Transcript: Episode 12

This tran­script has been edit­ed for clar­i­ty. There may be dif­fer­ences between the audio and this tran­script.

Tran­scend­ing Tra­di­tion­al Beliefs to Forge a Per­son­al Spir­i­tu­al Path


[00:00:02] John: Chris­tian­i­ty, at its core, believes that God cre­at­ed the world and declared it good, imbu­ing it with his pres­ence and divine pur­pose. This foun­da­tion­al belief beau­ti­ful­ly aligns with ani­mist per­spec­tives, which also rec­og­nizes spir­it or life force in all ele­ments of nature. Both tra­di­tions, there­fore, encour­age a heart­felt respect for the envi­ron­ment, view­ing it as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the divine.


[00:00:33] John: This shared val­ue under­scores the com­mon ground between Chris­tian­i­ty and ani­mism, deep­en­ing the respect for cre­ation. More­over, ani­mis­m’s empha­sis on com­mu­ni­ty rit­u­als and the hon­or­ing of ances­tors can enrich Chris­t­ian prac­tices. These rit­u­als offer a warm com­mu­nal space that rein­force the Chris­t­ian val­ues of fel­low­ship and hon­or for one’s fore­bears.

[00:00:58] [00:01:00]

[00:01:00] John: By inte­grat­ing these prac­tices, Chris­tians can deep­en their faith and strength­en their com­mu­ni­ty bonds as expressed in the bib­li­cal com­mand­ment to hon­or your father and your moth­er.

[00:01:14] Bob: I start­ed work­ing as a pub­lic defend­er and rep­re­sent­ing folks that could not afford a lawyer. And I kept see­ing them go through this revolv­ing door. So it hurt me to see that it was like a fac­to­ry. Some­body would com­mit a mis­take and they’d come into the sys­tem and they would be processed and spit out +/

[00:01:36] John: Have you ever felt your spir­i­tu­al beliefs tug­ging at the edges of anoth­er tra­di­tion, hint­ing at a more pro­found con­nec­tion? In this episode, our guest takes you on a jour­ney through the inter­twin­ing paths of Chris­tian­i­ty, Ani­mism, and Tao­ism, explor­ing how these faiths inter­twine. Inter­sect to enrich spir­i­tu­al prac­tice and offer pro­found [00:02:00] insights for per­son­al growth.

[00:02:02] I’m John Moir, your host. You are lis­ten­ing to the Urban Grief Shamans.

[00:02:07] Thank you. Please take a moment to sub­scribe to our show’s mail­ing list using the link in the show notes and let us know what you think of today’s show.

[00:02:19] Bob: I remem­ber one time we asked him the ques­tion, well, what’s it like to be you, what goes on in your mind? And his imme­di­ate response was no rehears­ing thoughts, no thoughts. And then he just gig­gled and walked away. And we start­ed think­ing about that and we real­ized that this is some­body who does­n’t have any con­ver­sa­tion going on in their mind.

[00:02:40] They’re just open and avail­able.

[00:02:43] John: That is Bob Mar­tin, a for­mer mob lawyer turned med­i­ta­tion teacher and mind­ful­ness coor­di­na­tor at Elon Uni­ver­si­ty. Today, Bob shares his pro­found trans­for­ma­tion guid­ed by the ancient wis­dom of Tao­ism and influ­enced by his unique per­son­al his­to­ry, [00:03:00] from the tumul­tuous days in Mia­mi to his peace­ful prac­tices in North Car­oli­na.


[00:03:05] John: +Bob, tell me about your spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing. I know there were big changes in your life dur­ing your child­hood. Your par­ents weren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly the emo­tive kind. And then the ances­tral bur­den that your fam­i­ly car­ried down from the Bol­she­viks. And do you call them gyp­sies or are they trav­el­ers?

[00:03:23] Bob: Trav­el­ers.

