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NL: Hi everyone! My name is Natalie Ledwell and this is the Inspiration Show. Today on the show, my special guest is going to be talking about meditation for daily stress. Now, before I introduce my special guest, I just want to remind you that if you are watching this show on Facebook live or later on the YouTube channel, don’t forget that after the show is finished, just click the link below this video so you can take my little 30- second quiz to figure out what’s holding you back from success. So, please, let me introduce my special guest Michel Pascal. Hi, Michel. How are you?
MP: Good, good. How are you, Natalie?
NL: Hi. I’m wonderful. I am so happy to have you here. I actually met you, or I saw you, didn’t actually get to meet you, a few weeks ago. My friend Yogi Cameron was doing a book signing and you were opening up the space for us with incredible meditation music. It was amazing. And I know that you have done a lot of training, not just in France, which is where you’re from, but also around the world. So, what we might do, instead, is tell us a little bit about your background and your story and a little bit about what you do.
MP: Me… I came to sing on stage when I was nine years old. And, when I was a child I was all the time in the churches because when I was a child I realized there is no life without peace.
MP: It’s not possible. If the brain is running all the time we are in the mental prison. And my Daddy died suddenly with a heart attack when I was so young because he had a lot of stress with his money problem. So, for me since I was a child, it was so clear, so clear that the spiritual way- I mean what means spiritual? To be more alive. To be more alive, to be more conscious will be all my life to help for people to be less stressed. And few years after, when I was 16 years old, I became professional singer in France. When I was 25, I came to start to sing in America with the best jazz man musician and I start to use my voice to mix between vocal and spirituality. After I published 19 books in French, and my new book is in English, and after I made a book with His Holiness Dalai Lama in 2008. I lived in a monastery and my Rimpoche, as we say in Buddhism, was Chepa Dorje Rimpoche- one of the most exceptional Tibetan masters. When I asked to him one day, “what means meditation? Can you explain to me what is meditation? Because in America, we see all the time people like that, “take a deep breath. Do this, do that”.
“According to you, Rimpoche, what means meditation?” And he says something that will guide all my life. He says, “There is no meditation. We think too much, we talk too much from nothing. Just sitting down like a mountain and you will feel all.”
It was just those words like the seeds of my life and I create a new way of meditation. Meditation for Daily Stress because if we practice any relaxation outside of the stress… It’s beautiful. It’s really important, but when we go back to the traffic, when we go back to our money problem, when we go back to the workplace, most of the times we are stressed again.
So I realized, as we say in neuroscience, there is decompression because there is a sort of artificial peace and suddenly- boom! I must go to work, so I am stressed. So it was clear since a lot of years that we must change the wrong perceptions, the cliché of the meditation. Meditation in America it means, “Oh, we are like that. Take a deep breath. Singing bowl- boom! Like that. If we have no money problem, if we live in a mansion in Beverly Hills, if you have a lot of millions of dollars in your account, it’s fine. But, most of the time, we are not in this case. So Meditation for Daily Stress, it’s a new way of meditation. We train the mind not outside of the stress, but inside the stress. But, just to finish this introduction, we can say it’s a sort of revolution this new way of meditation. But, in reality, it’s exactly the etymology of the word “meditate”. In my monastery, when I live in the Himalayas I learned the etymology of the word meditation. So meditation doesn’t mean the cliché that we see everywhere in America- the beautiful girl sit down like that- No, no. In etymology, in Tibetan language, meditate means exactly “I train my mind in my daily life”. So the question is, how can I be calmer in the workplace, in the traffic, you know Starbucks, in the street, in the chaos of the world?
NL: Right. So I know you mentioned before that you have worked with scientists and neuroscientists. So, from what I’m hearing, it sounds like Meditation For Daily Stress is a way for us to train our brain even in the epicenter of the stress that we’re facing to be calm. So we’re training our brain to stay in a like -in a… Just trying to think it- like the brainwave state that is more calm. Is that what we’re trying to do?
