“Happiness is not a choice. It’s a byproduct of building and cultivating an inner strength so you can ‘be happy’ effortlessly — and without thought.”
I want to be happy. Everybody wants to be happy.
So why is it so hard to just be happy?
Many self-help gurus present happiness as a choice. The idea that happiness can be produced whenever we want, irrespective of circumstance. Simply learn to flick a certain mental switch and voila!
It’s an intoxicating idea. But is this axiom actually true?
Meet Light Watkins.
Friend, teacher and expert on mindfulness and meditation, Light proffers some interesting and perhaps somewhat controversial counterpoint perspectives on a question that deeply concerns all of us: how to best cultivate happiness?
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Beyond his beguiling good looks, Light Watkins is pretty much the coolest name ever. Right?
On a more earnest note, I would characterize Light as a generous, highly accessible and contemplative entrepreneur of mindfulness — always convivial, impressively composed, and quick with a laugh. He has been operating in the meditation space for over 15 years and has been teaching Vedic Meditation since 2003. He’s personally taught nearly 2,000 people to meditate, including bankers, artists, politicians, CEOs, care takers, educators, comedians, rock stars, students, and seekers of all kinds. He is the author of The Inner Gym: A 30-day Workout for Strengthening Happiness, a frequent blogger, TEDx speaker and founder of The Shine Movement. A mashup of TED, Hotel Café & The Self-Realization Fellowship, The Shine is an all volunteer organization that hosts periodic gatherings that use music, film, philanthropy and storytelling to inspire people to do more, give more, and be more.
We cover a lot of ground in this conversation, including:
- a primer on Vedic Meditation
- training consciousness like we train the body
- the importance of consistency in daily routines
- the distinction between knowledge & understanding
- Skepticism of new-age gurus & practices
- the image problem with meditation
- de-excitation of the mind through mantra
- the relationship between consciousness & restfulness
- the impact of meditation on insomnia
- the difference between biological and chronological time
- meditation impact on the fight or flight response; and
- strategies for strengthening happiness
Light inspires me. I love this guy. After listening, I think you will too. I sincerely hope you enjoy our exchange.
How do you cultivate happiness? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Peace + Plants,
Join Light Watkins over the New Year holiday for a choose your own adventure meditation retreat in Costa Rica from Dec 28th to Jan 3rd. For more information visit: beginmeditating.com/costarica
Background, Context & Reference:
- The Shine Movement: theshinemovement.org
- Begin Meditating: beginmeditating.com
- TEDxVeniceBeach: Debunking the 5 Most Common Meditation Myths
- YouTube: Light Watkins on How Meditation Works
- Medium: The Evolution of The Shine
- Medium: The New Success: How To Measure Success In The Millennial Era
- Medium: What It’s Like To Give a TED Talk by Light Watkins
- MindBodyGreen: Articles By Light Watkins
- MindBodyGreen: 4 Reasons This Meditation Teacher Won’t Do Ayahuasca
- The Inner Gym: A 30-Day Workout for Strengthening Happiness* by Light Watkins
- Youtube: The Backwards Brain Bicycle (SmarterEveryDay)
- CitizensOf Culture: Light Watkins: Meditation Master
- MindBodyGreen: NYC Is About To Make History With A Mass Meditation In Central Park
- Paramahansa Yogananda Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons
- Autobiography of a Yogi* by Paramahansa Yogananda
- TED: The Paradox Of Choice with Barry Schwartz
- Julie’s JAI Release Meditation Program
Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:
- Andy Puddicombe: Co-founder of Headspace
- Destin Sandlin: Host of Smarter Every Day
- Jesse Israel :Founder of Medi Club
- Thom Knoles & Charlie Knoles: Meditation gurus
- Russell Simmons: Co-founder of Def Jam
- Big Sean: Hip-hop recording artist
- 50-Cent: Hip-hop recording artist
- Kyle Cease: Comedian & public speaker
- Steve Glenn: CEO of LivingHomes
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
- RRP 043: Charlie Knoles: Mastering the Mind
- RRP 087: WuDe: Zen & The Art & Importance of Living Tea
- RRP 097: Dan Harris: 10% Happier With Meditation
- RRP 120: Michael Gervais: Masteriing Mindfulness In Sport & Life
- RRP 142: Andy Puddicombe: From Monk to Entrepreneur
- RRP 151: WuDe: Meditations on the Art of Being
Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.
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