Dr. John DeMartini | An Inspired Life Is An Authentic Life


An Interview with Kat Mische Elle

John, what was life like at the beginning for you?

When I was a child, I had learning disabilities and a speech impediment. I was also constrained and had to be put into braces as a child because I had an arm and leg deformity. When I was in first grade, I was told by my first-grade teacher in front of my parents, “I’m afraid your son is not going to be able to read or write, not be able to speak or communicate effectively, probably not go very far in life, and probably not amount to much.” I think the teacher cared, because she said, “But it seems now that he’s out of his braces, he wants to run. So, put him into some sort of sport.” At the time, baseball was significant to me. And my interest in surfing had begun.

dr. john demartini

I made it through elementary school by asking the smarter kids questions, which I’m known for today—by the questions I ask. As long as other brighter kids would share what they had learned from the classes and provided me with information, I could retain a bit, and I was able to at least get by in primary school. My parents then moved from Houston, Texas to Richmond, Texas, when I turned 12 and we lived in a lower socio-economic area of the state. Without a group of smarter kids to learn from I ended up dropping out of school, left home at age 13, and became a street and then beach kid. I lived or hung out in various places – in a 24-hour bowling alley, a diner, and in a car on the streets. I lived in friends’ houses and became sort of the “resourceful street kid.”

At fourteen, I hitchhiked with my surfboard to California. That journey of hitchhiking was quite challenging but inspiring. I met Ted Nugent, the Rock and Roll guy in Austin at the Armadillo club, Howard Hughes in El Paso on the street, Texas, and Timothy Leary in Idlewild, California. I then hitchhiked down into Mexico later that summer almost to Central America. At fifteen, I decided that I was going to panhandle enough money to fly from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii because I wanted to ride big waves on the North Shore of Oahu. I made it there. I slept underneath the Kamehameha highway bridge at Sunset Beach..

I became a big wave rider. I wasn’t in the top tier, but I was in the second tier of surfers. I ended up though with strychnine and cyanide poisoning without realizing how it was accumulating. My diaphragm temporarily spasmed and I almost drowned. Luckily, I soon fell unconscious, was taken to my tent and left for three days but was luckily found by a lovely lady who helped me. She soon took me to a health food store.

It was here, that some albino man said after seeing me with spasms, stated; “You need to take a yoga class and learn how to have mind over body.” Upon leaving the health food store I noticed a flyer on the exit door announcing a yoga class. I went to this yoga class, and Paul C. Bragg was a guest lecturer. In one night, in one hour, this one man, there in the North Shore at Sunset Recreation Center at Waimea, inspired me in a way nobody in the world ever did. I was literally in tears for probably 20 minutes. And he said, “If we take command of our thoughts, our visions, our words and our actions we can take command of and transform our lives.” He said, “We must set goals for ourselves, our family, our community, our city, our state, our nation, and our world and beyond.” He said, “What we visualize, what we affirm, what we feel, and what we think about becomes our destiny.” Paul said, “You don’t want to ever let anybody on the outside distract you from what you want to do on the inside.”

Nobody ever spoke to me like that. But he was so sincere and so present that that was the night I birthed a dream, a vision, an inspiration, an epiphany. I felt inspired to want to overcome my learning problems, learn how to read, and someday become intelligent, travel the world, and be a great teacher. That night, I saw a vision of me standing on a balcony in front of a million people speaking.

What first steps did you take to address your challenges?

I started to eat differently. I started fasting. I actually went to a health food store and picked up the first book in my entire life that I ever tried to read. The title was Chico’s Organic Gardening and Natural Living. It was a gardening book. It had a long-haired hippie guy that looked like me, on the cover (I had long hair and a beard at the time). I looked through that book, and I didn’t read the words all the way through, but I got the pictures and some of the words. For the first time ever in my life, I went from cover to cover in a book. It was so inspiring to think that I actually went through a book. To somebody who takes it for granted, it wasn’t a big deal. But to me, it was a lot.

I was just soon turning eighteen and I decided just months later in meditation that it was time to go home and see my parents. It had been a number of years. I flew back to Los Angeles and hitchhiked back to Texas. When I got close to the house, my father and sister drove by in a car and didn’t recognize me. They probably thought I was some character on the street looking like I did and carrying a surfboard. I made it to my parent’s house, and I opened the door. Those days, we lived in the country; you didn’t lock the door. We just walked in.

