When you hear someone is self-centered, this is usually a clue to run in the other direction. So how is Max Simon building a whole movement based on it?
Well, this form of focusing on the self, or being “selfcentered,” is about reconnecting to the inner self through silence and meditation, rather than about being selfish.
Simon, a meditation teacher and son of The Chopra Center’s co-founder, David Simon, kicked off The Self Centered Tour in November 2007.
His purpose is to attract the youth he found was missing as he taught meditation throughout the United States the last four years.
In the few short months since the organization began, they’ve managed to train Awareness Architects (meditation teachers) throughout the country and hold several PDMs (Public Display of Meditation), including one in front of ground zero for a consumption nation, Louis Vuitton in Beverly Hills.
They’ve also gotten the backing of not only the Chopra Center, but Apl of the Black Eyed Peas.
Busy working toward getting one million people selfcentered, Max recently took some time out to answer questions about where this movement is heading.
BNT: After perusing The selfcentered Tour website, it seems you’re taking an age-old concept, one that has been an aspect of most religions-silence-and are bringing it to today’s youth in a form they can understand and relate to.
Do you think there are any parts of more traditional meditation practices, such as Buddhism or Hinduism, that you are missing by taking this approach?
MS: Our goal is simple: get millions of young people to meditate. To do it, we have taken the dogma out, the new-ageyness out, and the stigma out, and replaced it with a fresh vibe that allows for individual expression and modern day living.
During our events, each person learns everything they need to know about how to quiet their mind chatter and tap into their authentic stillness. Once they learn the tools, we have some very beautiful next steps that allow for a deeper conversation about how to live a selfcentered life (authentic, grounded, clear, and self-aware).
So with all this in mind, I feel like our programs are very complete based upon what the world is asking for right now.
BNT: Why do you think this tour, or movement, is important at this time in history? Is working at the grassroots level imperative to its success?
MS: There’s too much buzz right now and people are avidly seeking a way to cope. Our meditation inspired revolution for authenticity seekers provides a solution, which is why people are turning other people on to it.
Once you have a powerful experience where you feel better then you ever have, then the next step is to share it with your friends. Since everything we do is in-person, the grass roots piece is necessary, exciting, and a lot of fun.
BNT: In one of your previous interviews, you noted that your teenage years were filled with the typical partying that occurs at that age, even though you were surrounded by many people who were living an alternative health lifestyle.
What stimulated your shift to a more “authentic” lifestyle, and can you define what that “authenticity” means?
MS: I woke up one morning (literally and figuratively) and decided it was time for a change. With that shift in desire, I came back to meditation and my entire world transformed.
At 22, I became the youngest yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda teacher in the world-renowned Chopra Center’s history. Then again at 24, I realized that it was time for me to transform again, but this time it was to a new school leader of consciousness.
To me, this meant representing who I truly am, a 26 year old guy that loves the real world, and a meditator that realizes that the deeper meaning behind the material. Our movement was founded on the desire to inspire others to use these technologies (meditation, breath, etc) to allow them to get clear, connected, and excited about their true authenticity.
BNT: Working in the holistic health field, I understand how hard it can be to shift perspectives and help people redefine their view of health and happiness.
Considering your background (son of integrative practitioner David Simon, being surrounded since a very young age by alternative systems such as Ayurveda, etc.), how do you relate to people who think meditation is still too “hippy-dippy”, say they don’t have time, or say they’ve tried and it’s too hard?
MS: Take a look at our Awareness Architects (teachers), website, materials, and products and it’s pretty clear that we’re not falling into an old-school paradigm.
Everything we do has a fresh spin, uses fresh language, and has a fresh vibe, because that’s who we are. Since we are a part of the age group we want to reach, it’s really easy to avoid misconceptions because we walk the walk and talk the talk.
BNT: You make it clear The selfcentered Tour is geared toward youth, and the movement seems to come off as â€˜sexy in a spiritual kind of way’.
Do you also hope to grab a wider audience, such as those in their 30s and 40s who still consider themselves youthful, and may be at a time in their lives where they are doing more soul-searching than in their 20s?
MS: Everyone is welcome in our movement because meditation is timeless. That being said, our focus is on the next generation because our mission is to train teachers, not gather students.
The young people seem to be hungriest to make an impact on the planet so they’re excited about becoming Awareness Architects (teachers) and getting out to there inspire the world get selfcentered.
If people from other generations want to join us; rock on. Just know that I will challenge you to step up and get involved.
BNT: I, being a woman, of course like the sound of Chocolate Meditation. Can you tell me more about that?
MS: It’s delicious (haha), and a definite crowd pleaser. A chocolate meditation allows you to experience the profound effects of engaging the senses from a clear, connected, conscious place.
When you slow down, breath, and settle into your space, the world comes alive. When you introduce chocolate into that moment, it becomes sensory indulgence. It doesn’t hurt that we’re using the most amazing fair trade organic chocolate from Theo Chocolates!
Everything we do is experiential so that you can feel the wisdom.
BNT: Where do you see The selfcentered Tour going after you have reached your goal of getting one million people to connect to their inner-selves?
MS: Getting two million people to get selfcentered.
To learn more, visit the Self Centered website.
What do you think of Max’s mission? Share your thoughts in the comments!