OYM Sandy Wilder | Educare Unlearning Institute

 

“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.” – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart.

By letting go of the limiting ideas, you will achieve true transformation. In this episode, Sandy Wilder, Chief Listening Officer at Educare Unlearning Institute, discusses how you can access your hidden wholeness through unlearning and listening. Because we limit ourselves to what we know, Sandy suggests unlearning those and shares his insights on how we can unlearn the limitations of growth. He describes strategies that will help release by listening to what’s essential to our soul. Let go of the limiting factors to transform and learn to listen to enrich relationships and encourage authenticity with Sand Wilder today.

http://educareunlearning.com/

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Sandy Wilder – Chief Listening Officer At Educare Unlearning Institute

After receiving a B.A. in Economics from Union College, Sandy Wilder played professional soccer and then coached, counseled, administered, and taught at Principia College. In 1984, he joined Communico Ltd. and became President and CEO in 1992. There, he consulted, trained, and coached educators and leaders to be more effective personally and interpersonally on teams and in the cultures that they create. Sandy started the Educare Unlearning Institute in 2001 and transitioned to it full-time in 2009.

There, he is the Chief Listening Officer. Educare offers programs, retreats, vision quests, virtual workshops, individual coaching, daily unlearning insights, and a dynamic supportive community to help you do these three things. Live freely and authentically from your deepest values. Question conditioned thoughts and beliefs, and experience transformation through unlearning. Finally, learn to listen in a way that naturally enriches relationships and encourages authenticity.

Sandy, thank you so much for joining us. It’s great to see you.

You’re welcome, Tim.

I was hoping you could start us off by telling us a little bit about how you got into the work that you do and what drives your passion for it.

A couple of years ago, like maybe 50, I was in college and I was dating a girl who was a Christian scientist. I didn’t even know how to spell Christian Science and I wasn’t into spirituality. I didn’t know anything about it. I witnessed her having a physical healing, and that piqued my interest. What was that about? I played a lot of soccer. I was playing a soccer game in the winter, and there was a little snow on the ground. I did a split and it was like something ripped. It wasn’t a stretch or something. The pain was so intense that it took me twenty minutes to get off the field.

I was home from college, working and selling Christmas trees for the Kiwanis Club. I had to go home and get crutches. I could barely move one leg past the other. This was on Christmas Eve, and I went over to the store on my crutches to buy a last-minute little gift for my brother. The thought came, “God wouldn’t keep me from doing what I need to do.” That was about the depth of my understanding. I said, “If that’s the case, I’m going to walk out of here.” I picked up the crutches in one hand. I was standing there. It wasn’t painful when I was standing, just when I was walking. I picked up the gift, and then step. I was perfectly instantaneously healed. When I went in it was like sandpaper rubbing together in terms of pain.

I’m looking around going, “What just happened there?” I had no background in spirituality other than for three months, I’ve been dating this woman who began to introduce me a little bit to it. That was an absolute game-changer because it opened up potentialities that I had no clue were possible. As I talked to some experienced practitioners in the field and healers, I said, “Are you telling me that if I understand how this works, I can actually help others with this?” They said, “No question.” That was it. It turned the corner.

Ever since then, I dove into Christian Science for many decades. Now, it feels much more expansive than that, trying to find more common sense and common ground amidst different approaches, but still very much anchored in a non-dual space and trying to help people access that. My passion is very simple. It’s to help people find their innate strengths. It’s to be able to find and access the potential that I believe is already in there, especially through what you might call clearing the windshield so that we have the clarity and we can see that. It’s through an unlearning focus, but it’s all based on you got the goods already. There’s nothing I’d rather do than talk to you, teach a class, work with people one-on-one, and dive in myself.

How did you come up with the name Educare Unlearning?

One of my mentors is Parker Palmer, the Quaker educator. He’s an incredible man. That’s where I learned the word Educare. I learned about it through that space. I did corporate training and development, leadership development, and executive coaching for a number of years. As I was transitioning out of that more into this deeper realm, that fit. As you may know, Educare is Latin for the word educate, which means to lead forth our hidden wholeness. That seemed to fit. I’m all about unlearning. I’m all about helping people be able to access that hidden wholeness through depersonalizing, letting go of, and releasing whatever might be getting in the way of that. The organization that I named was Educare Unlearning Institute. It’s pretty simple. It describes what we do.

