The Power of Zen Warrior Training with Sam Morris

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior

 

On his website, Sam Morris states, “I believe that when people let go of who they think they should be and discover who they really are, they can change the world.” He is a man who does just this. A car accident in his 20s left Sam paralyzed from the waist down. Through the study of zen and meditation practices, Sam Morris has made the choice to live beyond the circumstances of his life. He is the founder of Zen Warrior Training, a one-on-one coaching program where he trains executives to access “flow state” and to embody a strong sense of purpose and value in their work.

 

Listen to the podcast here:

The Power of Zen Warrior Training with Sam Morris

Discover Who You Really Are

I have with me my cohost, Sean Entin. How are you doing, Sean?

I’m doing great.

One of the topics that have been coming up in our circle and especially for you, Sean, is the topic of acceptance. I’d be curious to hear from your perspective, what does that word come to mean for you?

It means accepting yourself where you’re at, at this time in this place. It’s about being okay with where you’re at and accepting that where you’re at is extraordinary.

What’s the challenge of doing that?

It’s wanting my whole body back. It’s wanting the weak side to be strong again and to do things I was not able to do in seven years.

For me, acceptance has come to me, not in action. It can be oftentimes associated with inaction, but it’s taking action from a place of knowing everything’s okay where you’re at. That doesn’t mean you don’t progress forward. That means you progress forward from a stable foundation as you can get. Acceptance is a huge part of that. The reason this topic has come up is through the guest who we’re about to speak with on the show. I would say very confidently nobody bodies acceptance more than Sam Morris, who is the Zen Warrior. Would you agree with that, Sean?

Yes. He makes my injury look like I got a sore toe. The guy is stronger now than he was before he was able-bodied.

A little bit of background for Sam is he got in an accident and ended up being paralyzed from the belly button down. He’s been paralyzed from the belly button down for nineteen years. He went on this internal journey of Zen practice, meditation practice, and all of that good stuff to figure out how to be okay with where he was.

Everyone understands that from the waist down, he has no feeling. Imagine in your head what he goes through. Nothing works, and he has no sensation on his legs, his feet, his knees, even his hips, zero. The questions are endless I’m sure for everyone out there. This guy has accepted himself for where he’s at and being in that chair for the rest of his life.

We were at dinner with him and he mentioned that just to put it into perspective, he could have an operation, like a surgical procedure done on his lower extremities without anesthesia. He could be completely awake and not feel a thing. He did do that. He said it was creeping the doctors out.

He started to tell me at dinner and I couldn’t even eat anymore. I thought my injury is tough being paralyzed on the left side. The guy has zero to work with for down there. He was lying on the operating table, being surgically operated on with scalpels opening him up, cutting him open. He’s talking to all the doctors about sports or life or whatever it was. He’s having a full conversation like we are right now with zero pain.

If you enjoyed the interview and you want to learn more from Sam Morris, he does have a coaching program. If you’re in the California area, he’s leading a workshop coming up on January 6th. The workshop is called Breath: Your True Power. It’s from 2:00 to 4:30 PM on a Sunday in Topanga Canyon. If you’re in the California area, come experience the workshop, experience the power of this man’s presence and come learn from him because he has an immense amount of wisdom to offer.

He’s awesome. Check this out because he’s telling me that breathwork and meditation are going to help me heal. I suggest anybody out there, even if you don’t have to heal anything, you want to be around some good people. Sam is a guy to shake hands with and to be in the same energy and the same space, is awesomeness.

Welcome to the show, Sam. How are you doing?

I’m doing awesome. I’m excited to talk to you guys.

Sam, let’s dive into this. Tell us about who you are and what happened to you?

