Episode 105: Emily Fletcher – zivaONLINE

Episode 105: Emily Fletcher – zivaONLINE

Have you tried meditation and thought it wasn’t for you? It actually might not have been meditation, says Emily Fletcher. At 22, Emily Fletcher was a successful Broadway actor; by 26, she was an insomniac going gray. Meditation rescued her from stress and transformed her life. Now, she’s bringing a powerful but relatively uncommon meditation practice to the world through her company, zivaONLINE. Discover the difference between mindfulness and meditation, how to break free of I’ll-be-happy-when syndrome, and the surprising benefits to your relationship meditation can have. Listen here.

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Website: zivaONLINE
Bio: Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation and the creator of zivaONLINE. Ziva’s mission is to make meditation attractive, accessible and easy to adopt into modern life. Recently featured in The New York Times, named top 100 women in wellness to watch and regarded as one of the leading experts in meditation for performance, Emily has been invited by companies like Google, Barclays Bank & sweetgreen to help improve company performance through meditation.

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Transcript

Peter: Welcome to the Bregman Leadership Podcast. I’m Peter Bergman, your host and CEO of Bregman Partners. This podcast is part of my mission to help you get massive traction on the things that matter most.

With us today is Emily Fletcher. I have to say this has been the most enjoyable podcast to prepare for that I’ve had. Emily teaches a class called zivaONLINE. She runs Ziva. It’s a meditation program. She’s spoken at Google, she’s spoken at Harvard Business School, she’s taught over 7,000 people to meditate. Her background is not one of having been raised as a monk in India, meditating as a celibate. She was on Broadway for 10 years before coming to meditation, and I have to say even beginning to learn meditation with her, it was a little bit of a disconnect for me, because she’s an unlikely person to suddenly be teaching meditation, in my view, having done a lot of meditation myself. I’ve done 10-day Silent Buddha’s Meditation Retreats, I’ve studied meditation in Seminary, I’ve been doing meditation for years. What I want to say is that this course, this two weeks of online actually meditating with Emily has profoundly deepened, and actually transformed any kind of meditation that I’m doing.
It took me by surprise, because I was not expecting that, and I’m not entirely even sure what happened. So I want to unpack that in this conversation. But without further ado Emily, welcome to the Bregman Leadership Podcast.

Emily: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been so excited about doing this, because you’ve actually done the program, and I’m so excited to hear about your experience. Especially, because you have so much other meditation training. So I think this’ll be really enlightening for me and hopefully for everyone listening as well.

Peter: Okay. So you nailed it, right? In my view, you nailed it. It’s the most fun I’ve had preparing for a podcast, and it’s had a huge impact on me personally. It’s a two-week course, and then it’s now been another week, and I’ve been doing it religiously. Religiously as in a disciplined way.

I’m curious to hear what the magic formula is, and I want to go back in a minute and talk about your background and things like that, but what makes this so different? I have a hard time putting my finger on it, because I’ve done Mindfulness, and Mantra Meditation, and elements of this, but there’s something that has made it incredibly deep for me.

Emily: Right.

Peter: And I don’t know if you know what that is, but if you do, I’d like you to tell us?

Emily: Sure. Well, I think that there are a few elements to it. It’s just like baking a really delicious cake. It’s not just the eggs, it’s not just the sugar, it’s not just the flour, and probably your listeners don’t eat any of those things, but you have to have high quality ingredients across the board, and the order which you put them in matters. The way that you mix them together matters, the temperature that you bake the cake, all that stuff matters. So I think we’re all looking for the one magic pill or the one secret sauce when it comes to meditation, because it’s simple. Right? Meditation is so simple so we think we should just be able to sit in a chair and close our eyes and magically be transported into some cosmic abyss, a black hole nothingness, but it is a skill, and it is a technique. And I believe that it requires some level of maturity and also specificity when teaching, and similarly when practicing.

What we created at Ziva is something called the Ziva technique, and it is a trifecta of like you said, mindfulness, meditation, and manifesting. Where this gets a little tricky is that a lot of people are using the words mindfulness and meditation as synonyms and so they get confused. They’ll try and practice meditation, but they’re trying to do focusing techniques of mindfulness. Or vise versa, they’re trying to reach some cosmic enlightenment or different states of consciousness while they’re doing mindfulness, and then it ends up being counterproductive or just frustrating.

