Today's episode is one of the most important conversations we've had on the podcast all year. In this first of our Brovember episodes, Mason chats with Aaron Schultz, the founder of Outback Mind, A mental health and wellbeing programme that helps men from regional Australia manage anxiety and develop the right skills to stay healthy in the body, mind, and spirit. Growing up in regional Australia himself, experiencing the downward spiral of mental health issues, unfulfillment, and toxic environments, Aaron knows first hand the challenges men can face. A healing journey ignited by an introduction to Buddhism and self-love, Aaron has spent the past 20 years building a career around helping men to become more conscious and connected to their true selves. Today, Aaron is a leading anxiety management teacher, meditation/yoga teacher, and a specialised mind/body coach, with a great ambition to help others; Particularly men from regional areas. Aaron works to bring about a level of consciousness and understanding to a whole collective of men, born into an environment where a natural trajectory is to work for the economy and serve the colonial system; With little to no cultural ideologies in place that nurture them connecting to their true purpose. His organisation, Outback Mind; Focuses on creating a culture and lifestyle that gives these men the tools and solid foundation needed to deal with emotions and realise their heart purpose.
In this soul-centred conversation, Aaron talks a lot about untying the embedded feeling of fear in society. An emotional response instilled in most of us; Fear permeates the colonial structure and has become a default operating system for so many. Fear of judgment, of being different, and of being vulnerable, hinders a lot of men from discovering their true purpose and potential. This conversation is a beautiful dialogue around masculinity, vulnerability, and destructive cultural ideologies placed upon men. Mason and Aaron dive into Men's holistic health, the changes we need to make in society so men can thrive, and why we can't wait for a system that's not serving us to bring about the changes we need. If we want change, we have to activate it ourselves by supporting each other and our communities in the areas that matter. This episode honours the strength, spirit, and wellbeing of men and is a much larger conversation about humanity. Tune in.
"It's so important to be able to give guidance and be strong within yourself so you can be a light to others, because that's really what the world needs right now more than ever. I believe my job here is to try and create light so these men can start to become more conscious and take autonomy within themselves".
Mason and Aaron discuss:
Who is Aaron Schultz?
Aaron Schultz is a leading anxiety management teacher, speaker, and private coach. He focuses on practical solutions to help individuals improve mental wellbeing and overcome anxiety. Aarons vision is to empower people to take a proactive approach to wellbeing, feel safe and supported, and become free of physical and mental illness by building healthy lifestyle behaviours that help individuals become self-aware, live more consciously, and thrive.
Aaron is the founder of Outback Mind, a yoga, and meditation teacher (with over 5000 hours of practical teaching experience) specialising in Yin, Hatha, and Kundalini Yoga and transcendental meditation. Aaron also has extensive experience training individuals and groups in high-stress industries to manage anxiety in and out of the workplace. Aaron was recently awarded the People’s Choice Award at the Queensland Men’s Health Awards for his work creating a healthier future for men and boys.
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Aaron, thanks so much for joining me, mate.
Aaron Schultz: (00:02)
Pleasure, Mason. Thank you for having me.
Yeah, well, yeah, my pleasure. My pleasure. Good. Do you want to just like give everyone a little up to date, little download on what you're doing at the moment, where you're focused at the moment is, and what the grander vision is for yourself and likewise, Outback Mind.
Aaron Schultz: (00:19)
Yeah, thank you. I guess I come from a rural background in country Victoria. I was brought up traditionally, getting all the trauma that the education system sort of laid upon me, and that took me into poor lifestyle behaviours and believing what the TV told me. So, I started drinking and doing all the wrong things, and I disconnected from my real purpose and my soul pretty early because of the way society was sort of gearing me. So, sort of went into those poor lifestyle behaviours, and I knew underneath all that there was something greater, but I had to follow the breadcrumbs society had sort of laid out for me and worked hard, did all the things, bought the houses, and had the material stuff, and all that too.
Aaron Schultz: (01:15)
And yeah, basically ended up a bit of a mess in my thirties and had to redirect myself. But following that, I've sort of had a real vision to be able to help guys like myself from rural communities to be able to find out who they really are and follow that. Everyone's got something inside them that maybe they haven't had the courage to dive into. So, I've been able to help others through my own experience to fast track that basically by giving them some tools and some guidance and advice around following their true purpose in this lifetime, I guess, at the end of the day, and not having to go through all the shit that I went through, but that's also beautiful in its own essence because we do learn from that sort of stuff. But to be able to help a young man or to help someone get some direction, I think's my real purpose here, and to be able to explore all the beautiful things that humanity has to offer without going into all the negative stuff that takes us away from our true alignment at the end of the day.
With this young, colonised Australian culture that we've got here, I mean, especially in the tribe, what do you see as the biggest thing? You are a part of that culture, and you and others are emerging to fill these gaps that are allowing such big mental health challenges, or just generally not being able to get onto your purpose and everything that kind of comes with that. If you look overall at our culture, what do you think is the biggest thing that we're yearning for, or that's lacking, or there's a blockage around that's enabling all these things that you're solving? What's enabling it to become an issue to start with?
Aaron Schultz: (03:11)
Yeah, really. I always say to people "What are traps that are holding you back?" And it's primarily the underlying fact that is fear. We get put into fear early and that pretty much becomes our default. You always keep going back to fear all the time. But to be able to help people understand what helps them feel calm, I need to be able to create a culture and a lifestyle around that because that's really the heart purpose and the soul journey, I guess, at the end of the day which a lot of guys, including myself, never understood or don't understand, and I don't like seeing people go through the whole lifetime without having that connection.
Aaron Schultz: (03:58)
I think we've all got something within us which is our true purpose and our true calling. We've got a job here to do, many of us, and to be able to find what that is, to be able to direct your life around that I think's really, really important to be able to make it simple to people. I go back to my own sort of journey. I was sort of messed up in my thirties, and I went to a doctor, and all he wanted to do was tie me up in knots. But I basically just had to take direction for myself and then start to work on myself again and get back to that little boy that was never really nourished, I suppose, at the end of the day.
