Living Flow was started by tech entrepreneurs who credit their inner and outer success to powerful teachings on meditation and mysticism that they encountered early in their lives. Javier, one of the Living Flow founders, sat down to share some insight into how Living Flow came to fruition and why it's different than other meditation platforms out there. Prior to starting Living Flow, Javier was Founder and CEO of a highly successful software company for 15 years. Today he advises and invests in technology startups. He has snowboarded for many years and has managed to only dislocate one shoulder so far:
Q. You credit your inner and outer success to powerful teachings on meditation and mysticism that you encountered early in your life. When did you first encounter these teachings? How did they impact you?
A. I first encountered meditation and mysticism at 19. They totally transformed how I saw life and myself. Not only did the teachings make me tremendously happier, but they showed me how fluid and unlimited our awareness truly is.
Prior to encountering these teachings, I felt like none of the options life had to offer were very interesting. When I looked around, it seemed like most people’s lives lacked purpose or meaning. Meditation changed all of that. Suddenly it was like being shown how to turn on a light: life was brighter and full of meaning everywhere I looked. Sort of like what people expect from their LSD trips!
Q. What was your practice like when you first started? How did it evolve?
A. It was like how people describe falling in love, in that everything seemed new and magical, and that it felt great even though I didn’t quite know what I was doing. It was an exploration where even mistakes felt like part of the learning process. Eventually it became more systematic and disciplined, but never lost that initial spark. What I loved right away, and still love today, is that the practice is always unfolding and expanding. It never gets old. It’s never the same, and neither are you.
Q. Any pivotal moments in your early meditation practices that got you to not only stick with your practice, but dive deeper?
A. Having adventures with my teacher and meditating with him, both in beautiful and powerful places, like the desert, and in ordinary settings, like offices and restaurants, inspired me to meditate regularly and deeply. My teacher was the happiest person I’ve ever met and lived an incredibly exciting and powerful life. He meditated so strongly that it affected people around him instantly and profoundly. He definitely set a great example!
Q. What are the biggest misconceptions of meditation and mysticism today?
A. There’s quite a few, it seems!
I’ve seen a lot of people turn meditation into something solemn, stiff, and sleepy. That’s not meditation as I know it. Meditation is hopeful, happy, energizing, and a really great time all around. It does take some work, especially at the beginning, but to turn it into something serious and difficult totally misses the point.
A lot of people think meditation is about somehow removing yourself from the material world and being floaty and ethereal. Not at all! True meditation makes you grounded, focused, and able to navigate the material world better than people who don’t meditate.
Meditation is seeing greater acceptance today. That’s a wonderful thing! However, meditation is usually introduced as a relaxation technique, sort of like stretching for the mind. While it certainly will relax you, it’s actually a powerful entrance into full perception. It changes the way you see and interact with life radically. It’s no small matter and shouldn’t be sold short.
Mysticism tends to be dismissed by professionals and the “serious minded”, but true mysticism is practical and visceral: it refers to direct experience in higher consciousness which can be applied to any situation in our day to day lives. Anyone who has ever had to pull deeply from within to accomplish something extraordinary or overcome a personal challenge has gotten a taste of mysticism. I recommend diving deeper to get a better sense for what it can do for you.
Q. For you, personally, what are the greatest benefits of meditation?
A. Happiness, freedom, adventure, fulfillment, peace, intuitive insights, strength, energy, material success, and an improved sense of humor, to name a few!
Q. How did you end up working in technology?
A. Around the time I started meditating, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do career wise: after a couple of years of college, selecting a major seemed daunting and arbitrary. My meditation teacher recommended computer science to his students who weren’t otherwise drawn to a career because it developed the mind and was highly lucrative at the same time. It was like being paid to do meditative exercises all day. I decided to try it by getting a technical certification and loved it. I took entry level positions, then did some consulting work. I had the opportunity to work for a few companies that my meditation teacher founded. One of these was acquired and became a huge success. Later I realized that my teacher had used that experience as a vehicle to teach us about entrepreneurship as well as meditation.
