This is the audio and video recording of my interview with Ellen Petry Leanse (TEDx: Happiness by Design) and author of “The Happiness Hack: a brain-aware guide to life satisfaction”. I hope you enjoy listening to our discussion on the topic of happiness.
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Transcription of the podcast episode:
Please excuse any typo’s, I use a transcription service to create a text version of the audio recording. If there are any issues with the transcription, please let me know.
All right. So, those of you who are watching us live, welcome. I’m excited to have Ellen Petry Leanse on the podcast with me today. [00:17:00] Specifically, right now for a live interview/discussion on the topic of happiness. So, Ellen is a technology pioneer. She’s an alum of Apple, Google and the range of entrepreneurial ventures. And she works at the crossroads of neuroscience, systems thinking and mindfulness practices. So, a very good fit for the audience that listens to the podcast. She teaches at Stanford [00:17:30] University. She guides individuals and organizations to increase impact and purpose through sustainable mindsets and skills. So, thank you, Ellen, for joining me today on this live interview/discussion.
Ellen Leanse: Thank you so much, Noah. Secular Buddhism is my go-to podcast and it’s really so much fun and such an honor to be here. So, thank you and hello to everybody out there who’s joined us this morning.
Noah Rasheta: [00:18:00] Great. Okay. I’m just double checking the comments, making sure that that’s all working properly. We’ve got people from all over. Someone from Mumbai, India. Hi, Asha. Okay. So, if you guys have any issues with the audio, let me know. I’m using my podcast mic today so I just want to make sure that the audio level is okay, if it’s too loud or not loud enough, let me know in the comments.
[00:18:30] We have several things to jump into here. The overall topic for our conversation today is happiness. I think this is such a vital topic to discuss because happiness is one of those things that we’re all after, right? We all want to experience this. But I feel like at times, we may not fully understand what it actually is. Like, what does it actually mean to be happy? [00:19:00] I have this thought the other day, thinking about love. Like, we all want to be loved or to love, but what does actually mean? When I spend time thinking about it like that, I realized it’s really hard to define. I think happiness falls in that same vein of maybe it’s not what we think it is, or we’ll understand it better if we learn about what’s really going on in our mind and in our brain. From an emotional standpoint, but also from a physiological [00:19:30] standpoint. The actual chemicals that cause us to feel the way that we feel.
Ellen is the expert to talk to about this topic, so I was really excited when I picked up her book, The Happiness Hack. We’ll talk a little bit about this. As I read through it and seen that the close correlation between the neuroscience of happiness and the mindfulness-based approach to the understanding of happiness, [00:20:00] I thought was really well done and really well explained.
Before we jump into the book, Ellen, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your journey with the topic of happiness? What led you to be an expert on the topic of happiness? For those listening, by expert, I mean Ellen has given a TEDx talk, “Happiness by Design,” which you can check out on TED’s website. And then, of course the author of The Happiness [00:20:30] Hack, a brain aware guide to life satisfaction. So, tell us a little bit about that journey, Ellen.
Ellen Leanse: Thank you, Noah. I think I’m still a learner about it because there’s so much more to be known about happiness and what creates that feeling that we all crave and covetous that we think is our set point or maybe our aspiration in human experience.
But I think, number of years back, as I talk about it in the book, I [00:21:00] was living a life that probably from the outside looking in, seeing like something anybody should be happy with. Mind you, there were many things that brought me deep joy and satisfaction, connection with my family, my sons, the times when I felt really aligned with my personal intention, the work I found satisfaction in doing. And even in some of the very simple things of caring for a family and having a home, and so forth.
But there was this other thing happening on the surface that felt [00:21:30] very confusing and I didn’t know what it was about. I really couldn’t understand why there was a static in my life about the internal things that I knew make me happy and the things that seem to be getting validation and approval in the outside world. The validation and approval, I have to say, I saw it probably as much as any other human saw. But it’s kind of about the public-facing persona, the every day being great, the things we [00:22:00] bought or owned or wore, whatever it was, were the things that tended to get the approval rather than the things that really made me happy. The highlight of my day might have been sitting with one of my children before he went to bed, and reading or really talking about the day. But the things that got the most validation and celebration on the outside world were completely different than that. I felt confused.
I started reading about the topic [00:22:30] of life purpose and what it really meant to be a satisfied human and to have a good life. Everything from the Stoics to the sciences. It was when I stumbled upon my first books about neuroscience, and understanding some of the chemical processes in the brain, and really aligning that with things I read in psychology and in other disciplines, I started seeing that there were cycles in the brain that could easily be exploited and validated externally [00:23:00] that would create a certain type of reinforcement or check off the box like, “Ah yeah. This is good and it’s making sense.” That actually really weren’t working for me. And as I thought more deeply about it and learned more, I realized they weren’t really working that well for other people either.
I started diving deeper into the way the brain works, looking certainly at our emotional and memory systems. And then, the cognitive systems that wrap around those and create [00:23:30] our experience of reality or our perception of reality, more aptly put. And then, the icing on the cake is when I started studying the work of the Buddha and the wisdom of the Buddha, and began to realize that 3000 years ago, under the Bodhi tree, someone came to this deep understanding on a mindbogglingly, mindblowingly perceptive and deep level that [00:24:00] really explained the human condition of why we so often get happiness wrong.
Noah Rasheta: I love that. Yeah, something that stood out to me in your book, you talked about how your experience with unhappiness and how something clicked when you started learning about your brain. What I enjoyed about your book, in some ways, it reads like a manual. If you understand what’s going on, [00:24:30] it’s easier to work with what you’re experiencing, whether that be suffering or discomfort or, in this case, we’re talking about happiness. What is actually happening when we’re experiencing these emotions.
One of the things I want to talk about, first, is what is happiness? How do you define happiness? There’s that chemical composition of what you feel, [00:25:00] but there’s more to it. Tell me a little bit about your view of the definition of happiness. What are we talking about when we’re talking about happiness.
Ellen Leanse: All I can say is, it’s a great question, isn’t it? I think that’s one of the things that’s really hard to define, but I would imagine …
Happiness we would probably use generically to the feeling that things are making sense and that we’re fitting into something bigger, and that we are [00:25:30] validated. Although, I’m a little bit careful with this word. Validated for the way we are participating in the fuller reality. However, I think there is another meaning of happiness that has been sort of hijacked, if you will, by many of the experiences that we have in modern life.
