Mona Sobhani 00:04
I encourage people to engage in lean into the mystical and spiritual because it’s very actually healing like studies have shown, yeah, the more spiritual or the better, you know, outcome you have for long term illnesses, better well being, basically, on any measure, you can, you can personality, interpersonal effects, it’s all positive. And I so I encourage people to in whatever way that is it’s different for different people. But whatever way that works for you to just lean into it because it’s actually healthy for you.
Kristin Taylor 00:52
Hello, and welcome to How I Made It Through. My name is Kristin Taylor, and I’m an executive and life coach. I’m continually awed and inspired by those who have walked through challenge and adversity, only to come out the other side more self aware, and more deeply purposeful in their commitment to wisdom, love, and compassion. Our lives are short, but they are not without meaning. And I believe we are more alike than we are different. My hope is that this show through the sharing of ordinary people, moving through extraordinary circumstances, opens minds and hearts by interviewing those who have a lot to say about why we are here, and how to live more fondly. Today’s guest is Mona Sobhani, PhD. Mona is a cognitive neuroscientist, researcher, and author with over 15 years of experience. Recently, as she will explain in today’s show, she has become interested in consciousness, transformative technology, and in exploring how science and spirituality can be bridged together. All of this is explored in great detail in Her most recent book, Proof of Spiritual Phenomena: A Neuroscientist’s Discovery of the Ineffable Mysteries of the Universe. In her book, Mona tells the story of her transformation from a die hard scientific materialist to an open minded spiritual seeker. And what she describes as quote, the excruciating identity crisis that ensued, it is quite a story. Welcome to the show, Mona.
Mona Sobhani 02:32
Thank you so much for having me.
Kristin Taylor 02:34
Yeah, it’s great to see you. We have already talked in advance. And so I know your story pretty well. If you could get us started. I think it starts with your mother and some coffee grinds.
Mona Sobhani 02:46
Yes. Yeah. Yeah, well, it starts with me being just a very traditional neuroscientists very, like traditionally trained, materialist scientist, but my, you know, family and cultural heritage is that we’re Persian or Iranian, trying to use that. More now the Iranian American. And in our culture, we have a tradition of divination, which you can use, you know, tarot cards or anything. But in my family, my grandmother used to use coffee grounds, as you mentioned, and it’s not like American coffee, it’s like this thicker coffee that you leave the grounds in the cup, and you flip the cup, let the grounds dry. And then if you have an intuitive reader, they can look at the grounds and kind of Intuit things about your life. And so my grandmother used to do that. And apparently, she was very good. I never got a reading. But my mom learned the skills from her. And so my, this was always going on in our, our home. And our family parties, people would line up so my mom could read, read their cups, and, and I never paid attention to it. I never even knew what was going on, really, until I was in graduate school and started coming home on the weekends. And my mom would make coffee for me. And we’d have it together as a bonding, saying and then. And then I started and they should read it for me, you know, like as it would just dry and she would peer into the cup and read. And I noticed that over time that the more the more she read for me, and I started taking notes after a while I just noticed that she was more right than she was wrong. Like she would predict things that would come come true, like months later. And at first I remember, you know, science brain would just discount it and say, Well, I don’t know, it was lucky gas or this was bound to happen or whatever. But then I started, you know, noticing me she would give really specific details about situations. And so I started thinking like if she had said this, you know, two years earlier, what would it have been true or whatnot, you know, I kind of started doing that. I, and my friends would get readings too, they would come over every weekend and get readings. And so I would like compare our readings like, Oh, if she said that, for me, would that be true, and it just, it wasn’t, they were all very specific to, to us and to our lives at that particular moment. And there will be such detailed information about just like certain situations that she just didn’t even know were going on that, you know, piqued my interest. And I came to trust them trust the readings, kind of because they were right, a lot of the time. And I couldn’t explain it with science, with my science with any science because I, you know, we don’t talk about these kinds