Jacob Larrinaga, the man behind the Academia Despierta, is a mindfulness coach. He tells us about his journey and the importance of taking care of one’s inner self with calm, resilience and self-control
As a professional coach at Academia Despierta I dedicate my best energy to helping other creative young people to calm their minds, to navigate the chaos and the constant change of things and to align their habits and their life in this present with the purposes and goals they set for themselves in the short and long term future. On Instagram, Twitter, and through podcasts on Spotify, I share tips on mindful living, ways of understanding and working on yourself with self-compassion, with an emphasis on small victories and seeing the challenges we face in our life with resilience and optimism.
Much of my work is inspired by the doctrine, in some way or another, taught by Siddharta Gautama or the Buddha. He said: for us to be able to find satisfaction and fulfillment, we first have to start seeing things clearly. And for that it is necessary to give ourselves a moment, wait for the waters of our minds to calm down. It is important to first take that step backwards, inwards, to clear those waters and then see what we can repair, what is within our control and what is outside our control, what is worthwhile, what is essential and what is not, what is in excess in our life, in what we are wasting the opportunity to be at peace.
In 2012 I began to be interested in self-help books, some popular, others less so, on philosophies of other spiritual traditions such as sufism or some branches of shamanism or gnosticism and of currents of Abrahamic religions. That is to say, nourishing myself with everything I could in this journey that has been going from the most ancient to this day being fascinated by this device that we have between our ears called the brain. I was invited to a program of healing arts based on the Andean shamanism of the Quero, from the Cuzco area. With this program that mixed different methods of healing arts with chakra systems and with an understanding of psychology, I obtained a practical technique that I could apply on myself and on other people. I felt a great affinity with that practice and that I was transforming myself little by little. And above all I began to observe beautiful results in the people who worked with me. That echoed in me a very beautiful sense of harmony. I started to see it as a possible route. Then I certified as a professional coach in a program of the iPEC institute, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, in Washington DC, where I was able to cement and formalize this virtue of working through the technique of coaching and through self-knowledge.
There is a lot of interest in exploring an alternative. As benevolent and beneficial as the current mental health system is when it comes to psychology or psychiatry or therapy, many of our youth have been looking to supplement their mental understanding. My services do not plan to replace absolutely anything that happens on a psychiatric and psychological level, but they are like a complement, a way to learn the roadmaps in which we can move towards the change that we want to make. Always also integrating the concept of acceptance. OK there is a need for change and I want to change but acceptance of how I am right now is also essential.
We have to stop seeing emotional and mental health as a luxury and rather as a priority. Mental health issues are biological issues and they are material. The mind is sister to the brain. When there is a discomfort of the mind or emotions, the brain is involved. When I break my leg, I understand that it’s a part of my body that is damaged and that it will need recovery. But when we feel bad in our mind, we forget that there is a brain in trouble and that it needs our help, our compassion, our support and our resolution. That’s why one of my main axes through Academia Despierta is to build better literacy about our brain, about our emotions, from a person who is not a neuroscientist or doctor or psychologist but rather from a normal person who said "I'm going to empower myself to learn about it and disseminate it." Many of my
courses or programs, whether they are about mindfulness or coaching, have to do with understanding this beautiful little device, the most incredible that we have discovered.
Besides my private clientele, I am lucky to be constantly collaborating with large companies, multinationals that are devoting more and more attention to the issues of healthy management of our life, of prioritizing what is essential, developing self-control, resilience, nourishing our brain and that seems quite positive to me. I think that we are increasingly moving towards the idea of mental hygiene as a priority in life. This is both fantastic and necessary.
@AcademiaDespierta on Instagram