If we go back on an evolutionary level, we go back to our biology when we were living a very different type of [00:26:00] human life that we’re living today, happiness might be the reward we would feel from, say, someone bringing home something from a hunt or from a gather that would allow the clan to sustain itself. In that, there would be a couple of different types of happiness happening. There would be the reward we would get from the dopamine cycle. So, the dopamine cycle flows from a motivation to an achievement to a reward [00:26:30] loop. So, we would have that dopamine charge that we would get. And dopamine was very important for motivating early humans to get through some of the challenges they had to face simply in order to survive.
I’d love to segue for a moment into the concept of distraction. Distraction is usually associated with the dopamine motivation, achievement and rewards cycle. Distraction served our survival when we were earlier humans. We might be walking [00:27:00] along the paths and see a little grub on a tree, and go and grab it. We’d have the satisfaction not only of then having nourishment, but of, “Aha. I saw it.” So, that distraction had a certain type of reward. But if you think of distraction at that time we’re probably getting distracted by things … By the way, one other thing on distraction. More than likely, it was also something rustling in the grass, we could say, “Ah!” And then fire the amygdala response and flee or fight as needed [00:27:30] if something was putting us in peril.
Today distraction is manufactured and it’s manufactured by people who fully understand the dopamine loop and that jolt of happiness that it gives us. And know how to exploit it through the images they show us, the buttons they give us to click. All of these different things that are causing us to be distracted, not only a few times a day in order to find a little opportunistic nibble to eat, [00:28:00] or to avoid a potential danger, but to do what they want us to do, which is engage with their products or engage with their experiences or buy the thing that they’re selling. And so, our dopamine experience has been largely hijacked by all of this onslaught of media and technology that is in our lives.
However, if you talk to people, they’re not going to tell you that makes them happy. They’re going to say, “I wasted hours [00:28:30] doing this.” I was with a friend over Thanksgiving weekend. He said, “My gosh. I’ve been doing this now for 20 minutes. I’ve completely wasted 20 minutes. Why did I keep doing it?” And we’ve all been there. So, this is posing as happiness, but it’s not really what happiness is on a human level.
Human happiness, my book asserts and as do many psychologists, philosophers, scientists and many more, is much more about the serotonin [00:29:00] cycles, which are really what the agents call eudaimonic happiness. It’s the happiness you work for. It’s true satisfaction. It’s when you have done something that personally expresses you and your unique talents and purpose in a way that serves others, or allows you to grow, or creates this feeling that “I’ve made a small corner of the world more beautiful than it was before and thus something that I’ve done really matters.” [00:29:30] This is how much, compared to what I call the tequila shot happiness of dopamine, which is on the counter and you shoot it, and then you go, “Oh, what was I thinking?” This is the one where you go, “No, I’m pushing it away. I have to be with friends tomorrow. I have a hike in the morning. Or I have work tomorrow.” And you have this feeling of satisfaction, like, “I did the right thing.” And that’s the serotonin satisfaction that I believe is largely getting hijacked by these externally created dopamine experiences.
Noah Rasheta: [00:30:00] Hmm. Okay. I like that. So, it sounds like what you’re saying, the distinction between these types of happiness, part of our problem lies in how we’re defining happiness, right? Looking for the instant gratification and the feeling that that gives us, versus the feeling that we get when we’ve accomplished something that we’ve set out to do. So, [00:30:30] it sounds to me like the definition, whether … If I know the definition, I’m one step ahead of myself now, right? Because I can start to see, “Wait. Why am I really doing this? Am I going for that instant gratification shot of happiness? Or am I working towards something bigger that gives me a greater sense of joy?” So, I can see how awareness plays an important part in this.
[00:31:00] Would you say that it’s fair to say that when we’re not aware, we maybe going for that instant shot without realizing that it’s the instant shot. We maybe experiencing even the gratification of the instant shot and not realizing it. You mentioned specifically, “Yeah I do this, and then, I’m like, oh, why did I do that?” But what about those scenarios where we don’t say, “Oh, why did I do that?” Because we think that what we got was what [00:31:30] we wanted, so we stay in that cycle and we keep going.
Ellen Leanse: First of all, that’s a … Thank you for synopsizing it so well. Ooh, I’m in awe. So, a really important adage from the field of neuroscience is your brain will do more of whatever it’s doing right now. So, the brain is constantly updating its hypothesis of what it takes for you to be safe and to survive. We say, “What’s the purpose of the brain?” 9 people out of 10 are going to say, “Oh, to think.” Well, you’re right. The brain does think [00:32:00] and it’s really good at it. But mostly what your brain is going to do is think in service of keeping you safe and alive. That’s our evolutionary biology. So, your brain will do more of whatever you’re doing right now.
A really good word to use here is “normalize.” Whatever you’re doing, the brain will normalize as part of its hypothesis of what keeps you safe and alive. If you’re doing things that are riding that dopamine tide, your brain is going to go, “Oh my gosh, that’s what it takes to survive.” [00:32:30] Many people will say that the brain never evolved to the point where in the moment it can tell the difference between a dopamine charge and something that’s going to give you the more lasting serotonin feeling. I’m not sure I agree because if you look at in Buddhism, the discussion of an appropriate response, right? That we are going to work with the responsive mind rather than the reactive mind, which is very much why we meditate and why we train [00:33:00] the brain to that moment to moment awareness. You’re going to see that we had some understanding of the react work of the fast brain right here, or even of the dopamine loop. And the response of the more disciplined, intentional, aware and mindful, more serotonin-associated. It’s not exactly puzzle piece match here, but they’re more associated with each other. But of the response modality, which is [00:33:30] consideration, which is mindfulness, which is awareness.
So, for example, I might be using my phone, which is we all have them right here near us. And I don’t get alerts, but let’s say I go and check how something I posted on Instagram is doing. “Oh, did people like that really great picture I posted last night?” And I go in. I could look and see what my likes are, respond to my comments or whatever, but then, because of the way dopamine works, I’m very motivated by, “What’s the next thing below? What’s the next [00:34:00] thing below?” And start scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through it. But if I have trained myself to say, “Ah, look at your dopamine at work.” Right? I don’t even have dopamine alert, right? And then say, what matters now? What really matters now? I can find an awareness that brings me back to what really matters more and get off of that hijack. If the brain will do more of whatever it’s doing right now, we can look at an example like that and say, “Oh [00:34:30] my gosh. The more I stop myself and remind myself to break this biological cycle, the more likely I am to get more of what I’m really seeking on a deeper level and invite in a new biological cycle that’s actually much healthier for me and much more desirable for me and much more in keeping with my purpose in life.”