How would you define or clarify for me your statement? I’m all about unlearning.

My sense is I used metaphysics for years, which I would call more of an addition approach. I was adding as much inspiration as I could, new ideas, more inspiration, read this, and listen to this. I pile in all these ideas and so I was filled up with inspiration. I eventually started to see. That was actually having me spiritually bypass some of the issues that I needed to deal with, some of the things that I was avoiding, and some of the fears that I wasn’t addressing.

To me, the unlearning approach is more of a subtraction approach. It’s saying, “What do we need to remove so that we can let our soul shine forth?” The way that I think about it these days is what’s absolutely vital is getting in touch with what you are not. When you get in touch with what you are not, you can release that, and then let forth and let out what you are. If you don’t get in touch with what you’re not, it’s going to influence the entire way that you see everything. We get an extremely partial perspective. I’m trying to help people expand their views.

The unlearning approach is more of a subtraction approach. We need to remove something so we can let our souls shine forth. Share on X

When you say get in touch with what you are not, my mind is saying thoughts and beliefs that I’m holding onto that aren’t the truth of my nature.

Thoughts, beliefs, patterns, egoic patterns, and personality patterns.

Energies, trauma energies, etc.

All of those things. Whatever it is that you have accepted that is actually transient. It has come into your experience, but you’ve identified with that experience or that way of thinking enough. I’m the kind who doesn’t do this or do that, but it’s actually transient.

It’s not your essence.

It’s something that your mind has gone down to.

I was raised by these very intelligent and loving people. I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. I went to kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college being taught and trained by the most influential people in my life that this is just the truth of life. This is the one true religion. This is the one true God. This is how life works. When I got to college, I come to find out that there were other people on the planet who thought and taught other things. It was a shock to my system. I tell the story about how when I was in college, probably several people that I liked and respected talked about the book, Autobiography of a Yogi.

It’s one of my absolute favorites.

As a dyed-in-the-wool little Catholic boy who was trying to do the right thing, get to heaven anyway he could, and be as nice and loving as he possibly could, I had to run away from that book like it was the plague or on fire, and I’m going to burn my hands because that was anathema. That was absolutely the opposite of everything I knew to be true. That’s why I ran away from it. I wouldn’t touch the book.

About 40 years later, after years of slowly looking at things other than what the Catholic Church would’ve taught me, reading spiritual books, and finding friends that I liked and respected. I have them refer to a whole bunch of different books, I was reading the Michael Singer book. I forget whether it was The Untethered Soul or The Surrender Experiment book. Probably when I was reading The Surrender Experiment book several years after I read The Untethered Soul, he kept saying that this book was so transformative for him. I thought, “Maybe I should look at that.” I absolutely loved it until about two-thirds of the way through. About two-thirds of the way through as I was reading it, I felt this grinding sick feeling in my stomach.

I didn’t have to, but I chose to put the book down. By this point in time, I had educated myself enough about psychology, emotions, and energy. I knew I was creating this, so I did the tools that I know to do to get rid of the sick feeling in my stomach and be willing to see what was coming up and release it. Later that day or the next day, I forget whether it was a day or two, I picked the book up again, read it, and loved it. I finished the book and read it again.

It’s that unlearning of all of this. I realized, when I started doing the work about it, it was at the part where he was talking about his guru or his teacher doing things that I knew only Jesus could do. No one can do miracle work like this. I had to unlearn what I knew. I knew as much as I know. This is the top of my head and this is my ear.

You identified yourself with what you knew.

I’d been trained in kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college. We don’t understand what a limiting subset of information our past experience has been and what our five senses give. If we don’t understand how limiting that is, we never grow beyond it. How do you help people grow beyond that or become aware of the limitations, and then release it?

The book, Autobiography of a Yogi, did that for me as well. I thought Christian Science had the corner on the healing market. I read that. They’re doing as much or more. It was like, “Here I go.” It’s absolutely expansive there.

How do you facilitate people in doing the unlearning, releasing, or at least identifying what it is they’re holding onto that’s less than their true nature?

