Thirty years ago, British wellness book author Neville Hodgkinson was struggling, trying to balance personal life and his career. But one particular encounter changed his life forever.
A former medical corespondent for a newspaper, Hodgkinson was one day invited by a friend doctor to a press conference in the Westminster Abbey in London, where he witnessed an Indian spiritual expert who talked about the human soul in a way he had not heard before.
“These guys were talking about the soul and then they did a chant at the end of the press conference and at the end of that my eyes were closed but this golden red light opened out in my forehead, it was amazing, and just filled me with absolute bliss,” he told Mornings @ ANC.
Following the life-changing experience, he decided to take a break from work and write a book on how to achieve a balanced life.
For the next couple of years, Hodgkinson traveled to discover more, leading him to a particular type of yoga known as the Raja Yoga.
"During that time, I came across some meditators in London, who I felt this peace coming from them which I felt 'I need that, that's exactly what I need in myself in order to be able to manage my life better,' and so I took up the practice, it was called Raja Yoga," he said.
This yoga form, which practices the act of self-talking and reflection, helped him discover more about himself and what he really needs in life, paving the way for more peaceful ways of living.
“Most types of yoga do have a name that you get a sort of body and mind balance but many of them focus more on the body first. Raja Yoga says that if you get your thoughts and feelings right, you pay good attention to them, then the body will take care of itself, so it goes to the spirit first if you like, it teaches you to really manage your thoughts, your mind,” he said.
“If you give yourself space to practice thoughts that nourish you, through thoughts about deeper realities of love, of peace, of joy, it’s self-talk in a way but it’s based on what they teach to be spiritual truths. So talking to myself like that, things started to improve immediately and I went back into the business for about another 14 years, after a couple of years away writing the book, and it was really such a different experience.”
He said the experience taught him to stop being too materialistic.
“It’s not that the material side is unimportant… but when the spiritual side is neglected which often happens when we get too caught up in position, possessions, etc. then that over engagement starts to drain you, then you may run even faster to try to catch up or you may develop addiction to try to fill the gap inside the happiness gap,” he said.
“Science itself now is telling us that to get the fuller picture, you need to have periods where you disengage your intellect from your role and nourish yourself internally,” he added.
Hodgkinson is in the Philippines to promote his latest book “I Know How to Live, I Know How to Die.”