In August 2019, I did a two-day meditation retreat at a wooden cabin by the foot of the Afton Alp in Minnesota. I had been feeling stressed with running my business for months before that and I was hoping to do this retreat to unwind. On the second day of the retreat, I sat down at the picnic area to have lunch. After the first day of being in solitude and practicing meditation, my stress level did not drop much. In a way, it even increased because I felt that this retreat took away my time to do work.
After finishing my bread, I took out a peach and started eating it. My mind was full of thoughts racing about long list of tasks I needed to complete after I came back from the retreat. So I questioned myself “Why am I feeling tensed up in this meditation retreat while I’m supposed to be relaxed and enjoying this beautiful nature scene?”. In a flash, a realization dawned on me “It’s because I’m not living in the present moment.”
I thought “I’m sitting here biting on this perfectly sweet and juicy peach, and my mind is not put into enjoying it. The thoughts of what needs to be done in the future put my mind on a hamster wheel. If I focus on the present moment, there’s only one thing I need to do – enjoying this peach. I don’t have a hundred things to do at this very moment. I only have one thing to do. And if I focus on that one thing in front of me, moment to moment, no stress will arise”. That was a miracle moment for me when I realized something so simple but can be of tremendous impact in life.
Coming back from the retreat, I looked for a meditation app to learn meditation in an orthodox way. I had been meditating for a few years on my own, but I never tried to subscribe to an official meditation program. I combed through a good number of mobile apps on the market. All of them offer guided meditations for different categories: meditation for anxiety, stress, focus,… Each category with hundreds of sessions to choose from. Which one is for me? Where do I start?
Although I was no beginner to meditation, but the overload of options overwhelmed me and stressed me out. The paradox is using these meditation apps was supposed to calm me down. I thought to myself there must be a simple way to get mindfulness into my daily schedule.
One day, I talked to Venerable Thich Hanh Duc on the general topic of mindfulness and meditation. When I asked him about the benefits of meditation, he told me meditation is the food for the mind. Just like we eat food for our body to survive and regrow, meditation gives us the nutrients to nourish other parts of us: our feeling, our mind, and even our body. Without the need to use any jargon, he was able to explain the concept of meditation to me very quickly. I knew he was the one that could help me build this app that makes meditation very simple for everyone.
I told him about my idea to build Peach. He thought about it for a few days, then he told me “You know, if I only teach meditation to people who come to this temple, there can be only so many. If I help you build this app, what I know about meditation can reach a lot more people.”
Since then, he has taught me to enjoy every moment and smile a lot more. And he frequently reminds me that Peach moment is the only moment I have.
Who are we?
Quyen BalterFounder, Peach Mindfulness
“You may not control all the events that happen to you. But you can control how you react to them.”
Quyen is a mindful techie whose passion is using technology to make mindfulness simple for everyone.
She has many years working with large technology organizations, loves nature and the wildlife, and is a certified meditation instructor.
Quyen lives with her husband and two young sons in Minnesota. In addition to better sleep, meditation helps her to be a mindful parent and a better listener in her marriage.
“When you pay attention to the present moment, each dish will be more delicious. Each breath will be more invigorated.”
Venerable Thich Hanh Duc, Ph.D, is a Zen Buddhist monk and the abbot at Tay Phuong Monastery in Minnesota. He spends most of his time teaching the Dharma and meditation at his home temple, as well as across the US and India.
He entered the Sangha at the age of 11 and began his study at the Buddhist Academy in Central Vietnam in 1982. He then went to India to continue his studies in Buddhism and graduated with a Master and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of New Delhi.