Katie Silcox, M.A. is the New York Times Best-Selling author of the book Healthy, Happy, Sexy – Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women and the upcoming new book – Glow-Worthy. She is the founder of The Shakti School, a premier online certification school for women-centered holistic wellness. She holds a Masters degree in Ayurvedic Medicine, is a member of the National Ayurvedic Medicine Association and is currently pursuing depth studies in Jungian Psychology. Her platform focuses on the convergence of ancient holistic medicine, functional medicine science and heart-centered spirituality. In her former life, she has been a researcher in Artificial Intelligence, a cover model for Yoga Journal magazine in Russia and the owner of a beach bar in Spain.
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All of the Ayurveda School information can be found on this page: https://theshaktischool.com/ayurveda-school/
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Welcome to the urban monk podcast. Dr. Pedram. Shojai so excited to share this one with you. My sister from another, Mister just met her. Got her book peruse through it. It was like, oh, this is interesting. And then met the person who you were about to meet and was like, oh, thank God. Restores faith in the world, people doing the work people, holding line, people, being their raw, authentic, true selves. You’re going to enjoy this one.
You’re probably going to listen to it more than once I ask you to share it. There’s a lot of deep wisdom, um, and what a wonderful human I give you, Katie Silcox.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Katie, welcome to the show. Good to have you here.
Katie Silcox: Thank you. Excited to be here with you.
Dr Pedram Shojai: I love the title of your new book. Um, I love the word glow. Um, you know, outside of the context of say, maybe Chernobyl, um, it has nothing but positive , uh, positive references. And, um, I, it’s been a big part of my gestalt is, you know, when I meet people. You could, you know, if someone’s glowing or not. Right?
Dr Pedram Shojai: And that glow is something that comes from within. It’s not Botox, it’s not perlane, it’s not the latest skin cream and all the crap that people try to do the edifice to look like they’re glowing. , and so just love that you wrote it, love that, that’s your, your perspective. What drove you, I mean, you’ve obviously written a couple books already.
Dr Pedram Shojai: What drove you to to talk about this?
Katie Silcox: Yeah, I mean a long journey of suffering and wanting to be seen as glowing and wanting to be seen as light and, and like all of us kind of looking for that validation from the outside as we all do. It’s not like, oh, I’ve overcome that. But, um, really studying deeply these traditions that teach us how to.
Katie Silcox: Remember something that we’ve kind of forgotten and, and I, I went down the, the Vedic tantric Hindu route and, and then started opening up to some of my more, uh, indigenous tradition of where I’m from and to like the union psychology and the Western model, and what both of them have in common is the actual original title of the book wasn’t glow worthy.
Katie Silcox: It was Holy. And the publishers were like, you can’t call it that because you’re gonna make the tanha people mad because it’s gonna be a book about tanha, but they think it’s about Christianity and you’re gonna make the Christians mad because they’re gonna think it’s a book about Christianity and it’s this kind of witchy, uh, energy book.
Katie Silcox: But, um, that word just really strikes me as important in terms of how we access the glow. We think that it’s by becoming this really good thing when really . The glowing quality according to the ancient tradition, comes from having thrown the old you in the fire of who you’re becoming. It also comes from having opened your heart so big that you’re actually able to hold all of the parts of you that you find the most abhorrent and the most intolerable.
Katie Silcox: And so that paradox I found just . Fascinating on a psychological or a philosophical level, but on a practical level, within the alchemy of my own body and my own emotions and my own practice, I found this real opening and and gold quality start to emerge when I really did start to open my heart to the parts of me that I disliked the most.
Katie Silcox: And we all kind of have heard that , but it’s. Tough. You know, I think you and I are both, I was gonna say growing up, that’s probably the right phrase. In a culture of self-help and wanting to go from point A to point B. Point B being this better place and so holy and glow come from this place of actually.
Katie Silcox: Fully accepting what is occurring in this moment as the portal into one could even say divinity. So I could go on and on about that, but I wanted to create a methodology for how to access that. Um, that is very counter-cultural, believe it or not.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah, I mean, our culture has us running from pain and, you know, the tequila and Advil culture, right? It’s, we, we avert pain. We look for remedial spirituality, we look for remedial, anything to get us, um, just feeling better. And that’s not necessarily the work, is it?
Katie Silcox: No. Yeah, and I think it’s understandable, like when you study these old mystical texts, it’s kind of fun because you see that these ancient people struggled with the same things that we do and that they were also going towards whatever their tequila or porn or shopping or whatever, right, their vice was and, and that the nature of reality, you know, according to our great friend the Buddha, is that it is tough and that it is suffering and being able to actually
Katie Silcox: Open to that and not quote, spiritually bypass, or one of my teachers called it spiritual materialism. And to kind of, even on a subtle level, you and I are both in a reality where I think more people are going to ayahuasca ceremonies than church, right? And so there’s this real impetus towards revelation and transformation and, and I think we have to watch.
