Ep.86 Body, Mind, Soul (Sophia - Meditation)
4:42AM Mar 20, 2020
Good day everyone you're listening to talk to your hobby. And this is Episode 86. body mind soul. I'm your host, Alex and today have the honor to have Sophia as my guest on the show. How are you doing today?
I'm doing really well. How are
you? I'm doing good. It's been a while since I've had a guest in the studio. So it's great to have you here. People are scared of me apparently. I wonder why the bald head?
Yes, it makes sense. It makes sense. I don't blame
them not to divert the conversation from this chrome dome, because you don't want to hear about that. today. We're gonna be talking about Sofia. We've been friends for Two, three, a few years,
a few years, I think at least three now, which is crazy when you think about it. It just goes by
to a friend. But anyways, Alex, you're getting distracted. That's all about Sofia. So we're gonna talk about her hobby of meditation. But before we do that, who is Sophia?
Wow, I wonder. Yeah. For anyone who's listening. Yeah, my name is Sophia, as Alex said. And I was born and raised in Ottawa, so and I never left the city ever. I just kind of always stayed here. I've never lived anywhere else. But yeah, I really love this city. And I'm always trying to give back to the community. And in terms of like interest, I have a wide array of interests. And I, if I start talking about them all probably take me forever to get through them. So I won't put you through that. But right now I'm actually doing a master's degree. I'm in the in the middle of my master's degree. So I devote a lot of my time to doing research. And, but I always always make time for my hobby no matter what.
No pun intended, right?
Well, that's amazing. Um, I'm also born and raised here in Ottawa and my like,
we're autumn. Oh, geez, Yeah, we are. This is,
this is a podcast only for audible. I'm kidding. It's for everybody on Earth. But it's great that you're always making time for your hobby and without putting too much pause on that. We'll talk about your social media links first because I'm sure people would love to know who is like where they can find Sophia.
Right. Okay, so I'm not too advanced on the socials To be honest, but I do have you know, a basic Instagram account. My handle is at is that Sophia? Four. So it's kind of like Hey, is that Sophia? But instead of like a question mark, it's the number four because I was born on the fourth of January. So yeah, is that Sofia for and then I'm also like, I have a personal Facebook account. It's my first and last name Sophia MERS. I. Yeah. Nothing, nothing fancy, just just me and but I'm always willing to chat with people and connect with people if somebody has questions or just wants to talk about anything that comes up during this podcast, and I'm more than willing to do that.
She's a very open person and just a small pause. You're Born on the Fourth of January. I'm born on the second of January.
I love it. The first time I said my birthday on this podcast well,
Alex, let's see here. Oh, well,
the year the hospital and my cin number are not this episode, maybe later on. So yes, today about your hobby, it is meditation. So how did you actually get introduced to meditation? Was it like just like I say during an argument, like, oh, wow, I can meditate?
Well, that's a good question. Um, yeah, goes pretty far back. I think I was first introduced to meditate. When I was about 19, I had a prof who talked about it in class one time and but at that point in my life meditation was just something that I had on my mind. And it was something I thought was really interesting and intriguing. It's something I knew I wanted to try. But it hadn't taken root in my life at all. At that point, it was just something in my head. And it didn't become an everyday practice for me until a little bit later, one or two years later, when I started when my life started to become a little more unstable, I would say, and, you know, I'm sure most people will agree when I say that life comes with many different seasons, you know, some seasons are much more stable and easygoing, and there are other seasons of life that are, you know, a lot less pleasant and more chaotic. So you could say, and there's always gain and there's always a loss in life and nothing is ever Permanent and you know the same thing, the only constant in life is change. So I was going through a more turbulent time. And I was trying to figure out, Okay, how can I overcome all this chaos around me in my external world? And how can I deal with it? So I started to look for different ways to do that. And one day I tuned into one of my favorite shows super soul Sunday. It's got lots of content online, you can access it via YouTube, you can watch it on Facebook. And it was kind of in the beginnings of like this show had been going on for a few years at that point, but now it's been a lot longer. But anyway, so I tuned into super soul Sunday and I was introduced to individuals who were talking about meditation. And that inspired me to start meditating. And the first thing I did was participate in A 21 day meditation challenge. So I, so I meditated every single day for 20 minutes for 21 days. And the reason why it's 21 days is because usually that's the amount of time it takes for you to start a habit to keep a habit going. So the 21 days kind of is meant to help you establish the habit of meditation on a daily on a daily basis. So that's how it all started. And I haven't stopped since.
Congratulations on like, keep on going. Yeah, on that note, actually, like when you did start, like say the first time you did it, right. Did you feel like you were doing it correctly off the bat? Or did you feel like I don't know how to do this?
I was Yeah, I was very confused. To be honest. I didn't know if I was doing it right. I wasn't sure if I was even getting anything from it was almost it almost had the opposite effect of what I thought it would you know, medical When most people hear about it, they're like, oh, like relax or calm or whatever. But I found that when I first started to meditate, I realized just how much unnecessary thinking I do on a daily basis. And it I had become aware of it all of a sudden, I was like, Whoa, this is a lot. So it was actually pretty, pretty stressful and not, not the fairy tale that that some people might think it is when you first start meditating.
So it did like just hit you. I was like, Oh, wow. Yeah, that's it. Yeah,
yeah. Yeah, it was it was it? Yeah. So a lot of people I think when they, when they start meditation, you feel really overwhelmed by it. Because you become aware all of a sudden, and you weren't before so it's almost like you had a blind spot. That's now you can see clearly. So yeah, yeah, it was it was really interesting, though. It definitely didn't deter me at all. It made me even more intrigued about what I can Find out if I continued.
