Marcus had just come out of a deep meditation. He usually awoke at 5am and spent whatever time his higher consciousness directed in meditation. He loved this time of connecting with what he referred to as source. Marcus had been meditating each morning for over 30 years now. Over the years as his mediations deepened, he had shed more of what he called his small mind and had allowed himself to surrender to source mind. The more he did this, the more he found he was not limited by his beliefs and perceptions. In fact, he found he was also not limited by the physical laws of this world. He could move his physical body through the power of intention to any place he chose. When one completely surrendered one’s mind to source, Marcus had learnt that all things became possible.
Marcus had once been a high-flying executive for a well-known investment bank. As an eager 22 year old he had thrown himself fully into his career. Success and advancement up the corporate ladder came easily to him. By the age of 26, Marcus was managing director of Equities. He was the youngest person in the company's history to hold a managing director role. Marcus had a knack of knowing exactly want actions needed to be taken to bring about the greatest results. He was earmarked as the future president of the company.
Marcus loved his job, and he loved the thrill of getting outstanding results. He was forever pushing the boundaries on what could be achieved, sometimes to the detriment of the people who reported to him. The thrill and accolades of success often outweighed the regard for his people.
It was around the age of 28 that Marcus started to feel tired and drained. Something wasn’t right, so he increased his exercise and vitamin supplements. However, the tiredness continued and along with it a feeling of dis-ease. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but something felt off.
Marcus had heard about an executive coach the company used with its senior executives. Marcus had always declined the offer to be coached. The company had never pushed the issue because of the results he always achieved. A small voice within Marcus was now telling him he should contact the executive coach and set up a coaching session.
A coaching session was scheduled for the following Monday morning at 10am. Marcus did not know what to expect, but was surprised when a women walked into his office. His executive assistance had organised the meeting with the name Jordan Simms. Marcus had just assumed it would be a male.
Marcus was caught a little off guard when Jordan walked in, but it did not take him long to regain his composure. He motioned for Jordan to take a seat at the round table used for meetings with work colleagues.
They both made small talk for the first 10 minutes. Then Jordan switched into coaching mode and asked Marcus what he hoped to get out of the coaching session?
Marcus explained about feeling tired and that something felt a bit off. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Something wasn’t quite right, but he did not know what that might be. All he knew was that he had a strong feeling of dis-ease within him.
Jordan had picked up on this comment and asked Marcus’s permission to explore this further. Marcus was happy to do this, and was also relieved she didn’t think that he was a complete nutcase.
Jordan already knew that Marcus was extremely successful where results were concerned, so could immediately rule that out of the equation. She knew that if results were not the problem, then relationships probably were. After ruling out they might be connected to family or friends, Jordan asked Marcus, “how would you describe your relationship with your direct reports?”
“Fine,” Marcus replied.
Jordan dug deeper. “How do each of them feel about the jobs? What are their fears, concerns, loves, hates?”
Marcus was bit taken back by this question and found himself replying with, “err, umm, not really sure.”
“How well would you say you know and understand the people who report to you?” Jordan asked.
Wow, she doesn’t pull any punches, Marcus thought. But he admired her forthright manner and the fact that she really had him thinking. He responded with as much honesty as he could. If he knew one thing, if you were not honest with yourself, then nothing ever changed. “Well, I guess the truth is I don’t know them as well as I thought I did. They report to me, they get their job done, and that is all that matters”
“So if they were unhappy about something, do you think you would know?” Jordan asked.
“Probably not?” Marcus responded.
“Can you describe their body language when they attend one of your meetings? Are they upbeat, excited, chatty?” Jordan asked.
“Well now that I think about it, they are the opposite of that. In reflecting on this, they never really look all that happy. In fact, they look more stressed and anxious than anything else.” Marcus replied thoughtfully. But then quickly added, “if they were not happy, then they should have come and spoken to me about it. They are adults after all”
“Let me ask you this,” Jordan asked in a considered way. “Thinking back, was there ever a time that one of them came to you with their concerns?”
Marcus took the time to carefully review his memory of meetings with various staff members. “Well,” he eventually responded. “There was this one time a woman called Kayla came to me about how the late hours were negatively affecting her family life”
“And you responded with?” Jordan prompted.
“Umm, I told her that the company expects the deadlines to be met. Late nights were part of the job, and she was being very well compensated for her time.”
“What happened to Kayla?” Jordan asked.
“She left a couple of months later.” Marcus said.
“Did Kayla leaving negatively impact your business unit at all?” Jordan enquired.
This question really stopped Marcus in his tracks. He had never even considered this. “Interesting question and one that I have never considered. But in looking back, I realise Kayla had a way of deescalating situations when things got out of hand. She could quickly put everything and everyone back on track when things went pear-shaped.”
“Very useful skill” commented Jordan.