“Who am I?” That’s a question that I’m asking myself every moment of every day. I grew up on an organic blueberry farm in Maine. I was into guitars, into anything that would get my adrenaline pumping like snowboarding. I was an avid skier and hiker. Back in 1999, I led a bicycling track for nine teenagers across the US and we camped every night. We cooked all our own food. We did about 3,800 miles in about 52 days. I thought, “This has got to be the biggest challenge I’ll ever take on in my life.” We were averaging 80 miles a day plus camping every night and taking care of all of our own meals, no car support. I thought there could be no challenge that could be harder than what I’ve dealt with. It was almost like I was tempting the universe because only two and a half months after completing the track, I was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver and it left me paraplegic. I broke my T12 vertebrae and have been paralyzed from the waist down ever since then. That set off an interesting healing journey. That was years ago. I had to discover myself fresh and find out who this new person in this new body was because it felt unfamiliar.

Explain your body. What works? What doesn’t work? Are you mobile or are you not mobile? Do you drive?

I have zero sensation and zero motor function from my navel down. I lost my sexual function. I lost my sensation from my bladder, bowels, and lost my ability to walk. Everything from my navel down has been completely still for the past years. I can drive myself. I got hand controls in my car and live a very independent life.

The less you do, the more powerful you are. Click To Tweet

You didn’t start there. I’m curious to hear immediately following the accident, what was going on through your head at that moment?

For one thing, I never lost consciousness. I slumped back into the middle of the back seat and I remember thinking, “Oh my God.” I couldn’t possibly fathom what this meant, the implications of what happened for the rest of my life. I was in this state of deep shock where I couldn’t access any emotions. I couldn’t access anger, I couldn’t access sadness because everything was so much more intense than an emotional state. I dissociated from myself in a way. Some of that dissociation, I realized only years later. At the time of the accident, I had dissociated to a certain degree. When you can’t handle something, when trauma is severe, your energy pulls out of your body and you dissociate. That’s the thing that people with PTSD deal with. They have dissociation from reality because the trauma is so severe.

I deal with it a lot every week. What you explained to me, it happens to me. I block some time. When that happens, I cannot drive a car because I can end up anywhere and not even know how I got there because the peak will come into my life. My girlfriend who I put her through torture at times because I get in this dark side and it wraps me. Your parents your siblings, how did they go through you? I know at times it’s harder on the family than it is on the person who’s going through all that trauma.

One of the most challenging things to see is the sadness in their eyes. I almost felt ashamed of myself in some illogical way. I was like, “I’m putting them through so much pain and frustration.” They have had these hopes and dreams for me to live this healthy life and I’ve created this emotional burden and a financial burden. It’s hard for me to take in how this impacted them. At the same time, they handled it beautifully. They could not have handled it better. They were there supporting me from day one.

Where do they live at the time and what did they do? I know it takes a ton of time and money to rehabilitate us.

They lived in Maine on the blueberry farm. My dad is an architect. He’s about to retire. My mother’s the farmer. She holds things down at the farm and she also is the president of the local land trust. They live these very down to Earth lives in New England, about as down to Earth as you can imagine. We were fortunate enough to have enough money as a family to be able to handle a lot of the expenses. I was also fortunate to have decent insurance coverage as well at the time. Unlike a lot of people in my situation, we never got to a point where it was like, “We absolutely can’t afford to take care of Sam.” That never happened.

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior
Zen Warrior: When you can’t handle something and when trauma is severe, your energy pulls out of your body and you dissociate.

 

Our lives are so parallel. Everything you’re telling me resonates in my heart. I was in tears because I was like, “I’ve been through the same thing.” It’s different but I felt the same way. The last thing I want to do is being a burden on our spouses, be a burden on our kids, our parents. It’s horrific because everyone feels helpless. I’m on a respirator and my internal family is having arguments. It’s rightfully so because their loved one is in a respirator not knowing if he’s going to wake up and if he does wake up, is he a vegetable? Do we have to pull the plug? In between all my comas, I woke up enough time to sign a DNR because I didn’t want to be on life support the rest of my life. My daughter’s going to look at me going, “There’s our dad all skinny, hairy, and everything.” I didn’t want that to be. I can relate to what you’re talking about. Having kids myself, I couldn’t even imagine.

The emotional part of the experience is much harder than the physical part of the experience. The physical part of the experience is what it is.

Are you still in pain?