of things in western science, Western mainstream science, so I didn’t have an explanation. It just kind of, you know, it works. And I didn’t, I didn’t have an explanation for why or how, but, and they were just kind of there in the background until there were two big emotional life events that were my mom kind of saw in the coffee that really tipped me over into, you know, a big question mark, a big, what is this phenomena? And what is the nature of the universe? And what are we missing in science that makes these kinds of phenomena possible, and it was just these two emotional things. So one was that my, my mom kept seeing something cut, you know, a kind of bad news in my cup for a few weeks, and in 2016. And she got laid was like a really significantly different, I don’t know how to put it like, it was like, a different energy it was she was acting differently. It was like a different kind of reading. And to the point where, you know, she’s like, I feel like I need to warn you. I mean, she’s, you know, she’d never said anything like that before. Initially, I feel like I need to warn you, but she wouldn’t tell me what it was. She just kept saying, I think you might get some bad news. And anyway, five, six weeks later, I found out that one of our professors in our graduate program, I wasn’t in the program at the time I had graduated. But someone that had helped me is one of my dissertation experiments, and that I knew one of our professors was killed by one of the students in the program, which was just, like, unheard of, and just, you know, strangest, most terrible thing to happen, especially since he was the nicest person in the world. And so that, you know, the whole thing was upsetting, obviously, and then, but I was so shook by him. So when I called my mom when it happened, I’m like, I think I know what it was, I did get bad news. This is what it was. And she said, she’s like, Yeah, I saw a death, you know, that was, you know, kind of like outside of your life. So it’s not like somebody who’s in your day to day life, but somebody who was in your life, you know, that you knew. And she said, it was like a very unusual death that she’d never seen before. So she didn’t that’s why she didn’t want to say anything about it, because she’s like, I actually, she didn’t know how to interpret it, because she had never seen anything quite like it before. And so that that really shook me. So, you know, obviously, the event itself was very upsetting. But on top of that, now I have this, you know, that this information about this person that I knew about their death was like out there in the universe, like weeks in advance, and like, my mom could pick up on it. So I thought that that was very creepy, and upsetting. And it made me wonder about like, fate and destiny because I’m like, so was that his, you know, fate, like, not even on a life path thing, but even in that seven weeks in advance kind of thing, like, okay, seven weeks in advance, this was his current, like destiny or something. I just, you know, what I’d never thought about that kind of thing before I started thinking about it and wonder it shows. I didn’t. I was very busy. I had a new job. So I, I didn’t like do any research into it. Plus, I didn’t think there was I didn’t even know how you would look something like that up like I was earlier. Yeah. Sounds familiar with spiritual texts or philosophies or worldviews, like I wouldn’t have even known where to go look. But then a few years later, I had my mom had seen a relationship coming and it came and she she saw it as the outcome being positive and we broke up so I didn’t think that was positive. So I was like, why was the coffee Wrong? Wrong this time? Which it normally normally was it? It was like both my mom and I actually like went into like crisis like because we’re like, What happened this time? This was like a strange incident where she was wrong. But it made me start to again wonder about like, do things change that are or are things that or whatever. So these kinds of questions. It really became Very important for me, you know, I felt this compulsion to find out because it was influencing my life, you know, obviously at this point, so I needed to know. And that’s, that’s kind of the starting point for the journey, which is it’s like a bit of an unusual one, probably.
Kristin Taylor 10:19
So I have two questions, if I may pause you. Number one is how frequently were you meeting with her? Was that weekly that she was reading the coffee grounds? Or?
Mona Sobhani 10:26
Yeah, every week.
Kristin Taylor 10:28
God and I imagine there are people who are like, Can I meet with your mom? She got a job doing this. Now. I imagine.
Mona Sobhani 10:35
She doesn’t read for anyone but family. But yeah.
Kristin Taylor 10:39
That was more of a joke. But yeah, got a talent. Okay, so continue that this is really piqued your curiosity. Something’s going on. This was the beginning. Then what happened?
