Welcome to “Finding Your True Self,” an interview series that will take place over the course of the next few weeks between TreeHouse editor Natasha Ganes and upcoming author Nick Quartarone. Quartarone is in the process of writing a book based on spirituality practices that he applies to his everyday life in order to achieve an almost constant level of peace and harmony in this often chaotic world. He refers to his practices as “finding your true self” and teaches that everyone has the ability to find the same sense of wellbeing in their lives.
Natasha Ganes: In your book you say that finding your true self is about getting your mind, body, and spirit (the three bodies, as you refer to them) together and in synch. Where would you suggest the first place is to start for somebody who wants to do that? Is one of them more important than the others? Is there a particular practice that might ease a person into getting to a place where they can start to find their true self, and the purity and peacefulness that comes with it?
Nick Quartarone: One of the most important things to remember is that if the divine source is everywhere, which I say often in the book, then everything is God. And if you’re looking to purify yourself the most obvious source is what was here before everything else – nature. Go out and experience nature on a different level, look at it differently in your own way, connect with it. Stillness is a key aspect to finding your true self and nature is a perfect example of stillness. Take a tree for instance: no matter what happens to it, a tree will always just be a tree. It sounds kind of simple and almost silly, but it’s true. A tree doesn’t complain or fight anything; it lives, exists, and grows. There’s no thought, analyzing, or over thinking on its part – it just is. With its stillness a tree lives on a higher state of perfection through its own sense of purity. And it lives for a very long time.
Animals are similar in that way – we can learn a lot from them too. We spend so much time in our culture considering animals lesser beings, but they’re content with simply surviving. A frog doesn’t care what a rabbit does: it accepts itself and goes about its life without creating disharmony to any other living thing unless it needs to for survival. When a lion rips apart a zebra for survival, the other zebras don’t complain. They understand to their own capacity that’s the way things are and they accept the fact that it’s just nature at work. We can learn from them by just accepting the ways things are naturally and by harmonizing with the events that surround us.
NG: Okay, so what you’re saying is that humans need to retrain their brains to stop thinking as much?
NQ: Exactly and doing so will get us back to that purity and innocence, just like a child, that we were born with. It’s not logic, but intuition that we need to reconnect with. The logical part of our brains takes over as we age, and once it does and we give it so much power the other parts of our brain get let go. The heart and soul become lesser as logic takes over. And as a society, we support that. We support the feeding of that part of our brains, the logical part that desires constant analysis and answers. And in doing so we lose that purity and innocence that children and animals instinctively have.
The book is about practicing letting go, practicing getting rid of the distractions and simplifying everything in our lives. Dumbing it all down. You want to be as dumb as you possibly can, because the idea is that you want to get back to that purity. Every time I get stumped by complexities in my life I go back to when I was a child and to a time when everything was simple. I go back to my childhood memories for my own wisdom: when you’re younger you don’t care. You know how to let go. But when you’re older you get hung up and think about all the “what ifs.”
In nature there is no right and wrong, we created all of that. Adult humans created right and wrong, justice. And really, what has it done for us? How far has it really gotten us? Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to use logic for some things, but it shouldn’t be the one component of our brains that controls everything in our lives.
NG: This sounds a lot like the meditative idea of practicing mindfulness. How would you suggest people get themselves into that place of mindfulness, where they’re honestly living in the moment?
NQ: In the book I do speak to the different techniques that help get people to that place. The book is broken down into three different sections: the mind body, the spirit body, and the physical body. I broke it down that way because that question you just asked is the major question a lot of people have when they try to use meditation to solve all these problems. So in the book I have tried to answer that question for each of the “bodies” that I refer to.
Often people will try a certain technique and find that while it works great in one area of their lives, it doesn’t work in another. Or they say that it works great when they’re alone and not around anyone, but when they’re out in public they have no self-control or are overwhelmed by coworkers. Or peer pressure gets to them and the next thing they know they’re passed out at the bar drunk. It’s all about how to stay within yourself and be who you are 24/7, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It’s about getting all three of these areas together.
So going back to your original question – what can you do to get yourself there? It really comes down to the most important thing, which is the meditation. The mediation is your way of plugging into the divine source. The divine source is what gives life to everything, so all you have to do is plug into it and you become energized. When you learn to do that completely in every aspect of your life through the meditative type techniques I provide in the book, you become a superhuman of sorts because you’re constantly reenergizing yourself.
The Taoists knew this and are masters of longevity because of it. They are always plugged into the divine source and reenergizing themselves, and because of that they don’t age. They simply don’t age.
Nick Quartarone was born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts. He currently resides in Huntington Beach, CA. He has studied and practiced an array of spiritual practices that stem from around the world, particularly Eastern spiritual traditions such as Taoism and Buddhism, to a variety of Western mystical practices. Quartarone is currently working on a book about how to maximize your potential through purifying what he considers the three major parts of your being: the mind, body, and spirit. He emphasizes in his book and his teachings that working on the mind, body, and spirit simultaneously is the most efficient way one can truly and holistically maximize ones potential. Quartarone’s passion is sharing his experience and knowledge to help educate and guide all those who are interested in getting more out of life than what they have been previously exposed to by improving one self’s, peace, contentment, and happiness.