Katie Silcox: That in, in a really open-hearted way, that it doesn’t become one more way at accruing more bliss or more benefit when really the, the pain body is also a part of the divinity.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Amen. I call ’em Burning Man spiritualists. Um, and it’s very difficult, right? If you could go give people a bunch of hugs and, you know, practice polygamy for a week and say, I love you, man, to strangers, I. Um, but that’s not a spiritual practice, right? You’re come, you’re coming back to the office in a week and you know, you’re probably useless for a month.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, and, and that has, , and look, I, , we’re probably in similar cultures. I see it with my, my spiritual friends and I also see it with my tech friends and my, my rich friends. And they all have found this culture of transformation and calling themselves evolved. Um, I. I mean, I, any sp spiritual teacher that’s worth the lick of anything, um, would throw up in their mouth if they had a student call themselves evolved in front of them.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? Like that’s a difficult, that’s a difficult stance. And so it’s, you, you said it yourself. We’re working at this, right? We’re growing up still.
Katie Silcox: Yeah, and, and I mean if you go back to, I love to go to the ancients and then translate that in a way that, and I, and I laughed that you said the Burning man thing, because I grew up in San Francisco in my twenties, right. And so the polygamy and the burning man, like that was very much part of the culture.
Katie Silcox: But when I went back to my elders. Whether it be Western or eastern eldership, what I found was the meaning of the word enlightenment, according to Buddha was the word re one of the synonyms that he used. If you study the poly is to be released, to be relieved from, and what is the thing that we’re being released from or the relieved from?
Katie Silcox: And that is, quite frankly, the egoic structure that does see ourselves as either evolved or unevolved or. We walk in a room and we’re already, and I don’t exclude myself from this, but I’m tr truly like on this path, really looking in this lifetime to, to awaken to some of these things. But we walk into a room and we’re looking at where we sit in the hierarchy.
Katie Silcox: Right. I’m I. I’m better than, I’m worse than, right. And those two things walk side by side. And so as soon as we feel that we’re more evolved, we can be certain that there’s an equal and opposite force that believes that it’s a piece of shit . Right? And you and I, we see that. And so to. Not make things a problem, I think has been one of the biggest leaps in my own personal development, because whether you’re in the yoga world or the self-help world, or the fitness world, there’s this subtext that you are problematic and we start from there.
Katie Silcox: And let’s move towards the better you, which don’t get me wrong, like I would like to have, you know, a healthier body or. You know, a more resilient and immune system. All those things are good, but when we start from the premise of I’m broken and I need to be fixed, we’re missing out on the central way in which change actually does happen in systems where we’re, whether we’re speaking of physics or or, or psycho-emotional or energetic subtlety and.
Katie Silcox: Things shift from a healing context of openness and compassion and kindness and gentleness and love. And I mean they, there are many words we can use. Um, and so that having been raised in, again, the yoga industry, I. Was kind of a somewhat, I say famous yoga teacher. You see that reflected in the yoga world.
Katie Silcox: You see it reflected in the tech world. You see it reflected everywhere. And so my work today is really starting from this place that one of my mentors calls the healing vortex. You begin from there where you aren’t a problem. You are not a problematic thing, which is also another big thing in our culture.
Katie Silcox: But you are, you’re okay. You’re you. And you know, that doesn’t mean we don’t put people in jail if they’re bad, but, but you start from this radical openness and acceptance. I.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Yep. There’s this something that came up when you’re talking about glow and the transformation that happens that also has a lot to do with dying, right? Putting yourself on the funeral pyre. And allowing the parts of yourself that no longer serve you or defense mechanisms and, you know, Jungian versus, you know, Vedic.
Dr Pedram Shojai: There’s a lot of ways to go about this, but being okay with death and letting parts of you die. Um, and that was part of this thesis that, this thesis that you first brought up around what the glow is. So I’d love to explore that and unpack that with you a little.
Katie Silcox: I feel like I could talk to you for hours. I mean, this is the, so. My great passion was the study of, of mystical tantra, and one of the practices that you would be given when you were ready was to go and meditate on a fresh corpse right in the graveyard. And, and you hear these stories of meditating on, you know, holding the skull.
Katie Silcox: I mean, there were these kind of radical Indian stories, but really those are embodied rituals and metaphors for the subtle process of the psychology releasing itself from the confines of these identities that we have. Um, I, I actually yesterday as a death ritual for the winter solstice, I, I, I dyed my hair back to my original color.
Katie Silcox: I, I’ve been blonde for like 35 years. I grew up in the American South where they start highlighting your hair when you’re like 12. And I wanted to do like a radical, radical way of parting. With that identity of being a blonde, like a blonde bombshell, you know? And it was really amazing to kind of, I know it’s a silly thing, but what are the ways in which we can actually learn how to die into every moment is actually the path of tantra.
Katie Silcox: It’s also the path of enjoyment. It’s also the path of sensuality and pleasure and bliss and orgasmic experience, not even speaking sexually, but just lifestyle wise, that it requires a death. And if I may even tell you this, beautiful, there’s a, there’s a word for glow in Sanskrit, which is Tejas, and it means the light and splendor of someone’s personality that has the capacity to draw and melt.