Mona Sobhani 10:50
Yeah. And then I was kind of in crisis, because I was just not, I guess not, I guess now looking back, not in a great place in life. Or like, I felt purposeless, like purposeless, like just no purpose, because I reflect on it in the book, like, why I think that was, but for whatever reason, it was not a good time for me. And then the ending of the relationship was like, the last straw. I was like, This is it, like, I’m officially in crisis. And so it was kind of my dark night of the soul moment, like I was very, you know, isolated myself and felt despair for the first time and like, felt really hopeless. And just kind of like, what I just don’t understand why we’re here in this existence. And so. But I also became curious, really curious about the the readings and like, the mechanism behind it. And again, those questions of fate and destiny. So one of my friends had gone through something similar, kind of like an existential crisis. And during that time, she had gone to she had started going to a bunch of psychics, and we, as a friend group, you know, supported her and it was fine. But we I was like, I remember looking at her like, okay, like, how many readings are you getting get though, because like, she would get a few readings a week or like it, she would come back with it. And I was like, okay, like, are these? Yeah, but anyway, so when I went through my crisis, she was telling me and I remember kind of rolling my eyes and be like, I’m not gonna go to a psychic. Don’t be ridiculous. But then I was like, Well, I go to my mom, what’s the difference? And I was kind of curious. And she, so she, because she had gone through this. She knew some good intuitives here in Los Angeles. So she was like, oh, yeah, I know this lady, she’ll turn you away. If she can’t read you. Like, she just won’t take your money. So you should, you should start with her. So but I don’t like to do anything alone. So I made my friends do this with me. So I took like, my group of girlfriends, not all of them, but a few of them who were interested, too. And we’re like, let’s just go let’s go get readings and see, like everyone thinks intuitives are frauds. Let’s go get readings and see what we think let’s swap readings. And let’s see what’s going on. So we did that. And we went to a bunch of different intuitives, the same one at different times. Different ones at the same time. Like we just tried a bunch of different permutations over a few months, or maybe even a year, and switch readings. And we just realized, no, like, they’re pretty obviously some were better than others. But they were very specific to each of us the readings. And some of us. I think I wrote about this in the book, I’m the HFS, we’re had different levels of openness and skeptical Ness. Yeah. And I found that my one friend who was the most open spiritually, she would always get the best readings and like, the most accurate and like things are from like the depths of her family life, they would be like, Oh, you have a nice and this is her and that, like they would just tell her crazy things. And then the most skeptical of us would get like not that much, which would only confirm her skepticism. So we thought that was interesting.
Kristin Taylor 14:07
Mona Sobhani 14:08
So we made Yeah, we think we know these insights. And, and that was the beginning. We’re like, okay, these readings are real, but and I kept asking the intuitive to them, like what what’s your definition of fate or destiny? Like, is there a predetermined stuff? But the answer is they gave me I think it’s because at the time I didn’t have a framework of understanding I didn’t literally didn’t understand what they were saying. So but they would talk about in the readings about karma, or they would say like, this is a past life thing. This is, you know, this person’s part of your soul group. And I didn’t believe in any of that. And I also wasn’t familiar with it at all. I had no idea what they’re talking about. So like we recorded the readings and I wrote them down but I just ignored that spiritual part of it. And then months later, this was like in the middle of us getting readings Very casual hoppy, it wasn’t like we were doing it every weekend or anything, it was whatever we could find the time to do it all together. For a few months into that, I was just listening. And I wasn’t listening to anything spiritual this time, and I wasn’t reading anything spiritual. And I was actually listening to Chelsea Handler’s book, Life Will be the Death of Me. And then she had this podcast series, like a limited series based on the book, and most of it was about personality Enneagram therapy stuff. But one episode randomly was with the psychic medium Laurel and Jackson. And I am Chelsea Handler fan. So I was, but I, she used to be a skeptic. And I was like, Why does she have a psychic medium on here, but I thought it was interesting coincidence, because like, here, I was a skeptic, like going to these readings during this time. So I listened. And it was like the podcasts that changed my life because Laura Lynn Jackson started describing that spiritual framework that the other intuitives had mentioned. She was like, oh, Earth is like a school. We come here to learn lessons. We have soul groups that we like incarnate and reincarnate with over time. You know, like, we’re supposed to come here and learn to be nice. embody kindness and all that stuff. And so I, you know, tuned in, because I was like, Oh, wow, here’s someone’s actually explaining it to me. Let me jot this down. So I can go back and look at the notes from my readings that I didn’t understand before. So I did that. And then they also mentioned on the podcast, a book, they’re like, everyone should read this book. It’s called many lives, many masters by Dr. Brian Weiss. And it was about past life regression, which I also didn’t know what that was at the time. So I got that I ordered the book, didn’t even know what it was about. I just like psychiatrist case study. Cool. Sounds good. So I ordered it, it came and then when I read it, I was like, What am I reading? This is weird, the weird bug. But I ended up liking it. And it was because it was he also Brian Weiss in the book describes that he gets messages through his patients that he you know, hypnotically regresses to past lives, and between lives, gets these messages from, quote, unquote, the other side. That about, you know, humanity, about the structure of the spiritual nature of the universe, about how we allegedly incarnate and reincarnate to come learn lessons. And so this is yeah, like, the third time I was hearing the framework, and I was like, Oh, my God, but now it’s coming from this, you know, Yale and Columbia educated psychiatrist. And so I was very, you know, it was kind of just one of those weird moments where I was like, if it was anybody else who had written this book, I would have thrown it in the trash. But this is like, the third time this thing this, this framework is coming across my awareness. And now it’s from somebody who was a skeptic, who was an atheist who was didn’t believe in anything paranormal was, you know, well trained, had prestigious degrees, and all that. And so it kind of got my interest. And that, that that was the official kickoff of I was like, I need to know, what is this framework? Who believes in it? Where did it come from? You know, and what is his past life regression? Like? Are there other psychiatrists that, you know, do this kind of work? And I was also interested in it from a neuroscience perspective, because it was very healing for the patients. It turned out there was one part of it I just love was and it’s not just Brian Weiss. I read all his books, but there’s many other practitioners like Michael Newton Roger Woolgar, who tie it back to young in depth psychology, and, you know, they provide nice academic frameworks for all the work, but I loved that he talks about like a lot of phobias or, you know, symptoms like anxiety, etc. Would be cured when they would go through some past life, you know, alleged sad house life. Yeah. And like, re experience the emotions. Really sit in like they would get healed. I thought that was amazing.