There are many different strategies and different approaches. I discern their receptivity, and then I offer them different ways. Some examples of different strategies are The Enneagram, The Work of Byron Katie, and Expanded Consciousness work, which can get into parts work with a hypnotherapy focus. Some people like to go very deep and relax in those spaces. A lot of it is listening. I’ve studied Adyashanti a lot and worked very closely with his work, encouraging them to listen to what matters most and what is the most essential for them.

I think of myself as the objective part of their soul to reflect back on what they’re sharing. If they’re seeing green, I’ll try to understand the green but I’ll say, “It’s looking a little orange-ish to me. Let me ask you a couple of questions.” I call it pulling in beside. It’s walking with them but not in any way trying to lead them or even guide them. It’s listening together about how strong their desire is and how much their devotion is.

I was coaching a woman. She was laying out this whole thing. Toward the end, I said, “I have a question for you.” She said, “Sure.” I said, “How devoted are you to working on this?” Depending upon her level of devotion and willingness to work at it, we can take different approaches. I’ve coached and played soccer from junior high, all the way through the professional level.

I’ll say to somebody, “You can train at the junior high high school level, coach level, or professional level. I’m willing to work with you at any level.” Everybody always says, “I definitely want the professional level.” I’ll say, “That’s great. Give me a sense of what that might look like for you.” They said, “I can probably do some spiritual practices for fifteen minutes every other day.” I say, “That’s great. That’s junior high. I’m going to love you no matter what you do, but this is what I would need to know.”

We tailor the approach to how much they want to get into it. I also want them to define my role about how direct and authentic they would like to be. I’ve had some clients say, “Just reflect back to me and walk with me. Don’t ask me any tough questions.” I’ve had others say, “If you see a fleck of dirt, call it out.” Once we have that agreement on how we’re going to work together, then we can take any of these approaches that we feel guided to.

There’s also deep purpose work. Getting a clear sense of why you’re here on the planet and what you’re called for. Depending upon their receptivity, I try not to do all the higher-purpose work or all the unlearning work. I try to have a balance of them so that they’re working side by side, and so that we’re not floating off into beautiful metaphysics, or getting buried in the dirt and the shadow work. I try to listen for a blend of that, but they’re already bringing a sense of how much they’re either stuck in it or not. Some people come and they are just floating around in the clouds and not anchored. Others are so stuck in the dirt. It’s designed by grace as we go forward.

I mentioned to you in one of our pre-interview talks that almost twenty years ago, I got introduced to the work of Dr. Michael Ryce. He has the same tools. He’ll have a very specific tool for letting go of and dismantling something. Another tool for discovering what is that stuff that’s hidden in the unconscious that I might need to let go of. Another tool for clarifying communication from I’m going to be responsible for every emotion and reaction that I create. Another tool for creating and defining my own sense of purpose as unique from somebody else’s with the recognition that we’re all basically the same.

We’ve got a primary purpose that’s the same for every human being, according to his way of looking at it. Based on their skills, preferences, things they’re naturally good at, and things they love to do, every individual is going to be able to create an individual guiding secondary purpose. If they choose to use that tool, when they get up in the morning and they look at, “Here’s an activity I might do that’s going to consume a considerable amount of time, intelligence, money, and energy. I want to check whether it’s in alignment with my primary purpose and my secondary purpose. If so, I go for it. If not, I probably don’t.

With that, go all the way around from the practical day-to-day “I’m down in the dirt” stuff, all the way to this bigger sense picture of “Who am I? Why am I here? What purpose do I serve in life?” If you’ve got specific tools like you were talking about, I noticed on the website that you’re a facilitator who’s been trained in The Byron Katie Work and you mentioned Adyashanti work. It gives you that breadth and depth of ability to work with people because not everybody is going to want to do the same thing.

In some of those areas, there’s huge resistance. I offer the work of Byron Katie whenever, and that’s probably the least popular because it goes right through to the ego, and people won’t even go near it. It’s fascinating. That’s an exaggeration.

OYM Sandy Wilder | Educare Unlearning Institute

The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life

Some people won’t. In what kind of structure or format do you offer this to people?

There’s one-on-one coaching, and then I also offer programs. There are probably 8 or 10 programs I’ve taught over the years. Since the pandemic, we squeezed down the programs like many, and have moved some to Zoom. Now, there’s a combination of Zoom and face-to-face, but there’s an extremely popular one. When I say popular, meaning the program is running. It’s not like they’re knocking down the door. It’s something called devotion to being.

