Take your meditation practice to the next level.
Meditation Teacher and 1 Giant Mind Co-founder Jonni Pollard is interviewed by curious minds looking for insights on meditation and the wellbeing of our humanity.
The Evolution of Meditation & Wellness
"What do you make of the generational shift?" asks Leslie Hoffman, President of the New York City Open Center. From Boomers to Gen Z, the range of students, teachers, and wellness practitioners has never been so diverse as today. But in the modern, stressed out world, holistic life has become a survival mechanism, rather than a way of enlightenment.
Has meditation been ruined by the mainstream? Alida Brandenburg, a daring brand strategist and former Director of Social Media at Refinery29, talks about the commodification of the wellness world. This is an increasingly relevant topic and Jonni delivers a response that trades the cynicism for an outlook of grace and personal responsibility.
The Myth of Teaching and Perfection
Jesse Israel, founder of The Big Quiet and a certified meditation teacher with 1 Giant Mind, asks: Can you teach meditation even if you struggle with stress and anxiety yourself? Jonni explains that meditation teachers don't need to be perfected humans, because the role is not to sell perfection but to teach an elegant process of self-discovery.
Ambition vs Non-Attachment
Alida, a digital strategist and the daughter of a Zen Buddhist priest, inquires about how to live a life where we’re not attached to results but also still be someone who is ambitious and seeks to excel in their life, studies, and career. Does meditation inherently make us passive, or can it help us be passionate, dedicated, and even more engaged with the world around us?
Recovery & Surrendering
How do we truly heal and recover after a period of self-loathing and self-harm? Aloynka, a Russian born journalist and television personality now living in the US shares her challenges as she recovers from a life-threatening eating disorder. The deepest truth emerges in the end and results in one of the most powerful and insightful 1 Giant Mind podcasts to date.
How to Stay With Your Practice
Alida Brandenburg (digital brand strategist, of a Zen Buddhist household) asks: in times of anxiety or depression, how can one still prioritize a daily meditation practice? We examine the way that personal goal-setting and resources such as friends, family, and even certified professionals, can give us the capability to keep our practice in difficult moments.
Trying to Change Our Thinking
Can we change our thoughts with thought alone? Caroline asks Jonni what role meditation plays in shaping how and what we think. In this episode we consider the problems of over-identifying with the “thinking mind” and we explore how meditation leads to a deep form of human intelligence.
Incessant Thinking Mind
Leslie Hoffman (president of New York's Open Center) asks Jonni why we can't stop the chatter in our heads.
Responding to Negative People
How do we remain positive and engaged when we’re around friends or colleagues who tend to rant or complain? Olivia is a Canadian lawyer who asks Jonni for advice on how she can maintain her cool and not become affected by people who tend to be negative. In the conversation, Jonni uncovers the truth of the responsibility we all have to each other and ourselves in these situations.
Is Meditation for Everyone?
“If I’m not stressed and I’m a generally happy person, why should I meditate?” Nick DiMattina, a recent graduate of the 1 Giant Mind Teacher Training Academy and now meditation teacher explains to Jonni that he sometimes gets this response from people. As Jonni explores the topic with Nick, a deeper insight about why we meditate emerges.
Thought, Emotion, and Maladaption
The mind thinks and the body feels. But does the mind tell the body what to feel? This week's question is from Caroline Aulis, who prompts a deep exploration of maladaptation.
Meditation & the Intellect
Our guest Caroline, a meditation teacher in training asks: How do we use the intellect in conjunction with meditation? Jonni first makes the important distinction between the intellect and intelligence and this provides a foundation for the discussion. The discussion makes it way through our relationship to our thinking and how meditation is an extraordinary tool that causes us to access our intuition, creativity, and sense of ourselves. Jonni explains how that after a regular practice we start to ween ourselves off the addiction of our intellect and the need to control everything.
