that keeps on running and it’s visible. And I’m like, dude, just, no, I’m just gonna sit still and not do anything you say until you stop. I’m not gonna do anything to give into those paradigms that are running. Until they quiet down.
And it’s really difficult because the rest of me is like, you need to go and do something that is about making a difference. It’s about being the most yourself. And a lot of the things that my mind says to do that are a product of that, especially the entrepreneur culture that we’re both very familiar with, say, Go work, go make sales, do the grind. Like, how are you going to make more money? What about getting the stuff that you don’t want? And the voice is still there. But everything else in me is like, well, you don’t want any of that. So it’s almost like I don’t want to say a war. but just this nagging background, that’s getting quieter, but it’s still there. So that’s the internal is probably where it’s been more of a struggle. I’ve always been pretty good at marching to the beat of my own drum. But in this particular instance, that’s probably been one of the primary struggles of the recent past.
I hear also that the battle is actually about staying true to yourself. So what I see when when you speak is that you know, we have these two voices, there is something that is just a deep voice, like the still small voice as we can call it sometimes that is a deeper voice that is really leading you into being yourself. And then there’s the head voice, always judging saying, you know, pushing you into something, and in a way, it’s like keeping the chatter of the mind alive. And therefore telling you to act and do and do and do and do. And what I hear you doing is actually that you switching from doing doing doing doing mentality, to coming into being and allowing the time also for the doing to come from being is that right?
Absolutely, the mind kind of has voices and I feel like the inner thing is more of a knowing.
Exactly. Pure. You just know, that’s definitely the way that I’m moving. And the biggest struggle is that the mind is like, well, you need to know what that plan is gonna look like, and you need to know what you’re going to do. And you need to have a plan. And that’s not how it works.
Yeah, did you see that if you if actually, you take your hands off the wheel, and that you allow the flow to guide you to a lot this knowing actually to guide you that it’s far, much effortless. And also that then it’s really what you are about today. It’s not about who you were in the past, nor about who you’re going to be in the future. It’s about now.
I completely agree it’s so much easier. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m allowing that space so that the mind just keeps on saying no, no, put your hands on the wheel. Your hands on the wheel. I like that. This car, I don’t want to lose the car. I am the car. Let go.
That is beautiful. I’m so excited. I really love talking with you because it’s so beautiful. Everything that you realize and the way you put it into words also. Is there another thing like one last thing that you would like to say that I didn’t ask you about? Or something that you would like to say to the listeners as the last word?
I think the primary way that I’ve articulated my experience of my waking up experience is a great thing that I could share. And you remember I shared with you when we talked like the understanding of the rainbow? So my whole life, or I guess up until everything changed, my mind had this story of who John Cruz is and if my entire experience the past was a rainbow, it would say you’re Brown. And up until that point where I had compassion for myself, all of the other colors were not visible, but they existed, like they were in my memory. But I couldn’t access that memory. Because I had the resilience, Brown was the resilience personality. And it’s like, well, that’s who I am. And that’s who I needed to be in those times. Then, when I had this compassion for myself, with the one experience with the experience that I had, that I told on my podcast that changed everything – was my dad killing himself when I was 26. So four and a half years ago, and then I listened to the story of my own dad’s suicide.
And so when I heard it, I was like, well, that’s not Brown. When I had that empathy for myself because I was hearing myself, what I felt for myself, in that point of empathy it was not Brown, it was a different color. It was a range of colors. And it kind of delineated my idea of myself, my memory expanded exponentially. I mean, even to this day, I’m remembering more and more and more and more. And it gives me like this even bigger data set to share my experience with how I understand how everything changes, like well, because my memory expanded by like 20.
So I can explain these complex ideas like I have these different versions of selves running ideas through because I can see them. And recognizing that with all of your own experiences, if you look back and you have this experience, and it’s bothering you, just imagine yourself moving over just a tiny bit, and feeling the experience from a different emotion. And then that aspect of self just kinda can’t be what I thought it was anymore, because you felt something different.
Just imagine being there in a different emotion or a different color, a different variation, because every single experience you go through is like an infinite spectrum. There’s just so much more there than our mind will often tell us. Whether it’s an old relationship or a past traumatic experience, or beautiful stuff. That’s what’s wild too, is every instance where I had the box that was resilience or something else. There was a whole bunch of beautiful stuff hidden in the box behind the label that I had given it. It wasn’t just like, Oh, I experienced this painful aspect of what happened with my dad. Oh, I also had these great experiences with him and there’s love that I couldn’t see either because I had put the beauty in there with the pain I put it with the box of resilience. So there’s this whole spectrum of everything you’ve experienced that you can kind of just keep re-experiencing life over and over again in different ways all the time.
Bringing always more awareness to everything that you have gone through. And to me, it’s a way to consciousness that works to actually get you to be completely free.
Yeah, once you realize it’s not you, it’s super freeing. I mean, for me, it was uncomfortable at first because I kind of got hit by all of it at once. But incredibly freeing. It’s like, oh, when I hear that I in my head, I question it. If there’s a sentence in my head that says something, I stop. And I think who is that? What is that? Is that me? Or is that just an old idea? From some old experience? It’s usually the latter. It’s usually some old idea and then I can question the idea of like, Oh yeah, that’s that’s not me, that’s just an experience.
Yeah. And one last thing that I heard also in what you say, to reframe it in in other words is that what I heard was brown in the colors. Is that when you only believed you were brown you didn’t have the awareness of all the colors? Then suddenly you were hit by the colors. It’s like your spectrum of awareness grew exponentially and suddenly the things that automatically your subconscious was getting from your awareness you started to see them.
Yeah, absolutely. I was like, yeah, whoa, there’s a lot of stuff that was happening that I couldn’t see. But it also changed everything outside. It’s like everything became a lot more colorful. I can see so much more and including the different levels – I like to call it the different levels of the matrix – like not as if this is a computer program but like just the the conditioning from different like social classes or the military or entertainment or whatever the case may be. All of that just becomes really visible all of a sudden, because the only reason I was in tune with it in the first place is because there was something going on back there that I couldn’t see. But now I can see it and like oh, I guess I don’t believe that anymore.
That’s exciting to just not believe anything you believe. It’s freeing.
Completely beautiful. Well, thank you so much, John. I’m very happy that you were here today and if people want to follow you, listen to you or get to know you better, follow what you speak about, where could they find you?
The primary place to find me is Instagram. My handle is John Kruze. I also host a podcast myself called Crafting Life with Kruze.