[00:03:24] Yeah. Not all Romas were gyp­sies or trav­el­ers some­where. Found it, but many of them were.

[00:03:31] Not only hav­ing par­ents that immi­grat­ed them­selves, here in North Car­oli­na, I have a lot of friends whose fam­i­lies go back to the Scot­tish pio­neers and the like, and they’ve been here for 300 years, their fam­i­lies. And I think about my line in Amer­i­ca, it goes back to when my father got here and then it takes a right turn.

[00:03:54] But then it does­n’t go any­where. It goes back to Hun­gary and we know some­thing about that, but [00:04:00] there’s no ances­tral, there’s a thing there. So that kind of ances­tral trau­ma cer­tain­ly fol­lows me, but it’s noth­ing like hav­ing gone through the Trail of Tears or hav­ing had your ances­tors enslaved for years and picked up out of there. The ances­tral trau­ma that some of our mar­gin­al­ized folks have today. I can’t com­plain.

[00:04:23] John: That’s true enough, but in the moment, I don’t think that we ever had that choice. No mat­ter how it comes to us, it’s invol­un­tary, like our reac­tions to it, I was just won­der­ing, what was the forces behind your spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing?

[00:04:37] Bob: I worked for Janet Reno, who lat­er became the Attor­ney Gen­er­al under the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion. I worked for her and I was part of the Crimes and Con­sumer Frauds Task Force togeth­er with the feds and we wound up hit­ting the mob for 72 mil­lion dol­lars. Short­ly after that, I left the office, hung my shin­gle out and I’ll [00:05:00] call him John­ny, came to vis­it me.

[00:05:03] And basi­cal­ly the con­ver­sa­tion was. You got to be pret­ty good to hit us for that much. Would you mind if I sent you some clients? That’s how it start­ed. I got to know John­ny and at that lev­el in Mia­mi, the Cubans and the Haitians, the Ital­ians, Colom­bians and the Peru­vians all were talk­ing togeth­er at some lev­el because they all assist­ed on the routes.

[00:05:28] Our deal was noth­ing ille­gal, noth­ing uneth­i­cal. You want a lawyer that’s respect­ed. That’s in your best inter­est. If I ever get caught doing some­thing like that, it’s going to come back and f you. It worked out very well. They were always good for their word until his son got bust­ed. And then there was no say­ing no to him.

[00:05:48] But dur­ing that peri­od of time, I was going out with them a lot, going to a lot of those chrome and glass bars, and maybe doing a lot of stuff that I should­n’t have been doing. [00:06:00] And it was impact­ing my fam­i­ly life. Things were spi­ral­ing down­ward. So I was see­ing a ther­a­pist and one day I had, I was arro­gant and I thought that I could­n’t fail at any­thing and I decid­ed I was going to try to go into a busi­ness that was going to make me a mil­lion dol­lars.

[00:06:18] I was going to, I was going to be the rich­est per­son. It was great. It was won­der­ful. It was­n’t work­ing out because I was­n’t work­ing out, I had already paid my house off at 32. Wow. And I had to make a deci­sion whether I was going to refi­nance my house to keep this busi­ness ven­ture going.

[00:06:38] So I went and I said to what should I do? He goes behind him­self. He picks up a lit­tle bag with three Chi­nese coins in it, shakes the coins, drops them on the thing, looks at them, makes a cou­ple of math­e­mat­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion, draws a line, picks them up, does it again and again, six times. So he drew six lines.

[00:06:58] And I’m aghast. I’m [00:07:00] look­ing at this. I’m pay­ing the guy 65 bucks an hour. He’s throw­ing coins in the most impor­tant ques­tion of my life. Final­ly, he writes down a num­ber out of his cal­cu­la­tions, turns around, gets this book, opens it up to that chap­ter, and the title of the chap­ter is Retreat.

