Episode #24 - Narco Mindset Podcast - Why we suffer
Episode # 24
Why we suffer
July 15, 2020
Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Mindset Coach, Podcaster, and YouTuber
In this episode Dr. Valdes how he came to understand why suffering exists.
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INTRO: Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.
Jorge: Today on the Narco Mindset podcast: You know, we look around the world and we see that there’s so much misery. So, if there was a God, why would he permit any of this? I just simply could not understand. I came to the realization that I am so poor. God don’t care about me. I don’t know about you. I had a lot of fun sinning. Sin is fun. Like Gandhi said one time, I love Jesus, I just have a hell of a hard time with Christians. A man that people said ice went through my veins, suddenly wept. You will suffer more on this earth than you will have joy. That’s just life.
Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes. Today, I’m going to talk about a subject that was something that was very, very confusing to me, and something that especially when I was an atheist that I always had trouble with. To be honest, I still have trouble with today. You know, we look around the world and we see that there’s so much misery. Let’s talk about the times that we are in right now. We see that we have this virus that everyone is petrified about. As we see this virus today, and we see that there are so many people that are scared and so many people that have lost their jobs. I look at the world and I see mothers that are ... I don’t know, 60 or 70% of all mothers are raising a single child or 60 to 70% of all children have been raised by a single mother. I see the fact that even if those mothers had a job, I mean, how could they go to work? Who’s there to take care of their child? Who’s there to take care of their baby?
Then we have the problem with the schools. We ended up closing the schools especially with children that are very, very minimal risk and I understand that they feel like the children can bring the disease over to some school teachers and there are some school teachers that are of elderly age. I look at this whole thing and I say, “Look, if you're at risk, stay home.” But there’s no way that the economy should be shut down, that the country should be shut down, that the world should be shut down over the fact that 50,000 people go out and kill someone, they get drunk and kill an innocent person. Nobody stops driving. The suicide rate that we have as I’ve repeated over and over again is enormous. The drug addiction rate is tremendous. We see all the horrors that are going on.
My daughter is a Special Ed teacher and she’s always telling me, “Dad, you know, a lot of my kids don’t even want to go home because school is the only safe place that they have.” Number one, it’s the only safe place that they get a full, real meal, a hot meal and some of them have to go home to an abusive home or an alcoholic mother and then there's a vast majority of them that they're going to give them a computer or tablets so they can do their homework but interestingly enough, they don’t even have internet in their homes. It’s a very, very complex problem, and me as a Christian that believes that God is in control of the universe, that believes that nothing happens in my life that’s out of the realm of God. Whatever happens in my life, he either ordains or permits.
Sometimes, I don’t understand that but I look at the world and I wonder, especially before when I was an atheist and people wanted to talk about God and I’m like, “How can there be a God? Look at all the good mothers that can’t have babies and whores are having babies in crack houses every day. Look at how many good people die. Look at the most horrific acts of mankind when a father or a mother has to bury a child. It’s against nature. If there was a God, why did he permit any of this?” I just simply could not understand and could not believe or refuse to accept the fact that there was a God of the universe that cared and there was a God of the universe that is in control of everything that happened in people’s lives.
I simply believed that, hey, you know what, if there’s a God, it’s going to be you. You are in control of the circumstances. You are in control of whatever happens to you or doesn’t and whatever is out of your control, that’s just the way life is. We live, we die, we suffer, but again, if there’s a God, then suffering should not exist, right?
Let’s look at when something horrible happens in our life. The first question most people have is, “Why would God allow that?” Think about it. Why would God allow a heinous murderer to put his foot in the neck of a person whether he’s guilty or not, whether he was a good person or a bad person? It’s insignificant. He was a human being that was begging for his life and this demonic police officer just sat there with a stare at the people filming him, not giving a crap about what was going on. If there was a good God, well, why would he not stop that? For me to sit here and tell you that I have the answers, I’d be lying to you. There’s no way I have the answers. I never had the answers and I don’t think I ever will.
