Biet Simkin: Meditation Guru, Spiritual Teacher, Artist
Biet Simkin is awake. Not wide-eyed from a strong cup of coffee, but on the trajectory to full enlightenment. A conversation with her—which we were lucky to partake in— is fraught with truth bombs and statements to help us reframe our whole perspective on life. She's raw, unfiltered, unabashed, incredibly wise, and is open about the tragedies and darkness in her life that have cracked open her potential for higher vibrational living. Biet (@GuidedbyBiet) is a decidedly cool spiritual teacher, at the intersection between spirituality, music (she scores her meditations with her own record, "Biet The Lunar"), sexuality, fashion, intellect, art — bringing "vanity and fire" to the spiritual world. Amidst writing her book, Don't Just Sit There (Simon & Schuster) — on bookshelves in Fall 2018— this daughter of an awakened shaman shares with us how we are all light, our right to raise our vibration, and the power of waking up.
Please finish this thought: My name is Biet Simkin and I ________________
came to this planet to translate consciousness into understandable terms and states that everyone can understand easily.
Can you tell us a few key points in your journey thus far that have shaped who and where you are today?
My mom dying when I was 7. The rest of my family dying one by one leaving only my father and brother and I by the time I was 10. Falling in love. Having my heart broken. Writing songs. Having my daughter die at the age of 4 months old. My house burning down. Heroin. Sobriety from a dark heroin and cocaine addiction. Contact with ethereal space as a result of the work I do. Dusk in the desert. Falling in love with my soul.
What does it mean to be "awakened"? What does that feel like for you? What is the process like?
Well, it takes time to unfold, so over time you get these pockets, these windows of complete freedom. The weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders, you remember the meaning of life and the totality of the power you have access to and with which to love, you remember that everything is made out of love. Part of this process however is seeing all your darkness and flaws and defects and lies etc. and discarding them one by one. So part of the awakening process is a big ole wake up call! Seeing what an asshole you are is all part of the fun! Then over time these pockets of bliss become longer and longer and getting back to them becomes easier and easier. I live there most of the time now (and that's not an exaggeration) but still dip into darkness sometimes so I can refine and grow. I promise I'll report if I ever become 100% free. This I know is the meaning of life.
What was it like growing up with a yogi/shaman for a father?
It was awesome and also disorienting. I didn't have a father; I had an awakened shaman. Being awake means you have direct contact with alternate realities of bliss, so marinating in that with him was quite fortifying, however my father taught me very little about rules, money, life, regulation. So I was basically like a wild duckling once I made it out into society. It really took me becoming sober and returning to his teachings from a grounded place to realize my "swan" if you know what I mean. He gave me all the tools for awakening but I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet on my own.
What does it mean to be a shaman? Were there rituals and teachings you practiced as a child from your father?
For him it just meant becoming a free man through spiritual work and contact with the divine. I practiced everything from yoga to breath work to Reiki to mantra to gazing. You name it, we studied it together. My father didn't work with plant medicine, he did all his work through the energy within him. He was a magical human.
What were some of the most challenging + limiting struggles for you on your journey toward realizing your purpose and path?
Addiction really. Addiction to everything from heroin to love to food to drama to depression. I had to have a break up with all that shit. I feel honored to say today that most internal obstacles available were gifted to me! This is why I feel so safe guiding people, because I really know what they are going through. I was there.
What sort of challenges come up today?
I am learning how to live in my body. As a spiritually raised child I just trained so much in the ethereal world. I know the ins and outs of the inner world but have no idea how to get in my body and ground. So today I am learning that. I wouldn't say it's challenging so much as exciting to learn this completely new skill. I suppose it's challenging in that it can get painful but pain is all part of this beautiful trip we are on!
Another challenge I have is shame and pride. I don't always see myself rightly and sometimes think I am just a tiny person (like the child I was when my mom died) and I just hide when that happens. I am learning more and more how to ground when I feel like that. As rare as it is, it's quite painful. Yet another exciting thing to give up to the divine!
You are an artist first and foremost. Tell us about how you came to combine your art, music, and meditation teachings.
I just had a vision that I was meant to do so, so I did. The truth is I realized if I wasn't all of me then I wasn't doing the world a service. When we can play our whole note we create a harmonious sound with everything around us.
How has immersing your life in meditation impacted your overall wellbeing?