I get spasticity in my lower back. It is painful and debilitating at times. I try to get body work to work it out. My biggest challenge has been from getting pressure sores, decubitus ulcers from sitting in my chair and other surfaces. I have spent over two years of my life immobilized in hospital beds due to pressure sores and surgeries. I’ve also spent probably the equivalent of that bedridden at home over the course of the last nineteen years. I was in the hospital because I’ve got a pressure sore that I’m dealing with. The sores have been the most challenging part of the experience for me. When you think things are rolling and your game is getting good, you’re used to a nice flow in your life and then a pressure sore happens.

Maybe you can explain to us, what does that mean?

Most people understand what a bedsore is from people who are elderly, and they are lying in the same position on the bed for too long and their skin begins to break down. Then that can turn into a severe wound that takes a long time to heal. The same thing happens with people in wheelchairs with complete paralysis. There’s no sensation and no function below the level of injury like mine. For one thing, your circulation gets compromised. Another thing is your muscles atrophy. The tissue on my butt is not much more to it than the tissue on my elbows. My pelvis has these prominent bones on it that aren’t padded well by muscle and fat the way they should be. We take for granted how when we’re sitting on something. Most of why our bodies can tolerate what we’re sitting on is because of muscle and fat tissue. If that muscle and fat tissue degenerate over time the way that it does with paralysis, you’re left with this exposed and vulnerable pelvis.

By being centered in your being, energy, and body, you become far more powerful than you would if you were focused outside of yourself. Click To Tweet

There’s no sensation telling me when something hurts. Despite the fact that I live with impeccable nutritional standards, I take great care of myself and I get plenty of exercises, I’ve still had this history with skin breakdown, which has turned into major wounds at times, requiring surgeries, muscle flap rotational surgeries where they remove a piece of muscle or fascia and they turn it into that area. They put it into that spot and they rotate it in and sew it into the new area. It can require months of recovery time. These things are slow to heal on their own. I have one and I’m taking the best care of myself I possibly can to make it through this. I celebrated my birthday in the hospital.

I get it. I turned 40 in the hospital bed. It’s part of life.

We could segue into my overall philosophy and how I bring this into the work that I do and so forth by saying that the main thing that I feel like I’ve become most empowered by through this experience is not identifying with my circumstances. One of the most paralyzing things that I find able-bodied people deal with in their lives is we get defined by our circumstances.

We become a victim of our conditions almost.

We become a victim of the traffic that we’re sitting in or the victim of a conversation that went south with our spouse. People tend to identify with the experience that they’re having and that is the most paralyzing thing you can do, particularly when you’re having negative experiences. The way I see this is all a continuing education for my philosophy on life, which is what I bring to the work that I do when I’m coaching other people. It’s separating from the circumstances of your life so that you can see that you are not the circumstances. You are someone who is separate from the injury, separate from the financial status or separate from your sexual function.

This radiates throughout my whole body. I was asking you how and why because I go through what you’re talking about a lot. When in the darkness, I feel no one can reach through me and I feel like I’m stuck eight miles below the surface all alone, confused, and with suicide thoughts. You coach entrepreneurs, you coach people, but a lot of people feel what I go through what you used to go through. What is the solution at that moment in time?

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior
Zen Warrior: People tend to identify with the experience that they’re having, and that is the most paralyzing thing you can do.

 

I would add on to that too. This is a very powerful realization you came to your life through your experience but I’m willing to bet it didn’t happen overnight.

My whole life was setting me up to have this experience when I look at the timeline of the things that I was turned on by and interested in. Back before my injury, I had gotten into Aikido. That’s a martial art which emphasizes the importance of staying connected to your center and moving in a flowing manner. It’s as much of a mental and emotional process as it is a physical process. The beauty of Aikido is the less you do, the more powerful and effective you are. It’s so centered in your being and in your movement. Essentially what that means is by being centered in your being, centered in your energy and your body you become far more powerful than you would if you were focused outside of yourself. I love Aikido for that reason because you can have a tangible physical experience of that.

