About Our Guest- Christian de la Huerta
With 30 years of experience, Christian de la Huerta is a sought-after spiritual teacher, personal transformation coach, and leading voice in the breathwork community. An award-winning author, Christian is a sought-after speaker whose unique self-development programs have been experienced across the world in university lecture halls, retreat centers, corporate boardrooms, and houses of worship. His role can be described in a variety of ways: retreat facilitator, relationships expert, spiritual coach, leadership consultant, and beyond. While his dedication manifests in a variety of ways for a diverse audience, all of Christian’s work shares a common result: profound personal transformation.
Christian is the creator and teacher of several self-development programs designed to help people get free and step into their authentic power in order to enjoy lives of meaning and purpose and relationships that work. His mission is to help catalyze a revolution of consciousness for the sake of humanity’s evolution.
His award-winning book, Coming Out Spiritually, was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the 10 best religion books of its year. The book was widely regarded critically and is considered a defining, trend-setting accomplishment in its field. Christian is an acclaimed speaker in various settings—including the TedX stage. He projects a compelling, authentic, and warm presence when speaking in front of groups, large and small. He speaks from experience and walks his talk, and audiences feel that—and find his message particularly relevant in these times. Over the years, he has established himself as a respected leader in the field of spirituality. His retreats, workshops, and other events are known for their life-changing effect and for their inspiring and transformative exploration of our innate human potential.
Graduating with honors from Tulane University, Christian obtained a degree in psychology. After working in the marketing and professional relations departments for several psychiatric and addictions hospitals in Miami, he walked away from his comfortable life to embark on a profound and challenging spiritual journey. Following a 20-year period in the San Francisco Bay Area, he again calls South Florida home, providentially finding his way back to Coconut Grove, his favorite Miami neighborhood.
Full Podcast Transcription
Christian de la Huerta 01:14
The process that I outlined in this new book, Awakening the Soul of Power is, first of all, understanding the different kinds of power so that we can stop rejecting it and figure out ways of expressing it and owning it, and stepping into it that is a match for who we are. When I write about what I write about and guide people through this process of personal transformation. It’s not something that I read in a book or picked up along the way it’s like I know without any doubt that these teachings work.
Diva Nagula 02:05
Hello, this is Dr. Diva Nagula. Welcome to From Doctor To Patient, where our goal is to bring you topics of discussion that will educate you on the various healing modalities to help balance the mind, body, and spirit. Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of From Doctor To Patient. Today I am joined with Christian de la Huerta. With 30 years of experience, Christian is a sought-after spiritual teacher, personal transformation coach and leading voice in the breathwork community, and award-winning author. Christian is a sought-after speaker whose unique self-development programs have been experienced all across the world in university lecture halls, retreat centers, corporate boardrooms, and houses of worship. His role can be described in a variety of ways: retreat facilitator, relationship expert, spiritual coach, leadership consultant, and beyond. While his dedication manifests in a variety of ways for a diverse audience. All of his work shares a common result – profound personal transformation. He’s a creator and teacher of several self-development programs designed to help people get free and step into their authentic power in order to enjoy lives of meaning and purpose and relationships that work. His mission is to help catalyze a revolution of consciousness for the sake of humanity’s evolution. His award-winning book coming out spiritually was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the 10 best religion books of its year. The book was widely regarded critically, and it’s considered a defining trendsetting accomplishment in its field. Christian is an acclaimed speaker at various settings, including the TEDx stage, he projects a compelling, authentic and warm presence. When speaking in front of groups, large and small, he speaks from experience and walks his talk, an audience feel that and find his message particularly relevant in these times. Over the years, he’s established himself as a respected leader in this field of spirituality. His retreats, workshops and other events are known for their life changing effect, and they’re inspiring and transformative exploration of our innate human potential. Graduating from Tulane University, he obtained a degree in psychology. After working in the marketing professional relations departments for several psychiatric and addictions hospitals in Miami, you walked away from his comfortable life, to embark on a profound and challenging spiritual journey, following a 20 year period in the Bay Area, again called South Florida home providentially. finding his way back to Coconut Grove, his favorite Miami neighborhood. Christian, thank you so much for joining me today.