I think a lot of it with zivaONLINE, I wanted to make it a balance of intellectual training and experience. Meaning, the intellect has to know enough to keep getting your buns in the chair. You have to have an intellectual understanding so that it makes sense to you so that you can move past your resistance, which we all have. But then you also have to have this simultaneous increase in consciousness, and that really is happening through an experiential thing in the body. By giving the body very deep rest, and what’s providing that is a combination of the technique itself, which is all about effortlessness and ease, and the specific mantras that we use in zivaONLINE.

Peter: So I find it interesting. In fact, before we go deeper, why don’t you give us a distinction between mindfulness and meditation and manifestation, because I think that’ll help ground the conversation and then we’ll move on from there?

Emily: Sure. When most people hear the word meditation, especially people who don’t have any training yet, they’re thinking of what I would call actually mindfulness. So most of the Apps out there, most of the YouTube videos, most guided visualizations, most of the drop-in studios, they’re practicing some flavor of what I would call mindfulness.

Now that word mindfulness is relatively recent. It didn’t really exist until Jon Kabat-Zinn came back from Tibet in India, and I think it was the late ’50s, early ’60s, and started teaching what were largely Buddhist practices. Not exclusively, but largely Buddhist practices, but he took out the Buddhist nomenclature so that it wouldn’t feel scary or freak out middle American, corporate, Christian folks in the U.S. And I think we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jon Kabat-Zinn for the work that he’s done, because I feel like he’s really moved the needle and introduced these relaxation practices and mindfulness in a way in the U.S. that maybe wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for him. I’m very grateful to that work.

Now where this gets a little confusing is that mindfulness, as we understand it in the West, are derivations of monastic practices. Meaning that these techniques were largely designed originally for monks, and they require a lot more focus, they require a lot more discipline, and this is why a lot of people think that meditation is hard, because they’re doing adaptations of techniques that were not made for them. They’re doing adaptations of techniques that were designed to be done in monasteries with people who don’t live in society, versus the foundation of the meditation that I teach in Ziva is, even though it’s a 6,000-year-old practice, it was designed for people with busy minds and busy lives. It was actually designed to be integrated into your life to make you better at life.

Most people think that whatever monks are doing, it must be so much more powerful, because they’re monks. They’ve gotta be vibrating or levitating or something, but it’s actually the other way around. If you have a job and kids and stuff to do, you have less time in your day with which to meditate. So you wanna do a practice. This is gonna go in and really give your body deep, healing rest so that you can be more awake and more productive in the rest of your life.

Basically, what we do at Ziva is that we use mindfulness.I didn’t really define the two so let me just do that. Mindfulness I would define as the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment. Quite simple, quite beautiful. The art of bringing your awareness into the present moment, and we could all do that right now. I could say “Alright everyone, let’s take a breath in through the nose for two, and we’ll do this, and out through the mouth for four. Again, in through the nose for two, and just feeling that sensation as you inhale and out through your mouth for four.” And that would be a beautiful mindfulness tool of bringing yourself into the body, into the right now. Bringing your awareness into the here and now, which is a beautiful and powerful practice. But mindfulness techniques are keeping you more in your left brain, more in your waking state, and they are more about directing your focus. This is why guided visualizations, counting your breath, visualizing your Chakra, imagining this waterfall. These are all left brain, waking-state practices.

We use mindfulness almost like a runway, as an appetizer into the main course of the Ziva technique, which is meditation.

Peter: How long are you doing mindfulness before you get into the meditation piece?

Emily: When people are first starting, like a few minutes. Like I have people who are quite deliberate about the mindfulness in the beginning, but eventually, once your body starts to understand the art and the beauty of the surrender that is meditation, then you become a little less dependent on that runway.

Peter: So you can jump right in?

Emily: Yeah. Most people once the body understand meditation, and you start to pave those neural groves in the brain, simply having the intention to meditate becomes enough. So you don’t necessarily find yourself as dependent on the mindfulness tools. But they still are relevant like for your waking state for the times that you’re not meditating. You know, if you’re in traffic, or if you want to punch somebody in the face, or your kids is being a ding dong, those are really nice times to practice mindfulness, because that’s something that you can do in the now.

