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Meet Daniel Ahearn of pthwrk.com in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Ahearn.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began meditating and searching for ways to meditate in 2004. I had an on again, off again practice. I was really looking; I tried visualization practice, chanting, mantras I found in books and lectures, going to a rotating assortment of LA-ish teachers, listening to talks, binaural beats, etc. and so on.

With certainty, I can say the practice was sincere but messy. At that point in my life it was hard to find something that landed with depth and staying power – It’s actually surprising I kept looking. Something was calling to me, which I hold as a testament to the real power of practice.

My main focus at the time was being an artist and a songwriter. At that point, I was making use of meditation as a means to calm the mind, de-stress, etc… basically, I used it as a supplement to make my day better.

Around 2011, I discovered Buddhism through the avenue of how it relates to Attachment Psychology. A teacher named George Hass was offering instruction on how Buddhism and the eightfold path of Buddhism correlate and map to what is known as secure attachment, as explained out by John Bowlby. George developed a program exploring this connection and I was immediately fascinated. The studying became deeper, the practice becomes more regular, stable. Retreat practice followed. Deeper studies. I went to six-month courses at local meditation centers. I read. I sat.

In 2015, I was asked to share what I knew about practice with some folks in a treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse.

I reluctantly agreed, but after that day and the experience of offering practice to others, I felt done with the stage. I no longer cared for performing or trying to being a ‘thing’ in the arts. It lost its shine for me. I still cared for music, writing, and the arts, but what had been calling to me to me in life was answered in sharing practice. It was wilder and more powerful than a song: more importantly it involved me less. There was nothing egoic in sharing practice, because it had nothing to do with me.

So in mid-2015 the course of my life changed. I decided to focus on sharing what I could and furthering my studies. I went back to school and received a counselor’s degree from UCLA. Since then, I have been facilitating 10-12 groups a week at treatment centers, trauma clinics for children, schools and jails/prisons.

I’m still very much learning, still discovering. It is a deep truth in me that sharing practice is critical for the well-being of all of us. I’m doing my part.

I no longer ‘use’ meditation to feel ‘better.’ I continue to build my life around being in practice and sharing it with others. I know how weird and wavy this may sound, but trust me, it’s rad.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Nothing is easy and everything is a gift…and still the obstacle of sitting with the contents of your thinking and your emotions on a regular basis is a true challenge. It’s met some days with a sense of levity and humor, other days, it has incomparable weight. I’ve found that dedicated practice, Sangha (community) and checking in with teachers helps immeasurably.

The only other struggle and I hesitate to really call it this, is being pursuant of a path that is not exactly in line with a culture that sees accomplishments and worth only as they connect to economic gain and celebrity status.  This is to say meditation and pursuing the quiet, as well as the truth of the quiet, is not quite in vogue. So, being a person who has grown up in this culture it takes a daily pause to continue to reorient my thinking and remain  steady in the work.

Again, I’m hesitant to call this a ‘struggle’ as when I meet it with full engagement as to what the am hanging on to – it is really a gift.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I share meditation strategies and counseling in treatment centers, in schools with teachers and the student body, and in jails/prisons. I also offer private instruction for those looking to create or strengthen a practice. The practice I share is Buddhist (Mahayana) pulls from elements of Attachment Psychology. My degree in counseling helps me format sessions  both group and individual in a way that integrates western psychology. I work with people based on where they are and my goal is to help them get to the place they want to go.

What were you like growing up?
I was seeking something. I tore things up looking for it. I always had an interest in the arts, and I believe this interest was an expression of self-soothing – trying to find the world I longed to see. I remember being frightened often and as a teen angry and rebellious. Good old America fun.

So, I learned to make use of art as a language to make sense of the world around me: it was a salve.  I was drawn to poetry and music. I still am.

The path and love of the arts led me deep into songwriting, poetry and acting. All of this continues to turn into meditation. I don’t write as songs regularly anymore, but I, oddly, feel like I live more actively in music moment to moment because of practice. My gratitude for this journey is beyond words.

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