Let me just add on to that point because I know a little bit about martial art. I’m not an expert, I did jiu-jitsu a lot, studied and traveled the world with MMA guys. Sam is saying that you could be a 5’3” small girl and if a larger man can come running at you, you could take his energy and flip him over your shoulder by doing the minimal movement. It’s a metaphysical spiritual category. Here’s what he’s talking about, you can transfer their energy into yours. Literally, I’ve seen it before where a small girl can take a guy who’s 6’6” and put them on his back within seconds and it looks effortless.

You can go to a dojo and watch this happening. It’s amazing. There was Aikido and I started getting into yoga. Around the age of sixteen or seventeen, I started experimenting with psychedelics as well, which were mind-expanding. That experience with psychedelics also got me into my study of Zen Buddhism, all of which happened before my injury. Before my injury, I was already on this very metaphysical journey through life where I was connected to my spirit and nature. I understood Buddhist philosophy and practices around the concept of non-attachment. The things that we attach ourselves to in our lives end up being the things that cause our suffering. Spiritually we know that all those things will go away but we hold onto them as though they won’t go away, wanting them to not go away. Because we’re doing that, we’re caught in that conflict between not being able to let go of the things that will go away. That creates suffering. It creates unnecessary challenges in our lives. When my injury happened, it was like a test for all of that. It was basically like, “Can you stay as expanded in your mind? Can you let go of the need to have a sexual function? Can you let go of the need to walk? Can you let go of the need to jump out of bed?”

Your new name is Neo. He took the red pill. He went back in the Matrix and this guy doesn’t live in his own body. He lives in a whole other world of possibility, which is brilliant. I have trouble connecting in that at times but it’s good to hear your voice on that one.

We all do. This is a practice for me as well.

The things that we attach ourselves to in our lives end up being the things that cause our suffering. Click To Tweet

I’m curious to hear, Sam, you said you were getting into the Zen Buddhism, connecting with yourself on a spiritual level before the injury. It’s clear that it helped you process and get through it. I’m interested to hear was there a big shift internally for you as you deepened your practice post-injury?

Yes, the shifts were interesting. The shifts started out with this sense of real dissociation. It was probably about two weeks or so until I was up in a wheelchair. I could go into the bathroom and look in a mirror. I looked at myself and it was like looking at a ghost. I couldn’t even recognize myself. Part of that was probably the fact that I was on Oxycontin at the time. It was also partly because my system was in so much shock that I had to re-learn who I was. This process took years. I felt in a lot of ways like my 24-year-old, fully adult self was gone. It was replaced by this unfamiliar feeling of being a kid again, where I was temporarily dependent on my family and where I didn’t know what I could do. I would see people looking at me and feeling bad for me. I wouldn’t know how to have personal boundaries around their perceptions of me. I wasn’t feeling myself out enough internally so as to not take on their perceptions. It’s like, “Poor guy.”

We call this the act of looking good. You always want to look good in the face of others and you can get out of your mind to say, “Accept me for who I am. I love myself and I love this new body.” You set yourself up to be always in fear and that person was believing you, where they believed in you as being this strong male, you didn’t see yourself like that.

Especially when you’re 24 years old and you’re at your sexual prime and you lose your sexual function. Our whole culture associates masculinity with sexual function. The way that the culture thinks, the group mind really impacts us on intense subconscious levels. It took years to come to terms with the fact that I could separate who I am from the group mind. That’s probably one of the greatest gifts of this experience, learning to see myself through a lens that isn’t conditioned by the culture.

You met your wife. Tell us about that. You’re telling me all the stuff. You’re in a chair, you’re not able to have sex and you meet your soul mate. When, where, how and why? Let’s talk about who she is and let’s give it all because I’ve got people with amputees from Marines who I know of, a lot of veterans and people like myself and like you, quads, paraplegics, brain injury, and stroke. Tell me about your love life?

My wife is amazing. I met her in 2007. She literally showed up at my door. I was like, “How am I going to find the right woman? How am I going to be with someone who’s willing to get into a long-term relationship with a paraplegic?” I had all these insecurities at the time. A good friend of mine from college called me, and she had been taking yoga classes from this yoga teacher who lived in Davis, California. She said, “My yoga teacher is coming to LA and she doesn’t have a place to stay. Could she stay with you?” I said, “Yes, sure. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. No problem, I got a room.” This yoga teacher showed up and knocked on my door and the rest is history.