After becoming a Christian and realizing that as I look back to life, there are many scriptures that help me to deal with that doubt but at the end of the day, I say to myself if there’s a heaven, and when I get there, which I believe as a Christian that there is, when I get there, I just got to ask Jesus to take out some of that good wine that he served at Canaan, I’m a wine lover, and let’s talk about this and let him answer me. There’s a biblical verse in the Bible that says right now we’re looking through foggy glass and we really just don’t understand and we can’t see but one day, we’re going to see the way we are being seen. Anyway, that’s the way I go through life, that’s the way I see life, but there was a Psalm that really, really helped me to be able to make some sense of this horror. It was Psalms 73. I’ll read it to you.
Don’t look at it as a religious text. To me, it is. But just look at it as what it says. I think that when you read the words carefully, and you see how it ends, you realize that here’s David, a man that committed a horrific crime. He killed his best soldier because he ended up having sex with his wife. A man that could have any woman in the kingdom. But that’s human nature. We want the forbidden.
He comes before God and he says, “How good God is to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure but as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff. My feet were slipping and I was almost gone. For I was envious of the prosperity of the proud and the wicked.” Yes, all through our lives their road is smooth. Think about it. You see drug dealers, you see bad people, you see people that are cheating others, abusing others and you say, “Look, it’s amazing, their life is so good.”
The Psalm continues. “They grow sleek and fat, they aren’t always in trouble and plagued with problems like everyone else. The pride sparkles like a jewel necklace and their clothing is woven of cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for.” David was looking at this and said, “Wow, it’s amazing. These people are so evil. They don’t lack for anything. They have everything. They prosper and yet the innocent suffer so much.”
He goes on to say, “They scoff at God and threaten his people. How proudly they speak. They boast against the very heavens and their words strike through the earth.” God’s people are just made and confused and drink it all in like himself. He considers him one of God’s people and he says ... I’m confused. I’m just sitting here and just taking all this and wondering in reality, was David wondering? Was God real or not? Was his belief in vain? Was it all stupidity? He asked, “Does God realize what’s going on?”
Look at these men of arrogance. They never have to lift a finger. Theirs is a life of ease and all the time their riches multiply. Have I been wasting my time? Think about it. Even those of us of faith. It’s easy to believe in God in suburbia America or special white suburbia America but I always say, “How much faith does it take?” For example, when I moved to Mexico and I saw people that didn’t miss a single mass and their faith was unmovable and yet they miss meals every week.
I remember doing a big event and this older lady came to me crying after the event and she said, “Dr. Valdes, I’m so glad I came here today. I came to the realization that I am so poor that God doesn’t care about me. All I have ever asked God, I never asked for anything for me, I never asked for food, for work; all I ever asked God was to protect my three grandchildren. I lost every single one of them in a drive-by shooting. I finally laid in bed because I finally told myself I just want to die because I’m so insignificant that God doesn’t care about me.”
“If your whole faith is in God and comes to the realization that God doesn’t care about you, why do you want to go on living?” She said, “I came today and realized that God does care about me. God does love me, and I don’t understand what’s going on but I’ll see my grandchildren in heaven again one day.” David goes on, “Have I been wasting my time? Why take the trouble to be pure? All I get out of it is trouble and woe. Every day and all day long.”
I always say that if there’s something in the Bible that I do not believe or that I doubt, then I’m not going to believe at all. I either believe everything or I don’t believe anything. That’s just the way I look at it. I tell people if I don’t believe any of it, and I come to the decision that there’s no God then you know what, why not live a life of sin? Listen, I don’t know about you. I had a lot of fun sinning. Sin is fun. Look, if sinning means hitting your thumb with a hammer, no one would sin. But unfortunately, sin is attractive, sin is luring and sin is fun. What no one tells you though, is that sin will destroy your soul, your existence, and everything about you and will devastate your entire life. Trust me. I was there.
