Observations & meditations on the day-to-day
An interview with Shomit ahead of The Magic of Manifestation
Shomit recently sat down with Adrian Kowal of Evolve Wellness Centre to chat about his radically successful workshop The Magic of Manifestation. So popular has the workshop proved that a video version has now been filmed and is available online and on DVD here. Shomit talks below about the purpose of the workshop and what to expect, as well as his own motivations and hurdles in life and work.
1. What is the theme of this workshop?
The workshop is called The Magic of Manifestation – and it deals with an issue that concerns people greatly – which is how to be the “creator”, rather than the “recipient”, of your life. How do you become the arbiter of what happens to you – rather than being consigned to the role of having passively to accept the way things are.
Truth be told, we are always “manifesting”: as the Upanishads teach, the outer world is always and absolutely a reflection of our inner world. The point is to take control of this process – to create deliberately and with joy, rather than inadvertently and with pain.
2. Why is this issue so important these days?
The work I do has always been important – because it takes people into a transcendent space, a state that commonly goes under the rather grand and forbidding term of “enlightenment”. But enlightenment is simply a state of being “awake” to a certain deep and inherent reality. (The Buddha, when asked whether he was a god, replied simply that he was the same as everyone else – but that the only difference was that he was “awake”)
So the workshop is important in that it wakes people up to what the Bhagvada Gita would call their “true” transcendent state – and this is something that I believe we are all here to do – though different people are at different stages of the journey.
The reason this is particularly important in this period – in and around the year 2012 – is that the world around us is rapidly “waking up” to a new spiritual reality. The workshop simply facilitates that process.
3. Why do you love it?
I love the work for two reasons:
First, I see people transform before my eyes. A person who came to me in a rather bruised and battered state, utterly lacking confidence and trapped in a low-paid dead-end job grew into a person who found the strength and the confidence to throw off the shackles and take that “leap into the void” (and there is a great deal in the workshop about having the courage to step into the unknown) which led to the extraordinary situation in which he is today a millionaire with a huge and thriving business. He came to see me today and said to me with something that almost resembled defiance in his eyes, “When I came to see you I was earning £24,000 a year. I now earn that in a day!”
Then second reason I enjoy it so much is that the work operates at the cutting edge of what is known about the mind – particularly the unconscious mind. As Hamlet says to Horatio, “There are more things between heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” It is those things that I have devoted my life to exploring.
4. What got you into doing what you do?/What’s the story behind it?
It’s a mysterious process. There is always this combination of being “guided” and being proactive about taking the opportunities that mysteriously present themselves.
When I was around 15, I rather grandly – and unaccountably (given that my life was otherwise full of cricket and football and tennis) – undertook to “study all the spiritual books of the world.” And I did! I would read every night for half an hour from the Gita and the Upanishads and the Bible and the Koran – something my friends never understood and something I still do.
Initially, my interest in these texts was academic – but gradually I came to realise that these things were not written to be studied and discussed in seminars; they were written to be lived. And so, over the last ten or so years, I have developed a number of exercises that help people inhabit and experience the elevated states of being that the great spiritual books of the world discuss.
5. How can manifestation help people on a daily basis?
Well there are a number of applications – but let’s divide them into two broad categories. On the one hand, it removes some of the things that hold people back – like fear of the future and regret or bitterness around the past. On the other hand, it makes it possible for people to achieve the things that they most want to achieve in their lives – better jobs, more money, better relationships.
So in the first category I would place a client, who had a problem with alcohol, who came to one of my live workshops and did a few one-to-one sessions – and found, to her surprise, that although we had not directly addressed the issue of alcohol in her life, she suddenly found herself in a place where, when she was offered a drink, she took a sip – and pushed the glass away. She couldn’t understand it: she said to me later – and a part of her email is on a testimonial on my website – that she had never known anything to work so powerfully and so fast.
In the second category, there are a host of examples but most dramatic perhaps is the person who came to me utterly lacking in confidence, the shy, under-achieving son of a successful businessman who took the plunge, gave up his job and ended up making millions. He came to see me recently and said, almost defiantly, “When I first came to see you I was making £24,00 a year. I now make that in a day!”.