Kristin Taylor 19:06
Yes, it is amazing. Can I slow you down? I think your internet went out a little bit. And you mentioned some other practitioners by name. Can you repeat their names again for our audience?
Mona Sobhani 19:15
Oh, sure. Sorry. Michael Newton was one and Roger Woolgar is another one whose book other like other selves, other lives or something like that. It’s, that’s a great one. That one’s a more slightly more academic one, because he ties it directly back to Yungay in psychology, nice.
Kristin Taylor 19:35
Nice. I’ve yet to read that one. Okay, I love this. So here you are. This framework keeps recurring. And you are neuroscientist and you’re like all of this awareness is happening. I need to pay attention. What do you do in bridging those two worlds to pay attention?
Mona Sobhani 19:50
Yeah, so I so I started reading a lot which is my natural go to my favorite pastime. But then at some point, I got more curious and thought I really want to ask questions, you know, of people. And so I started this kind of personal interview project just for myself, this whole thing was just for me to interview some of the intuitives that I had met, because I wanted to understand their backgrounds and how they came to believe what they believe, you know, if they came from spiritual families, if they went to psychic school, you know, I was like, I just I didn’t know anything about them. And I was curious. And then, when I read enough I, I started to, it’s not that I believed what I was reading, but I was, there was enough, well credentialed people writing about the actual work they were doing, right, this actual clinical practice work, that I really don’t think it should be dismissed easily by people who just do tend to be like, Oh, past life, regression doesn’t work. I mean, these are like, you know, smart well thought out people who have done this work and healed 1000s of people with this modality. And I think it’s interesting and worth looking at. So because of that, I wanted to interview people who had done that work, and other scientists because I started to think about spirituality. And I was like, I had this belief, I can see now that if you were a scientist, you couldn’t possibly believe in spirituality or religion, because it doesn’t mesh with science. And so but then I questioned that. And I was like, is that true? And so I started interviewing my friends, my I call them my colleagues, but really just my friends, are scientists, and just kind of ask them like, we’ve never talked about this, but are you spiritual? Are you religious? Do you believe in anything paranormal, you know, where do you stand on these things? And, and they were fun conversations. But yeah, so I started doing all that just for fun. And then one interview, like led to the next and I got sent center introduced to the Winbridge Research Center, which was founded by Julie by Shaw and Mark bow Kuzey. And Julie’s a PhD in toxicology, or something. And they, but they do studies with psychic mediums. And that’s actually where Laurel and Jackson had gotten, I don’t know for sure credentialed, or she just they certified. I don’t know what the correct word is. With them. So I spoke to them, they gave me a huge reading list. They were like, oh, you know, I know that. You as a mainstream scientists are not aware of this research. But there is an entire body of literature, you know, over 100 years from over hundreds of labs, from countries all over the world, looking at psychic phenomena, and the US government has funded it, other governments have funded it. And they’re like, it’s pretty well established, even though like, scientifically, it’s pretty well established, even though it’s not accepted by mainstream science only because there’s no mechanism to explain it. So they gave me a whole reading list. And then that was just, you know, more down the rabbit hole, like more. And then more introductions other people, and it just steamrolled from there.
