Peter Himmelman

Peter HimmelmanMusician, songwriter, artist and CEO & Dream Enabler of Big Muse

Peter Himmelman isn’t your run of the mill Grammy and Emmy nominated singer-songwriter. He is an engaging and entertaining communicator whose unique skillset places him squarely in the zeitgeist where creativity, spirituality, and a fearless sense of wonder are essential for understanding our rapidly changing cultural and business landscape.

My personal practice is…….

I pray three times a day and meditate at least once a day.

How did you discover your practice?

I started meditating when I was 14. I took a course on TM at local library in my hometown of Minneapolis. I’ve since refined and remolded those techniques into something specific for my needs today.

The practice of prayer is connected to my Jewish heritage. I became more observant around age 24 and that’s when it became a regular part of my life.

Why do you practice?

I can only assume that everyone’s life is fairly harried. I know for a fact that mine is ridiculously so. If I’m not putting out fires in my worklife, I’m dealing with the problems that my kids lay at my feet. Not to mention that negotiating a 26 year long marriage is, as anyone who’s done it knows… a constant negotiation. Creatively, I’ve always got several ideas going on at once, (I like it that way) but I’m also cognizant that underlying all that, there must also be a means of creating quietude so deep it’s akin to nothingness.

I often refer to “nothing” as the most useful tool. It’s a practiced focus of mind and intention. I’m by no means an expert at creating this space. And speaking of expertise, I believe it’s one area where terms of assessment, like: expert and novice, success and failure have no place.

You’ve asked why I do my “practice”. I suppose the most truthful answer is that I can’t imagine coping without it. One more thing I try to keep in mind: If my daily practice doesn’t lead to my doing acts of kindness for others — whether large or small, known or unknown– if the practice is done for my benefit alone, then it’s no different from any kind of hedonism or materialism.

There’s nothing particularly moral or important about eating organic, prayer, yoga, jogging or meditation if the benefits they provide an individual aren’t somehow transferred to someone else or to some higher cause.

How frequently and for how long do you practice?

The morning prayer session is the longest, somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour. The other prayer sessions and the mediation practice are generally around ten minutes.

What’s something that gets in the way of your practice and how to you move through it?

The prayers are non-negotiable for me so nothing seems to actually “get in the way.” More the reverse. The meditation is something I do to get more energy and focus. It seems quite often that the times I need it most are the times I need to fight somewhat to actually stop and do it.

What supports you in staying committed to your practice?

The prayer aspect carries with it history, peoplehood, responsibility, connectedness, and legacy – it’s very large in my eyes, and in that sense it’s very easy for me to stay committed. Since the meditation is something — or me alone— I sometimes need to justify my practice (to myself of course) by remaining cognizant of the benefit my being in better spirits and in better health brings to the people closest to me.

What role does your practice play in your work?

It allows me to go for extremely long periods without sleep – when necessary. It also (and excuse the grandiose metaphor) allows me to sort of tap into a wellspring of creativity that feels beyond me, like reaching into a sea of collective ideas – not accessing just the small stuff that’s usually going on in my head.

Describe someone you know whose practice inspires you.

My wife is a very committed dancer. No matter what, she’s up early in the morning taking ballet classes, even with a headache, even when she’s not in the mood. I find that commitment inspiring.

A practice I’d like to explore is….

I’ve done karate for years and though there’s a meditative aspect to it, it’s hardly ever taken seriously. I could see adding Tai Chi to a daily or bi-weekly practice.

Anything else you’d like to share about practice.

There are so many distractions. Not only the ones that are actually distracting me at given moment, there are distractions just waiting for me! To help me stay focused on whatever it is I want to accomplish – be it, a new music project or even a deeper conversation with someone, there’s no question that I would not be anywhere near as effective without the grounding and the energy that my daily practice affords me.

You can check out more on Peter on his website and at the Big Muse site too.