Aaron Schultz: (04:35)
So, that sort of resonates with guys when you talk to them because they sort of see that within them when you're done, and to be able to give them real-life experiences and stories about it but to do it vulnerably I think's really important. I was never courageous enough to be vulnerable about the way I felt as a human, come from a very judgemental environment which most rural communities are. It can be very much like that. And you touch on the colonial model. The colonial model is pretty much all about fear, force, and control, and ourselves are really penetrated with that early on. To be able to release that I think is really important. It's our birthright to feel that freedom, I guess, at the end of the day.
When you work, so especially, I mean this isn't just going to be rural community, but that's where you are predominantly working, when you're working in rural communities with the lads and you start looking at purposefulness, soul journey, I'm sure there's different for them, they resonate with different ways of the connecting with that, and talking about that, I'm sure you've got lots of ways of approaching, what's the outcome? Do you find that it's different where you go? Everything's going to be unique, but for some people, is that purposefulness something that's a big life goal? Are you seeing at the moment, is it just them dealing with some inner turmoil so that they can just do their job purposefully and enjoy where they're at? What do you see the biggest outcome of how they actually feel their purpose, and what does it look like? I'm just thinking for some blokes and women, but blokes that are listening that are like, "What is that?" Is that, all of a sudden, I know my purpose is ABC or how does it look?
Aaron Schultz: (06:23)
Aaron Schultz: (06:25)
Men are confused, to be perfectly honest to you. We're educated to support the economy really at the end of the day. We come out of school, we go into uni or work, and we sort of have lost that real connection with our true self. That takes us into poor lifestyle behaviours, getting into relationships which we aren't aligned with. Really, once you start to explain this to people in a men's circle or one on one or whatever it is, people start to actually realise that not so much that they're fucked up, but they've actually taken themselves away from their true alignment to be able to do what society's expected of them or what their community's expected of them, and I was very much like that. I was always trapped in this thing of what other people thought about me and a lot of guys are the same.
Aaron Schultz: (07:21)
They're very much at that entrapment of expectation of others. To be able to start to give them tools, to unpack that so they can feel safe within themselves because a man very, very rarely feels safe with who he actually is, to be able to develop a relationship with this masculine, feminine energy too, which took me a lot of work to be able to understand that as well, to be able to release anger, but then also to be comfortable with that anger too so you can develop a relationship with both sides of you and humanity, I guess, at the end of the day. But I think we have this lack of awareness within ourselves about who we truly are, and we're not just put in on this planet to be able to work, pay taxes, get a super, and die, and to be able to bring that back into real-time for people so they can start to work towards their true alignment.
Aaron Schultz: (08:24)
One thing that really changed me a few years ago was going and talking to old men at the end of their life about had they had a successful life and nine out of 10 said no because they were never able to reach not so much their potential, but who they really wanted to be and be able to follow their passions because of expectation of fear, judgement , all that type of stuff in these rural communities where I come from. So, that's been said to me. I'm not going to wait. I want to try and fulfil my life well and truly before then, but also to help others do the same. We've all got that ability within us. It's just about sort of untying the knots and the tangles to be able to get some structure on how we live our lives a bit more functionally and freely moving forward, I guess, yeah.
You brought up men's circles. It's an offering. It's an ancient happening. It's something logical, and to be honest, something I've been engaged in a lot, but have kind of just a bit, I think, steered clear of a little bit, while especially the Byron Bay scene kind of figures out without the political correctness, just open a space where you can truly explore what it is for you as a man, without dictating the outcomes and trying to say what a man is necessarily. But just how important are these, not just in rural communities, in metropolitan cities? Is this just a novelty, something we're doing in Bali and Byron? Just how important is this to the emerging and evolving culture of Australia and around the world?
Aaron Schultz: (10:10)
Yeah, and you think about it because I had a good core group of friends in primary school, right? It's just been high school, the egos and everything open up, right? You just become cynical, critical, judgemental, all those sorts of things, right? But at the end of the day, strip everything away, you've got a heart connection with your brotherhood, I guess. When you see the egos of others and their judgements and opinions of the mind and all those sort of things, but once you strip away that, all the work's got to be done in the privacy of their own heart.
Aaron Schultz: (10:47)
I start a men's circle with a meditation, and I take them on a journey for 11 minutes, and I stripped them away from big citation of the mind and all the things that are going on. We get back to this true purpose again. Okay. After that 10 minutes, we're de-escalated and we're right, and then we can start to open up about what's going on here. So, what I'll do is I'll talk, I'll bring a topic in. I'll pair people up. They'll go and talk about that topic, come back, then they're de-escalated even further. Then we go into a circle and we talk about what's going on in our lives to be able to unpack that and have that support of others as well. So, the vulnerability is the biggest thing for a man actually be able to be vulnerable. As I said, it was a tough thing for me.
Aaron Schultz: (11:33)
When new people come along, I'll talk about that sort of stuff so they actually feel safe. That's the thing with a man. We're in this protection mode consistently. We're in this fight and flight, this fight mode. Once we can be free of that protection and start to open up, that's when we can start to unload and start to unpack some of the challenges that we have going on within ourselves, and a great way to do that is to express that around other men, to be able to be vulnerable, but also to be able to tap into the feminine side which we don't understand, which can really help us create great levels of self-awareness at the end of the day which many of just don't have.
Aaron Schultz: (12:13)
As I said, we're constantly on chasing the bread crumbs and all the material things that society now thinks that we need to help us feel good. But once we sort of get away from that and start to talk about the way things are and the way things are going on with us, I just think we can start to be more conscious about the way we live our lives at the end of the day.
I mean, it is quite simple. It's amazing, but when you dip in, when you sink into that space, even just that intention, and you can just see. Sometimes, yes, whether it's a group of mates that we have, or if you have a partner, it's incredible to be able to be vulnerable to that partner and share. There's sometimes so much to unpack, it doesn't feel like it's overly appropriate for your lover to be that person that has to cop all of it and hold it, and that's the biggest thing. Having a group of men, strong men, men that can be soft as well just to feel supported in that, that you don't have to bottle it in to protect the people around you as well.
