Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert.
An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace.
In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India.
His transition back to lay life in 2004 was no less extraordinary. Training briefly at Moscow State Circus, he returned to London where he completed a degree in Circus Arts with the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama, whilst drawing up the early plans for what was later to become Headspace.
“No need for incense or sitting on a cushion. You can drop those niggling thoughts about work, too. Try it for ten minutes. What happens?”
In this recent Ted Talk, Andy Puddicombe explains how putting everything down for ten minutes a day gives the brain a much-needed moment to rest and recuperate.
But putting everything down doesn’t mean meditation requires no thoughts at all.
“Most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind,” Puddicombe explains, “But actually it’s about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going.”
Observing thoughts can tell us things about them we might have known otherwise.
“Things aren’t always as they appear,” he says.
In the video below, Puddicombe uses juggling to demonstrate how thoughts can become fast and rushed, or slow and loose—how these characteristics affect our attitude and approach to daily actitives.