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior
Zen Warrior: The way that the culture thinks impacts us on intense subconscious levels.

 

She opens the door. What’s the first thought going through your head?

It wasn’t one of those things where I was magically like, “I found my soulmate,” thing. It wasn’t that. We quickly clicked. It was interesting because before meeting me, she had been in this seven-day silent retreat. She was examining her life, a personal thing. She had been planting the seeds of the type of person that she wanted to be with. I happen to match most of those qualities. She didn’t happen to put paraplegic in that list. When we met, there was a quick connection. We got married in 2007. We’ve been through quite a journey together and quite a challenging journey. With any marriage or any relationship, it is not easy. There have been times in my life where I’ve said that my marriage has been the most challenging thing in my life. The paraplegia has been the second most challenging thing in my life. We’ve worked through a lot of stuff together and we’re at this incredible place right now as a couple.

How old is she?

She’s seven years younger than me. She’s an entrepreneur. She runs a women’s embodiment school called the Amba Movement.

How can people find it?

AmbaMovement.com and it’s specifically to help women to come home to themselves inside their bodies and inside their breath. Develop and cultivate a deeper relationship with their bodies, their minds, live more fruitful, productive and sane lives as a result.

It's okay to experience such a high degree of uncertainty inside yourself. Click To Tweet

It’s interesting because it’s challenging for anybody. I like to use the word warrior. It’s hard at times as that guy or as that girl to be in this zone and then start playing, “I’ve got to take care of myself.” To fall in love with somebody else, it gets all bad. I get asked a question all the time through Instagram or through my Facebook, “Sean, did you fall in love again? Are you able to do this? Are you able to do that?” If I can stand upright and move my right arm but my left side of my body is gone including my left eye and left ear and you’re doing it, then you’re the inspiration for all of us. Show up and start going out at it because it’s life.

That’s why it’s so important to separate who you are, your essence, your circumstances and from your mind even. We tend to identify through our minds and our minds are full of crap. Thinking about all of these voices judging us, these voices telling us we should do this. This voice is telling us we should do that. It’s a mess up there.

I was a mess before my choke up, before my injury, before my stroke. I was running around trying to make more. Who was I making more for? What did I need monetary-wise? God said one day, “I’m going to touch you on the head.” I tell people, “I’m stroked by God or stroked by Buddha to die and come back and share a message.”

You are more of a man now than you were before your stroke. I’m sure there are qualities that you experienced in your life and wisdom that you gained and that you’ve developed. The way I see is these situations can either totally take you out if you let them or they can totally lift you up if you let them. Lifting you up, you have to surrender completely to the situation that you’re experiencing.

Most people are not open to doing it because there are two types of people I look at especially with us. We’re either going to fight or flight, and we’re always in that pure sympathetic flight of fight. For me I fight, I yell, I talk, I want to get it out. Some people will hide out and do stupid things to themselves, their body and then they disappear. A big challenge I have with the show is to communicate with people saying, “There’s an opportunity. There are options out there. You don’t need to kill yourself.” As you know, 22 veterans a day kill themselves, which hurts me. I found that too in the transgender world, in the high school world coming on the sexuality. They’re afraid to even tell their parents or their loved ones, and you’re sixteen or seventeen and whether or not you like women, you like men and you’re gay, kids will kill themselves too over that. They want to numb their brain with oxy. It’s a whole nightmare.

That’s the message that really needs to get out there. This is crucial. We’re living in uncertain times and a lot of people are suffering very deeply. One of the most important messages to get out there is it’s okay to experience such a high degree of uncertainty inside yourself. We’re constantly trying to be certain, but life is inherently uncertain, so then we’re in a conflict with life. The only way out is to get in touch with what is certain, which is your basic essence. It’s like who you are, who you show up as the essence that has been you since the day that you were born. That continues to be you and that will be you until the day that you die. That essence is certain and everything else is uncertain. The more you can get in touch with that essence, living from that presence, you can let the uncertainty be what it is without being in conflict with it.