Then also, you mentioned anger. I think it went from that culture where men are just aggressive and angry to that's bad and that's toxic, and then to this point now where no, it needs to be felt. If you've bottled it up that long, it's going to be raging and wanting to come out, and to know that you're in a space of other men that understand it, and ideally a space where you feel you're not going to get judged for it, it feels, yeah, it's obviously very sacred. And just going through your website, I've just gone, "You know what? That's really something that could be healthy for me right now."
Aaron Schultz: (14:01)
Yeah, yeah. I appreciate that. I just share a bit about my own journey. I had these little traumas going on in my childhood which I've never dealt with, and that sort of took me into drinking and masking all that sort of stuff. When I hit 37, I was at the stage where I could take my life or I could change and move through that. So, I had that seesaw going on, and the easy thing was to go, "Okay, I've had enough of this. I'm out of here." And that's what happens to lot of guys. I lost my job and I felt worthless because I was attached to that title and that outcome, and yeah, as I said, I've never got to know myself.
Aaron Schultz: (14:51)
So, put my foot into the gym and fitness, and a lot of that anger came out with the fitness and lifting more and more chin-ups, and all that sort of stuff, and I went from an average body into a pretty strong, fit body, and all the accolades and everything that came with that. Then I started to win things, and then I started to do these unbelievable athletic pursuits. And I had this moment where I could have went further and went to America and done all this sort of great stuff, or I could have said to myself, "Okay, Aaron, you've done well here. You don't need to do that anymore." That's what I did. I didn't keep pushing.
Aaron Schultz: (15:32)
So, that took me into Buddhism, and Buddhism taught me to be kind to myself and be vulnerable. That's where the healing started to happen. With men, we'll keep pushing. That masculine side is very strong. That was the opportunity and the learning curve for me to be able to retreat from that, and then start to find that side of myself which had never been explored or never understood. To fast track things a bit, yin yoga was the thing for me which basically helped solve a lot of problems that I had because it just taught me to settle down, slow down, be accepting of myself, and then to be able to, yeah, learn how to use the body to settle the mind at the end of the day, to be able to develop a relationship with yin and the yang of life.
Aaron Schultz: (16:32)
So, if I hadn't kept pushing fitness, that would've pushed me into this yang space, and the ego would've been dominant. To be able to understand the ego and become teammates with the ego, rather than just living that mindset consistently because I think that's what a lot of us try to do. We just think we've got to be a performer consistently to be able to have the vulnerability which was very hard for me with yin yoga because my body was so tight and that. But over time, I just had to keep showing up, and now I teach others, but also, it's part of my daily practise to be able to use the yang and use the yin together and have that harmony to develop that neutrality, I guess, at the end of the day and a high level of awareness.
Aaron Schultz: (17:22)
Your mind, the way you are feeling on a basis changes, but if you can provide yourself with the practical tools to manage that better, I think you're not only going to be a better individual personally, but that's going to help spread light to others as well.
How does that go down when you... I know we were talking just before we jumped on the podcast and when you're working in the prison system. Are you still working in the prison systems?
Aaron Schultz: (17:49)
Oh, well not really. I don't work for the government, but I was going and teaching yoga in the prisons and doing some self-awareness training for prisoners. That may change now that we've got to be double jabbed so I'm not too sure about that one. Yeah. So, what we do is I'll just talk or the guy from WA will go and help guys come out, put them into a job, and then give them that pathway so they haven't got that vulnerability when they're out. The whole system is about bringing people from punishment or trauma, giving them more punishment, and then they're on their own when they get out. That doesn't work. We actually are able to go in, help identify the right people to match them up with the right employer, give them stability, but my role is to be able to keep them self-aware through mindfulness practises before they're released, so they come out and they've got a daily practise they can tap into so they can keep their job, don't get caught up with all the old belief systems and stay on track.
Aaron Schultz: (18:54)
So, we don't get funding for any of this. We're trying to create something here which is going to help humanity in many ways, and that's something I'm really passionate about. That's primarily helping guys that have got lots of issues. We're punishing people consistently for trauma that's not their fault. To be able to help guys identify that, to help them feel safe, and it's okay, they can start to rebuild their lives again, this is something that's groundbreaking, that hasn't been explored before. So, to be able to take a young 25-year-old that's had a terrible life to help them reinvert that or a 55-year-old which has had this constant cycle of incarceration to be able to feel sacred in themselves, to learn some of the life skills which can keep them balanced is really beautiful at the end of the day because everyone's got a purpose in this lifetime and be able to help them become more stable and self-aware about their emotions, I think it's really important, and that's something that I want to try and do more of over the next period.
Aaron Schultz: (20:06)
But I've got higher things that I want to do later on. It's just the stepping stone, and I keep getting downloads about this when I do my meditation in the morning that this is my journey and this is my purpose for this time. So, trying to be true to that, I guess, at the end of the day, rather than chasing money and all those sorts of things because I think if you're working in alignment with yourself, then everything else will take care of itself.
What do you see is the biggest consequence here with the trauma? Obviously, the same is happening in various ways for women, but sticking to men, this lack of capacity or want or willingness or ability of our culture, the system, especially the corporate system to identify with a lack of initiations, a lack of support to identify traumas, having men being comfortable in themselves, what's the biggest... When you look at our country and our world, what do you see is the consequences that are rolling out of this being the case of us having this unwillingness and deficiency to support men to get in touch and on that path?
Aaron Schultz: (21:19)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, look, I just think that the whole system is working against this at the end of the day. You say, for example, that someone is experiencing self-doubt consistently. Well, as soon as they drive around a corner, they're seeing a billboard to drink beer. It's going around the other side, they're seeing a billboard to eat junk food, all this type of stuff. So, we're getting mixed messages consistently. Your body is smarter than you. Your body's always trying to give you the truth, but we're blocking that consistently because of the domination of the mind. We haven't been taught how to read what's going on below the shoulders and the message that that's consistently sending us.