Of all sinners, I doubt anyone was greater than me. It came to a point I just wanted to die because it really just devastates you. David goes on to say, “Yet it is so hard to explain it, this prosperity of those who hate God.” But then he said, “Then one day I went into God’s sanctuary to meditate and thought about the future of this evil man.” What is God’s sanctuary? Basically, it just means you find your alone time. For me, it’s every morning at about 5 o’clock in the morning. I start my day, I wake up at 4:30, 4:45. The first thing I do is I hit my app on my phone for my Nespresso. It turns my coffee on and then I answer my e-mails.
But before I answer any e-mail, I do my prayers. It just gives me a certain amount of peace. I’ve been praying for the same thing now for over two years and still I haven’t seen any result but I keep praying because I keep believing. At the end of the day, what have I got to lose?
If God is not real then I didn’t lose anything. I had faith and it has allowed me to go through times with the hope that things would work out. If I did not have that then I would just be miserable every day. I do that. That’s my quiet time. That is my sanctuary. My wife is lovely, asleep. Everyone in the house is asleep. It is quiet and I can meditate. I do a series of prayers that I do and then I read a psalm every day and then I start my day until when my wife gets up and at 6:45, seven o’clock. We walk the dog for five miles and then we say a rosary, very different rosary. We pray the rosary. Not different.
I just take the five decades and it has specific things. Like the first one, I just pray for my entire family, all my children, grandchildren by name. At the same time, as I said, if all of it is a waste of time, for me it’s not because what else do I have to think about? If I don’t believe in that, if I don’t have the hope that God is real then instead of praying and having faith and peace, I would just be in turmoil.
Like David, I go into his sanctuary. David went into his sanctuary to meditate and then he says, “What a slippery path they are on. Certainly, God will send them sliding over the edge of the cliff and down to their destruction. An instant end to all the happiness. An eternity of terror. Their present life is only a dream. They will awaken to the truth as one awakens to a dream of things that never really were.” I’m going to tell you, when I read that Psalm, it was me. Yeah, I lived a hell of a life. I had it all. I made a million dollars a month. I had all the women in the world that I wanted. One day, I wasn’t even dealing drugs. I walked away for four years. It all just came down shattering. I find myself lying on a steel bunk, Mobile, Alabama, facing spending the rest of my life in jail with not a dollar to buy a damn freaking candy bar. I know how quickly things come, how quickly things go.
David continues, “When I saw this, what turmoil filled my heart. I saw myself so stupid and so ignorant. I might seem like an animal to you, God, but even so, you love me. That is the amazement about God, that even when we’re stupid, even when we just act dumb, even when we don’t believe, his love is so immense and this is what I try to share with people.
I don’t try to convert people to become Christian, to become Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, whatever they are. To become Jewish, to become Muslim. None of that matters to me. What matters to me is just to share how the love of a Jewish carpenter ... See, people can have all kinds of problems with religion, with the church, rightfully so. Listen, I got jaded by the church, so I know what people were talking about. Like Gandhi said one time, “I love Jesus; I just have a hell of a hard time with Christians.”
It’s sad because the reason that a lot of people are not attracted to Jesus is nothing to do with Jesus. It has to do with us. Millions were attracted to Jesus. Think about it. Whores, good women, tax collectors, thieves, religious people, good people, bad people, everybody. He was a magnet to humanity. Why was that? Because of his love, his unconditional love, the way he looked at Jorge Valdes and one day said ... when I read that scripture one day, “I loved you when you were a sinner.”
I cried and I wept because I realized how the hell can God love me when I was into pornography, when I was a cheater when I was a drug dealer when I didn’t give a damn about any human being in this world. When all I cared about was getting richer and richer and more power, more power. He loved me then, not now that I’ve given my life to him? He loves me now but I’m saying, that’s the amazing thing about Jesus. He’s going to love you right where you are at.