“Yes, it was,” replied Marcus thoughtfully.
“On reflection, what impact did Kayla leaving have on your business?” queried Jordan.
“More than I care to admit,” replied Marcus ruefully.
“Who deescalates for you now?” Asked Jordan
“I do,” replied Marcus despondently
“How is that working for you?”
“Truthfully, it is a nightmare. I realise now that I should never have let Kayla go. I could have made things work, so that the job didn’t negatively impact on her family life. Her skill for deescalation is rare. I should have taken the time to look after her welfare because she was such a valuable asset to this company. Not only that, I now realise I was being totally disrespectful to her as a person.”
“How many other Kayla’s do have you think you have lost?”
Ouch, this question really hurt. “Too many, I am afraid.”
“So tell me Marcus, why do you think you are tired and feeling that something isn’t right?” Probed Jordan.
“Oh dear, it is all so obvious now,” replied Marcus in a dejected voice. “I can see I am tired because I am having to pick up the slack for the expertise I have lost. I haven’t been able to replace the unique skill set of the people that resigned. They left because they knew they were good and they preferred to work for a manager that appreciated them and their talents. The thought of all this makes me sick to my stomach. I also understand the feelings of dis-ease within me are my caused because part of me is picking up on peoples negative body language. I may be ignoring the signs, but my mind and body are not. It is making feel very uneasy. I realise that I have been totally ignoring my instincts as to what is really happening around me. However, I now know that my instincts to the seeing the truth can never be truly ignored. I can try, but the truth will always make itself known.” Marcus ended all this with a deep sigh.
“Wise words, Marcus,” stated Jordan, with a huge smile on her face. Then she became a little more serious and introspective and said. “You were wise to take action to find out what was really going on. You are fortunate that the feelings of dis-ease didn’t turn into an actual disease within your body. Had you continued to ignore that feeling of dis-ease, eventually it would have.”
“Wow, I had never even considered that,” Marcus said in a shocked voice. He continued with, “It is now time for me to fix things. Whilst I cannot change the past, I can certainly create a future where I respect everyone and their needs. I also realise that I have not been very collaborative. My need for results has blinded me to everyone’s true value. All of this changes today. The next two days are going to be spent really getting to know my staff and how I can make it easy for them to be successful and fulfil their true potential. Never again will I ignore that sense of unease within me. Thank you, Jordan, for allowing me to see the truth. You really have changed my life.”
Marcus remembered all of this as if it was yesterday. It had been the turning point in his life and career. He kept his promise and was amazed at what the conversations with his staff revealed. He also reached out to all the people who had left on his account and apologised. Some actually returned. Sadly, Kayla never did. She went on to achieve outstanding things and he silently cheered all her successes.
As a way of making sure he never failed to see the truth around him, he took up meditation the week after his life-changing meeting with Jordan. It all happened rather randomly, or so he thought. He was at a conference and ran into Chris, an old friend. One thing led to another and his friend started talking about his new found practice of meditation. Marcus had said to Chris that his mind was way too busy to do meditation. Chris then explained that the type of meditation he practised was just based on the simple act of diaphragm breathing. All that was required was that you learn how to breathe correctly from your diaphragm and then just focus on that. Chris went onto explain you could start with just 10 minutes a day and then increase it to whatever length felt right to you. He then suggested to Marcus that he come to his place on the weekend and he can show him how to breathe correctly from the diaphragm. Marcus took Chris up on his offer and the rest, as they say, is history.
At 30 Marcus became the youngest president the investment bank had ever had. At 35 he knew it was time to move on from the bank. By this time, he was a very wealthy man.
The thought had occurred to him during one of his meditations 12 months before his actual resignation, that it would soon be time to leave the bank. He had no idea what he might do with the rest of his life. Then 9 months later, the thought came to him to set up an ashram.
He had immediately started looking for suitable properties and found the perfect site one week prior to leaving the bank.
Guided by the thoughts that usually occurred during his meditations, he slowly started building his ashram. At any one time it could house around 100 people. He opened his doors to the public 12 months after he left the bank. It took another 3 years for word to spread about the centre.
Today, the ashram is always fully booked. Although Marcus has no problem with people calling him Marcus, people prefer to call him the master. Marcus always just smiles inwardly at this. When people first come to the Ashram, they arrive, expecting that Marcus will have the answers they seek to whatever problem is ailing them. Over time, they learn the true master lives within them, not outside of them. Marcus never offers advice but allows the magic of the ashram and sometimes a question here or there to allow people to find the answers they seek within themselves.
Marcus wasn’t sure why he was recalling all this after his morning meditation. But if history was anything to go by, he suspected change was afoot. What that change was, he had no idea. He had learnt a long time go to just let life unfold the way it needed to, with minimum intervention from himself. All he was required to do was to be present to the messages that flowed through him.