Aaron Schultz: (22:06)
So, yeah, to be able to find ease within yourself and ease with that trauma, some of the things that have held you back, this has happened for a reason, whether it be good or bad, and then to be able to accept that, and self-acceptance is such a hard thing because we are so geared to keep consistently beating ourselves up. We're consistently beating ourselves up, and I have that issue, not so much now, but I know it pops in every now and then. That is not a bad thing because it's there to protect me and keep driving me in some ways, but sometimes I really need to recheck myself and be kind to myself at the end of the day, and that's a skill that we're lost that ability to be able to nurture ourselves and be kind of to ourselves I think's so important because we've got the foot on the pedal consistently where we're not actually taking that off.
Aaron Schultz: (23:03)
So, yeah, to be able to dive into some of those traumas, through my meditation practise now, I'll go into some things that happened to me when I was younger which gave me trauma, and then I'll be able to say thank you to that because it actually helps me move forward. That's a big thing for a guy that's new to this sort of stuff to learn, but you can give them simple things that actually help them on a journey of self-acceptance, then all of a sudden, they're on a pathway to transformation rather than being stuck in the old patterns all the time, if that makes sense.
I mean, it completely makes sense. I mean, it's funny. I know I can go really sinister right now and talk about the motives of a keeping a culture this way and keeping everyone kind of huddled down, and kind of like a commodity, as long as they're just designed and as long as it's all working to design, just working, being in the workforce, and doesn't matter. We can deal with all the issues. And then you add the confusion of there's a lot, and some of it kind of rightfully, some that's gone absolutely too far is the bastardization of men and masculinity kind of thrown in there at the moment, and I'm not sure what your position is around this. It's something that's been obviously going on for years and super prevalent at the moment.
I'm just saying with that perfect storm, for the efficiency's sake, for the resources's sake of our country and our culture, it makes complete sense to put energy in into this, and I guess I can just say for people listening as well, I get the sinister intentions and also get the fact that you're looking, I don't know, looking through the matrix and being like... Even if you guys can't see that this is the greatest thing to bring love, getting people on purpose, men on purpose, better for families, better for women, better for everyone yet you're fighting for funding.
I mean, it always perplexes me, but then it doesn't because I go, "I know if I can have a..." I don't know why it's surprising, but it does still. It's baffling because the yield of benefit from... You imagine rolling out what they've done with PCR testing and vaccination, what they've done in such a small amount of time, if they rolled out with half of that, a quarter of that resource and intention towards let's get everyone properly rehabilitated, feeling purposeful, and getting over the traumas, the amount of efficiency that would be put into our culture, the amount of stress that would come off our medical system from all these mental health... Suicide comes off. All of a sudden, you got all the stress that goes into families when that happens. It really kind of brings it. It makes me really quite emotional. With the work you're doing, I'm sure you feel the gravity of it. Just how much, the utopia, that we're knocking on the door of?
Aaron Schultz: (26:20)
I don't get angry about it. I see with compassion because I know there's such a better way. So, the whole government model is keeping people DDC which is dumb, docile, and compliant. Right? The whole system is around keeping people unhealthy because it's good for the economy. We've actually fucking become topsy-turvy here with the way that we really should be directing humanity. You're right. Giving people the tools and skills to be able to deal with those things rather than pushing it the other way is really the key to that.
Aaron Schultz: (26:54)
Now, I believe that there's going to be a moment in time over the next, maybe 10, 20 years where there will be a real shift. We can't keep going down this role of basically pushing people away from what we're meant to be doing here as humans. You think about it. At the end of the day, it's only been the last 20, 30, 40 years that we've had so much domination. People were living in those days where they were sharing. Things were much more aligned with the way we're meant to be functioning here as humans, but they've taken away our vegetable gardens, our fruit trees, all those sorts of things to direct us to go to the supermarket. Convenient has become so much more common these days because really, at the end of the day, what it is mostly is it's the economical support and stimulus that goes with it.
Aaron Schultz: (27:49)
So, if you look at a person that's incarcerated, that's an industry. The prisons have become an industry. The junk food has become an industry. All these different things have popped up. When I was a young fellow, pubs closed at 10 o'clock. Now, they're free for all because they realise they can keep more people employed. There's emergency services that are going to be employed to compliment all the pisspots, all those sorts of things. So, keeping people mentally unbalanced and physically unwell has become an industry, an entity of its own so that's continually stimulating the economy. But you're right, the counterbalance that is to be able to create a wellness culture which is going to be so much more beneficial at the end of the day, they can't see that at that level. The whole draconian thinking and the draconian model is really wrong.
Aaron Schultz: (28:45)
My job here and I believe your job here is to try and create light so people can start to become more conscious and take autonomy within themselves so they can actually start to think, "Well, maybe what I've been fed is bullshit. Now, I'm going to put some decent fertiliser onto my body, and around me that's going to help nourish me," rather than sort of punishment at the end of the day because we're really directed into a world now of self-punishment. Most people are feeling like a shithouse on a daily basis, physically and mentally, and that's the only way that they know. So, where I live, there's a coffee cart. People are lining up there consistently to get their energy. I'm going down and I'm doing meditation on the beach and getting energy from the earth and the sun. People don't see that because the TV's telling them to go and get their fill of coffee, and then at the end of the day, drink beer to find that balance, and I was brought up in that.
Aaron Schultz: (29:42)
So, I understand what it's like, but I see that with compassion. I see these people that are making decisions with compassion. I spend time in Parliament House in Canberra, and I've been around the government, and I understand how it all works. I have people that are in fairly high-level roles come to me consistently because they're actually empty and lost with themselves. They're putting energy into all the stuff that they think is real and right, but at the end of the day, it's taking away from their true alignment, and I don't want to see them get to the end of their lives and think what if. We can actually create a culture of self-autonomy and well-being now for them. That's why it's so important to be able to give guidance and be strong within yourself so you can be a light to others because that's really what the world needs right now more than ever.