I walked into the house. My mom was boiling prunes. She turns around and she first thought I was a stranger who had just entered the house and was startled. And then she said, “Oh my God! Welcome home son.” We hugged each other. A few days later, my mom and dad said, “The giant surf is not going to be back up until October. Why don’t you consider taking a GED, a high school equivalency test?” Because when I left home, I also left high school and never graduated. I dropped out. My father said, “You never know, that could help you get a job if you need one. Who knows what that could lead to?” I said, “What do I do?” And he said, “Well, you just go take this test, you got nothing to lose. You pass it, you got a high school degree. If you don’t, well, you’re no worse off. Just got to spend a day doing it.”

I went to the University of Houston. I sat in there and I closed my eyes. I remembered what Paul Bragg told me to say to myself every day for the rest of my life when I told him I had learning disabilities, “I am a genius, and I apply my wisdom.” He said, that stating this statement every day will change the trajectory of my learning. So during the test, I was sitting there saying “I’m a genius, and I apply my wisdom” over and over again and closed my eyes. I took the pencil and just filled in, intuitively, a little penciled-in circle. And I did that to take the test. And an amazing thing happened; I passed!

It was the most amazing thing that could have happened. I didn’t have to read to do the studying. I was kind of limited in my vocabulary. Reading wasn’t my thing because I twisted words with my dyslexia. So, when I passed, I was blown away. Suddenly, I had a diploma, a high school equivalency. I was invigorated and after hearing about my passing, my mom and dad said, “Why don’t you consider taking another test and try to go to college?”

I took the second test and did the exact same thing. I closed my eyes. I was meditating. I just went with my intuition. What I could read, I’d read. If I couldn’t read it, I just guessed and did this pencil guidance thing. I passed!

I was starting to think that maybe there’s some sort of magic in the special affirmation he gave me. And so, I tried to take a college class: two classes, English and History. Upon taking the first test in Dr. Baker’s History class and having the test results posted on the outside of the door the next day. When I looked at the results, I kept looking for my name, but I didn’t at first see it. It was at the very bottom, way beneath the rest of the students. I got a 27, and you needed a 72 to pass. And there I was, way at the bottom, there was nothing in between. When I saw that, I was really humiliated and distraught. I ran to my car, and I sunk down in the car and cried. All I could hear was my first-grade teacher saying, “Your son is never going to be able to read or write or communicate and amount to anything, never go very far in life.” That was running in my head. And the fantasy of being able to be intelligent and become a great teacher and doing what I dreamed of, traveling the world, just disappeared. I drove home and I went into the living room, where my mom had a Bible stand, and for some reason, I crawled up underneath it. I laid there and sobbed. And I was thinking, “I can’t believe I was that gullible to think I could do this thing called education.”

My mom came home at that moment from shopping. She saw me when she walked by the living room. She said, “Oh my god, what’s wrong, son?” I said, “I blew the test. I guess I don’t have what it takes, I guess I will never be able to effectively read. She paused for a second and then she said something that only a mother could probably say. She put her head on my shoulder and she said, “Son, whether you become a great teacher and travel the world like you dream, or you return to Hawaii and ride giant waves as you have done, or you return to the streets like panhandlers have done. I just want to let you know that your father and I are going to love you no matter whatever you do.” I needed to hear that.

I then inwardly said to myself, “I’m going to master this thing called, reading, studying, and learning. I am going to master this thing called speaking and teaching. And I am going to do whatever it takes, travel whatever distance, and pay whatever price to give my teaching service of love across this planet. I’m not going to let any human being on the face of the earth stop me, not even myself.” I got up and hugged my mom. I went to my room, and I got the dictionary out. I made a commitment that I was going to memorize and spell thirty words a day. I was going to pronounce them properly and know their meaning. When you learn thirty words a day, thirty multiplied by three hundred sixty-five, at the end of a couple of years, you’re sitting on ten to twelve thousand new words a year.

My vocabulary grew, and within weeks, I began to pass my classes and then even excelling. Then I was at the top of the class within months. I was more determined than most of the other students.