Christian de la Huerta 04:37
Dr. Diva, I’m so happy to be on your show. Thank you, and thanks for that introduction.
Diva Nagula 04:43
So let’s let’s start by I really wanted to find out what exactly does social power mean to you?
Christian de la Huerta 04:51
You know, most of us have an ambivalent relationship to power. We want it but we’re afraid of it. And it’s no wonder like, you know, we’ve as I’ve been doing work for years and years on this theme with people what I think the underlying fear is that we’re afraid we’re gonna abuse it. And no wonder because all we got to do is like turn on the news on any given day and witness multiple abuses of power. Add to that the fact that we have been conditioned to think that power is a bad thing and negative thing with phrases like, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So white good hearted person is going to want to be corrupted, or abused power. So what happens is that we, we give it away, right? We rejected we have this ambivalent, yes, no push pull relationship to it. And we end up selling ourselves really short, saying yes, when inside we’re really feel now for illusion of security, for a false sense of acceptance, and for more souls, or pseudo love. So soulful power, to me is the type of power that we can actually step into. And that is congruent with who we are. So in other words, the kind of power that is conflicted for us is the one that is based on externals, the camp that what I call worldly power, or ego power, that is basically hierarchical, that requires for me to push somebody down to step on them so that I feel powerful. And the other kind of power, which I call soulful power, or spiritual power comes from within. We all have it inside of us, nobody can give it to us, nobody can take it away. So only we can give it away. And and it’s no less powerful, I would venture I would propose that it’s actually more powerful. So I think, for example, Gandhi, or Gandalf, you know, with their simple monastic robes, their sandal feet, you will never know what kind of power they hold. Because it’s internal, not based on externals, like, like money and fame and political roles and that kind of thing. And yet, it’s so powerful that Gandhi brought the British Empire towards knees when I was when I was at its highest point in terms of global reach, without ever shooting a gun, or landing a punch. That’s powerful.
Diva Nagula 07:19
How do we tap into this spiritual personal power?
Christian de la Huerta 07:26
You know, it’s, you know, like I said, it’s inside of us. So it’s a question of accessing it. And I think it’s a what the, the process that I outline, in this new book, awakening the soul of power is, first of all, understanding the different kinds of power, so that we can stop rejecting it, and figure out ways of expressing it and owning it and stepping into it that are a match for who we are. So, so for example, you know, the worldly powers, or the difference where the power is arrogant, it’s always trying to it has an agenda, it’s always trying to get something for itself. And to prove that it’s bigger than that it’s, the other one is humble, has nothing to prove to anybody, it simply is, and it’s no less powerful. And it’s about service, it’s about making a difference. So once we begin to understand that there are different kinds of power, then we can start to make peace with it, and realize, like, Hey, I don’t have to give it away. Because those strategies of playing small of giving our power away for those illusions of security and to avoid conflict, and all the other reasons that we play small and give our power ways it’s not effective, because they just don’t end well. They eventually causes harm to our relationships. And what we’re risking also is like, deep levels of frustration and dissatisfaction. And then what happens to is that we start expressing power after we suppress it and suppress it, it starts coming out of us in unhealthy ways, like passive aggressiveness, and we get stuck in power games and power strategies like that.
Diva Nagula 09:02
Would you equate the soulful power to something to the equivalent of say, acting out from your heart center? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And the other types of power let you describe, like the hierarchical power, that to me seems more of egoic power.
Christian de la Huerta 09:23
Absolutely. That’s, that’s one of the words that I use, which of course, I didn’t get we get into the conversation of what is the ego, because there’s so much misunderstanding
about what that means. And for most of us in the West, you know, we tend we tend to think of arrogance and say inflated sense of self. And it is that but from the eastern traditions, we we understand the ego we get to understand the ego from a much broader perspective. And so you know, one simple way to think about it, which, which I know that you you know, this is if we think of putting a baseball in the center of a stadium That’s what the ego is, who we are is actually the stadium. And we’ve allowed this tiny, tiny, tiny part of who we are, to think that it is all of who we are and to run the show, and to make big important significant critical life choices from its very limited perspective and always fear based perspective. So the ego we can say it’s, it’s a part of the mind that that makes sense of sensory information and filters that and synthesizes it, it can reach into the past, projected to the future and weaves all of that information into a coherence of sense of self a sense of personality. I’m Christian, that’s data, ultimately, illusion, and both a helpful illusion and a leap in evolutionary consciousness and the source of all our suffering.