I said this podcast is not about being religious and it’s not. It is not by no means. It is about me telling you how I fell in love with a Jewish carpenter. That’s all. Because his love was so immense when all the millions of dollars in the world, when all the money, all the power couldn’t fill me when going to bed with three gorgeous women couldn’t fill me. His love transformed my heart. A man that people said ice went through my veins, suddenly wept. Now, I weep at everything. My children say that I’ve become a punk. Anyway, David continues and he says, “I must seem like an animal to you, oh God, but even so, you love me. You’re holding my right hand. You’ll keep on guiding me all my life with your wisdom and counsel, and afterward, you're going to receive me to the glories of heaven.” Amazing.
Look, get this visual. So, you grab someone next to you, a family member, grab their hands above the wrist and let them hold you above the wrist. Suddenly, tell them to hold on and you let go of their hand. You let go of their hand but they are still holding on to you. That’s the amazement about God. About Jesus. I let go of his hands and he never lets go of mine. I thank God because I’m just an idiot.
He says, “I will keep on guiding you all my life with your wisdom and counsel and afterward you're going to receive me into glory. Whom have I,” and this is the most critical part of the whole verse. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And I decide to no one on earth as much as you. My health failed me, my spirit drooped, yet God remains. He is the strength of my heart. He is mine forever. Those refusing to worship God will perish. For he destroys those serving other gods.” Here is an amazing thing for me.
Again, if I lived my life believing that there is a Jesus and that I must spend eternity with him, and I get there and nothing’s there, I’ve lost nothing. I’ve lived a good life. I’ve had a life of faith. I’ve been good to people. I’ve tried to help everyone that I can. I care for the hungry. I care for the lonely. I care for the poor. I care for everyone that is suffering.
I look at this Covid and this quarantine, listen, one person that’s suffering is me. By God’s grace, I am financially secure. By God’s grace, two, three, four months of quarantine means nothing. I was in quarantine for 10 years. I didn’t have any Netflix, I didn’t have my wife, I didn’t have any wine, no good food, so I’ve made it. I lived [inaudible 00:18:48]. I live in a gorgeous home now. I’ve got the most beautiful wife that God ever created. I adore my children.
To me, quarantine means nothing but it means so much to so many people. So many people with mental illness. Our country is full of it. We just don’t care. So many people will be devastated beyond no means. Isn’t that amazing? We’ve got the worst unemployment history, worse than the Great Depression yet the stock market is soaring. What does that tell you? The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. Who do we turn to when the whole thing is dark?
Here’s what’s most amazing about it all. If you draw a line on a piece of paper and you put joy and suffering, the joy on the left, suffering on the right, and you say, “I’m going to live 90 years.” Let’s say you're going to live 100 years. You put how much time of joy you’ve had and we have a lot of joy. We see children being born, we get married, we enjoy all kinds of different things. But then you put the suffering line and I guarantee you, you will suffer more on this earth than you will have joy. That’s just life. We’ll bury children, God forbid. We’ll bury our parents. We’ll lose jobs. We’ll go through financial challenges. We’ll see times like these. Depression. We’ll see the financial crisis. We’ll see unemployment. We’ll be fired. We’ll reach an age where no longer we can take care of ourselves and now, those that we took care of when they were babies, we are dependent upon them to take care of us now.
It’s amazing how things start. That’s the world that we live in. I asked myself, we are such a perfect ... right now, still, there is no computer that will match the human brain. So, then, why, such a perfect race is brought to this world to suffer more than to have joy. For me, it’s mainly one purpose, to help bring my children to heaven and to impact the lives of those and every one of those that I can. To make a difference in the world. To not just settle for things the way that they are but to ask what can I do to make things better. Every single one of us can change the world. It just depends whether we want to or not. Every single one of us can impact a life. It just depends whether we give a shit or not. At the end of the day, the amazing thing is that if we do live a hundred years, it’s nothing compared to eternity. Think about that.
We go through life and we play with eternity every day of our lives. If we’re told that we’ve got cancer and that we’re going to die, and we have our whole family’s fortunes but if we can spend it, we can live another 30-40 years, we’d do that and leave our family behind with nothing or struggle through the rest of those 30-40 years because of that human greed to take care of oneself and not give a damn about anybody else. If I am told tomorrow that I’ve got cancer, I’m going to die, trust me, I’ll do everything I can to get healthy and to live longer but I’m not going to suffer one bit.
