THE BLOG

Why I Created a Global Online Mindfulness Meditation Campaign

05/01/2015 11:43 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2015

Someone asked me recently why I left my job in Psychiatry to run the global online meditation campaign I founded four years ago Mindful in May that starts tomorrow.

Here's what came to mind...

I've had the fortune of travelling to many places in the world that have opened my eyes to new cultures, people, languages, music...but also to the world of injustice, human suffering at the most profound level, and inequality that made me deeply disturbed and often filled me with a sense of despair and futility. The sense that "well this is just the way the world is" - and I should just count my blessings that chance landed me in Melbourne with a loving family, enough food, water, and a warm, safe place to live.

Along my travels I remember...

India circa 1996 - watching as old men pulled human rickshaws on the streets of Bombay coughing their lungs out with likely TB and receiving the equivalent of ten cents to take their higher caste/or tourist passengers a few blocks for dinner.

West Africa circa 2000 - Walking around the streets of Guinea, Conakry during wet season and seeing funeral posters on every second corner for children who had died of malaria that week. Knowing I had just treated myself with a tablet I had brought with me in case I was unlucky enough to get it myself.

Sri Lanka circa 2005 - I worked in the camps post tsunami and met people who had just lost their entire families to a wave of annihilation left with nothing except their irreconcilable grief, loss and a tent that would become home for years to follow. A man shows me a picture of his three daughters and wife he has lost and I look at him and can't hold back my tears - we cry together connected by our shared humanity, despite not being able to speak each others language. I send him lovingkindness and wonder how he will continue to live...

New York City 2009 - Watching a black man in a wheel chair with an amputated leg, dripping with sweat on a 30 degree day, as he heaved and wheeled himself across 6th avenue with his life of plastic bags on his chair - a journey just to get to the other side of the road. I brought him a drink as any fellow human would have had they noticed his plight. I sat with him for an hour and heard his story and cried as he told me "If I had the courage I'd kill myself I would but I'm too scared to do that - so I live each day at a time hopine praying for something better"

These stories and moments lay dormant in my cells. I was always acutely aware of the stroke of randomness which just happened to land me here in this life and them in theirs.

Through travelling I witnessed levels of poverty which left many having difficulty even accessing clean, safe drinking water - our most basic human need.

One day when I was meditating in October of 2012 - This calling burst out of my cells, flowed through my blood, pumped out of my heart and stimulated an idea. What if I harnessed the power of technology and created a campaign that would do good in the world by bringing more kindness, self love and compassion to people through teaching mindfulness, and at the same time harness this force for good into helping make a tangible difference in the lives of so many people on the planet who struggle each day to get their most basic human needs met.

When a crisis happens like what is going on in Nepal right now - it brings us into an immediate connection with our compassion and awareness of the profound human suffering that is in actual fact happening every moment of every day...somewhere...

My answer to this suffering - is to use my capacity to serve others in whatever way I can - in some way maybe with a sense that if it were the other way around - someone out there in the big wide world would be compassionate enough to do the same for me - even if I was just a statistic in their morning paper read...

This is my WHY...This is what drives me...

There is one day left before Mindful in May begins.

I am really looking forward to feeling that shared connection with thousands of others around the world who will be learning the skills of mindfulness meditation for a good cause.

There's still time to join me and #sitforsomething with thousands of others around the world who are about to create a clear mind and clean water for those in need.

Watch this 1 minute animation and come and join me before it's too late.

The registration has been extended to May 10th and we're aiming to raise $600,000 to bring clean water to nearly 20,000. Read more about the impact Mindful in May has had over the past four years here.