Diva Nagula 10:51
That’s powerful. You know, I’m really interested in your personal story as well and how you decided to write this book. Can you share that with us?
Christian de la Huerta 10:59
Sure. Yeah, cuz you know, it’s, it’s an unlikely person to be writing about what it means to live heroically and stepping into power. The first 10 years of life, I lived in a communist country of my family immigrated to the US from Cuba. So we lived in a totalitarian regime in which was very little choice and very little freedom. Everything was pretty much you were told what to do your, your everything you own, you didn’t know and was property of the state. And even like, if you wanted to go to college, you couldn’t just decide what you wanted to major in, like you were told what to study. And also my family was was really Catholic. So another, you know, again, very hierarchical power over again, a structure. And so when I, when we came to the States, we lived in a small town in rural Georgia Milledgeville, which was one of the few places where the Cuban psychiatrists can practice while they were getting licensed here. And I was painfully shy, like, so shy, it was, I was okay one on one, I didn’t speak a word of English. If you added a third human being it’s totally clammed up to the degree that I was a good student. Like, I think that was one of the ways in which I’m really grateful to have been raised in a communist country, we had a TV, but there was nothing worth watching. So we grew up reading and creating inventing our own games, because we had few toys. And because of that love affair with books, I was a good student had a really good GPA. In fact, I had all A’s in high school, except for one day, and that I did it intentionally, because I didn’t, I didn’t do it purposely. But looking back on it, I know that I sabotage my GPA, so that I wouldn’t have to give the valedictorian speech, because there’s just no way, no way that I would have been ready to get up in an auditorium filled with hundreds of people into that. Right. And, and the power of that story is that these days, you know, I speak all over the world on a TEDx speaker. I’m a professional speaker in the sense that I get paid for speaking to groups and also my adolescence was one long depression, really dark time. For me, it was like time of I know, self doubt. I know self hatred, intimately. And these days, no matter what happens in my life, so no matter the circumstances, a relationship works out or doesn’t a project succeeds, or you know, it fails. Never, ever do I question myself worth. So that when I, when I write about what I write about and guide people through this process of personal transformation, I know it works. I know from personal experience, it’s not something that I that I read in a book or picked up along the way. It’s like I know, without any doubt that these teachings work.
Diva Nagula 13:53
Do you have a formula in which you teach people? I mean, what specific tenants? Can you share that are no foundational with your processes?
Christian de la Huerta 14:03
Yeah I do. I mean, well, up until last year, for 30 years I’ve done retreats. You know, weekend retreats. Sometimes I take people for a week or 10 days to beautiful natural settings, like Machu Picchu, or southern France, or northern New Mexico or Hawaii, different places like that. So it’s sort of like a combination between retreat, and a vacation, like if a retreat in a vacation, got married and had a child, then that would be that experience. No matter what the retreat theme is, whether it’s conscious relationships or personal empowerment, women’s empowerment, specifically, life purpose, living heroically there’s two things that are two aspects of it that I always do. One is teaching about the ego, because that is the key to freedom like understanding how, how the mind limits us, and so that we can break free from it and understanding its machinations and Nana GaNS and it’s self made prison is critical so that we can let ourselves out of that prison. The other thing that I always do that is the other constant is breathwork, which is a healing modality that that I know you know about which came, you know, came out of the yoga tradition. So it’s been, it’s been a type of pronoun for 1000s of years. But it was discovered independently here in the west by a man in California, who was playing with his breath in a hot tub and had this amazing expanded state of consciousness of transformation. And so, you know, I know I know, it sounds too good to be true, but but I’ve yet to come across anything, that he feels as profoundly and as quickly and in so many levels than breathwork. And it heals not only in terms of psychological traumas, and emotional traumas, it heals even physically. And, and I know that sounds too good to be true for my more scientific, logical mind, more skeptical mind. Even after 30 years, I know that sounds too good to be true that just from breathing, all that can happen and that people can have profound states of bliss and oneness and unitary consciousness just from breathing. But I can’t argue with a result that works and it has permanent effect. And I don’t know anything more effective in terms of healing past trauma. You know, I was trained as a rebirther. And as you know, there are many different modalities. breathwork is a much broader umbrella term, I was trained as a rebirther, which is what this guy learned or named his practice that he discovered, you know, probably 40 years ago at this point. I stopped calling it rebirthing a long time ago, because it confuses people, you know, a lot of people will will relive the moment of birth at some point, if they do this breathing practice, because it is traumatic for everybody concerned and this type of reading is very effective, as I said in healing trauma. So that’s one trauma that people will often comes up for people to heal, but but it creates this expectation, calling it rebirth and creates an expectation that you have to have that experience and then I think that’s counterproductive. It also tends to confuse people, you know, in the sense of being born again, which this has nothing to do with. So I just call it breathwork generically.
