What is Meditation Magazine about?

Meditation Magazine is about meditation and meditative spirituality.

Unlike publications that focus on clinical & psychological discussions around “mindfulness,” Meditation takes a more holistic view. We focus on the deep, spiritual & cultural roots of ancient practices of meditation, as well as music, altered states, love & compassion, conscious relationships, neuroscience, hippie travel destinations, the experiences of Bliss, Ecstasy, and Awakening … things like that 😃

While there is a movement here in the USA to sterilize meditation, strip it of its mystical & spiritual roots, and keep it in filing cabinets in psychologists’ offices, we aim to bring the heart and soul back into Meditation.

What is Meditation Magazine’s mission?

Our mission, here at Meditation Magazine, is to spread peace, love, and happiness throughout the world, through meditation.

This is not just some platitude or empty words; innocent people and animals are killed, injured, and harmed every day by the senseless violence, anger, hatred, and greed that flow from unhealthy & unhappy minds. We hope that by making a few hundred thousand (or a few million!) minds happier & healthier, and by spreading the tools for people to maintain their happiness and mental health, we will help spread ripples of peace, love, and happiness throughout the society.

We don’t imagine that we will completely solve the world’s problems – we doubt that anything like that will happen in our lifetimes. But we will do our best to help humanity move in the right direction. Please note: through donations and purchases, every donor, customer & subscriber helps us fulfill this mission! We are all working together as One.

How many issues does Meditation Magazine publish per year?

Meditation Magazine is currently a semi-annual publication (two issues per year), switching to quarterly (four issues per year) in 2022. We send our most recent issue to new subscribers as well, so new subscribers in 2021 are receiving three issues for their first year’s subscription, rather than just two.

When we increase our frequency to four issues per year, we will be raising the subscription price to $20/year (or possibly more), but early subscribers who got in at the lower $15/year rate will be grandfathered in at that rate for as long as they maintain their original subscription!

Why doesn’t Meditation Magazine publish monthly, like Vogue, Sports Illustrated, etc?

There are two reasons that we are doing semi-annual (and soon quarterly) publishing, instead of monthly:

Firstly, as a small, family-run company, we do not have enough time, employees, and money to publish more than two-to-four issues per year, without sacrificing the quality of our work and our magazine.

Second, we focus on quality over quantity. We work year-round to make each issue a powerful, amazing, mind-blowing piece of art, and to make each issue better than the last. We want our content to be at the level you might expect from a life-changing meditation book, from a master like Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Alan Watts or Pema Chodron. We currently have the capacity to sustainably produce two issues per year that meet our quality standards. We never want to waste our subscribers’ time with lame, boring, or disappointing magazines, so we don’t use any “fluff” or “filler content” like you might find in other publications. Each issue is hand-crafted to be as powerful and helpful as possible. If we were to publish more frequently at this point, we would have to sacrifice quality, and we do not believe this to be in the best interests of our publication or its readers.

Will Meditation Magazine publish more frequently in the future?

As our subscriber base grows, so does our capacity to hire more world-class people, and thereby produce more high-quality issues. In a very real sense, our early subscribers (2019-2021) are helping us to grow and expand our operations.

As an expression of our gratitude, we plan to “grandfather in” our early subscribers at our low $15/year subscription rate, even after we increase our publishing frequency and raise our yearly subscription prices in the future.

Why was Meditation Magazine founded?

When Kevin Ellerton was 25 years old, he sat in a Buddhist Monastery in Thailand, meditating in silence for days at a time. After going through a hellish week of waking up at 4am, meditating for 14hrs per day, and confronting his own personal demons, Kevin had a breakthrough moment. For the next few days, Kevin walked around the monastery as if floating on clouds, observing a world of tiny insects with a sense of love and empathy he had never known existed, and blissed out in a way he had never before experienced. Kevin finally knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life: spread the power, beauty, and love of meditation to other people around the world. When Kevin returned to the USA in 2010, he registered the domain name meditationmag.com and started writing articles about meditation, psychology, the mind, and spirituality.