MP: Yes. We use some visualization, some mental picture, to be calmer in the chaos. For example, many times I teach for big manager of big companies in New York in Times Square. We go in Time Square to touch our soul in one second because meditation is not a technique, or spiritual meditation as we do in a monastery. It’s more than a technique. It’s not a tip. It’s a spiritual experience. In one second, suddenly- poof. We touch our soul. We are calmer. We discover there is a world outside- trials, so noisy, the tension, but we have a world. We have a space. We have a soul. Everyone will use the word that they want. In neuroscience, we know that when we are like that, immediately we have less cortisol, the hormone of the stress, and we have more serotonin, the hormone of the well being.
So, how can we go from the world outside to the world inside? In Meditation for Daily Stress for example, I teach to meditate like a dolphin. Because one day I swim in Santa Monica and I saw a beautiful dolphin close to me and it jumps and it dives. I say, “Oh my God, he is my spiritual teacher”. Because when we breathe, we can breathe like a dolphin at the surface of the waves, the surface of the life, the surface of the chaos. We breathe in, we keep our breath, and we dive inside us. Immediately when we close our eyes, when we dive inside us, we live a spiritual experience. We, in neuroscience, we say that we change the matter, gray and white in the brain. So when we do that, we become addicted to the peace because every emotion is a neurochemical addiction. So it’s so important to be so, so calm in the chaos. Because if you touch your soul one time in the chaos, you want another time- third, fourth. You’ll realize that at the workplace we can be more calm. The more we have calm, the more we have energy. The more we have calm, the more we are happy. The more we are productive, the more we can make money. So it is so important. There is no debate- everyone, you, me also people who follow you, Natalie. We know we must be calmer. I will develop this new way of meditation at Columbia University with the doctor Liza Miller. She has wrote a lot of bestsellers, she was invited by Oprah Winfrey. Liza, she asked to me three days ago, “Oh, Michel, we would like to develop to the students this way of meditation because for our student”. How can we learn, how can we memorize, synthesize if we are stressed? But, if we are calm, we work easier with less effort. So we live in a new time. I think we need to be calmer in our daily life and like say my Rimpoche, “Sitting down like a mountain and all will be open”.
NL: Yeah. So how long are these meditations that you teach, Michel?
MP: It’s not a question of quantity, it’s a question of quality. Because many times we say, “Oh you must do this, you must do that”. I will- I mean, for someone for example, I have taught many times at Google in New York City. When I teach for an engineer, a manager who works 15, 17 hours per day, how can I say to someone like that, “Oh, you have worked a lot. Now you must be concentrate again on your breath on meditation during 20 minutes”. No, it’s not… We can’t do that. We are too much tired. The same thing I teach for our prisoners for Amity Foundation. How can we say to a prisoner with PTSD, “Oh, my friend, you must meditate 20 minutes per day, 10 minutes. It’s not like that. It’s not a question of quantity. In one second, we can touch our soul. We can change our cognitive process. We can change our metabolism. We can change the almond in the brain. We can feel better in one second and when we leave this experience, we are thirsty. We want to live again this experience in the chaos and we rediscover our life. For example, I teach for Uber drivers, how can I be calmer when I drive? How my job can become my meditation teacher? So it’s not a question of tips. It’s not a question of quantity- do this do that. It’s just a question… In one second I touch my soul.
NL: Hmmm. And, you know, that to me is the purpose of meditation I think we can go through days, and weeks, and months where we’re just on autopilot and we just have no connection to the essence of who we are. We have no connection to our soul. But it sounds like, with Meditation for Daily Stress, it can be one second. It can be five minutes. It can be whatever we have the availability for and I know that through the Amity Foundation- I know you’re working with prisoners and also with… When they are released from prison, from what I understand and your success rate, or the rate at which prisoners go back or reoffend, is very low with the people that you work with because you’ve been able to teach them this this form of being able to really connect with who they really are.
