In celebration of May’s National Meditation Month, I thought it would only be fitting to go straight to the mediation source for this month’s Peacemaker spotlight. It is our true desire for everyone reading this blog to incorporate a daily meditation practice into your lives. This month’s Peacemaker, Emily Fletcher of Ziva Meditation, was a catalyst to truly cementing my meditation practice into my life.
About a year ago I felt called to sign up for Emily’s three-day meditation course. I truly knew it was everything that I needed, and what I was looking for to benefit my spiritual practice. The three days I spent with Emily in this training changed my life. Emily’s charisma, wide-ranging knowledge, and crystal clear guidance made meditation something I was excited about, and something that I truly wanted to stick with for the rest of my life. This is why i just had talk with her and get some wisdom to bring to you. She’s life changing, and you must get to know her!
PMPL: What does the phrase Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life mean to you?
EF: If you have a peaceful mind, then a peaceful life will follow. The body is a physical out-picturing of every thought that we think, so is our life. It is impossible to live a rom-com of a life when you have a horror flick playing inside your mind.
Meditation is the fastest tool I know for creating a more peaceful mind. Interestingly the technique we use at Ziva has nothing to do with “quieting the mind.” Thoughts are not the enemy of meditation, effort is. So if you have ever tried meditation and felt like a failure because you couldn’t quiet your mind, then you may dig the style we teach.
PMPL: At Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life we encourage people to find their daily practice, and
practice it. What are your every-day must do’s to stay balanced and centered?
#1 is obviously meditation. I do 20 min twice a day, non-negotiable. Sometimes more if I am teaching a lot. If you don’t yet have any training yet that amount may feel frustrating. If you are starting out on your own I would begin with about 5 min before breakfast or coffee.
I eat a lot of raw fat to keep my brain happy, drink hot water in between meals to reduce the acid in the system and I spend as much time as possible with my dog Mugsy.
I also have a morning routine that has been revelatory for me, you can see here.
PMPL: You often say that you should practice meditation to get good at life, not to get good at meditating. What are some of the most profound life benefits that you’ve
experienced since incorporating your meditation practice into your life?
EF: Meditation cured my insomnia of the first day of my first course. That alone was game changing. Since then it has reversed my gray hair, I haven’t been sick in 8 years, and I am happier than I have ever been.
PMPL: What is your best tip for carving out time in your schedule to meditate and what has been the key to keeping your meditation practice consistent?
EF: Make sure you start with training from someone you respect and find a technique you love. Many people think meditation is hard, those people usually don’t have any training. Meditation is like any other skill, it takes a bit of practice and a good teacher and then I promise it can be enjoyable.
The other not-so-secret secret is to schedule it! Put it on your calendar like you would a lunch date with your best friend or a meeting with your lawyer.
Take out your planner and schedule your meditations for the next 30 days. When your reminder goes off, treat it like it’s a work meeting: don’t press snooze or try to push it off. Just take the time for yourself, knowing that you’ll be refreshed— and in fact, more productive— on the other side.
PMPL: Anxiety and stress are major issues for many people right now. How does a meditation practice help counteract these feelings?
EF: The style of meditation that I teach at Ziva was actually designed to remove stress from the nervous system. When we meditate we de-excite the body, which has the opposite neurochemical effect of the stress response. So it dissolves physical sensations of anxiety and stress in the moment, but it also begins to remove the buildup of stress that we’ve accumulated over a lifetime. As we shed all of that accumulated stress, we start to feel a lot more capable of handling challenging situations. It’s not that the situations themselves are any different; it’s that our response to them is less stressful. I have many, many student who came to meditation specifically because their stress and anxiety were getting in the way of their lives, and today they report a drastic difference in how they experience high demand situations and day-to-day life.
PMPL: What is one of the more surprising benefits of a meditation practice?
EF: Believe it or not: great sex! Stress chemicals put a damper on your sex life. Meditation not only combats this by lowering cortisol levels, it helps heighten your senses, strengthen your sense of connectedness, and be more present in the moment. All of those things help kick your sex life into high gear. It can also make you more fertile. We have zivaBABIES popping up all over the place, so if you are not looking to get pregnant then take care.
PMPL: What is your favorite inspiring quote?
EF: What you seek is seeking you – Rumi
More About Emily:
Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation and the creator of zivaMIND, the world’s first online meditation training. Emily was inspired to teach after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits meditation provided her during her 10-year career on Broadway. Now regarded as one of the leading experts in meditation, Emily has helped over 1,600 high performing individuals integrate this practice into their fast-paced, modern lives.
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org