The same group of 10 people comes together once every 4 months for a 3-day weekend. We meet 6 times over 2 years. It’s the same group. We’re building program by program. In between those 4 months, we have a check-in for 3 hours on Zoom to find out how everybody is doing in terms of what they’re focusing on.

They also have what we call a listening partner in between each of those. Throughout the program, you will have maybe 6 or 7 different listening partners. You have a one-on-one session with that partner each week. The focus there in the devotion to being is to devote to your being through an unlearning space, but it’s also coupled with a deep focus on how to listen in such a way that you can help others find their space as well. I’m not so much teaching them strategies like the work of Byron Katie, but I’m absolutely teaching them how to listen at a deeply significant level where they’re not trying to fix or solve, but they’re being with each other. They get to practice that every week.

How do you teach someone to deeply listen? What would be your definition of deeply listening?

I think it’s to provide an environment that is so accepting and safe that when they’re sharing, they feel free to share what matters most to them. Maybe begin to discover and share things that they haven’t felt safe enough to share before. As they get to look at it, I’ll be reflecting on it back or asking a question about it. I have no agenda to try and lead them somewhere, fix them, or have them figure it out. I’m just trying to create an environment where they can see their souls, and see what matters most to them, but also see what might be getting in the way of that. It’s very much of a walk together.

As they’re describing what they’re seeing, I’m reflecting back and maybe asking a few questions about it to clarify or ask them to tell me more about it or possibly say, “I see that differently. Can you share or tell me more about this specific?” The depth of the learning that I teach, and I have four dimensions of listening that I teach. It was initially inspired in me by a book called Kinship With All Life by J. Allen Boone, which you may be familiar with, where he listens to animals.

I’m not familiar with it. I’ll look into it.

OYM Sandy Wilder | Educare Unlearning Institute

Kinship with All Life

It’s a phenomenal book. It has been around for quite a while. Kinship With All Life by J. Allen Boone. He was basically taught to listen at this deeply significant level by Strongheart, who was a German shepherd. I won’t go into the whole story, but over the years, he developed the ability to be able to listen and communicate with animals. The only way that he could do it was by seeing that he was 100% equal as a being in the universe to that animal. He found that when he could, then the ideas were flowing back and forth. He was receiving ideas, and he wrote a number of books on this.

I read that 45 years ago and started to say, “We can apply this to each other. What if there was such unconditional acceptance that you were just there, and you allowed almost a third thing to emerge between the two of you that was the divine, or whatever you want to call it?” Over the years, I’ve been teaching in that space. In a previous program, there was a two-year program that’s a little bit structured differently called Authentic Transformation. This may sound a little strange. Twice during the program, which meant 8 times over 2 years, we would go to the St. Louis Zoo and sit with an animal for 3 or 4 hours quietly observing, appreciating, and listening to see what would come up.

People would’ve read the book, and then we would’ve had to go, you pick any animal that you feel led to, and just stay there. The typical person at a zoo stays at the exhibit for about five minutes, comments, and then moves on. We got our Crazy Creek Chairs, and we’re just sitting there, settled in, and listening. One time I was doing this with chimpanzees. People were coming and going, and then one of the workers with the chimpanzees came over and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m appreciating this being in front of me, listening, and seeing if there’s any type of communication.” She looked at me and said, “I’m so grateful that somebody is seeing the chimpanzees as we are.”

I’ve received some incredible communication, but the beauty of that is it runs you into your ego big time because you sit there going, “I can’t hear a darn thing.” I’m listening to an animal and it’s hot. People say, “What are you doing?” I say, “I’m listening to the animals.” There are all kinds of stuff that get in the way, but if you can find that zone, it’s powerful. Also, I teach it as I model it in front of the group. We create what Parker Palmer calls a circle of trust in the group. We have a sense of not trying to fix anybody. We’re practicing it in everything we do in terms of asking honest questions and no agenda, and not trying to have anybody.

That’s what comes to my mind when I hear you talk about it. The quality, intent, and motivation for the question would be critical. If I’m asking a question or if I’m basically making a statement framed as a question, if I’m asking a question to try to get somebody to see something, that’s that outer thing. I’m going to ask this question so I can illuminate them. If I’m asking a question because I genuinely want to understand their perspective or their understanding, it reminds me of Bruce Ecker and Laurel Hulley who wrote the book DOBT, Depth-Oriented Brief Therapy. It’s now called Coherence Therapy. They changed the name years later.