Who runs Meditation Magazine?

Meditation Magazine is run by a married couple: Jovanna Benavente and Kevin Ellerton. When Kevin met Jovanna, he was handing out flyers for his meditation classes at the local university. Jovanna had “Be Here Now” tattooed on her wrist – something that Kevin had considered tattooing on his own arm in the past (as a reminder to stay present). The rest is history 😃 Kevin runs the magazine as Founder & CEO, and Jovanna is our Editor in Chief.

What is the history of Meditation Magazine?

Kevin Ellerton founded Meditation Magazine in 2010, after breaking his neck in a motorcycle accident in Thailand. Kevin had recently experienced life-changing realizations while meditating in Wat Suan Mokkh Theravada Buddhist monastery in Southern Thailand, and all he wanted to do was write about meditation.

Kevin bought the domain name meditationmag.com and started writing articles about meditation, psychology, and spirituality. The articles caught on, and other authors starting submitting articles.

Over time, requests started coming in: “How can I buy the physical magazine?” Kevin was surprised by these requests… why would anyone want a physical magazine, when they can get all the same information on the computer? The answer was simple: people like to read physical magazines. They like to curl up on the couch with them, and leave them on their coffee tables. In 2019, the first physical issue of Meditation Magazine was distributed in New York City, and the first national issue was published through Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, and a handful of other chains.

In 2020, our first international issue was published in thousands of stores across the US and Canada. In 2021, we plan to release our first global issue, all around the world.

Why were all of Meditation Magazine’s 2020 cover stars caucasian?

We did not think about race or ethnicity at all when choosing our cover stars, until people on social media started bringing it up. Our main focus was simply to feature people who have personally impacted us on our own spiritual journeys. Coincidentally, many of those people happened to be caucasian (Wim Hof, Ram Dass, Rachel Brathen, Trevor Hall, etc).

Jovanna and Kevin descend from Cuban and Jewish immigrant families. While these particular minority groups are among the lucky ones that have enjoyed relatively privileged positions in American society (at least during our lifetimes), Jovanna and Kevin recognize and empathize with the plight of those who are still oppressed. We provided a free full page advertisement for a black-female-owned business in our first international issue, and are now aiming to feature only people of color (including two of south asian descent) on our 2021 covers, to accurately represent the diversity in the meditation community.

What are Meditation Magazine’s religious and political orientations?

Meditation Magazine is about meditation and meditative spirituality. While we (the people who run the magazine, and the writers who contribute content) do have our own views about religion and politics, we do our best to avoid coloring the magazine with our opinions.

Meditation and spirituality are ancient and sacred. They predate all of our modern religions and political systems. They are part of our very nature as human beings. There are meditators from all walks of life – Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian, Pastafarian, Yoruba, Atheist, Agnostic, Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Socialist… the thing that ties us all together is Love, Compassion, Empathy, Kindness, Awakened Consciousness and Awareness. Meditation transcends all the divisions of humanity. In Consciousness, we are all One.

When will my first magazine arrive?

The short answer is:

US & CA: 3-6 weeks from the date of your order
All other countries: 4-10 weeks

However, since this question gets asked every day, we thought we should flesh out the answer a bit, with some of our most frequently asked follow-up questions (below):

Why is it taking so lonnngnggg?!?

While 3-6 weeks (or 4-10wks overseas) may seem like long time frames in an Amazon Primed world, they are significantly faster than the average print magazine (especially for small nice magazines). We are constantly pushing to get our mags out as fast as possible… to the extent that the workers at our fulfillment center are outspokenly disgruntled with us.

The employees at our fulfillment center tell us that we are their most difficult and demanding magazine publisher, and that “industry standard” (for the hundreds of other mags that use this fulfillment center) is to do one mailing per month, using USPS standard mail. This translates to a 4-8 week wait for your first magazine to arrive (and that’s just in the USA!). This is how most magazines do it, which is why most magazine publishers say to expect your first mag in 6-10 weeks (US subscribers). A quick google search for “how long after subscribing should I receive my first magazine?” will confirm this for you.

