It was about 9 years to this day that I landed in sunny San Diego, headed to the Chopra Center at the La Cost Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.
After the direct flight and feeling a little bit jet-lagged that Sunday afternoon, I sat outside on a patio overlooking one of the 18 hole golf courses nestled in the Carlsbad Mountains and right away noticed how special the energy surrounding this place felt. In the main building, photos lined the walls from the 60’s when the likes of Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and others from that era had also been to this special place.
If you have ever been to this luxury Resort and Spa, you will know what I mean – if you haven’t I highly suggest putting it on your bucket list. (History of the Resort – www.omnihotels.com/hotels/
I had enrolled in one of the Chopra Center’s Signature wellness programs called Perfect Health – it was one of the best courses I have even done and included instruction on how to meditate. There were about 12 people in the course from all over the world, all of whom had very well-to-do careers but all dealing with stress-related issues. I remember one of the instructors telling me most people in today’s business world are either tired, empty or broken. At the time I was definitely tired and a little broken.
My life seemed to be going in the right direction; I started and owned a very successful business, I was traveling all over the world and had the lifestyle that society and media tells us is so fulfilling. I had just paid off my house in Oakville, Ontario and cottage in Parry Sound, Ontario. However deep inside I was not feeling the sense that I was doing what I was meant to do, and I was growing tired of the constant travel and the executives that were more concerned about sales and figures than my well-being. Doing something only for material gains started to take its toll, and I felt I wanted to add more to others’ lives from my experiences.
So, after a week of some amazing ayurvedic treatments, daily meditation and yoga and introduction to the Ayurvedic lifestyle, my then fianceé and now wife, Nadya, picked me up at the Toronto airport and could not believe her eyes! She said it looked like I had lost 20 pounds. I felt so much lighter…
Upon my return home, I made it a priority to incorporate as many of the teachings as I had learned, determined to carry this amazing feeling through my days. I streamlined my existing business, eliminated most of the travel and started a new line of green packaging products.
Fast forward 9 years and today meditation is now a huge part of my life. I have a regular meditation practice and in my spare time from running my packaging businesses, I now teach others how to meditate, as well as teaching QiGong and Business Coaching. I have also started a new online business marketing Health and Wellness products.
Meditation taught me so many things…here are the three key things I have discovered:
1) Despite what the media, your parents, or teachers tell you about going to all the right colleges or universities and getting the right job and making the big money, at the end of the day, this really does not buy happiness. Happiness is inside of you and cannot belong to any of material objects, things or people that can be taken away at any time.
Having said that, having the finer things in life is great as long as this is not your sole purpose. In many of the places I have traveled to the people with the least amount of material objects seem to be just as happy – and they have more time to do the things they really enjoy.
Find your passion, and do not let anyone tell you you need the right network or degree. You will be in good company; just look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Henry Ford…all college drop outs. Now – I am certainly not advocating you drop out of college, however if you are not passionate about what it is you are doing, then find that passion.
For me, meditation was the best way to access what I really want to do and access the happiness that cannot be found in things outside of my self.
2) Peace and quiet is a great way to start your day. It has been said by many spiritual leaders that prayer is asking and meditation is receiving and this has been my experience. When you develop a regular meditation practice and you calm your mind, you begin to receive answers to many of life’s most important questions that are hard to access when we are tweeting, reading Facebook or watching T.V.
3) Love conquers all fear. This is a lesson I continue to learn to this day, and I could write about this for a long time. I do not mean romantic love, I mean loving yourself despite all of your imperfections, loving your relationships and your environments etc…. I think it is one of the hardest life lessons that we are all put on this earth to learn.