In this month’s installment of “Yoga For Musicians” I am honored to introduce Sunny Dilinger. Sunny is a hip hop artist and an avid meditation practitioner and guide; an absolute legend! He founded the movement “Women that Meditate,” which is a movement of women who, through their practice, inspire men to meditate. This movement has spread across the United States, and Sunny is starting to take it global. In this interview, he opens up about his journey and shares some meditation techniques as well as his philosophy on life.
Woody Woodrow: What made you realize the power of meditation?
Sunny Dilinger: I’ll start from the very beginning. I moved to Los Angeles to do music and it was magical the way that happened. I met a mentor who’s named RA. He saw I was frustrated at work and in different situations, so one day on lunch break he walked me across the street in Korea Town. We sat underneath the trees, and he didn’t say “Meditate with me,” he said, “Close your eyes and breath.” Five minutes after that, a profound experience happened.
I heard a voice say, “You are everything.” I felt something. After walking with him and meditating with him I understood something even deeper. I didn’t know what it was but I just kept knocking at this brother’s door like, “What else do you have for me?”
WW: Was that one of your first experiences with a flow state in your life? Or had you experienced flow in other areas beforehand?
SD: Growing up I played sports and played music and there was always a flow in that. It felt effortless. But this was beyond that. It felt like a movie. I’ve never experienced anything like this where everything seemed to be bouncing back and forth from me and to me and I was connected to it.
WW: What inspired your movement “Women that Meditate?” What was your intention when you created it?
SD: A relationship; I had many material possessions. I had been meditating for five years, but everything seemed stiffened and routine.
One day I was meditating and I heard a voice say, “If you truly believe in who you are, rid yourself of all imprisonment and make yourself available.”
Before I heard that voice, I remember RA had told me, “You don’t have to work these jobs if you don’t want to.” And I said, “What do you mean? I have bills, I have a relationship…” I was thinking all these things, but he looked me in the eye, challenging me once more saying, “You’re much more creative. You can do something and you won’t even have to work at Starbucks.” He would share this with me, but at the time I wasn’t ready to receive that information.
But in my meditation when I heard that voice, I remembered what he said and I understood exactly what it meant. I quit the jobs, I ended the relationship, I gave away everything and asked myself, “What can I give that gives me life in return?”
In my meditation one day I realized that I’ve learned more about myself in the relationships I have with women. They were always poking at my weaknesses and helping me turn them into strengths. Then I got the idea to collaborate with women, and bring women together that are meditating and let them be strong, courageous, independent, honorable queens or goddesses. Then men will gravitate towards what they’re doing and ask, “What’s meditation about?” It’s a simplistic way of having them learn what meditation is. From feminine to masculine, men will show appreciation by meditating, too.
WW: How do you think, from your experience, men could show up from a place of integrity for women?
SD: I’m always going to share this answer because I feel like it was the beginning and will be the omega for me. The more you meditate the more there is this mature intelligence that keeps on breaking through the surface. We’re talking more about us as vibrational beings more than even us as men; recalibrating the masculine and feminine to be one. That’s always going to be my answer because just by checking in every day I feel like I’m able to show up.
WW: If you had a message for the men and women of the world what would it be?
SD: Rise up. Don’t be afraid to be that, to embody that, to walk that path. There’s nothing to be afraid of. When you say “yes” to that challenge you’ll be rewarded ten-fold. When I walk, I feel this essence. I can feel the balance of each foot taking a step and I feel like a king. I really enjoy life in that way. I love to believe that we’re meant to express our greatest selves. If we want to be the greatest, see the greatest. Let’s have our input in that. It’s that simple.
WW: Shifting gears now towards meditation, because I know meditation gives you the ability to become a superhero or a “king” in your life… What would you say to somebody who wants to meditate but doesn’t know how to start?
SD: Well first, I would say, I love where they’re at. You don’t have to know, just be available and open. Then I would say, don’t psych yourself out trying to learn something externally. Try to create your own way of meditating. I strongly suggest that everybody start learning from their own self. How would you create your way? That’s a reference to the book Siddhartha where Siddhartha met Buddha and Buddha said, “Come and hear my teachings…” something like that. But Siddhartha said, “I’ve got my own path.” I think that’s our compass, that’s our blueprint that’s already within us. We should be able to let that flourish and learn from it and then everything else that comes along will compliment it.
WW: Yeah, back to walking your own path. What do you believe is the meaning of our experience here on this planet?
SD: I believe we are here to breathe. Everything is breathing. If you look deeper you see that the same life that is within everything is within you. Once you see it, it awakens, it comes alive. It’s within our water, within our food. If I see you and we are here and without words even being expressed we can look in each other’s eyes and take a deep breath and see life, or see source, or see creator or whatever it’s called.
WW: Are there any meditation techniques that you can tell us about? Are there any you prefer to use to reach a state of oneness?
SD: Yes. The information about the Seven Chakras came to me, and soon after I found out that the Seven Chakras aren’t bound by the Hindu or Buddhist teachings. It’s from many teachings that say these energy circuits, these chakras, are flowing through your body. I was able to receive that, and I thought it was so simple: seven days, Seven Chakras. For anyone who wants to access a supreme state of being, a wholesome state of being, I would suggest for them to meditate on one chakra each day of the week. Starting on Monday, which is the day of the Moon, and ending with the contrasting Sunday, the day of the Sun. When you get to Sunday it’s a celebration because you feel so connected. All the chakras have a definition in terms of the purpose they have. That’s a system or a structure that works for me and I promise if it can work for me, it can work for everybody.
WW: How would you meditate on a chakra? Is there an intention you set, or a focus on the breath, a center, a spot of the body?
SD: I would suggest lying down and putting a Chakra Crystal on the chakra you’re meditating on that day. Then close your eyes and say “Open. Activate. Balance and Heal.” Then say the name of the chakra, for example, Root Chakra. Do that for one minute. Do that again the next day for two minutes, then next day for three minutes. It’s not the same as a meditation where you need to have your eyes closed for a certain period of time. There are no obstacles or anything that you really need to do. Once you put that awareness on that chakra your body already knows what to do. Within a week you will see a difference, that’s one cycle. This activates the chakras and from there you’ve just gotta keep the wheel turning.
WW: If anyone wants to learn more and take your class, because you do teach meditation, where can they go to learn more about you and where could they go to learn more?
SD: I want to share that I’m not teaching anything. I’m really just sharing space, sharing whatever is flowing from my heart and the ones before me are creators as well so we’re just sharing, co-creating. I share at Ceremony Meditation in Venice Beach on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:45 pm. Then, outside of Ceremony Meditation, we’re doing “flash mob meditations;” donation meditations out at the beach and more out in nature. As of right now I’m just on Instagram and Facebook.
I was able to be liberated because of “Women that Meditate.” Once it was created I was able to go places, travel, have people hit me up from all over asking for a ticket and it literally became a movement. I was honored because the women received me. At first they didn’t even know a man was organizing it and had founded it, but when I shared with them that I founded the movement they were really proud and honored. They shared with me that I was someone they can give permission to do so. It’s as simple as, when you have an idea, look to the universe (or whatever it likes to be called) to assist you and you’ll be flying in no time.