“My business partner and I were looking to improve our relationship with the guys in our factory. So we decided to attend some training courses. There were about five different groups of people in the class. And we were doing this ‘ice breaker’ thing, where everyone shared their reason for wanting to become a better leader. When it came around to one guy, he sort of shrugged, and started to sob uncontrollably. Everyone started smiling with embarrassment. As a result of this guy’s outburst the whole room relaxed. And that’s my first memory of personal development in the workplace. People holding a gunpowder load of tension and emotion. Another guy was attending the class with his wife, and I was drawn to them immediately. They were just such obviously good people. We started eating lunch with them on our breaks. But when I really got to know them, their story of problems with their children, their health, their relationship was almost a Steven Spielberg movie script. Their business was struggling and they’d been to hundreds of retreats and these lectures. I was shocked. I was not aware that business could blow so many good people away. A fw months later I went to Tasmania on a small twin engine plane to do some work at a cement plant near where I was born. On the flight I read about this new place Camp Eden, up on the Gold Coast. When I got to the factory the plant manager was sick and so his assistant was assigned to me. Now, in cement factories even the plant manager wears shit clothes because it’s a dusty place, but here, the assistant plant manager was wearing a white shirt, a tie, and suit pants. I knew something was weird. Anyway, it turns out that he was on the Melbourne based board of the company but he’d had a nervous breakdown and was assigned this sort of escape job to recuperate. He was such a nice guy. I asked him about his nervous breakdown and he generously tallked me through it. ‘Well, he said, ‘it took six months to happen. It wasn’t a day when I suddenly when break, it was a progression into hell.’ He continued ‘it started with me sitting bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night. Going from deep sleep to wide awake in seconds. “Shit” I thought to myself, “that happened to me last week.” He continued “then I started to feel overwhelmed with work” again, “shit, that happened to me for the last months.” “Then’ he went on, “I started drinking a bit in order to sleep at night.” “ok, this is getting spooky. ‘And i got the shakes.’ “I really didn’t want to hear more. But he continued “I started to need grandma naps in the middle of the day at work, and I didn’t like being in crowds and, I got angry easily. And, and, and …. Bloody hell, he was describing my life. I couldn’t wait to get to the car, I called my PA back in Melbourne and said book me into that Camp Eden and that was that. I flew into the Gold Coast, went to Camp Eden, did yoga, therapy, ate organic veggies, cried like a baby and went for bush walks. After a week with mostly the Italian Mafia, (another story) I came back to my home, broke my marriage, and made a complete mess of my life. It just opened a can of worms. I didn’t put the lid back on that can for the next twenty years. Living in ashrams and running a corporate consultancy. It all seemed logical to me. The monk who drove the Porsche. Going to India doing yoga, meditating in Tibet, trekking in Bhutan. And climbing mountains in Nepal. That’s when I told the world about my health problems. My near nervous breakdown, my love for fast things, my extremes of spiritual exploration and enjoyment of life had added up to a 45 year old man in a 90 year old body. Kidney stones, neck tremors, arthritis, and the beginnings of asthma from so many lung infections at altitude. I was on heavy herbs. Everyone “knew” the solution. Finally, I got diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning from all the air pollution factories I’d visited in my “last life” as an engineer. I needed blood transfusions with massive doses of vitamins. Chelation therapy. So, here’s what I found out. I was never having a nervous breakdown, I didn’t need those herbs or yoga, meditation didn’t fix things and healers in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan were wasting their time. I had heavy metal poisoning. Eight weeks of this Chelation therapy, and it was all done. I was healthy, drinking good red wine and my body stopped shutting down. Soon I would meet many of those “healers” – the acupuncturists, yoga teachers, meditation experts. I never asked them. I’d never do that to someone. But I knew they took credit for my healing but had no idea of the real cause. The retreat I ran I wanted to be even more careful with advice based on “random diagnosis.” It was a miracle. I realised that placebo was a powerful medicine. But when it came to matters of the heart, placebo and truth were not a perfect match. I went through months of reprogramming my keynotes and seminars. But four days away from the first launch, my test group showed an abnormality. Telling the truth to people who were committed to their thinking process was suddenly unmatched by the results. It was devastating. I felt like giving up. People would only pay to hear what they already believed. Instead of being combative against all the options we have I needed a way to be collusive. To engage to include as many options as possible. My deadlines kept pressing me to find a new language. Innerwealth was created.
OPENING THE MIND LAB
May 25, 2020