Already, in my early years, I felt in my heart that there must be more to life than just fulfilling the desires of the outer world.
At the age of 12, after my parents separated, I had a very hard time, my school performance dropped and a rebellious time began. I started taking drugs and frequenting a new circle of friends. Among these new friends, however, was a very special person who brought about a big change in my life. During an intense conversation I had with him, this friend talked about the greatness of the universe and similar topics. That inspired me to learn about astronomy and similar sciences.
The search for my ‘place’ in this entire universe and many evenings of profound discussions with my best friend led me more and more towards philosophy and spirituality. I read books by Krishnamurti, Teilhard de Chardin and Ramana Maharshi. At that time we also decided to become millionaires as soon as possible, so we could be free of social bonds, and to settle in Ireland to meditate.
My first experience in meditation I owe to my aunt. She was the 'esoteric' aunt in the family, and she gave me a cassette tape with guided meditation exercises. I am grateful to my colleague as well who, when asked if we should listen to the tape, said: 'Yes, sure!' I probably would not have listened to it if he had said no. I really felt something in this guided meditation and started to meditate regularly. At that time I was about 15.
When I was 19, on my way to work, I saw a poster with a smiling picture of Sri Chinmoy and an aphorism, something about paradise being a state of consciousness. I immediately felt: this man is really happy – I want that happiness, too. Unfortunately, I did not attend the lecture then, and it took another five years before it finally happened.
While trying to make a living, I realised that the effects of my morning meditation completely disappeared after five minutes in the office. It was like a wake-up call for me. I quit this job and allowed myself some time to ask myself inwardly what I really wanted and what would give me inner fulfilment.
The answer then was: a health food store, organic food, healthy nutrition.
I called the association of health food stores, which then sent me a list of suppliers. Among many others was a company managed and operated by students of Sri Chinmoy. When I asked for a job, a very kind person said that, unfortunately, there was no vacancy but he would be able to give me a book about nutrition. When I went there, I could feel the positive energy already in the building. Everybody there was very nice and seemed to share my way of life. Everything felt right, and after a profound conversation with the director of the company, I was deeply inspired to start a true spiritual life.