A multi-talented singer, speaker, meditation teacher, and founder of Center of the Cyclone, Biet Simkin blends her extensive study in art, music and spirituality into an immersive meditation experience that offers a hint of rock & roll with plenty of inquisitive introspection.
This brilliant woman has plenty of spiritual energy, but with a solid real-world approach to get around in this world. She should know - she's had more than her fair share of pain in her life.
Ashley Rose Howard caught up with Biet to discuss her work and how to reconnect to joy in the face of fear and pain.
Ashley Rose Howard: Tell me about becoming a meditation teacher?
Biet Simkin: I grew up living an avant-garde dreamlike world. My dad was a guru type, so I did meditation as a child. I was always interested in gathering people and doing different rituals (obviously not charging anyone then).
As I got older, I was still into meditation, but in the drugs and rock & roll world. I’ve been a singer since birth and was signed to Sony at the age of 18. At parties, I was always the girl sitting in the corner talking about the meaning of life and god. I quickly realized I was a brand of a person.
ARH: Did you choose this career path? Or did it choose you?
BS: A few years ago, I was on a friend’s couch meditating and asking the universe: What am I meant to do here? Show me a sign and I’ll do whatever you say. A clear voice came through telling me I am a spiritual teacher. My immediate thought was, what the f*** are you talking about? I thought I needed to be a dude with a beard, over 60 to be a spiritual teacher, so I was very confused. But the voice was loud and clear telling me not to argue. So, I built a website and made business cards and moved into a slow period of becoming a spiritual teacher.
The voice soon returned and told me if I’m going to teach, I need to do it differently. I need to share with the world I’m doing this. I had to get uncomfortable. At first it felt misleading, but I had over 30 years of practice with this work and knew a lot of answers to meditation questions. It’s like telling someone you’re good in bed – don’t tell me, just show me.
ARH: What type of meditation do you teach?
BS: Center of the Cyclone is a guided meditation technique that I anthologized to include my music and spiritual talks including topics like The Four Minds, Confidence with Flirting and Agony and Ecstasy. I’m not teaching people to move to a mountain and put on a robe. I want people to remember that your primary aim in life is to be present. Sleeping with someone hot or buying real estate or getting your nails done are great aims – I’m all for real life aims – but if you can’t be present while doing those things, you can suck satisfaction out of life.
ARH: What can meditation teach us about being present with the current turmoil in America?
BS: It’s about remembering that these things that we’re seeing are not really different from what we’ve seen in the past. In history, things have always been tumultuous on earth. Meditation doesn't turn a blind eye.
The best way to get out of yourself in these moments of chaos is to go help people. You don't have to go directly to some disaster, you can go to your local soup kitchen. It's a matter of how many people did I help today and am I living in kindness? When you meditate, you will do more of this.
ARH: Any tips for managing emotions of hurt and pain from recent events in the news?
BS: Hurt is a one-dimensional thing. I’ve experienced some really unfortunate events including losing my entire family, except for my brother, including my daughter. My life looks like a ball of pain, but you can’t tell what real pain is unless you’re in it. Only fake pain like worry and jealousy is a problem. When you’re experiencing real pain you experience bombs of insights. There’s so much joy in real pain. Curiosity is born out of real pain. All the pain in our life has been a gift to bring us where we are now.
ARH: What has meditation taught you?
BS: Meditation continues to teach me that my machine (what I call my body and mind) is an
asshole. Even though your machine is being an asshole, you can be generous or kind or a good listener, lover, friend and parent. It makes you a better person. We are all asleep to our systems being backwards. Mediation teaches me that none of this is real, and I ought to be curious about who I really am.