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Episode 4: Securing Your Inner Happiness with Chris Gates, Sr. Offensive Security Manager at Robinhood

Episode #4| November 14, 2023
Also listen on: Spotify Apple Podcast

About the Guests:

Chris Gates

Sr. Offensive Security Manager at Robinhood
Chris Gates, Senior Offensive Security Manager at Robinhood. Chris Gates is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and Army Veteran. He is a well-known Information Security professional and has spoken at over 50 security conferences around the world. He is also a spiritual fitness coach and energy healer. Learn more about his spiritual fitness work at: Website: IG: TikTok:

Read The Transcript

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Hello and welcome to CyberPsych, a Netography podcast where we talk with industry professionals about the human side of Technology how it relates to the field of security and how it impacts your overall business.  I’m Dr Stacy Thayer and I’m a cyberpsychologist and Senior manager of research engagement at Netography and I’m here today with special guest Chris Gates Chris is a senior offensive security manager at Robinhood he’s a graduate of the United States Military Academy and an army veteran he’s definitely a well-known information security professional and has spoken in over 50 conferences around the world and if you’ve had the chance to see him or hear him talk you know he’s fantastic to listen to  he’s also a spiritual fitness coach and energy healer which uh and he’s here today to talk about the relationship between hacking and security and mental health and happiness so welcome Chris super excited to have you and get into this today 

Chris Gates: You’re welcome Stacy thanks for letting me have a chance to talk to the audience

Dr. Stacy Thayer: So in recent years and  I see your LinkedIn I see you know uh various social media but I’ve noticed that you’ve become a huge advocate for mental health which always you know it’s it’s really exciting to watch and read um and but what really think is cool you’ve done is you’ve used your expertise in security and hacking to then bridge that gap between the hacker mindset and mental health um so can you share what led you down that path and where you are with it what you’ve been doing just kind of the the 10,000 foot view of uh of your perspective 

Chris Gates: Sure um stop me if it gets long uh um how did I get started on that it was Defcon 24 and 2016 uh everything on LinkedIn should have suggested that things were going the best they have ever gone I was the first offensive security engineer at Facebook I was at Uber then I had an amazing time working with like Chris Nickerson and Eric Smith over at Lares and we were at the hotel formerly known as Artisan I think it’s got a new name change every year

Dr. Stacy Thayer: A lot of memories there 

Chris Gates: right and I should have been the most happy I’ve ever been and I was actually the saddest I have I have ever been so bad that like a a mutual friend like Jon Cran was like asking my wife like is he okay and yeah so it had been a long long like road of depression uh and around that time yeah I’d hit all my goals and everything was and I was like I kind of hit a now what kind of so and that led me into being super depressed uh suicidal um and eventually I was like I need help and so I went to the doctor and you know you had the conversation and he was like yeah we can start to get you on the the anti-depressants and start getting you into therapy and I was like okay cool and so I kind of got on the road to do that and I encourage everyone to do that like if they’re not feeling well they should go see their doctor like they shouldn’t go do all the alternative things that I’m about to talk about she go go see their doctor but I I got I came across this video by Dolores Canon so as people uh if you’re on Tik Tok there’s a lot of Dolores Canon videos she’s passed passed away now but she was like a very well-known hypnotherapist and and this video clip said if you’re struggling in this life it may be related to things in a past life and I had never really been brought up on that kind of belief or knew much about that but something with that took hold of me and I was like I want to I want to experiment with this hypnotherapy thing and about that time I had a I got a thousand dollars from a bug Bounty program that I just didn’t think think I would get I said okay I’m G to spend this thousand dollar on Hypno on this hypnotherapist uh as many sessions as I can get and if this doesn’t work back to the doctor to get on the anti-depressants and I would say the first the first one so I found one in Northern Virginia uh that seemed seemed okay you just looking at different websites um first session I would say was just okay um I think most most of us are afraid of like what we say to others that can be used against us especially as hackers but like you know we went through that whole uh doxing craze where like probably a lot of our friends were docs and like so that’s always in the back of my mind of like is anything I say GNA be recorded I’m going to hear it on Twitter later uh when I thought I was having a private conversation but so okay for session second session um really the only way I can explain it is whatever deity you believe in I call it the I’ll say the universe as we talk today but the universe came in and embraced me and at that moment I actually didn’t feel alone so I had a house with kids and my wife I felt alone friends I felt alone everything in my life I felt alone and like I was isolated on this planet and in that moment uh I didn’t feel alone in anymore and that was really what I would say was the bottom the hitting the rock bottom of that wet bad spiral that began the journey up so did a lot of hypnotherapy um past life regressions uh life between lives hypnosis qh hypnosis because uh as a hacker I want to know how all this stuff works and so I you know I turn on the all right I’m I feel like despite you know the way said about being an energy healer and coaching things I’m still a pretty healthy skeptic like if it doesn’t work for me then I don’t believe in it so I was like okay let’s just keep seeing if this works and I just kept seeing gains I also in one of the sessions told myself to learn reiki and I was like I had never heard that word before and I was like what is that and the practitioner was like what’s this energy thing and I was like that that sounds stupid like what is that?