Katie Silcox: All hearts. It’s she who has become a refuge unto herself because she takes refuge and no one but herself and therefore becomes a refuge to all. And so on and on and on. You get these deep definitions of what it means to be a light, you know, in this world and. I think that longing to bounce ourselves off of someone else or bounce ourselves off of Instagram or bounce ourselves off of our bank account or what we look like in the mirror are always that we’re forgetting that quality of glow, but here’s what the yogis say.
Katie Silcox: They say, if you want more of that radiant light that can melt people, and we could call that true charisma. How do you get it? They say you get it through this thing called tapas, which means to be burned in the fire of discipline, . So it’s like, damn it, like, right, like the upside is like glowing personality that draws everyone close to you, and that means good things in the world as well.
Katie Silcox: Right? But how do I get it through discipline. Right. And so that’s, that’s a delicate act of, I call the masculine and the feminine, learning how to dance that sweetness and gentleness and open-heartedness and also like, get your shit together, dude. And do it every day. Right? Like that masculine element that we all have.
Katie Silcox: So that was a long-winded way of, of speaking deeper about glow.
Dr Pedram Shojai: I love it. I love it. I think of the, the lady sitting at the Cougar bar in Newport Beach, California, looking for love in all the wrong places and doing all . All the right things, right. To attract the guy not realizing that it’s an inside job. Um, and, but that’s the, that’s the curse of our time, right? Um, guys are doing it with the cars and the careers and the, you know, everyone’s trying to, everyone’s trying to peacock their way into getting the affection instead of creating the.
Dr Pedram Shojai: The gravity, right? Like when you become a star unto yourself, then the sun has gravitational pull on it because it’s emitting light and it, and it is a celestial being. And all these traditions come from all chemical traditions, right?
Katie Silcox: that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, there, but for the grace of God, there go I, your friend, the cougar. You know, I, I, we are really, I think as we age, we, we, the teachings of Ayurveda, which has been my main area of study, say that you are throwing ojas, you’re throwing the youth. Into the fire tejas to become the ultimate, which is a word many I’m sure of your listeners have heard, which is prana, which is pure light, pure energy.
Katie Silcox: And so we go from juicy, you know, rolly pulley, babies that are like in college, being able to go out all night like. Partying and being fertile and like stupid. And then we become these 40, 30 year olds, 40 year olds, 50 year olds just getting our ass kicked by life. We’re in the fire ceremony where we’ve got aging parents on one end and children and jobs on the other end, and that burning quality that I think a lot of the quote, midlife crisis that most of us experience, the yogis would describe that as that sacrificial funeral pyre.
Katie Silcox: Where life did not turn out exactly how we planned and we have go through the divorce or the loss or the disease and, but, but through that, if we’re able to keep our hearts open, the teaching say it’s like gh you know, clarified butter. If you bring it towards that flame of, of presence and love that come from practice, the gee melts. If you don’t, the geese stays hard, and then you move into that third stage of life. And we’ve seen this in our elders where they get bitter and mean and even more kind of set in their ways, or they become these like Dalai Lama types where they’re funny and juicy and giggly and becoming . Like a wise child archetype, and so that death in the age of 30 to 55, for example, for women, as we enter menopause for men, I don’t know what y’all do, but you’ll do it too, right?
Katie Silcox: That fire, we can either choose to use it to solidify more our egoic structures, or we can choose to let it melt us into that third stage of life where we become more pure energy.
Dr Pedram Shojai: I love this. Um, love, love, love. So. The entire industry is geared up to say, don’t worry. I, I, I solve fire problems. Here’s your Prozac, here’s your tequila, here’s your cigarette, here’s your whatever. Right? Um, I know this fire doesn’t feel good. You don’t have to feel it. Come over here. that to me is one of the greatest crises of consciousness of our time.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Right. Turning around, turning the awareness around and facing the fire and, and embracing the fire, stoking the fire, blowing on the fire. Right? How does one begin to orient around that when their, their knee jerk reaction, their cultural upbringing has them fearing and, and averting and ting from the fire?
Katie Silcox: I mean, that’s the crux of the question of awakening in terms of that meaning of enlightenment. The one I like is to be released from that burden, and they did a study where they found that people would rather . Die, then sit alone in a room by themselves for quiet periods of time and, and that’s the meditative space, right?
Katie Silcox: And so I think developing an intimacy with oneself is key. And I. We are constantly figuring out ways to wiggle off of what I call the spot, right? The cross Christ on the cross, right? That place is both the portal through which we awaken and transform, but it’s also like, feels like eating a shit sandwich for the first 60 to 90 seconds or, or maybe a few minutes.
Katie Silcox: And, and I also wanna just caveat that if you have like complex PTSD or trauma. That you really should be working with someone else that can be really in unbearable and in the nervous system. Not super helpful to go at it alone, but barring that, for most of us, being able to sit wi on the direct. Raw experience, the raw embodied one could say sensation slash emotion, visceral proprioceptive, inner body experience.