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior
Zen Warrior: We’re constantly trying to be certain but life is inherently uncertain, so then we’re in a conflict with life. The only way out is to get in touch with what actually is certain, which is your basic essence.

 

You are so smart and everything you’re saying it hits me in the heart. I tell people, “If you’re going to show up, get ready to be uncomfortable and be comfortable all the time.” If we’re uncomfortable, we’re going to find comfort eventually. It’s going to suck in the beginning, but you’ve got to get through that. I don’t know if you were playing ball, but I play a lot of baseball. It’s like at the batting practice of taking reps at third base or first base, you’ve got to be able to go out there and be consistent with what you want to do. I’m sure you coming back, you’re building your own company and you drive. Tell us about how all that happened and when you chose to get back behind the wheel?

Physically, I got back behind the wheel of a car only months after my injury happened. When I was in rehab, I learned how to drive with hand controls. It was only four months after my injury that I had a car equipped with hand controls and I’ve been driving since then.

I want to tell everybody, everyone is different. His brain injury was not as severe as mine. It took me three years. If you get behind the wheel too early, you will crash, and you will hurt somebody else. I get this asked all the time, “Do not drive until you’re capable of getting out of the car, opening the door yourself, shutting all the doors. Being able to have eyesight, your vision is checked out.” I had some people call me and say, “I’m going to drive.” I’m like, “No, you’re not.”

It’s not for everyone. I wasn’t affected cognitively in that way.

I was but I got my license, I got everything perfect now. I learned to drive on a golf cart on my dad’s golf course because I didn’t know my left and my right. I said, “What am I going to lose? My inner brain, my vertigo, my balance was all off. I had my own experience of having strokes a little bit different.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for those golf carts.

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the country club, El Caballero in Tarzana. It’s a nice course. I grew up golfing there. I started to go out with my dad because he wants to get me outside because I was depressed of being inside all day. Eventually, about a year and a half out, I got in a golf cart and I was able to go. I perfected that accelerating and braking were huge for me. I couldn’t understand the difference. My brain was set back, and I didn’t feel my left and my right at all.

I can only imagine how that must have impacted you. That’s a whole other level of cognitive impairment that I’m totally unfamiliar with.

You go up skiing, you’ve been at Aspen Mountain or Tahoe?

I haven’t skied Tahoe.

I grew up skiing in Tahoe in Gun Barrel, which is at Heavenly. It’s the steepest wide-open run. If you get it, you can hit the fall in a certain line, you can make a few moves and you’re down the hill. You can go slowly, you can go fast but it’s not doing that but with blinders on and not being able to move. It’s like you’re going straight down. That’s how it was for me in the beginning because it’s rough. You said you have a course. I’d love for you to tell the world how can they find you? What does your course offer them?

I work with high performers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, creative professionals and with influencers. My whole objective is to influence the influencers as much as possible. I like having a ripple effect that reaches out. I coach from my experience. I teach people how to connect with themselves, their unique presence and their unique situation that they have gone through in their lives. Every one of us has a unique blueprint. That blueprint most people never examine it. They live their lives by default. They have their jobs and they have their relationships but they’re never particularly happy. They never feel like there’s a lot of meaning or purpose in their lives. As a result, they lived these average lives. This includes high performers. There are a lot of successful people out there living average lives because they’re not in touch with anything deeper than their jobs, their marriages or lack thereof. That blueprint when you examine it, when you look at your life story, everything that you’ve experienced, and you see everything as being incredibly important for your journey. You look at everything that you’ve learned, everything that you’ve assimilated, everything that you’ve gone through. You can start to look from that angle at where this is leading you.

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior
Zen Warrior: If you don’t show up and play, then the game is going to be harder in time.