It's kind of like when you're not paying attention. And then the moment you're like just calm and meditating, then you hear the clock.
Yes, exactly. Yeah. Because we all have these habitual habitual patterns, you know, and we become so adapted to our surroundings, we don't even realize what's going on.
Now, this might not be a perfect question, but what kind of meditation do you do, if you don't mind me asking?
So the way I look at meditation is I describe it as a portal. And it's a portal through which you can access the present moment, the here and now. And so there are many different portals that you can use to access it. And I don't know if I have a preference. But I would say that there are certain portals that I definitely use more often than others more frequently than others. So for example, I focus a lot on breath awareness. So the inflow and the outflow of your breathing patterns. And, and I also when I first started off meditating, I used mantras in my meditation practice. So I did that a lot. But more and more now I'm starting to incorporate other sort of portals, you could say. One other method I'm using is body scanning. So becoming aware of the sensations that you feel in your body. And another one is just daily, general kind of mindfulness practice. But I think it's important to say that although there are these different portals or anchors that can help you access the present moment, they all have the same outcome. They all lead you to becoming aware of and giving attention to the here and now. That is, what each of them do. So I don't think it I don't think it's important to distinguish Between them because they all have the same goal. They're all trying to do the same thing. And that's what really matters.
And you said you have some that you prefer more than others. Do you mind telling me what is the number one favorite Sofia's topic if you can't really classify those constantly, which one's your favorite child, but they're all your favorite, but you like doing more
of the ones I mentioned. Definitely the breath awareness, just because I think it's the easiest to access. I think it's the easiest to learn. And that's how I started off, but I do incorporate all of them in some way. And like I said, more and more and becoming more intrigued with the body scanning, especially. So So yeah, but but that's how we started off with breath. And and it's probably the easiest for someone who's just starting. So
speaking about the breath itself, what's the recommended, let's say, intake and exhale, you should do
um, in terms of timing, yeah. Okay, so, so a lot of meditation teachers. Say that you shouldn't try to think about your breath or anticipate your breath or try to control it in any way. It's more about just letting it be in whatever state it is, you might be breathing very slowly. You might be breathing a little more rapidly or more, your breath might be a lot deeper. Whatever state it is, you just let it be as it is, and you just observe it. So the best kind of inhale in our physical exhale, exhale, thank you inhale and exhale is just whatever it is in that moment.
Yeah, that's the best. Now for sports. They tell them what I've been taught when I was a kid that inhale with your nose and exhale with your mouth. Is it the same here? Or is it like just Yes,
yes, definitely. But you know what, there's one thing I used to try to kind of mess with my head and really, really beef completely and utterly concentrate It is, as I'm inhaling, I try to imagine that I'm actually exhaling. Yeah, it's really trippy when you think about it, and it takes a couple minutes for you to actually get it. When you're trying, it feels really weird. But yeah, like I'll mentally pretend like I'm exhaling but I'm physically inhaling. And it's a good way to like really focus, but I don't I don't do that too often, because it's pretty difficult to maintain.
It's a good mental exercise is kind of like rubbing your stomach and tapping your head.
Exactly. That's literally like what it is because you know, when you're doing the rubbing the stomach and tapping the head, you have to really focus on what you're doing, otherwise, you're doing it wrong. So it's a similar concept. But also when you're when you're breathing, you have to make sure I like to make sure that I'm paying attention. You either pay attention to your nostrils, or you pay attention to your lungs. And, you know, sometimes I'll pay attention to how it feels when the air goes in and out through my nostrils and then other times I'll all pay attention into how my lungs expand and how they kind of melt back down. So pretty cool. I
know I'm like analyzing my body from all this in here like these are the shapes of my lungs. This is how I'm breathing, but not for now. We talked about this a little bit earlier on and did before the interview about listening to music and stuff like that. You don't have earbuds you don't have earphones you you just do it at home. Do you listen to music or sounds when you meditate?
I definitely do. I love listening to sounds
and not not so much music, like lyrical music but instrumentals anything that's connected to nature like water running or wind or? Yeah, so I definitely listen to music when I'm meditating. But you don't want to become too attached to the sounds while you're meditating. Because you should be able to meditate even without music ideally, but It's a good way again to, to anchor yourself in the present moment. It helps you stay anchored in the now because sometimes you'll be listening to music and then you realize you've been listening to notes and then you've completely drifted off into your own thoughts. And then then you become aware of the music again. So then it acts as an anchor to bring you back
what happens to me sometimes when I study I like listening to one song specifically when I study, it's Moonlight Sonata. Okay. That song 5000 times over during University, but what I tend to do and I don't like doing this is that when I listen to a song so much while I'm studying, I fall into the pattern like, I'm already expecting what's coming next?
Um, not so much because I listened to different music every time Yeah.
Okay, so you're never expecting it. Oh, yeah,
exactly. Yeah. And when you so maybe I should look into Moonlight Sonata, you know, maybe you should check that out.
Yeah, it's my top song. A shout out to Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. But when you do listen to sounds of nature by, like, let's say an actual, like, Spotify thing do you prefer, let's say, the ocean forest? What is your preferred sound of nature?
Um, I don't think I have a preferred sound.
I do like the forest a lot. I like it when I can hear water and birds chirping but very faintly. So I do like when there's not just one sound that is part of the music, but layers of sound. So you know, birds in the background, but then also, you know, trees rustling and like the forest and the water. So, so I guess you could say that's my preference. But again, I don't I don't. It's important not to become attached to to that. Yeah.
