From Monk To Entrepreneur: How Andy Puddicombe Became the Modern Voice of Meditation & Mindfulness

The Rich Roll Podcast

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From Monk To Entrepreneur: How Andy Puddicombe Became the Modern Voice of Meditation & Mindfulness

The Rich Roll Podcast

“Most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind. But actually it’s … about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going.”

Andy Puddicombe

I was first introduced to meditation and mindfulness principles 17 years ago during my 100-day voluntary incarceration in what is more amiably referred to as rehab.

Initially, I balked at the concept. How can stillness possibly improve my life?

Intellectually, I attributed every decent personal achievement not to innate talent, let alone some intangible force of the Universe. Instead I credited my prodigious work ethic — a huge capacity to grind harder and longer than my peers. Get up early. Stay late. Put in the extra mile. Repeat. Never stop.

Do more.

At best, stillness meant stasis. Mostly I wrote it off as regressive — wasted time lost. The purview of flaky, new-age hippies who couldn't begin to fathom my logic-based intellect, understand my terminally unique life problems, nor comprehend how I successfully navigated the world.

Always good for a solid re-sizing, my rehab counselor — let's call him Hugh because that's his name — reminded me of one simple, powerful fact:

My best thinking landed me in a mental institution.

That blast of truth and humility fell on my head like a ton of bricks. In recovery, they call it self-will run riot. And that was me, in a nutshell — a desperate hope to die alcoholic. A broken young man who had squandered promise and destroyed his life, literally tightrope walking the divide that separates life and death.

Hardly a vision for you, It was time to try something different.

Surrender.

At the time, I perceived this concept as synonymous with defeat. Anathema to my core idea of who I was. But Hugh was right. I was out of options, with only one saving grace — willingness. So I (quite reluctantly) released my resistance. I let go of logic. I opened myself to possibilities beyond the rational, to something perhaps entirely unknowable. And in so doing, my life didn't just change, it transformed wholesale — dramatically and irrevocably improving every aspect of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being.

I wish I could tell you that from that day forward I devoted myself to a daily meditation practice.

That didn't happen.

Newly sober, life quickly got better. Priorities rearranged, and that willingness to surrender — the one character trait that had saved me — started to wane until the very thing that had been so indisputably beneficial to my overall sense of self had been relegated to back seat status — a convenient tool relied upon only when life got complicated, but hardly a consistent mainstay. Despite great appreciation for the benefits of meditation, consistency and momentum eluded me. For many years, I would practice only in spurts as a last ditch salve to alleviate some form of emotional pain.

Then about six months ago, I discovered Headspace– a mobile app and digital platform (boasting over 1 million users) pre-packaged with an endless rotation of very accessible, secular guided meditation programs all pleasantly voiced by the company's founder and today's guest, Andy Puddicombe.

Considered “the international poster boy for the modern mindfulness movement,” Andy is a meditation expert, accomplished presenter and author of two books — 

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“Most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind. But actually it’s … about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going.”

Andy Puddicombe

I was first introduced to meditation and mindfulness principles 17 years ago during my 100-day voluntary incarceration in what is more amiably referred to as rehab.

Initially, I balked at the concept. How can stillness possibly improve my life?

Intellectually, I attributed every decent personal achievement not to innate talent, let alone some intangible force of the Universe. Instead I credited my prodigious work ethic — a huge capacity to grind harder and longer than my peers. Get up early. Stay late. Put in the extra mile. Repeat. Never stop.

Do more.

At best, stillness meant stasis. Mostly I wrote it off as regressive — wasted time lost. The purview of flaky, new-age hippies who couldn't begin to fathom my logic-based intellect, understand my terminally unique life problems, nor comprehend how I successfully navigated the world.

Always good for a solid re-sizing, my rehab counselor — let's call him Hugh because that's his name — reminded me of one simple, powerful fact:

My best thinking landed me in a mental institution.

That blast of truth and humility fell on my head like a ton of bricks. In recovery, they call it self-will run riot. And that was me, in a nutshell — a desperate hope to die alcoholic. A broken young man who had squandered promise and destroyed his life, literally tightrope walking the divide that separates life and death.

Hardly a vision for you, It was time to try something different.

Surrender.

At the time, I perceived this concept as synonymous with defeat. Anathema to my core idea of who I was. But Hugh was right. I was out of options, with only one saving grace — willingness. So I (quite reluctantly) released my resistance. I let go of logic. I opened myself to possibilities beyond the rational, to something perhaps entirely unknowable. And in so doing, my life didn't just change, it transformed wholesale — dramatically and irrevocably improving every aspect of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being.

I wish I could tell you that from that day forward I devoted myself to a daily meditation practice.

That didn't happen.

Newly sober, life quickly got better. Priorities rearranged, and that willingness to surrender — the one character trait that had saved me — started to wane until the very thing that had been so indisputably beneficial to my overall sense of self had been relegated to back seat status — a convenient tool relied upon only when life got complicated, but hardly a consistent mainstay. Despite great appreciation for the benefits of meditation, consistency and momentum eluded me. For many years, I would practice only in spurts as a last ditch salve to alleviate some form of emotional pain.

Then about six months ago, I discovered Headspace– a mobile app and digital platform (boasting over 1 million users) pre-packaged with an endless rotation of very accessible, secular guided meditation programs all pleasantly voiced by the company's founder and today's guest, Andy Puddicombe.

Considered “the international poster boy for the modern mindfulness movement,” Andy is a meditation expert, accomplished presenter and author of two books — 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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