And by the way, it is healthier for you because between dopamine and serotonin are very, very different chemical responses associated with stress chemicals, which [00:35:00] I’d love to get into maybe in another conversation, but that’s a whole different thing. Suffice to say that serotonin is much more associated with healthy body physiology and stress management, even stress reduction than dopamine is, which is very linked to cortisol cycles.
Did that answer your question or anything like it, Noah? I hope I did.
Noah Rasheta: Yeah, it did. In fact, you brought up something that I think [inaudible 00:35:31] [00:35:30] really well with the mindfulness-based approach. You talked about the normalization, the idea that this is what I always do, so it feels normal, so I keep doing it. From the Buddhist perspective, that’s what we would call conditioning, right? The conditioned mind is, you can say, the normalized mind and we become habitually reactive. I don’t just mean reactive in the sense of something happens and I react. I [00:36:00] just mean my very thoughts can be reactive. A certain thought triggers a certain thought. And that thought triggers a certain thought. That process itself can be my habitual reactivity.
Now, if I understand that what’s happening in my mind is this process of normalization that you’re talking about, what I may find is a scenario, which I’ve seen. I may even be experiencing it, I’m not sure, because I think sometimes it’s really hard [00:36:30] to see it in ourselves, but I’ve seen this recently where someone was saying, “I’m so grateful for the happiness that I have in my life.” And I was listening thinking, “Wait a second. You don’t seem like a happy person. I always hear complaining or this or that.” But I thought, “How fascinating that this person’s baseline of happiness seems normal and in their mind it’s up here. It’s like, I’m this happy person.” Where from another [00:37:00] perspective someone may be looking, thinking, “No, you’re not really a happy person.” Could that be the normalization that we’re talking about? You know what I mean?
I think from the mindfulness-based approach, that’s what we’re saying, not just about happiness, but everything is we become habitual in our thought patterns. Especially in our thought patterns. So, this is the idea that there’s this [00:37:30] quote that’s attributed to the Buddha that’s not really a quote from the Buddha, but the general idea is, we become what we think, right? So, what we’re thinking constantly determines how we are. I think if you apply that to a concept like happiness, you can be in a position where you think you’re living this happy life, but maybe you’re not.
I’m thinking of my experience that I talked about many times [00:38:00] on the podcast of looking for Chris, my supplier in China. My assumption was that Chris was a man. When I went to meet with Chris, there was Chris, and I couldn’t see him because he wasn’t a him. She was there and eventually I did find her, and realized that I was shocked to discover, “Oh, that’s not who I had in my mind this whole time of who Chris was.” I think we do that with a lot of concepts. Happiness is a concept, right? Whatever [00:38:30] your definition of happiness is, that may be blinding you from discovering what happiness really is. Does that sound applicable in this case?
Ellen Leanse: Oh, yes. All that and more. I want to come back to Chris in a moment, but first, I’d like to go back to the person who said, “I’m so grateful for my happiness” who didn’t feel like a happy person. Two things hit me. One of them is that I think there’s so much pressure on people to be a happy person right now, which is so … It [00:39:00] really saddens me to think of that because so much of our image of what happiness is, is based on things that we might see on a billboard or a commercial or something like that. Just these grinning joyful people living a perfect life or with this highly curated and selected feeds that we’re exposed to of people sharing their family moments and their fabulous vacations. I love to call it the disease of [00:39:30] fabulitis. Contagious fabulousness that we’re all supposed to aspire to. And it leaves us feeling short or left out or we’re not quite achieving. Like, we’ve fallen off of that. So, we strive harder to filling the gap by proving we’re as happy and fabulous as that too.
As I said, this is largely a chemical hijack. And it’s really something that I think a lot of people are suffering with. Like, so [00:40:00] and so has this perfect life. We all probably know friends that we know intimately and closely enough to know that they have bad days and stumbles and even bad hair days and everything as much as any other human does, but we’re never going to see this on their social feeds. I have friends, for example, who have [inaudible 00:40:20] on kids. My kids are grown, but they’re going to show the high points, but they’re not going to show the 3:00 a.m. wake ups and what [00:40:30] it felt like to be so tired getting ready for work the next morning. So, this whole artificial concept of what the baseline is. If we really think about that how that baseline came about, it’s really what you were saying about that you said that thought triggers thought, and that this habitually reactive conditioning that we get, it says, there’s a way we’re supposed to be and if we do these things, we will be it. And then, finally, we will [00:41:00] feel the way we’ve been hoping to feel.
And clearly, that was a problem in the time of Buddha because these were some of the things that he really dove into when he was trying to answer these big questions that shaped his life. Even thinking about the Skandhas, for example, when he really broke out. How the brain responds to these external stimuli and really referencing our longterm memory, our short term memory, our emotions, all of these other [00:41:30] things, that’s exactly how it works. But it can trick us if we let it.
The way to break through that is to understand that, yes, our minds do become conditioned. That is how we survived back in the jungle and the millions of years on our evolutionary tree that preceded that, we were responding and learning from our environments in ways that shaped our survival. As we advanced [00:42:00] as humans and as we developed these very unique forebrains right here, the prefrontal cortices, new types of thinking came in that created possibilities for us that very ironically were intentioned with some of these earlier more fast brain, more – and to use a computer jargon here – debugged processing systems in our brain. And this tension is our challenge and our [00:42:30] opportunity and it’s really what the Buddha looked at when exploring react versus respond. It’s exactly like Daniel Kahneman’s book that I’m sure many listeners will have heard of about the fast brain and the slow brain. But what Kahneman didn’t do that the Buddha does is guide us to ways of shifting gears, and my book talks about this with the car analogy, between these two modalities so that we can move toward more of what really brings us [00:43:00] happiness.
“I’m so grateful for my happiness, but I don’t feel happiness.” My heart hurts for that person because she like so many others have been conditioned to say, “My life is supposed to be a little bit better or different than it is now” or “If only I had this or that, then finally, I have the happiness.” We get these messages that say, again, states lead to traits and maybe they do over time. That if we think it, we can create [00:43:30] it. That’s true to an extent, but perhaps underlying those words that say, “I’m grateful for my happiness” is this state that so many of us feel that says, “It’s not quite what it should be.” And that’s the thing that really holds us from finding satisfaction.