Peter: It actually answers one of my questions, because I notice a lot of the 15-minute meditations were 25 minutes long, and I think it’s because you’re counting the meditation piece itself as 15 minutes, and then you’ve got this runway, and then I guess, a landing strip of sorts.

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. So if we can sort of condense that a little bit. I mean, you can do it as time allows.

Peter: Right.

Emily: So the practice for everyone is 15 minutes twice a day which is what I recommend once you have the training. So that was mindfulness. It’s more of a left brain, waking state, directing your focus, and it’s very good at dealing with your stress in the right now.

Peter: Right.

Emily: Versus meditation is all about giving your body deep rest, and that rest gets rid of stress from your past. Most people have not experienced what I would call meditation, because you’re actually accessing a verifiable full state of consciousness. Something that’s different than waking, sleeping, or dreaming, and in this state of consciousness, the right and left hemispheres of the brain start to function in unison, and when I say you’re giving your body deep rest, it actually is somewhere between two to five times deeper than sleep, and we know that because your metabolic rate decreases, your heart rate slows, and your body temperature cools. And so when you give your body the rest that it needs, it knows how to heal itself, and one of the things that it heals itself from is stress. So the meditation’s not only dealing with your stress in the right now, but it’s actually getting rid of all that stress that we’ve been storing in our cellular memories, and that is the very mechanism that allows you to make such progress in the rest of your life. That’s the thing that allows you to be better at your job, better with our kids, better at creativity and intuition.

Peter: That’s what I actually found so interesting, which is I think in all my meditation in the past. A thought comes up and now I know I shouldn’t be focusing on my thoughts, I should be focusing on my breath, right? Because I guess I’m doing mindfulness when I think I’m meditating. But I’m focusing on my breath, and a thought comes to me, and I think about the thought for a minute, and I think “I know I’m not supposed to think about a thought, but huh, isn’t that interesting. That’s the third time a thought like this has come up. This must be an area of my life I’ve got to log in my head to deal with later because I’m starting to see trends.” And I would emerge from the meditation not particularly relaxed, but feeling like I’ve gotten a bunch of insights.

What you talk about, and gave me permission to do, which I found very, very interesting, not only for meditation, but for so many elements of life is to in effect have something come up, and make a decision not to deal with it. Right? It’s something that those of us who are out there, and who are leading, and who are ambitious, and who are type A, we deal with stuff. We’re used to dealing with things. So the idea of having something come up, and then think “Oh, I’m letting it go.”is literally what everybody says about meditation but never does. Which is to say, just come back to the breath, and I think what helps me to do it with you is your framing it just the way you framed it, which is it that these thoughts are stress leaving the body, and if you hold onto them, and you start to analyze them, you’re actually stopping them from leaving the body. And when I think about the corollary of that to life, like when there’s an issue, sometimes you have to deal with it. But if there’s an issue you could actually let go of, and you deal with it, you’re holding onto that issue and you’re not letting it go. You’re keeping that stress in your life.

I found it both fundamentally interesting from an existential standpoint, and also purely from a meditation standpoint, incredibly useful.

Emily: And you see it so much more effortless. I think there’s less for you to have to do.

Peter: Right.

Emily: ‘Cause if you think about it, when you go to sleep at night, you’re not doing anything, and yet your body’s running a whole host of maintenance operations. You’re not telling your liver to clean, you’re not telling our skin to let go of old cells, that just happens. Similarly, we’re not doing anything in this style of meditation. There’s some conditions we need to have the rest, but body heals itself, and it’s a preverbal, precognitive level. So this is not therapy. So it’s not like “Oh, I’m thinking about my parents’ divorce. Let me deal with my parents’ divorce.” That’ what therapy’s for. This is actually healing things on a cellular level so that you are actually eradicating that stress from your nervous system.

Peter: Right. Right. It’s really fantastic. Okay. And then that meditation is mantra based. I don’t know if in a sentence or two you can tell me why mantra-based meditation works to do that versus mindfulness?

Emily: Sure.