I mean, you brought up again, getting to the end of your life, whether or not there's regret or whatever. I always like to sprinkle in that it's going to be diverse, I imagine very diverse in terms of little regrets and tweaks, or was I on track or not. It's not just black and white. But I was just thinking, for everyone listening, especially the boys listening, tracking to the end of their life which I think you've been with your meditation practise. I'm sure there's a lot of work in acknowledging your death and the impermanence, and I always find that most of the time, ultimately, my most rewarding and favourite part of my own inner practise is facing my own mortality and always going into that darkness and seeing what emerges.
But I always love thinking about that, either that deathbed or my 80-year-old self, and using that as a lighthouse, and that always gives me insights, and can I map somewhat or an understanding of the terrain. Well, I can feel it. I can feel the terrain and how many things are going to change in all those years. For you in your work, for the guys listening, when they think about themselves kind of on that deathbed, or when they're an elder, hopefully an elder, and they're tracking back, what resources would you recommend for them to have in place which would be the fertiliser to give the capacity for that rich garden of a purposeful life to come about?
Aaron Schultz: (32:15)
Absolutely. Look, we're only on this journey in this body for a period of time, but primarily, if you can keep yourself in routine on a daily basis, you will not age. Physically, you may change, but mentally and spiritually, you will stay coherent. So, to be able to utilise a physical body in a manner where it's being nourished on a daily basis, externally by movement, those types of things, to be able to nourish it with the right nutrients externally that come into the body to be able to help it survive and thrive really well.
Aaron Schultz: (32:57)
But also, to be conscious and connected to nature and all the things that are beyond that, I think that that will hold you in high regard so you don't leave this life feeling unfulfilled because every day for me is an opportunity to have an opportunity that I've ever had before and I've got to remind myself consistently that every day has been different, and I'm grateful for the days that have gone before because yeah, once you've got that, you will not have any regrets, and every opportunity, every moment is unique, and it's something that we've actually become disconnected with because we're so dominated by the mind and what we think is real.
Aaron Schultz: (33:45)
Humans are the only creatures on this planet which are working away from our alignment. Look around at everything else and they know what they're doing. They're sourcing the food. They're doing all the things that nature intended and provided for them, but humans have become disconnected and lost from that. There's so much we can learn from our indigenous cultures that can give us that connection again. You and I are on this land through other entities, by people that have come from other lands that have come here and created us so we've actually lost a sense of purpose as men as well because we haven't got that connection with something.
Aaron Schultz: (34:27)
I've learned so much of indigenous people from when I was a young boy, but to also what I'm doing now to be able to really connect and learn from them, and I'm helping indigenous guys connect back to their culture because that's the most powerful gift that they could have while they're in these bodies in these times primarily at the end of the day because that is human, isn't it? You know where you're living, you're living in a community, you're sharing, you're in a tribe, all that type of stuff. This is what I believe we're meant to be doing as humans. We're actually just lost touch with that at the end of the day. To be able to be grounded on a daily basis is so important.
Yeah, I think it's kind of one of those things. I've done a few podcasts lately with some... I just did one with Jost. So, I don't know if Jost from-
Aaron Schultz: (35:17)
He's a German Daoist and acupuncturist and can go in all kinds of direction. And again, in this podcast, we just came back to sleep in terms of the ultimate thing to bring that armour in terms of what's going on in the world at the moment and love. It's so often, and that racing part of my mind is like, "All right. So, what's that thing?" And asking you that question, you're like, "All right," that consistency through your day, that routine through your day so that you're grounded. It just landed again. I've tightened it up so much this year, and I'm one of those people that I'm like, "Oh no," if I've got that scheduled dialled and I'm refining it and it's all scheduled and locked in, it means I'm not free, and I've got that little Peter Pan syndrome kind of going on.
But I've just watched what happened to my mental health this year when I just dialled in to that calendar and not really respecting, when I have a meeting, respecting the clock, respecting that I've put that in my schedule for a reason, and keep on refining, don't get down on myself. I can't believe what's happened to my mental health and stability just through that, with movement, with breathwork, with meditation. And again, I'm one that stumbles a lot in that and it quite often doesn't go well, but then just to not give up and just remember, that is the key. You've just given us that that's the key for when you're an old codger. That's what will get you feeling really purposeful when you get there. I find that potent.
Aaron Schultz: (36:48)
Yeah, absolutely. It's called [inaudible 00:36:53] on a daily basis if you can do something for 10% of your day. I like to do it early in the morning so you can get connected. If you can have a practise every morning which grounds you, then you get rid of all the uncertainty, the fears, the worries, all that sort of stuff, and get back to okay, this is what it's all about, and then you start to live more from your heart. Yeah, I just think that is ancient wisdom which is much needed in modern times. All the ancient traditions talk about it. And in Kundalini yoga, we talk about juts, so just repeat. You repeat on a daily basis., you've got that foundation for your life. It's so important. It's so easy to get up in the morning and go to the coffee machine and get stimulated straightaway. The average man's going to the TV or the radio, and they're putting the fear in the first five minutes of their day, But if you can say, "No, I'm disconnecting from that. I'm going to do something which nourishes myself." That's turning inward primarily to be able to connect.
Aaron Schultz: (37:56)
Physical movement is a great way of doing that. I had to do it through fitness to really push my body and learn to connect with myself again. But really, that took me into meditation. It took me into okay, now I've got rid of all my anger, now I can be still. That stillness, it's come from yin yoga now to be able to help the mindset also. I used to be really rigid on a daily basis with regards to what I had to do, but now I wake up and I have all these tools that I can use. So, I wake up and okay, this is how I feel. This is what I'm going to do, and my practise every morning goes for a couple of hours or more, depending on what's happening on that particular day. But that's my rock and my foundation that I've worked on over the last sort of 10 or 12 years.
Aaron Schultz: (38:48)
It's a journey because most guys, they want to get to the end of the marathon before they start. The whole thing is to be really in love with the journey. Don't worry about the outcome. Really be in love with the journey and what's happening because every day is unique, and it's a new opportunity to learn about yourself and others. You've got new experiences going on in your day on a daily basis. So, to be able to be in love with that, rather than the outcome, we're so attached to the outcome. I want the beautiful wife. I want this and that and the other, but just be in mind and love with yourself and work within your own truth, and everything else will take care of itself I guess at the end of the day.