Dr. Stacy Thayer: *laughs* Like doesn’t make any sense I can’t see it I can’t touch it like I can’t break it!

Chris Gates: There’s invisible energy that I can that you can harness and send to people or send to yourself I was like that sounds sounds like Saturday morning stuff um well you like six months later I found myself on a reiki table um you know had had some things going on with with my life and that really started a journey of understanding energy work and just learning more about myself I got into a mentorship with a person here in Lo in Northern Virginia and it was like a spiritual mentorship and we spent six months just really learning who who I was and getting exposed to the to these different modalities so that’s that’s how I kind of got my start and that’s where I started understanding all the trauma I had accumulated over my life that every human accumulates um and over the you know and over the over the years said no matter how hard you try you’re creating trauma for your kids you’re trating trauma for other people that you work with even if you’re the most mindful parent you’re still unintentionally doing these these things and so I just kind of got to again I just do the hacker thing on of like deep you just see a topic and you dig and you dig and you dig now the problem with metaphysics is it’s it I don’t know if it has a bottom right it just keeps going and it keeps expanding but usually you are expanding with it and and growing it’s just like learning a new oh I learned a new programming language or I learned this new tool you know I’m I’m an expert with this tool I found on GitHub to do a thing I now have that in my repertoire of of healing things to do or ways to look at the the world in a different place and they just you just keep accumulating them just like we do just like like our our peers do in the industry who have been doing this for 20 years 30 years theyve just accumulated a lot of knowledge via the experiences they’ve had yeah so let me pause there because I don’t want to get too too long um oh I guess I’ll add um and then I I’ve now shifted a little bit to um working with plant medicines so that was kind of the next thing you there’s a lot of you know like I think a lot of people point to Aaron Rogers the football player who does ayahuasca in the off seasons um and has really unlocked a lot of healing and insight uh for him and so while I don’t think that’s for everybody um there’s lots of people that it’s not for um I was feeling the call to to work with with mushrooms and iasa and some of the other medicines and that’s really I think has brought me to the next level of being comfortable with who I am being comfortable to like come on and talk about my trauma and you know mistakes I’ve made and things that have happened to me um because you the only way to get through them is usually just for someone else to show that they did it and it’s okay so I really look at sharing this journey is really my journey right now to show other people they can do it too because I’m not special that everybody can do this yeah 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: It’s interesting hearing your journey and kind of what works and what takes you out of it and out of that happiness out of that depression and I’ve talked to a lot of different people and there’s so much stigma around mental health and there’s so much stigma around even religion and you know and just around what to believe and who we are right and um so a lot of times I feel like people if they’re they’re feeling depressed and yeah you look around and you’re like I hey like I have a job I have a family it feels good what’s not going on inside yeah that that isn’t what’s not translating why and um it’s funny because I talk to people and I’m like you never get sad like you don’t just wake up and you’re sad for no reason they’re like nope like huh 

Chris Gates: *laughs* what’s that like?

