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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Dickson

#004 Yana Fry: on Ego, the Science of Control, the Art of Surrender & Finding Peace

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Is ego the enemy? Why do people in our lives trigger us so much? Can we ever truly find inner peace? We caught up with Yana Fry on the Live Wide Awake podcast and deep dove into looking at old patterns, how we can break free of them, understanding the science of control and art of surrender, and finding out about our relationship with ego and finding true peace.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Yana Fry for over 5 years, but when we first met we didn’t actually like each other all that much. But there was something about her that I was drawn to beneath the corporate high flyer image she was giving off. It was only after meeting a few times that I saw her true authentic self, and once I saw that I couldn’t stay away.

One of the reasons I am so drawn to Yana and the work that she does is because she is on a mission to making spirituality simple, sexy, and a part of our every day modern lives. She just makes sense and cuts through the noise. Aside from that, she’s also a popular motivational speaker, accredited life coach, heart entered mindfulness teacher and so much more. Her magic really lies in activating minds and bodies to master emotions, for the highest presence and performance in our lives.

Fast forward a few years and Yana has been on numerous adventures, which we are going to deep dive into today. Below are a few highlights of our chat, but we highly recommend listening to the full conversation via our podcast. On wearing masks… This year most of the world has experienced wearing physical masks. How uncomfortable it is and how when you get home and remove the mask you can actually breathe again. In my experience, it’s the same with the mask ‘we put on to the world’, where we are not ourselves but a projection of what we want people to see. I was wearing this mask of a corporate high flyer, which is definitely not me. It took me years to accept that that is not me because I got carried away. I was trying to do leadership and executive coaching, with my ego telling me it was really cool, it makes a lot of money. And that somehow it’s more respectable in society, oppose to life coaching or spirituality. But funnily enough, the entire time I was trying to do corporate coaching. people were still referring to me as a life coach. You can’t run away from your true nature. On the spiritual journey… I was born into a very mystical family and my mom contributed a lot to who I am. I grew up relatively free – with no boundaries, no time to follow, no homework checked on.. she was training me from the beginning to use my own intuition, to trust myself. I grew up very open-minded, but then society kicked in and I started running the loop. Fast forward, with one painful divorce later, and a struggle to figure out my life professionally, I found myself back on the spiritual journey. It has now been over 10 years, where I travelled all over the world doing all the trainings, schools, speaking to all the teachers, masters, gurus, priests, yogis and monks that I heard about. I’m talking from all kinds of cultures and backgrounds and mystical schools in my quest for answers. “Who are we? Why are we here? What is it all about? There must be some kind of purpose in life.” And after a long journey, life led me to Tibetan Buddhism, this is where I found my own spiritual home. As they say, when you are ready the teacher shows up. And mine literally knocked on my door – can you believe it? I opened the door and was like ‘Oh, here is the Lama’. On enlightenment… One of the biggest realisations I had, throughout all my spiritual practises, is about enlightenment. In society, this work is used too lightly. With monks and llamas, they don’t use the word enlightenment easily. When I had conversations with my teacher I said “I want to be awakened, I want to be enlightened: – it was about all about me. The Lama looked at me and said “you’re completely off. You have to look at it from a different perspective.” And that’s when I had my biggest realisation that it’s actually not about me. On loving kindness… It is one of the foundational practice in Buddhism that helps set the tone for everything. It took me a while to even understand it, but when you do, it’s life-changing. Loving-kindness is when you dedicate your life and everything you do throughout your day to helping others instead of helping yourself. You don’t think “what can I do for myself today?”, you ask, “what can I do for others today”. And this it the biggest difference. We need to train our minds to place this focus on the other, which helps to move away from this idea that “it’s all about me”. And instead, remember we, we are all in it together. We are like drops in the ocean. In fact, you are the drop and you are the ocean, at the time time. On practical tips… It’s a running joke for Lama’s and monks when westerns come for teachings. People come searching for step-by-step guides and answers. Instead, they are given teachings and told to figure it out themselves how to get there. They tell you just go practice and you will understand everything by yourself at the end. And the Western mind goes “really, but can you just tell me, like, step one, step two, step three.” And they say, “no, just go practice until you will understand everything yourself.”

I find myself in both roles at the same time. I’m trying to keep the essence of the teachings from the monks and Lamas, while also making it clear for people like us in the society. I am like on this journey myself, and analyse my actions and motivations on a daily basis. For example with this interview, I had to check with myself, why am I doing it? Why I’m spending my time to do this? Is it for myself or for others? You just have to practice and practice every day. Examine your decisions, examine your thoughts, that’s the practice. And you will get better over time. On being triggered by others… Take a deep breath and then one more deep breath and one more deep breath. before you answer to this person. This is the number one thing that helps to come back to yourself. Then you examine again within yourself, why did you get triggered?I feel that if people would constantly look inwardly at themselves, we would not have any conflicts with each other because all internal conflicts are gone. There is not more expectations and ideas of how things should be, but a beautiful coming together of loving kindness. Start examining your own desires to be acknowledged, to be recognized, to be seen, to be loved by others. Eventually, this brings you in a very interesting place where whether people say “I love you”, or “I hate you”, it is actually the same for you because you are at peace within yourself. This can be a frustrating concept for us living in the society, but it’s a true place of inner peace. On ego… One of the biggest questions people always have is about the ego. There is a lot of information out there that says we have to kill it. In traditional teachings they talk about killing the ego or dissolving the ego completely, but this is only really applicable when you renounce everything and you fully commit your life to the practice. Like Monks and Lamas do in the mountains. I have only truly witnessed three people who were able to do this from all my journeys. And I can tell you it’s very difficult. It is a choice between staying in the mountains or sanctuary or returning to live in society and practise. But when you come back to society you are faced with very practical things – how do you buy food for example? How do you build a business? It will be difficult to make money, to promote yourself. So to live in the society you need to have a healthy element of ego, and still, be interested in business and money. It is not about killing the ego, or boosting it, but finding the golden middle. On the science of control and the art of surrender… Everything that’s inside of you – you can control. Everything that is outside of you – you cannot control. You have to surrender, it’s that simple. When people truly embrace this, then life becomes much easier. Now I know, it is easier said than done, because we do the opposite. We try to control the external environment and we don’t have much control over ourselves. And that’s why we do meditation. The purpose of meditation actually is to train your mind, to be focused on what you wanted to be focused instead of just running all over the place.

When something happens there is the impulsive reaction that most of us have when we react before thinking, but we have to remember there is this difference between responding and reacting. When something happens, take a deep breath, pause, and look at your reactions and respond when you are ready. This requires a practised and meditative mind. There is no shortcut. The only way is to fully arrive into this deep understanding within yourself when you stop grasping. Work on your own emotions, your own state of peace and your own mind, regardless of what is happening around you. This is the practice itself. Yana Fry does a series on incredible courses that will help you to come home to yourself. Find out more by following her here @YanaFry. And head to your favourite podcast app to listen to our whole conversation.

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