I’m not going to drop one tear and I sure as hell not going to spend the money that I want my wife to have financial security because I’ve lived a good life, and I do believe that I’m going to see my parents again. When my dad died, he died in my arms. For me to go through life believing that I won’t see the man that I love the most, really honestly, it’s not worth living.
Therefore, that’s just how I live my life. I go through life and I go through it day by day, do the best that I can every day, mess up constantly when I do. I ask for forgiveness. I ask for help. One time I wanted to be the best husband in the world. I wanted to be the best father, the best friend, best Christian. Then I realized, a good friend of mine, Phil Nagel, said to me, “Well, it’s impossible to be the best.” We used to have accountability sessions and we used to meet once every three weeks and have lunch. I would share my heart with him.
I said, “I’m so frustrated because I want to be the best and I keep screwing up.” He said, “Because it’s impossible for you to want to be the best. Now, here’s the formula that works for me. Every day, I simply say a prayer. I want to be just a little better husband, just a little better father, just a little better son, just a little better friend. Guess what? A little better, I can be. If I’m a little better every day, then one day I’ll be a hell of a lot much better.”
We go through this world and we think about ourselves when in reality, it is just a passing moment. I think about the first time I was arrested. I was 23 years old. I’m 64 now. It’s unbelievable. For me, I look back and think about the crazy things that I did, a kid that was a nerd, a kid that had drawn specific lines that he would never cross, a kid that was brought up with great principles with a great mother, and a great father. You know, I just destroyed them all.
Why? For the lure of the fleeting moment. That moment where evil people prosper and the good suffer. But it was just for a moment because eventually, I lost it all. Eventually, I had to go through a really hard desert in my life. But for whatever reason, now that I had given my life, I had fallen in love with the Jewish carpenter, all of a sudden, my life had meaning, my life had a purpose.
I didn’t know how many years I was going to live, I didn’t know if I was going to get out of prison or not but I knew one thing, that wherever I lived on this earth, I was going to live it with purpose. I was just not going to let a day go by that could not be just a little better and do just a little better. Think about your life. In those moments of darkness, have faith. Trust that there’s a God of the universe. Again. Whether you're Muslim, Jewish, he’s one God. There is the God of the universe. For me, his name is Jesus but for you, whatever makes you happy, but just have faith and believe that God loves you because, for me, he loved me so much that he gave his only son to die for me.
Right now, my son came to me to do a neat, little project that I’m going to be sharing with you in the following days on my YouTube channel. He’s an aspiring filmmaker, and he’s been thinking about being part of this. Next year there’s going to be a documentary about my life, or a docu-series or a mini-series, and he came up with the idea that I thought was really good. Actually, it was enlightened by Billy Corben of Rakontur Studios who did Cocaine Cowboys. That is to tell my story through his eyes.
My son, Estevan, who’s a wholesome kid, a good kid, a holy kid, he knows one side of his father. The father that left his company and moved his family to Mexico so I could go to all his little league games, so I could go to all his swim meets when he was doing Ironkids, so I could go to all his golf games when he played golf. The father that made him breakfast, took him to school and picked him up from school. That’s the father he knows. The father that adores his mother. The father that told him, “Son, you're going to be the husband I am. You're going to pick a wife like your mother.”
That’s how important I live my life. The father has invested a lot of time in his life and very, very close to him. He’s going to tell a story but then there is another father that he did not know. Another father that was this infamous drug lord, that didn’t give a shit about anybody, anything, just power, money, greed. He’s going to try really hard to tell those two stories. In the meantime, there’s a lot of people that I’m getting a lot of questions about my life.