Dr. Stacy Thayer:  I didn’t know what to do with that and like I’ve talked with a couple people who were like like that and you know in the security industry like there’s a lot of a pretty high suicide rate and you know it’s like and and and I try to talk to people um about about burnout and and a lot of times meditation comes up and and so like I the talk I did at black hat was like okay here’s here’s if you Google right now like how to manage stress and how to handle with depression it’s like go for a walk exercise more eat right and I always say like okay no that’s great I want to get there I would excuse me my ideal self I’m somebody who works out every day meditates regularly eats my fruit and veggies in reality there’s some days when I’m like I’m not running unless I’m chased uh and I can’t find my inner PE like to meditate just I don’t want I can’t be alone with my thoughts right now and if I do it’s 30 seconds and I’m like ah I can’t do this and I’m eating Taco Bell so um which is there’s no judgment on Taco Bell by the way big fan but three or four days in a row you’re just like I can’t cook I can’t do anything you know you’re surviving and so you I love the the you know your your journey where it started was asking questions that I don’t have to be like this I’m in survival mode but I don’t have to be and that there is an answer that can be anything from you know whatever works for you whether it’s and for you what I so what I you know interested in hearing more too I’m getting to a a question um how do you think like when you finally decided all right I’ve had enough and you you found into this what what about it made you persevere was is it that hacker mindset of I’m going to keep going and tapping until I understand this do you feel like it was a calling you know what advice to to that person who’s like I’m just going to drink because I don’t know what else to do or I’m on self-destructive habits or near suicidal how do you give them that hand to reach out and pull them up because they’re down 

Chris Gates: yeah oh okay there’s a there’s a lot there 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Sorry there were like five questions there was a lot of talking then five questions 

Chris Gates: We’ll see how we do um as far as as I guess like reaching out um one I would tell people like it’s okay to feel the feels and I a lot of times we especially I’d say like most people that are in infosec upper middle class or higher right so you’ve got a whole population of the United States or the world who’s like what do you have to complain about yeah right and so that weighed on me too because I like I was like I started with like I had this amazing career why are you sad Chris you everything that you wanted I was like well I hear you but I still feel sad right like I still feel incomplete um yeah and so one of the things that that has occurred to me on this journey is and I think this applies to a lot of a lot of hackers is we’re most humans are on this planet to serve right serve in some capacity and most of us who are in infosec um we serve by protecting companies or protecting people people right educating them so that they don’t get taken advantage of or so our employers don’t get hacked and I would say that that isn’t that is noble and I think that is in the in the right direction but I think at least in the United States we get told to serve in the military law enforcement Fire EMS doctor those those are the ways to serve well those those are not the all-encompassing ways to serve and in fact I would say those ones that I just laid out have a lot of negative cons to them like like I was in the military like our job to serve is to go places and murder people right that’s the job is to hate other countries hate other religions hate other people and do the bidding of the President of the United States whatever that may be when it usually means going somewhere and occupying a space by force so you’re serving but are you really serving humanity in the right way with that I I would would argue no uh as someone that was in the military I didn’t have to ever spend much time in any in any place that was too dangerous but many of my classmates did many of my classmates didn’t come home and and so you have this this idea of service and I think most most of hackers can relate to that um and I what I started to learn was there are other ways to serve there are ways to serve humans um by being there for them and doing that’s how I kind of found myself into the energy work and and then later into the coaching is this is how right now I feel called to serve is I can listen I have learned how to open my heart because my heart was super closed uh as most peoples are because that’s a defense mechanism to survival on this planet is is closing our heart because I can’t get hurt if my heart’s closed I don’t let you in can’t hurt me 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Yeah we’re not made to be vulnerable in fact you spend your entire time not being vulnerable and your career is not being vulnerable and then now let’s be vulnerable 

Chris Gates: Right right and especially like even to go back to the doc like you’re putting yourself out there and you’ve got people that for a while I don’t I think it’s calmed down now but like going after people like like Christien and myself and lots of all of our friends that you’re like I’m just trying to serve and you’re attacking me for for doing this because you don’t like it for some reason um so it be so yeah heart closed so you know now I look at it’s like okay my heart is open or I’m still working to open my heart How can I teach others to open their heart how can I hold space for someone and so it’s now doing that as an energy healer as a coach as a manager I I try to bring all of the mindfulness in to am I creating uh a space for the people that work with me where they feel safe to say I don’t know how to do something or I made a mistake because I definitely work places where I couldn’t say that but now but that’s that’s a part of doing this business like every you know we’re sometimes doing many things for the first time new technologies new things but we can set this expectation that I can’t fail and I think that that can drive um some depression for me to circle all that back was I didn’t feel like I was doing my my my purpose and that was what put me into a depression I do realize there are lots of other reasons that people could be depressed chemical and other things but for me it was I found out later I was like not not doing everything I should be doing and it be began that journey figuring out what am I actually supposed to be doing yeah um yeah I think you asked about meditation too right or did you 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: I mean that’s kind of is for a lot of people that’s sort of where it starts that’s like the barrier to entry of like okay at least meditate because there are lots of studies that show that that’s really good for your brain and just that quiet and all of that but like I’m ADHD so like sitting there for like five minutes I’m like oh it’s like Eat Pray Love right where she’s like okay it’s been 30 seconds 

