What's your philosophy on doing meditation and not just stopping after two weeks/days/minutes of trying?
Tay: Let me put it this way: In our 15 to 20 years of meditating experience, we realize that it is not about whether your eyes are closed. It is not about whether you are sitting in the lotus position. It is not about whether you om or not. It is not about whether you say a mantra or what clothes you wear. It is really about how can I use this tool that helps me focus and allows me to be aware of my own behaviors and thoughts and be aware of what other people are doing in relation to who I am in this world. Everything else can actually be stripped away.
Val: This isn't the first time meditation has been modernized. And what we're doing is not that different. We are living in cities, we're hyper connected, more or less global citizens. So how can we take that wisdom and make it applicable to our day-to-day lives?
You work with so many people with different kinds of jobs. Who seems the most stressed out and in need of your services?
Val: If you really must put it on a scale, I think that people who are most stressed out are the ones who are out of alignment.
What do you mean out of alignment?
Val: There are people who actually love accounting! And there are people who are doing it because it's a good job that pays well. There are people who actually love being nurses or paramedics and saving lives, even though it's a super high-stress environment. But it fills them up, right? So if you're out of alignment, you're not being authentic to yourself—that's when stress happens. We are all perpetually on auto-correct mode. Feeling stress is your body telling you to auto-correct your course.
Where do you go to get work done and focus?
Tay: Amandine Bakeshop. Have you been? I like the way they curate the furniture.
Val: On my higher stress days, I actually go to Stumptown. They play the hardcore rock music, and it somehow recalibrates me back.
Tay: For us, this is what meditation is about. You can never find a purely quiet space in the city. And because you live in a city, there is no reason you cannot meditate to the city and reach peace even when it is super noisy. So that is what true mediation means to us.