For Tamara Edwards, love is the only reality.
The film producer and dedicated meditator first learned about Transcendental Meditation (or TM) from her doctor father. But it was as a young woman, during a moment of emotional upheaval, that she ultimately turned to the practice herself and discovered its power.
Ultimately, driven to surround herself with likeminded, positive souls, Edwards founded The BE Society, a nomadic meditation group that has grown from a tiny gathering into a global network.
Now, as she readies to open the first BE Hive consciousness factory and urban sanctuary in Hollywood, Edwards describes why true happiness begins within:
Live The Process: When did you discover the healing power of meditation?
Tamara Edwards: My father has been meditating since medical school in the 70s. I grew up with an understanding that, at certain times of the day, I was not to bother him. I’d peek in the door sometimes and see him doing some sort of weird breathing or simply sitting with his eyes closed. I’d sometimes sit with him while he did his yoga exercises to prepare for meditation. Wheel pose and plow were my favorites. He was the master at the peacock pose, which I still can't do, and, according to him, women shouldn't attempt.
It was a searing heartbreak in my early twenties that led me to the doorstep of a TM (Transcendental Meditation) center in LA to learn to meditate. My father had given me a gift certificate a year prior that would pay for half the TM course on the condition that I continue to follow up with my teacher once a month for six months. If I didn't, I'd have to pay him back in full. That was good motivation to stick with it, but it took me awhile to be consistent in my practice. A two-month trip to India solidified the power of meditation for me, but that’s a whole other story.
The first time I meditated it was quite scary to be honest. I had a moment where I realized how powerful my mind was and that, if I wanted to, I could hold my breath with my mind and that could kill me. That happened the first two times I meditated and then never again.
LTP: How did you come to found BE Society, and what does the group do?
TE: I founded The BE Society in August 2013. I had just moved to New York after living in LA for eleven years. It had taken me about that long to feel like I finally was surrounded by a conscious community of rad humans, and I didn’t want to wait another decade to find that in New York. One of the first people I met was Mikaela Bradbury, founder of Arjuna; we joined forces and formed the first BE gathering at a loft in Soho. Fifteen people came. We meditated for 20 minutes in candlelight and then went to dinner. Everyone wanted to do it again. So we did. Every week. And we have been gathering almost every week since. The purpose behind our gatherings is to build a conscious community for people to draw strength and inspiration from, to discover and support various cities’ hidden gems and to explore a variety of practices that deepen our connection to our souls. Fast forward three years: We now gather in four cities in myriad locations. We also curate special events to bring awareness to causes important to our community. Currently, we are building a physical space in the heart of Hollywood called The BE Hive, a consciousness factory and urban sanctuary where people can restore, transform and create.
Every gathering has been extremely powerful; it’s hard to single out one as most special. But, recently, we gathered 150 people in a circle at LightBox-NY Studio. We were surrounded by projections of waterfalls shot by artist Maxi Cohen, while being serenaded in a sound bath by two incredible musicians—all to candlelight. And the money raised from the meditation went to the non-profit A Movement In Water. That was pretty dope. And powerful.
LTP: You’re also a film producer. How do you integrate The BE Society and your own mediation practice with your industry work?
TE: The beautiful thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere and with anyone. One of my favorite party tricks is to lead everyone in a meditation. Same goes for the workplace: As often as I can, I get the crew and cast together in a meditation. That can be difficult as production time is valuable and we still have a ways to go until people really understand the value and ROI of meditation.
Actually, the great Stanislavsky’s method acting technique is based on meditation. The first step in preparation for a scene is to relax your body and mind. Wherever you have people pausing to meditate in their day, you will find less stress, less anxiety and more chill vibes and joy. So, it’s totally helpful on set, which can be a very stressful atmosphere.
There are many wonderful mantras and techniques in addition to TM. The learning and growing is infinite. We all have something to offer and teach another.
LTP: Are there other wellness practices—besides TM—that keep you feeling balanced?
TE: Home enemas. For real. Turn off the lights, light loads of candles, lay on a cozy rug and just chill. It’s the best.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
TE: Happiness is a feeling; it’s not what you expect. It’s a spontaneous feeling of joy, cultivated from within. Everything else is fleeting and an illusion. Only love is real, which is a nectar that you produce from the inside.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
TE: To me, living the process is an acceptance that there is never an end. Goals, achievements and results are manmade constructs. Even death is an illusion. The process is the flow. We have these sayings like, “This too shall pass.” But this is it. It’s all we ever have. Right now. In the process. In life. In flow. Once we can let go of our expectations and ideas that what we need is outside of us, then we can fully embrace who we are and just simply be.