[00:07:17] I cursed him out. And I stomped out. And I thought that he was, a witch doc­tor or some­thing, or at least thought he was. So I went to the office of the busi­ness and I went in and I said to every­body, we’re closed. We’re not going to make it. We’re done. And I did not refi­nance my house. And I did not put myself into a posi­tion where I could not have got­ten out of. With my tail between my legs, I go back a cou­ple of weeks lat­er and George, what was that? And he goes, Oh, that was the I Ching.

[00:07:51] Turned out that my ther­a­pist was the Eng­lish lan­guage, edi­tor for a 72nd [00:08:00] gen­er­a­tion Taoist mas­ter from the Shaolin Tem­ple. Tao­ism itself, that Kung Fu and Tai Chi and Qi Gong and Yin Yang bal­ance, all of that. So I said, what’s Tao­ism? It inter­est­ed me because my fam­i­ly was athe­ist, and I did­n’t have any kind of par­tic­u­lar reli­gious back­ground.

[00:08:19] Some­thing I’d been search­ing for a long time. And here was some­thing that gave me a path­way, to live life in a vir­tu­ous and prop­er, effi­cient, An effec­tive way that did­n’t require me to have to believe in any­thing super­nat­ur­al. So I loved it. I just took to it. And I stud­ied under George Mas­terny, came to Mia­mi often, and he had to be the hap­pi­est man that I’d ever run into in my life.

[00:08:48] A shaman? Yes. We would play hide and seek with him and we could nev­er find him.

[00:08:54] That’s just how he was. He was just the most amaz­ing fel­la. I remem­ber [00:09:00] one time we asked him the ques­tion, What’s it like to be you?

[00:09:03] What goes on in your mind? And his imme­di­ate response was, No rehears­ing thoughts. No thoughts. And then he just gig­gled and walked away. And we start­ed think­ing about that and we real­ized that this is some­body who does­n’t have any con­ver­sa­tion going on in their mind. They’re just open and avail­able. And when some­thing hap­pens, they respond to it like a bas­ket­ball play­er who’s in the zone responds to what’s going on around them.

[00:09:32] There’s no effort involved. There’s just respon­sive­ness. And that in Tao­ism is known as wu wei, which means doing, not doing. The fun­ni­est thing is that wu, the word wu, is also Chi­nese for shaman, so there is some­thing mys­ti­cal about all of Tao­ism.

[00:09:51] John: I noticed, the three coins and the toss­ing of the coins, struck me as a very shaman­ic process. It’s like div­ina­tion…..

[00:09:58] Bob: eye ching. Was the [00:10:00] prac­tice that changed me. It’s one thing to study under a mas­ter, but you have to do prac­tice. And every morn­ing I would get up and get my coins. I’d get three quar­ters.

[00:10:11] And throw them six times and write the appro­pri­ate lines and divine them to go to the appro­pri­ate chap­ter and read it. And over time, what the I Ching taught me was how to rec­og­nize the ener­gy that is around me. And be able to under­stand how I could become effec­tive and effi­cient.

[00:10:35] Kind of what I mean by that is cer­tain­ly we have all come into times when we have a great and won­der­ful idea and nobody wants to lis­ten to us, right? Yes. We’ve all expe­ri­enced that. The I Ching would label that time dark­en­ing of the light. You’re too bright. And you need to dark­en your light a bit.

[00:10:54] It would advise you that in a time when nobody’s lis­ten­ing to you, it’s bet­ter not to speak. [00:11:00] And use the time to work inter­nal­ly so that when the time changes and peo­ple are open to your ideas, you have it all togeth­er so that you can make your case clear­ly and authen­ti­cal­ly. the I Ching defines 64 pie slices.

[00:11:21] Of dif­fer­ent times. There’s a time to advance, a time to retreat, a time to wait a time to speak, a time of great progress, a time of walk­ing in mud. There are all these dif­fer­ent times, and as you prac­tice the I Ching, you become more famil­iar with being able to quick­ly rec­og­nize the time you’re in and not work against it.