And this is a perfect segue to my next question. Where is your preferred environment to go do meditation so let's say is it at home or in a forest?
Okay. So my ideal meditation environment is outdoors. Absolutely hands down. I love nature. So getting to be outdoors while I'm meditating is an absolute pleasure for me. But of course, you know, we live in Canada or I live in Canada, so you don't get many months or you can go outside, unfortunately, but what I've started to do to replace you know, the outdoor feel, because in the summer, I'm always meditating outside. I'm that weirdo in the park that's just sitting on the grass and like with her eyes closed, that's me. And, you know, it doesn't even bother me at all because I'm perfectly fine. You know, where I am doing what I'm doing. But yeah, when when it's the wintertime or it's too cold to go outside. What I usually do is I'll bring my chair in my room, I have a chair, and I'll bring it right in front of my window. And as the sun is setting I will sit right in front of my window and the sunlight will be filtering into my window and it'll feel like it's a nice summer day outside. So that's kind of what I do to, to work around that during the winter months.
It must be a great feeling just to feel that warm from the sun just hit you while you meditate. Exactly.
No, I love it. I love it so much. So I'm really glad that I've started to do that. Because, yeah, it's nice.
And so you'd say you do it during, let's say, during the winter time when it's about to do sunset, which is also a great segue to my next question. How often do you meditate, let's say a day or a week, a month, a year, a century,
Real committed, they're really committed, um, I would say at least once a day. So I meditate every single day, once a day, sometimes twice, sometimes twice. So usually in the morning when I get up, I start my meditation practice. And then a lot of times, if it's really nice outside like Sunny, then I'll wait for mid afternoon when the sun is setting and then I'll do another short little meditation. So at least once a day, and sometimes more,
and how long do these sessions last? Because you just mentioned do some short ones. How long are the long ones as well?
So So it depends. Sometimes I do I've done five minute meditations. I've done 10 minutes 1520 I think 20 is usually my cap. And usually what I do the 21 day meditation challenge, so that challenge is actually a free challenge. Access accessible to everyone who's interested and it comes out every couple months, I think three or four times a year. So when I'm doing the 21 days, it's always 2020 minutes per day. Otherwise, I usually aim for 10 to 15. That's my kind of sweet spots. I like to call it I have been in situations where I literally only have five minutes. So I take those five minutes. And the goal of meditation, again is to bring awareness to your life in general. And it's not meant to just be limited to 510 1520 minutes. I think it's really great and important to have some time during your day where you set aside, you know, 15 minutes just for for your meditation. But ultimately, your goal is to incorporate it through every moment of your life. It's more supposed to be kind of part of your everyday living experience, rather than just you know, once a day or twice a day. So I do have a set time every single day, but I do try to incorporate it as I'm moving throughout the day. I don't know if that makes sense. No, it absolutely does.
It absolutely does. And you try to put it so you try to do it every day and so far you've been successful at it.
Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. I mean, I'm sure I've had days where I haven't, but I usually make up for it by doing extra the next day. Yeah, but I think it's, yeah, it's important to let people know that even two minutes is as good even if you can take two minutes out of your day. What I find difficult, difficult about that is sometimes it takes you some time to get into you know, your state of meditation. Because when you first start meditating, especially when you're like a beginner or a novice, you'll find that it takes time to wind down and really release the thoughts that you've got going on in that moment. So sometimes you need a couple minutes just to get to a place for like, okay, the thoughts have stopped, you know,
actually, this just brought up in a very unique question, I guess, ever since you started meditating has it helped you go to sleep because let's say so, People before going to sleep, their mind is running 1000 miles, yes, per minute. And they're just trying to figure out everything and they try to empty your mind. So it has helped you, right?
That's a really good question. Yeah. So I do sometimes do sleep meditation. And technically, meditation isn't supposed to put you to sleep because you're supposed meditation is supposed to be a very attentive practice. You're supposed to be very, very acutely aware and attentive when you're meditating. But honestly, especially when I'm meditating at night, because sometimes like I wouldn't have time during the day, so I'll just meditate at night, but then I end up falling asleep, but it's the perfect way to fall asleep because you just ease into your sleepless, sleepless Sleep, sleep. Yeah, you ease into your sleep so effortlessly. It's amazing. And you wake up, you're like, Oh, okay. So it's definitely helped. And every time I'm going through, you know, a period where I'm having trouble sleeping, I always, always meditate before bed. It helps a lot.
Just imagine you like, Alright, I'm just gonna do a five minute meditation and I'm knocked out, you're knocked out. You wake up. All right, that was a great eight hour meditation.
Exactly, no, that has actually happened. So
I know you're not complaining.
Yeah, no, definitely not.
No, you're still in school you're studying a lot. I have not relate to school itself. But have you taken the time to learn the history of meditation.
So unfortunately, I haven't. And that's something that I think would be really cool for me to, to look into now. And now that I understand meditation from a more personal experience. And now that I understand the gist of it and what the benefits have been in my life. I would love to learn more about, you know, where it all originated from and what the different kind of schools of thought are potentially. I'm sure there's a whole host of literature out there that I could look at to figure that out, but I'm sure lots of meditation actually certified meditation teachers go through that process. I just this is something I kind of took up on my own. I've never been to a meditation class before. Literally just do it on my own time. So the history of it has never, never come to light. But that's something that I would love to learn more about, actually, now that you bring it up. So, but again, you don't need to know. You don't need to understand anything before you start.
