Nate Klemp: Open, Expansive, and Free

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February 27, 2024

Nate Klemp: Open, Expansive, and Free

Nate Klemp February 27, 2024

It’s not just you. Millions upon millions of people today are feeling more stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed than ever before. As a result, explains philosopher and writer Dr. Nate Klemp, a lot of us are contracting ourselves—closing our minds in an effort to shield ourselves from the constant noise of the 21st century. With his new book, Open, Nate explores possible solutions to help us shift into a life of expansiveness, creativity, and wonder. 

Press the play button and join Tami Simon in conversation with this innovative and inspiring thinker, discussing: breaking free from screen addiction; the drivers of closure; the concept of “feast practice”; our need for novelty; an experiment that may shock you; the practice of staying; shifting from a wandering mind to “meta awareness”; how an open mind is synonymous with an open heart; overcoming separateness; noticing your “closure cues”; skillful closing; the intent to win versus the intent to understand; the portal of bliss and the portal of suffering; getting unstuck; letting go; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Nate Klemp, PhD, is a philosopher, writer, and mindfulness entrepreneur. He is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Start Here and the New York Times critics’ pick The 80/80 Marriage. His work has been featured in the LA TimesPsychology Today, the Times of London, and more, and his appearances include Good Morning America and Talks at Google. He’s a cofounder of LifeXT and founding partner at Mindful. For more, visit nateklemp.com or @Nate_Klemp on Instagram.

Author photo © Stacy Moore

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Nate Klemp: Open, Expansive, and Free

It’s not just you. Millions upon millions of people today are feeling more stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed than ever before. As a result, explains philosopher and writer Dr. Nate Klemp, a lot of us are contracting ourselves—closing our minds in an effort to shield ourselves from the constant noise of the 21st century. With his new book, Open, Nate explores possible solutions to help us shift into a life of expansiveness, creativity, and wonder. 

Press the play button and join Tami Simon in conversation with this innovative and inspiring thinker, discussing: breaking free from screen addiction; the drivers of closure; the concept of “feast practice”; our need for novelty; an experiment that may shock you; the practice of staying; shifting from a wandering mind to “meta awareness”; how an open mind is synonymous with an open heart; overcoming separateness; noticing your “closure cues”; skillful closing; the intent to win versus the intent to understand; the portal of bliss and the portal of suffering; getting unstuck; letting go; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

5 Tools to Create More Space in Your Mind

Busyness, distraction, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.

I realize that’s a strange thing to say. Most of us don’t think of our mind as something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.

But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.

What happens in these moments? 

First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts about the past and the future. As a result, we lose touch with the direct experience of present time.

Second, we lose perspective. We can’t see the big picture anymore. Instead, it’s like we’re viewing life through a long and narrow tunnel. We become blind to possibility, fixated on problems.

Put these two together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for eradicating space in the mind. The landscape of the mind begins to feel like a calendar jammed with so many meetings, events, and obligations that these neon colored boxes cover-up even the smallest slivers of white space. 

So it could be nice for our partner, for our kids, and, mostly, for our ourselves to consider: how can we create more space in the mind?

Here are five tools for creating mental space. If you want to go deeper, check out my new book with Sounds True on the topic called OPEN: Living With an Expansive Mind in a Distracted World.

1. Meditation.

You’ve no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.

That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind. To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you.

2. Movement.

So, maybe you’re not the meditating type. That’s fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.

The key word here is “undistracted.” For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets covered over by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, swim, or practice yoga.

3. Relax.

When it comes to creating headspace, we moderns, with our smartphone-flooded, overly-stimulated, minds seem to inevitably encounter a problem: we’re often too stressed, amped, and agitated to open.

Relaxation – calming the nervous system – is perhaps the best way to counter this effect and create more fertile ground for opening. When we relax – the real kind, not the Netflix or TikTok kind –  the grip of difficult emotions loosens, the speed of our whirling thoughts slows, and, most important, the sense of space in our mind begins to expand.

How can you relax? Try yoga. Try extended exhale breathing, where you inhale four counts, exhale eight counts. Try yoga nidra. Or, just treat yourself to a nap.

4. See bigger.

When life gets crazy, the mind isn’t the only thing that shrinks. The size of our visual field also gets smaller. Our eyes strain. Our peripheral vision falls out of awareness.

What’s the antidote to this tunnel vision view? See bigger.

Try it right now. With a soft gaze, allow the edges of your visual field to slowly expand. Imagine you’re seeing whatever happens to be in front of you from the top of a vast mountain peak. Now bring this more expansive, panoramic, way of seeing with you for the rest of the day.

5. Do nothing.

Now for the most advanced practice. It’s advanced because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do — to do nothing.

Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.

Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don’t freak out too much. 

Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.

Nate Klemp, PhD, is a philosopher, writer, and mindfulness entrepreneur. He is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Start Here and the New York Times critics’ pick The 80/80 Marriage. His work has been featured in the LA Times, Psychology Today, the Times of London, and more, and his appearances include Good Morning America and Talks at Google. He’s a cofounder of LifeXT and founding partner at Mindful. For more, visit nateklemp.com or @Nate_Klemp on Instagram.

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S1 Bonus 1 We Are The Great Turning Podcast

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 1, “Love and Loss,” deeper into your life. Jess will guide you through a simple yet profound exercise called Open Sentences where you’ll be prompted to speak from your heart. It will take about 25 minutes. 

All you’ll need is a friend and a place that is quiet enough for you to speak freely and listen carefully to one another. If that’s not possible and you want to try this alone, you can answer out loud or write the questions in a journal. 

The prompts for this exercise are:

  • Some things I love about being alive on earth today are…
  • What breaks my heart about living on earth in this time is… 
  • If I withhold my feelings about what’s happening in the world right now, I do so because… 
  • What keeps me going when the world breaks my heart is…

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

Judith Orloff: The Healing Power of Empathy

When we think about those special traits or abilities we consider to be “superpowers,” empathy isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, empathy is often seen as a weakness, not a strength. Through her bestselling books and her work training new psychiatrists, Dr. Judith Orloff is helping to change the narrative around empathy. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Orloff about her new book, The Genius of Empathy, and how we can each begin to cultivate an empathic style that supports a thriving life. 

Tune in now for their conversation on how empathy opens the heart and fosters healing, the beauty of self-empathy and how it differs from self-compassion, empathy overwhelm, the four styles of empathy and how to identify your own, boundary-setting tools for empaths, the empathy spectrum, empathy deficiency disorders, trauma and empathy, letting go of resentment and helping it let go of you, empathic attunement, the practice of shielding, transmitting empathic love to people and places in need, observing without absorbing, and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Anita Moorjani: Embodying Love in a Fear-Based World

How do we stem the tides of fear and aggression sweeping over our divided world? How can we spread the love that heals and uplifts everyone? Sharing insights from her bestselling book, Dying to Be Me, and her latest work, Sensitive Is the New Strong, Anita Moorjani offers her hope-giving answers to these questions of compelling urgency for our times. 

Tune in for this remarkable teacher’s inspiring (and in many ways utterly mind-blowing) conversation with Sounds True’s founder, Tami Simon, as they discuss: a nonlinear understanding of time; living fearlessly; how to attune to the helping beings that surround us at all times; raising your vibrational frequency; the practice of asking for signs; following your intuition; how humanity’s belief in scarcity is contributing to our self-destruction; the root cause of the divisiveness in today’s world, and why we need a new way of defining “strength”; moving beyond limitations inherited from our families and cultures; the consequences of repressing oneself; becoming unapologetically who we are; the body as a reflection of our state of consciousness; multiple lives, one soul; embracing your gifts as an empath; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

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