[00:11:43] Not try to row your riv­er, row your boat upstream rather. Nav­i­gate it care­ful­ly down­stream and life becomes eas­i­er you become hap­pi­er.

[00:11:52] John: You spoke of the rec­og­niz­ing the ener­gy that is exter­nal to you and read­ing from that. Is there an equiv­a­lent of read­ing the ener­gy [00:12:00] that’s inside you?

[00:12:00] Bob: Yeah, that comes from con­tem­pla­tion and med­i­ta­tion and in Tao­ism, a lot of the ways of becom­ing famil­iar with the inter­nal ener­gies through move­ment.

[00:12:12] like Tai Chi. And if you’ve ever seen advanced Tai Chi, the push­ing of hands where two peo­ple stand oppo­site each oth­er and they feel the force that goes between them. In doing that, they get a phys­i­cal sen­sa­tion of the yin and yang forces and the bal­ance between yin and yang, and they begin to be able to rec­og­nize that ener­gy also in con­ver­sa­tion.

[00:12:37] Also, In tasks, in doing tasks and the like. So they feel it phys­i­cal­ly and are able to then trans­pose that feel­ing to life. In Bud­dhism, it’s much more men­tal where you med­i­tate and real­ly step back into a dif­fer­ent ego state of [00:13:00] being an observ­er to your thoughts and watch your thoughts and become detached from them in a cer­tain way so that.

[00:13:09] When you become angry, you get to be angry and express your anger at the same time from a detached place, watch your­self being angry and maybe even be gig­gling at it, even as you’re angry. And so , it makes you much more resilient. And again, it all goes back to every­thing pass­es.

[00:13:30] John: I had an expe­ri­ence some­what like that.

[00:13:32] I was a para­medic, and we stopped near an acci­dent scene, we unable to access the crew on scene. Due to the mul­ti­lane nature of this road­way. We went on, and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter came back and say­ing, Why’d you do that? They were upset with us because we were mul­ti­ple lanes we’d have to cross, so we were not going to do that.

[00:13:48] But I remem­ber dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion with the comm cen­ter, I was seething, and I thought for sure the super­vi­sor was going to come and vis­it and tell me about what had hap­pened. my [00:14:00] on air man­ners. And any­ways, he did come by and he did bring a record­ing of the whole thing .

[00:14:05] And when I was lis­ten­ing to my com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the calm cen­ter, I sound­ed qui­et and com­plete­ly oppo­site to the way I was feel­ing inside. And I thought for sure I was going to get bust­ed. But so I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but that idea of how we can, some­how sep­a­rate the two, what we’re feel­ing and what we’re express­ing.

[00:14:22] It’s almost like we’re two souls at once or some­thing. So are there oth­er teach­ings that kind of help con­tribute towards your, trans­for­ma­tion that you were start­ing to go through?

[00:14:31] Bob: So when I came to North Car­oli­na, one of the things that trans­formed about me that was dif­fer­ent was that I became much gen­tler and much more aware, the effect. That I had on folks and much more aware of myself and there­fore able to read oth­er’s ener­gies. And I was doing crim­i­nal law at the time. I start­ed work­ing as a pub­lic defend­er and rep­re­sent­ing folks that [00:15:00] could not afford a lawyer. And I kept see­ing them go through this revolv­ing door. So it hurt me to see that.

[00:15:08] It was like a fac­to­ry, some­body would com­mit a mis­take and they’d come into the sys­tem and they would be processed and spit out and go do what­ev­er they had to do and then come out and of course there, no sup­port and it hurt. So I closed my prac­tice and I went back to school and got a social work mas­ter’s degree and in that I con­cen­trat­ed in my stud­ies on pos­i­tive psy­chol­o­gy and sci­ence.

