Serial entrepreneur, meditation instructor and CEO of MSys Technologies, Sanjay Sehgal, shares how connecting to your heart in a daily practice can help you deal with stress better in all situations, including your business. He helps us understand how balance within can help us to make better decisions on a daily basis.
John Meese 0:03
Sanjay, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you doing?
Sanjay Sehgal 0:27
I'm doing well, john.
John Meese 0:28
Good. I'm glad to hear that now. You know, we just mad we actually connected because of this podcast, which I'm grateful for. I'm assuming that there are people listening in who have not yet had the pleasure to get to know you and who you are. So if you would, would you share with me and with those who are listening in? Who are you and what gets you out of bed in the morning?
Sanjay Sehgal 0:48
Well, I'm a human being, just like everybody wonderful. And I guess, something that audience can relate to, I run a few small businesses small to medium sized businesses. And also other unique thing I bring to the table here for for the or for the listeners is that I, I meditate regularly and I teach meditation. So I mentioned to you earlier that I'm a meditating CEO, or also someone called me as a monk, who still drives his Ferrari. You know, who's I balanced the two, Yeah, two parts of my, my life pretty well. And I think I have no problem doing both and talking about both wonderful.
John Meese 1:29
So the monk who still drives his car, Ferrari, so tell me a little bit more about what do you mean by that?
Sanjay Sehgal 1:35
I see, they often I find that we all are doing are We are going about living our life without having a purpose. Or a purpose we have is a very short lived, let's say, let me get a good car, or look, we have get married and have this or have a house have this mostly around material possessions. Or let's say, let me make sure the climate change is accepted worldwide. I mean, things like that. I mean, right. But I think something that will help you develop yourself to the ultimate possibility that is that exists for each and every human being. Right, whatever that is, that to me is what meditation brings to you. To find your purpose, to develop yourself to transform yourself to that ultimate goal.
John Meese 2:26
Well, you know, at the beginning of while back in, I talked about this, in the introduction to my book Survive and Thrive, which is where this podcast gets the name is that at the very beginning of the covid 19 pandemic, immediately, it was clear that there were actually three crises at once there was an economic crises, a health crises and a mental health crises. And so I've devoted myself to focusing in the last, you know, six months to a year to- Well, really most of my life, but especially in the last six months, to dive into serving and try and trying to help and solve that economic crisis, not because the other ones are not important, but because that's where my skill set is. That's where my strengths are. But I'm excited for today's conversation, because we haven't really on this podcast, we haven't really dove in too much yet to the mental health crisis. And the reality is, that is a very real crisis. And as entrepreneurs and business owners, I mean, there's so many studies that have shown, you know, whether it's because we were crazy enough to become entrepreneurs, or because of the pressures of entrepreneurship, you know, there are high rates of depression, of schizophrenia of all kinds of anxiety disorders among entrepreneurs and business owners. And that's an enormous year, not in 2020, right, or in 2021. And so, I'd love to talk about that and just kind of get your input then Sanjay, in terms of for those of us who are business owners, and entrepreneurs, who recognize as you do yourself as a CEO, as a busy CEO, that there's all these demands on there, how do you? How do you approach this whole idea of meditation, I think most of us will probably accepted the idea sounds nice for those people who are, you know, enlightened, and they've already made their millions, and they're off, you know, goofing off on a mountain somewhere. But for the everyday entrepreneur, who's a little bit skeptical about this whole idea of meditation, what would you say of why meditation is so important, both personally and professionally?
Sanjay Sehgal 4:11
See, the way I look at it is that, you know, there's a saying by I think, I forgot the name of the person who said it. He said, Everyone should meditate for 30 minutes every day, except when they are stressed out, then they should meditate for an hour. So I feel that the case the business case, for meditation in the life of a small entrepreneur, small company, entrepreneurs that you need to be able to be strong within yourself to withstand everything that is that the life throws at you, the government throws at you, the clients throw at you, your employees throw at you and everything else that is not in your control throws at you. You know, they say they talk about prayer of serenity. I'm sure you heard of that John, Right? Give me strength to change things that I can. And courage to change or something courage to, to with. I forgot, I think and wisdom to know the difference, right?