MP: I can share with you, Natalie, an amazing data in California. 80% of parolees, they return to jail three months, four months after. But, at Amity Foundation, with a healthy food, with good speakers, with yoga also, and with Meditation for Daily Stress, the same percentage, Natalie… 80% they never return to jail. They find a job, they rebuild their family. Last week, one of the parolees, he say to me, “Michel I have found a job today. You know why?” I say, “Tell me, my friend why?”
“Because at my interview I was calm. I was sitting down like a mountain and my boss give me my job.”
So, yes, we can. At Amity Foundation, we have the proof. It’s a data. It’s not a “blah blah”, it’s not a hope, it’s a data. We see at Amity Foundation we have found the key to reduce the violence in America with the people with the most difficulties- people who stay 20, 30 years in jail, who have PTSD, drug addiction, alcohol addiction. Yes, we can be calm. It’s just a question of training the mind. To live is to choose. Today I can choose to be more stressed, but I can choose to touch my soul. As you say, Natalie, I can- we can say to be reconnected. If we talk according the language of the Navajo Apache tribes, we say I am reconnected to the Mother Nature. If we talk in Buddhism language, we say I go back to the consciousness. In Christianity, in theology, we talk about the soul. In neuroscience, we talk about the cognitive process. Everyone- we try to describe that we are stressed. We don’t live, we exist. We do a lot of activities we go to restaurant, we work, we have girlfriends, we make money, we have problems. We exist, but we don’t live. We don’t know what it is to be present to our life- to live. The goal of the meditation, or the goal of the life, it’s to be more alive- to be more present. I am with you, Natalie, I am with you.
NL: Okay. Yeah. It’s been such a pleasure talking to you today and we could talk for much longer. I have so many more questions, but if our listeners want to connect with you on it more about the meditation, where can we send them to do that.
MP: You can go on MichelPascal.tv MichelPascal.tv is my tv show online. Also I’m opening my classes at Bodhi tree in Los Angeles in West Hollywood. It will be also online on the Facebook page of Bodhi Tree- Bodhi Tree has 100,000 followers. I give the classes also at Amity Foundation, you can come if you want to see some classes with some parolees. We have too much demands. So I need to train many teachers because when I am in Columbia University, or that Google, I can’t be in LA. So we need a lot of teachers. So you can contact me if you want to become a meditation teacher certified who can help also women who have breast cancer. I will train many, many teachers to help those women. I perform at Carnegie Hall October 17 in New York again. I perform in L.A. at Ceremony Meditation on June Saturday 17th and 18th and also in Santa Monica in the Playhouse on the 25th of June. Now you know all.
NL: Great! And I can speak because I have heard Michel sing and it is like an angel is communicating through you. It is heavenly, so heavenly.
MP: We can finish with a little two minutes of music.
NL: Okay let’s do that.
MP: It’s also my way to say thank you, Natalie, to have host me and to say hello to my friend Yogi Cameron. Yogi Cameron has wrote an amazing book with his wife Yogi Nijima; they are exceptional because Yogi Cameron comes from the fashion model from the jetset. He’s an amazing guy- extremely charismatic. But he has chosen to follow a humble way, a spiritual living in a very small village in India, just to be more pure. So the attitude of Yogi Cameron, and his wife Yogi Nijima, it’s a teaching for me. So I will sing just a few second for you and for all your followers.
NL: Okay. Thank you.
MP: (Singing) Peace in my heart, in my life forever. Peace in my heart, in my mind, forever…
Thank you so much Natalie.
NL: Thank you. Thank you so much. Now, guys, I’ll make sure that the link for Michel’s website is underneath the video here so you can click to go straight through to that. Thank you everyone for joining us today. It’s been such a pleasure talking to Michel Pascal. So remember, until next time. Remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We’ll see you soon.