Noah Rasheta: Yeah. That really resonates with me, the idea of being caught up in this world of thinking there is a way it should be and how that thought can rob [00:44:00] us of happiness. I want to touch on something that you mentioned really quickly with the evolution of the brain, as Daniel Kahneman, and Thinking, Fast and Slow, talks about the fast and the slow, the more primitive and the more evolved parts of the brain. Correlating this to the teaching in Buddhism of the two arrows, I just thought this is a unique condition here, but the teaching is that you can get shot [00:44:30] by an arrow and you can’t do anything about it. You’ve been shot by an arrow. That’s it. But you can pick up a second arrow and aggravate the wound, right? And it’s like, you get shot, and then you pick up that second arrow and you’re like, “Why did you have to shoot me here?” And you’re poking at that spot with that second arrow.
I was thinking about this with the correlation with the more evolved part of the mind, what makes us human is we can think. That’s one thing. So do animals. But [00:45:00] we think about thinking. And maybe that that’s second layer where there’s what we’re experiencing, happiness as an emotion, and then there’s that thinking about happiness. Should I be happy? Is this happy enough? Do I need more of it? Things of that nature that starts to bring in the second layer or the second arrow element that goes beyond, “Now, I’m not just sitting with the original emotion, taking it in, and saying, wow this is great because I’m thinking maybe [00:45:30] that I’m guilty for feeling happy” or something along those lines.
Ellen Leanse: So, right. You’ve invited in the perfect entry to the limbic system, which is at the very core of our brain, the cognitive parts of the brain, the cortex wrap around it. It’s actually quite deep back in the brain. We can think of an evolutionary model of the brain that survival mechanisms evolved from back moving up toward the front of the brain, and then, the more cognitive thing started to evolve [00:46:00] leading to the prefrontal cortex up at right here at the forehead. Heres the prefrontal cortex. I love, when I talk about the brain is you give your prefrontal cortex a hug by putting your fingers together and then sort of wrapping your forehead like that. That’s your PFC is.
Let’s tie this into the emotional center of the brain, which is, if you look at it anatomically, it really is nestled right in there with all of the motor and cognitive and [00:46:30] perception parts of the brain. Mind you, in Buddhism we don’t talk about the senses. We talk about the sense gates or the sense doors, and how they bring in information from the outside world where it’s simply interpreted by the brain. And that’s fully integrated with all of the cognitive parts, but also with our limbic system, which is emotions and memories. That’s sort of in the book I talk about. It’s the rubber band ball. Layer upon layer at the center of the brain.
A teacher of [00:47:00] mine once asked the question. He was asking me to describe and to have a memory that filled me with a sense of enjoyment or pleasure. And I described to him this really beautiful place, my happy place, and how I loved visualize it. He goes, “Where is the beauty?” And of course that was such a beautiful question because the beauty is inside. I mean, it’s still in that place over on the north shore of Oahu, but I’m not seeing it right now. But the beauty is still there inside. [00:47:30] So, the brain always has its maps and perceptions of what you value or enjoy or fear or feel shameful of or retreat from because of the way cognition works with that core limbic system, with that memory and emotion center in the beginning.
So, you might, to your question, about the two arrows, Noah, you might experience a moment of happiness, followed by a sense of “I don’t deserve this.” So, there’s shame or something [00:48:00] like that. That is the limbic system and its entrenched patterns and those more familiar bands around the rubber band ball of your emotional memory, long term memory experiences. Much of which, by the way, is subconscious. We’re not even aware of what those things are. Like the rubber band ball, they’re wadded up in the middle and we don’t even know what all the other bands are built around. But that second arrow is the association probably with subconscious thoughts in the limbic system.
There’s a special word for moments like that, that I think [00:48:30] is really helpful, and that is “information.” When we have that second arrow experience, we say, “Ah. I felt good, but then I judged it or I retreated from it or I said I wasn’t worthy.” That what was happening there? “Oh, now I see. I was wounding myself with a second arrow.” And then, remove the judgment or shame that we might often feel in a moment like that. We might say, “I’m always limiting myself. I won’t let myself get happy. What’s my problem?” We might say something like that. [00:49:00] That’s a third arrow and maybe even a fourth arrow.
So, when we have it, when we get that second arrow, that is a really great invitation to be grateful for that information, so that we can say, “Look, what I’m doing.” And say, “Wait. Pause.” Move into the responsive, not reactive mind. The fast mind, which is so much faster, the responsive brain, and go, “No. Really. I really want to enjoy this happiness” or “It doesn’t serve me to wound myself with a second arrow through old judgments [00:49:30] that don’t even fit into my life.” And then, we can start to build other patterns. Remember, whatever the brain is doing right now, the brain will do more of. So, we’re actually beginning that pattern.
And then, love your brain and forgive it for that because remember, the brain’s job is to keep you safe and alive. In order to do that, it can only draw on past experiences, whether they’re known or unknown. Whether they are conscious or sub or unconscious. It’s still going to draw upon those pathways [00:50:00] because per the brain’s definition, it’s done its job perfectly if you’re still alive, right? Everything is working perfectly. It loves if you’re wounding yourself with those fourth and fifth and sixth arrows, if that’s kept you alive, and it’s going to tell you to keep on doing that until you say, thanks to the prefrontal cortex, “No, there is another way.”
Noah Rasheta: I love that. In fact, when I was reading your book, that whole section of the rubber bands really stood out to me. [00:50:30] So, I want to correlate that again really quickly. What you mentioned in the book is you can have an object and if you start wrapping rubber bands around it, you keep doing that, right? Rubber band after rubber band. Eventually, you have this big ball of rubber bands that can bounce. It does whatever it does because of what’s inside, and at some point you may not even know what’s at the core of it.
I had this thought when I was reading that, thinking there’s always this thought that, [00:51:00] especially in Buddhism, there are causes and conditions to all natural phenomena. And I think that sometimes that puts us in this mindset, “Well, if I can go back far enough and find what’s inside the rubber band, then it’ll fix all my problems.” But I don’t know that we can sometimes. It maybe there’s an emotion that was triggered by a memory that was triggered by some other emotion and some other memory. It maybe so complex that I’m left with this situation where all I know is I’ve [00:51:30] got this band of rubber bands into a ball and I know what it does if I drop, it bounces. I know that. And I know that that happens because of what’s inside, but I don’t even know what’s inside. Is it enough to conclude? I’ll never know what’s inside, but at least I know that I understand it now. When I drop it, it bounces, and that’s what I have to work with.