However, we know our subscribers well, and we understand that many people who are attracted to meditation have struggled with anxiety (and are therefore likely to be more anxious than the general population to receive their magazines ASAP). We also know that our subscribers are mostly millennials who grew up with Amazon Prime and are not accustomed to the long shipping times required for print magazines. That’s why we push our fulfillment center beyond its normal capacity, to do weekly (or bi-weekly) instead of monthly mailings, and often pay double or triple the price of Standard Mail to send First Class (a faster-shipping upgrade which eats up most of our profits and makes it a constant struggle to sustain the company).

But still, as much as we push our fulfillment center beyond their capacity and use all of our profits (and more) to pay for faster shipping, there is no feasible way we can ship faster than we are already doing. Not without significantly raising our subscription prices, or charging ~$10 for shipping.

Are you sure you can’t figure out a way to ship faster?

In an effort to make all of business processes as transparent as possible, here is a detailed description of our fulfillment process:

In the past, when we received a subscription order, we would get really excited, jump up and down, run to Staples to buy big envelopes, copy the address by hand onto the envelope, estimate how many stamps we needed for the weight of the magazine, put the mag into the envelope, seal it, drive to the nearest Blue Box, and drop the magazine in, hoping that we did everything right, that the address was correct, and that the magazine would reach its destination.

When we started receiving dozens of subscription orders per day, this type of process was no longer feasible. For one thing, we were actually losing money on the postage (it’s expensive to ship magazines one-by-one!). Worse, fulfillment became our full-time job, and it took our attention away from actually creating the magazine. We saw that we would not be able to actually create the magazine and do the fulfillment ourselves at the same time, so we started working with a fulfillment center in Vermont.

Here’s what happens when subscribers place orders today:

Your order is processed automatically by PayPal and/or WooCommerce and inserted into our fulfillment list (a giant Google Sheet) by our automated system (using automate.io). The system then generates a confirmation email that is sent to your inbox, that includes all of your digital freebies. This all happens within less than five minutes.

Every Monday, we send the list to the fulfillment center. The fulfillment center employees complain that they are set up to do monthly mailings, not weekly mailings, and that our need for speed is putting too much stress on their infrastructure. Occasionally we give them a break and send the list every other week, instead of every week.

When the fulfillment center receives the list, it takes them about five days to process & get the copies in the mail. During this time, they are checking with USPS to make sure that the addresses are formatted correctly, troubleshooting errors, making sure that the right copies are being pulled from the right boxes, going into the right envelopes, and going to the right people.

USPS takes the mail and sends it on trucks to routing locations all around the country. Mail carriers then sort through the mail and bring it to your house.

This is pretty much the same process that every magazine publisher uses (because it’s the only model that is sustainable for low-cost magazine subscriptions with free shipping), except that most publishers only send their lists to their fulfillment centers once per month, rather than weekly or bi-weekly as we do.

If you have any ideas for how to make this process more efficient in a sustainable way, please send us a facebook message! We are always working to improve our systems and all suggestions are sincerely appreciated.

If Amazon can do free one-day shipping, why can’t MedMag? Or at least come close?

Firstly, please remember that Amazon Prime is not free, you are paying for it each year.
Second, Amazon has spent billions of dollars to set up an extremely robust fulfillment infrastructure.

While it may feel like “shipping technology” has improved in the past 20 years (and it really does feel that way, because of Amazon), the US Postal Service (and even UPS and FedEx) have not changed very much since the 1990s.

Using the power of capitalism at scale, Amazon has spent billions of dollars (Billions with a B) to build an automated fulfillment system, complete with thousands of fulfillment centers around the world, intricate systems of conveyer belts, fleets of delivery vans, thousands of employees, and LITERALLY robots from the future 🤖

It is our deepest wish that Meditation Magazine will hit this kind of scale in the future. Until then, we are limited to the logistical realities of the US Postal Service.

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