And a workshop designed to help make sense of it all

We are in the midst of a meditation frenzy.

Constant press, mindfulness apps, weekend retreats, intro courses that range from $0-$1500. Shit even Drake’s rapping about it.

I chug the kool-aide too. I’ve spent the past four years of my life diving deep into many of these offerings. I found meditation after experiencing a panic attack and identify-crisis breakdown, and meditation helped me get back on track.

I know you’ve heard the praise: reduced stress, increased productivity, improved sleep. An abundance of new research is now showing that the benefits are widespread and very real.

But one thing I haven’t heard much of is how meditation relates to manhood. And more specifically, the role that presence plays in the life of a modern man.

As an active 30 year old dude living in NYC, my meditation practice has single handedly been the most important tool in my life.

It’s given me an awareness that’s shifted the way I work, date, make love and show up as a man.

It’s given me the courage to make big changes in my life — like leave the company I spent 9 years building because the job wasn’t aligned with my heart.

It’s helped me see restrictive patterns and open to deeper relationships.

It’s taught me the power of presence — one of the most most magnetic, “sexy” and trust-generating skills for a man to master.

It’s been important to me to share this with other people. I’ve organized groups of hundreds of young meditators. I’ve spoken about it on panels and in interviews and with friends and family.

But unlike other wellness driven crazes like cold-pressed juice or spinning classes, the meditation frenzy is particularly confusing because it’s rooted in practices that are thousands of years old and an integral part of certain religions. On top of that, the options to learn are fragmented and often unclear or expensive.

This is why I’m writing this post.

Last month, when I realized that I didn’t have a place to point friends to make sense of the meditation frenzy, it became clear to me:

I can help.

I can hold a safe space for modern young people who want to bring meditation into their lives, make sense of the hype and discuss the real benefits and challenges that come with a practice.

So — my first workshop in The Modern Man Experiment will be focused on the power of presence and meditation. It’s designed for meditation virgins and pros alike, and it’s open to both men and women:

Throughout the month of May, I’ll be hosting small groups of people in my loft in Williamsburg. Over the course of 2 hours we’ll discuss:

  1. Technique: the 5 minute daily technique that I used to start meditating
  2. Habit: an understanding of habit science to create a meditation practice that is as consistent as brushing your teeth
  3. Lifestyle: what meditation and presence has helped me understand about dating, sex and relationship; my approach to business, community building and decision making; my relationships with fear and stress. How has meditation and presence helped others?
  4. Social: how can we collectively improve “social presence”(knowing when to put the phone aside, having control over notifications and emails, really listening to what others say when they speak, understanding when it’s appropriate to give advice or be empathetic) and what importance does it hold in the life of a Modern Man?
  5. Resources: the differences between the most popular forms of meditation — as well as simple science around the benefits of meditation, and info and teacher recommendations for those who want to dive deeper

This workshop will be less of a class and more of a group discussion.

It’s limited to ten people per group (three groups total). This workshop is available three different times in May, for men and women with any level of meditation experience. It costs $20 per person.

Sign up: modernman.splashthat.com

I believe that a meditation practice is exponentially more meaningful when it incorporates a community of other like minded people. I encourage the people who take part in this project to also join the monthly meditation club that I host in Soho for young New Yorkers and the soon-to-be mass meditations that we’re organizing with Central Park SummerStage for Summer 2015.

Let me be clear: I am not a meditation teacher. I’m hosting this workshop because I believe I can hold a safe space that will allow modern young people to connect with meditation and discuss presence in a unique way.

This is part of The Modern Man Experiment.

Feel free to tweet me with any questions or comments! @jesseisrael

*Shout out to the teachers and organizations that have influenced me the most — without them I’d have nothing to share. Light Watkins, Emily Fletcher, Thom Knoles, Jonni Pollard, Charlie Knoles, Hunter Cressman, Kelsey Hall, Jamie Zimmerman, Lodro Rinzler, Emily Herzlin, the Shambhala Center, the Vedic Network, 1 Giant Mind and IDP NYC.

Founder of The Big Quiet. Connecting people to their power through meditation, community and leadership.

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