And quite often, I mean, in my experience, it's still those things which you perceive to be superficial in terms of your wanting. They're still there. They are created in your life with substance. Beautiful partner, the ability to get on purpose, get some cash in the bank, build some assets, maybe be a provider, maybe not fall into... Whatever it is, it's still that superficial stuff. From what I could see, it's still there. It's just got something in the middle of it.
Aaron Schultz: (40:09)
Oh, a hundred percent. It's really interesting. I'm not huge with social media, but I have these memory popups come up, right? And what I was doing three years ago, five years ago, eight years ago, it's amazing. This is one thing that we don't understand as men, right? I believe that we have this cyclic thing going on within us that we're actually engaged in this type of stuff at particular times of the year. I looked at these popups that have been coming out recently. They're exactly how I'm feeling now. These are just reminders of what's happened at the same time throughout a year in years gone. So, these seasons and cycles that we're going through, we actually don't have any awareness and consciousness around that to be able to be in alignment with that.
Aaron Schultz: (41:00)
I think that is something that's really powerful and next level with regards to reaching our potential as humans, but also to be able to be more responsive and conscious of what's going on within our lives at any particular moment throughout the calendar year or whatever that may be. It's been a real light bulb for me to actually observe that. That's been a gift as a reminder to show me those sorts of things. And when your emotions and so forth are out of check, it's usually probably a lot to do with what's going on in nature which we don't really understand that much. The mental health industry doesn't probably understand that much about either because it's all about interventions rather than proactive solutions I guess at the end of the day.
Aaron Schultz: (41:50)
So, they're the things I want to try and help people understand. Maybe you're feeling like this because of this reason. How many men know about moon cycles and how that works? None. That's the feminine side of them that they don't want to have anything to do with, but if we could start to educate guys more about this sort of stuff, and how this might be affecting their sleep and their circadian rhythm, and all those types of things which we're unconscious of, I think that's really, really important. That's how we can start to be proactive about mental health rather than being reactive like the whole model is currently because that model is about making money out of people.
Isn't it just? So, you've just touched a lot on circadian rhythm connecting to the land. Something I've been, yeah, saying for a few years now is that it's just very obvious and has been obvious for many people for a long time, and there's somewhat many diversions, but there's especially a diversion. I can see a diversion in the genetics and the way that people want to live right now. One I see is those communities wanting to keep at least a foot but two feet grounded on the earth, and then those that I think I kind of see more going up into the cloud, and wanting to plug into a smart city in a technological way of living that doesn't abide by any connection to nature and circadian rhythm.
I mean, we don't have too much longer. I'm sure you've got some resource, or if you want to quickly share your practises for staying tuned in to that natural rhythm so that you can stay tuned into reality, and maybe the reality of what's going on with you. But I also just wanted to touch, and you mentioned mob indigenous culture, any indigenous lads listening, you've already recommended, it's the number one thing. It's kind of in the faces, connect back to culture, connect back to the song and your dance and language. For the Western lads listening because I kind of find it still a little bit icky around here in terms of still a little bit of spiritual just taking of indigenous culture.
Have you got recommendations or just a reminder of how we can also, through connecting with the land, also connect or respect or learn about indigenous culture in a way that... It's energetically. You can feel it's still like a hive there. There's karmic stuff there. Obviously, there's a lot of developing and forming that energetic relationship where we're living harmoniously together. It's still unravelling. Have you got any tips for guys to how approach it, how approach that?
Aaron Schultz: (44:43)
Yeah, definitely. A lot of us have had no connection with spirituality because it's combined with religion, and a lot of us have had religious trauma. So, a lot of this stuff that we believed was right about connection is probably not really filling us anymore. So, to be able to, I wouldn't say disregard that, but just to let go of that now what your beliefs probably were, to be able to be more aware of the universal consciousness is key. What's in this life and what's beyond this life is taking your awareness and dimension to another level.
Aaron Schultz: (45:26)
And for me, that came from pushing my body really hard and going running early in the morning before the sun come up because I had no noise. It was no life. All you heard or all you saw was the sky and silence. So, I'd go running at 4:00 in the morning, and lot of the ancient traditions talk about the ambrosial hours as being the best time to connect with yourself because you've got no domination from anything. Yeah, so for me as an individual, it was actually using that time in the day to get grounded. You hear a kookaburra wake up at five o'clock, and then all of a sudden, life starts to evolve. You start to realise that life's so much bigger than yourself, once you actually have got that time for connection.
Aaron Schultz: (46:18)
So yeah, if anyone's wanting to challenge themselves, let's say get up in the ambrosial hours. Get outside. Do some meditation, whatever it may be. Get connected with the land somehow so that it can actually give you an appreciation of the gift that we've actually in this lifetime. To be human in this lifetime's a pretty unique opportunity and a unique gift. As I mentioned before, we're going about life incoherently to what was really expected of us or what we're meant to be doing here. So, to be able to connect with the fundamental things I think are really key because that'll keep you grounded on a daily basis, and once you've got that foundation, then the rest of your life will evolve around that.
Aaron Schultz: (47:04)
We have this innate connection with ourselves, but also humanity. Once you start to get out of the lower levels of consciousness of fear, shame, guilt, greed, and get into the higher levels of consciousness of gratitude, love, kindness, compassion, all those sorts of things, if you can start to tune into those sorts of things on a daily basis early, then that will spread, and you'll have that connection with yourself but also connection with others as well. I think that's really key, and they're the skills that we don't know as men, we don't understand as men because we've been pushed the other way to be sort of in those lower levels of consciousness of society, as I mentioned.
Aaron Schultz: (47:45)
But we think that happiness comes from greed and all those sorts of things where really the happiness comes from love and kindness and compassion and all the things that we're meant to be doing here as humans. We're not meant to be in fear all the time. It's a small part of our life, rather being a major part of our life. That fear's here protect us occasionally, but we're not meant to be living in it consistently. So, use the time you have early in the morning if you can to be able to become connected to what's really important. Then, you do this consistently, and over time, you'll develop these habits which become part of your foundation, part of your strength moving forward.