[00:15:37] When I came back, I went back and reopened my law office, and then I was able to com­mit to lis­ten­ing to my client, and I was com­mit­ted to this. I could not guar­an­tee, of course, what would hap­pen. I could­n’t, it was­n’t my job to advo­cate for their best inter­est, but the ulti­mate result is that they may go to jail or be placed on [00:16:00] pro­ba­tion or get some con­se­quence.

[00:16:02] And, no mat­ter what their con­se­quence was, it was my com­mit­ment that when they left my pres­ence, they will have felt heard, lis­tened to, that some­body stood up for them, and that they under­stood why what was hap­pen­ing to them was hap­pen­ing to them. I did­n’t want them to go out with a nar­ra­tive of, I’m a vic­tim. I’ve been mis­han­dled. It’s unfair. Even if it was unfair, let’s under­stand all the dynam­ics of why was it unfair. And since then, I’ve seen a lot of my clients have done their, what­ev­er they need­ed to do and have got­ten much more pro­duc­tive lives. And some­times I run into them on the street and they tell me what a dif­fer­ence that made to them.

[00:16:51] That, les­son that I learned. Once, of how impor­tant it is for a per­son to be heard has stayed with me for a while and [00:17:00] that’s a dri­ving force with­in me.

[00:17:02] John: Did you have any insight that what path you might have been on when you’re younger? I think it was record­ed that you weren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly well liked for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The girls did­n’t care for you so it must have been that idea of lone­li­ness. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but shame from not that some­thing was wrong with you. At least that’s how I would have thought about myself, I’ve been there.

[00:17:26] And I was just won­der­ing what your thoughts are on that as you’re mov­ing for­ward on this incred­i­ble life that you have.

[00:17:35] Bob: Yeah, I think about that a bit. When I was young, all the girls in, start­ing about sec­ond grade, I was a hefty boy in those days, the word was husky. I remem­ber my moth­er, I would go in with my hand in her hand into JCPen­ney’s and in her loud Lat­vian voice, she would go, where’s the husky [00:18:00] depart­ment?

[00:18:00] And so all the girls called me cooties and they ran away when­ev­er I came near. There are two things I think that saved me. One is that I had a friend, I had Char­lie Green­field, he was my friend and he stood by me and did­n’t mat­ter what every­body else felt, all the oth­er boys, they want­ed to be pop­u­lar with the girls so they went along with it and, but not Char­lie Green­field and there was this one per­son there who loved me and lat­er on in life when I final­ly real­ized how impor­tant he was. To me, we were both in col­lege, sep­a­rat­ed by about 500 miles. I called him in the mid­dle of the night to tell him that, and after he heard me go on and on with it, he said, can I go back to bed now?

[00:18:51] John: Aw.

[00:18:52] Bob: But then he wrote me a let­ter, and he wrote me a short sto­ry about how I was in a ice cream par­lor and how the cooties, [00:19:00] a cootie had come in, the plas­tic game cootie.

[00:19:03] John: Yes.

[00:19:04] Bob: And as I was, we were fix­at­ed on each oth­er. And slow­ly it began to smoke and melt into a pud­dle and dis­ap­pear and the cootie was gone and he was quite a friend. And I had a friend who kept telling me I should be a lawyer. And he was­n’t work­ing and he went out and got a job and he earned 356 dol­lars, which was the entrance fee for the law school apti­tude test. And he bought a mon­ey order in that amount and he gave it to me. He said, you should be a lawyer. You should go take this test.

[00:19:41] So I could­n’t say no, right? So I did sur­pris­ing­ly well. And I got admit­ted to a law school that took a chance on me. And I grad­u­at­ed even­tu­al­ly, and John stayed with me all through that, and two days after I was sworn in, he [00:20:00] died.

[00:20:00] John: Oh my. Did he have any sense that he was unwell?

[00:20:03] Bob: No, he had been a hero­in addict, and all through the time that I was in law school, and he was going to com­mu­ni­ty col­lege, and I was going to be Per­ry Mason, and he was going to be my Paul Drake. But he stayed with me, he was clean, and then some­how he met a girl and he decid­ed to use and his tol­er­ance was­n’t there any­more, and he over­dosed.

