Here’s my life in a paragraph. I have a wife and three kids, ages 13, 11 and 4. After growing up in Southern California I headed east to Princeton where I received a BA in history then got my MBA from Georgetown. Act One of my professional life took place in Washington, D.C., where I worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill for two congressmen, then ran a lobbying firm. Act Two began when I made a “do it now or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life” decision to chuck politics and move to Los Angeles to pursue a writing career. I got a job working for Aaron Sorkin on the writing staff of The West Wing where I was part of the team that won the Emmy for best drama series. This was followed by several shows that were canceled quickly and pilots and screenplays I sold that never made it to a theater (or television set) near you. I recently embarked on Act Three: Spreading meditation and mindfulness beyond the Berkeley-Boulder set and into the hinterlands. To Kansas. Ohio. Louisiana. Places where people love college football and scrapbooking and who’ve never given even a passing thought to meditation but who will benefit from it just as much as a pony-tailed vegan chef from Seattle!
Onstage at the Emmy Awards.
“But wait,” you’re thinking. “This guy dispensing advice about meditation and mindfulness isn’t a yogi running an ashram? Or a Phd in eastern medicine? Or someone with a meditation blog who’s devoted his adult life to exploring the deeply spiritual?” No. I’m none of those things. I’m a regular guy who deals with the same everyday stress that most of you deal with. Worrying about paying all the bills. Saving for my kids’ college educations. Navigating squabbling kids and a working wife who feels overwhelmed much of the time (bonus points for anybody who can guess where she dumps most of her stress. Hint: it’s a two-letter word that starts with m_). The only difference between me and most of you is that nine years ago I started a regular meditation practice. The result? I’m a better dad, husband, friend, brother, writer and human being.
While building my practice I read all the books, traveled the country attending meditation and mindfulness conferences and participated in online seminars where I listened to every major spiritual teacher on the planet: Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Michael Singer, Marianne Williamson and Joseph Goldstein, to name a few. And from those countless hours of reading and listening and absorbing, three facts kept hitting me. Fact #1: Regular meditation and mindfulness are profoundly beneficial to everybody. Fact #2: Doing it isn’t that hard and requires only a short amount of time each day. Fact #3: Hardly anybody does it! The coexistence of those three facts is why I started this site and why I’m devoting Act Three to spreading meditation and mindfulness to the masses.
It’s time for humanity to get its act together. People have their noses in their phones all day. They’re distracted. Uptight. In America, our politics have gone over a cliff. Everybody’s mad at each other. The rest of the world is mired in violence and upheaval. So what’s the answer? Gradually taming our worried, racing minds by relaxing into the present moment. Regular meditation and mindfulness do just that. My site will help get you there.