Basically, and it’s tricky, because not all mantra-based meditation is the same. Some mantra-based meditation is still what I would consider mindfulness. It’s still your focusing on something. If the mantras are very long, or if you’re chanting, or singing, or if the mantras have very specific meaning, and you’re focusing on the meaning, that kicks it over into mindfulness. Whereas, we are using specific mantras, but we also use them in a very effortless way, and so they almost become like anchors. It is the mantra that acts as the key to the car and really helps to de-excite the nervous system, and it’s the sound quality of the mantras that do that.

There’s a whole branch of science called Cymatics, which is the science of sound. Just like if you were listening to like a cello or your favorite song, that would affect the cells in your body in a certain way versus if you were listening to like death metal rap or something that you don’t like, and it would affect your cells in a different way. Similarly, the mantras can either excite or de-excite the nervous system. So all we’re really doing is inducing rest. You do that, body knows how to heal itself.

Peter: It’s almost like self-hypnosis as you’re describing it, no?

Emily: I mean, I’ve only done one hypnosis session.

Peter: I never have. So I’m talking really with no knowledge.

Emily: And I did just have a hypnotist take my class last week, and she was please come do a session, because she’s like there’s so many parallels. I don’t know enough to say if you are inducing hypnosis. I think it actually is a bit of different state of consciousness, but the difference is that you become self-sufficient with this. You don’t need someone else to do it for you.

Peter: Got it. Okay. Give us a minute on the manifesting just to round out the triangle?

Emily: Yeah. Like I said, the Ziva technique is a trifecta. The three Ms. Mindfulness, meditation, and manifesting. And the manifesting is like the dessert of the course, and that word manifesting gets a bad rap, especially with high performer, high achievers, leaders, because people think “Well, oh, you just want me to sit around and secret my dreams, or get high and play video games. I have to work for a living.” Me too. Right? I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a hustler, I like making things happen in my life, and that to me is the whole point of manifesting.

It’s consciously creating a life that you love. It’s taking the time to actually get specific about what it is that you wanna create in your life. And I’m amazed at how few people take the time to do this. Most of them are like “I just want more money. I want a boyfriend. I wanna lose weight.” And they just have these blanket sort of complaints versus getting very specific. If I want a residual income of this much, I want this type of relationship, I wanna have this type of relationship with my body, to really give themselves permission to live in the dream long enough to, I call it, place the order with the cosmic waitress at the cosmic restaurant.

Peter: It’s great. And actually I’m one of those people who has some judgment around the secret and the sort of what people call magical thinking to some degree. And yet, I think it’s the section on manifesting, what that’s done for me too is forced me to get clear about some things that I am looking for, but haven’t necessarily gotten clear on, and I have found it to be useful too.

Emily: Great. And if you take this into like an entrepreneurial analogy, if you’re running a company, if you don’t ever take the time to get clear on what your core strategic objectives are, if you don’t know what your KPIs are for quarter one, you’re not gonna know if you’re succeeding for failing. So taking the time to do this manifesting work is basically just making personal KPIs. It’s like what exactly do I wanna create in my life.

Peter: Right. Let’s take, not a commercial break, but a big break in a very different kind of way than most people mean big breaks. Give us a sentence on how you got to meditation? You were in the Chorus Line literally, and you somehow have found yourself to be a meditation teacher. Give us a quick version of the journey?

Emily: Yeah. I was on Broadway for 10 years. My last show was Chorus Line. I was understudying three of the lead roles, which means you show up to the theater with no idea which character you’re gonna play. It’s a lot of people’s nightmare. I was living my life in this constant state of anxiety, starting going gray at 26, had insomnia for 18 months, was getting sick and injured, and I was miserable. Then I found meditation, and it cured my insomnia on the first day of the first class, and I’ve slept through the night every night since. That was almost 11 years ago. Then I stopped getting sick. I didn’t get sick for 8 1/2 years. I stopped going gray. I’m 38 years old now. I have like two gray hairs. I was legitimately going gray at 27, and my whole life got better, and I was basically like “I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t do this.”

I left Broadway. I went to India. I trained for three years to be a teacher, and then I opened up Ziva about 5 1/2 years ago.