Kristin Taylor 23:12
What how long is this? This whole rabbit hole process?
Mona Sobhani 23:18
So I yeah, let’s see. I’m pretty intense. So when I get into something I’m like, into it full on. And let’s see, I think the readings and stuff we’re in 2019. And then towards the end of 2019, is when I heard Chelsea’s podcasts and started started reading. And then I started the interviews at the beginning of 2020. And then there was the shutdown. So I think I had like one in person interview, and then everything shut down. But I can zoom, actually, it was the perfect time, because everyone was home and bored. Everyone, everyone’s calendars had just been cleared. So it’s like I had all these people, you know, ready to talk. So I did a bunch of those interviews, oh, just throughout the entire year of 2020. And then, at the end of the year, I had a, I wasn’t planning on doing anything with this information. It was really just for me to understand the universe. But then I had a mentor who said, you know, he wanted me to do a podcast and I was like, I don’t really want to do a podcast, I want people to talk to me in confidence and tell me things like, I don’t want to record it, because they’re just going to edit what they say. And so, but then at the end of the year, he was like, You should write, well start writing it up. You know, in you have all these interview notes. You might as well just write it all up and kind of try to pull it together, maybe turn it into a book. And then he gave me a two week deadline to write a book which obviously I didn’t meet. No, but I ended up writing like half of the book in two weeks because it was winter break and I had all these notes and then it just started it was like I thought it’d be hard, but it was pretty easy to pull it together. And then I think I wrote the rest of it over the next two months. It took longer, obviously, because then I had a full time job. So I wake up really, really early. It because I’m freshest in the morning. So I had to wake up at like, 3am I to like Read and Write for a bunch of hours and then start my job. And then by the end of the day, I was like, toast.
Kristin Taylor 25:23
I’m sure you’re exhausted. I’m sure you’re exhausted. So this is so fascinating. And I’m just curious, as you’re telling your story you’re talking about, you know, that your friends through your colleagues, call them colleagues or friends. And they’re all these scientists, and you’re saying, Do you believe in the paranormal? Do you believe in spirituality? Do you have a spiritual connection? What did you learn? Were there any themes?
Mona Sobhani 25:43
Um, yeah, I mean, I definitely, first of all, that they’re, they’re all human. And they all really have their own paths around it. I did find and this I, I kind of already knew, but it was confirmed that there is this, especially in neuroscience, we obviously we go, we go into neuroscience, because we’re interested in the brain and human experience. So I think I feel like neuroscientists are a little more not interested in spirituality. But we’re more philosophically oriented, I would say, then, possibly than other scientists, but I hope other scientists get upset that I’m saying that, but we do tend to be a little more, I don’t know, broader viewed. But anyway, so they all had their own experiences. But we do tend to, there’s like an interest around the human mind. And especially with mindfulness and meditation, there’s, you know, a movement, as we all know, in society around that. And I think neuroscientists have really embraced that. But it is a little bit more of that. Like, they removed the mysticism from it. There’s a term for it, like secular Buddhism or something, I can’t remember the term. But there’s a term for kind of what Sam Harris’s version of spirituality is, which is like, I believe, whatever, we’re all connected, or there’s meaning or I don’t even know what he believes in. But I draw the line at materialism. Like, there even though I believe in a broader consciousness, there’s no such thing as phenomena without with broader consciousness, which I think is ridiculous. But but so I thought, I found that a lot of them kind of subscribe to that. Like, they’d be like, oh, you know, consciousness is a mystery. Human nature is, you know, wondrous. And the mind is so fascinating. And they were interested in paranormal stuff. And they would always tell me all their own stories, like all of them had stories. But then they would like quickly, like, distance themselves from it.
Kristin Taylor 27:51
Interesting, interesting, which Mona feels like, for me is a perfect segue to say, given this whole journey that you are on, and sort of how you defined yourself as a materialist, scientifically, previous to learning all this. What do you believe? What is your new framework?
Mona Sobhani 28:10
I try not to believe anything anymore. But I stay open to everything because I, you know, before I thought I had it figured out and I was wrong. So now I just tried to stay open. And I have this model for it in my head where I, it’s like, I had a worldview. It was like an Excel spreadsheet. And I had locked it. And I was like, no more data. This is my worldview. And then now I’ve unlocked it. And I’m constantly adding data to it. And I never want to lock it again. Like I just want to keep accepting data. And I and I say in the book, I mean, I don’t know what the correct model is, you know how many I’ve read so many different explanations and theories about what the universe is, what consciousness is what reality is, like, I don’t know what is real. But I do know that materialism falls far short of explaining a lot of human experience, and therefore it is not a good model. So that’s where I stand.
