Sometimes, life can bring us huge challenges. We can cope with them in positive ways, or through harmful ‘self-sabotage’ that makes things worse, and the healing process can be a long and unexpected journey. We talked to Biet Simkin, an unapologetic, authentic and unfiltered spiritual teacher, author and musician about her path to peace and awakening.
An interview with Biet Simkin,
Spiritual Teacher and Author
New York City, NY, USA
You’ve loved and lost many people in your life, which can be paralyzing and have a huge impact on your own path. Many teenagers go through similar events – how did you cope with this and ultimately overcome to live a fulfilling life?
My initial coping mechanism was suffering and being a victim, which was very ineffective. I did that for a long time and then I coped with it by using sex, drugs, and alcohol, and that didn’t work. Today, I see everything that happened to me, and everything that happens to everybody else, as a gift. That shift of perception has allowed me to get out of the victim mentality and be more empowered to ask the question, “What did I come to this planet to do?” Nothing can stop you if you just focus on your mission.
You lost your mother when you were seven years old. From there, you lived an unusual and wild life that was enlightened but lacked structure. Rules can be annoying but reassuring at the same time. How did you manage yourself as a teenager and later on as an adult?
I just failed miserably at everything. I didn’t try to organize anything. I was very focused on being an artist. I didn’t know how to live life on this planet and I didn’t care, because my father paid the bills. It was only once he died, and my grandparents died, that I finally realized that I needed to create structure, and I did it with a spiritual practice.
You were signed as an artist by Sony when you were 18 and began to travel a lot. You described this time as fun but, later on, total chaos. When was the moment when you had enough and decided to take control of your life? What were the first steps you took and how long did it take?
I got signed to Sony when I was 18, and then I just lost my way for about a decade after that. And when I got sober, it took only one moment – once I made the decision to turn my life over to surrender and do whatever the voice inside me told me to do, then my life became extremely easy. Then I had lots of spiritual work to do. I didn’t know how to live life, I didn’t know how to make money, I didn’t know how to pay rent, I didn’t know how to be a normal human and I didn’t know how to hold a relationship with a man, but I had a belief that I could transform, and so I did. One by one, I transformed my beliefs and my attitudes. Clearly, I had to transform all my actions as well, because without actions, there is no transformation.
How do you break from toxic relationships or bad habits now?
I use prayer and meditation. That is my main toolkit in terms of how to reorganize my perception of something. Again, I’m not religious, but I pray all the time to be guided to where I’m most needed, and then I pray to have things taken out of my path that aren’t going to serve the universe, aren’t going to serve me, and what I call “God.” I live my life completely surrendered to that spirit within me. If anything is toxic, it’s not serving the light, I meditate to have the strength to be able to turn away. My life is very crisp now. It’s a manifestation of something that I’ve created from a deep life of prayer and meditation for many years. The door is always open for someone who needs my assistance as a spiritual teacher, they’re welcome to come, but I don’t want to be everybody’s best friend.
Your dad was a shaman, musician, and a psychoanalyst. What were the early conversations and life lessons he taught you when you were a child? Was there anything in particular he always wanted you to remember?
The most important thing he told me was, that I was his teacher and I must have been an even higher spirit than him. That was his belief. I think, mostly, my father’s primary message was about laughter and love. It was very simple and loving.
Music can be such a powerful emotional force. As a musician what kind of music do you turn to stay calm, focused and feel inspired?
I’m formerly a DJ, so I care deeply about music. I’m also a recording artist and my go-to when I want to get connected is spiritual music, like Johann Sebastian Bach and Hildegard von Bingen.
Can anything good come from chaos?
It’s not like we have a choice. We are living on a planet where things can be chaotic and also very dismal. Things are both light and dark and there is loss. There’s no alternative and it wouldn’t be better if it was different because this is as good as it gets. If we recognize that this moment is good as it gets, then we’re blessed. That’s the difference between someone who is blessed and someone who feels like a victim.