In that work, there is this process of what he calls radical inquiry, which is basically your listening. Your deep level of listening is that if I can get a deeper level of understanding of what’s going on inside the person across from me or that I’m sitting with or talking to, the meaning of the words they have, the layers of complexity of that, what it feels like to them in their body to have, they’ll use this word sad. If I ask to understand it better, I’m asking them to teach me about their lived experience at the moment, that’s the radical inquiry.

Coherence Therapy has a process of radical inquiry, in which you're deeply listening. Share on X

To me, there’s no probing to that. It’s beautiful, radical, and deep but there’s no probing to figure out. There’s just this beautiful sense of exploring it together. I like that radical inquiry.

They have the same fundamental observation that you do, which is basically it’s all in there. Whatever signs, symptoms, or problems that a person develops that leads them to go to a therapist or a medical doctor, these are patterns and coping mechanisms that the person has developed over time for good reasons. If they can become aware of those reasons, one of two things will happen.

They’ll either reframe it as “This is a useful coping mechanism. I’m going to quit calling it a problem. I’m not going to keep going to doctors to help me get rid of the symptom,” or they’re going to understand, “I developed this pattern to cope with this level of an issue when I didn’t have any better way to cope with it. Now, 15, 20, 30, or 50 years later, I have all kinds of more advanced ways of dealing with that, so I can let go of that coping mechanism and bring in one that produces consequences that I prefer.

It happens in this organic flow. There’s none of this, “Let us help you get rid of this symptom.” A radical inquiry is basically developed to help that person know after I’ve asked them to show me. What is the set of dynamics within that person that makes it important for them to create the symptom? We look at the pro-symptom position. Once we shine a light on that, then the person can understand, “That’s why I’ve been doing this. That’s useful. I’ll keep doing it. I’ve got a better way to achieve that goal.

It sounds very similar. I like the way you’re describing it.

It’s called Coherence Therapy, and Bruce Ecker and Laurel Hulley were the originals.

It feels like, at that deepest level, the words are formed for you. You called it organic. You feel like you’re both listening together almost to music, to choreography, and with what’s happening there. There’s no, “What should I say next?” There’s a lot of pausing. I think the Sanskrit call it anna-hatta, which is in the heart space, which is the unstruck divine melody in the heart. It’s unstruck. It’s already within. That’s what we’re listening to. It’s that beautiful anna-hatta as that energy and those ideas reveal themselves.

It does take a lot of practice because think about it. We’re trained in writing, reading, and even speaking. Listening is the activity that we use the most in theory and there’s no training in it. I even trained some of this in the corporate world. I would say, “How many of you have had training in listening?” Only if somebody had a master’s and got into counseling or something. Other than that, nobody is trained in listening. It’s the most used and the least taught skill. That’s why it’s so incredibly rare. One of the biggest challenges that the people in the programs find is they don’t have anybody in their life that listens to them other than the people in the class. It’s simple. It’s not rocket science but we need to learn it.

OYM Sandy Wilder | Educare Unlearning Institute

Educare Unlearning Institute: We train in writing, reading, and sometimes speaking, but listening is the activity we use the most in theory.

 

Once you get that experience of being listened to or connecting with another person that way, it’s a shock to the system. Both how different that is from our everyday business and how little it exists outside of a program like that.

That’s right, in our culture. In indigenous cultures, they’re listening to trees, plants, animals, and all kinds of things. We’ve been trained away from that.

The thought that comes to my mind is obviously there are 4 or 5 of them bouncing around up there because they can’t get one specific one out. One thought I had to ask was, how do people connect with you? We’ll save that before we’re done. The other one is, what’s the intro? If I wanted to get put my toe in the water with you or put a foot in the pool, rather than dive in the deep end, do you have those scalable levels of involvement that you offer people?

Yes. Something that I do is, every day, I write what I call an unlearning insight, which is usually a brief poem, but it needs to be a moment of new clarity for me each day. I’ve been doing this for about thirteen years. I publish that on my website, Instagram, and Facebook, and then I send it out to 600 or 700 people around the globe as an email. If somebody says, “How do I know if I’m interested in working with you? I like your website, but how do I know?” I say, “If you can resonate with these insights, then there’s a lot we could talk about and explore. If you look at these and you go, ‘That guy is in outer space,’ then it’s not going to work.”