Chris Gates: Like you know like oh I’m doing it oh crap I’m not doing it

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Yeah dude I cannot clear my brain and I mean you’re asking people who are really smart most of the time and like to empty their thoughts that’s really a challenge 

Chris Gates: So I I will give you my personal take uh I’m not uh I’m not not a Buddhist or anything but I look at meditation as am I thinking about the thing that I intend to think about okay so that doesn’t so if I choose for the thing that I think about to be not thinking about anything that is one form of meditation chanting would be another form of meditation listening to music would be another form of meditation if I am not thinking about the thing I have to do 30 minutes from now while I’m listening to that song but I’m in the song so when I teach people meditation I give them a variety of different things so you can do guided meditations chanting music uh visualizations you kind of dial in what works for people and it’s not the Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda one with that is that is a that is a sliver of meditation and that’s great for some people and you may there someone may want to work to that I wouldn’t suggest they start with that it’s very difficult okay I usually suggest people start with vision Lani from mind Valley has the six phase meditation I think it’s about 14 minutes long and you’re just having to pay attention to things for like two two and a half minutes and then it switches to another thing and then another thing and then another thing usually do a minute or two on a thing and then about the time that’s when my mind wanders but now we’re on to a new thing and a new thing and a new thing it’s about okay hacking your own mind and understanding that and I also say that most people understand the phrase mind over matter but really with meditation it’s soul over mind so the mind has been conditioned to always be looking for problems it’s in our DNA to look for the negative in things because that’s what humans do we see the negative oh that could be improved uh let’s think about that and so the brain is just running too much and so we really do want to just to start to understand what functions are running what’s the source code that’s running and then is is are those actually you know memory safe are those actually good for me are those programs and sub routines that are running are they actually healthy and and doing good or were they programmed by somebody else and a lot of times they are um and then we want to inspect those and so and I talk about that I try to make that analogy in the hacking your happiness talks of like you got programmed as a child we don’t actually usually inspect that programming but someone else programmed it it may not be the best program or sub routine for you and so as an adult as we get into meditation meditation creates the space to to take a look at that you’re like oh I actually want to look at that show it to me and then you’re like okay when you start to create a little bit of space and it’s just like anything it just takes practice right like yeah no one that’s listening to this the first time they started Metasploit or started a debugger or started anything was good at it like I fumbled around um but eventually you might become a developer you might write your own tools you might do these other things it’s just the same process that we do with everything else and just being gentle with yourself to know this is the first time I’m doing it I’m not going to be good at it I’m probably not going to be good at it the first hundred times I do it and just making that okay 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: I love love that um because right it seems like oh how hard can meditation you just sit there right but it’s like no it’s really hard and and the other thing that I’ve I’ve been practicing doing too is noticing where I keep my tension in my body too like everything I hold everything here like sometimes I’ll wake up and I’m sleeping like like I’m Bella Lugosi like rise from the dead but like you know my for those who can’t see my my hands are sort of like butterflied around my neck chest area but like that it’s you know like versus or like is it in my stomach is it in the pit of your stomach like where where is it that you’re feeling this and what I’ve kind of come to realize and I tell people when I’m when I’m talking about about burnout or whatever it’s like when are you your best self and what is that what is it what do you feel like then and like so I’ll play video games or I’ll binge watch a TV show but I’m not present in fact it’s the opposite I’m disconnected I’m disassociating I the brain is like just I’m get I want to when I travel I’m my best self I’m like this I’m happy I’m growing I am learning I like who I am like and and I had the opportunity to travel a couple weeks ago and I’m holding on to how that felt to see okay how can I bring that into my day-today life and and the only reason is really like I mean just because I do like traveling but I’m present for every single moment of it it’s in the moment it’s present I feel things I watch things and uh in a way that in my day-to-day life to be that present would be exhausting 