Marcus, I have no idea what I was doing. I just started,
you just need to start. You don't need to have that background. It would be nice. It would be cool, but it will not. I wouldn't say I don't think it would even enhance your practice. I think it would give you more understanding of the history, but I don't think he would do anything to actually enhance your practice because your practice is what you make of it in the moment.
And everybody goes at their own pace and everybody learns in different styles, which is completely understandable. And it kind of just my next question, kind of just thrown out the window, but I'll ask it in a different way. Okay. The original question was, do you prefer to meditate alone or someone else you said you prefer like to do it alone. But I'll twist a question. So let's say you had a family member, let's say your parents or your friends want to say, hey, Sophia, I'd love to learn how to meditate. Would you be the type they'd be open to teach them the ways are you saying you know what, you'll find stuff online.
I would definitely be open to have definitely tried to drag myself some of my siblings into my meditation practice. It has not worked out thus far for me. But I yeah, I mean, I do meditate alone every single day. But I have done a group meditation once I did do it once. And it was outdoors and in a city that like it wasn't in Ottawa, it was like out west somewhere. And I was just looking for things to do. And I just found this meditation group and I joined them. And it was actually really nice to have others around me because it helps you feel even more connected. However, even when you're meditating alone, you know, you always want to remember That there's a collective consciousness out there, and that we are each tied to that consciousness. And even though you don't have anyone around you physically, that collective presence is always cheering you on and rooting for you in each step of your journey. So, I find that sometimes when I don't, when I'm lacking awareness in my life, I feel alone. But the moment I go into this conscious state in this present state through meditation, I don't feel alone anymore because I know that, you know, we're everything is connected through this collective. And I think that's pretty powerful. So, so I wouldn't deter anyone from meditating alone, but I, I definitely think that group meditation is an amazing way to get started, especially when you don't know much about meditation or maybe you you don't know how it works or maybe you have like a certain kind of idea of So group meditation is incredible for that. And, and again, like when I went to this one group meditation experience when I had that experience, I didn't know anybody there, but I felt like I was connected to everybody there. So I think that it can definitely add to, to your experience for sure. So yeah, if anybody like who's listening who wants to start a group meditation thing, let me know.
There you go. is putting out the invite for anybody listening? Yeah, come to Ottawa meditate. Probably better to meditate during the summer and late spring because of boot, seasons and winter and a bunch of snow. But by the time this comes out, it might be like mid school like middle spring beginning of spring out or no, either way, there'll be less snow. Yes. For you. What would you say is the best part about meditation on a personal and an emotional level?
I don't even know where to start on this question because there are so many things that are benefited About I don't know what the best would be like, might need like five seconds just to think about that one.
And the meantime I will talk. For me the best part about everything is
Everything is awesome.
I see myself every time before I do this podcast, I just do the full song and dance.
But yeah, I think the best part about meditation is that it eliminates all negativity in life. And I know that that could be a difficult thing to grasp because how, how can negativity just be eliminated, but it can. It's a lot more simple than people think. Human beings are not perfect, we complicate things, but it really is just as simple as meditating. So yeah, I think the best part is that it eliminates negativity. And this includes things like stress, anxiety, fear, it includes things like drama, any any sort of problems in life and these forms of negativity are created. What What a lot of spirit, a spiritual teachers call it the ego mind. I don't know if you've ever heard of that.
Let's pretend I didn't just so my listeners would know, I'm definitely an expert in this stuff.
So a lot of spiritual teachers call it the ego mind and the ego mind is always trying to take you away from the present moment. It's always trying to obscure it somehow. And usually, and this leads you to becoming disconnected within yourself, which then creates negativity. So negativity, the source of it is what spiritual teachers call the ego mind. So that's where negativity comes from. And what meditation does is it helps you become conscious enough where you actually become aware of your ego mind. And that's an extremely transformational thing, because the ego mind and the present moment cannot exist Simon taneous Lee, it's simply not possible they cannot coexist. As long as you are present in this moment, through meditation, for example, the ego mind and all of its negativity completely cease to exist. And that allows you to take back your power in life. So I think that's the best part about meditation.
It's kind of like the idea of Tomorrow is another day, where you might be going through some hard times now and just focus on eliminating saying, you know what, this is not you're over blowing it, you're blowing it out of proportion, right? Like, it's the idea of self destructive, I would imagine. Yeah, yeah. It's
similar to that. So and the thing is, a lot of people are not aware of their ego. Everybody's got it, but they're not aware. So that's the best part about meditation because it literally gets you to see the ego. And it can be scary because you're like, Whoa, I didn't know this was there before. And I didn't know that it was causing this and doing this and but Once you become aware, then it cannot exist within you.
I've known you for a few years now. And you've always seen like a calm, collective lovely person, such a joyful person. So I would imagine meditation is a big part of that, which maybe I'll have to take that up to just become us, the joyful and as optimistic as you Hmm. And for you being the person you are today, as there are any inspirations, whether it's through meditation, or just in general that helps you enjoy meditation better.
Definitely. So I mentioned earlier that the first kind of exposure that I had to meditation was through the 21 meditation challenge that I took part in. And that challenge is actually created by a spiritual leader, called his name is Deepak tro Chopra. He's pretty famous. Many people know about him, but also he teamed up with Oprah Winfrey. So it's their meditation challenge. You can Google Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, and you'll find it so they will The first people, the first individuals who inspired me to meditate. And now I would say, my, the the spiritual leader that I look to the most is Eckhart Tolly. He is another world renowned spiritual leader who talks a lot about meditation. And so he, on a daily basis inspires me to continue meditating for sure. And unfortunately, I don't have anyone in my life. Who who meditates which is interesting, because I meditate. So you would think there's somebody in my life who also meditates but there's not a single person I can think of who meditates so I don't really get inspiration from people around me. Because I don't know anybody who meditates. So I do look up to the spiritual leaders who are well known and who have been in the community for a long time.
