This week we’re featuring a series of five conversations between Rewire Me founder Rose Caiola and Krishna Pendyala, life coach and author of Beyond the PIG and the APE. Below is the fourth installment of the series.
ROSE: I love the way you lay out the three levels of choice in your book, Beyond the PIG and the APE: unaware, semi-aware, and aware. Was that the progression in which they occurred, or did you come to the realization and then look back and have it sequenced into three levels?
KRISHNA: It just showed up in three. In fact, I wasn’t even too creative—I just called them Levels 1, 2, 3, and when I needed to label them I didn’t have better labels. Today I’m going to try a new set of labels and you’ll be the first to see how they work. I thought unaware, semi-aware, and aware were not necessarily very creative. Especially the semi-aware part.
So let me try the other set and see how you like it or not. We always use the word “mindless,” as in, “I did that thing very mindlessly.” Which means you did not apply any cognition to it, any analysis, any pros and cons, any of that. The context in which the word “mindful” is used is one of awareness—be mindful of what you do, what you say, what you eat, and so on. For the longest time I didn’t use the word “mindful” because I thought it could mean that you were fully in your mind (like mindfull), which is not such a great thing either, because you’re caught up in your mind. Between the states of being mindless and mindful, there is a third level, which I’m calling mind rapt. Mind rapt is the state most of us live in. We’re wrapped up in our mind, or mind full.
ROSE: I like that.
KRISHNA: Looking at the word “rapt” in the dictionary, it’s not negative; it can go both ways. It can be used in an obsessed, consumed way. I looked for the words “consumed,” “lost,” and so on. And I wanted a three- or four-letter word that had a past tense to it. “Trapped” seemed like a good word, but it’s only negative. Rapt…rapture. It’s good, positive, it can go either way. I want to be as neutral as possible. You’ve read the book—you can tell there is no spiritual innuendo, no religious innuendo, none of it.
ROSE: I also love the way you reference the stories, the way you bring them in. Do you feel that it helps people to have a clearer understanding of your feelings and logic and your experiences?
KRISHNA: That’s the reason I put them there, because Level 1, 2, 3 is abstract. How do you see it in the real world? How do you see it in your daily life? So, first of all I tried to create this notion of “LifeSpaces.” LifeSpaces are the spaces we inhabit in our lives—your self, your partner, your friends, your community, your work, your money, and your kids—that covers them all. So within each LifeSpace, I wanted to demonstrate how this framework plays out, how you operate at Level 1 of the PIG and the APE, which is our unaware or mindless state; how we operate at Level 2, which is our mind rapt state; and Level 3, which is our mindful state.
ROSE: For me, it was just so helpful to read and relate to someone’s story. That’s what we hope to accomplish with Rewire Me—making readers feel like they’re experiencing it themselves, relating to transformation and information in a way that fits their lifestyle or experiences. And that’s what you set out to do?
KRISHNA: Absolutely. It had to be simple, it had to be friendly, it had to be memorable, and it had to be practical. So the whole framework had to be simple: PIG, APE, ego, Level 1, 2, and 3. Then it had to be memorable with the animals and the metaphors. And it had to be friendly, again with the animals. And the last thing, practical stories—enough examples of various kinds so that people say “Oh, that’s what it is.”
ROSE: You achieved that, so you must be very proud.
KRISHNA: Well, I don’t know that. Thank you for saying that. It’s all going to be measured by how people adopt it. Because I have seen people use it in their vocabulary, “Oh, there goes my PIG” or “There goes my APE.” It’s very interesting when I hear it from others. When I hear other people say, “My APE is doing this” or “My PIG is out,” it’s very funny. One person sent me an invoice for my dues for an organization I’m on the board of and she wrote me a note on the invoice: “I hope your ego will take care of this right away, while I’m sure your APE will not want to write the check.” She added a big smiley face. And there you go—somebody read the book and put a note on the invoice. I saved it, because that person got it.
Tomorrow, Rose talks with Krishna Pendyala about the Mindful Nation Foundation.
- Editors’ Pick: Beyond the PIG and the APE, by Krishna Pendyala
- Conversations with Krishna Pendyala (Part I): On animal acronyms, self-esteem, and delaying gratification
- Conversations with Krishna Pendyala (Part II): Egos, monkey minds, and letting our children fall
- Conversations with Krishna Pendyala (Part III): Distinguishing between intuition and instinct
- Conversations with Krishna Pendyala (Part V): The Mindful Nation Foundation