327: Dandapani | The Monk with a MacBook


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No one has the right to hold you back.

"There's nothing more important than knowing who you are, the path you are on and its final end." -Dandapani

The Cheat Sheet:
  • Why you should make your bed every day. (5:10)
  • They watched 30 minutes of the news in his monastery: true or false? (14:20)
  • The hierarchy of where to spend your energy as a parent and spouse. (27:50)
  • What the law of thermodynamics has to do with relationships. (35:05)
  • Affectionate detachment: what is it and do you need to implement it? (46:20)
  • Why happiness should never be your goal in life. (54:05)
  • And so much more...

When you think of a monk do you think of coding, a Macbook Pro and lessons about life? Maybe the last of those three pops to mind but certainly the first two don't! And that is what makes our guest for episode 327 so interesting. Dandapani is a Hindu monk who lived in a Hawaiian monastery where they gave him a MacBook Pro and he spent some of his time coding websites!

On today's show we talk about his origin story as a monk, how to keep children from sucking the energy out your relationship and what to do about energy vampires...all of that and so much more on this edition of The Art of Charm.

More About This Show:

Dandapani knew he wanted to be a monk since the age of 4. And he spent years looking for a teacher he connected with. He found many along the way, but none were the ideal match until he was a sophomore in college. He loved how practical and down to earth this particular teacher was and so when he told Dandapani to finish his engineering degree before joining his monastery, that's what he did.

The moment he knew he had passed all of his exams and had completed his degree, Dandapani was on a flight to Hawaii. For the next 10 years he lived a life of celibacy and technology. He says his guru believed in bringing their teachings to the world, not through stone tablets, but through electronic tablets and web sites.

So that's what the monks did: they built web sites, they learned a myriad of technology tools like Adobe products, Final Cut Pro, audio editing software, etc. And if that wasn't unconventional enough, they also watched 30 minutes of the news every day to keep them in touch with the world. Of course they also performed their daily chores and meditated, but only an hour of meditation per day and not the entire day like some orders.

Dandapani learned a tremendous amount from his time with the order. When his 10 years were up, he left and returned to the mainland of the US (and not his home in Sri Lanka). He spent a year transitioning into "real life" and then moved to New York City with his wife where they now live.

Although they don't have children yet, Dandapani has sage words for anyone who does on how to keep their marriage or relationship in tact while raising a family. He believes in what he calls "an energy hierarchy" and that if you follow his hierarchy, you will be able to stay connected to your significant other through the ups and downs of family life and you won't lose your relationship to your children's lives.

In his hierarchy, you come first. That means you have to take care of yourself first, so you then have energy to give to your spouse who is next on the list. Children come in third. And why is this? Because typically if you take care of you and your spouse before your kids, you'll have the energy necessary to take care of them.

On the subject of energy, Dandapani also had valuable advice on how to deal with energy vampires. He says 99% of the people he speaks with say they have energy vampires in their lives, but all too often we don't have the courage to address the issue. Once a year he sits down and assesses his relationships. He looks at who is an energy vampire in his life and then asks whether this is their natural way of being or are they simply going through a rough patch right now. If it's just a rough patch he never breaks ties with them.

But if the person seems to just be depressed and negative on the whole, he finds a way to either minimize contact with them or to stop communicating with them entirely. He calls this affectionate detachment and in this episode he shares when and how to use it. One tip he gives us is to avoid communicating your stance with the energy vampire(s) in your life; you don't need to tell them you're cutting them out of your lives whenever possible because that simply instigates more negative conversation from them.

Dandapani has quite a few additional suggestions and practical advice he generously shares with us in this episode, have a listen to hear it all! I want to thank him for joining us and to thank you for being here too. Enjoy the episode and we'll see you next time.


If you enjoyed this session of the Art of Charm Podcast, let Dandapani know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank Dandapani on Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

Dandapani's web siteDandapani's YouTube channel Conversations on the Spiritual Path, Dandapani's podcast Dandapani on TwitterLondon Real podcast

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