Well, you know what, we'll give a shout out to them for making Sophia the person she is today and maybe Because of this podcast, you know, knock on wood, that maybe you'll meet somebody, though share the meditation spirit,
or even someone or even even as someone who's interested in getting started, you know, so yeah, for sure. I think a lot of people I want to spread, I want to spread the message. Essentially,
this is a perfect platform.
Exactly. That's why I'm happy. I'm here.
And for you, what was your biggest challenge when you first started meditating? I think you touched on it a little bit, but just recapping it.
Yeah. So I think that's a really good question, because a lot of people wonder this and I definitely face some challenges when I first started meditating because like I mentioned earlier, I slowly started to become aware of my mind, and I realized just how distracted I was, and I realized just how many thoughts were running through my head for no reason literally did not do anything to add to my to my life in any way. They were just unnecessary thoughts. Even things like oh, what am I going to buy for for groceries? Or? or What am I going to do today? Those are unnecessary thoughts a lot of the time, especially when you're repeating them over and over again. So it was a challenge to become aware because sometimes I would sit down and I would start meditating. And five minutes into the meditation practice, I've become completely lost in my thoughts. And I'm thinking about, oh, like the show that I watched last night, or I'm thinking about a conversation I had with a friend or I'm thinking about something that happened in the past that's no longer relevant. And so so much time would go by and I would still not even be aware that I'm unaware if that makes sense. Yeah, like I wasn't, I wasn't even didn't even realize that I was lost in this like, giant rabbit hole. So that was definitely my biggest challenge. When I was first starting out was just becoming aware enough to notice that I was lost in my thoughts.
My wife says, I have the opposite effect sometimes like I think I heard it in a comedy show it's called the nothing box. What does that mean? Nothing box is literally when you just stare off into space and she would ask me what what are you thinking? Oh, nothing. I'm just literally thinking of nothing and I'm just zoned out and it's a calm relaxing Yeah, she calls it my nothing box. There's like, no, what are you thinking about? Nothing, nothing really
amazing. Like term like, does she come up with that herself? Because I've never heard of that before.
I think it was in a comedy show.
Okay, okay, but that's really cool. Nothing box is pretty much meditation.
talk try to say that you don't like
this is why I'm doing this podcast so I can get a bunch of more things in the box like meditation, and other hobbies. That's why I'm pulling up that ain't nothing box, but I'll probably have another nothing box right beside?
Always, always got a backup one. Exactly.
And so we talked about your challenges when you first started, what are your current challenges today,
so Now that I've sort of learned how to transcend my mind or go above my mind, the challenge now is keeping this up in a consistent manner in my life. So again, like I said before, not just allowing meditation to be a 15 minute activity every day, but incorporating it into your life into every moment of your life. That's the challenge. And I've definitely made some progress on that, that I'm happy to report on, which is great, it feels awesome. But even when you've been meditating, I think it's been about seven years, six, seven years now for a while. Yeah, it's been a long time even though I've been doing it for so long. It's still you know, something that I continue to improve on and get better at. And again, the ultimate goal of meditation is for it to be the constant state of your mental emotional Being. So that's the challenge now now that I'm aware and now that I've kind of gone beyond just the first step of becoming aware, it's like how do I do this all the time?
Speaking of which, have there been moments as you say, you're doing this everyday? Have there been moments where you couldn't get to your regular spot and you have to meditate in a spot that you never expected to meditate before? Oh,
yes, definitely. The other day. I like meditated on campus in front of a microwave.
As I was heating up my food for like, a minute and a half, I managed Hey,
are you just staring into the microwave?
No, I was. I was turned away from the microwave was I was so I was turned away from the microwave, which probably looked even creepier than if I was looking at the microwave because people were probably like, What is she doing?
Yeah, so yeah, I've had and actually I did meditate that day like in the in the morning. I had already meditated but you No, it's like, I'm just waiting for the microwave. So what do I do? I mean, I could pull out my phone and become distracted with whatever's on social media. Or I could take the moment to, I could actually honor that moment and become present in that moment. And it was perfect because there was sunlight. So I was like, oh, there we go. I've got the sun. I can meditate right here.
And then your meditation ended when the microwave went off.
Exactly. That was my cue to get my ass out of there because people were looking at me funny.
I would probably just joined you like, yeah, that's my spot now too. Yeah. This might be a very meta question, or an intense question, but has meditation ever stressed you out? So let's say maybe just the meditation aspect itself or also, let's say there's a constant sound, let's say construction outside that just kept on going or your neighbors were making loud noises and it just could not for the love of you focus or not focus on focus.
