On this week’s podcast, New York Times Best-selling author and striving Yogi, Karan Bajaj, shares how sabbaticals, vipassana meditation, and living in his dharma has helped him create more power, clarity, and purpose in his life and for millions of readers.
The Purpose Driven Life
The sad reality is that only one out of every three Americans are now reported to be very happy. It's no surprise that on the wrong road, we can find ourselves feeling disconnected from our passion, discontent with where we are, and craving a shift towards a more purpose driven life.
In our journey, we may do many things to find purpose again including changing jobs or in finding temporary satisfactions through “weapons of mass distractions,” like alcohol, food, and even the wrong relationships.
To find a purpose driven life however, Karan plants the seed of thought that what we may need to do is simply create the time to focus on what we truly desire through yoga, meditation, and sabbaticals.
To be able to feel more content with yourself and where you are in life, Karan guides us to the focus of stripping away your emotional materialism.
How to Strip Yourself of Emotional Materialism
Emotional materialism is defined by Karan as “constantly wanting to become something or someone better.”
A person who focuses on emotional materialism is someone who is incessantly looking for growth within jobs, social circles, and experiences in order to become “someone better,” all without ever feeling good about where they are. They believe that once they have become that “better person” or achieved something bigger, only then will they be truly happy.
This however is the exact opposite of how to become content with who we truly are.
After we strip ourselves of emotional materialism, we become more selfless. After we become more selfless, we can see ourselves as the best medium for carrying out our work; the magic of contentment is that it doesn’t even matter if that work fails.
To a Yogi, the most important thing is that they are a vessel that carries out their work.
But how do we begin this process of changing our mindset and not focus on becoming something else, but on who we are right now? How can we truly strip ourselves of emotional materialism and become selfless?
Karan suggests three powerful steps: Learn, Reflect, and Meditate.
To be content, you must do all three consistently over time.
In order to allow ourselves to simply just “be,” we get to learn through secondary resources such as books and people, reflect on those learnings, and finally experience what we have learned through meditation.
Finding Contentment in Your Life
It is obvious that if you are consumed with negative thoughts about where you are, then you won't be able to lead a life of happiness.
Many people believe that true contentment is found in reaching the “moment” from when they get from Point A to Point B. Ironically, their current purpose might just be where they currently are right now; between Point A and Point B.
“Instead of focusing on how to get from Point A to Point B, you must pause for a moment to give yourself the space to help you feel content with yourself, which will lead you to find your purpose.” – Karan Bajaj
If you rush yourself and forget to learn, reflect, and meditate, you won’t be able to take the powerful moment to pause for thoughts such as, “I am what I am. I’m where I’m currently at in life, and I’m going to be the best me that I can be.”
Karan teaches to not rush life, and rather take it one day at a time to see where it can lead you.
How To Prepare For A Sabbatical or Meditation Retreat
In the process of Karan living out his dharma, he realized that he didn’t need to spend time following radical goals, but rather to enjoy “being” and discovering his true path through meditation.
To help do this, Karan has taken two, one year long sabbaticals.
He calls this the 4-1-4 rule. Work for 4 years diligently, take one year off, then return for 4 more years. However, not everyone can take an entire year away from their work, family, and life to spend on reflecting and meditating.
Some people follow a 7 -1-7 rule by working 7 weeks and then taking a week off. Karan also suggests taking short, meaningful vacations by spending time in new environment or doing a 10-day meditation retreat.
By letting everything familiar go on a sabbatical, you get to dissolve your habits and cyclical thinking so that you can start anew again on your return. The only true prerequisite for a meditation retreat is that you welcome it with an open mind and have an acceptance for you and those around you.
You may be thinking that doing a sabbatical or meditation retreat such as Vipassana can be a scary experience. You may even question whether or not it will be easy for you to let go of society's conditioning and commit yourself to focusing on meditation for so many days.
About Karan Bajaj
Karan Bajaj is a #1 bestselling Indian novelist with more than 200,000 copies of his novels in print, both optioned into major films. Karan's first worldwide novel, The Yoga of Max's Discontent, will be published by Random House on May 3rd' 2016. The book, called “The greatest adventure of our Generation” by The Daily Telegraph was inspired by Karan's one year sabbatical traveling from Europe to India by road and learning yoga and meditation in the Himalayas.
For the 1st week of launch, you can get a free meditation course, a Quit Sugar in 7 days nutrition guide, a yoga flow video course and other transformational gifts worth $299 when you order your book (150 Spots Only)!
Details at http://www.karanbajaj.com/yogamax
Karan has also worked in senior executive roles at companies like Procter & Gamble and the Boston Consulting Group and was named among Ad Age's “Top 40 Under 40 executives” in the US.
More About “The Yoga of Max's Discontent”
The book is about a Wall Street investment banker who becomes a yogi in the Himalayas and is both a page turning adventure through the hidden underbelly of India and a contemporary take on man’s classic quest for transcendence.
The book is receiving excellent advance reviews with The Daily Telegraph calling it “The greatest adventure of our generation” and Sharon Gannon saying it’s “A superb meditation on effort and grace, on the level of Herman Hesse and Victor Frankl,”
Resources Mentioned In The Show
- The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj
- Johnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj
- The Seeker by Karan Bajaj
- Karan Bajaj website-Learn How to Meditate
- Keep Off the Grass by Karan Bajaj
- Vipassana Meditation: why you should spend ten days in silence
- NY Times article with Karan-A Hard-Driving Executive’s Year of Learning to Let Go
- NY Times article with Karan-Looking for Enlightenment in the Himalayas
- Self-Realization Fellowship in San Francisco
- Karan Bajaj on Facebook
- Karan Bajaj on Twitter
- Karan Bajaj on Instagram
Listen To Karan Share
- What it takes and what it means to become a modern yogi.
- How can you do a sabbatical with a family?
- The story behind writing his book, the Yoga of Max’s Discontent
- The definition of emotional materialism and how to strip it from your life.
- The difference between Americans and Indians with finding a passion in their careers.
- How can we allow ourselves to just “be” instead of trying to become something.
- How does the degree of inner work we do help grow our financial wealth?
- What is the 4-1-4 year model and how can people use it in their life?
- How can we constructively take time off from work to begin anew?
- How can we improve our own intuition?
- How to know if you’re ready for a 10-day meditation retreat or Vipassana meditation.
- His experience working for American corporations such as Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods.
- What inspired him to take a third sabbatical after the untimely death of his mother.
- What life was like growing up and seeing people come to his village to practice yoga in ashrams and caves.
- Why people leave for sabbaticals and other personal quests at some point in their life.
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About The Author, Lauren Bryant, Podcast Production
Lauren Bryant is the Podcasting Assistant and Show Notes Writer for Wellness Force Radio. She has a BBA in both Marketing and Spanish for Business as well as certificates in Advanced Business Communications and International Business from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Lauren’s wellness journey began at a young age when she joined her local YMCA swim team, The Wave, of La Crosse, WI. One of the most profound views on wellness that anyone has said to her was when she was an assistant swim coach for that same YMCA swim team.
One day during a practice, former head swim coach, Jon Brenner, shared with her that the most important thing about coaching the swimmers was that “It doesn’t matter if they become the best athletes in the world. What’s important is that we give them the tools and guidance they need to live a healthy, active lifestyle for the rest of their lives.”
Since hearing those words, she has taken it to heart to not only focus on continuously living her own healthy lifestyle, but to help others pursue their wellness goals as well.
Lauren is not only an avid swimmer, but a fan of running, yoga, cooking, and doing any activity outside that involves being surrounded by nature. In the Fall of 2014, she completed a long-awaited goal of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.