Chelsea Handler’s podcast Life Will Be The Death Of Me is dedicated to the hilarious and deeply profound revelations she’s learned about herself since starting therapy. One of the practices she got into through her therapist was meditation. Chelsea says herself that she was resistant at first, because meditation seemed a little too "woo-woo” for her. Now, though, she doesn’t consider her day complete until she’s meditated at least once, and her assistant, Brandon, has gotten into it as well. This is partly thanks to the Headspace app, a mindfulness app that provides guided meditations for everyone from the uninitiated to the advanced meditator. On this episode, Chelsea and Brandon talk to the creator of the Headspace app, Andy Puddicombe, about his time in a monastery, why he created the app in the first place, the science behind meditation, and more.
Now that she meditates, Chelsea says, she’s maybe gotten a little overenthusiastic about it: “I've been banging this drum about therapy and meditation and awakening for the last six months...I’ll probably become a monk, watch,” she jokes. (“I would love to see you with a shaved head,” Brandon says supportively.) But she understands why people are turned off from the idea; “I was so frustrated with the inability to connect with it right away,” she recalls, and she thinks many people have misconceptions about what the practice of meditation really is, and its true purpose. “People think they’re doing it badly...like ‘I can’t get these thoughts out of my head,’” she says. But, “that’s the point. The point is to accept that you have all these thoughts and recognize how easily distracted you can become.”
Andy agrees: Because we approach meditation as if it will enable us to stop our own thoughts and just relax and focus, we actually prevent any of that from happening. “Meditation was never designed for those things,” he says. “Relaxation is a side effect...focus is a side effect, it’s not the purpose.” Instead of quieting your mind, meditation is more about simply watching your mind, allowing your thoughts to come and go, without getting attached to them. “You can meditate with a busy mind, and you can meditate with a quiet mind,” Andy says. “Rather than thinking of enlightenment as a place over there, something we need to get to...think about it...in terms of letting go of everything and just being present. When we do that, we find what we were always looking for.”
Andy’s not your traditional monk; he’s a surfer, a tech entrepreneur, a husband, and a father. And like Chelsea, he doesn’t love the “crunchy granola” reputation meditation has, because it closes people off from the practice. “It's very unrelatable to me,” Chelsea says. “I like...cynical b**ches who meditate. I want to know what they're doing because that's how I feel,” and Andy’s app works for her because “you’re a cynical b**ch just like me.” Andy laughs and says it’s true, because meditation is just about being real. “When I met some Tibetan masters who had been meditating for 30-odd years...they were quite boisterous, they were fun, they were passionate,” he relates. “They were like real human beings...it’s not about trying to be a particular person, it’s just showing up, being real, being yourself, and that’s okay. It’s enough.”
Tune in to hear more about Andy’s time in monasteries, what scientists have learned about how meditating changes our brains, and even do a three-minute meditation with Chelsea and Brandon, on this episode of Life Will Be The Death Of Me.
If you want to be sure you're listening to the podcasts everyone else is checking out, iHeartRadio has you covered. Every Monday, iHeartRadio releases a chart showing the most popular podcasts of the week. Stay up to date on what's trending by checking out the chart here. There's even a chart just for radio podcasts here, featuring all your favorite iHeartRadio personalities like Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, Steve Harvey and dozens of others.
Photo: Getty Images