Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 35 – Meditation for the Rest of Us with Justin Michael Williams

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 35 - Meditation for the Rest of Us with Justin Michael Williams

Author, public speaker, and musician Justin Michael Williams visits the Road Home Podcast for a conversation around making mindfulness and meditation more relatable and accessible to all people.

From growing up with gunshot holes outside of his bedroom window to sharing the stage with Deepak Chopra, Justin Michael Williams knows the power of healing to overcome. He is an author, top 20 recording artist, and transformational speaker whose work has been featured by The Wall Street Journal,, Yoga Journal, Billboard, Wanderlust, and South by Southwest. With over a decade of teaching experience, Justin has become a pioneering millennial voice for diversity and inclusion in wellness. Learn more at

Find Out How You Can Support Justin’s National Initiative to Bring Meditation to Impacted Youth and Young Adults Across the Country: Stay Woke, Give Back Tour
Happiness For All

Justin shares the circumstances that brought him to meditation practice and opened his eyes to what it takes to be truly happy. He speaks with Ethan about the barriers to entry into practice that exists for people coming from different cultural, religious and social backgrounds. They speak with each other about where and how representation matters in the world of mindfulness and meditation. Looking at his experiences as a meditation instructor, Justin shares just how important it can be for students and instructors to have common ground to relate on.

“I was free and I did every single thing by the book that I thought I was supposed to do to be happy. I get there and I realized that I was miserable. This was not what I thought was supposed to happen. I think that so many of us have this experience where we try to change our external circumstances hoping that it will change our internal world.” – Justin Michael Williams

If You Can Worry, You Can Meditate (17:20)

How can mindfulness and meditation give us the tools to transform our neverending stream of worry and negative thoughts? Justin looks at how we can take the effort that we put into ruminating about the past and the future and redirect it towards coming back to the moment.

“When we look at what is happening in the brain with someone who is worrying versus looking at someone who is meditating, it feels like a similar function in the brain. I am thinking about what is happening right now with the coronavirus. Wake up in the morning – coronavirus is on the brain – going through our day – coronavirus. We keep coming back to this worry, like a homing pigeon, of what is happening with coronavirus, imagining all the things that might go wrong in our lives.

Then we look at meditation and our ability to come back. One of the tools we can use in our practice is to be able to come back consistently to a thought or word or feeling or sensation that we choose. Versus letting the media or society or all the things in the world we have to worry about choose what it is that we come back to in our minds – we choose home base.” – Justin Michael Williams    

Explore the research into mindfulness and meditation by Dr. Amishi Jha on Ep.96 of the Metta Hour Podcast  
A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us (23:15)

Justin shares the process of writing his book, Stay Woke: A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us, which opens up these practices to a broader audience and speaks to a much wider range of backgrounds and life experiences. He and Ethan discuss the challenges of breaking from tradition to find new ways of making practice more accessible to people where they are at in life.

Contemplation & Creativity (38:25)

How does meditation practice impact the creative process? Justin speaks with Ethan about how contemplative practice has supported his creative process as a musician.

Would you like to be part of the next generation of mindfulness meditation instructors? If so, we invite you to take a unique opportunity to study with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach and become a certified instructor to guide others in their practice: The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program: A Two-Year Training Program for Teaching Awareness and Compassion-Based Practices

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 35 - Meditation for the Rest of Us with Justin Michael Williams


Photos via Stay Woke Give Back