Katie Silcox: That’s it. And, and here’s the key of the alchemy. That when you meet the tightness, the tension, the anger, the, you know, boredom, the mental spin, like whatever’s showing up for you on a number of different levels, both physiological and more imagined realm, that you don’t try to change it. That we radically open to it, that we make room for it.
Katie Silcox: So there’s this opening process, but . Secondly, we begin to notice that there’s a noticer and the ancients called of course, that the witness, the perusha, that which rests tranquil within the bustling city of the body, and that you begin to identify who you are more with that open presence of the mind, which is the true nature of the mind, rather than all the other things without trying to make all the other things different.
Katie Silcox: That’s where you get the beautiful wild feminine who’s always doing her images and colors and thoughts and heat and you know, desire and longing and you get to interface with that without, you know, a lot of masculine traditions will like go to the cave and deny the feminine. In this more holistic sense, you are learning how to be that quiet, empty witness.
Katie Silcox: While at the same time fully allowing the oceanic ever ending pulsation of Shakti, we call or life to be with you. And so you aren’t denying the feminine, but you’re also not getting sucked into the feminine, which as women, we can suck you guys in and we’re pure chaos. You’re not getting, you’re not drowning in the chaos.
Katie Silcox: And so, I mean, not to make it a woman man thing, but for women, I teach a school for thousands of women, and what I can tell you is for women, it can be so powerful to identify with a part of you that is open, expansive, quiet, calm. Consciousness and for men it can be revolutionary to let themselves open to the experience of feelings.
Katie Silcox: And so this is something I could speak up for hours, but that really is the, the key and, and it, it takes a lot of courage and bravery to just pause and do that throughout the day.
Dr Pedram Shojai: There’s a, this quality of observing the observer that I’d like to come back to. Um, Ramana Maharshi’s, one of my favorite, uh, Indian writers. It’s just, you know who, who asked that, who just observed me, you know, observing me, . Who’s the I? Um, there’s a text in Daoist Alchemy that I’ve actually been reading recently, um, rereading because it’s.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Heavy, um, that talks about the, the secret of the golden flower and how the awareness that comes from observing the observer actually is the, the capital C creative, right? It is that ocean of creation and that, that the actual radiant light, so as one. Learns to turn the light around and observe oneself, that becomes the golden elixir pill.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Then all of a sudden, this, this radiance of this glow starts to anchor, and then you, you stay with it, and then you get glow. Right?
Katie Silcox: Yeah, and you’re bringing tears to my eyes. A, because it’s rare to meet a weirdo like me that reads these types of books, and B, because the secret is that as we open to these forces, that it can be beneficial to differentiate a masculine and feminine this, that we begin to see just as the yin and yang symbol.
Katie Silcox: They’re the same thing that they, that whether you go through emptiness as the Buddha did, or you go through fullness as like the Bhati yogis did you end up at the same place, which is this union. And that’s what we see in the sexual iconography. Wasn’t about intercourse, although I. Go for it. But it was about the inner marriage of your mind, meeting your life force, and that there was this very special birthing that would happen when you could bring pure consciousness to whatever it’s witnessing in the field of the experience.
Katie Silcox: Um, so yeah, that’s it, right? Just that simple. Let’s do it. It’s . That’s the challenge.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah, and that’s, I mean, it sounds simple now for discipline. And, and to your point, the discipline is what separates the person who’s talking shit from the person who’s actually experiencing and drinking from that nectar and starting to glow, right? So the question, uh, to an audience that probably has more bhakti than, than empty space in their lives.
Katie Silcox: Hmm.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Is, how do you go about that with, you know, the, the aging parents and the kids and the camps and , the stuff that’s constantly spinning.
Katie Silcox: Yeah, I mean, that is the ultimate quotes, householder’s path or, or one could call it a tantric path where we are attempting to meet Nirvana through samsara. So the crazy wheel that we are working to quote, get off of the wheel of samsara, of repetition, compulsion, as Freud would call it, that we begin to actually advance our consciousness enough.
Katie Silcox: To be able to see that the very thing that has been the hamster wheel of rebirth, whether it be in this lifetime or many other lifetimes, is the portal into nirvana. So your petty tyrants, , your annoying kids, your weird boyfriend, like whatever you’re dealing with, right? Offer the perfect scenario for you to be able to feel that which remains reactive.
Katie Silcox: That which remains heavy, that which remains, uh, un untouched and unloved and unseen. And so I, I really think that parents and people that are working in the world who are attempting to do this path are the modern day, uh, gva, mti awake and aware while being in the world. But, but lemme just say this, you still need to, you still need to practice.