Peter: That’s great. You said anytime you look for happiness outside of you, it’s an addiction. I think that’s an interesting statement. You talk about bringing fulfillment to your work, and it’s fulfillment looking for need as opposed to need looking for fulfillment. And I think everybody on the surface conceptually would agree. Look, I’m not going to find happiness in the new car, increased income, or the new M & A deal that I’m trying to make, and that’s not why I’m doing it, but in fact, I think most of us actually do look outside for happiness. What’s the difference between finding joy and happiness in things outside versus looking for happiness in those things? Do you understand that distinction? It’s a subtle distinction I’m making. I’d love for you to talk just a bit about that, and then also how meditation helps it?

Emily: Sure. Anytime you perform altruistic acts, like if you donate money, or help someone, or help a friend, or volunteer, it gives you a hit of dopamine, which is a bliss chemical, and that same bliss chemical dopamine, you release it within 30-45 seconds of practicing this style of meditation.

Peter: Is that in the meditation portion or the mindfulness portion?

Emily: In the meditation portion.

Emily: Because most of us don’t have a self-sufficient or repeatable means by which to access bliss and fulfillment internally, we know it must exist, and so we think if I can’t find it inside, then it must be out here. And if it wasn’t in my last boyfriend, well, then it must be in my next, and if it wasn’t in my first Broadway show, well, then it must be in my next one, or my next one. I mean, this was my life. I thought since I was nine years old, I was living in what I call the “I’ll be happy when” syndrome, which is the mistaken belief that you can somehow acquire our way to fulfillment. And I thought since I was nine that once I got on Broadway, my whole life would be sunshine and roses. Three weeks after my first Broadway show was the saddest I’d ever been. Because I realized at a pretty young age that I was interested more in the happiness of pursuit than I was the pursuit of happiness.

Peter: So explain that distinction? That feels important.

Emily: Yeah. I think most of us are pursuing happiness. We think we can acquire, that some goal out there on the other side of some person, place, or thing. I can’t say I realized this at 22, but I had a life experience that delivered the lesson at 22, because I literally achieved my lifelong dream at 22, and I wasn’t happy. Whereas, a lot of people won’t achieve it ’til they’re 40, 50, 60, and so they just have more decades of believing the story, of believing the myth or the lie, so I realized that once I got on Broadway, it felt like my goal had been taken away from me, and I didn’t know what to work towards. So I was able to see viscerally that I was more happy when I was actually in the happiness of pursuit. I loved going after it. I loved the actual pursuit was the thing.

Peter: So recognizing that your happiness is in pursuing something as opposed to getting it?

Emily: Well, that was one lesson. That was like part one I would say of the lesson. And then when I learned to meditate, I realized, ’cause I use to pride myself on being a seeker. You know, you name the self-help book, I read it. You name the methodology, I did it. I was always the next hot, self-help thing, I was into it, and I did what I call software upgrades for a decade. And it wasn’t until I found meditation that I was able to upgrade my hard drive. I was able to actually defrag the brain computer so that I could actually start running all this fancy software I had accumulated. All of this is a little bit I’d say different from the fundamental question of this idea of are you need looking to be fulfilled? Or are you fulfillment looking for need?

Esoterically, what’s happening is that you’re able to experience like on a visceral level what every spiritual text has been saying since the beginning of time. What you seek is in you. The kingdom of heaven is within. Right? Like literally every spiritual text of any merit, this is at the core of its teaching, and we all get that intellectually. But it wasn’t until I started meditating that I was able to actually feel that viscerally every day, twice a day.

Like I said, earlier, what’s happening chemically is within 30-45 seconds of you starting this, you actually flood your brain and your body with dopamine and serotonin, which are bliss chemicals, and that feels nice when it’s happening, but if that’s all it did for you, it’d be no better than any other drug. But what happens is that you access that bliss and fulfillment internally during the meditation, then when you come out of it, that serotonin and that dopamine sticks around for a little while. It actually changes the lens through which you see the rest of your life. It wipes some of that longing away from your lens of perception, which allows you to see things more accurately for what they are, and then it allows you to start to see. here can I contribute? Where can I deliver my fulfillment? Where can I give?