How do I live now, what do I do? Because the interesting thing is that if we look at Pablo Escobar, El Chapo, or any of those, we don’t know what their lives would have been after the drug world or after being a kingpin or a drug lord because they're either dead or in prison. I was blessed to have another chance, life and to redefine myself, to reinvent myself, and to become someone different.
I get a lot of emails, and also, I urge you, listeners, if you have any questions, send me an e-mail. I answer all my emails personally. I get a lot of questions about the life I lived, and he gets those questions from some of his friends. He came up to me and said, “Hey, dad, let’s do a blog about a week in the life of Jorge Valdes, and show the world how this guy who lived the most lavish, exotic, extravagant life, today is happy living just a simple life.” So, he follows me around and takes clips of the things I do in the morning, walking the dog, praying, we play cards every day after dinner. We play cards as a family. We play Uno. I’m trying to cheat so I can win. Still a little bit of a gangster in me, I guess.
Then we’ll watch one movie or one show. We love America’s Got Talent because we see how some people are just living out their dreams. Then my wife and I retire to our bedroom and we read, go to bed by 10 o’clock. 10.30 I’m asleep because at 4:30, no matter how much I want to sleep late, damn it, I just can’t. 4:30 my eyes open like an owl. That’s our daily life.
We do different things as a family. Just simple things because we find joy in those simple things. I hope you enjoy. By no way or no means, I want to be the next Kardashians. We just simply want to show the world that, listen, even someone who had all the power in the world and lived a life that very few would ever dream of living, can find joy, happiness, and true love in living a simple life. I always say the wealthiest in this world is not the one that has the most; actually, it’s he or she that needs the least.
Thank you for listening today to the Narco Mindset podcast. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, follow us, go to my website at www.jorgevaldesphd.com. If you join our community, you get a free copy of the book. If you send me an email, I will answer. You can listen to our podcast, you can listen to our YouTube. Follow my writings. I’m constantly writing. I’m constantly posting blogs, doing the podcast, doing the Narco Mindset Weekly Edition, which is just something short, and then also my new book, really my life’s work.
Here’s one thing, my last work, Narco Mindset Journal, you can find it on the www.narcomindset. It’s amazing because how long did it take me to do it? I tell people it took me about three months and a lifetime because what it is, is it was something that was urged to me by my middle son, Alex, who has really sought my counsel a lot. I’ve shared with his principles in life that have helped me get to where I am in life, that helped me overcome prison, that helped me overcome tortures, that helped me overcome poverty coming from Cuba and building an unbelievable empire, that helped me overcome losing everything that I had and at the same time, rebuilding, earning a Ph.D., building a multi-million dollar international company.
You know, the mindset because how we look at the world. It doesn’t matter what we see, what matters is how. The mindset that says I have no fear. The mindset that says, I don’t even know what the word is ‘I can’t’. To me what’s important is ‘how can I’? It’s 12 weeks, and it helps you to recreate yourself, to reinvent yourself, to begin to look at the world a lot different, to look at the world with success, with power, no fear. At the end of the 12 weeks, it’s a surprise.
It will help you create code. Do you live by a code? Is there a code that you live by that will define who you are as a person? That will tell the world what you would do every day in your life no matter what? Whether you're tortured, whether you're beaten, you're shot at, whether you go to prison. Do you have that code? I do. I’ll share that code with you at the end of the Narco Mindset Journal. It’s fascinating, it’s exciting.
There's a lot of things that are happening, a lot of things that we’re getting ready to do. Just follow us. If you have nothing else better to do, perhaps you'll learn something. Perhaps you'll find something. Perhaps I’ll share a story that will bring peace to your life and into your heart.
If you're struggling with anything, send me an e-mail. I promise you, I will answer it myself. My staff will give it to me, and my executive assistant, Mary Fernandez, receives all the e-mails, and she makes sure that I answer every single one. If you take the time to write to me, I’ll take the time to write back to you. God bless you, have a wonderful time. Again, subscribe to our channel, share our social media with all your friends. The way that we built a cartel, let’s build a community that can change the world for good. God bless you.
OUTRO: We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.