Ellen Leanse: That’s so nice. You know, it’s so much fun when there’s an idea that’s out there. [00:52:00] I’m sure you experience this in your work, Noah. You offer the idea and then people come back with ways of building on it that really enrich it and add to it. So, that was beautiful. Thank you. It’s a great analogy. In fact, there are many systems for solving problems in life or self-knowledge, self-awareness. Really go back to let’s dig and dig and dig and see if we can pry open and see what’s in the middle of that rubber band ball.
I certainly have no judgment about that. I think it can be [00:52:30] a good path and really a necessary path in some situations, but all of us have the ability to watch our reactions and watch our responses to the things that are happening around us. And on the external layer, and this is a metaphor of course of that rubber band ball, are the thoughts that we’re most familiar with and use most often. Those are the things on the outer layer. Those are the things that we access first, if you will. And if we become aware of what our usual [00:53:00] responses might be or our usual reactions might be, being aware of those, I believe, lets it soften, if you will, the tension on those. Maybe look below at the next layer. I wish I had a rubber band ball to show now because you have to pry something apart and go, “Oh yeah, there’s a wide gray one down there. And then there’s a red one.” You’re never going to get to the middle, will take a lot of time and so forth.
Anyway, we are still in metaphor land. This is a scientific fact. It’s simply a way of explaining it. But if [00:53:30] we are aware of what’s happening on a surface level, there are things that are actually quite easy to do. And that is we can put some new bands on top of it, so that we go to those responses before we go to the ones we’re more conditioned to, and that’s something that can be done through intentional practices or reflective practices or even new habit building and so forth. Or we can really say, “No. I want to soften that reaction and maybe even remove a band or two.” For example, if there’s something [00:54:00] you’re doing that’s not serving you, that wounding with a second arrow, awareness is a way of saying, “Okay. I can remove that more conditioned or habitual response if I stay committed to it.” Or “I can add a new pattern. I’m going to take a deep breath whenever I feel these emotions, so that I have a pause to reflect before I go into a habitual response.” Yes, even awareness of that rubber band ball at a surface level is enough [00:54:30] to start navigating your life with a different outlook and set of expectations. I’m 100% with you on that.
Noah Rasheta: Cool. Yeah. I was just thinking in my own meditative practice, I feel like that description of prying open the rubber bands, I feel like I know I have certain sensitivities about certain topics or things that I can trace back and say, “It’s because of this. This is what’s at the core of that.” But there are others [00:55:00] where I don’t. All I know is that it goes somewhere, but I don’t know how far back or exactly why. It maybe genetic. I may believe or not believe certain things based on experiences my parents had or however many generations back. And I get that. I don’t have to understand the source. I just know that what I think, what I intend to think as the solid way of being, the way Noah is, isn’t real. [00:55:30] It’s not solid. It’s layers. Everything that I think and say and do, I’m part of that rubber band of causes and conditions that extend from what I’ve inherited from my society, from family beliefs, on and on and on. It’s just helpful to know that even if I can’t get to the end of that process.
Ellen Leanse: I actually think, Noah, that is the invitation. That is the “Haha, got you” experience of being a human, is that we’re all [00:56:00] the product of our genetics, our epigenetics. It’s the very, very biological response to environment. So, genetics, epigenetics, and then, our conditioning. That’s sort of what makes a human, if you will, personality. And knowing that, we can say, “Haha, this is how we are if we leave it to that.”
And this is where something else can rise, which is more … I don’t know what to call [00:56:30] it, but in the book we talk about it as the watcher, using a term that some Buddhist practitioners use. But we have this invitation for this other thing that we seem to be able to separate from simply those chemical reactions and firing pathways that we can start to put our hands on the wheel and drive a little bit. And the first step is exactly that awareness. We all are the products of these forces. Now, what do we do with it? That really is the [00:57:00] question.
Noah Rasheta: Okay. Well, let’s get into that a little bit more. First, I want to address a topic of happiness in terms of, is happiness a paradox? What I mean by that is I’ve had experiences before where one of them … Funny story was I’m about an hour away from a good friend who lives down in Salt Lake, which is about [00:57:30] 45-60 minutes away. He has these weekly meditation groups, so one week I was planning to go down there. And I planned ahead of time because I knew it would take me an hour to get there on time. It was on a new location. I hadn’t been to that spot before, so I put it in the GPS, I get there. As soon as I pull up, it seems like this doesn’t seem like the right place. So, [00:58:00] I switched from Apple Maps to Google Maps, to see if it would take me to the same place and it didn’t. It told me to go somewhere else.
Long story short, I’m starting to feel the emotion of discomfort and frustration, and I’m upset because I can’t get to where I’m supposed to get so I can sit and relax. That was the big irony. I wanted to go meditate that morning so that I could experience a little bit of [00:58:30] peace and contentment. And the very fact that I was trying to get there to do that was the reason I wasn’t feeling it because I wasn’t getting there. The GPS took me to the wrong place and I had this thought in that moment, “Well, I could just be at home, and then, I’d be at peace if I didn’t want to come here and be at peace.” Right?
I think that’s the paradox. We do this with concepts like patience, for example. If I want to be patient, the more I want to, the less I have it, [00:59:00] right? I want to be patient, but I want to be patient right now. Well, that’s the very reason you can’t be patient because the whole point of it is you can’t have it right now. You’ve got to be okay with having it whenever you have it. I wonder if happiness sometimes fits that same bill.
I think marketers know this. This is why they hijack it because they know that happiness, like everything else, is impermanent. If we can convince you that, “Yeah, that thing that you thought was happy, that’s not it. It’s going to be this. When you finally have [00:59:30] this, or when you finally drive this car,” or whatever it is they’re selling you. But then, they know that that’s not it. You finally get that and now you’ve got to have a new one every year or whatever it is because you’re always chasing after it. I think that’s the paradox. You can’t have it because you want it. That’s the very reason you can’t have it. Is that a fair assessment of happiness in general? Is it a paradox?