Q. How did meditation help you when starting your first technology company?
A. Meditation turns your life inside out: by that I mean everything else you do flows out of meditation. So if you start and run a company, you allow the stillness you find in meditation to drive your company vision, priorities, and decisions. This gives you a strong advantage in the marketplace since your competition is more likely to be driven by emotions, stress, and a general lack of mental clarity. As someone who makes meditation your priority, you tend to enjoy the moments of your work more and you don’t take yourself as seriously. This leads to excellent productivity and creativity. You also develop a great sense of timing because meditation hones your intuition, and timing is critical for business success. Over time the company I started with a few other meditators turned into an incredible success. We never doubted that it would, and for us success was the journey as much as the destination. Cliched but true!
Q. How did your Journey lead you to found Living Flow?
A. After the successful sale of my company, I worked full time with the acquirer for a while to make sure it was properly integrated. After taking a little time off, I found myself drawn to share things that I have learned, whether it’s about meditation, entrepreneurship, snowboarding, or many other things I’ve been fortunate to experience in my life. It’s just fun to try and inspire others and help them succeed. One thing I learned from my meditation teacher is to always adapt and present timeless teachings in ways people can relate to them today: it has more energy that way and is way more effective. Living Flow is our expression of that approach.
Q. What is Living Flow?
A. Living Flow is a digital platform that guides people on their journey into personal growth. It’s packed with valuable teachings on meditation, mindfulness, and mystical practices that can be applied to work, school, sports, adventure, and all aspects of daily life. It’s also a community for transformation where you can feel connected and energized.
Q. Living Flow is also the authorized publisher for the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism and draws freely from the teachings of Dr. Frederick Lenz. Who is Dr. Frederick Lenz and what can you tell us about his teachings?
A. Dr. Lenz, known as Rama to his students, was my meditation teacher. While he is no longer with us physically, his teachings are very much alive and highly accessible through Living Flow and other venues. In addition to teaching thousands how to meditate, Rama had been a university professor, successful author, entrepreneur, music composer/producer, martial artist, world-class snowboarder, and scuba diver, just to name some of his pursuits. He described himself as a teacher of “American Buddhism”: by this, he meant he had adopted the principles of reaching full awareness (aka “enlightenment”) found in Buddhism and other traditions to be applicable in today’s world. His teachings were not about following any particular set of traditions per se, but in learning and living what he called “the essence of practice”.
Q. How is Living Flow different than other meditation apps/websites?
A. Unlike other meditation apps/websites we have seen, Living Flow takes you on an ongoing journey into self-discovery. While certainly, we provide short “on the go” meditations and “use in case of emergency” practices like other apps, our focus is to help you progressively deepen your knowledge of different ways to see and live life. That’s why we say “don’t just practice. Evolve”!
Q. What’s your # 1 piece of advice for people starting their practice?
A. Have fun with it! Treat your practice and learning about it as the greatest adventure you’ll ever go on (which it is!).
Q. What’s your # 1 piece of advice for people who are struggling to commit to a regular practice?
A. Initially just try to get a few minutes of meditation in every day just so you can say you did it. I know this sounds odd but it really works! It helps our mind develop a new pattern: the muscle of practice begins to awake. Eventually, it becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Also, you run out of excuses to say you can’t find a few minutes a day: you can even be sitting on your bed and meditate for five minutes before you go to sleep. You’ll start to notice the effects and your practice will become more regular and longer naturally.
Q. What’s your # 1 piece of advice for people deepening their practice?
A. Keep practicing and let go to the process. You will definitely succeed if you do. Always maintain the attitude of a beginner and to quote Dr. Seuss “oh the places you’ll go”!
Living Flow’s mission is to make techniques and instructions available to help you unfold and expand your practice as it evolves.