The Magic of Meditation: An Interview with Emily Kessler
We are excited to introduce , a meditation teacher, live event producer, and artist manager. Emily discovered meditation over five years ago as a way to deal with the stress and anxiety of her work in the music industry. Since then, she has made it her mission to make meditation and breathwork accessible and easy to understand so that more people can benefit from these truly helpful tools. We chatted with Emily to learn about her journey into meditation, how she prioritizes self-care, where she is finding inspiration lately, and more!
We would love to learn a little more about you! Where are you based? What do you do?I am currently based in Santa Cruz, California. I moved here with my fiancé about a year ago ◡̈ It’s absolutely beautiful. We live in a little Redwood cabin by the beach—it’s my first time ever living near the ocean and I love it. Before that I was in the eye of the storm in Brooklyn, NY for 7 years. I am currently straddling two worlds when it comes to my career. I am a meditation teacher & coach as well as an artist manager of an electronic band.
What inspired you to start meditating? What changes did you notice in yourself or how you interact with the world that made you fall in love with it and eventually begin teaching others?
I started meditating 5 and a half years ago. I was working a very demanding job in the music industry, feeling super stressed, super anxious and constantly burnt out. I felt like there had to be a better, easier, healthier way to live my life than how I was living it. I tried a lot of different styles of meditation before I found one —a style of mantra meditation—that felt like a fit and once I found something that clicked, it really clicked. I started practicing daily and it’s been the most important part of my life & greatest tool for my mental health ever since. I am not me without my morning meditation. It’s as necessary for me as brushing my teeth. When I first started, I immediately noticed a difference in how I was responding to the stress in my life. Instead of getting totally worked up about everything, feeling frazzled or always on edge I noticed I felt more patient, calmer & steadier. I started sleeping more deeply & waking up feeling better rested. I noticed I felt more creative, present & alive. My morning anxiety got SO much better, and overall I felt way less worried and anxious about life & way more hopeful, optimistic & joyful. And the benefits have only grown and grown and grown.
During COVID, when my work in the music industry slowed down, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to become certified to teach the technique that changed my life. After taking a 6 month teacher training course, I started off teaching just my friends and close family, and eventually opened up public and private courses worldwide. Ever since, it’s been my absolutely passion & purpose in life to show people that meditation can be a simple, intuitive tool that can easily fit into their already busy lives.
How do you prioritize taking care of yourself with work, daily life responsibilities, social activities, and countless other obligations? Do you have any tips for someone struggling to find the time to take care of themselves?This is one of my favorite things to talk about. I so deeply believe that we must care for ourselves, first and foremost, in order to show up for the people in our lives the way that we want to. My self care is deeply rooted in daily meditation. It’s my one, singe non negotiable. Everything else can fall to shit, but I haven’t missed more than a day or 2 of meditation in 5 years. I really try to prioritize my mornings - I like to get up early, meditate, make a matcha, and go for a walk to get some morning sunlight. I also like to do 3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling in the morning, called Morning Pages. It just sets me up for a better day & I know that no matter what else happens that day, I’ve prioritized taking care of myself. I think for people struggling to find time, my advice would be to start small. You don’t have to have 90 minutes for the perfect morning routine, but you can take 3 deep breaths before you start your day. You don’t have to workout for 60 minutes, but you can take a 10 minute afternoon walk. Start with something that feels attainable, so that you can have the success of completing it. Read 5 pages in the morning. Meditate for 2 minutes. Cook 1 healthy meal a week. Baby steps taken repeatedly can carry us a great distance ;)
Are there any misconceptions about meditation that you often hear about?The biggest one, in my opinion, is that meditation means clearing the mind or stopping thoughts. That’s impossible! We think up to 70,000 thoughts a day.. the mind thinks, thats just what it does. Meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, isn’t about stopping thoughts, but learning how to better relate to & observe those thoughts without getting sucked in. It’s about noticing we’ve been distracted and simply bringing ourselves back to the meditation. A perpetual practice of returning.
Can you share more about the 1 Giant Mind Being technique?YES! It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve ever encountered. It’s the same style as Transcendental Meditation or TM - which is the one most people have heard of. 1 Giant Mind (and TM) are styles of meditation called Automatic Self Transcendence. Basically you utilize a mantra (which the teacher gives you) to automatically self-transcend the layers of your own mind. Stay with me… haha! This mantra allows your mind to easily sink below your surface level, busy thoughts and into deeper, calmer, more relaxing states of mind. It’s super restorative, super energizing & deeply transformative. It heals your body from a lifetime of built up stress + tension and recalibrates your internal environment to be more patient, calm, responsive & relaxed.
What has been the most rewarding part of teaching people to meditate?It definitely has to be watching them do something they thought they could never do. I have successfully taught people ages 13-90 and every single person I’ve taught has mastered the technique. Watching the major shifts that occur in their lives - especially with their anxiety, stress, worry + self doubt - when they are consistent with their practice is literally like watching magic unfold.
Besides meditation, do you like to incorporate any other daily self-care rituals or moments into your day?Yes! I am a big morning routine girl. I love time to myself in the morning before the day rushes in. I like to wake up & meditate immediately sitting up in bed. Then I’ll make a matcha, do morning pages (3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling) and then get out for a walk. I just know my day is going to be so much better, more fulfilling, more productive & more enjoyable if I take that time for myself. Life happens though, and the morning pages + walk don’t always happen, but the meditation is my 1 morning non negotiable!
What has been making you feel happy and inspired lately?Fun playlists to dance around the house to, cooking new recipes, catching up with friends across the country while we’re both out walking, planning my wedding (eek!) & face timing my niece and nephew.
I have to ask a little hair question! I'm so happy you enjoyed our Healthy Hair Trio. What did you like about it?
Ah I loved it! My hair feels so light and silky and bouncy. It was feeling so dull & heavy pre-Evolvh and now it feels like totally new hair!!
Follow Emily on Instagram @emilyjkess