I love it, man. The little simple reminders that are just how profound the outcomes are there. It's just a beautiful, beautiful reminder.
Aaron Schultz: (48:38)
For everyone listening. I mean, outbackmind.com.au is your website. Where are you currently at with your offerings and how people can engage with you, besides your podcast, Outback Mind podcast, is that right? Yeah.
Aaron Schultz: (48:55)
Yeah. You know, mate, there's not much really. It's something I'm not really strong at. I probably need to be able to do more in this space to offer up things for people. So, really at the moment, we're trying to set up the Outback Minds and foundation side to be not for profit. What we want to do, I've got a friend here that's helping set up a training platform. So, we want to be able to develop men's circles in regional communities throughout all Australia to be able to train guys in those communities so they can run these heart-based circles of men's circles for many years. And I ran them in Victoria and Tassie, and a lot of them are very ego-driven. It's very much in the masculine which is okay, but I just think if we can actually start to build capacity for people through these things, rather than using it as a tool to get things off our chest, to actually be okay to explore what's been going on with their own lives, but also to be able to build our capacity, and that helps us as a man, but also helps us as a family member and members of our community at the end of the day, and that's a proactive way that we approach mental wellbeing, I guess, to be able to provide people with tools.
Aaron Schultz: (50:09)
So, yeah, I bring meditation. I bring yin yoga into the men's circles. So, to be able to train guys with some of the simple tools on how to do this, and that I think's really important to be proactive in that space, yeah, so to do that. And I guess I want to get out into regional communities and talk more, try and get into places where they don't have access to great advice or help. The online stuff's been really good for that, but hopefully, once things open up more, I can get out and start to connect with more people out there.
Aaron Schultz: (50:51)
Yeah, as I mentioned to you earlier, my real vision is to be able to set up a Vipassanā centre where I can help people come and be still inside for three and 10-day retreats so they can reconnect with themselves because I believe that's a functional thing for humans. It's just to be silent and still for parts of our year. If we can do that twice, three times a year, that's got to be good for our mental wellbeing. We've got to be able to give our mind a rest, and the mind isn't king here. The heart is king. If you can reconnect with the heart, that's really what it's all about. That's how we can improvements health in Australia rather than be too dominated by what's going on above the shoulders.
I love it, man, and I love your work. Encourage everyone to go and at least subscribe to the podcast, stay tuned in on that way, and yeah, it looks like you've got lots of things kind of planned. I can see there's little life experience, adventures there, and workplace wellbeing, all kinds of things. So, yeah, exciting to see the rollout.
Aaron Schultz: (51:51)
Yeah. That's the other thing. The workplace has got such a strong opportunity to be able to help people. We're not just going there to get a paycheck. I want to try and engage more with more of our better employers that are ethical to be able to help people, particularly men in their workplace to feel safe, feel secure, feel supported and really valued in the workplace because that's a problem that a trap we've had as humans is to be able to use people by paying them money, but not really give them any care and support, and that's a huge problem with regards to understanding ourselves and our mental health because if we're not feeling good about ourselves in the workplace, then we take that home with us and that creates issues with domestic violence and drinking, and all that sorts of things.
Aaron Schultz: (52:45)
So I just think the more employers that I can engage with to be able to help builds a culture I think's really important. My background, I ran labour hire companies. So, I worked with lots of organisations and industries throughout Australia, and I didn't see many employers that were doing it well. So, now, starting to connect with more employers and give them platforms on how to be able to develop a culture which is coherent in the workplace and starting their day with meditation, and all these sorts of things so people can feel grounded before they start their work, rather than just going there, and working to lunchtime, and then going and finishing their day off just to get home, but you actually feel part of something I think's really important. That's [crosstalk 00:53:33] improved capacity for sure.
Yeah. Integrating the workplace back into cultivating a society and a culture that isn't just... Yeah. It's a funny dynamic. I'm an employer, and the amount of energy that needs to go in at each new evolution of the business, all of a sudden, it's not the same as when you were just a small little crew where all your values and these principles just seem automatically known. There needs to start being an unravelling of some structure so that there can be that flow of humanity and that flow of purposefulness, and there needs to be little checks in place. It needs to be integrated into a HR department. For a lot of people, it's beyond what they can handle. I don't endorse it, but I definitely can see how companies get to that point, and they go, "You know what? There's no actual cultural requirement of me to do this. So I'm just going to go to the efficiency route or the easiest route and just do the whatever culture thing." And you just end up using people. It's crazy.
Aaron Schultz: (54:48)
Yeah. That's what it's all about. The whole model to do with MBA and human resources, and that's really about what can you get out of people, all the fear you can put into them, all that type of stuff. Oh, there's an EAP at the end of that. If we fuck them up. I'm saying organisations, and I have been for years, that is a last resort. You've got to be really proactive rather than reactive. If you're fair dinkum about what you're doing, if you can look after people, the results will take care of itself.
Aaron Schultz: (55:17)
It's the same as with our wellbeing. If we can show up at a value basis as individuals and do things which nourishes, then the results will take care of itself. So, don't worry about the outcome. You worry about the journey. Help people on the journey and then things will evolve. That's where I believe at sports clubs. I've done a lot of work with sports clubs as well to be able to help them become successful, but not worrying about the outcome. If this is the process that we've got to do, so you can start to tune in with what's really real here, and enjoy the process of the journey rather than the outcome at the end of the day.
Aaron Schultz: (55:51)
I've worked for businesses. It's all about KPIs and budgets and all that type of stuff. If people are really in flow and intuitive and enjoying what they're doing, then everything will take care of itself because they're engaged, and the output is significant that way rather than sort of worrying about the results so much, you know?