Diva Nagula 18:44
Yeah, it’s I I am very familiar with breathwork, I have clients that come to me, we usually do some sort of holotropic breathwork. And, you know, for them to take some of these practices at home. You know, I also have them practice, you know, box breathing for seven, eight breaths. And yeah, those are excellent ways to, to continue these practices at home on your own. It’s kind of difficult to do holotropic breathwork on your own because it’s it’s a lot. It’s kind of a type of style, where it’s very difficult to perform. And so when you have someone to lead you it’s easier to to follow, but it’s quite difficult to do it on your own for a long period of time. But yeah, I definitely find that specific types of breathwork are self powerful and healing and moving that energy that’s, you know, stagnant can transform and change the frequency of an individual very quickly. I mean, almost instantaneously, almost. And yeah, it’s fascinating. And I’m also curious about your thoughts on plant medicine, because you’re so you’re talking about ego and you’re talking about your retreats. What are your thoughts on plant medicine in terms of personal transformation?
Christian de la Huerta 19:56
You know, a lot of people I can’t tell you how many people often come to my breathwork sessions. And at the end, they go, you know, I got to that same place that I did through using a plant medicine. So plant medicines are incredibly powerful as well, and can provide a vehicle for popping out of that that little ego mind popping out of the baseball, and giving us a taste of life in the stadium. reality. You know, there are there are, it’s not for everybody. A lot of them are not legal in this country. That’s why you have a lot of people that traveled to other countries to experiment with them. They’re incredibly powerful. And they’re not necessary. Like, like, I mean, I bow in respect to the plant medicines there. I wouldn’t be Hawaiian if it wasn’t for experiences that I’ve had in that realm. And it’s not for everybody.
Diva Nagula 20:55
Yep, I totally agree with you. And it’s nice to have an alternative that’s clean and very easy, and can be taken with the person wherever they go. So Exactly. And it’s your breath so accessible. And that’s all it is. And there’s no hangover. Yeah. And breathing is so powerful. It’s one of the few things that we can do, that we can perform consciously and unconsciously and subconsciously. So it’s some it’s one of those things that it’s just so versatile and in its way, and transformative as well. So I really do definitely appreciate a good breathwork session.
Christian de la Huerta 21:30
I figured you did, I figured from reading a little bit about you and knowing a little bit about your your journey of healing and transformation. I figured that it must have included breathwork. So I’m glad to know that that it did. And you know, do you guys like I don’t think the sciences are there yet in terms of explaining how it works. They haven’t done enough as much research in their eyes, they have done with meditation, which is like well established what’s going on in the brain? What’s going on in the body? why it works. I think breathwork is following that trajectory, and that the science will be there to help us understand how it works. Yeah, I agree. The way that it makes sense to me, it was more like from a psycho spiritual perspective as to why it’s so effective and so powerful. And when we think about the fact that in most spiritual traditions in the world, and even some secular languages, the same word, one word can mean spirit, or breath, depending on context. That’s when I began to like really understand what’s going on.
Diva Nagula 22:34
Going back to your book, you talk about masculine power and feminine power. Can you describe the differences in defining each?