It’s a spiritual practice for me that I love to do, but I’ll take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half each day, and drop into that space with some new moment of clarity. It could be a topic that I’ve explored before, but it’s new and crystal clear now. That’s my marketing. As much as I live in the corporate world and we did all that marketing thing, I’m about tapping into my own depth and taking time for my own spirituality, and then I can share it in this way. If that brings people to my door, then that’s great. Usually, it’s word of mouth and those insights. People that can relate to them typically want to go deeper.

How do people connect with that if they want to receive the email?

I call them unlearning insight. It’s UnlearningInsight.com. You can just sign up. It’s also on Instagram or Facebook under @EducareUnlearning. It’s also on my website. You could drop me an email and I can sign you up or you just sign up. You can unsubscribe whenever you want. It’s free and it’s every day of the year.

You mentioned one of the programs. I think it was called Devotion to Being which goes over a 2-year period and you meet 6 times. That seems to me and especially for a lot of people that I run into a massive commitment. Is there something that’s less of a commitment either in terms of time or the range of the 2-year commitment that you offer people?

Pre-pandemic, I had about six classes, and a lot of them were one-off classes. Living on Purpose is a three-day program to help you discover your purpose. The work of Byron Katie, there’s a two-day class in that. Sometimes I would do retreats with a good friend of mine who’s an amazing singer. We would combine some of the pieces that I’d be reading with what she’d be singing, and then we’d discuss them and explore them.

There are various ways that I used to do that. I’m not doing that as much anymore. Typically, it’s more through one-on-one coaching. They can have an introductory session for free and we can talk about it, and then start to explore it. It can sound overwhelming, but I also offer a ten-month program on the Enneagram. That’s just one night a month for 2 or 2.5 hours. We’re exploring each type.

Is that something you do one-on-one?

No, with a group.

Is that something you have enough of a flow that it’s going on a regular basis?

I start one every year. Just like the Devotion to Being program, there are two running, but one starts every year. Those two programs are going, and then the Enneagram class is going. I do sometimes offer the purpose work or the Enneagram class one-on-one with people because they want to dive into that space. Because I don’t market myself in terms of going on the speakers’ circuit, I do have an email list that I send out for upcoming programs.

I’ll tell you one more that I do as well. I do send out things occasionally, but I’m not spending a lot of time and effort trying to fill classes. You have a minimum amount of classes, and if you don’t run, it doesn’t happen. With these longer classes, I market them once a year. I get people that are devoted to it, and then we can build, and then there’s lots of coaching that goes on individually.

The other thing that I do offer that I didn’t mention is in the summers, I’m in Acadia National Park up on Mount Desert Island, Southwest Harbor, Maine, near Bar Harbor. We have a cottage on the ocean there and I offer vision quests. People will come for a week. It’s not a hardcore vision quest. I dropped them off and I’ll see you in 4 or 5 days. They stay at the cottage, but it’s there for a week. They have four solo days in Acadia National Park, which could be anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. They’re in silence for four days. Some of them are fasting. It’s a time of deep reflection in an incredibly beautiful place.

They have an optional half-hour meeting with me each evening, which some do and some don’t do. We take the time. I’ve given them a map and I’ve given them trailheads. Ahead of time, we have probably gone out for a lobster or whatever we do. We’ve set it up well. It’s a maximum of 4 or 5 people. It’s usually 2 or 3 that would be there for a week. I offer it four times. One in June, two in July, and one in September. They have their four solo days. On the last day, we debrief altogether. We’ve gotten to know each other as a group. We’ve had the opening meeting, then you’re completely on your own. They’re not interacting with each other. They’re talking to me either about what they’re learning or where they want to go the next day and at what time. I give them plenty of water and help them with that.

On the last day, they reflect back on what the learning has been. They each have 1 to 1.5 hours to tell their story from the 4 days. I offer that. I don’t market it hugely but it’s on the internet. Some people have come year after year because it’s so incredibly meaningful. It’s in an absolutely gorgeous space. It is an opportunity to go deeper. If there are life issues you’re looking at, or if there are life issues you’re not looking at, but you know you need to, it could be career, family, marriage, health, or anything. This is a beautiful opportunity to do that. There’s an overall indigenous culture and rights of passage focus. I weave in some of the training that I’ve had in that. I’ve done a number of vision quests myself.