John Meese 5:16
Yes, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom of the difference
Sanjay Sehgal 5:22
Only the wisdom Park, where does the wisdom part comes the wisdom part comes only to those who are contemplated and reflective in their nature, right. It's not written in any book wisdom, nobody can teach you. Intelligence, smartness, people can teach you, your you're a data scientist, your analysts, you can take courses, you can do all that. But wisdom comes only from within you. And this is different for each one of us. That's where meditation comes in. Because it puts you in touch with your inner core, your inner self, what do you need to be what you really are.
John Meese 5:56
Wow, well, okay, so with that in mind, you know, can you walk me through? What does that look like? I mean, so let's assume we're talking right now to a business owner who has a brick and mortar business, like, you know, like a coffee shop, and they're going well, you know, I've got to work on social media posts when I'm at home. And I've got to read these business books that people keep giving me and then I've got to go to the office or go to this coffee shop. And I've actually got to train someone to make a latte correct for once in their life. And then I've got to fire one employee and hire another one and file payroll and in the life of that entrepreneur, where does meditation fit? In your experience? Where do you make it fit? Where does it Where does it fit best?
Sanjay Sehgal 6:34
It fits exactly where the his breathing fits, to give him life. So there are so many ways of meditation John, and one of them mindfulness you, many people may have heard of, that actually focuses on your breath. Breathing, right? The one I practice, and I teach, that is called heartfulness, which always, which teaches you how to focus on your heart, use use your heart as the compass, whose heart is the compass, whereas your brain is a calculator or mind is a calculator. And now you need when you have so many things, where do you start? How do you decide what is more important? Right. Today, you use something some driver comes, who will allow whoever, you know, speaks the loudest gets the you know, gets your attention. I mean, yeah, but instead, if you're able to, let's say, streamline all these things based on how your hard drives you like the compass, as I said, right? Why would you give me the direction? That I know, like, for example, I'll tell you, when I start my day, in the morning, course, I start my day with meditation every day. And then I go for a run, and then I start kind of open my computer. And you know, as I say, the shutter is open. My most of my work is its technology. So it's mostly online, right? The shutter is open, I start working now, if I have, let's say, 100/200 emails now, which ones are more important? How do you decide that? The one which is in cap capital letters, I mean, all caps? I mean, you know, who types all his tweets, all caps? I mean, yes.
John Meese 8:17
Well, it's I mean, I can do you want me to answer that question..
Sanjay Sehgal 8:19
I mean, you know, sure, why not? Yeah.
John Meese 8:23
Yeah. I mean, for me, it comes down to, you know, who are the it's kind of works from the inside out in terms of relationships. And so even if there's 100 emails in there, if I kind of skim it and see there's one from, you know, my, my priest, or my business partner, or a high paying client, they get my attention first. And then I kind of go from there. I actually, I actually work with a team. So my assistant will actually go through and the vast majority emails I will never see because they'll be filtered out before they get to me because a lot of that isn't high leverage are important for me in my, my role, but can you help me understand the difference? The connection between this and mindfulness?
Sanjay Sehgal 9:07
If there is an email from your priest, or from a high paying client, so you already are using some kind of direction in your life wich comes, I won't say it comes from your mind, but it comes from your within you from art in a way because a priest that is your connection of the heart priests is not going to give you a million dollars, right ever
John Meese 9:29
I might ask for it might ask for it, but I'm not gonna get it
Sanjay Sehgal 9:32
I mean, in fact, you may even but not the other way around. Right? But I think so we all have point I'm making is we all do I mean, if suppose there is an email from your your mom, your dad, right? You will pay attention to that because they hardly write to you. And if you really relish that relationship, and you will respond to them. That is the relationship of the heart. That is what heartfulness teaches you that if there are things that you need to do which are beyond just the money beyond what? Just the material things that are around you, right? And that's what you know, heartfulness brings to the forefront gives you the ability to stay connected to your inner core like an exercise we say that this is a exercises the inner core. Right? So here the inner core, that is your heart, right? Your heart guides you.
