I built Soul Seated because it was what I needed when confronting my own struggle with self-worth and belonging as an adolescent and young adult.
TIFFANY W. LIU
Soul Seated's Founder
Hi, I’m Tiffany Liu. Like most, my journey to this moment has been filled with ups and downs, light and dark, breakdowns and breakthroughs. I wasn’t always devoted to inward growth. In fact, I spent the better part of my adulthood chasing material success and professional accolades in an effort to fill the void left by my inherent detachment from my authentic self.
I was born in Taiwan to entrepreneurial parents who were extremely devoted — at first to building their businesses and later to humanistic Buddhism, led by Venerable Master Cheng Yen, recipient of the Eisenhower Medallion for her contribution to world peace. My father was a very successful businessman who ultimately donated the wealth they had amassed in exchange for a life devoted solely in service of those less fortunate.
They were always building big things, but in their absence, I spent most of my childhood with different nannies. In grade school, I was often picked on, bullied, and left out. By the time I immigrated to the United States at age 14, I had attended 13 different schools. At my own insistence and my parents’ reluctant blessing, my sister and I left home for the U.S. They struggled to let us go but knew a quality education in our society was priceless. Armed with basic English speaking skills, we became “parachute kids,” dropped into a foreign place to live and attend school.
There was such a stark contrast between the Eastern culture we knew and the Western one we tried to adopt as our own. My whole sense of identity was thrown. I just wanted to fit in and feel normal. It was a very jarring and lonely experience that fueled an already deep sense of insecurity and self-doubt. But it also taught me to be a chameleon who blended in with the rest of the crowd. I desperately wanted to be anyone but myself.
The relentless, unforgiving mind
My inner critic was so good at shredding what little sense of worthiness I had into bits and pieces and I sought external validation in every action and interaction. During my freshman year of high school, my depression hit rock bottom. After a fierce argument and misunderstanding with family members, I chose to end my life. By all accounts, my story should’ve ended that night, but by the grace of higher powers, I survived.
The quest for self-worth
Western society defines success by material wealth and productivity, and as a perfect conformist, that’s what I chased. For the next sixteen years of my life, I channeled that deep craving for acceptance and connection into everything I did. From climbing the corporate ladder to competing in endurance sports, building a startup to working two full-time jobs, I had grown an unhealthy mental obsession with seeking uniqueness, productivity, business achievements, and influence.
In my late twenties, I bought my first home and started my first EdTech startup. With the Gates Foundation behind us, my co-founders and I exited our company in record time two years later. In the same year, I completed a dozen half marathons. In my early 30s, I was the Director of a Fortune 50 company. Two years later, I became the youngest senior executive, reporting to the CIO, managing a global team. Soon after, I was a General Manager and Vice President of a multi-million dollar innovation business unit at one of the world's leading and largest legal technology services companies. All this to say: I was married to my work. Despite amassing everything I thought had defined success, emptiness ensued. I was lost at sea — floating adrift and unanchored, so far from the foundation of calm and confidence I thought I would surely find at the top of each mountain I’d climbed.
Freedom from the known
Exhausted and unfulfilled, I contemplated resigning from my corporate job to reflect and recharge. Without all the distractions, I started listening to that subtle inner voice I had shut out for so long. It kept telling me there was more. Over time, the sound of that voice grew to the point where I could no longer ignore it. I wasn't sure what 'more' meant, but I knew something had to change. Not long after, a near-death car accident shook me to my core. It was a resounding wake-up call. Finally, I mustered up enough courage to resign, step into the unknown, and pursue my soul-seated journey where I would turn the authority from my mind over to my heart. I had always been curious about spirituality but never realized that curiosity was actually my heart’s guidance.
The surrender experiment
My journey inward and the ultimate shedding of old skin was all the paradoxical things you’d expect — painful, hopeful, scary, and exciting. It was a necessary rebirth, and while I took it on with wholehearted commitment, I promised myself I would move away from the egoic control and ambition with which I approached all my former endeavors, and that I would instead let the journey lead me. In other words, I would surrender.
In this spontaneous and serendipitous journey of wonder and awe, I encountered sacred plant medicines that helped me remember the lifetimes of Bodhisattva vows I made to alleviate suffering, and the commitment to shoulder the responsibility for caring for humanity and all living beings as my own. I rediscovered my Incan shamanic lineage and re-learned the powerful ancient practices of energy healing. I recalled the wise traditions of my ancestors and my role as both an energy healer and a Mesa-carrying Earth-keeper. I found my heart’s voice and began to write its songs. Writing — a thing I feared and dreaded the most in the past — is now the way I heal, connect, clarify and unite. I reconnected to my deep-rooted affinity to Buddhism, experiencing the wondrous Dharma and realizing the joy through learning from and serving under the guidance of Dharma Master Cheng Yen — one of Time’s 100 Most Influential Leaders. By getting lost in service, I found the deeper part of myself that had been dormant.
The Second Mountain
As David Brooks said, “If the first mountain is about building up the ego and defining the self, then the second mountain is about shedding the ego and losing the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition, the second mountain is about contribution.” And this is what I now set out to do.
Once I returned from the Still Thought monastery in the spring of 2020, I started reorganizing my life for service. I sold my house, reduced material clutter, and emptied mental weights to make room for the greatest experience of freedom. I turned down lucrative job offers and other attractive opportunities and dedicated my life to serving those most in need. In the process, Soul Seated Journey was born.
With all the experiences and skills of my past harnessed for this new purpose, I now envision a future where Soul Seated Journey is the gateway for young people everywhere to access their higher self through free world-class wellness education and services. Knowing how lost I was as a young adult, my team and I work diligently each day to ensure that path is illuminated for anyone willing to seek it. Through Soul Seated, my hope is to enable a great conspiracy for the greater good — a compassionate ecosystem of shared missions where youth-centric wellness educators practitioners can share their creative gifts, and in doing so, create a world that’s more conscious, compassionate, and connected.
It was quite an experience learning to unwind lifelong habits of comfort, redefine my standards of success, and operate in the instability of a new life framework. I’m still learning. Oddly enough, fear and self-doubt became my biggest allies in discovering my highest path and sharing my gifts. At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m so grateful for every single experience because it led me to the purpose-driven life I lead today. With every breath that is in me, I intend to manifest the ideals and possibilities for the brighter future I see.
If our mission calls to you, please reach out. I love to hear from you!