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What Life In A Monastery Taught Me About Success – by David Vox

NOTE: This is a guest essay by inspiring author David Vox.

My love for the “next big thing” started when I was very young. Suddenly, it was my birthday. And right out of the blue, my entire world changed! Presents, cookies (I LOVE cookies) and it was all about me!

Then, Christmas and summer vacations. Suddenly they came and just as suddenly they were gone. I liked that, but I wanted to control it a little more. When was the next one, I thought.

Over time, I knew how to count the days and the months. Everything was about the 24 days unti Christmas. My mind was stuck on a timeline – and it was all about coming closer to the next event.

I was living in the Nextopia.

My life went from being happy in the now –  to being worried, anxious, stressed and angry about living in this “Nextopia,” always reaching for the next carrot.

Then it was all about waiting to become big enough to make my own money. Get my own candy. My own room.

During high school, it was all about having sex. Oh my, I thought, life will be complete when I have sex with a woman! (It ended up not being such a big deal. Turned out I was gay.)

Then it was college. The big job. Getting fit. Famous. Rich. And then I totally broke down.

I went from Success to Exhaustion.

I was 24 years old and leading an overnight success that turned into a million dollar empire in just a few months. I did not sleep. My mind was so focused on the next move I would work inside my head while kissing my boyfriend.

He left me, and I eventually left my
What is True Success?
job.

I was exhausted, so I started a journey in the self-development world fueled by coaching. I founded Goaly.com – and traveled the world meeting many of the world’s foremost thought leaders – and that´s why I’m here. It was in this stage of life I met Karen Salmansohn! (Yahoo!)

I Was The Enlightened Man Who Wasn’t

Earlier this year, I went to a monastery – by myself. My exhaustion was deep. No matter what I did, it was never enough for myself. So, I decided to take one month and find “myself” again at the monastery. I would fast from everything but water. I would take courses from a guru and enlightened master from India.

This enlightened master seemed “legit enlightened” on pictures and video. He wore the white sheet and he talked about love and forgiveness. In my mind, that’s what the enlightened do. They sit on a mountain top meditating and talking about inner peace.

But it turned out this master was also a master of toxic judgements. He judged black people, gay people, Muslims and nuns. In his mind, he was the only enlightened one since Jesus.

So I went into my room, in silence, and I cried. What on Earth was I doing?

I had travelled to every part of the world searching for the truth and found only big egos creating what I call “spiritual cupcakes,” high-priced spiritual fluff that does you no good.

I have also met the most amazing coaches. They helped me with behavioral things, techniques for deal with things and ways to master my own thoughts. Thought mastery was a tremendous gift, but I threw it away because it required me to stop interacting with thoughts.

What is True Success?
I Decided No More Searching

I slowly started to accept that the search was over as I sat alone in my room at the monastery. And this was hard because my entire life had been about searching. Finding a family. Finding true love. Finding God and spirituality. Finding acceptance. Friends. The perfect place to live. The perfect diet. The perfect yoga practice.

Inside me, my ego slowly died. No matter what I had achieved and tried to do, it was never enough. I went to bed feeling like I was nothing. And when I woke up, I woke up at peace; walking toward a blue, calm sky of possibilities.

I Realized I was Living as an Object

In my previous life of constantly reaching for the next thing, I had a narrow view of the world that limited my choices.  I could only make choices based on the object I thought I was – gay, foster child, broken, energetic, extrovert, online marketing guy, branding expert, coach, single, luxurious. But when I lived as nothing (not being an object), I was free. From nothing I could be everything, but mostly, I could be free from the never-ending cinema of thoughts that were running through my head.

I constantly thought about everything that happened to me, should happen to me and would happen to me.

I had so many strategies running in my mind – which made me so tired, unhappy, and overstimulated about something that was not real. This endless movie of thoughts and strategies and planning may seem like wisdom or ingenuity to some.

Why stop all this thinking? Why end the show?

I began realizing a feeling of contentment. I can almost cry  trying to explain the power of this feeling. I suddenly found Peace and Freedom like never before – this absolute sense that everything was okay. I was enough. Life was enough. And moments were enough.  It can’t even be described in words because it filled every part of my being with silence, peace and love. There was no avenue that had to be visited or a to-do list to be completed.

It was all gone. And I saw clearly, that the goal was not the perfect strategy, the perfect thought, perfect dream; it was just being. I was freed from walking in the self-created avenues of my mind and could walk down the Main Street of the present moment.

What a glorious day it was and what an impact I suddenly had on people when I talked to them. I was representing the present moment – the now – and not an ideal moment of my own self. It felt like I had a laser to cut through my own layers of my being. I was no longer a self-created identity that simply was excited to fuel the very “self” itself. It was a self that was often lying, telling me that I was not good enough or smart enough and down the list it went.

In my attempt to stop trying to define myself, to create myself into a object that would fit a religion, culture or literature, I could just be consciousness wandering around in the present moment.

Coming Back Home

What is True Success?
When I returned from the monastery, I still had my job and my life. But it’s strange with this life because it has become so much more enjoyable. In order to enjoy your life, though, you have to be willing to step out of the hamster wheel of dissatisfaction because it won’t stop on its own.

Most importantly, my search for a teacher that would show me how to be the best version of myself was gone. I still enjoy being inspired by wise people, but now I know I should never be defined by any man, religion or story.

So I welcome you to stop. I welcome you to breathe, to relax and to fully live here. And I welcome you to stop searching.

You are enough. You always have been enough – and always will be.

What is True Success?
About the Author: David Vox is Founder & President of Goaly.com and DavidVox.com .  David is from Norway and has been traveling the world the last two years on his own personal journey that has inspired him to come up with the idea of Goaly.comHe has worked with startups and online marketing for the last 10 years, and have specialized a niche in marketing and PR for life coaches.


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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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