Yael Shy says that meditation is really a fancy way of expressing the state of paying attention. It’s the act of sitting with yourself and allowing your mind to be aware of its surroundings and everything happening at the moment. Yael teaches a meditation class at New York University and has a lot to say about her own journey to discovering the art of meditating and then teaching that to others.
She Was Deeply Anxious & Lonely in Her Younger Years
During her college years, Yael shares she was extremely anxious and lonely, and those feelings translated into all parts of her life. It was a painful and stressful experience, and she didn’t know how to break out of it. That’s when she first discovered meditation, and through studying it, she began to understand the nature of anxiety. Over time, she was able to stop being ruled by these feelings of social anxiety and depression.
And, then from the student, she became the teacher.
The Meditation Generation
Yael shares her favorite method of meditation as the one where you’re bringing your awareness and attention to a single point of focus. When you first try it, the response of your mind will naturally be to run away from that point, but that doesn’t mean meditating isn’t working or that you’ve failed. There are different ways to get into a state of mindfulness, and they are individual to the person practicing them. That’s just what works for her. There isn’t a single practice for everyone.
According to Shy, the rise of social media has given birth to a generation that’s deeply plagued by anxiety and depression. The good news is that as we’ve become more open to these social stigmas as a society, more and more people feel empowered to give meditation a chance. That’s why she calls the young people of today the Meditation Generation.