The Wall Street Journal says that he’s "re-branding meditation for millenials,” but in our perspective Jesse Israel, founder of The Big Quiet, is making waves in the world of wellness by bringing the age-old tradition of meditation to the forefront. In a modern, fast-paced world, Jesse has found the secret recipe to making meditation accessible for all by cultivating human connection in some of the world's most iconic places. Imagine the feeling of absolute silence among a sea of hearts beating—just like yours–atop the tallest building in the western hemisphere, the One World Trade Center. Now, that’s what we like to call global wellness!
During his time as the original founder of Cantora Records, a Brooklyn-based independent record label, Israel was brought to his knees by the power of daily meditation and the transformative impact it had on what was–at the time–the peak of his stress and anxiety levels. This social entrepreneur and community leader may have since changed his life’s directions, but his hustle remains the same; He just happens to have acquired a few sacred rituals to create balance and flow in his life, essential oils being among some of his favourite tools for wellness.
Read below for Jesse’s advice on how to totally bliss out through integrating meditation into your life, and on finding the ultimate diffuser blend to set the tone.
I think it’s fair to say that it was ‘love at first smell’! It wasn't until that first exposure to essential oils that I realized the power they have to support so many underlying issues.
How did you first connect with Saje?
“My sister—a long time fan—and I were at the Century City, Westfield Mall location [in Los Angeles]. She gleamingly pulled me through the doors, telling me I had to experience essential oils for myself. I think it’s fair to say that it was ‘love at first smell’! It wasn't until that first exposure to essential oils that I realized the power they have to support so many underlying issues.”
What has been your favourite place to host a mass mediation and what was your takeaway?
“That question transports me to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. Suspended on the glass ceiling of the Ocean Hall is a spectacularly large 94ft long female blue whale model—she represents one of the largest creatures that ever lived. The blue whale model originally went on display in 1969. Even though men had walked on the moon, little was known about what whales looked like in their natural habitat. Accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful soundscape of whales, I hosted a Big Quiet Meditation, and it was one for the books! As a kid I can remember being in awe and wonderment as I would peruse through all of the historical artifacts of that museum and it was nothing short of a surreal experience to host a “Big Quiet” in such an iconic and nostalgic museum.”
Accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful soundscape of whales, I hosted a Big Quiet Meditation, and it was one for the books! As a kid I can remember being in awe and wonderment as I would peruse through all of the historical artifacts of that museum and it was nothing short of a surreal experience to host a “Big Quiet” in such an iconic and nostalgic museum.”
What are your 3 tips for people looking to integrate mediation into their lives?
“Drop any expectations”
“The practice of meditation is more about our relationship with our thoughts and requires a person to arrive with an openness. Many people will stray from even trying because there is a limiting belief that if their brain is thinking, they are doing it wrong. We don’t naturally gravitate toward things we feel we’re bad at doing, but there’s truly no such thing as being “bad” at meditation, so come with a fresh perspective!”
“Find your support system”
“Having something that can hold you accountable as well as guide your meditation can be very supportive. One of my favourite resources is “The Number 1 Giant Mind App”, because it makes the whole process feel simple and effortless. Some people really enjoy a challenge, so for them I would recommend fully committing to a 30-day challenge. Through the process of reflection before and after the challenge, a person can really get an understanding of the impact this practice can have on their life.”
“Be patient with yourself”
“From instant messages to emails and “likes”, our society thrives on feelings of instant gratification. We innately expect immediate results that—opposite to this–—the feeling of being challenged by something like a mediation practice can feel uncomfortable. We’re all unique beings with different experiences and as a result, different nervous systems. Our meditation practice isn't any different. Be kind to yourself and trust that you have everything you need to move forward.”
Meditation has nearly become a biological need for me
What keeps you engaged with your meditation practice – how do you remain consistent?
“Being a meditation teacher and seeing the results it drives for so many people, certainly holds me accountable to my own practice! More so is the fact that I’ve been invested in a regular practice for 8 years. Meditation has nearly become a biological need for me. Just as we feel out of balance and exhausted when we’re lacking sleep, this is what my body feels when I miss a meditation. I can only liken my practice to a craving that has so many side benefits!”
Why do you believe in diffusing while meditating?
“The experience of diffusing has become so beneficial and supportive to my meditation practice. Oils can invite us into a space of serenity without any effort. When I diffuse something that creates an instant shift for people, it sets a tone for the rest of our meditation together.
I generally like to start my diffuser 10-minutes prior to sitting down for a personal or mass meditation. For me, Stress Release Soothing Oil Diffuser Blend instantly initiates a calming sensation throughout my body. With this blend I become acutely aware of my nervous system down-regulating, and my body starting to settle into its seat. I’m particularly devoted to lavender not only because it works for my meditation, but it also helps me to ease into a restful state when sleeping at night.”
With this blend I become acutely aware of my nervous system down-regulating
What is your favourite way to choose a diffuser blend for your meditation?
“When it comes to preparing your meditation space, I'm certainly a fan of the old Saje saying: “your nose, knows”. This is to say that our bodies and emotional experiences all stem from different places. What works for me, isn't a one size fits all. I personally love the idea of turning the selection process into a meditation.
- Start by sitting or standing comfortably wherever you are with your feet grounded into the floor.
- Begin by checking in with your body and tuning into your physical, mental and emotional state.
- Take a big breath into the belly, filling up in the chest and holding it for a moment—release it fully.
- Bring your diffuser blend up to your nose, holding it under your nostrils—inhale naturally.
- Notice any residue sensations that remain in the body and repeat using different blends as you see fit.
- Keeping your eyes closed, come back into your body, fluttering the eyes open when you feel complete with the process.
Diffuser blends can serve as a wonderful tool to add colour and enliven our meditation practice as well as helping us transition from one state to another. Next time you sit down for a deep breath, take a moment to pause and ask yourself what your body needs most in order to aid you into relaxation. Whether it’s de-stressing, an energy boost, or pure joy, you can count on a blend that’s perfectly suited for that!
For more information and tour dates on The Big Quiet, visit their website or instagram.