Chris Gates: Yeah you you asked earlier like how do you get off the couch um yeah I would what I would normally say is like Tony Robbins talks about if you want to change your state you have to change your physical self yeah and so if if I’m sitting here in in the dungeon you know and I’m finding myself not feeling the way that I want to feel he would say it’s time to get up and go for a walk and take it you take the dog for a walk and go do something because you can’t change your mental state if you don’t change your physical body now there is a little bit of like you’ve just got to do it I don’t have a magic bullet to to get you out except maybe that’s where hopefully friends family if you tell people you’re hurting they like hey you want to go out I know you’re not feeling well let’s go out the best thing for that is to get to put the Taco Bell down and go eat Taco Bell at the restaurant right like I’ll beat you there to eat eating it at home whatever it takes to to get the movement um because that it is hard to be upset if if you’re doing that um and that can start to again you can start to bring excitement into your life um there’s a few tools that do that to of like what experiences do you want to have in your life and like making that list and saying okay well I’m feeling down let me find something on the list that I can do just to I know I need to I know I need to get up to change my state what can I do today what’s within 20 minutes of my house or 30 minutes of my house that that I want to do yeah if you can get moving it’s almost like when you’re great example like when you’re doing a pen test man you’re banging your head against the wall as soon as you get the one little thing that’s when it opens up right and then you can kind of dig you can dive into that we’re really looking for mentally or in our lives what’s the little thing that can get me started on yeah on the next thing and that’s going to be unique for everyone but now that you kind of know that oh that’s what I need to be looking for that’s what I need to do you can say okay I got maybe I got a phone a friend or or do whatever the other thing I will add very quickly on that is in my depression I felt like I was calling out for help and then when I finally did like the Facebook post saying that I you know I was depressed and I’m changing my life in these ways that all these people go I had no idea I was like I felt like I was I was being loud about it so I would say if anyone’s there like you might have to very clearly say I need help um because everyone’s got their own stuff going on and no one wants to assume the worst yeah they don’t want to ask like it doesn’t work IDE you’ve got one or two people that you trust like man I’m in a bad spot can we go hang out and you might just have to go take it a little further cuz yeah felt like I was crying for help and nobody and no and then no nobody was coming and I felt even more alone find out they just didn’t hear it because I wasn’t saying it loud enough

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Yeah yeah and and we look said it’s like a you know pretty high suicidal rate and depression rate and um I’m caught by surprise so many times by who it is so you know you’re like oh my God I never knew was it how how did I not know were they asking for help you know you’re playing every conversation in your brain as and but the the fact is is that people are busy you know if they’re not looking for it if they’re not paying attention you know we’re things have changed a lot since our 20s and you know we’ve got little people we’re responsible for and spouses and our jobs and managing teams and um lot there’s a lot of distractions and a lot of things to keep you out of a lot of things to keep you out of self-work yeah yeah um now you run uh a meditation group at at work is that right or brain body heart brain body heart yeah so and I I love the idea that because I think um a lot in my opin a lot of companies uh as prefaces clear but a lot of companies they they do want to invest in people’s mental health but they don’t know how and there’s like there been this great movement towards unlimited PTO but not everybody knows how to take it or how to disconnect I mean you have to uninstall slack Google turn off your Google alert turn on you know basically like go to Mars so nobody can talk to you or or but and you do it I do it to myself I’m like I’ll just check in for a second same the next thing you know crap um what would you recommend so how can you tell me the story about that was that how did you how did that get started or how did you get involved with it and then advice for companies that may want to have a program like that 

Chris Gates: I wish I could take credit for starting it but it does pre-date me uh when I showed up a rob it was a it was a reaction to coid and all the remote work uh one of the people that worked there created this group and got some corporate buy in for that uh I started out just going because this is my jam I love talking about this so I just joined as a member and then uh the person running it was like oh do you want to help out I was like sure I’ll help out and then she’s like do you want to do meditations I was like well I’m really scared to do those in public so yeah I’ll do it because this is the only way to get through my fear of doing it is to do it um so I started running meditations twice twice a month and then she’s like oh do you want to C toi I was like I guess and then all of a sudden now I’m in charge uh and so I was like how did this happen uh and that’s been a journey of just being um you know this is something that I want to do I want to bring more of this because I do think that these topics can help people I care about which is the hacking commit their hacking community um and I was like the universe just guided me kind of kicking and uh screaming into being in charge of this and having to figure out well how do I actually build a mindfulness program for my employer um and so there’s a few other companies like sap is probably the most famous company that has someone that that’s their job is to run mindfulness for sap and so I watched I went and watched all his TED Talks uh and his his articles and started looking for other people that are doing this there’s there’s some you know other businesses that teach classes on it uh and I said okay well I you know things can’t get any worse so like let’s just start trying to bring in these topics um and in into the environment so uh I think you know advice for anybody that’s doing it you know you need you need a corporate sponsor you need some top cover um you need to have a space that’s safe you need to have a little money to bring in speakers or to buy things although we we run on a pretty I would say pretty limited budget there’s a lot of people that would love to come talk to an organization because they’re passionate about the topic just like myself um you know I but I also you also want to bring in speakers I know not like sure I’m good speaker but I know know everyone doesn’t want to hear me every month they want to hear other people so you can bring in other people that that want to talk about these subjects and that’s where really the magic begins is as the pr as the as the lead I get to engage with all these people that I find really interesting on Tik Tok or Instagram or on LinkedIn and I get allows me to reach out and make these relationships and see hear their stories or how they’ve done and most people just want to share they just want to serve you know yeah so you’re giving people you’re actually doing everyone a solid by bringing in these people who just want to share their message and serve and 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: How do you reach critical mass with that like so many especially smaller companies it’s I mean it’s people are busy so even if it’s like a social like hey let’s get together and have coffee it’s it’s hard you get maybe like five people and then it loses momentum and you’re awkward okay um so yeah and so let me start with that and then I’ll ask my other questions but yeah how do you get critical mass