Ellen Leanse: I think paradox is the right word there for certain types of happiness, mind you. Again, [01:00:00] I truly think satisfaction, really the deeper satisfaction, is a different thing than that, but if we think about happiness as conventionally described, yes, there is a myth we’re told from the time we are very small and it’s deeply conditioned into us, probably subconsciously and generationally or epigenetically and in other ways. And maybe it’s simply part of the human condition, is “As soon as this happens, I [01:00:30] will be happy.” Or, “As soon as I get there, I will be happy.” “I’m only one step away from it.” We live our life on this game board of chasing happiness, believing there is a destination out there that when we land on it, boom, it’s all there.
But most of us, by this point in our lives, we probably know, it’s not working. We probably thought, “As soon as I get that first job after I graduate from college, then I’ll be happy,” “As soon as I do this, this life milestone, own this, acquire [01:01:00] this.” No. That is the paradox of it, right? And probably part of how that works, it is a lot of dopamine in that. By the way, people talk about dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin, vasopressin, all of this. These are only the highlight reel of the brain chemicals. There are so many more that are woven into our experiences that we don’t even know how to describe the subtlety and interaction of all of this. And there’s other stuff too. The way the [01:01:30] currents are flowing, the electromagnetic currents and so forth.
The paradox is is that when this happens, we will be happy. Well, we might feel for a moment, like, “The first time we drive that new car,” “When we go on that date,” or whatever it is, we do get that jolt or surge of “This is great.” But the next day when we go back to things, there’s still that “As soon as … as soon as … as soon as …” we start living with. This is a true paradox in the human experience. It really [01:02:00] is.
There’s one question that I think is really important to invite if we experience that paradox, and I think all of us do. It’s one I write about in my opening chapter. It’s like, “I’ve done all the things I was supposed to do. Why don’t I feel happy? I did everything that they told me to do and here I am feeling like there’s something more. Is there something wrong with me?” I do think that is part of the human experience. And then, the aha moment comes when we realize, “Wait a minute.” There’s a weird [01:02:30] conundrum in that, first of all, “The things that have brought me here are not the things that are going to bring me there, if I’m really searching for real happiness.” And then, the other one is this sort of aha, which is like, “Wait. I’m already there. All I have is this moment. And it is my relationship with this moment that’s going to define how I navigate every other moment that goes forward. And I can choose …” It’s even more than choose. “I can accept that this is what the path is.”
Once there is some acceptance [01:03:00] of that, the paradox softens a little bit. There is a different type of invitation that we get to really drop in and feel … I’m careful using the word “happy” but to feel like things make sense. To feel that there is a purpose to this. To feel that I do have some mastery of the path and to feel that I can find satisfaction, punctuated by moments of dopamine-charged happiness on it.
Noah Rasheta: [01:03:30] Sure. Yeah, I like that you bring up the idea of the path. In your book, you share a quote from Margaret Lee Runbeck. You said, the quote is, “Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” I think that correlates so well with the mindfulness-based approach too of the path is the goal. And the moment that we understand that, like you said, now we can experience [01:04:00] whatever life is throwing at us, punctuated by those moments of dopamine, but we realize those weren’t the goal, those weren’t the point. All of that, everything is icing on the cake. If you can say what is the cake? It’s being alive. That’s the cake. You’re alive. Everything else is icing on the cake.
So, which leads me to this thought: is there a natural state of happiness? [01:04:30] Do we get in the way of our own happiness because we don’t understand what’s going on in our minds, we don’t understand the tricks that our minds play on us in terms of happiness.
What I’m thinking about here, what I’m alluding to is, from the Buddhist perspective, there’s this idea of Buddha nature, right? This is the unconditioned mind, your natural state of being, and there’s a [01:05:00] Thai story of a golden Buddha statue at a monastery that the monks … I guess, the country was being invaded or something, so the monks cover up this golden statue with clay so that the invaders won’t take it. Maybe they get killed, I don’t know what happens, but they all disappear. So, for years and years, this statue is there. It’s just a clay-looking statue. [01:05:30] By then, there are monks there again, but these guys don’t know what the originals did. Someone at some point discovers that under this statue of clay, it really wasn’t a clay statue. It’s been a gold statue all along.
The correlation of that story is that our essential nature is like the gold statue. It’s enlightened. It’s awakened. And this is the paradox of awakening or enlightenment too. You can’t obtain it because you [01:06:00] already are it. You are not going to find those sunglasses you’re looking for because they’re already on your head. That’s the big joke of it all. Is happiness the same? Is there a natural state of happiness? Maybe if we use a word like “contentment” or “joy,” is that our natural state and we’re not seeing it because we’re frantically looking for those glasses, not realizing, “Hey, they’re already on your head”? What do you think of that?
Ellen Leanse: The clay and the gold Buddha is the perfect analogy [01:06:30] because I think that there is a natural state that is perhaps like the Buddha nature. There’s no good word for that. It’s a beingness or a presence or a feeling of a unique, golden centeredness. But we’re so busy looking for happiness that we don’t see it because we think that that, that happiness … It’s really a beautiful metaphor is that the clay [01:07:00] on the outside of the golden Buddha, the clay is what we think happiness is. But the gold …
Noah Rasheta: Yeah. We call that the conditioning from the Buddhist perspective.
Ellen Leanse: Exactly that. This is true cognitively and really psychologically as well. The funny thing is, is that so many different disciplines align along this concept of how the clay shrouds the gold. The gold is not the feeling of happiness [01:07:30] that we’ve been conditioned to think through the advertisements and commercials and likes and likes and likes.
Noah Rasheta: Yeah. So, it’s not the hit of dopamine.
Ellen Leanse: It’s not. That’s the clay. But that’s a beautiful invitation to learn. That is there to tempt us and to draw us away, and people can exploit those cycles that we have, to say, “this is how you’re going to find it.” But a gold is inside all along and it is that sort [01:08:00] of dropping in we’ve all felt at different moments. We go back to our …
You asked if there’s something in our biology. Well, the answer is certainly yes. I think if we look at … There’s still some relatively intact human cultures that have survived for tens and tens and sometimes even more than tens. There’s one that, the longest standing one, seems to have survived intact for about a 130,000, possibly a little bit more, years, but all of them have reflective practices [01:08:30] that … and practices that challenge the dopamine cycles. For example, there’s one, this southern African tribe. Their culture has been intact for more than 100,000 years. And when someone brings home a kill to the clan, which they’re going to share because it’s a collective, they come back apologizing, “I’m sorry I didn’t get a very good one. I didn’t do as well as I could have on the hunt.” And then get [01:09:00] this. The people in the clan even come back and go, “You call that an antelope?” That sort of thing.