Well, I am just easy. Everything in my life is easy because Awakening is first to me. I love money and world travel and sex and creativity! I love those, but first is an agreement that I am seeking awakening and enlightenment and at any cost. It just so happens that by using the work I teach I get to do both! I actually think that's the fun game here, is doing both. So basically as I pursue my soul, the rest of my life becomes easier and more refined.
Can you explain what the "Center of the Cyclone" is?
It's the eye of the storm. The calm center in the middle of all the chaos. It's saying yes no matter what stress is around you, there is always this peace within you. The Center of the Cyclone is that peace. It's also a book by John Lilly.
The Center of the Cyclone is also the part of us that's untouchable and first. For me, since the center of the Cyclone is my place of devotion, no one and nothing comes first! What comes first is this center place of divinity. So that means no man, money, desire, friend, trip, job, nothing, comes before this place and so it is sacred. Because I have this, all the rest of my life is an opportunity from that!
[Conceptually] It's an art installation meets a meditation experience meets a concert. That's basically it in a nutshell.
What sparked your desire to write a book, and what has your creative process been in doing so?
I have always been destined to write a book or many. My brain and heart are filled with translations of truth. I understand the blueprint that is necessary for awakening and because of this I have to share it. When you wake up from hell that's awesome and all but when you wake up from hell and you left rocks to trace your return. When you wake up from hell 1000 times and are certain you have the formula to escape, you have to share it with the world.
Why + how does "vanity and fire" mixed with what we classically think of as spirituality/spiritual practice help propel people to a new, more expansive level?
Because it's complex and contradictory. To be alive is to be in two spaces at once in everything, this is a dualistic plane. We must accept our shadow and accept our desire to learn to want in a new way. In Kabbalah it is taught that to get what you want is only half the equation. The other half is to get so that you give. If I don't have the fire in my belly to "get" how will I have anything to "give"?
Your Style Like U video had a huge impact on a lot of people (including myself). Can you talk about the relationship you have within yourself and body today? What happens when negativity or self doubt arises?
Ok, so years ago I had this revelation. I was poor (like really poor, food stamps, medicaid, living month to month poor) and I realized that I was keeping myself poor because I didn't wanna lose it all when I died! I wanted to stay close to discomfort and misery because I knew that when I died I wouldn't have much to lose. I used to love that line by Dylan, "when you got nothin, you got nothin to lose". That day I realized that was the dumbest thing ever! I realized that I needed to be ok with losing it all! That it wasn't mine anyhow but I was here to enjoy it and share it with others! The more I wanted the more I could gain and the more I could give! It was a courageous act to make money for me but I knew it was my duty. Today and over the last year I have struggled with the final strands of hatred towards my body in a similar way as I once struggled with money (I am sure so many of you can relate). I feel stronger and stronger in this domain and actually really feel like I am starting to see that there is a similar trend here, which is that I am scared to love myself completely because I am dying (one day), getting older and one day will no longer have this body. The sadness of parting with such a great love is so painful that I think for many years I have over-eaten and been mean to myself to push my beautiful body away. God forbid we get close and then I have to lose her! So today I pledge, just as I pledged years ago to be wealthy, that I will treat my body with soooo much love and make her as healthy and beautiful as I can despite the fact that I will lose her to a great shocking break up one day!
What practices are you instilling in order to "learn how to live in your body"? How can others start to learn this and what does this mean?
I do dancing and shaking and some Kundalini to get back in my body now. Sometimes I touch every part of myself acknowledging it. I also do a daily meditation where I visit every organ in my body. I learn new modalities all the time but mainly the aim is to get back in there! Fear and my soul can't occupy the same space, so I shake out the fear and I re-occupy my body. It's my body! And I love her today!
What changes do you see in clients and students who commit to doing the work that you guide them through? What does that impact look and feel like for you?
Their entire outlook on life changes! They are happier, more balanced, free and alive in a way they were not when they started!
Life these days can feel overwhelming, tumultuous and filled with bad news-- how do we harness the power of meditation to reach a higher vibration?
I just lift up. Right above us at all times is a plane of complete bliss and neutrality. It's half of what's going on. Here on earth there is reality and this mirror type magical twin plane, so to speak. I draw up into it with my work and meditation and then I drink from the well there. Then I bring it back and share it with others. I do this at least daily if not more often.
What is your idea of legacy? What mark do you want to leave on this world?
I want to be remembered for helping to bring slowness and beauty back into fashion, art and rock and roll. Bringing such a sweet slowness to people's experience and helping people to open their contact to their soul is my life's purpose. I feel squarely in the perfect place to do this duty.