Jesse Israel is the founder of The Big Quiet, a company that leads massive guided meditations around the world. Recently, I had a chance to participate in one of these experiences along with 15,000 other people at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. I didn’t think it was possible to settle down 15,000 people at once, bring them into the present moment, and bring their minds to peace. But Jesse did it with ease.
As Jesse stood in front of the packed arena and told us to close our eyes, my inner skeptic took over, and I shut my eyes with a grin thinking that this would never work. In an instant, the whole place was silent.
Then Jesse mentioned that he was going to help stop all of the thoughts going on within our minds by guiding us through a meditation. Again, no chance, I thought. But as soon as he gave his first cue to focus in on something, it’s like I had no other thoughts in the world.
Finally, Jesse described how his colleague was going to play some noises on these sound bowls, and this is when my inner skeptic said there is absolutely no way these bowls will do anything to me. But, as soon as I heard a ringing of the bowls, something extremely calming happened within my body, that I still can’t really explain.
I couldn’t really explain why any of this was happening until I thought more about the words that Jesse was using to bring our minds to a restful place. This is the antidote to busy minds and racing thoughts. This is how you can “get good” at meditation, stillness, and presence.
It’s All About Granularity
As everybody was sitting in their chairs, eyes closed, hands on their legs, Jesse opened his mouth and said something that caught my attention. He said to “feel the sensation of the skin on our feet pressing against the fabric of our socks.” Then he said to “allow the skin on our scalp to feel the air that surrounds it.”
These are both feelings that I never think about. These are both feelings that are extremely specific. These are both feelings that are so detailed and unique, that my mind had to work incredibly hard to focus on exactly what he was saying.
I was no longer thinking about the last speaker or what we were having for lunch. I just wanted to experience what it felt like to have the fabric of my socks touch the skin on my foot.
Specificity brings presence. Attention to detail brings presence. Thinking about something at the deepest level possible brings presence. And when you are present, you get to experience life and appreciate it for exactly what it is right then, right there, in that beautiful moment.
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