It sounds powerful. For many, it’s what would be considered an idyllic setting.

Absolutely. Our cottage is literally on the ocean looking out at the mountains. Some people spend the first half of the day sitting on the deck because it’s perfectly quiet and absolutely gorgeous. If they want to go out in the afternoon, I take them out for five hours, drop them off, and pick them up. You can sleep in. You can do whatever you want, but there’s no reading. You’re off the grid. It’s a time just to be quiet. It’s very sacred. It sounds scary to a lot of people. A lot of people are interested and then they go, “It’s not going to work this year.” It’s not unusual. There’s a lot of resistance.

It doesn’t take long for us to get acclimated to this doing lifestyle in our business. Before, what used to be wonderful for us is something we used to generate fear. My good friend from high school taught me to do backpacking in the mountains. He taught me about the gear and all kinds of foods to eat, etc.

A few years later, he’d been living in Seattle and I invited him down to go backpack in the mountains. He was absolutely in a panic because we lost a trail. What if we can’t get back to the car? What if we don’t have a radio? This is before cell phones and all those GPS locators. It was a shock to me because this was the gentleman who taught me how to do this, and how much fun it can be to get unplugged. That’s at a time when being plugged in meant you had a radio or a store you could drive to in 5 or 10 miles. We are creatures of habit. I know that can be scary for some people, but you’re doing that again. You’re going to do it in June, and then you’re going to do it twice in July, and once in September this year.

That’s right. Every year, I offer four different vision quests. There’s still room in them. There’s a lot of your age, but roughly older folks. Although I’ve had younger folks as well that don’t want to do the hiking, camping, and “four days drop me off” like some of the other ones that we’ve done. They appreciate a nice place to sleep, but they do appreciate the solitude and the devotion. I have a few people to come every 4 or 5 years. It’s time to drop back in again. I have one woman in New York City. This is her ninth one. I’ve offered it for 13 years. She says, “It wouldn’t be the same without it because I’m so busy with all that’s happening there. This allows me to drop in.”

The best way for people to reach you is the core website.

EducareUnlearning.com.

If you take a minute, take a breath, get centered, and think, “We’re running low on time here because of my schedule,” what’s something that either we haven’t asked you about yet, or something we’ve already talked about that you want to go back and highlight for us?

I think that listening is key. It’s learning to listen to yourself and learning to listen to your soul. This is one of the most powerful strategies, but it’s something that I practice every day and encourage a lot of people. I call it taking dictation. It’s simply getting quiet, dropping in, and asking the universe, the divine, whatever you want to call her, “What do I need to see and feel right now?” Listening and taking notes because I believe that our guidance is innate. Many people say to me, “How do I know if it’s the divine? How do I know if it’s the ego?” To me, the question is actually irrelevant. If you’re willing to drop in, you’re going to hear the deepest thing you’re ready to hear, but we have to provide a space for that.

OYM Sandy Wilder | Educare Unlearning Institute

Educare Unlearning Institute: If you’re willing to drop in, you will hear the deepest thing you’re ready to hear, but we must provide a space for that.

 

A lot of the listening that I’m teaching is teaching people how to listen to their soul, the universe, their true self, or their intuitive deepest nature. They then can bring that into relationships with others. That’s what I do every night when I’m doing the unlearning insight. I sit quietly and take dictation and listen. It’s a sort of cooperative and co-creative space, but I’m not the source. I’m receiving but I get to work with what I’m given. It feels like a cooperative adventure with the divine. That sense of being guided to me is crucial. That’s a tool that can be developed and useful for people. It keeps you with fewer detours. Certainly, don’t avoid all the pitfalls, but there are fewer detours there.

I have a sheet that describes that. If somebody happened to be tuning in to this and that’s all they wanted, send me an email and I’ll send that over. I’m happy to give it to you. It does take practice but it’s not rocket science. Nothing I teach is rocket science. Everything I teach feels so simple. It’s challenging because of the ego and the conditioned mind that gets in the way, but I don’t feel like anything that I’m doing is unapproachable. If there’s vulnerability, humility, and openness, then anybody can access these ideas and access their strengths, then potentially help others as well.