[00:20:24] But I have always felt that Tom was, John was here for that very par­tic­u­lar rea­son. It’s giv­en my life pur­pose and mean­ing. And there’s just one oth­er thing, even though my folks were athe­ists, because all of their ances­tors had been wiped out by either the Bol­she­viks or the Nazis. My father made me go to chil­dren’s Bible school, chil­dren’s Sun­day school, to a ser­vice.

[00:20:52] We nev­er stud­ied any­thing, but I had to go to, because he said, We are the Madakins, and you must know the Bible [00:21:00] sto­ries. If you’re going to be an Amer­i­can, you must know the Bible sto­ries. So he took me all the time, and I would go into Sun­day school class .

[00:21:08] All of the stuff like Noah’s Ark and all that stuff was kind of Dis­ney to me, but there was one con­sis­tent mes­sage that I kept hear­ing in all those Sun­day schools, and that was that there was some guy, and he was unde­fined, I was­n’t quite exact­ly sure what or who he was, and he was out in the uni­verse some­where, he was­n’t on the Earth, But that he loved me.

[00:21:36] I accept­ed the fact that there was this guy some­where who I did not under­stand that loved me. Between Char­lie Green­field and John and this divine being that loved me, it gave me, I think, the strength to chal­lenge the chal­lenges.

[00:21:59] John: Yeah, and you’re [00:22:00] refer­ring to Jesus?

[00:22:01] Bob: Yes.

[00:22:02] John: I see. You became a med­i­ta­tion teacher. And did you car­ry that into your law prac­tice?

[00:22:08] Bob: Yes, cer­tain­ly. I did­n’t, not med­i­ta­tion teach­ing so much as my prac­tice.

[00:22:18] When you’re in tri­al, you have to be very aware of a lot of stuff that’s going on in the court­room. If you want to be a good lawyer, you have to get a sense of what’s going on over there in the jury box, what’s going on in the wit­ness box. Thanks. What’s going on with the judge and hav­ing that kind of

[00:22:40] spe­cif­ic focus was helped by my prac­tice a lot, being able to remem­ber what some­body said so that if they’re say­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent now. In tri­al work, it helped a lot, but even in the prac­tice of talk­ing to the clients in the office, in the inter­views, The trust [00:23:00] that was built came quick­ly.

[00:23:04] When you are rep­re­sent­ing indi­gent folks and they’re not pay­ing you, they imme­di­ate­ly have a sense that you’re not real­ly on their side because they’re not pay­ing you. And a lot of times they’ll say, Hey, if I pay, if I gave you 30 or 50 or 100, would you? Be able to be a bet­ter lawyer for me.

[00:23:26] You have to be able to get through that ini­tial dis­trust and build a rela­tion­ship. And again, that goes back to lis­ten­ing and being authen­tic and being truth­ful and being able to give bad news in a way that can be digest­ed. So all of that comes. Was

[00:23:48] John: Was it hard to tie in Bud­dhism, and Chris­tian­i­ty?

[00:23:52] Bob: My Chris­tian­i­ty was very Jesus focused. I nev­er spent a lot of time, [00:24:00] except for the sto­ries, deeply into the Old Tes­ta­ment. But don’t see that there’s a hair’s breadth of dif­fer­ence between the teach­ings of Jesus and the teach­ings of Lao Tzu. It might seem hereti­cal, hon­est­ly and authen­ti­cal­ly, I real­ly think that , there are some indi­ca­tions and there’s some great books called The Lost Years of Jesus Christ that make a strong case that Jesus trav­eled in India and up to Tibet.

[00:24:32] Believe that. Because when he came back, he taught Bud­dhism. That’s what he taught. All of his teach­ings are Bud­dhist teach­ings. I’m not say­ing that he was­n’t divine­ly inspired. That’s above my pay grade. I don’t know. It cer­tain­ly is syn­chro­nis­tic.

