Jesse Israel

Jesse Israel on Meditation, Discovering Meaning, and the Unwavering Power Inside Us All

Show Notes


Jesse Israel believes that the time to promote cultural change is now. His journey toward meditation maven is singular: from founder of a record label at 23, signing multi-platinum bands like MGMT, to founder of The Big Quiet, a global meditation movement that brings together massive groups for moments of transformational silence. Today, everyone, from Oprah and Deepak Chopra to many Fortune 100 CEOs, embraces the visionary practitioner's transformational work. In this episode, Jesse shares why he believes authenticity, connectedness, and joyful self-acceptance are what's contemporary now. To him, the power of mindfulness can push back against the noise, stress, and compulsive need for external validation that presses in on so many—particularly those in creative or entrepreneurial sectors. His heart-centered coaching approach is about unleashing wholeness and sending out global ripples of sustained, positive cultural energy, helping individuals tap into their power and potential, and highlighting the importance of finding inner joy and fulfillment in one's life and work. What's contemporary now? "What's contemporary now is people … [discovering] what makes them feel most alive. It's so critical that we live in a place of aliveness because the world really needs it right now."

Episode Highlights
  • Starting: From launching a successful record label out of a dorm room at NYU to inner turmoil, then meditation as a source of relief.
  • We are not alone: Backstage meditation circles Jesse started at concerts gave him a profound understanding of our shared human fragility.
  • The Big Quiet: Jesse applied lessons learned in developing popular cultural events to create community—a space for people "to slow down and talk about real stuff."
  • Gathering momentum: Iterating in small gatherings, Jesse began to shape his growing community in response to people's needs and wants. The Big Quiet grew and took off organically from there.
  • Group v. individual: Larger group meditations deepen the practice, creating a richer sense of togetherness within the silence.
  • Just the facts: In areas where mass meditations occur, decreases in levels of crime have been reported, along with a generally positive ripple effect.
  • The Musical Element: Crystal bowls and other sound vibrations give practitioners a container for a deeper state of consciousness. Notable performances in the quiet, captive moments after a mass meditation infuse the community with a sense of heart-centered connectedness.
  • The changing landscape: There are tectonic shifts that humans are experiencing in the information, digital age. We use mindfulness to strengthen our nervous systems and reconnect with a primal, tribal sense of well-being.
  • In the corporate world: Meditation can open up new channels of creativity, increase response times for problem-solving, foster intuitive team-building, cultivate more personal joy and discovery, and enable enlightened leadership.
  • Step-by-step leadership: Step No. 1: Meditate to reduce stress and emotional blocks. Step No. 2: In the quiet, get clear about how to tap into full power and potential. Step No. 3: Turn outward, leveraging personal gifts and positive impact.
  • Key differentiator: Jesse's holistic approach to coaching—with a clearly defined sense of personal purpose and joy as the source of invincibility and external success.
  • The butterfly effect: Leaders who practice self-love and recognize joyful purpose become vessels that inspire change and transformation in the workplace and beyond.
  • Grounded in abundance: Anything is possible when we lean into intention, our unique gifts, and our lived experience.
  • Easing the grip: Meditation and self-compassion shift us from a place of scarcity and fear towards being okay with the fact that there are things we can't control.
  • Unlearning the messages: It's essential to unhitch our gaze (and sense of self-worth) from a high-stress, low-value cultural focus on empty external validation.
  • What's contemporary now? Re-imagining and making new sense of our lives post-pandemic. Focusing on what matters most and what creates the most fulfillment. Aligning ourselves with actions and relationships that are authentic and joyful. Calling on ourselves to make the significant, scary changes necessary to do what we're here to do. Find the relationships and roles that make us feel alive.
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