Then what I found is that the paradoxical thing that happens is that all those jobs, all the money, all the people you wanna sleep with, all that stuff starts to show up by accident, because people wanna hire happy people, and people wanna sleep with happy people.
Peter: We’re getting close on time here, but the reason I originally wanted to have you on the show is a friend of mine, Howie Jacobson, ] had you on his Podcast, and he said “Oh, you know, there’s this interesting woman I’ve had on the Podcast”, and I said “Send me a video or something.” And he sent me, it might have been the Google talk or it might have been another talk, I can’t remember, but here’s what I found interesting and you just alluded to it. Which is that just by saying sleeping with me. All right. You just alluded to this idea of meditation is gonna help you, make you more attractive, help you have better sex kind of thing, and you gave this talk. That’s what it was. It was a talk about how meditation can help you have better sex. I’m sure I’m paraphrasing, but maybe not by much.

Emily: No.

Peter: And what I found interesting is, and this is a little bit off the topic of meditation, but not entirely, is I really respected, and I think a lot of leaders have this challenge of speaking about the undiscussable, about being willing to say something, or speak something that is generally outside the norm of the arena that people are playing in of what is usually said, but willing to say it. And I really appreciated and respected your willingness to do that.

Now, the answer might be you’re doing it for audiences who are very, very open to that, and so it’s easy. I don’t know if that’s true, but I think there’s something to learn from your willingness to approach both meditation and how you show up around meditation in a way that is different than other people normally do, and might be judged by other people. My next book is called “Leading with Emotional Courage” and there might be other elements of the emotional cards. The willingness to feel stuff in order to do stuff, and I’m curious if you could talk to that?

Emily: Sure. I started talking about meditation and sex out of necessity, because so many of my students started coming to me and saying “Emily, I know you made a joke at the intro talk about meditation making you better in bed, but this is nuts. This is crazy. This is animalistic.” I had a woman who had never orgasmed ever in her life. First week of her meditation career had her first orgasm. I have women who have been infertile who doctors wouldn’t even do IVF on them, and then after a year and a half of meditation, they have the egg counts and the follicle counts of 18 year olds. And that’s just the sort of hard data that I have. That’s not to speak of the whole mirror neuron phenomenon where you start to become more intuitive and more generous. And if you look at like the ailments around sex that are preventing people from the type of and the kind of sex that they want, it’s usually stress, migraines, tiredness, and meditation cures all of those almost immediately for most people.

So it’s like you’re taking away that exhaustion, that stress, which the body doesn’t wanna reproduce when it’s in fight or flight. You know, the last thing it wants to do is procreate when it’s not even sure if this vessel will survive.

Peter: Right.

Emily: Most of my students just started coming to me, and because most of the popular styles of meditation right now, like I said, are derivations of monastic practices, and most monks are celibate. They are reclusive by nature, that we associate meditation with Monasticism or being a recluse. But the style of meditation that I teach is not for monks. It’s for what we would call householders in India, which means people who do live in society. So there’s not shame in talking about sex and meditation in the same sentence, because it’s something that is designed to make you better at life.

I would also say that I teach a lot of Millennials, Millennial entrepreneurs, and so there is a totally different vocabulary and freedom around sex. There is not the taboo that I find in a lot of other generations. There’s actually a hunger to talk about it in ways that are open and equal and empowering. And I think because I am one of the few female, real leaders in this space, that’s another interesting opportunity to speak about it from a female perspective, whereas I come from a largely male-dominated tradition. But to speak as far as like the potential ridicule or backlash, that hasn’t really come around the sex part of it, but it definitely came around creating an online course. I was really surprised at the blow back around that, but like the purists and I’ve been kicked out of tribes, and kicked out of networks, and people won’t associate with me anymore.

Peter: Because it’s an online course and not an in-person course?

Emily: That’s right. And I’ve been pretty amazed. Because the one I made, not zivaONLINE, but our first course, was actually the world’s first online meditation training, and so I got a lot of blow back around it. I wish I could say it didn’t affect me or whatever, but it was very sad. I was very hurt, and it just felt confusing to me, because my only mission, my only intention was to share these tools and to help people, and I spent years making a program that I thought was safe enough to put online to where people weren’t like you’re not giving toddlers torches. The tools are safe enough to where if someone’s dealing with severe anxiety or depression, it’s not gonna be overwhelming for them if they don’t have face-to-face support.

