Following His Heart
Brandon Klein’s journey takes him to teach others to grow through meditation.
Meditation teacher Brandon Klein typifies his generation’s inclination to pursue a career that melds personal fulfillment and helping others.
“When we talk about meditation,” says Klein, founder of WiseMindGentleSoul meditation center, “we talk about returning to a state of mind not conditioned by fear. Growing up is the placing of rules, limitations and fears [upon us] and we begin to limit ourselves. But look at kids. They take leaps. They stumble and get back up.”
Klein took a big leap in 2016, when he left a Ph.D. program after two years to start a blog he envisioned would be an online community of “like-minded individuals on a journey of self-growth.”
Klein earned his bachelor’s degree in honors psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Hofstra University in New York but had grown disenchanted with Hofstra’s program. “The system required a set of principles I wasn’t willing to adhere to. I had an intuition there was something else in store for me that I couldn’t put into words.”
Not surprisingly, Klein’s parents were concerned and had doubts. “From their perspective,” he recalls, “it was fair for them to be fearful. To say I wanted to leave a Ph.D. program $50,000 in debt? To write a blog? It didn’t make any sense. I didn’t have the privilege to brush their concerns aside. It was better to respond to their fear with love. It was a journey for us all.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t have much self doubt. I’d moved to New York with my girlfriend and we broke up. I’d enrolled in a Ph.D. program and left it. Given the reality that my parents, ultimately, all concerns aside, were behind me and willing to support me, what was there to be afraid of?”
A series of chance occurrences led Klein in the direction he had envisioned back in 2016. An affordable office space in Farmington came up for rent. His mom told someone about him who told a therapist who wanted to offer meditation to her adolescent clients. Meeting with Rabbi Dan Horwitz about creating a meditation program for The Well, Klein learned that the Detroit Moishe House was looking for a new resident. The contact Horwitz shared turned out to be someone Brandon had reached out to about bringing meditation to Moishe House residents.
He moved into the Detroit City Moishe House in December and is thrilled to be part of the city’s scene. “Being in Detroit is a blessing,” he says. “I get to live in a city during its resurgence and be a part of growing the Jewish community. I can have a say in my own Jewish journey and help others define theirs as well.”
Klein and the other Moishe House residents plan five events a month for Detroit’s Jewish community.
Klein is confident about Detroit’s future. “There’s a strong feeling about Detroit,” he says. “We want one another to succeed [because] if we succeed, Detroit succeeds. When a city is bankrupt, there’s nowhere to go but up. How meaningful will it be to bring a love of meditation to a place that is on its way up?”
Klein is a patient and gifted teacher who pairs meditation with journaling reflections before and after each session. “I learned this from Dr. Martha Travers, my first meditation teacher. She is the instructor for the course in Contemplative Practices at the University of Michigan.
“Journaling gives my students permission to unload their thoughts/feelings before they enter the formal meditation practice. [After], the journaling is a great way to document what came up during the meditation as well as to check in again with four main facets of our being [mind, body, mood and intuition].”
“Meditation strengthens the mental muscle necessary to regain conscious control over your life.”
— Brandon Klein
Klein is honest when discussing his own meditation practice. “It’s hard. To this day, I haven’t gone more than a week straight without missing a day,” he says. “But I’m authentic about that. I want people to know that if it is hard, you do not have to stop. You just sit and be antsy and keep going back. Meditation strengthens the mental muscle necessary to regain conscious control over your life.”
He is a firm believer that meditation’s benefits extend beyond the individual practitioner, having the potential of creating concentric circles of good will.
“When we meditate,” he says, “we don’t spread negative energy around to others. [This sounds] grandiose, but, at the end of the day, I see the present moment as the healing for a lot of our ills.”
And his parents? Klein says his dad is “stoked.” His mom is his No. 1 cheerleader and is actively spreading the word. “They’re both thrilled for me and continue to be extremely supportive as they see it all coming together and growing.”
Tips for Beginning Meditators:
- Do not be discouraged if you have thoughts during meditation! The practice is all about responding to thoughts in a new way.
- Create a dedicated space for your daily practice. Ultimately, you can practice whenever and wherever, but an intentional meditation space offers a healthy context-dependent nature to the practice.
- Similar to how a personal trainer would help you through a physical fitness plan, it is helpful to seek guidance from a meditation instructor to help you through a mental workout plan.
- If beginning with an instructor does not resonate with you, there are many apps (Headspace, Insight Timer) that offer guided meditations.
- Read! There are endless amounts of books on mindfulness and meditation that will open your eyes to the possibilities that the practice can offer (some of my favorites are Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh and 10% Happier by Dan Harris).
- Meditation may look easy externally, but it is quite a workout internally. Thus, patience is key! Just like learning how to play an instrument, the practice of meditation takes time to develop.
- Don’t focus on achieving a certain state or feeling; meditation often brings up discomfort, and if you predicate the consistency of your practice on a specific outcome, then it is unlikely you will continue meditating when times get tough.
— Brandon Klein
Contact Brandon Klein at (248) 824-0605 or
firstname.lastname@example.org to register for group or private meditation sessions.
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