Yeah, and what I've experienced is when the culture is put in place, all of a sudden, something like a KPI or a budget doesn't have that disciplinary... This is a very hard line. To have optics through the business, like a KPI, have them available so that everyone in the team can see what's going on in other departments and for the benefit of the person who's in that, say, my position as a CEO to have those things be present and then to have it entrenched, not just say it, but so it's felt this isn't about making me wrong or bad. This is genuine feedback loop and genuine neurofeedback so that I'm aware of what my team is doing. I'm aware of whether I'm in a place where I'm flowing or not.
And if, this is the hard one, if there's enough trust that you're not getting in trouble, but if there's something starts not going well, it's really great for us to know it so that we can all rally and be like, "What's happening here? Do you need some support?" It seems simple, but my goodness, it's a bit of a difficult task, I think just because we're all so programmed to be like, "I'm being judged. If I don't get the answer right, I'm marked wrong, and I don't get given other opportunities." It's a pretty insidious little parasite of the culture.
Aaron Schultz: (57:54)
Get excited, and if you can get rid of that competition or that competitive nature, and give back more compassion, that's where you can grow. I've worked with business. It's all about achievements on a monthly basis and you're competing against others and all those sorts of things. It's really wrong. Yeah, being able be supportive and nourishing of yourself and nourishing your others, I think that's work.
Because when you don't enlist them, them, me, people, whatever in competition, for me, this competitiveness from this jovial place and this playful place, and often, quite a serious place for me, I can drop into the gravity of which I enjoy around, look, in terms of my life vision, this is what's actually on the cards right now in terms of whether I get this project done in time or not. I've only got a certain amount of time here, but that's an emergence, that competitive charge. I'm not trying to beat down anyone else. That's something I think we've got wrong. We try and project something which is going to get us the result, like competition onto a company structure which then brings about reprimanding kind of culture, therefore for fear verse hey, it's really takes a lot of vulnerability to get this feedback and be vulnerable to your team and how you're performing and how you're doing.
But if you come from a place of trust and you give trust willingly or have conversations to get yourself there to where you give trust, all of a sudden, that natural and organic, that's the fertiliser, then that competitive edge, appropriate for you and your nervous system, can rise up and then go back down as well when it starts getting a little unhealthy. It's a hell of a thing, business culture. I'm aware of the time though. I think we'll go on with this for ages.
Aaron Schultz: (59:46)
Just remember, it's a friendly universe and everything's trying to work for us, not against us. If we can just work with that, the flow of everything, then everything will be okay, will take care of itself. When we're forcing where we're getting forced against and that's what competition does, it really does put us into a short-term fix, but really the long-term outcome is not great, but the more you can be able to work with the universal charge, if you've got a product, you let products go without any attachment. You've got something great. You're not producing it because you want to get these outcomes. You're producing because it's something which is going to help people. If you've got that belief, that energy goes into that product, and then it goes out and expands.
Yeah. That faith, I mean, I've got a bit of trauma around religion, going to a Catholic school as well, but then when I've reconnected to the natural state of faith for me versus institutional faith, as you said, I'm like, "Oh wow. What freedom." I've got an intention and I trust my intention around herbs and education, and I'm sure you have the same experience, and watch it open up as long as you give it... When you keep on turning up and staying consistent within it. Yeah. It's fun. It is fun. It's a great reminder. And I love your work. I really appreciate you coming on and chatting to all of us during Brovember.
Aaron Schultz: (01:01:26)
Thank you, mate. I've given a listen to it and we really appreciate what you've done and what you've created here and the great products that you have. I've only started using Mason's Mushrooms and I'm not consistent. I'm only using them every few days. Maybe I need to have it more up, but I like it with cold water rather than hot.
In a smoothie. You got the tropical fruit up there I think coming on at the moment. Yeah, it's all good, goes with it. Whatever, a bit of mango, a bit of mango sorbet.
Aaron Schultz: (01:01:57)
They'll be out in a couple months so I be into there, I reckon for sure. So, appreciate it.
Yeah, well, yeah. It is that consistency with the mushies and the tonic herbs and even do a little bit more than you think you should be doing. Go up the dose a little bit. With your meditation practise, You'll definitely have a greater capacity for the dose.
Aaron Schultz: (01:02:18)
Yeah. Yeah, awesome, mate. I appreciate that. I haven't used any drugs for 25 years, marijuana, or any of that sort of stuff. I've never used magic mushrooms and everyone else around the same seems to. Yeah, this sort of stuff is new to me. I was a raw vegan guy for a long time. So, I know it's like to feel dialled in. It felt amazing consistently, but I just couldn't get the product to keep myself sustained. So, I have to find different things now that can help me, I give it a stab.
Nice one. Yeah. That was me. I was raw vegan basically, and a yin yoga teacher, funnily, when I was like, yeah, yeah.
Aaron Schultz: (01:03:01)
Yeah. So, I definitely relate to what you're saying. My wife is a yin yoga teacher and goes over and studies with Paul and Suzee Grilley, yeah.
Aaron Schultz: (01:03:10)
Yeah, yeah. Cool. It's interesting. I was to go over there in 2019, but that got stuffed up, and I've done training with four, five other teachers that have all studied with Paul, but I haven't actually gone and studied with him myself. So, yeah. It'll happen at some stage, I reckon, but yeah.
Aaron Schultz: (01:03:32)
Yeah. [inaudible 01:03:33]. It's been something like I come from Bikram yoga to hatha to Kundalini to yin so I've gone through all those journeys. The Kundalini yoga is very powerful as far as creating connections and that type of thing. It's amazing what the energy that comes from the practise actually can do for you. Yeah, so I was really grateful to sort of fall into that too, but it's all these tools that have sort of popped up over the journey.
Yeah, they all fit into a piece of the puzzle.
Aaron Schultz: (01:04:06)
That's true. Clearly.
Beautiful mate. Well, I look forward to chatting to you on your podcast, and yeah. I'll keep an eye up for everything you're up to. Thanks for coming on.
On the podcast today, with remedy and reason for staying robust and ready for any invasion (microbial or psychological), we have our favourite lifestyle medicine man/Qi practitioner, Jost Sauer; Supercharging us with wisdom and guidance on maintaining sovereignty and strength.