John Meese 10:26
Okay, so can you walk me through just practically speaking, I mean, let's just say I'm convinced I'm sold, I need to be practicing heartfulness, mindfulness, meditation. But I am that busy coffee shop owner? And I've got a lot of things on my plate. Practically speaking, where do I begin?
Sanjay Sehgal 10:41
So there are many, there are these these many apps available?. You can download an app, there is a Headspace, which is available, which is very popular with the most popular apps, the one which heartfulness has, which is a free app. It's called Heartsapp,
John Meese 10:56
Sanjay Sehgal 10:57
Heartsapp by Heartfulness. Right? And
John Meese 11:00
So does that mean you have your own app?
Sanjay Sehgal 11:02
No, I it's a we have actually, you will be surprised to know, john, there are close to I would say a few million people around the world who do this meditation, I'm not the only one or what this person won't be the only one. And we can actually connect to that community through that app. There are some guided practices, you know, that that he can just do himself 10/15 minutes himself sitting, you know, in a comfortable position, or he can connect with a trainer anywhere in the world, and who can guide him through this session. Right.
John Meese 11:35
So that's, that's excellent. And I've got that pulled up. So make sure to include a link to that in the show notes here. But also talking about the practice itself. How do you practice this currently? So you have you mentioned earlier that you've got multiple businesses that you're involved with. So could you would you be willing to take us behind the scenes a little bit in terms of what your meditation practice looks like? And do you use this app? Or do you have your own practice?
Sanjay Sehgal 11:59
See, I've been doing it, John for 30 years.
John Meese 12:01
Sanjay Sehgal 12:02
When I was I started when I was a kid. So I innovate grew in my both my professional and spiritual lives, if I may call it at the same time. So for me, this growth have kind of happened side by side. So it was relatively easier, right? To figure this out. And so for me, the day starts with meditation, they enjoy meditation. And throughout the day, I do teach as well to some people. And so that process also goes on. And I spend in the morning about 45 to 50 minutes in doing meditation, though, I recommend someone who's doing it for the first time, they can start with 15/20 minutes of practice, right, and they can end the day in you know, similar amount of time, you know, in the evening, and throughout the day, they is just a matter of ensuring that you are connecting to your heart, every time there is a you know, there is an important decision to be made.
John Meese 13:01
Yeah, I love that. And so but so if you could take me out a little bit of color to this so you wake up and you want to you mentioned first thing here you've got 45/50 minutes of meditation, do you have a script that you follow? Or is that you, you know, sitting cross legged, with your eyes closed and kind of hands you know, appropriately place to for the stereotype
Sanjay Sehgal 13:23
That's a good movie, it's a good movie scene describing. But a good thing about heartfulness is there is no specific posture, right? You can sit anywhere you should be comfortable, but not so comfortable that we fall asleep. Right
John Meese 13:39
Sanjay Sehgal 13:40
So you can sit on the bed, sit up right sit on a chair, couch floor, wherever you can stretch your legs you can you know cross legged, your I mean, any which way there is no puzzle posture for hands either you can put your hand like this a hand like that any which way you want. Because the journey that you're undertaking during those 10/15 or 45 minutes of meditation is journey from your head to the heart. Again, there is a you know, there's a book very popular book about this he says longest 18 inches that you would ever travel in your life from the head to the heart. That is the journey so body really doesn't have doesn't play a whole lot of role other than making you comfortable. So if you can sit in a comfortable position and try to bridge that gap between head and the heart. That's where all our actions reactions are what causes most of our problems, wrong decisions, or most of our problems that is this right thing also come from here, right? You had wrong things also come from. If you can learn to ground this every once in a while. Like you will find that you are able to live a life which is a lot more balanced and a lot more cohesive.