Kristin Taylor 29:04
Yeah, well, I can appreciate that given where you have gone and all that you explored and how important it is to keep an open mind.
Mona Sobhani 29:12
I do think there’s more. Yeah, I definitely think there’s a lot of human experience that suggests that spirituality is important to us in some way. Like, even if it’s like I think that scientists tend to nowadays dismiss spirituality as Oh, it’s just something that evolved. But the fact that it did and persists means that it’s important in some way. So I do think that I think that that speaks volumes and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Kristin Taylor 29:40
Yeah, yeah. You share a story about a presence in your home that one of your friends who’s far more spiritually open. Yeah, good connection. Can you see my roommate? Bob, your roommate, can you share more about Bob and your relationship and your friends relationship to Bob?
Mona Sobhani 29:59
Yeah. I, when I moved into my place, one of my girlfriends is more spiritually sensitive. And she’s very open about it, you know, and but she’s scared of it. So she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t even like that she, but she’ll see, you know, she says she sees figures in her peripheral or field smells things like someone just led a match in a room or something. Anyway, so she Yeah, when I had just moved in, she’d come over for dinner one night, and I was in the kitchen. And she was sitting like, in a part of the half the dining table was could see into the hallway. And I couldn’t, because I was in the kitchen. So she I was trying to tell her something, she was distracted. And then I was like, why aren’t you paying attention to me? And she’s like, Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just distracted. There’s a male figure walking back and forth in your hallway. And so of course, I’m like, I just moved in, you know, like, we weeks before, I’m like, what? Like, I flipped out and come over, I don’t see anything or sense anything. But she claimed and every time she came over, she would comment on the figure. And I finally had to tell her to stop telling me because it was I couldn’t sleep like she would leave and I would be sitting in the room. Like, where’s the figure? Am I gonna wake up and it’s gonna be at the foot of my bed or like next to my bed. And you just freak me out. And after a while I thought, you know, I thought okay, it I can’t sense it. So it’s fine. Like, you know what I mean? Whatever, just let it be is he’s just, that’s all I did. We nicknamed him Bob. And we just said, he’s my invisible roommate. He’s here. It’s fine. And I just told her to stop telling me because it would just freak me out. And it’s like, I can’t do it. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I can imagine myself in your position. Like even knowing is there. I could really take myself into a spiral of fear with that one. Yeah, it was scary. Yeah, we should describe it Tuesday. Oh, like male figure. I’m like, great. That’s Oh, God.
Kristin Taylor 31:55
Was it an old house? Huh?
Mona Sobhani 31:58
It’s not that old. It was like maybe 70s. There 60s Maybe built? Like not the century or? No, no. Oh, wow. Those? Yeah. I don’t know if I could live somewhere that old? Yeah.
Kristin Taylor 32:12
Yeah. Especially knowing Bob. That there maybe yeah.
Mona Sobhani 32:16
Not with my not being friends with Stephanie. I mean, imagine bringing her over every every one of it. But it’s not just me. Every friend’s house we go to, she’ll be like, did you feel you know, she’ll say like, did you feel the presence downstairs? It’s like, it’s like, no, I didn’t?
Kristin Taylor 32:32
Yes, I don’t want to we’re not going to talk about that. So how do you live your life? Now? Tell me? That’s a really big question. Let me make it smaller. Tell me what kind of reception you are getting from the book, both inside the field of science as well as outside?
Mona Sobhani 32:47
Yeah, it’s been great. I’ve gotten a lot of really sweet letters and emails from people. I’m, like, astounded at how, you know, just kind people are and how much? How, how should I say this? Like how, how many people it’s resonating with or I’m resonating with, it’s been surprising. With scientists, I’ve had a few scientists, neuroscientists, of course, reached out to me, you know, telling me about their own experiences and being excited to have someone to speak to about these things. You know, people who, who are interested in non duality, or like broader consciousness, and so then we swap, we swap stories. And some of my other science friends, scientist friends, who are people I know or don’t even know who’ve reached out, have also, if even if they’ve not had personal experiences, have told me how I’ve inspired them to like, you know, take a class on reincarnation, or I swear I’ve, I’ve made so many people read many lives, many masters. It’s like ridiculous. Every day, I got a text from somebody, I just read it. And I’m like, I just, you’re welcome, right doctor. And I just because it’s like an easy book to read. It’s like a short story kind of Yeah. So so it’s been pretty well received. I don’t expect, you know, I’m a lot more understanding, like I talked about in the book, told me a new mean, new means a lot more understanding about people and their paths and where they are, and I don’t expect everyone to read it and to agree, or be in a place to be open to it. But luckily, those people don’t reach out to me or haven’t. Yeah. So there you go.
