Longtime Malibu resident Michael Kory has practiced mindfulness meditation for over 12 years. He described mindfulness as “non-judgemental present time awareness” and said the meditation derives from Theravada Buddhism.
He reflects on life in two parts, before and after meditation.
He first found out about mindfulness meditation after hearing about Vipassana meditation as a form of therapy. He had been suffering from insomnia and found that after enrolling in a six-week intro to meditation class, he was able to once again sleep peacefully.
“I had an issue with waking up in the middle of the night and worrying about tomorrow and ruminating about yesterday and everything but being in the present moment. I found something by meditating,” Kory said. “I could settle myself down, calm my mind, focus on the present moment and low and behold, I was right back to sleep.”
He said the ability to sleep peacefully felt like a miracle to him; this miracle came at a time when he felt desperate.
Even after 12 years, he continues to experience growth through meditation and says the benefits of meditating are endless. His relationship with others and himself have greatly improved and believes he would not have been able to do so without meditation.
Knowing that meditation has proven its benefits on psychological, emotional and physical health, Kory said having scientific evidence was reassuring. With a math and science background, the practicality of meditation was important to him.
Although the meditation is derived from Buddhism, Kory said the meditation does not require one to acknowledge Buddha as a deity, and there is no dogma as part of the practice. He described this approach to meditation as having more of a scientific approach of trial and error and promoting open mindedness to connecting with oneself and others around them.
He said that in the early days of his meditation journey, he became a member of a meditation group led by Malibu resident Carol Moss. He became close friends with her and said she became an inspiration to him.
Moss was one of the first women to graduate from USC School of Law. She was a lawyer, civil rights activist and devoted meditator. She passed away last year.
Kory said Moss heavily influenced his life.
“Talk about pillars of the community, she was a true icon in Malibu,” Kory said. “A truly remarkable individual, I miss her very much. She was definitely one of the people responsible for helping me get my practice off the ground.”
Kory said that practicing mindfulness meditation has been a life-changing experience for him. He said that meditation has brought peace and tranquility to his life and he hopes to share what he has learned and experienced with others.
He was inspired to become a teacher in the spring of 2020, when he said he felt the world was coming apart at the seams. That is when he saw an email from Jack Kornfield for the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program and was inspired to become a teacher himself.
“In the midst of such great suffering amongst everybody, it really resonated with me. I wanted to do something positive in the light of such darkness,” Kory said. “I knew it was something I should pursue.”
Before teaching his first class, Kory went to the social network website Nextdoor to promote his upcoming class. He began the Malibu Mindfulness Meditation Group and was surprised to find out that over a hundred people had shown interest.
Kory led his first class last year, an in-person class that was held at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue. The class was attended by nine students and he said the experience was very rewarding and students responded positively.
Students commented on Kory’s passion for meditation, his organized and structured teaching practices, and his ability to make meditation feel accessible and not overwhelming.
In his second year of a teacher-training program led by meditation teachers Kornfield and Tara Brach, Kory structures his classes to be calm and comfortable for students.
The class begins with a decompression period, where students will sit, rest and enter into a mediation class experience. Then students will reflect on their previous week and talk about their at-home meditation practice. Students then practice a guided meditation followed by a Dharma talk. Kory ends with a Q&A and final thoughts.
He will now follow his first in-person class with his first online class.
The Malibu Mindfulness Meditation Group offers an Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation online class. The five-class program begins Tuesday, Sept 27, and will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 pm.
He hopes that opening up the class to a digital format will allow for a growth in class size as well as diversity in students from all different kinds of communities.
The class has a $25 fee and all proceeds will be donated to Hand in Hand, an inclusion program run by the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue that connects people with disabilities with non-disabled peers to learn new skills and socialize.
People interested in attending the class are urged to join the Malibu Mindfulness Meditation Group on Nextdoor.com or send an email to email@example.com.
He is looking forward to beginning his new class and hopes students will enjoy the class and reap the benefits that he has over the last dozen years.
“It’s something that has given me so much support and benefit in my life.” Kory said. “It’s something I am just so happy to be able to share with other people, and I hope people can take advantage of it.”