Teaching & Vulnerability
When does sharing vulnerability cross a line and become exploitative? The most impactful leaders have overcome personal strife, and Jesse Israel is no exception. Once at odds with bouts of anxiety and depression, today Jesse is an influential community leader. Co-founder Cantora Records, signing bands such as MGMT and Francis and the Lights, Jesse now leads some of the world's most innovative mass meditations, through The Big Quiet & Medi Club. And certified as a meditation teacher by 1 Giant Mind, he asks: are there boundaries to how far a teacher should go in revealing their personal vulnerabilities, while teaching and leading others? The discussion opens up a candid look at the growing trend in the wellness world to be profoundly open and vocal about one's vulnerabilities. How much is too much? As a veteran teacher and community leader himself, Jonni provides thoughtful insight on how one can lead and teach in the most human way, without losing sight of boundary and student need. Taking the subject further, Jonni poses examples in which sharing vulnerability with students can be appropriate and effective. "Vulnerability is not necessarily power, but instead a gateway to it.” In response, Jesse talks about his own experiences and relates what a minister once told him: “share from the scar, not the wound.” Speak about your vulnerability from a place from empowerment, not of victimhood. This is a great episode for anyone trying to find that balance, as a teacher or as leader of any kind.
Getting Love Right
Why do so many of us get love wrong and struggle to find self-love? Lesley-Anne, a former psychotherapist now Vedic meditation teacher and counselor, and mother to Jonni Pollard, poses this important question. Jonni presents a new definition of love that bucks the common conception that love arrives "only when someone else loves you." Rather, love is our most fundamental nature. It's the spontaneous way we respond to life and treat others, so long as we're not overwhelmed by fear. Jonni suggests that love is a self-referenced phenomenon. Though it can elude us, it occurs within. In doubting our lovability, we disconnect from ourselves, and then from others. The conversation comes to a beautiful ending as Lesley-Anne shares her experience with clients and patients who integrate meditation into their lives, and how this is the backbone of self-love.
Becoming a Meditation Teacher
Caroline, a meditation practitioner, asks Jonni about the 1 Giant Mind Teacher Training Program and how she can incorporate teaching meditation into the coaching practice that she is developing. Her sincere inquiry about how to do this the right way starts a beautiful conversation around leadership, the role of a teacher, and our desire to help others. This is a great podcast for anyone considering becoming a meditation teacher while continuing their own personal development. Since recording this episode, Caroline has enrolled as a student in 1 Giant Mind's Teacher Training Program.
What is the Point of Meditation?
What is the point of meditation and is there a "best" kind of meditation? Ameena, a practicing Sufi meditator of 20 years shares her experience as a student who was challenged by a teacher who didn't agree with her open-minded perspective on meditation. The story inspires Jonni to explain the 6 categories of mediation and how each stimulates specific functions of the mind. Jonni suggest that meditation, in all of its forms, are processes of increasing our awareness and that it's a modern misconception it is exclusively about stilling the mind. The conversation ultimately reveals 1 Giant Mind's inclusive and sequential model to understanding meditation.
Responding to Inauthenticity
How do we reconcile our disappointment with people that may be great at marketing a life of wellbeing and kindness but not living it in real life? Liz, a marketing and communications strategist in the wellness space shares how she sometimes finds herself confronted by the inauthenticity and contradictions she sees in the wellness world. The question leads Jonni to help open up our minds to how we respond to situations when we feel disdain for someone because we believe they are being inauthentic or misleading. His practical advice provides tangible steps toward avoiding the trappings of being righteous while applying a constructive approach to how we can help elevate ourselves and others in the most loving way.
The Roots of Meditation
As meditators, do we have a responsibility to investigate the origins and history of meditation? Joey, a creative professional who discovered meditating after working on 1 Giant Mind's Teacher Training Programs, poses this question to Jonni as he seeks to have a deeper understanding of the practice. The question inspires Jonni's perspective on not mistaking the map for the terrain but also honoring our innate desire to understand the source of things.
Meditation and Creativity
How does meditation cultivate creativity, and how do we become intimately connected with how it works? Sofia, a Columbian-born brand strategist and designer now living in New York, seeks to understand the relationship between meditation and creativity. The conversation not only answers this question but goes deeper into the source of our primal creative instinct to innovate, and how our suffering is rooted in our resistance to this instinct. Jonni presents a new way of looking at creativity and also challenges the notion that some people are creative and others are not. The conversation continues with a practical look at exactly how some meditation techniques help us access and cultivate our own creative instinct.