Katie Silcox: Like for me, I mean, I have a lot going on, just like all the listeners and I, and you’ve gotta just make, unless you have like a 2-year-old and you’re a mom, like. 10 to 15 minutes of my morning, sometimes more it, we need those 10 to 15 minute little periods throughout the day to even have a fighting chance against the wave of Maya, the delusionary world that will eat us alive and keep us in those old ways of perceiving.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Especially in this day and age, I mean, chances are our listeners are listening on some device, um, to, you know, a trippy conversation with, you know, two weirdos. But there’s also a TikTok feed and some puppy videos, and this entire attention economy powered by ai now that’s trying to pull you out. Your priorities and pull you into the realm of Maya.
Dr Pedram Shojai: It’s never been so contrasted and starkly in front of you as it is today.
Katie Silcox: and therefore never more potent time to practice, right? Like we are in the quote, Kali Yuga, the age, it’s often misunderstood is this age of the worst in the darkness, which it can feel like that. Kali’s the mother that loves you the most and she’s the one that rips you to shreds so that you can see what’s really real.
Katie Silcox: And I think the upshot of this, I, I actually worked in AI for seven years before I became like a full-time hardcore weirdo. And what I realized from working in AI with geniuses from MIT and is like . One of my mentors in my AI career, he said, I’m tired of waiting on the humans to wake up. We’re going to wake up the computers.
Katie Silcox: He was a huge Buddhist, and I thought, you’re insane . Like, I’m gonna keep studying the yogas. Right? And so I, I definitely think that this age, there’s especially like the 20 year olds, they’re getting it, it, it’s ripped them. So to shreds. This social media, this online economy that I was in Hawaii last year and noticing all of the 30 and 40 year olds that were on their phones.
Katie Silcox: All the 20 year olds on the beach were reading books, and I thought
Dr Pedram Shojai: Yep.
Katie Silcox: they are waking up to this as harmful.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah. I just read an article about, uh, China in this laying low, uh, phenomenon where all these kids are just like, fuck this shit. Right? Uh, I don’t, I don’t want this, right? And so, you know, in a communist country, you pretend you march, right? Or else they’ll just turn you into a chicken nugget. So they just hang around and pretend.
Dr Pedram Shojai: To be, uh, working and doing the thing. But you could see the, the economy starting to wobble because the kids don’t give a shit. They’re like, why? What are we building? What is this empire? I don’t care. Um, which is actually an incredibly positive twist on this. And, and you mentioned the Cala Yuga. in the metaphor, and we’re talking about alchemy here, right?
Dr Pedram Shojai: Obviously is, um, the metaphor for alchemy in the West is very similar to the one, the, the, the metaphors that I grew up with in, in DAOs tradition, which is turning lead to gold. But most of us are cursing our circumstances and not understanding that the lead. The, the, the raw substrate is right in front of us.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Like our spiritual path is literally on our calendar is in our day right now. So I’d love to just expand on that with you.
Katie Silcox: Yes. And will you be my new best friend? Um, yes. Okay, so this is my passion, this whole idea of alchemy. There’s a beautiful metaphor for the lead in the Hindu tantra tradition where you take the cow dung and you burn it through the special process of ritual and certain substances, and it turns into a substance called viti, which is holy ash.
Katie Silcox: And then you take the literal shit, it turns into this fine white powder. And that’s what we see sometimes placed on the third eye after these rituals and Hinduism. So this is all very like embodied metaphor for what and I, and I’m not saying everyone in India gets the deeper meaning. I mean, hopefully they do, but I think some of us go through these rites and rituals without understanding the psychological deep or subtle meaning, which is the question.
Katie Silcox: We ask our friends, Hey, what’s the matter? Is a very tantric. When I say tantric, I mean alchemical question. It’s saying, what is in your hands right now? What is, what is the matter? What’s wrong? What’s the matter? We say what’s wrong, but we’re missing that. The thing that you and I feel very much, and some of us talk about ad nauseum, is our great misfortune.
Katie Silcox: Is actually the portal through which we can access that secret elixir. That is who I have on the wall over here, which is TA known as Tara, AKA. The healing, loving, all consuming, compassionate part of our psyche. It’s actually sitting right there. Enlightenment is sitting right behind the darkest part of our life, and yet it is so compelling.
Katie Silcox: We are so ingrained to go back to the narrative, to go to the story, especially if you’re a PTA type of fire type and quite brilliant and intellectual and smart and logical. We like to go to the analysis. We’ve done all the therapy, and so we can see the way we’re, this is my pattern, my mom and dad, this and that.
Katie Silcox: All of these are layers that are actually wonderful prevention methods from touching into the deep layer of usually anger, fear, grief, longing. Then if you keep going under that, I see in myself and the people I work with, is just this fundamental raw vulnerability that has one message for us. And that is there’s no ground, there’s only groundlessness.
