Millana: A couple of years ago I had a life-changing spiritual experience. For a few months after that, meditation was terrifying because I would go very deep, experiencing things that I never knew were possible, which led to a deeper sense of reality because I was actually experiencing it and never had before with my meditations. I have since integrated these experiences.
I think that people often turn to meditation to relieve stress or to clear their mind for ideas, focus, etc., and that these kind of experiences often go unspoken.
Biet: I hear you. I have had the privilege of so many shocks in my life as well. From losing my daughter to SIDS at the age of 4 months to having an emergency surgery when I was 24 years old saving me from near death. I have always known who I was when that stuff was happening, but it wasn’t until I really brought meditation to the foreground of it all that I became who I was, rather than knowing. I started “being” rather than knowing.
Millana: Have you personally had spiritual experiences in/through meditation that went beyond stress relief and inner peace? If so, can you share your first experience?
Biet: Yes. FIve years ago I had an experience where three seconds of meditation lasted a whole eight hours in its effects on me. I felt like I was tripping on Ecstasy. Then I was able to recreate this sensation over and over again through varied practices. Since then my being has changed; all things have blended more and it isn’t as much of a transition from one state to another. But I will never forget the first awakening.
Millana: Do you feel that this is a place/experience that most people might want to ultimately attain through meditation?
Biet: Yes. If you are searching, then yes this is the thing you are wanting to find.
Millana: How do you guide yourself and others when things go much deeper and more profound than what we expect or are taught that life is about?
Biet: I do not guide myself. I am guided. I have done a lot of work to attune myself to what is. I help my clients and participants at my events to experience the what is and just allow it.
Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg
Millana: With that in mind, I find that the mindfulness movement seems to be steeped in science and everyday “practical” application more so than spirituality. What is your approach and your thoughts on how you balance those perspectives when working with such large groups?
Biet: Mindfulness is very practical. There is nothing not practical about it.
The truth is, meditation has been lumped into a spiritual category for a long time, which can turn some people off. My impression is that spirituality is absolutely vital for the every man, so my focus was the question of “How can I make spirituality palatable for normal people?”
I am cheeky, critical, down-to-earth, and most of all have a pretty good sense of humor about it all. It isn’t impossible to hear me curse even at one of my events. I felt like if I can be dark and light at the same time when presenting these big ideas, I would more easily connect with my audience.
Millana: I have read one of your quotes saying, “Meditation is a way to define meaning in everyday life and it allows me to have meaningful interactions with whomever I meet.” Where do you find your practice is, at the intersection of science and spirituality?
Biet: Science hasn’t totally caught up to what meditation really is. It can touch on it of course. But science doesn’t seem to have a handle on things like love and art.
My idea of meditation is that it is in the same category as love and art, at least the way I present it. One must feel a love for logic to get my work, but I am not sure I would go as far as to call what I do scientific. Unless you would say that what Vincent Van Gogh did was scientific, in which case then, yes.
Millana: As a reiki healer, founder of SERENE, and “wellness person”, I have struggled balancing my many hats with also being a model, entrepreneur, etc., and not always trying to be or look perfect/angelic/healthy/guru. You seem to keep it pretty real and raw and wear many hats yourself. How have you maintained the “still figuring it out Biet” with Biet that so many look up to as meditation guide?
Biet: That’s a great question. I have always been really honest that I am figuring it all out with business and community.
For me that has been a really interesting process of vulnerability, because I come from a background of being an artist and a musician, and so I knew nothing about business, or so I thought. Truth is I intuitively get business because business is really just doing something that is useful and not being afraid to offer that thing to others.
As for spirituality, I am not in a “growing” phase anymore in the invisible side of my life. What I am experiencing in that space is quite solid and expansive. I would say it is infinite and so in a way I am always learning, but I am no longer searching. I have found something that I worked many years to create contact with, and today my duty is to share that with others who are seeking.
Millana: I should mention that the Handel Group really helped me to become aware of the very impersonal “perfect and healthy” mask that I was wearing, to which I am so thankful. Do you have coaches, teachers, communities that you turn to to help you, hold you accountable, and keep you moving upward?
Biet: Yes, I am a member of many schools that have instructed me over the years, but most importantly is the work I did with my father, Dr. Grigory Simkin, and the work he did with healing and meditation.
Millana: 2016 = 9. Nine, a number of completion and of a coming to a close. What comes to mind for you when thinking about what this year symbolizes to you and the world?
Biet: Aw yay, in numerology I am a double 9. I am not proficient in this subject, but what I believe that means is that both my name and my birthday add up to 9. This implies that this life that I am living is one about “Completion”. When I think about completion, I think about self remembering. To remember the self truly and to embody a way of being that is completely in continuity with one’s essence. That’s almost completion. To then go and give that gift away to the world, that is completion!