Experience is an expensive teacher.
A hospital, divorce or the loss of self-respect are even more ex- pensive. I know, because that’s how I learned most of what I now know.
I didn’t have bad luck. I was just too driven to hear the warning signals, too obsessed with work and play to see that I was on a roller coaster of my own making. Eventually the wheels fell off and I was given the lucky break to be able to rebuild my shattered reality and get back on the bike.
I’m a free spirited entrepreneur. I love helping people, and I do this now and my full time life. But it wasn’t always this way. I banged into walls, hurt myself, hurt others, made stupid and un- necessary mistakes and then got back to life by learning from every single blunder I made. I mean, that’s the benefit of these almost life shattering calamities we create, we can learn.
The key to it was to stop blaming the world, people, luck, the stars, my karma and whatever else I could find to distance myself from reality. In its place, I put nature.
And that’s the story I’d love to share here. How, using nature as a guide I got back on the path, found the beauty of life, soothed my aching heart, ran marathons, climbed hills in the Himalayas and met some extraordinary people. Every step is an opportunity. All I had to do was learn to take those steps in the right direction.
My first trip to Nepal was in 1986, in the midst of a personal crisis. I went to find my own nirvana, so I climbed to the top of a mountain and stood there waiting for the lights to go on and my life to change. There I stood, after 3 months of hard work, preparation and training and came to a realisation that was totally terrible.
I had all the mind noise up there that I had down here.
I was me and brought it with me. Nothing had changed and even worse was the realisation that I’d be taking myself home, the same as I arrived. No transformation happened at all. I was still thinking the same way, even though I really believed this path would trans- form me. It had changed some things, but not what I wanted.
So, I went back home, licked my wounds and did some re-en- gineering. Then, I went back again. Since then, I’ve done nearly 50 trips up into those Himalayan Mountains: sitting in caves, laughing with monks, dancing with Sherpa people. Instead of searching, I came to celebrate something, in a very special and sacred place.
Everyone has their own Mecca. I mean, I’ve travelled extensively, to really special places and met some amazing people, but these Himalayan Mountains keep calling me back and frankly, there’s something very familiar about them.
I don’t do past life stuff, but really it’s sort of hard to find a better explanation for those situations where you go somewhere and con- nect with people you’ve never met before like you’ve known each other for the whole of your life – sometimes even deeper than fam- ily. That’s how it feels for me in the Himalayas of Nepal.
What is fascinating about these remarkable mountains is that many of the great masters have come here to pray or meditate. The- ories abound that Jesus, Mohammed, Pattanjali and of course the Buddha have found their real calling up here in the Himalayas. That aside, there is something absolutely unique for everyone up here, but it seems, we have to be ready.
On my first trip, I wasn’t. All filled with “piss and wind” – Aus- sie for ego – I’d set out to achieve an end, to make a mark, to create a new trophy, another victory to boast about down at the pub, or, as it was at that time, the ashram.
I switched pubs for ashrams some years earlier when the poo hit the fan in my marriage. Man, if I ever needed a kick up the backside, that divorce was the wake up from hell. I still can’t believe where it took me, both good news and bad. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, let me back up a few steps.
Up in the mountains where so many gurus, sages and masters have lived, meditated and found enlightenment, there’s a horrible reality that cuts through the stereotypes of ceremonial pomp and the “we’re so important” authoritarian stance of fundamentalist re- ligions. Fancy people reading out of books telling the world how to live.
Up here, there are rocks, and ice, and snow and wind. There are landslides and death and birth and life is so small compared to nature. Billions of tones of water rush down the sides of mountains and you really do get the feeling that, wherever you are in life, you are very lucky to just breathe and enjoy another sunrise.
Here, life is real. I walked in it, sat in it, rolled in it, meditated in it, climbed on top of it and eventually thought some cool thoughts in it. These Himalayas have been the greatest temple, a way to find peace in the present moment and purpose for my future without
And that is the greatest awakening I get from the silence of the Himalayas. I find inSight.