Chris Gates: uh I wish I knew we’re struggling with that with with uh Zoom fatigues and all the meetings um you know uh ask ask the group if you have a group ask the group what they want helps all right because then you’re you’re at least bringing events at the Times people can make them on the days people can make them you’re bringing in the topics that at least a handful of people want to see um and then just like building any Community it’s creating a safe space it’s Crea it’s asking the questions and it’s work that’s it’s a lot of work to build a community anybody that’s done it on any information Zoom like in a Discord or whatever or Slack very difficult to bring a community and get people to engage um the secret is the leads have to go first just like a manager if I want if I want to create a safe space or vulnerability in my team I have to be vulnerable first so as as the person that’s trying to create this group you have to do a lot of work and and hope that your motivation carries you long enough for that to build some momentum yeah 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: I mean it sounds like it could be a fun team activity like so in another company that I worked at right there was a there was a um murder mystery or you know one of those type things and we weren’t going and then your manager was like let’s all do it it’ll be like a team activity kind of thing and we had a blast and it was a team Builder but yeah she had to take us kind of kicking and screaming but it ended up like there are so many times we pass on the things that could bring us joy yeah and you know being able to recognize that and be okay maybe I maybe I give it a try or maybe I do it with some friends and that Snowball Effect but 

Chris Gates: 100% agree that that makes total sense of right it has to start with the leader saying let’s all go do this together and and maybe it’s fun and maybe it’s a monthly thing we do or something like that it has to get and when we have speakers we record them so I understand people are busy and so I recorded everything so well I still want you to watch it I still want people to watch it maybe they started at the business later or they just missed it um any like if a single person wants to watch it I want to be able to give them the opportunity to to be able to watch it um and and to engage and yeah it’s it’s it’s tough though right but yeah it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to to work on um to talk about like going through your fear of like am I picking the right things for a whole group of people very scary yeah to just hope for feedback you know hope that my intuition is right hope that um everything just works out and thankfully I think we have a core group of people who are vocal if if something’s not going well they will they will let me know in usually in a kind way and we can we can adjust But ultimately I think see effort and just wanna yeah yeah everybody wants it they just don’t always know that they’re they need it yeah yeah that it’s a priority to to make the time um and it builds the more you can help fix yourself or not maybe fix but help yourself or heal yourself really the more energy and time and everything it’s it’s kind of it’s kind of like the inverse of what you would think the more I heal myself the actually the more I have to give to others I say it’s like when you’re on the airplane yeah you can be selfish about it right right right 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Well like when you’re on the airplane and they say put before helping a child right put your oxygen mask on first first and like as a mother it’s like your first instinct is like no I have to protect the child and I remember thinking this like oh right but if I pass out mid while putting this on my child I can’t help them exactly so that’s one of my kind of things I see is it’s like put your oxygen mask on first um and you know one of the things you said in your your happiness talk and your hacking your way to happiness talk was do something that’s that scares you you know effectively that if you’re afraid of it you’re on the right path was kind of my my takeaway of things um and I find like like going to Africa by myself that was scary it was really scary triumphant it was like oh I’m going to do this and then I felt more confident as a person because I’m like hey I just did this kind of like pretty you know challenging thing it wasn’t that it end up not being that challenging but the idea was like to get in a plane and go by myself and and talk to people and everything and like oh I can do that thing I can do other hard things too and I tell my kids this all the time because they get anxious about stuff and I’m like you’ve done this this this and this you can do that um and that that kind of selft talk yep I think there’s a kids book where we’re definitely stronger than you believe that yes you’re uh what is it you’re you’re braver than you believe stronger than you think and know whatever it is and love more than you’ll ever know