[00:24:56] John: Is there, are there, is there room with­in the legal [00:25:00] pro­fes­sion or in the courts to speak from the heart? Is that some­thing lawyers learn? Best

[00:25:07] Bob: crim­i­nal defense attor­neys are heart­felt. You would­n’t think so. It seems like it’s coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but it’s not they real­ly pas­sion­ate­ly They can, that’s why they relate to a jury so well.

[00:25:24] They are able to rep­re­sent their clients because they are tru­ly heart­felt and pas­sion­ate about what they do. There is room for it. There are those who think that it’s all about fight­ing and advo­ca­cy and the like but it’s real­ly about find­ing com­mon ground.

[00:25:42] John: So it’s not some­thing that’s for­mal­ly taught in your med­i­ta­tion or mind­ful­ness.

[00:25:47] Just to, one big ques­tion, is that, can you tell me a lit­tle bit more about the book that you have? What’s it cov­er?

[00:25:56] Bob: I grew up as an athe­ist, then a Taoist, then a Bud­dhist. And a lover of [00:26:00] Jesus. And so that’s where I am, but with no real Bible train­ing.

[00:26:04] And I get to North Car­oli­na, wind up divorc­ing my first wife and open­ing a lit­tle sub shop here by the uni­ver­si­ty and fall in love with this woman, Con­nie, who worked side by side with me to open that restau­rant and then ran my law office and now runs my life. And we got, and we got mar­ried. And she is a Bible lit­er­al­ist.

[00:26:31] She believes in Adam and Eve, and the Gar­den of Eden, and the Noah’s Ark, that these are his­tor­i­cal facts. And so you would say, how does it come to be that I would find such a woman attrac­tive? But in Bud­dhism, we have a word, a bod­hisatt­va. She is a bod­hisatt­va. A bod­hisatt­va is a saint. In Bud­dhism, a bod­hisatt­va is some­one that choos­es not To cross [00:27:00] over into Nir­vana so that they can stay in the trou­ble of the earth to help oth­ers get there.

[00:27:07] If you think what a giv­ing nature that would be, that is who she is. Okay, I was won­der­ing where

[00:27:14] John: the word came from.

[00:27:16] Bob: Yeah, and that’s real­ly who she is. She’s just A won­der­ful, giv­ing, lov­ing, very detailed, and I need that because I’m a big pic­ture per­son. And, but it was impos­si­ble for us to talk about our cos­molo­gies, our belief sys­tems.

[00:27:34] She would feel that I was impos­ing and telling her things like the world is only 4, 000 years old. And I quick­ly learned not to say, how do you account for dinosaurs? I just, she goes, Bob, this works for me. It’s what I grew up with. I’m very hap­py with the way I live my life. And so that was it. But Tao­ism and [00:28:00] sem­i­nal main book of Tao­ism is called the Tao Te Ching, which means the clas­si­cal book of the way of virtue.

[00:28:08] Tao means the way. And I would read it and I, as a devo­tion­al, I always have, I always do as part of my prac­tice. And I would say there’s noth­ing dif­fer­ent about this than what she believes. She believes in humil­i­ty. Jesus washed the feet of his dis­ci­ples. This is what is taught. And I start­ed look­ing at some of the cou­plets in the Doubt­ed Gene and say­ing, how could I put this in Chris­t­ian terms?

[00:28:40] How could I say the same thing in a bib­li­cal ref­er­ence? So I start­ed study­ing the Bible. And you love Google because you can ask it, what does the Bible have to say about humil­i­ty? And it’ll give you 20, 30 sites, and I would read through them until I found one that was [00:29:00] right on point. And I’d grab it, and then it was just a mat­ter of adjust­ing the rhythm and the rhyme so that it took the same feel as the Dao De Jing with­out using the same words.

