I’ve been on the path of self-realization since 1999. It started as a curious endeavor, became an obsession, and finally as I matured and softened, it became a way of life.
Although I have travelled the world seeking knowledge, and I will continue to do so, I know now all I seek is within, it's all in there, without a hint of a doubt. But it took me sometime to come to this realization; I had to journey to it, internally and externally.
There were periods in my life where I found myself in remote locations living with yogis, monks and shamans. I was there for extended periods of time, and those experiences were monumental in shaping my perspective on life. Each country and its people had something ancient and powerful to teach. With each trip, a new dimension within myself was revealed, and my meditation practice grew stronger.
I’ve always been devoted to two things: my meditation practice, and reading. Books taught me a lot; growing up, they were my guides. I’ve read countless books on inner work, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. But although I’ve read a lot, I only teach what I’ve experienced, and truly understood. To effectively teach any form of inner work, one must shed light on the deepest and darkest aspects of their own psyche, and this takes years if not decades of meditation and contemplation.
About my meditation practice. I started my journey with transcendental meditation (TM), in 2002, with 20 minutes in the morning, and 20 minutes in the evening. TM was effective, it calmed me down, and I developed a healthy awareness towards my thoughts and emotions; I was learning how to control my mind. After a few years though, I began to feel that TM wasn’t enough, I needed to spend more time meditating, and I needed to develop a deeper understanding of myself and meditation in general. That led me to Yoga and Zen.
I had always perceived Yoga as a meditation practice, and movement was the playful part. But as I started to move and explore asana’s, I realized they were more than movements, I felt how they balanced and aligned my body and mind. Meditating after asana’s opened my eyes to the power of movement, I felt healthier, more relaxed and my meditation sessions grew deeper. They worked beautifully together.
I explored different styles and techniques of Yoga during different phases of my life. The ones that stuck with me, stuck for a good reason, they worked, I could feel their effects in every inch of my body, and they led to states and experiences that expanded my awareness. Yogic experiences can be cosmic and they can shatter our perception of reality. When I started reading about Yoga and the experiences it could yield, I thought these stories were myths, packed with metaphors. How wrong I was, and how humbled I am today.
Having gone through powerful Yogic experiences, I integrated Zen into my practice, and I did this because I needed to be grounded. When it comes to grounding, Zen is as powerful as it gets. Nothing has grounded me so well. A very simple practice, yet so effective. I think Zen is the purest form of meditation.
After being exposed to the concept and experience of oneness through Yoga, Sufism became attractive. I started to read some poetry here and there, until one day a book called The Sufis by Idries Shah fell into my lap. The book blew my mind, I thought this was a world worth exploring. So I began to meet Sufis, and read books on Sufism. After a while I slowly began to integrate Sufi meditations into my practice.
Sufism added beauty and tenderness to my life; incredible really, I guess I must have been ripe for it after all those years. Sufism is all about the heart, and the more we practice and polish the heart, the softer we become, and the higher we ascend. Such a beautiful process.
These days, my practice is a mix of everything I’ve learnt. I don’t consider myself to be a Yogi, Zen Buddhist or Sufi, I just practice what works for me, and I try to keep an open mind, and an open heart. I’m here to evolve, seek oneness and serve. Simple.
Sound wise, I’m a musician and sound engineer, and music has always been a big part of my life. As I started to teach Yoga, I began to carefully integrate music into my sessions. Be it for relaxation, or to inspire energy, I used sound to great effect. I started mixing and editing music especially for my sessions, then I added instruments, and chanting was the natural next step forward. What struck me with chanting was the clarity it yielded, I couldn't chant unless I was fully present.
Everything I teach comes from experience, and I believe that to teach Yoga, Zen or Sufism, one must have lived and experienced them first; there is no other way. It takes years of disciplined practice to understand and be able to teach these methods. In my case, once I deeply understood the mechanics of my mind, and felt the subtler aspects of my being, I felt I was able to teach as my intuition grew stronger, and I was able to better understand and connect with people. Nowadays, I see myself, and people around me, as bundles of energy, and each bundle has its method.
It took me almost two decades of work and evolution to break out of my cocoon, set up Takween, and share what I’ve learnt. I first had to develop a strong understanding of what it means to be a human being. What does it mean to be a human being ? Simple, I believe, without a doubt, we enter this existence to evolve, and to help others evolve. Yoga, Zen and Sufism are about one thing, evolution, and oneness or enlightenment is the crown of evolution.
Once, during meditation, I had a moment that really defined the word evolution for me. I was sitting there in silence, and all of the a sudden it hit me, and it hit hard: for all these years, my mind had hijacked my inner environment. At that moment, I was able to separate myself from my mind, I realized I was not my mind, I was consciousness, consciousness was infinite, and the rest was illusion, or maya as the yogis call it. I felt and experienced truth. Even though it was only for a short period of time, the experience never left me; it caused a shift in consciousness. I can’t even imagine how it feels to get there, and stay there, absolute liberation. But that doesn’t matter, what matters was that little glimpse that forever put things in perspective.
So, we're here to evolve, and serve, serve by helping others evolve. At Takween, my goal is to help you help yourself. I’ll teach you, and you’ll begin to teach yourself. In due time, you’ll realize you are more than your mind, and it'll feel like you’ve been set free.