Kristin Taylor 34:41
So now knowing what you know, and I’m thinking about what you call your identity crisis and thinking about a breakup which is so painful, really the dark night of the soul. As we know life is challenging. You will have challenges in the future. How will what you’ve learned, show up for you in those times if it shows up at all, how does that change how you move through difficulty?
Mona Sobhani 35:04
Yeah, I’ve lived and I’ve definitely had a lot of difficulty. I mean, since then, like that mentor I mentioned, he passed away last year, from COVID. And so sorry, thank you, among other, other challenging things that have happened. And it’s definitely been, like, I can tell the difference, there’s definitely their tools, right, these are all tools. Spirituality is a tool. And it’s helped me in so many ways, I’m like struggling, but there’s a lot it’d been it’s helped me enormously. Let me just say it succinctly to begin with, it’s helped me enormously. There’s all these tools that I have at my disposal now that I didn’t have before. Whereas I think before with the materialist worldview, or just believing everything is random and meaningless, and just happens, I think I would have been still spiraling in despair of like, why, why why. But now I have tools to reframe my thinking, you know, in a worldview that allows for, I don’t know, like the end of this physical life not being the end of life life. So it’s definitely helped me, especially on a day to day basis, reframe situations, in my mind and reframe challenges, definitely has changed drastically on a day to day basis. But even as on a longer term, broader view of things, it’s definitely helped me significantly. I mean, I, the reason I wanted to share, and one reason I wanted to write the book was because of that, which is actually funny, because I didn’t even know how helpful and useful these tools would be. Because a lot of more challenging things came after the book, like after I finished writing and editing it, but I had already wanted to share how helpful that it had been. And now even more so, because they really do help you reframe a lot of it is just the way you think about things. I mean, that we know that from neuroscience and psychology, and a lot of therapy is just helping you reframe the narrative in your head. Right. And so I think that spirituality helps us do that. And I think it’s, um, you know, I think it’s very useful and helpful in that way.
Kristin Taylor 37:24
Yeah, it’s very valuable. I love that you did expound upon that. Because I was gonna say, what are the tools but I’m hearing the preeminent one is the reframe of when you’re caught in the suffering, to be able to reframe the meaning around it.
Mona Sobhani 37:37
Yeah. Are you one tool that I use a lot, which I will admit, I resist my ego resist, but I still try is when something happens, and I’m thinking, why is this happening to me? And I’ll try to reframe it into what lesson am I supposed to learn here? And so that one, I still resist, but I try. I try.
Kristin Taylor 38:00
Okay. Okay, tell me, if I may, because I think that’s the reason that speaks to me so much is that as a lot of what I do in my work as an executive coach, when people are dealing with challenges, is if and when they’re ready. And sometimes when they’re not. I will ask that question in a way that ideally, can land for them. Because it can be a difficult question, as you’re pointing to in the midst of struggle to be asked, Tell me about your own resistance to that question.
Mona Sobhani 38:25
Yeah. My resistance is like, oh, it’s kind of like this. i This is how I’ve started to think of it is, I can find a lesson you can always find a lesson and usually they’re pretty obvious. So I was like, Okay, I know what the lesson is. But I view it as my emotions or feelings still want to be heard. So, no matter. You know, I know what the lesson is. And so, one part of my mind wants to be like, let’s just focus on the lesson so that we don’t get so upset, and let’s just reframe this. My emotions still want to be felt and heard. And so I’ll be like, okay, that I get it the mental reframe. We’ll put a pin in that for later when I’m emotionally ready. Ready?
Kristin Taylor 39:16
I think that’s wise. Because if we are to believe that there are lessons we are to learn that we can only learn when we are incarnate in physical form, we are endowed with these emotions and part of the lesson is to learn how to experience emotion they are data and they can be teachers. So I think the two can coexist would be my perspective and the really the bent that I try to teach people.
