The Very Basic Starting Point is Curiosity – A Q&A with eMindful Teacher Alisha Aum

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November 25, 2020

When speaking with mindfulness teachers, I always wonder how they use mindfulness practices in their own lives. eMindful teacher Alisha Aum laughs when I ask her this question and responds, “Is there a space where it doesn’t come in?”

She explains that, for her, mindfulness serves as the bookends that begin and end her day.

“Mindfulness enhances every aspect of my life. I start my day with it, work-wise I’m doing it, and there is no space where it doesn’t come up for me as a constant, ongoing practice.”

Alisha is from India – “the land of the gurus,” she calls it, and her journey to finding mindfulness is an inspirational one.

Q: How did you find mindfulness?

“From a young age I was exploring different spiritual paths including a 10 day silent meditation retreat when I was a student. After I finished my Master’s in Computer Management, I left India and lived in Dubai, Australia, and the U.S working for IBM and  continuing to explore  different paths along the way In my first year in the U.S., I had two car accidents back-to-back within six months. That landed me in a place that I was totally unfamiliar with, and I had chronic physical pain and a whole bundle of anxiety. It was very difficult for me.”

Finding herself in unfamiliar territory physically and emotionally, Alisha says she was seeking something spiritual to hold on to, and that’s when her current husband pointed her in a direction that would change her life’s path.

“I was looking for a way to start my healing with meditation because no medications were  working for me at the time, and he pointed me to Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskills. That was the first time I heard the word ‘mindfulness’.” Diving into mindfulness practice not only helped me begin healing but also started bringing all my previous scattered spiritual explorations together in a cohesive, deeper and meaningful way. Life with all its ups and downs suddenly started making more sense!”

Inspired and healed by what she found, Alisha now shares the gift of mindfulness with others as a teacher with eMindful.

Q: Do you have a favorite eM Life program that you teach?

“I would say Weight Balance for Life. Mindful eating brings the practice into everyday life, into a day-to-day activity and gives me the opportunity to practice it even more with an activity that we do three times a day. I have benefited hugely in my own health with it, so I love sharing it with others. It’s a tangible, practical way to apply mindfulness to your daily life.”

Q: For people who are curious about mindfulness but don’t know where to begin, what would you say to them?

“The very basic starting point is that seed of curiosity – we need to sow it immediately! In other words, try it out, put it to the test!” She explains. “There isn’t just one way to practice mindfulness. Like sitting in a lotus pose with eyes closed; it’s a personal experience, and beginners can start by experimenting with it in different areas of their lives such as being more mindful in your daily activities like exercising, commuting to work,and relaxing with family. Just about anywhere you practice being more mindful, you will feel the difference between being mindlessly present and mindfully present. By paying attention to what you are doing, while you are doing it, we can see the habit patterns of the mind that hook us and choose to respond rather than react. So, you can continue your exploration of learning and practicing mindfulness one small step at a time. 

“How it goes into a person’s life in a sustainable way, for the long term, is up to the person. What you put in is what you get out, and how you practice can change depending on what’s going on in your life.Challenges in our lives can become a doorway to deeply explore the power of Mindfulness. If there’s something that needs to be addressed, whether it be health or work challenges or relationship issues, you can practice mindfulness in those moments and see for yourself how it works for you and once you’ve seen that, you will naturally be motivated to continue practicing and exploring further and making it a way of being and living”

Q: If you could be anything other than a mindfulness teacher, what would you be?

Alisha laughs again, surprised by the question, but answers beautifully:

“I’m at a point in my life where ‘what’ I do matters less to me than ‘how’ I do it and ‘why’ I do it. So I like to be totally immersed in doing what I do, whatever that may be. In my current life, I have many different work options and I would like to use whatever skills I have for the benefit of the people around me.”

Written by Becky Greiner