Peter: Right.

Emily: I just took so much care in putting into that, but that part was tricky, but I think it sort of forged me as a leader.

Peter: But it’s interesting because there’s so many meditation Apps and people giving lectures, and talking you through meditations, and the Tara Brach’s of the world who are, I think, when you say not a lot of women, there’s a woman who’s a senior level Buddhist meditation teacher, and who has a lot of stuff online.

Emily: Yes. And here’s the difference. Tara Brach is amazing. I think she’s such an incredible speaker, and she’s speaking largely about Buddhism, right? And so these are more of the monastic practices versus these householder practices that have been a lot more esoteric. They’ve been a lot more under wraps. That’s why they’re not nearly as public. Most of the Apps too are mindfulness, right? Because the monastic tools are a bit gentler. These things have been deemed safer to be put out into the masses versus the more householder practices that have been a little more under wraps.

Peter: Right. It’s so interesting. We are talking with Emily Fletcher. She’s a meditation teacher, has created an online meditation training, as well as an in person meditation training in New York and LA. I took the course, which is why we’re having the conversation. zivaONLINE. Why don’t you do a quick pitch here for people who are interested from this conversation that might wanna either connect with you or connect with zivaONLINE to do a meditation training.

Emily: Yeah. One thing I’ll say is that this is not an App, it’s not a challenge. It actually is a training designed to make you self-sufficient. Meaning, that once you graduate from the 15-day training, you don’t need me anymore. You won’t be reliant on my voice or wifi or finger symbols or patchouli or incense in order to meditate. All you need is just to close your eyes and do it.

Peter: I wanna say just as an attestation to that, I don’t know if you’re gonna like this or dislike this, but I’m now meditating 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening, and yesterday was just a crazy day, and so I ended doing my 20-minute meditation while getting haircut. I just shut my eyes, and the guy was cutting my hair, and I figured it takes him about 25 minutes or so, so that’s my timer, and when he tells me I’m done, I’m done. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

Emily: I say good for you. Bravo. You put it in. This thing is designed to be integrated into a busy life. I’ve done it at many a pedicure salon. Yeah, you just get it in, and you don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Peter: That’s good.

Emily: So yeah. Once you graduate, like you said, you can do it at the hair salon, you can do it on a plane, on a bus, at your office, with your kids screaming in the next door. You don’t have to have perfect silence to do this, and it’s only 15 minutes twice a day. And once you graduate, and you have a little more time, you can do more, but the course can be found at Zivameditation.com/online, and you can actually choose your own start date.

The first three days are mindfulness training, and day four through thirteen, that’s really the meat and potatoes of the program, that’s the meditation training, and then days 13-15, we do the dessert, the manifesting. The cool thing is that you can choose how long you wanna have access to the videos. It’s not like after 15 days it goes away. You could either have access for six months or a year or unlimited, which means just as long as the course exists. And as you know, we have a really beautiful online community as well, which I’m in every day, my Ziva guides are in there, a bunch of people who are training to be teachers with me, and so not only do you have the support from me, but also this beautiful, global community of meditators. And really our job, our mission is to make this stuff accessible, attractive and to support you along your meditation journey.

Peter: Awesome. Emily, thank you so much for being on the Bregman Leadership Podcast.

Emily: It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me, and I look forward to seeing you in person soon, and hopefully, meeting some of your listeners.

Peter: I look forward to it too.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Bregman Leadership Podcast. If you did, it would really help us if you subscribe on iTunes, and leave a review. A common problem that I see in companies is a lot of busyness, a lot of hard work that fails to move the organization as a whole forward. That’s the problem that we solve with our Big Arrow Process. For more information about that or to access all of my articles, videos, and podcasts, visit PeterBregman.com.

Thank you Clare Marshall for producing this episode and thank you for listening.


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  • Amanda Jones February 14, 2018 Reply

    Hi Emily, is there a connection between insomnia and greying? I always thought I grew prematurely grey entirely due to genetics. On the other hand my greying seemed to accelerate after having babies during the breastfeeding (interrupted sleep) phase. Any connection in your view? Did meditation slow or reverse the greying?

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