Chris Gates: We’re taught that working on self is selfish but you know that is actually not true right like like you just said the more the more stable I am the more I have for my kids the more I have for my job the more I have for the people that work on me the more I have to connect with the people that the Universe wants me to connect with the more energy I have to post that video on LinkedIn or Tik Tok or whatever if I’m taking care of myself so yeah it does actually it builds that solid base so that you can actually if you have a solid base you’re a little more willing to try that scary thing than if it’s not solid like if you’re just scrambled and just trying to survive well if I’m trying to if I’m in survival mode I’m not going to go try a thing that I don’t know how it’s going to go but if I’m stable say well if I fall I’ll be back on solid ground so you gota gota get yourself on Solid Ground and it’s by taking care of yourself 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: yeah and it’s it’s hard to do um and it was one of the reasons why I end up going to Africa is because someone had said to me go do something for yourself now I I realized they meant like a painting class or go see a movie or whatever but you know hey um but but the exercise of I you know my husband was fine when he had a convers it was a conversation I wasn’t like peace I’m out but um have fun with kids no it was not like that um but the different reactions from my mom from my mother like you know from everybody like what do you mean you’re spending your own money on yourself when you have kids and what do you mean that the father is gonna watch the kids while the mother goes away like okay that’s a whole other thing but like they’re old enough the hoops that I had to go through to do something to take care of me and I I saw my doctor there last week she’s like you look like a totally different person it was like yeah because I’ve been I’ve been taking care of everybody else for so long I hadn’t put my oxygen mask on and I feel like a totally different person so to to get to the point of um you know what you do also is is I think that it sounds to me you would know better but by doing that mental work you’re you’re looking at your own energy your own state of mind your own expansion and growth and while it in theory is be selfish because you were focusing on yourself and you’re taking time for yourself and you’re growing yourself it’s it come it’s a good thing to do that it it you need to focus on yourself and by getting in touch with yourself you can get in touch with that sadness is is that kind of what I’m hearing from you yeah yeah yeah I think that’s accurate yeah yeah what advice do you do you have for people to help them get aware of their own state of mind so if they’re like I don’t want to commit I don’t want to pay money for reiki I don’t want to you know I I don’t know I I don’t want to be stereotyped or stigma into into a therapist um you know I don’t know where to start I I’ve seen I’ve done this a lot with with um when I was in um Southern California working with people coming to sobriety like how do they start you know and so with mental health too uh and this kind of energy work yeah where do you to start uh

Chris Gates: man good question um I guess I would say I think you talk about this science hasn’t caught up to a lot of metaphysics and you know before there before there were microscopes we believed a completely different thing about why people got sick or other things and it wasn’t until later that we understood there was another reason um so I personally this is like probably spicy take I just don’t believe that science has caught up to Consciousness in the things that are happening in our bodies and so what I would what I tell clients or what I tell myself or what I tell my kids is you know in the absence of scientific proof which I would pref always prefer um repeated experience can trump is the evidence of of that right so like can I can I do reiki can I try a mindfulness technique can I do this thing if I do it a few times and I’m getting the same results and it’s working for you then that should be sufficient even if Mom Dad sister brother friends group don’t don’t believe in it it’s okay right because yeah I mean energy healing sounds ridiculous right but I’ve done a th over a thousand hours of it as between mostly as a practitioner but I’ve had hundreds of it hundreds of hours given to myself and there’s just been experiences that I could I cannot explain otherwise um and it wasn’t one time so if somebody did something one time and said like all right you might need to do that a few more times but if someone’s put a thousand hours into something and they’ve had repeated experiences over multiple clients over multiple years in you know different mental scenarios and things like that like eventually you have to go well I there feel like there’s something to this um so I don’t know if that fully answered the question um I tend to get off track but me both that does um I think what what I’m hearing with that is just beginning with an start with an open mind ah yeah that’s it start with your your hacker mindset which is okay um what is is the thing I believe actually true so when you’re talking about limiting beliefs or beliefs that you have the best question to ask yourself if you can create the moment to ask and that’s where meditation comes in is is this belief actually true and then who installed this belief and is this belief helping me or holding me back if you could start to ask those questions about a belief you can really see to say most of them are not they’re nonsense right most of our beliefs are not helping us um yeah something I’ve been thinking about recently is like I really cared about what people thought about me about my whole life that’s really been a net negative in my life caring what other people think has been a net negative oh God yeah right but why am I learning this at 47 right that that caring what other people think like strangers think is is a net negative well now I’m trying to teach that to my kids like if they can carry that in their team means forward they’ll do a lot better than I did same thing with with some of the other things I experienced but um yeah and then so yeah doing the hacker thing just do the hacker what’s the happy path right okay what are the unintended what are the unintended things that could be done and that’s just what you start to do as you inspect all these things is you know is that actually true what other intended other intended behaviors can can a system do and that’s hacking right like well yeah yeah the API says you can only do this well what happens if I send it this other character it wasn’t expecting oh what happens if I interject energy work what happens if I interject meditation what happens if I interject uh forgiveness or gratitude right talk all day on forgiveness and gratitude what if I just start letting go of the anger and realizing that the people that hurt me were also hurting and yes didn’t have the opportunity to to process any of that and while while I be really sick of my parents they they did the best they could because they were really uneducated on how to raise kids um and it just start to let things go it’s like okay what happens if and that’s that’s the that’s the ultimate hacker question that all of us do anytime we’re doing any sort of work what happens if 