 

You can see, “If I take everything that I’ve experienced, every negative situation and turn it into a positive by reframing it in my mind. I learn how to separate my essence from my ego so that I’m not caught in the circumstances of my life. Making those circumstances paralyzed me but instead, I’m in that state of infinite possibility and looking towards my future from that lens.” When that shift happens, incredible stuff happens. They start to embrace a whole new level of abundance in their lives. They start to make more money, they start to have better relationships, they start to feel more relaxed, more emotionally stable all because they’re following the blueprint of their lives rather than being in conflict with the blueprint of their lives. I train high performers how to do that. How to be in that state of complete harmony with the circumstances of their lives so that they can make the most out of this short period of time that we have.

You’re helping people make money, fall in love and be okay with who they are.

More than fall in love, it sounds like you’re almost helping people fall in love with themselves.

The relationships that they develop in their lives come as an extension from how much they love themselves and that is possible. People look for love outside of themselves. “If I find the right partner and maybe they become my spouse or a long-term partner, maybe then I will feel happy about myself. Maybe then I’ll love myself more,” or “If I hook up with X number of partners, then maybe I’ll feel better about myself.” It never happens. That’s something that leads in a direction that never helps you feel any better. You have to turn all of that desire for love. You have to turn that inward and go, “If I desire love, the place where I need to go to find it is inside myself.” When I find that love inside myself, then I can share that love with others because I’m tapped into something that’s much deeper than receiving it from the outside.

Sam, I can tell you and the thousands of people who listen, follow us and talk to me, you are such an inspiration. Your voice is awesomeness. Do you ever want to stand again, walk or run? Have you accepted your body as being the way it is?

I think both. I’ve both come to a place of complete acceptance with how things are. If suddenly, some huge medical breakthrough happened that allowed me to walk, run and essentially restore my lower body, I would not argue with that. I also want to be the first person to go through the trial.

Who you are is not what you're going through. Click To Tweet

I’ve got a couple of things for you here. I’m big in what you’re talking about because I’m going to Costa Rica for stem cell. They’re working on people like yourself and they’re going to do a lumbar puncture on me. I’m going in as experimental with the stem cells and see if this works. They’re claiming people are going to be walking again. I’m going there, I’m bringing a film crew. We’re going to film the whole thing. Why not? What do we have to lose? I can’t go backward. I am not having another stroke. If I don’t show up and play, then it’s going to be harder in time. I’m all about finding solutions as possible. Exoskeletons for you, have you played with them yet?

I have not played an exoskeleton.

They’re over here in Northridge Hospital and they’re putting people like yourself in exoskeletons and getting them to walk. It takes a few people to erect the body and you have to use both arms. Are your arms both working?

They work very well. My arms are taking my job.

You’re all buff and strong then?

Yes. That would be awesome. I’m going to check that out. It could help potentially with the healing from this.

Everything is in alpha stages or beta stages, but I did see someone who I was friends with on Facebook using an exoskeleton. I’ve been down to UC Irvine. I’ve been to UCLA and they put me to an exoskeleton with my left arm and they were working on one for full body.

The technology out there is amazing.

When this first happened to me my dad goes, “We know a lot more about space than we do about your brain.” I said, “Can you tell me something better than that?” I’ve become a neuro geek and I’m looking for people like yourself, and eventually, I’m looking to take this podcast into a real traveling show. Show the world what’s possible. You should be a part of that whole vision and the whole mission and let you and I be the guinea pigs to all of it. Why not? There’s someone over in China who figured out how to reconstruct the neuroplasticity of the brain to connect to the weak side of the body. There’s someone out there who’s a paraplegic from the navel down and they’re now walking. We show the world what’s possible because I think Big Pharma is not in the greatest of ways for us at the moment. They’re all after themselves. This show’s not to tell everybody that you have to do it our way, it’s to provide options. Everybody’s got to do their own research and everything else. You set up with the mental health first and then you move into the physical health. That’s the biggest way to do it with what you’re doing.

They can coincide with each other. It’s all part of the same system, the physical body and the mental system. The condition of our bodies has a direct influence on the condition of the minds and vice versa.

How is your food intake? Is your specialty with nutrition? Do you follow a Keto diet? Are you following the Paleo?

I was on and off Keto for a couple of years. I did it for a stretch of probably about six or seven months and it felt great. At a certain point, I felt like I wasn’t still experiencing as much of the benefit from it as I had initially. I decided to go back to a more traditional diet where I still avoid all grains and I don’t eat any processed foods, sugars or anything like that or a very small amount of refined sugar.