No, that's that's a really good question. And the short answer is, yes, it has stressed me out. And it is hard when you first realized, again, just how crowded Your mind is and how completely unaware you've been in your life. And it's hard because it's hard not to judge yourself, when you fall into these habitual mind patterns, because you start to become aware of them. And then you start to almost get mad at yourself for for kind of going with your thoughts rather than staying present. And this can be stressful, because sometimes you might not feel like you're actually getting anything from meditation. And you might not feel like you're actually progressing in your meditation practice. So, so yes, that causes stress. And I know that that's actually a common reason why people give up on meditation very early on. I've talked to a few people over the last couple of years who have said, Oh, like, yeah, I've meditated before. I did it for a couple of times, but I just couldn't keep my focus. So I stopped You know, and and I think it's unfortunate because there's so much value in meditating and but we have to remember that we are undoing our unconscious or our conscious on consciousness, we are undoing mind patterns that have been there for years, probably decades in our lives. So that is not something that will just happen overnight. In some cases, it does happen overnight. But for the vast majority of people, you really do have to stick with the daily practice in order to get to the point where you're able to make progress and really become aware. So, and I think, also, meditation is so good, it almost scares your mind. And you get freaked out by it just again, your ego mind comes in and it's like, oh no, it becomes almost threatened by it. Because it doesn't want to be seen.
It's kind of like a parent to when they're in their house and their kids stop making noise. And they say, it's too quiet too
quiet. Yeah, exactly. So I think a part of it is just the ego mind does not want it to want doesn't want to be exposed. And through meditation, you're exposing it.
If there's something that's too good, it's too good to be true. Good to be wrong about it. Yeah. So and then you've you've taught yourself that you know what, it is too good. And it is not it is too good. It is good. Yeah, it's not too good. There's nothing wrong. It's just good or as
it really is, yeah.
And to go even weirder, I guess, but what are some misconceptions about people who meditate?
I am so happy you asked me this question. Because I feel like there's a lot of misconceptions. Like First of all, I feel like everyone thinks people who meditate are old. And I mean, I do find it hard to find people my age who meditate they most people you know, especially like The online community because I don't know anybody personally, most people who are part of meditation like online, they're older in and they're at later stages of their lives. But meditation is something that you should start as soon as you possibly can. You shouldn't wait until you're older to do it, because you can benefit from it now. So I think that that's one misconception. Everyone's like, oh, like, you know, meditation is something you do when you're older. When you've got more time, when in reality, the time you should be meditating is when you don't have time. When you don't have time. That's when you know you should be meditating. So that's one misconception. We're not all old people like sitting, you know, in their porches, meditating. But another one is, I find some people think that it's a waste of time, and that people use it as a way to escape from their reality. So the misconception is that it's used as an insult. Escape rather than you facing your reality you're escaping from it. And this is simply it's just not true. I can understand where people are coming from when they say this. But that's not what meditation is about. Meditation actually helps you become extremely acutely aware of your reality and perceive reality much more clearly. versus when your mind is, you know, hyperactive. When your mind is hyperactive, you don't see things as clearly but when when you have presence, you're able to see things much more clearly. And this when you are able to see things more clearly it helps you face the challenges in your life situation in a much more effective way. Because you're able to respond to your life situation from a state of peace rather than a state of discontentment or a state of fear or a state of anger or displeasure or whatever, you're, you're acting from a place of peace. And that gives you way better results than if you were acting from your ego, or from whatever else the mind throws at you, whatever other negativity it creates. And also, when you have a sense of inner peace, the quality of the work that you do, and the quality of the relationships that you are in, as well as your mental, emotional state, they all become greatly enhanced. So it is not a waste of time at all. The point of meditation is not so that you get lost in it. The point of meditation is so that you become attentive in your life that allows you to deal with everything way more effectively, and what you're doing any work that you're doing, becomes much more enhanced, and it's coming from a place of stillness. So you're able to put out the Best rather than, you know, you're stressed out and you're working from a place of stress or a place of fear. So yeah, a major misconception that I hope I just disproved. I
definitely did and I completely agree with you that we live in a society today where it's Go, go, go, go, go, go. You have to post this you have to share this you have to do this complete this task, complete this assignment. And then we don't necessarily stop to smell the roses. I think there was a quote in Ferris Bleu Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It was like, if you I don't know what exactly, but it goes along the lines of like, if you let life go by, you might just miss it.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And, and, you know, it's in for meditation. It's all about them. They say a lot of spiritual teachers say that the means is the end, the means and the end are one in the same. I think a lot of people look at life as a destination. You know, I want to get here or I want to do this, but the means is just as important if not more important. Because whatever you put in the means that's, that's what you're gonna get in the end in your destination. So, so they're one in the same. You know,
it's interesting you say that because I have somewhat of the same philosophy apply to a bunch of things. I love the travel rather than the destination, right? So like this right now the conversation, we have this, I'm loving this, like the product I'm creating at the end, I love it as well, but it's this part that I really enjoy. But you're saying they're one in the same. So if I work hard, I work hard on the conversation. I mean, like, if I enjoy the conversation, I'll enjoy the results. Actually,
if you're at present right now, then whatever you put out, is gonna be amazing. You know,
I won't put it out right now.
And another tough question, because you're just hitting hard with these beautiful answers. What has meditation taught you in?
Oh my gosh, what has it taught me in life? Again, this is one of those things where, like, I don't even know where to start. But I think ultimately, if I were to stop summarize it in one sentence or two sentences, it would be that it has taught me that you already have everything you could ever possibly need in order to have joy in your life, you already have it. You just need to be present enough to access it. That's what it's really taught me. Once again, I agree with you and
I just a follow up on that you correct me if I'm wrong, but it could be the idea that what one person considers joy might not be the joy for yourself. So especially when it comes to social media, when they say oh, this person's happy because they're doing this, this this this? Well, maybe that's their joy for them and maybe that's not necessarily what they actually enjoy doing. But it doesn't apply not one shoe fits all.
