Where do you live?
How did you come to meditation?
I moved to Austin 4 years ago. A couple weeks after we moved into the neighborhood a new business opened and erected a huge sign above their storefront – “Meditation Bar.” I don’t think I even saw the part that said ‘meditation.’ I was so excited to have a bar in the neighborhood where I could go to and walk/stumble home from. Growing up this was the only way I knew how to deal with stress in my life – drugs and alcohol. I walked through the doors and was surprised to find no booze, no cocktail peanuts, no soggy coasters, but what I did find was a community of people. Not unlike the community of people in a traditional bar, these people were all searching for something only they were doing it in a healthier fashion. I stayed for the meditation that night and never left. I haven’t had a drink in over two years, and now I’m committed to sharing the gifts I received from the practice of meditation with others.
What inspires you to meditate?
My inspiration is my family. At first, my family only included my immediate family, but as I continue to practice my family has become not only my wife and kids, mom and dad, brothers and sisters but also my community, our society, and all beings everywhere.
What does your meditation practice look like?
I sit for at least 30 minutes every day. Sometimes less, sometimes more but I always try to make time for the practice. I don’t always take a traditional posture when meditating, but for me this is a form of self-compassion. Allowing the practice to be what it is without putting too much pressure on myself.
Do you have any rituals or routines that support your practice?
I like to do some asana practice before I sit, and I also enjoy using sound in my meditations. Crystal bowls, gongs, drums all guide me in my practice.
How is your life different because of meditation?
I have become less reactive, more open and inquisitive. I enjoy being in my own skin and in the moment instead of always trying to escape.
What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your practice?
I recently went through a period of meditation burnout. I was being too hard on myself and the practice became a chore. It was suggested to me that I give myself permission to let expectations go. That one suggestion has made such a difference in the way I approach my practice.
What advice would you share with someone who is just starting a meditation practice?
Find a teacher and community where you can ask questions and share your experience. A lot of things will eventually come up in meditation and it’s good to have people around you who are going through or have gone through similar experiences.
What does your heart most long for?
Josh Walpole is now the owner of Meditation Bar where he teaches several classes a week.