Katie Silcox: That’s the bad news, but the good news is there’s no ground. So just fall, just keep opening and. That is terrifying for, for all of us, right? But then that’s also the place where the freedom is sitting. And so, um, yeah.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Die. Die. Allow yourself to die. I remember I did a DMT ceremony with some shaman. In the first 15 seconds, were absolutely, uh, just terrifyingly painful. ’cause I hadn’t let go yet. And I, and all of it, everything, every cell in my body was screaming until I heard that voice inside saying, let go, let go. It’s okay.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Die of this. I don’t wanna die. I don’t wanna die. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna fall. I don’t wanna fall. Right. You just let go and now you’re in the holy embrace. Right now. You are in a very, very different place. It’s terrifying. Right. It’s terrifying psychologically because we’ve spent our entire, I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a culture where it’s like you’re a doctor, a lawyer, engineer.
Dr Pedram Shojai: You declare who you are before you even know what the fuck you want.
Katie Silcox: Mm-Hmm.
Dr Pedram Shojai: And so we’ve been layering and extrapolating all of this meaning and putting ourselves into these identities that are complete facades for so long that we believe them. and the people I’ve dealt with in my career, um, you know, have just, , it’s at a certain point we all gotta stop pretending.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Like I don’t, I don’t know who the fuck I am and I was a monk. Right. Um, so how do you start to do this kind of, it’s, I, I love the perspective that you come from, ’cause you did the union stuff, you did the tantric stuff to deal with these, these fragile yet complicated egos in the west. Take themselves so seriously.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Like how do you tiptoe your way in so people don’t get terrified of the work and then go back to their Twinkies and their TikTok.
Katie Silcox: I wanna write something together called Twine, the Divinity of Twinkies and TikTok, and how we can extract divinity from even that. But, but I, and you know what’s super, what’s super cool is I also didn’t tell you that I grew up. Really deep Southern Baptist, and so there’s just so much richness to be extracted from these traditions, and yet when you taste direct, experience, whatever practice you’re in, right?
Katie Silcox: Direct experience seems to always be leading all of us into this perennial mysticism truth, which is that. That egoic structure, Yung would say, must not be annihilated, but nested within its proper, proper context. So you had these great methodologies from our ancestors of nesting, the egoic structure within.
Katie Silcox: A village within a community, within ritual, but also within nature, right? Within even Christianity, you know, Judaism, Islam, these, these methods that maybe we’ve outgrown, served this purpose of nesting the ego in its proper context, but without that root system. Now the ego of the common common man, and we can’t even say westerner anymore because it’s global now.
Katie Silcox: The ego doesn’t have a nesting place. It doesn’t have a root system, and so it’s terrifying to the ego. So where does it get its sense of root system and and belonging? It’s itself, right? And maybe it’s material world that it’s kind of drawing towards itself. This is a recipe for what we have currently, right?
Katie Silcox: The psychological destruction of our children and our people so we can have compassion for the fact that our root systems that contained this fricking monkey that has a purpose, but that contained it, those have been obliterated. So I don’t think that we’re just these terrible narcissists that are running around.
Katie Silcox: Right? It’s like our systems of belonging have been desecrated. So we can have com. That’s my feminine speaking to you. But now let’s go to the masculine. The ego is obsessed with itself and the last, it’s invested just as any energy system. It has its own investment, just like the parasites in your gut. It does not wanna die.
Katie Silcox: It is invested in keeping itself alive. But as one of my mentors said to me when I was going through a rough time and some people were saying mean stuff about me, she said This question that changed my life. She said it’s a very Ram Maharishi inquiry. She said, what is it that’s being threatened? What is being threatened?
Katie Silcox: And you could apply that to the lover that doesn’t want you to the job that didn’t want you. All the ways that we feel the sense of of threat. Then I tried to, as a meditation to put my finger on what they were threatening. And by doing that I was able to feel that, which is never threatened. We can’t destroy the ego.
Katie Silcox: We have to actually look for it. Put your finger on it. And what Buddha said is you can’t. There’s no there, there, , we’re building it, but there’s no there, there. And because there’s no there there, the ego has to constantly be remaking itself and reifying itself.
Dr Pedram Shojai: That kind of comes back to the trying to find the ground under you. There’s no ground. You’re falling. Carlos Castaneda talked about the, uh, the island of the tonal and the nw. The ungraspable NAL needs the island of the al to set the table, or else you’ll feel completely lost in the chaos of the infinite.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, you mentioned you’re a Baptist. A lot of the people listening here come from Christian traditions, obviously. Jesus was a Remicade rabbi. He was like, y’all are, y’all are getting it wrong. But what he stood for, right, . Yeah, exactly. That’s how he speaks in Bethlehem. Of course. Um, and so his entire, so when you get into the Kabol or the Hermetic Christian structures, the thar the center, the center of the cross of the Tree of Life is the Sun Center.
Dr Pedram Shojai: The sun being the ego, the, the sense of self and that kind of spiritual eye versus the smaller eye or the constructed eye. And you know, the, I think Yung went deep into that. Yung tried, right? I think, you know, a lot of people have been kind of swimming around that I’ve really never found. Maybe this is the feminine part of me, right?