That's true. Yeah, that's true. And and I think again, talking about you know, the, the what we were saying like in terms of the destination and the travel journey, the journey Yeah, I guess you can call Yeah, the journey and the destination. It kind of applies to this because a lot of people see joy as being something that they achieve, Mm hmm. When in reality, it's already inside you. And again, it's such a simple concept. But it becomes complicated because our minds love to complicate things, and it'll get you to doubt it, but it's already there. Everything you need is inside you. You just haven't accessed it. And the way you access it is by being present.
You should see me edit I am. I used to be like our extreme perfectionism. Like, does that sound weird? That sounds weird. That's so weird. I asked my wife. She's like, Alex, it's fine. It's fine. No, no, no, we're gonna notice that there's something weird about this, how my voice sounds and stuff like that. But I've learned to let you know what I don't have to be a perfectionist for this. It's not about me. I have a horrible habit of just turning this around about me every now and then, back to you. Do you have any word of advice for anybody who might be interested in meditation?
I would say start now. Don't wait, start now. Do it. Don't hesitate, just sit and do it start.
You literally have nothing to lose.
Yeah, you don't have anything to lose, you only have all much to gain. So there's no going wrong when you're meditating. It's a positive experience. I've yet to find anyone who has said it's not a positive experience, even the people who have given up on it, say, Oh, it was it was good. I just couldn't keep up with it, you know? So yeah, start now. ASAP.
Like right now in the middle of this conversation.
I'm, I'm kind of meditating right now, as we're doing this.
The trick was, is when you're giving me the answers, I always meditate. There we go. But I wasn't living in the now because that would have been that conversation. Yeah. So we talked about this at the beginning, and I'll ask it again. Do you have any social media links or websites or even projects you're working on? It doesn't necessarily need to be social media link related. It can be a project that you have on the side that you'd like to promote anything at all
other than social For me, I would say well, okay, so I would say, maybe my research is show no. So right now I'm in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa and my research is looking at NGOs, and how NGOs partner with schools and educators to promote global citizenship education. So I'm doing that research right now. And it'll come out probably within the next year. So if anyone's interested, you can wait until the fall and go on the U Ottawa thesis website and check it out. Check out my project.
Well, you know what, once it does come out, and you're gonna send me the link to the project, if it is a link or paper, and I'll add it to the description so people can
follow me great, I'll be amazing.
And we have a lot more in common because I went to University of Ottawa to and studied international development. Globalization
hey I did my I did my undergrad in human rights so that's like really like up my alley for sure.
Yeah, this is this interview was meant to be yes. Yes.
It was meant to happen is is all aligned? Yes.
And what was your social media links ago?
So yeah, my social media at my social media handles at so no wait, what is it called? Is that Sophia four? Is that Sophia? Four? Yeah,
and my little handshake.
And my Facebook is just Sophia MERS. I plain old name. Yeah,
it's a lovely name.
Yes. But I wanted to tell you though, that I did. Meditate on the bus ride here
was a challenge or a pretty easy Yeah,
I find bus rides can be difficult because there's lots of people around and I'm tempted to just be on my phone. And sometimes it's cold and, and makes noise but I'm getting better at it. It's really it's really good.
Yeah. Have you made it seated on the LRT yet, no, no. Oh gosh, when it's running Yes, that's a shot at the I've never
been on it and it's never like broke broken down when I've been on it. So,
okay, so there's a lot more opportunities to maintain. Maybe
I just jinxed myself though.
No, we're not going into those dark thoughts don't create this negativity. We're not to take a pause to meditate and get out of that. Yes. And but yes, for the last question. Do you have any questions for me about meditation?
Ooh, um, I feel like I do have some questions for you. Let me let me think for a second I have some answers. Okay. So what would be how would you start meditating like where and what? I already have the
perfect answer. Okay. What is it? I think I kind of do somewhat meditate but something meditate. Meditate. Okay.
Explain it to me because you I can I can help clarify.
Absolutely. So if like say I'm working on a podcast editing for hours and hours and sometimes every now and then I want to take a little break and what I do is I like laying on the ground. hard ground hard surfaces, just nothing, no pillow, anything like that. And I feel like I'm just extending and it's just relieving all that, like thoughts and I just sit there. Sometimes I go to sleep, but most times I'm just there like,
yes, Alex, you you, you're a meditator. Yeah, you're a meditator. That that is what it is, you know, and, and it seems like, you know, you're, you're involving your body in it. Right. So, so you're doing kind of like a body meditation, which is cool.
I love the feeling of the ground on my back our surface and it just feels like you're just expanding. Mm hmm.
Yes, exactly. And you know what, that's the whole point of meditation. It's to expand your awareness. So
so he found a new meditation. Yes,
yes. I didn't know this about you. This is awesome. I was saving it for this episode,
but I think it speaks to just how simple it is. It really is. You know, and there's so many different kind of fads out there or kind of trends out They're, that are related to personal development and personal growth. And for example, like a really simple one is yoga. You know, so many people do yoga, it helps them relax, it's really good for your body, etc, etc, kind of makes them feel peaceful and all of that. And it's great. But a lot of times you have to pay a lot of money to go and do yoga, right to sign up for a yoga class. Meditation doesn't need you don't need to do anything. You just need to be still and aware and present thoughts it and you can do it whenever and wherever you want to. There are no limits. So you could be on top of a skyscraper. I don't know. You can literally be anywhere and you can be like on a you can be at a party and you can meditate. You can do it anywhere. So it's so simple. So I think people really underestimate just how powerful it is. Because it's such a simple thing.