Anybody can access these ideas and their strengths, then potentially help others if there's vulnerability, humility, and openness. Share on X

Also, access a source within themselves of guidance and wisdom. It came to me a while ago to say, wisdom can’t be possessed. It can only be accessed. It’s an example of how the egoic mind is so well trained. As I said that, somebody said to me, “That’s brilliant. Look at how smart you are that you came up with that. The great and powerful Dr. Hayes came up with this thing.” I thought there was a perfect example of being blind.

As you were talking about this unlearning little practice you have, it also put in mind the research they did back in 1991 about the nerve cells that are around the top of the heart. There’s literally a thinking function at the top of our heart and the heart mass stuff that talks about how of all the connections that go between the heart and the brain, we think most of them would be from the brain sending signals to the heart, but the vast majority of them go the other direction. It’s tapping into this innate wisdom or this pipeline to a higher wisdom than we can contain within the little cranium we have. That stuff was coming to mind when you were talking about that daily practice.

I’m continually trying to get people to drop into the heart space, and follow that intuitive anna-hatta, that guidance that is there.

It’s what Rainer Maria Rilke would talk about as our need to learn to live in the question.

Yes, totally.

When we ask a good question, the mind that asks that question isn’t even capable of understanding the answer. It needs to live along through experience into a space where it may live along one day into an answer.

When we ask a good question, the mind that asks that question isn't even capable of understanding the answer. It needs to live through experience in a space where it may live one day into answers. Share on X

I’m continually helping people to shift from the figure-out mind into the space where it’s revealed.

A lot of people rejected the worksheet that Dr. Michael Ryce has because it looks like a tax form, but it’s essentially doing what you said. It’s shifting from the figure it out mind, but mapping out what my mind is doing in the first three steps to create all this turmoil and decision that I’m right and the world is wrong. It needs to change this way or that way, and then cancel all of that and shift into that heart space or that asking to be shown. It’s a powerful dynamic every time you’re doing his worksheet process, which is very similar to Byron Katie’s work or Diederik Wolsak’s worksheet process, the Choose Again worksheet process. We need to get out of the head and into the heart.

We’re so conditioned on our culture to be in the head.

I thank you greatly for being willing to share with us. I’m going to send Pierre Pradervand a thank you note for mentioning you in my interview with him so that we can get him the kudos. It’s a delight to meet you and hear what you do.

It sounds like we’re very similar in what we’re doing in many ways. I appreciate that. You’re doing great work too. Thanks for this opportunity. I love to explore these ideas.

It’s an absolute blessing. Thank you so much for the time.

Thanks, Tim. All the best.

After receiving a B.A. in Economics from Union College, Sandy Wilder played professional soccer and then coached, counseled, administered, and taught at Principia College. In 1984, he joined Communico Ltd. and became President and CEO in 1992. There, he consulted, trained, and coached educators and leaders to be more effective personally and interpersonally on teams and in the cultures that they create. Sandy started the Educare Unlearning Institute in 2001 and transitioned to it full-time in 2009.

There, he is the Chief Listening Officer. Educare offers programs, retreats, vision quests, virtual workshops, individual coaching, daily unlearning insights, and a dynamic supportive community to help you do these three things. Live freely and authentically from your deepest values. Question conditioned thoughts and beliefs, and experience transformation through unlearning. Finally, learn to listen in a way that naturally enriches relationships and encourages authenticity.

 

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About Sandy Wilder

OYM Sandy Wilder | Educare Unlearning InstituteAfter receiving a B.A. in Economics from Union College, Sandy played
professional soccer and then coached, counseled, administered and taught at
Principia College.
In 1984 he joined Communico Ltd. and became President and CEO in 1992. There he consulted, trained and coached educators and leaders to be more effective, personally, interpersonally, on teams and in the cultures they create.
Sandy started the Educare Unlearning Institute in 2001 and transitioned to it full time in 2009, where he is the Chief Listening Officer.
Educare offers programs, retreats, vision quests, virtual workshops, individual coaching, daily unlearning insights and a dynamic supportive community to help
you:  Live freely and authentically from your deepest values Question conditioned thoughts and beliefs, and experience transformation through unlearning, and *  Learn to listen in a way that naturally enriches relationships and encourages authenticity.

 

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