Dr Pedram Shojai: I’ve never found a mental way to grasp it better than. The experience of what you were alluding to earlier, which is who, who felt threatened by that? Who, who’s, who, who’s that right? And just that, that kind of inner inquiry and that work, that kind of digging inward. Um, I don’t know if there, I, I don’t know, maybe you have a different perspective on that, but like the, I I, my brain stops me as the, you know, once I, you know, you learn the charts, you learn the thing, but at the end of the day, at some point, it’s the discipline.
Dr Pedram Shojai: You gotta sit down and do that work.
Katie Silcox: And very Einsteinian two. Take the complication and make an elegant and efficient method into the chaos. Right. And so I, I mean, the Kabbalah, it’s similar to the Sri Vidia. It’s just so complex, right? And there’s such a beauty in it. But I’ll, I’ll tell you quickly this, I studied the SSRI video for a decade.
Katie Silcox: It’s this very complex, very, um, culturally relevant to India type of system. And. It became so overwhelming to me that I kind of had to abandon it for a while and, and one of my teachers says, you’ve been feasting on these mantras and yantras. You need to fast, right? And so I was just like, done. Okay. And I just moved to Hawaii for a year and started swimming with the, you know, turtles.
Katie Silcox: And in that deeply monk like, or what am I, a nun, I guess like time the symbols. Of the street video, which are really complex, began to come to me in dreams. Only, they didn’t come like the books that I’d been reading, they came like the honeycomb of the bees. They came like a wave crashing into me. They came through these really deeply personal symbols and images and I began to collect those and that’s when I learned Jungian psychology ’cause it was.
Katie Silcox: Kind of this dream world became this access point for all of these sacred symbols. Similarly through, you know, some of the energy practices I offer in this new book, through doing those energy practices, this endogenous, ecstatic experience began to be available to me on a daily basis. And through that, whether we wanna think of it as a biochemical release in my brain and my cerebral spinal fluids or.
Katie Silcox: Something more, more magical and mystical. Those symbols and those uh, images that we see in Tantra and Kabbalah and all of these mystical systems, they began to reveal themselves to me through my body. Now, why I think that’s important for the listeners is when you begin to apply symbology and these metaphors from a top down approach, they aren’t yet yours.
Katie Silcox: They aren’t yet incarnated through you. And when a symbol emerges out of meditating, for example, on your legs and your tailbone, and you actually get a dragon and you’re like, wow. All this time I’ve been meditating on these Indian systems. So that say that the first chakra’s gonna be a snake coiled three and a half times, and it’s the color red.
Katie Silcox: Wow. Look at Meek. Without any effort. This has come through and it’s a dragon, right? And here it is, and now you let it open you. And now all that red energy and all that heat and all that life force starts to pulsate through your body. I know I’m getting a little woo woo, but what I want people to know is all of these top-down approaches, whether it be yoga or these various forms of mystical meditation, Can only take you so far in the end, it does have to be an internal psychedelic journey, and this doesn’t require any drug
Dr Pedram Shojai: Mm-Hmm. . I mean, it’s an embodiment path and well, that’s also a big premise, right? In all of this, if, if you’re talking about glowing, what’s doing the glowing, you know, what’s the matter, right? You’re in this physical body, which is the temple, and you know, kind of turning inward to allow for the temple to become the substrate and allow that to become the place where the glow, uh, radiates, emanates from.
Dr Pedram Shojai: I would love if you. Temple of Glow. Um, I would love if you have a, a, a shorter one or whatever. Can we do a practice right here on the podcast?
Katie Silcox: Sure. I do have a short one. It, let’s say, let’s say this is just the basics, and so folks at home, you know, you can even do this at Trader Joe’s or you could even do it if you have enough capacity like in the car. But typically we would close our eyes and the first thing. We can nod to our Daoist brothers and sisters is let the yen come before the yang.
Katie Silcox: So letting our awareness actually travel down the head, moving down the back body and the shoulders dropping all the way down the spine. Feeling your back body dropping all the way down, down. And you can imagine above you something. Something like a waterfall. It might come to you like honey, it might come to you as light, but just feeling this downward flow from above the head.
Katie Silcox: It can be whatever, texture or temperature, whatever color. The waterfowl might be really wide, or it might be really thin. You can just feel that slowly. You can let your attention move, feeling the weight of the buttocks on the floor or your chair feeling the fabric or pressure of the back of your shoulder blades or whatever’s meeting the back of your chair even sometimes if you’re new to this practice, placing a hand on the back of the skull.
Katie Silcox: Just really becoming intimate with this back body, this downward flow, this waterfall down.
Katie Silcox: Now, initially it’ll be imagined, right? But then it can be more of a felt experience. Imagine that you’re inviting the realist version of you the most whole. The you that your mom or your best friend knows is you, the goodness, the innate quality of soul. You’re bringing it down into your head. You’re letting it inhabit every single cell in your throat, letting soul, letting the realist you drop into your shoulders and your rib cage.
Katie Silcox: Inviting the realist, you down the body, down in the belly,
Katie Silcox: inviting that real you, that presence embodied down into your legs. And so step one is you come home. You’re here, the body, a presence portal.
