How did you get to where you are today?
With the love, help and support of many, many different people. Having trained as a Buddhist monk, I felt really passionate about meditation and so when I came back to the UK I really wanted to make it more accessible. Then I was fortunate enough to meet my business partner Rich Pierson and that really made the change. We swapped our skills, I taught him meditation and he taught me how to make the techniques relevant and available to the public – Headspace was the outcome of that.
What is Headspace about?
Headspace is a digital health platform, a gym membership for your mind. When meditation becomes just as much a part of people’s everyday routine as brushing their teeth or taking a shower, then we’ll have achieved our aim.
Describe a difficult challenge in your life and how you got over it?
I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 2013 soon after moving from London to LA. I would say that mindfulness was, has been and continues to be integral to my recovery. I already practiced formal meditation on a daily basis but I increased the amount to 3 sessions a day. I would apply mindfulness to walking in the garden or doing my rehab exercises.
In your opinion why are people finding it hard to balance work and life?
With the current pace of life and increasing demands – not least of which is the increasing digital chatter. Most people assume that this stress is simply part of life, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Meditation shows us how to live more skillfully. The more we practice mindfulness the more we see of our mind. By witnessing the inner struggles we go through, we start to understand what others are going through and why they might do and say the things that they do. This is empathy. The result is that we become more patient, less judgemental and less reactive, making for a calmer, more peaceful working environment.
What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
To be kind. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about it in terms of being kind to ourselves or others, only when we learn to let go the judgemental aspect of mind, when we embrace forgiveness, when we acknowledge our shared human experience, when we practice kindness, will we discover true peace of mind and happiness in our lives.
Resources: For more information on Andy and Mindfulness visit his website below:
A longer version of this article is available at Know it All Passport