Personal story - How I got into this work
My childhood was not all sunshine and rainbows (as many people can relate to) and in fact quite traumatizing. The early loss of my mother, moving out at age 15 from home, bullying, without going overly into details; there was a lot of hurt.
And so I was left with existential questions, trapped pain that I did not now how to deal with, and a seeking energy from a young age onwards.
I did not find what I was looking for, for many years, and was finding myself depressed, in states of anxiety, extreme tiredness, and with suicidal thoughts running through my mind like a mantra throughout my teens and early twenties.
I began smoking lots of weed when I was 12 years old and when I became a student at age 18 I began discovering the world of Amsterdam's nightlife industry and techno-scene. Which looked like drinking lots of alcohol to numb my social anxiety and taking cocktails of party-drugs to numb and escape myself and lose myself in the beats and the lights on the dance-floor, endless raves and afterparties, going for extremes and getting as high as I could.
I was seeking for a liberation that I did not know how to find. MDMA got me there temporarily when I was partying but as I partied more and more the hangovers were getting darker and darker until it became completely unsustainable.
Working and raving in the technoscene in 2016
Then on one day I stumbled upon a Youtube video on Buddhism and meditation by a young man (later known as Vishudda Das), felt intrigued, and realized that what he was speaking about was most likely exactly what I needed.
That to resolve suffering, we have to work with the mind directly: It seemed as obvious as that 1+1 is 2.
A few months after seeing that video I spontaneously booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand, quit everything I was doing, and found myself traveling around for four months around South East Asia, which was already a spiritual opening in itself to not be in my familiar environment for some time.
In the last two weeks, just in time before my return flight to Amsterdam, I arranged a stay in a monastery and found myself meditating under the guidance of local monks in a temple named Wat Umong on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, open for Westerners and with a fantastic head-monk (a place that I would recommend if you ever search for an authentic Buddhist retreat).
Wat Umong, Chiang Mai
I initially had a tough time following the strict schedule with 4 am wake ups, hardly understood the broken English of the monks, and didn't experience any benefits from the meditation.
I was also having nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and was craving my cigarettes that I had handed in on the first day as per the monasteries rules. I was even looking if there was a way to get into the monks office and grab my cigarettes to have a sneaky cigarette outside the temple grounds... which I didn't dare to do in the end ;).
But then, on day 4, around 16pm in the afternoon which was free time in which you were free to rest, nap, walk, or meditate as per your own choice, I felt the pull to go again to the meditation hall.
Without expectations, I sat myself down in front of the big buddha statue, with only one other person in the meditation hall.
I didn't even follow the technique so much anymore. I just sat. After about 15 minutes, something began happening inside. I started to feel a causeless peace that I couldn't recall having felt before sober.
I began noticing the jungle sounds from outside more clearly, I began seeing the place where I was more vividly, my body felt light and my mind relaxed, open and clear.
Quite ordinary, nothing exotic, no explosions or fireworks.
Yet deeper and more profound than anything else I had ever known at the same time.
It stayed with me for a few days after I left the centre, until it slowly faded away.
As is known by many seekers, after a first glimpse of peace, there is no going back.
Something more true than anything else gets revealed. A glimpse of our true nature.
Since that day, first with hesitation and even some embarrassment (what will my friends think?) and later with conviction, I began going more and more deeply into a search for spiritual teachings, teachers and experiences and so I kept traveling, backpacking, living, working, practicing and studying, from Australia to India, Thailand to Bali, Portugal to Central America, and now Portugal since years, spending my time healing, discovering and integrating a wide variety of spiritual methods and teachings.
I have always tried to meet teachers in real-life as much as I could to spend time with them directly, and was fortunate to meet many great ones, but interestingly enough, some of the most potent teachings and a transmissions I received happened through books and teachings that one can find freely on Youtube. It's the new age of spirituality.
Teachers, mentors and schools that I have been or still am student of:
- Theravada Buddhism and Vipassana courses in Thai Forest Tradition (not Goenka)
- Multiple 10 day Vipassana courses and self-practice as taught by S.N. Goënka
- Lorin Krenn 1:1 mentorship (Masculine and Feminine Polarity)
- Pranayama Teacher Training & on-going studies and 1:1 work with Michael Bijker/yogalap
- Teacher Training and mentoring with Awaken as Love/James Stevenson
- 1:1 coaching with Sebastian Valensi (Tantric Embodiment)
- Ayurvedic Massage Training and Certification in Rishikesh, India
- Hatha Yoga Teacher Training 200 with Surinder Singh at Swasti Yoga in Rishikesh
- Swami Atmananda Udasin, multiple Satsang Seasons in Rishikesh (asvaitaVedanta)
- Ganga Mira in Portugal, Satsang and community (disciple of Papaji - Ramana Maharshi)
- Drupon Lama Dorje (Tibetan Buddhism & Meditation)
- Kundalini Bodywork Advanced Level 1 & 2 with Elliot Saxby
- Adyashanti (Zen, Meditation and non-duality)
- Christopher 'Hareesh' Wallis (Classical Tantra/Kashmir Shaivism)
- Ty Landrum (Vinyasa/Hatha Yoga)
- Mark Whitwell (Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga
- Lama Lena (Dzogchen)
- Chris Bale (qi-Gong/energywork/male sexual energy cultivation/selfhealing)
- Igor Kufayev (Tantra/Kashmir Shaivism)
- Rupert Spira (Direct Path/Nonduality)
- Francis Lucille (Direct Path/Nonduality)
- Bre and Flo Niedhammer (Breathe and Flow Yoga)