So, it’s all about disrupting this usual striving that the human mind has for, “Look at me. I’m the best. I got it” or “I suck because I missed out.” And it’s about disrupting that and coming back to, “I’m alive. We’re together. There is some purpose to this that I don’t understand and lucky me, I get to be in [01:09:30] it.” That is the gold of the Buddha.
Noah Rasheta: Hmm. As you were saying that, that “I’m alive,” I was thinking of a quote by Brother David Steindl-Rast. And he talks about gratitude and his quote says, “It’s not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” As I think about that in terms of what we’re discussing, [01:10:00] these moments …
From the Buddhist point-of-view, we talk about suffering as the moment we want life to be other than it is, suffering arises. It feels like the flip side of that is when we accept things as they are, and we’re grateful for things as they are, there’s this sense of feeling like nothing needs to change. Everything is just fine the way that it is. I think those are the moments where it’s beyond this [01:10:30] dopamine type happiness. This is the deep, deep contentment and joy that we experience when nothing needs to be different than how it is, the moment is perfect just as it is. I think gratitude evokes that. When we’re grateful, we’re thinking about things as they are and we experience that feeling of, “Hey, I’m glad that it’s this way, so therefore it doesn’t need to be any different” and maybe that’s why happiness [01:11:00] arises as a result of the gratitude.
That was kind of my closing thought on that. But what I want to get to as the closing sentiments here, from you, I’d love to hear what are some of the happiness traps that we need to be aware of, obvious ones. And then, after that, the conversation, let’s go to what are some specific practices we can do to try to nurture [01:11:30] happiness or joy or contentment, however we want to word that. Happiness hacks, like you talk about in your book. What are some of the things we should be aware of? And then, what are some of the happiness hacks that we can start to work with to experience more of the serotonin type happiness?
Ellen Leanse: Right. So, two traps that come to mind would be that happiness is something you will acquire in the future based on your actions. So, [01:12:00] do this and you will get that. That happiness is an if-then scenario. And then, the other one is a little bit simpler than that and that is that happiness is a state that you will reach. It’s something that is external. I guess, to really make it simple, what is it? It’s a future state that you will attain based on actions, and then second, it will be shaped by externals.
Certainly, happiness can be influenced by externals. When I’m with my friends or my family or see one of my [01:12:30] sons doing something that’s aligned with his purpose, that’s giving me a sense of happiness that is treated as affected by something external. But that’s not what’s making me happy. It’s giving me a feeling of happiness, but that is also temporal and shifting. So, happiness is not those things. It’s not something that you bring in from the outside world or have that creates the happiness.
Noah Rasheta: Okay. Touching on that real quick. Just [01:13:00] it occurred to me today is Cyber Monday. Inevitably, somebody will be listening to this thinking, “Oh, you’re saying that getting things won’t make me happy. Well, watch how happy I’ll be when I go land this big deal, this TV doorbuster or something like that.” I want to emphasize what you just mentioned, the temporal part of this. So, I don’t think we’re saying those things don’t make you happy. We’re saying that’s not the happiness you’re looking for. Sure, you’re going to feel [01:13:30] the hit of dopamine, that sense of feeling of happiness that, “Wow, I just got this and I saved this much money.” But what we’re talking about is that’s not lasting. That’s not the deeper, more meaningful type of happiness that we’re talking about in this context, right?
Ellen Leanse: What an invitation, Noah, that is to mindfulness because if we look at going and getting that TV, and we think not about the what. “I’m going to get this TV at [01:14:00] this great price.” Will we really think deeply about the why? Why does this matter? Well, one of the things that I love about my life is when friends really gather just around to watch a game together or to watch a movie together. And that this TV will be the way that I really create something that I value, which is a sense of deeper community as we come together, so that we can be even mindful about buying a TV. Now, someone might come back and challenge me in saying, “Oh, come [01:14:30] on. You can rationalize anything with thinking like that.” And they’re probably right. But really, if we really think about the why … And by the way, if we come up with the why, and we go, “‘Cause I want a TV that’s two inches bigger than the one I already have,” then we know there’s dopamine at work. And we might want to say, “Hey, you know what? The real thing I care about, which is gathering friends together and sharing community, probably isn’t going to be that different than with the two inch bigger TV than it is [01:15:00] with this one.”
Or maybe we’re saying, because, I’ll use a non gender-specific name, “Because Chris has a TV that’s this size, so I want to have a TV this size.” That’s information. Dopamine. That’s dopamine at work. We’ve been hooked, hijacked. So, what we can do at that moment is come back and say … Well, pause for a moment. Get out of reaction. Get into response. Why do I really want this? And come up with a reason that we can really sit [01:15:30] with and settle with and say, “You know what? It is worth it for me to get it. This really is going to make a difference” or “You know what? I’m going to do this instead because I already have the thing that’s getting me to my why. I just haven’t thought about it that way yet.”
Noah Rasheta: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s funny you mentioned this because on Friday, for Black Friday, I went and bought a TV at Walmart. I was thinking about why. From a rational standpoint, I knew I don’t need it. [01:16:00] For me, my why was, “Well, because I can. At some point I know I want to get a newer TV and right now is a good time because it’s cheaper than it would be if I didn’t do it right now. And I thought, maybe that is enough of a why. I knew it wasn’t going to make me happier.
I knew it doesn’t make me any better than the me that had the old TV. But I still felt excited that I got a TV, [01:16:30] but it wasn’t the same as before in my life where I would have thought there were other aspects to it that I was unaware of. Like, thinking of the type of TV I have determines who I am or how people see me. They’ll come to my house and say, “Oh, that’s one of those big, nice TVs.” None of those strings were attached to it this time because I felt like it could be an old TV or no TV, and I probably would be just as content. But I can [01:17:00] do it. I can afford it right now. So, why not? For me, that was enough to say, “Okay, well, then I’ll do it.” And I was happy that I did it. I’m happy with the TV I got.
I bring that up because we’re not saying in this interview, “Hey, don’t go out and fall for these traps. Don’t buy the next thing.” You can. It’s not inherently wrong to do that. What we’re saying is, don’t do that thinking that that’s the solution because it’s not. If you do it, you’re [01:17:30] going to do it. And some people will, some people won’t, and that’s fine. I just wanted to be careful that we’re not trying to say, “Oh, people who go out and fall for the dopamine hit, the advertised type of happiness, you guys are silly.” We’re not saying that at all. I think, we’re saying, “just understand what’s happening in your head as you make these choices.”