But bigger than all this, bigger than the lack of fear, bigger than the better jobs and more fulfilling relationships, is the access this work gives to a different way of being, a way of being in which every little thing is imbued with something special, divine even. That makes living – everyday living – a thing of joy. And that is wonderful!
6. How can manifestation be made more accessible?
There are I suppose two aspects of “accessibility”. The first, has to do with disseminating the work as widely as possible – and I see the institution of this online course as a huge step towards getting more and more people to access my work – many more people than I could ever reach through one-to-one work, and even the live workshops.
This is going to be coupled with writing blogs and even – dare I say it – going on Twitter! When I see clients one-to-one – and even in the live workshops – I am forever making observations about phenomena in the world which reflect the principles I teach – something Usain Bolt said or Mo Farrah did. Pointing these out in brief messages that have a wide circulation makes the work come alive in a practical way. People see these principles not as theories but as things that do actually work out there in the real world.
“Accessibility” also has to do with how easy it is to understand the work. And while the principles are complex and derive in some part from abstruse, ancient texts, I feel I have the ability to distil the essence of complex ideas and package them in ways that are “accessible”, that do make sense in real and plausible ways. I use commonplace examples a lot, I tell stories with which people can identify (because they draw on the kind of experiences we have all had – but perhaps never thought about) – and each of these is designed to make the work easier to understand.
7. What makes you feel really alive?
One of the sessions in the course is called “Presence” – and teaches one how to be in the Now, in the present – which is of course a place in which one is “really alive”, more intensely alive, than is normally the case. My children refer to it – rather disparagingly I have to say – as my habit of “being 100%” – which is a state I have learnt to inhabit at all times. (There is a funny story around this: the other day I was sending someone a text message – and my son called me. But of course I was sending a text message – and I was focussed, 100%! The next minute I fest a little tug on my arm. It was my son. “You’re just sending a text message, Baba. Come on, get real, you don’t need to be 100% to send a text message)
The workshop also contains another big idea – which is to access a state that is indifferent between good and bad, important and trivial. This goes back to a huge metaphysical idea that animates a lot of ancient Indian wisdom that has to do with everything being divine.
I won’t go into this now but, if you put the two together, you get a state in which you can be in that very present 100% place no matter what the context – whether you are listening to a client who wants to kill herself, or simply sending a text message. So the key is not to distinguish between some things out there that make you feel alive and other things out there that don’t. The key is to be alive – to live utterly, wholly, powerfully with every fibre of your being, no matter what the context.
A long answer to your question, perhaps, but key: what matters is not what makes you come alive but that you learn to come alive no matter what.
8. What are you most afraid of?
I am not ducking the question when I say – and this is important – that one of the things I am most proud of is that I feel I am able to live what I teach. And part of what I teach is designed not necessarily to “eliminate” fear but certainly to use it, to mould it, to transform it from something that inhibits one to something that gives one the adrenalin that makes high levels of achievement possible. That being the case, supposedly fearful things simply don’t inspire “fear” any more. They come packaged with the conviction that any challenge you face is really an opportunity to grow and transform. If I couldn’t say this with conviction, I wouldn’t really be true to the content of the course – which of course develops this theme very powerfully.
9. What is your favourite vice?
Gluttony! Without a shadow of a doubt, gluttony! I know I don’t look it – thankfully I have never really put on weight – but I love good food. I grew up in a home that always had very good chefs, and even now I am fortunate to have a chef who used to work for Gordon Ramsey! So meals are a highpoint!
10. What is your message to the younger generation who are our future?
My message to the younger generation is a very powerful one: you live in a world that is, even as we speak, changing beyond your wildest imagining – and more rapidly than you can imagine. And, much as there has been a lot of fear-mongering around the changes associated with 2012, these are changes for the “good” – in that they take us from a world based around principles of conflict to a world based around principles of harmony. This is not an insubstantial utopian world-view – this is really happening, So my message for the younger generation is: a) be aware of this, and b) enjoy!