I feel like people would judge me if I just start meditating my method. In the middle of a party just lay down,
lay down on the ground. I mean, people might step on you. But
I guess the only big challenge for me when it comes to meditating is finding a space that I fit.
Oh my gosh. Oh no, that sounds like a real struggle.
So that's what I'm like, picky in my eyes. This looks like around over six feet long I can meditate here.
That's so funny.
And you had other questions or, um, I was gonna no pressure, no pressure,
I would say,
how's your I don't know, like what your idea of meditation was before this interview, or what your thoughts on meditation were before but what were they and what do you think now that we've talked about it a little bit.
Um, so in some, like, I knew a little bit about meditation as well, because my sister is into that as well. And ideally, the big idea that I had was that people tend to meditate, meditate and do meditation when they had something Big happening in their lives and they use it to just detox my sense. And it was more like, instead of doing something regularly, it was more something to do it. Whenever you're feeling like you're overwhelmed,
and Oh, yeah. Okay, you know what, that's a really good point because that's how I started. My meditation was, you know, I was like, I had a chaotic life situation all of a sudden. So I was like, Oh, my God, like, this is overwhelming. I need to do something. And I started to meditate and it helped immensely. It helps so much, almost like almost immediately, it started to benefit my life. But But you're right, you don't you don't need to have stress in your life to to meditate. You don't need to have something huge happen. You don't need to be completely and utterly overwhelmed to start meditating, although that is a huge push factor for people. That's how I started. But it is something that you do more consistently because the more consistently you do The less you're going to be overwhelmed later on right in the future. So
the perfect and most horrible analogy I could use is like, you should brush your teeth every day not just before you go see the dentist.
That is perfect. Yes, that's perfect. Do it every single day.
Yeah, just make it a habit don't do before like something big and stressful like visiting the dentist. Yes,
exactly. No, I agree. I definitely agree should be a daily a daily thing
for yourself. So you know those pearly whites. Yes.
And I also forgot to mention that they are, you know, I talked about unconsciousness or I know, it's another way of saying like being unaware, there's different levels of it as well. So you could be deeply, deeply unconscious where you're just completely sorry, you're completely overwhelmed by your life situation you're coming, you might be suffering from anxiety or or whatever. So that's, that's a deep unconscious, but there's other levels too. You can be somewhere in the middle, you could be just a little bit unconscious, you know, where you're aware. But then sometimes you're not, you know, there are different levels. And so at each level, there's a level of unconsciousness, which means meditation is useful no matter what level you're on,
and what level are you on right now?
I don't know if I actually know what level I'm on. It's really trippy because like I said, I have this sense of awareness now. And so I catch myself and then automatically like, I snap out of it. So I go from being unaware to being totally aware in a second whereas before, sometimes it would take me a solid
hour before I snap out of it.
So and I know a lot of people have had that experience. So every the more and more you meditate those those, the timespan between when you become unaware and when you snap out of the awareness become shorter and shorter and shorter. So I still have moments where I'm unaware. Every single day, I'm unaware to a certain extent. But the the time span of that unawareness has become pretty short now. So that's exciting. That's really
exciting. Cool. It sounds
like you have a good grasp of your mental health your body and understand how things work best for you, and make your meditation more enjoyable and more relaxing, more productive.
Exactly. Yeah, definitely a much better understanding now that I did when I first started off, for sure.
So yeah, there you have it, another body with a hobby. Thank you so much, Sophia, for coming on. And just if we're locked doing this very relaxed conversation, it's a mini form of meditation. I might be insulting people by saying that, but I feel very relaxed with it. And yeah, thank you so much again, Sophia.
It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me. And hopefully I can come back and do do something again.
other hobbies by all means you're more than welcome to come back. And if you guys would like to learn more about Sophia, you can go check her out on the social media links I'll put in the description below and her research project that will not come out when this podcast episode comes out, but I'll add it on in October the fall, he said, Yeah, in the fall, okay, in the fall, so you guys get to see that because that's gonna be beneficial on so many level for everybody. And if you'd like to be on this podcast or have any questions at all, you could send me an email at Tom for your email@example.com. And of course, if you think this podcast episodes can be helpful for anybody, by all means, share with them because meditation can be such a useful tool. And not just for when you're going through a hard time but just to have it in your regular day life. It can be for two minutes, it can be for an hour you can be for 30 seconds. It's up to you go at your own pace, own speed, do whatever you need to do, but meditation is very beneficial fun floor like I do. Find dirt to go meditate. don't meditate at the bottom of a pool. That's a horrible example. Meditate. Yeah. habitate in I don't know, on your desk at work. Either way, there's multiple things you can do. And just recently, this is the opposite of meditating. This is just self selfish promotion. If you liked this podcast, by all means I would love reviews that would help this podcast a lot. It helps go a long way. And I'm currently also selling cheapest merchandise that you don't need but is still kind of cool. is a bunch of time for your hobbies stuff. It could be t shirts, coffee mugs, shower curtains for no apparent reasons. Travel mugs, everything and anything in between that you don't need but you do know you want it or you don't. I don't know. I don't know what you need, but you do need meditation. Either way. Thank you so much, Sophia, for coming on.
Thank you so much. I'm definitely gonna get some of that merge. I'm gonna have to go on online or wherever to get some of that merge because it looks amazing people. It looks real good.
You can watch you go to my website, which will be in the description below. That's where you can get Okay,
perfect. There we go. There you go.
So Until the next episode, make some time for your hobby. Take care.