[00:29:14] And I’d fin­ish one of the chap­ters, and then I’d say, can I read this to you? And I’d read it, and she goes, what? Where’d you get that from? And I said, I got it from this over there. Let me see. So she’d read it. He says, how did you get that from this? I said, I took a lit­tle work and she goes, wow, that’s real­ly good.

[00:29:34] I like that. And so that was my moti­va­tion. I did anoth­er chap­ter. Final­ly, I did all 81 chap­ters. And I, and she was always wait­ing and she said, read me anoth­er one. Read me anoth­er one. And at one point she final­ly said to me, she said, Bob, I’ve been going to church all my life and there has nev­er, no preach­er has ever explained Jesus to me this well.[00:30:00]

[00:30:00] And now I under­stand Jesus like I nev­er have before. And I said, wow, that if that has an effect like you, maybe that says a lot. Maybe it says a lot. Maybe I can get it pub­lished. And so Kendall Hunt. Picked it up, and tra­di­tion­al­ly pub­lished it, and I’m just so excit­ed about it.

[00:30:18] John: It intrigues me, to tell you the truth, and I was­n’t brought up, despite my par­ents efforts of the church, and, but I’m always open to just oth­er ways of look­ing at sim­i­lar things, and so I’ll take a look at that.

[00:30:33] Would you like

[00:30:34] Bob: me to, would you like me to read a pas­sage?

[00:30:37] John: Oh, a short one. Just so we have a taste.

[00:30:39] Bob: They’re all short. They’re all short. They’re all I have to pay, they’re all short.

[00:30:43] John: Okay.

[00:30:43] Bob: Between 1 and 81? Just to be, let’s be ran­dom.

[00:30:46] John: Oh, you’re 77 right?

[00:30:50] Bob: 77? Yeah, no I’m 74.

[00:30:53] John: Oh, let’s go for 74.

[00:30:54] Bob: Okay,

[00:30:56] so every, that’s a short one, that’s good, every [00:31:00] one of them I gave a title to the chap­ter. And I found a quote from some famous quote that I liked. The title of this chap­ter is Life and Death. And the quote came from Nor­man Cousins. It says, Death is not the great­est loss in life. The great­est loss is what dies inside us while we live.

[00:31:23] It’s a good one. I like this one. Good choice. I like them all. But here you go. It reads this way. Thou shalt not kill. Is that not clear? Per­haps there is a need for fur­ther def­i­n­i­tion. Love your ene­mies. Do not resist an evil per­son. Do not repay any­one evil for evil. Beloved, nev­er avenge your­selves, but leave room for the wrath of God.

[00:31:51] The Lord went even fur­ther. He coun­seled not only against destroy­ing the body, but also not to kill [00:32:00] anoth­er’s hope, spir­it or faith peo­ple live their lives fear­ing death. Would it not be bet­ter to live life, lov­ing life? In God’s cre­ation, there’s a time to live and a time to die. Thus God appoint­ed nature as the offi­cial exe­cu­tion­er.

[00:32:21] To have the arro­gance to sub­sti­tute one­self for nature is like a child seek­ing to cut wood with the tools of a mas­ter car­pen­ter. All that will be left is ruined wood and wound­ed hands.

[00:32:40] Thank you for join­ing us today and shar­ing Bob Mar­t­in’s trans­for­ma­tion from a mob lawyer to a med­i­ta­tion teacher. His jour­ney illus­trates the pow­er of change and redemp­tion through spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing. Bob’s inte­gra­tion of Taoist wis­dom and oth­er spir­i­tu­al prin­ci­ples serves as a bea­con of hope, show­cas­ing the pro­found impact of faith and [00:33:00] intro­spec­tion on life.

[00:33:01] John: Until our next episode, keep seek­ing, keep grow­ing, and remem­ber that even the longest jour­ney unfolds step by step. Thank you for lis­ten­ing, and take care.