Mona Sobhani 39:41
Yeah, and I definitely learned from all of those things that I read past life regression, I psychedelics a breath work, all that work that I was reading about, that I write about in the book, somewhat and is that is that emotions are there to tell you that gangs and the problem is really come up on you just refuse to feel your emotions at all and just suppress them. And so knowing that is very helpful. And it’s like you said there is nuance that I think is very difficult for people to understand. And our society does not prepare us to deal with these things doesn’t educate us well on these things. So it’s like you get people in the positivity camp saying, Oh, just reframe it and move on. And why can’t you look at it from a positive way? You know, but I, you know, from everything I’ve read, it’s like, yes, but you also need to just express the emotions so that they don’t just, you know, fester in your body.
Kristin Taylor 40:43
Exactly, exactly. So in your future, do you see yourself visiting psychics?
Mona Sobhani 40:50
Yeah, I mean, I still get readings for like, I’m just kind of curious. Like, I’m always curious. I do a lot of it’s obviously not scientific. But I’m always interested when they say similar things to each other. And that’s what I’m kind of interested in. And they all and the way I see it now is that there is energy around us that they can perceive. Because a lot of them will say the same exact things, but in slightly different ways. And let’s just interest me like, it’s such a cool phenomenon. To me. I just think that’s so fascinating. So I get I get them not not, I don’t count, you know, count on them. Because things change. I’ve had enough to know that. Yeah, nobody’s 100%. Right. But yeah, I definitely get them just because I’m like interested is an almond. I just think it’s cool.
Kristin Taylor 41:39
It’s so cool. It’s so fascinating. And whenever I go as well, they’re always talking about the element of freewill. Right. So predicting future can be difficult when there’s three Well, yeah. So as we go into wrap up mode, first of all, thank you so much. It’s such a fascinating story. And and I really love that in season two, when I’m really shifting in this direction towards more spiritual spiritual inquiry, that you are the first guest because you add so much credibility. I mean, like you said, I don’t remember your exact words, but you get intense you go deep in this research, and that there is a lot of research out there scientifically. Is there anything I have yet to ask you or any takeaways you’d like people to have as a result of listening to your experience and your story?
Mona Sobhani 42:26
Yeah, well, exactly what you said, first of all, is that there is so like, I would never, like I said, I was very hardcore scientist. So I would never open the door of possibility to these things if there wasn’t an enormous body of literature. So it’s there. And I read I sleep easy at night. Now, you know, I think at the beginning of journey, the identity crisis was was like, do I have enough evidence to defend you know, my, my ego, really. But now I now I rest easy because I’ve seen enough but the other thing and I read about this in the book is to encourage people to engage and lean into the mystical and the spiritual because it’s very, actually healing like studies have shown us Yeah, the more spiritual are the better, you know, outcome you have for long term illnesses, better well being basically on any measure, you can, you can personality or interpersonal effects, it’s all positive. And I so I encourage people to in whatever way that is, it’s different for different people. But whatever way that works for you to just lean into it because it’s actually healthy for you.
Kristin Taylor 43:43
Exactly, exactly. Well, it has been such a treat. I really appreciate you spending your time with us and sharing your stories. Thank you so much, Mona.
Mona Sobhani 43:51
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.
Kristin Taylor 43:56
In Mona’s existential crisis, she opened the door to an enormous body of literature that holds proof that there is more to the cosmos than what the scientific materialistic paradigm can offer. She, like I encourage people to engage in the mystical and the spiritual because studies have shown that the more spiritual you are, the better the outcomes you will have for things like illness and better wellbeing. And really, what’s more important than that, to learn more about Mona and her important contributions, please visit her website at monasobhani.com. And that’s s o b h a n i. And again, our book is called Proof of Spiritual Phenomena an Neuroscientist’s Discovery of the Ineffable Mysteries of the Universe. If you’re enjoying these podcasts, I ask that you share them. We need to get these important messages out there. If you’re looking to increase your own wellness, reduce your anxiety, or deepen your own personal or spiritual awareness. These are the areas I specialize as a coach and I would love to explore working with you one on one, please reach out to me at email@example.com. Thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you next time on How I Made It Through.
EIQ Media, LLC 45:15
How I Made It Through is produced and distributed by IQ Media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on overcoming adversity, leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship, spiritually transformative experiences and more.