That’s pretty common, especially with the Keto. My experience personally in talking to people is usually after two, three months, there’s a huge benefit. After that, you want to switch back to something a little bit more “ordinary.” I’ve found the simplest way is drinking better quality of water and eat more vegetables. It’s obviously way more complex than that but that’s as simple as I can make it.

Shop only on the periphery of the grocery store. Everything in the middle is not great for you.

What’s your message of hope and inspiration for anyone out there who are possibly going through something that you went through or anyone who’s going through an event in their life?

My piece of hope and inspiration is basically what I was talking about where who you are is not what you’re going through. When you can experience that in this very tangible, palpable way and you can see, “I am not my wheelchair. I am not my paralysis. I am not this single person who’s dying to find a relationship.” When you can truly separate yourself from the identity that your mind creates, that’s a very tricky thing for people to do it and it involves a ton of practice. The only way that I’ve been able to do it is because the challenges that I’ve gone through have been so persistent, that you can’t escape it. You have to keep working with it. You can’t be like, “That day sucked. I’m going to go have a few beers, drink it off and try to forget about it. This partner that I thought was going to be great said such and such and now I think she’s an idiot or he’s an idiot. I’m going to break up with them.” Those are little temporary challenges that we can skirt around by breaking up with people, drinking, zoning out in front of the TV. When you have a moment by moment challenge that doesn’t go away, you have to in order to maintain and build upon your life. You have to separate who you are from the identity that your mind tends to create.

The piece of hope and optimism that I would offer people is that who you are is truly a being of infinite potential. That infinite potential doesn’t mean that necessarily life will look the way that you want to. When I think of infinite potential, I’m not looking at, “That means that I should be able to stand up and walk.” I’m still realistic. I get that’s not necessarily in the cards for me. Infinite potential as in you can still create your own life exactly as you wish to create it. As long as you include the circumstances that you’re experiencing completely, and you surrender to what is occurring. Surrendering not in a passive way like I give up, surrendering in an active way saying, “I can’t control the fact that these are the circumstances that I’m going through, but I can control my attitude and perception around the circumstances that I’m experiencing. As a result, I can create from a very conscious place.”

Thank you very much for that. Let everyone know where they can find you, where they can connect with you and reach out if they want some coaching.

ZenWarriorTraining.com is my website site and Facebook.com/ZenWarriorTraining. My Instagram is @ZenWarriorTraining. My Twitter is @ZWTraining and my LinkedIn, you can look up Zen Warrior Training. I’m all over those social media outlets or you can reach out to me if you want to apply for a complimentary strategy session with me. I do two-hour complimentary strategy sessions for people who are truly serious about transforming their lives. I say truly serious because I don’t want to waste my time with people who are like, “Maybe I’ll try coaching or whatever.” I want people who are like, “What Sam is saying and doing is totally resonating with me and I’m willing to invest in myself.” If you’re that type of person, then there is an application form that you can access through the Coaching page on my website. I’ll help you to transform your life.

Thank you so much, Sam, for coming on for talking to us and for inspiring us. Keep growing, keep improving.

Thank you, Taylor and Sean. What a great conversation. I’m looking forward to getting to know both of you.

You take care. We’ll see you soon.

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About Sam Morris

AIH 3 | Zen Warrior

Sam Morris is the founder of Zen Warrior Training, a personal and business development program for high performers, entrepreneurs and creative professionals. Borrowing from the ancient wisdom of Zen and Taoist philosophy, meditation and breathwork practices, Sam trains the high performer how to master the inner workings of the mind, body and spirit and live from a place of deep purpose and resolve in every moment of their lives.

A Zen practitioner since 1993, Sam was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in 1999 which left him paraplegic. Determined not to become the victim of his circumstances, Sam dove deeply into inner mastery practices which helped him to transform his trauma and become a successful entrepreneur, loving husband and expert adaptive skier. Through his unique journey, Sam discovered his soul purpose of Zen Warrior Training.

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