A graduate of Harvard and Emory University, Jeffrey Siegel has studied neuroscience, education, mindfulness, and physical fitness. His work has led to help people make personal transformations in their life.
Jeff was first exposed to mindfulness in college, where he walked into a free session offered by the university. In his mindfulness practice, Jeff describes moments of having an incredible sense of wholeness, peacefulness, trust in self. He explains that the more you practice, the more you have the opportunity to experience it. He describes it as “Getting away from the background chatter. The white noise of our own mind just sort of calms down.” Jeff continued to explain that it is the experience is like feeling completely renewed, almost like a vacation, massage, or retreat.
In our conversation, Jeff reminded us that while it can provide tremendous opportunities for peace, relaxation, and to see deeper into oneself. Often times meditation doesn’t provide a big realization. Mindfulness is a practice, and one that take time to cultivate.
The first step in mindfulness or meditation is to be aware of your focus, being able to identify when your attention or focus begins to shift. Just having that asset as a leader supports your ability to be deliberate in what you mind is centered on.
Baby steps. Jeff explains that beginning a journey into meditation and mindfulness begins with small steps.
Magic Spot: Find a place where you can go, be with yourself, and to just write.
“This awesome little place where I can be with nature, and nature can be with me.”
Jeff’s spiritual practices started with taking long walks with his parents and discussed important things in life. Giving him a different perspective than most organized religions provide.
Jeff attended a Quaker High School, and an experience he had was a free and open share. That provided the opportunity of introspection, quiet time, and reflection, and to be open and to share that. These opportunities to be vulnerable provided the chance for students to be vulnerable and to share major moments of their life.
Adam’s Notes: These opportunities to reflect and share can be integrated into the workplace. Finding opportunities to allow people to share their deepest thoughts can provide the opportunity for growth.
Jeff struggled with an eating disorder, and it wasn’t until he was able to surrender to the support of those closest to him that he was finally able to get the help he needed.
“Every fault and falley has something incredible to teach us, and a lot of our personal issues whether they be with health, career, or relationship, are these windows into helping us evolve and we have to be willing to step into them and to look into explore them, but it’s really hard because they are often wrapped in a lot of pain, emotional charge, trauma, past memories. It is important to have someone you can trust to help you through them.”
Our discussion shifted to motivation understanding how we have so many influencers in our lives that push and pull our desires, and that as we grow we may slowly make our way towards a state of self-authorship. In this state we are capable of making our own decisions separate from the motivations of others.
Jeff described a few important mentors of his, one of which was his martial arts instructor who provided him the opportunity to teach as well. Giving him space, trust, and strength to come into his own by leading others.
Contemplative practices come in as many shapes and sizes, one.. “pause ground yourself in something beautiful, something that has its own natural architecture to it. The next step, think about someone you would like to share that experience with, can you call to mind someone you who would like to appreciate that beautiful flower with. What would it be like to stand next to that person and admire that flower with… my guess is that you have your flower on you. Take a selfie with the flower and send it to that person.”
“Connecting yourself to others, taking a moment to appreciate beauty, taking a moment to just get grounded in your senses and your body, to step away from whatever mental shenanigans you get yourself stuck in, a simple little practice.”
“Meditation mindfulness contemplative practices cultivate your ability to respond because they pull you out of that habitual autopilot conditioned way of living your life.”
You can learn more about Jeffrey Siegel at his website.
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