I was now seriously wanting to understand the laws of the universe, wanted to read and get caught up and become a teacher. I was in the library one afternoon, and seventeen people came out of a class. They came in and surrounded the table and asked if they could study with me. I, of course, was so inspired by this and welcomed them to do so. Slowly but surely as I went on to the University of Houston, I began having one hundred and sometimes up to four hundred people sitting with me under the trees on the campus doing a Q&A every day at lunch, or in the cafeteria if it rained. And it just kept growing.

By the time I was finished at the University of Houston, I had shared what I had been learning with thousands of students.

Eventually, I was developing speed reading and devouring literature. I was expanding. I went from a local teaching position around the city to eventually speaking at conferences, in the state, the nation, and then internationally.

Fast forward to today, I’ve been blessed to speak in one hundred sixty-three countries. I have fifty countries left to meet the goal that I had when I was seventeen.

At eighteen, I had a dream to exemplify an inspired and masterful life. It sounded cool. I didn’t know what it meant exactly at first, but I believe I have been fortunate enough to do exactly that.

What is an inspired life to you?

I believe that an inspired life is an authentic life, living by the highest priority, the most important value, the most meaningful, most fulfilling, most congruent, an authentic yearning that’s naturally, organically expressed intrinsically from within to the world. I don’t want to motivate people or be some motivational speaker. To me, that’s being extrinsically driven. I want people to access the most intrinsic calling that inspires them to fulfill what’s most meaningful to them that contributes to a sustainable fair exchange manner with the greatest number of people they can.

I believe that we have control over three things in life: our sensory neuron perceptions—inter-neuron decisions, and motor neuron actions. Our perceptions, decisions, and actions are what we have governance over. What goes on around us can run our lives, and we can become victims of our history.

Or we can take command of our perceptions and transform whatever is perceived in the way into on the way and become masters of our destiny. And I’m a firm believer that it is not what’s out there that dictates our results in life. It’s how we perceived it, and what we decide to do with it. You can master your perceptions, master your decisions, and master your actions.

If you don’t prioritize your daily actions and live by what is truly highest in priority, and you don’t fill your day with what is most inspiring and meaningful it will fill up with distractions that aren’t a priority. I’m a firm believer in asking intuitively guided questions to take ourselves back to the center, objectively and see both sides of all events. It is wise to liberate ourselves from the baggage of any misperceptions and get on with doing what’s truly most purposeful and inspiring. Because whatever life is offering us, it’s a resource for achieving something authentic and inspiring that can contribute to the world.

I’m a firm believer in asking quality questions. Questions that make us conscious of what we were unconscious of liberates us from judgment and puts us in our heart. And if we’re not in our heart, we’re missing out on a moment of life. We age every time we’re not in our heart.

We’re designed to be inspired! We’re designed to be creative and ingenious! That’s our true nature. We are designed to solve problems. Problems are nothing more than missing information. That’s all they are. They are just waiting for us to be fully informed, mindful, and awakened.

So, what is next for you this year?

I’m going to continue doing what I love doing, which is teaching, researching, and writing. I don’t do much else. I’m pretty well useless everywhere else. I haven’t driven a car in thirty-two-plus years. I haven’t cooked since I was twenty-four. I don’t do business management or administration anymore. I just teach and I am researching into ever more meaningful and fulfilling questions and projects right now.

I will continue to do that because those are the things I love doing. I just signed a 10-book deal with a publisher. We’re going to be doing 10 books over the next five years. I’m working on new movies and film documentaries; I’m still speaking to new organizations and reaching millions of more new students every year.

I’m going to keep learning and writing my books. I hope to do that until the body doesn’t allow me to do it anymore. That is my mission or primary objective.

Where do you place your biggest gratitude?

My mom and dad. They loved each other enough to make love one night, so I can thank them because I wouldn’t be here without that.

I don’t know of anybody that I have met along my journey who hasn’t played some sort of importance in my life. I’m grateful for every interaction and experience. I do not go to bed each night until I see my day through the eyes of gratitude. I was born on Thanksgiving Day.

What is the best way to keep up with you?

Simply log onto and begin browsing my website: DrDemartini.com
It is an inspirational resource and an educational website.

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