Dr. Stacy Thayer: Mess around and find out you know what happens if like you know all of those

Chris Gates: yeah that’s the motto of my team right will that work I don’t know let’s find out like it will either work or it won’t and then we’ll just adjust and I wish and I always encourage more people to bring that into their life maybe this relationship let’s see what happens let’s cut this person out let’s see what happens let’s do this thing let’s get on a plane and go there and just see what happens you know obviously you know keep it safe but like most of the time the things that we’re afraid to do are not terribly dangerous which just yeah someone shouldn’t do it you’re like well why you could be smart about it but

Dr. Stacy Thayer:  is that actually true yeah well and so then as we wrap up on close out here you you mentioned a couple great um Tik toks and and other things are there any so just resources that you recommend? Okay all right all right I’ll give it a try.  What do I do where do I go where should I start?

Chris Gates: Can I recommend my own stuff? I’m pretty active on Instagram and Tik Tok uh it’s the sky beckons uh where I try to just I learn best by teaching others that’s how I know I’ve locked it in um and so yeah my stuff my own stuff but for more famous people um let’s see The Celestine Prophecy is a by James Redfield is an amazing book on synchronicities and energy and the energy Dynamics amongst other people that’s a great book um A New Earth by eer tole um all of like J shed’s material like think um think like a monk great book um Mike D’s material um and then for the hackers Joe dispensas Joe dispenza’s material is great he brings science into everything that he talks about and so those of us that are healthy Skeptics which we should be um would encourage him to them to look at his materials because he shows the brain scans of people that are how they change in meditations how they heal themselves and he has a really good series called rewired um where he where he talks about that so if you don’t like to consume things uh in a book fashion he’s got uh videos they’re in 30 minute Clips which most people can consume um trying to think who else there’s I mean there’s a there is a giant giant amount of that information Sahara Rose is good in the other book I wrote down was the whole elephant revealed by Mara Dev that talks about universal laws and so everyone’s heard of Law of Attraction but there’s actually like 11 other universal laws and it’s just an interesting thing as a hacker like okay what are all the routines that make things what are the operating systems of the of the universe that book really digs into that and how do you start to tweak those for your own benefit um if you understand how things work you can start to then make it do things you want or add add different hey did you know that it would actually accept this other variable well if you don’t inspect the source code or you don’t understand how the F the function works you don’t know that but there’s a lot of other there’s a lot of functions that run on this reality that you can actually put a few more variables into and get really interesting things out of so um that’s I would encourage everyone that’s listening do their hacker thing on that just play with it explore it see see where it takes you 

Dr. Stacy Thayer:  I’ll include a link to to your site um when this goes online to into your bio and everything so if people want to reach you or have questions they can they can reach out there too 

Chris Gates: yeah please um  I’m here to uh to answer the questions and uh share and serve the best that I can

Dr. Stacy Thayer:  thank you so much for your time and your Insight it’s been great to have you here uh listeners and viewers thank you so much for tuning into this episode of CyberPsych and I will see you next time