Katie Silcox: Step two. Imagine that you could drop a line from your tailbone down into the ground. But less like a line, let it go wide like a figure eight. The bottom of a figure eight drops all the way down into the ground and comes up to the right side. And like a figure eight drops down into the ground on the left and you can just feel that circle 360 degrees below you.
Katie Silcox: You might go down just to your feet. Some of you that have more, um, of a desire for this, you can imagine the earth itself is the bottom of that loop.
Katie Silcox: This is a great practice to just get grounded.
Katie Silcox: And then imagining from the space of your physical heart, you can imagine, or it can be the energetic heart. Now you can take that loop all the way up above your head, like the top of a figure eight. Opening to space above your head for some of you might feel like a big enough journey. Some of us, we can make it go bigger and it’s not about being more advanced, it’s just what feels right to you right now.
Katie Silcox: You might wanna let the , figure eight loop go all the way up into the sky, and so there we have that central premise of all these great eldership traditions, this sky above. We just open to that and loops above us and it meets in the human heart. Figure eight meeting point is your heart. And from the heart it drops down into the earth like a figure eight bottom, going all the way down into the earth and coming back up into the space of your heart.
Katie Silcox: And for just this last 30 seconds, you can just draw that figure eight into the sky, meeting at the heart center down into the ground. It doesn’t matter which direction you go, just feel that. Figure eight. You can draw it, but there may come a moment when you can just sit in it. You magnetizing earth and sky.
Katie Silcox: I mean, you can always come back to this anytime. We’ll just start to, you know, remember that we’re not leaving any practice. We’re just opening our eyes and coming back.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Thank you.
Katie Silcox: Yeah. , thank you for giving the space for something like that in in the media. I.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah. Well, it’s the funniest thing, right, is even people like us who have podcasts have this tendency to worry about, you know, being too quiet or not making enough noise. Um, instead of allowing the silence to permeate, which is kind of what we all need sometimes, right?
Katie Silcox: yeah. We could have sat there for, for, for much longer.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Oh, we should have, right? And that’s the thing, . That’s the thing. So for those of you who’ve just experienced that and listened to that, now go back. You could replay the podcast and just press pause at the end, right? And sit in that space. Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t be in a hurry.
Katie Silcox: Hmm.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Compressed time helps us wake up and grow. But finding that infinite space inside of time, there’s some juicy stuff there.
Katie Silcox: Hmm.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? And it’s, we’re, , we’re one breath away from going there. Um, Katie, you’re delightful. The book is called Glow Worthy. Um, highly recommend it. Um. For those of you who are listening, I’ll put a link to just go, but glow worthy Katie Ox not easy.
Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, and she’s also doing all kinds of retreats and work through her work. Tell us how else people can engage more deeply with you.
Katie Silcox: Well, I really offer one thing. I offer it once a year. It starts January 17th. We have a year long Ayurveda health coaching program, but really it’s Lady Life School. It’s what you and I have been doing together. Only we get to do it. Every week together for a year teaching people these old methodologies so that we can bring them back into practice in the world and, and start helping, you know, not every single human can go to a really competent shamanic psychotherapist, right?
Katie Silcox: They’re. What a great luxury to have that. But this school really is teaching you the basics of that type of self-care and, and preventative health. And, um, so that’s where I am right now. Uh, I also have a podcast called Spirit Sessions, which I’m gonna invite you to come on. Um, but people can find me there and I’ll give you a link where they can get all of the meditations, anyone who’s listening totally for free, just as a gift.
Katie Silcox: You don’t even have to buy the book. Um. But please buy the book. But uh, yeah, we have those meditations for you online, just as a, an offering. So if the meditation resonated, I have I think 13 of them recorded.
Dr Pedram Shojai: That is excellent. I appreciate your, your style and your, you know, lean forward and help people attitude about all of it. So, um, till we meet again, um, this was really fun and I thank you.
Katie Silcox: thank you so much for having me.
I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. It’s not everyday. I get to meet a new best friend. Love her. Oh my goodness. Just straight up. What a delightful human. It’s not every day. You get to meet people who actually do the work who actually read the books, go back and study the scripture and the Vedas.
And. Geek out on this stuff. Um, there’s a lot of people in the self-help world jumping up and down saying, look at me after taking some stupid weekend seminar, thinking that now I could be an expert and you’ve got all these dudes out there trying to teach them how to run out there and say, you’re an expert before, you know, anything. It’s the opposite of Katy Silcox, who you just met.
Who’s been doing a deep dive and working on herself and working in the work. You could tell the difference. Can you. That’s what I would love for my listeners to be able to discern. There’s a lot of bullshit out there. And when you meet a real person, You should honor that. Right? So if you’re so inclined to check out her work and do her year long deal, I’ll get a link and I’ll put it in here for you.
Um, please support people that are doing good things. Uh, this one is alive one. So go find your glow. Go listen to this again and activate it in your life. I’m so happy. I got to share her with you. Now, take it to heart and go help yourself. By finding what’s the matter. I’ll see you in the next podcast.