Ellen Leanse: It is. It’s a great example. Really, again, it’s responding [01:18:00] not reacting. It’s doing with awareness and mindfulness and some sort of a sense of purpose. So, you mentioned with you wanting to get this TV, using a moment to reflect, “Why am I doing this?” Understanding that the things on the surface of your rubber band ball were not the same ones that they were maybe the last time you bought a TV. And making a conscious decision to say, “This is the right time to do it. It’s going to last me for this long. [01:18:30] It’ll be something that the family will grow with more,” whatever it is. But really doing it because you are the master of your path, not because somebody else’s path is mastering you.
Noah Rasheta: Hmm. I love that.
Ellen Leanse: So, you asked for some hacks.
Noah Rasheta: Yeah, let’s talk about some hacks.
Ellen Leanse: I can only share what I’ve heard works for others and the few things that have worked for me. Maybe people who are listening have things that they do in these moments where they [01:19:00] feel a sense of angst or unhappiness. Someone said to me, a couple of nights ago, that they had gone to this meeting that they really valued going to that’s about personal growth and communication. And they came back feeling other than after the meeting, like they weren’t doing as well as other people.
So, the only thing I can say is that these moments where we feel something is interfering with our happiness, just pause for a moment. And believe it or not, it’s very simple thing that’s always available to us, is we can take a breath. [01:19:30] And it turns out that there are two reasons that are really interesting for this on a neuroscientific level. First of all, the brain integrates information differently on an inhale than it does on an exhale. It actually integrates on the inhale. So, a slow and intentional breath is actually an invitation for your brain to, if you will, on an electromagnetic and blood flow level, which fueling level, which brings oxygen so forth. Just go around and maybe integrate things, maybe opportunistically or maybe intentionally, [01:20:00] that might not have been available before. One really mindful breath will do that.
The other thing is, is when we feel any sense of our happiness, as we define it, being threatened, we do get an amygdala response in the brain. This is the very easily triggered flight or fight response. And at that point, there’s a chemical reaction that begins instantly in the brain. It begins at 0.003 seconds whereas a conscious thought takes at least 0.5 seconds. So, really, more than an order [01:20:30] of magnitude of difference. That we get this chemical surge with the 30 neuro-modulators that go even into the body when the amygdala fires instantly.
At that point, an incredible thing happens. There’s a constriction of blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. So, our most advanced human thoughts actually go offline for a moment until either something calms us and brings them back, or until we’ve done the fighting or [01:21:00] flighting. I think they say it’s fight, flight or freeze that we need to do to survive, right? But in that amygdala hijack, we are triggered, and we are in fight, flight or freeze mode.
So, when we feel that awareness of it happening, we can know that that is an evolutionary response that evolved to keep us … Sorry, I don’t know what that was. That evolved to keep us alive and we can be grateful for it. And then, we can come back to a moment of say, “Ah. That [01:21:30] is an amygdala hijack.” And we can hack back on it and come back in use the breath or use a centering in the body to say, or we can even say … Two things that I find really useful. One is, say, tell ourselves to take a moment. But we can also say, when we’re in dialogue with another person or in conflict, we can use two very important words. We can say, “I’m curious. Tell me more about that.” The moment we say, “I’m curious” we actually are inviting the prefrontal cortex into [01:22:00] a different type of consideration, which might be hard at that moment, but once we override it, begins that more integrative access to these more higher cognition parts of the brain.
The prefrontal cortex is critical thought, longterm planning, mood regulation, gratitude, thoughtful consideration, meta thinking, which is thinking about thinking, and then, also on the other hand type of thinking. Exactly the opposite [01:22:30] of the fast brain or especially amygdala-driven responses. We can use these slow ourselves down processes to drop into that moment and then make decisions that at least eliminate regret because if we’re reacting, we have a higher probability of regretting, which does remove happiness. Even if we’re not moving to a place of happiness, moving to a place of that golden Buddha, that [01:23:00] mastery and presence and “I am navigating this mindfully in the moment.” It feels really, really good.
Noah Rasheta: Okay. I love that. Thank you. I want to mention again, Ellen’s book is The Happiness Hack. It’s very easy to read. I actually like the way it’s laid out with little tips and notes. It’s really easy [01:23:30] to read and digest the information in the book. I’m going to post a link to that on the website, on my website, where this video and the audio of this interview will also be posted. And then, I’m going to have this whole conversation transcribed so you can read that as well.
I would like to include some other links for those of you who would like to learn more about Ellen’s work. I’ll post a link to her TED talk. Where [01:24:00] are some other places, Ellen, where people can learn about you and your work or your book? Do you have any specific links or anything you’d like to share?
Ellen Leanse: Yes, thank you so much. I would love that. So, I do have a website. It’s ellenleanse.com. Now and again I have a little fun on Twitter. And I have a funny name on Twitter. It’s chep2m. It’s another story. A name I was given in rural Kenya actually. But it’s C-H-E-P and then [01:24:30] the number 2 and then the letter M. it’s probably the worst Twitter handle in history, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. So, it’s chep2m. And I’ll share all of those with you, Noah, so that you have the direct links.
Noah Rasheta: Okay. Well, great. I want to thank you, again, for taking the time to, not just come on the show and be on the podcast, but to be willing to go live to my Facebook page. I know sometimes the going [01:25:00] live aspect can be a little intimidating. But I think this is a topic that’s very relevant for our culture and our society. It’s very relevant to those who are practitioners of a mindfulness-based way of living. And I think it correlates really well with the practice of mindfulness and meditation. So, thank you for taking the time to be with us. Do you have any final closing thoughts you want to share with us [01:25:30] as we wrap this up?
Ellen Leanse: Thank you so much. First of all, what a delight and honor to be with you and with the audience. I will say, if anyone in the audience has any specific questions that they want to add to the thread when Noah posted on Facebook, I will do my best to come in and provide answers to those. So, thank you and may the conversation continue.
Noah Rasheta: Great. Well, thank you. I’m going to end the live stream for this now. So, those of you who [01:26:00] listened live, thank you for joining us. If you want to be received notifications of when these live interviews are taking place, there is a link on Facebook that you can click to be notified when we go live. So, thanks, again, for listening. This will be uploaded later as a video and it will be the audio of the next podcast episode, so thank you guys for listening live.
Ellen Leanse: Thank you.