Co-existing without Disdain and Judgment
How do we live a more meaningful and holistic life without disregarding or judging the rest of world? There's a growing movement towards minimalism and away from materialism but with this lifestyle shift comes its own challenges. In this episode, Rita, a stylist in the fashion world, shares her experience of weening herself off the addiction of status and possessions. Living in New York, she is confronted with how to co-exist in a world so consumed by so many of the things she rejects. Jonni reveals an entirely new, and a surprising perspective on how to reconcile this conflict while remaining true to yourself and your beliefs – yet still participating in society.
Meditation and the Ego
Is the ego a good thing or a bad thing? And what is the ego's role in meditating? Our guest Kenny returns for more deep questions around topics we don't always talk about. In this episode, Jonni shares his view on the ego's role in our pursuit for living our deepest truth. The discussion challenges some of the conventional thinking about our ego as it's often demonized and misunderstood. The exchange takes some unexpected detours and what results is a memorable podcast that gives some new insights on a very misunderstood subject.
Humanity in an Information Age
How do we navigate the hyperstimulation of a data-driven world and reconnect with ourselves and humanity? Jonni provides a powerful case for meditation as the foundational practice for combating information fatigue and discerning what information we really need in order to flourish and connect with the world around us.
Faith vs. Knowing
How can we truly know when we are living from a place of deeper truth? And, what role does faith play in accepting the present moment for what it is? Our podcast guest Kenny poses these questions to Jonni in front of a small live audience in New York City. Jonni responds to Kenny's inquiry with a not-so-expected perspective on trust, faith, and its relationship to consciousness.
How to be an Embodied Leader
Now that we have a vision of what true leadership is, Andrea asks Jonni how we develop this ability to be embodied and the role of meditation plays in connecting us to the place where our personal power is.
Leading and Misleading
What does it mean to have power and how does that translate into leadership? Guest Andrea Stern poses this and many questions about power, leadership, and what to do in the face of misguided power. Jonni responds with a new definition of leadership and reveals how all of us are leading in every moment as we interact in our daily lives. He proposes that if we want to see our world change, we must first recognize that we are all leading, and with that comes an immense responsibility to serve the good of all.
Career and Purpose
Our Guest Nick Dimattina, a senior recruiter for Pandora asks Jonni the question so many of us are asking, “Do we have to leave our jobs, develop new skills and let go of our salaries to find our purpose and experience fulfillment?” Jonni proposes a paradigm-shifting perspective on purpose and fulfillment and where it comes from that enables us to re-envision our current roles, and make them the most relevant and important thing we can be doing right now.
The Wellness of Wellbeing
Justine Bloome, a leading marketing strategist in NYC, asks Jonni his view on the kind of impact the rapidly emerging wellness industry is having in the world right now and where it might need to grow to have a greater impact. His response is both unexpected and revealing of something that we can all embrace right now to increase the power and impact of the wellbeing movement.
Power of our Attention
Our guest Andrea Stern asks Jonni how we strike a balance between who we know ourselves to be and what the can demands us to be. Jonni reveals that at the heart of the our struggle for balance is the ignorance of the power of our attention. He explains the role meditation plays in developing the foundation of self-awareness that enables us to be artfull in navigating the push and pull of life that can make us lose touch with what is most important.
Change is Happening Now
One of our guests Lauren, a successful PR executive in NYC, asks a personal question about how she can bridge the gap or take the leap into what she knows she needs to do to start living a happier and more fulfilled life. Jonni cuts to the heart of her challenge by revealing that in fact she has already arrived at where she thought she needed to be. This revelation immediately elevated her perspective to see exactly what she needs to do right now.
Jonni's Road to Meditation
Andrea Stern has invited 12 friends to ask Jonni some hard questions about the relevance of meditation in the face of the challenges that we each face day to day. Andrea kicks off by asking Jonni to share a little about his journey of reclaiming his power by living life from what he describes as his ‘deepest nature of love’. He shares how meditation plays the leading role in his success in stabilizing a deep and sustained connection to his truest self. He also shares how the knowledge he’s gained through his personal studies and practice have enabled him to empower so many others to awaken self-awareness and reclaim their personal power to have an impact in the world.