Christian de la Huerta 22:45
The book is for everybody, because we everybody struggles with that push pull relationship to power, it has a particular message about women’s empowerment. And
that stems from my belief that the empowerment of women is the single most important thing that needs to happen in the world. Because to that we can connect all the other issues. It’s not to idealize women is not to put women up on a pedestal is not to add extra layers of responsibility for women to have to clean up and do. It’s because the world’s been running off balance, it’s been running off kilter. And so I believe that when women are in 50% of power in this world, we’re going to have a very different relationship to war, and poverty, and hunger, and wealth, distribution and social justice and how we treat the environment. Just one of it. So when I think about strategically, what needs to happen in the world, like to what how are we going to ever dig ourselves out of this collective hole that we have dug ourselves into. That’s the one thing that I think of that if we focus on that, people will have an impact. And there is some research to provide evidence about that like looking at, you know, more developing countries, or even small villages, if you want for things to change. In all those ways that we were just talking about educate women, women’s education is the key toward that towards changing you know, the economy of that village and how they do business and how they survive and all of that. So the masculine feminine thinking on the east, as you know, there’s this is not as black and white, as it is in the West. And and the feminine, at least traditionally was was honored more than in the eastern traditions that and Western wars that have been more masculine or right oriented or more patriarchal for the last, you know, several 1000 years. So when I, when I think about all these things, both on a purse from a personal perspective, and and from a collective perspective, like if if we expect for them to find balance, right, that’s what we want to go to not not back to a matriarchal system. We want to find Balancing the world between the masculine and feminine energies that we all have, like all of creation has masculine and feminine energies, including us, because we’re part of creation, it’s just that we have so made the feminine less than, or we have made it a weakness. That’s what we have turned the emotions into weakness, whether or not they’re not strengths and weaknesses are no good or bad. They’re just energies. And and so because of that imbalance, it’s so it’s impacts so much of our relationship to each other, and to the world. Like to me COVID is a symptom of that. It’s a symptom of this adversarial relationship that we have with nature and with the with the earth that is more like a rape and pillage, relationship with it, and what can we get from it? What can we take from it? And it’s not effective, it just, it’s no longer sustainable?
Diva Nagula 25:55
Yeah, I totally agree. And I really resonate with the comments that each individual, it’s about a balance of the divine masculine and the divine feminine. And that’s kind of what we need to strive for is the balance so and with society as it is, it’s interesting, because to thrive in our society, we really need to be more in our masculine, which is really not how we’re supposed to be functioning and, you know, women, men alike, are tapped into their masculine, you know, when it comes to business, politics, you know, money fame, and that’s it’s very much tapping into that masculinity, and being How do you talk to your clients about, you know, and keep them away from being seduced into abusing the power and being more balanced between the masculine feminine?
Christian de la Huerta 26:51
Yeah, and I want to say too that this, call it patriarchal, call it system of toxic masculinity, this hierarchical relationship to power that requires for us to push somebody down in order for us to feel powerful, doesn’t work for men either, like, of course, women have paid a huge price for that. And the feminine has been oppressed for far too long. And men are also paying a price for that, because it’s not effective for anybody. So think about the rate of suicide in the in this country, four times as high among men, that 70% of the suicides in this country are committed by middle aged white men, longevity, women outlive men by five years in the US by seven years globally. So something’s going on there, that’s not working for men. And I think that part of what that is, is this misunderstanding of what it means to be a man, which requires that you don’t know you got to work, walk, live like this and get moved around, like looks like a robot, not feeling because this is powerful. And feeling is not. And so but as we were talking about before the energy, the emotion of the just energies, we know from physics, now, what used to be spiritual teaching that everything is energy, energy cannot be destroyed. So when we suppress our emotional life, those emotions just don’t disappear, they get stuck, they get lodged in the bodies in the tissues of the body. And unless we figure out a way to get those energies out of our body, it’s going to start showing up in physical symptoms. Right, we like we, in the West, I have such against such a separation between the physical and the spiritual, whereas in the east, as you know, it’s kind of all interwoven this the body mind spirit. And so, you know, what are the what’s the result, you know, cancer, heart attacks, stomach ulcers, until we learn how to get in touch with with those emotions, which again, are not masculine, or they’re not feminine, they’re just energies, and learn how to express them in a way that is a match for who we are. And the same thing with relationship to power, like, like, we can figure out a way to express our power to stop giving it away to stop playing small, in a way that is a match for who we are, that is congruent with our nature that doesn’t require abuse, that doesn’t require being corrupted.