John Meese 14:56
And as you mentioned, you've had 30 years of experience with this. So you know you've been close to this for many times, but for those of us who don't, you know, okay, so get comfortable, not too comfortable not to fall asleep, doesn't you don't you don't have to be in this stereotypical movie scene pose of the you know, yoga legs, and here, you know, whatever your hands are doing. What do you do there? I hear you're saying that you connect your head to your heart. But is that like, are you repeating a phrase? Are you reflecting? Do you have questions to prompt yourself? Is it silent? Is there music, I'm just trying to get the tactical
Sanjay Sehgal 16:09
You're going deep into it. Okay. So you close our eyes, we bring our awareness. Bring our awareness, to a supposition that my heart is filled with source of light, hmm. And it's a supposition. You are not visualizing you're not repeating. You're just gently focusing or bringing your awareness to that supposition. Your heart is filled with source of light, and stay with it for as long as you can. Now, of course, you will be able to stay for a few seconds a few minutes before you know the hell breaks loose, right? The trick here is not to fight with your thoughts. So a few myths about meditation. One thing people think is that it's about being thoughtless, it's not, you will always have thoughts. But here we are trying to focus our mind on one thought that my heart is filled with source of light. So you bring your mind something to do, while ignoring all other things that are coming. Right? Second myth about meditation is people think while you get peace of mind, you will never get peace of mind. What you can still your mind, you will create through stillness of the mind, you can create peace in your heart. And that's what you go back to. Every time you find this too much here, you go back to that every time too much here. So once you do it in the morning, of course, in the morning, you're doing a practice, or what happens throughout the day, when so much is happening is craziness is happening around you. You just take a deep breath, bring your mind to your heart for a few seconds. And you find that piece right away. When it was created in the morning, is still there. It's not here, this is gone. Right? This is there. Very important. Your heart will tell you, john, when you're doing something when you're about to do something wrong, or you're doing something wrong. Suppose you yell at someone you're I don't know. I mean, you look pretty young, you may or may not have children or family and all that. But
John Meese 18:35
I have three boys.
Sanjay Sehgal 18:36
Okay, great. So you know, if you're supposed to about to yell at your children, or something they do wrong, and you say something, don't do that. You know that something happens to your heart. Oh, I shouldn't, maybe I should have done it differently. Right? Heart tells you, that's why I call it a compass. It tells you if you can refer before, you know, raising your voice against them or someone else. If you could refer to your heart a split second before your response would have been different.
John Meese 19:09
Hmm. So I love that That's powerful. And as a parent, I mean, I totally resonate with what you're saying. But to bring it back to business for a second, I can also see the value in being able to connect with your heart and be still and really just have presence of mind in decisions. Yeah, as a father, I resonate with what you're saying, I can remember those specific moments where, you know, my heart was saying no, no, even though I was, you know, in my mind separately, saying that I was in my right, you know, to be started with my children. But let's be in touch with professionals, that business if you could, so I hear what you're saying that there's the benefit here is not just being in touch with your emotions, but it's also really just about having presence of mind and not making rash decisions, but being really fully to really be be still and to be able to respond accordingly. So how is that affecting, as you mentioned, that you're kind of spiritual journey and your professional journey, really, you know, we're parallel paths that begin around the same time. So how have you seen, How do you believe the meditation, the practice of meditation has benefited you professionally in your business pursuits?
Sanjay Sehgal 20:12
You know, John, there is a just a, you know, short story, I'll tell you, they said that there was a virus, which came to town, right. And that's the story. And so someone was kind of, you know, when he heard that virus is coming to town, he was planning to run away and he ran into the virus. So he asked the virus, man, you come to my city, and what I going to do is, I will kill about 5000 people. So once the 5000 number is over, you can come back. So the guy kind of hid himself in a bunker, and he kind of, you know, a few months was away. And then he came back, and he heard that 50,000 people have died. Now, he said, Man, How's it possible? I mean, he went back to the virus, and he said, You told me 5000 it's 50,000? He said I kill 5000, the rest died out of fear, or stress of the virus. Now, of course, I mean, not to, you know, I mean, belittle the pain and suffering people are facing people who have, you know, contracted this virus, Corona. I know, it's very serious, and it is really causes a lot of health issues for many people. But I think, you know, a bigger issue out here is that it is causing is a stress. Now, stress could be because of economic distress, people are facing people, many people have lost jobs, many people have lost family members without saying goodbye, they had to, you know, let them go. And many there have been kind of all kinds of stuff. But imagine you had that inner connection to be able to withstand all those and take care of those who are left behind. Certain things we can, again, coming back to, you know, prayer of serenity, you can accept things that you can right, or you cannot, and the courage to change things that you can I think, if you just, you know, how does that come to you right, that acceptance, that strength to be able to have the courage to be able to change things that you can, I think, to me, that's what meditation brings in your daily life in your business life. And I have seen that thing as I mean, in my own businesses, and you know, when I said, I mean, I am CEO of one company, and we had acquired few other companies, why they are also part of our overall offerings, and then I'm on the board and advisory board or some other companies, and I don't, and as an investor, I am, you know, limited partners and funds. And also I keep track of all of those things, and how I priority to meditation over a business meeting always. Because, you know, it's like, you learn to swim before you jump into the water. Right. And I think I take that approach, you know, to me, money is less important than my own self, because we don't know what gets thrown at you in any meeting, right? But if you are prepared to handle those things in a better way, in a more sane way, you can come out a winner every time.
John Meese 23:12
Yeah, I want to connect that a little bit deeper, because a couple things you just said there that really stuck out to me. One was you said, you know, you you don't want to, you know that your serenity and your stillness is more your meditation, even as well as more important than money. But you also said that those who commit to that meditation are winners. So what does that mean? I mean, does that mean it's one or the other that you either choose meditation and serenity? Or you choose financial success? Or is it that they're more closely related? And how does that play out?
Sanjay Sehgal 23:41
No, no. To me, they're related in the sense that see, money will come to you if you are able to manage things in a more balanced way in a more if I say, with the strength of your inner self. Hmm. Right. If you if you're taking a decision out of fear, or out of stress, you know, what happens to that decision, right? Versus a decision that is coming out of your inner strength, that will always be a better decision. Why do you think all these people who are made, I think you have made a comment that people who have made a lot of money, they can meditate, but smaller business cannot but I think we should learn from them. Right? I mean, if you look at the likes of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella, and all these guys who have made billions of dollars, right? If they can meditate, if they can find time to meditate, why can't we? The have money to do anything they want to do in life? Right? But they choose to spend their time in this.
John Meese 24:43
Yeah, I love that. And I hear you on that. I'm wondering if you can provide a specific example here. I'm just thinking and for the record, I'm actually playing devil's advocate here. I completely endorse the practice of meditation and you know, heartfulness mindfulness and you know, stillness of the heart and mind. But I know that it's difficult for business owners entrepreneurs to really prioritize it. I mean, it's easy to say, Yeah, that's a good idea. But like, you know what, I've got time for it. But one of the things I really would love to unpack a little bit that you mentioned was that so much of decision making comes back to that stillness and your ability to make a calm decision, you know, connected with that connectedness between you're connected to your heart, or your gut. So what can you can you give an example of a scenario where either either in your own life or maybe with someone you've coached, or even just a fictional example of what that would look like, for someone to walk into a meeting and make a decision based on that stillness under high stakes, and kind of where that value really comes from? I mean, where the dollar value of meditation really kicks in?
Sanjay Sehgal 25:43
Sure, sure, definitely. See, I'll give you an example from that is even not just meditation, but someone like meditation. Once you know, I was doing a venture funded startup, I was CEO of that company. And we were about to raise our first round of financing, I think it was about $15 million. And this was the first time I was doing something like this. And I it was some very large tier one venture firm out of Connecticut. And they had given us a term sheet. And I was speaking to the guy, the partner there. And he said, Well, I have done all my due diligence presented to partners, they have approved it. So I said that what is a hiccup? So he said, Well, I am going to take a hot shower, sleep in the morning, I'll send you the send you the signed term sheet. Why do that do that? He said, Well, I need to feel in touch with my inner self be comfortable within myself, because it's not just my partner's money, but it's my money, too. Right. And, and he did that. And of course, you know, it kind of it was very good turned out good for all of us. And, but I, the point I'm making is that we all do that in some way, shape, or form. But we do that for things that we feel are very important. But I think if we can learn to lead every moment of a life driven by that inner self, you know, you you will find that you don't have to do that for just important decisions. Right? Then you are leading a life which is in touch with your inner self, or driven by that heart all the time. Another example I'll give you from it was a very famous quote from Einsteins life, he said, Every time he got stuck in a problem, he thought about the problem or the solution to the problem 99 times, and then he dropped it. He went for a swim, played violin, came back, and the solution was there. I think there are numerous examples around us that which which teach us that I think, is just that, you know, it's it's very easy for us to be drawn towards the chatter of the mind. You know, this is a scientific study available now that I think have you in case John, you've heard of Dr. Bruce Lipton. He's a
John Meese 28:02
I have not, no.
Sanjay Sehgal 28:03
Okay, he's a, I think he's a professor or a PhD in genetics, I think he talks about this, that, you know, the whole process of how our mind works, or doesn't work during the, you know, times of stress. So basically, what happens is, when you're stressed out, I mean, this is the sciences side, I mean, me know, underscoring him that you're a natural human response to any stressful situation is fight or flight, the blood goes away from your main organs, your visceral organs to your limbs, every time you're stressed. And as far as the brain is concerned, the blood moves away from your, you know, your prefrontal cortex, which is a decision making the front part of light on the forehead, right, that goes away from there to the back of the brain. Now, if your body is in stressful situation, so your heart is not getting the blood, the main organs are not, you know, acting in their in their best capacity, and your brain, the decision making part of your brain doesn't have any blood in it. Now imagine, you are taking a decision based on what somebody's telling you in that kind of physical condition. You can tell me how what kind of decision that would be now it may turn out to be good. It's always 50/50. Right? Generally, but I mean, you know, question is,
John Meese 29:26
But you're you're acting you're responding you're not responding with it with a really the gift that is given to them to humans.
Sanjay Sehgal 29:32
You're doing a disservice to yourself you're deserving employees disservice to your family disservice. Right? humanity, I mean, you are not doing the right thing. And I think we need to understand that I think to me, meditation is not just something you do. That's why I remember in the beginning, I equated that to breathing.
John Meese 29:49
It's part of a, that's what you're saying.
Sanjay Sehgal 29:52
It is part of being it's part of being it should become part of your being, then you're not just meditating 5/10/20 15/45 minutes in the morning. But every moment you're referring to your inner self.
John Meese 30:03
Well Sanjay, this has been immensely helpful. And I appreciate you entertaining my questions on this matter and, and sharing a little bit of your experience and insight with us. Where can we go to learn more about you your work? And well, and I mean, just in general getting started with meditation and heartfulness?
Sanjay Sehgal 30:17
Sure, I think for heartfulness, as I mentioned, I think people can download heartsapp by heartfulness. They're on, you know, both Apple and I mean, the iPhone and Android. And it's free. Beauty of this is that this is not a commercial ventures there are, there are 1000s of people like me, who are running their businesses doing their job have their families, and they're also doing this, they're teaching meditation. And so it is it is not that they are out to make money off of this. It's not a business venture is not funded by anybody, it's, you know, so that's kind of one way they can get started. We have trainers almost everywhere in the world. In U.S., we have about 600 trainers almost in every city. And I asked for as getting in touch with me, I'm present in all social media channels. Sanjay Sahgal is my name. I mean, they can link the number reactive, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, I think they can contact me or you know, I'm sure you can happy to provide them my email address too. And I'm happy to share, you know, I have my blog site also, it's called sehgalnotes.com. And where I write regularly about these topics, and others that how I handle certain business situations in these times, are outside of these times. In fact, one funny thing I'll tell you, John, is that I coined this term, that we have a new definition of BC and AD, BC, before Corona, and after the disappearance of Corona
John Meese 31:54
That's great. Oh, we just need a new one. Like we had BC and then we have AD. And now it's time for I don't know, AC. Yeah, we know.
Sanjay Sehgal 32:01
We don't know. I mean, many people will forget how things existed before.
John Meese 32:04
I know. I know. They already, yeah. Trust me. I've got a one year old and his entire life. I mean, it's been touring this. He just turned one. And so his entire life has been unique and interesting. So well, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate this. This has been immensely helpful and I look forward to connecting more. Please keep up the work and thank you again for sharing your time and insight with
Sanjay Sehgal 32:27
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