Diva Nagula 29:24
And that’s really important, but can you share with us some steps that people can take to reclaim their power?
Christian de la Huerta 29:34
Yes, yes. And and in this book, I want them by the hand You know, like I walk them by the hand through, through understanding what the mind is, what the ego mind is, and and then healing the relationship to power understanding the differences, which I think are the two first steps like understanding who we are, why we do the things we do, why certain things triggers and others don’t why we get stuck in these in these behavior patterns and relate patterns that sometimes feel like it’s the same boring play just with a different player with a different actor. So the first part of the book is understanding the mind understanding the ego mind. So that we can start letting ourselves free from from its from its prison than the rest of the book is about understanding the differences between powers right, between worldly power or egoic power and spiritual power or hard power, or soulful power. And as we begin to understand the differences, then we can begin to own our own power, and find the ways of expressing it that that are a match for us. And I also provide, like, simple practices that people can do on top of that, that include the body, like, like, standing in warrior pose. And in this case, I mean, the warrior pose from from the warrior pose from yoga. But I mean, the more traditional warrior pose, where you’re standing with your feet wide, no shoulder with knees slightly bent, and, like the universal warrior pose, and if you can do that barefoot, on the ground, it’s a way that you can begin to reconnect with our nature, which is part of who we are, we are part of nature, we are part of the cosmos that we that this separation that we feel from it is just misunderstanding and an illusion and just not true.
Diva Nagula 31:28
Yeah, it’s, it’s very interesting, you describe a lot of things in detail. And for me, it’s, it’s whenever we’re more in our heads, and more ruminating, and our egos just really online. Know, what I tell people is to do practices that are more body centric, you know, and that could be as you’re talking about different various us notes. And for yoga, it could be doing breath work, which all brings you back into your body. And I’ve always talked to clients not sensing, it’s more about being more aware that our body is present and understanding that our body can carry so much trauma so much. It’s powerful. And by being more into it, we can escape, you know, our mind and our, our tendencies to ruminate and just be in our heads all the time.
Christian de la Huerta 32:22
Which is understanding the ego mind that, yes, that’s the monkey mind. And from the Buddhist perspective, that because we that’s the part of us that jumps from thought to thought in the same way that a monkey goes from, from branch to branch, which is the benefit of meditation, as you know, which is to quiet that crazy, overactive monkey mind so that we can access the deeper, deeper truths that are the sources of wisdom that are inside each one of us. And so I love that you’re doing that you’re teaching people to do that. And another great practice is just putting the palm over your heart center, your heart chakra. And that has that same effect of getting starting to get you out of the head, down into the heart.
Diva Nagula 33:04
Yeah, and then another one that I use also, is to activate the heart chakra, especially when they’re constantly in their minds, is to do a simple practice of humming and the humming obviously, it’s a it’s a technique that is if you’re present with it, he gets you out of your head, but then the vibrational sound from the humming can actually open up the heart center, which is really fascinating when it does do so for people who are constantly in their heads.
Christian de la Huerta 33:33
I use that too, humming in combination with breathing practices.
Diva Nagula 33:37
Yeah, that’s powerful. So yeah, this is this is fantastic, very much resonates with what I believe in, and with what I practice, personally, as well as what I teach my clients of mine, you know, for personal transformation. And yeah, it’s, it’s fantastic that you released this book and it’s such a joy to see these types of practices that I believe in that are all full center in a nice book that talks about you, and your techniques and your your experience, and your history with working with so many people over many years.
Christian de la Huerta 34:11
Thank you so much for saying that I thank you for for all the work that you do. And thank you for having me as a guest on the show which makes a difference in so many lives. You’re exposing so many people to to ways of healing that are not necessarily the traditional Western medical approach.
Diva Nagula 34:31
Exactly. And for people who are listening and want to find out more information or want
to purchase your book, what’s the best way of doing this?
Christian de la Huerta 34:40
Yeah, thank you. That book is available anywhere where books are sold, from Amazon to your local bookstore. Probably the best way to reach me is my website, so soulfulpower.com. And from there, they can connect on other social media.
Diva Nagula 34:54
Awesome. Well, Christian, thanks again for coming on the show. It’s great to have you.
Christian de la Huerta 34:59
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity.