Effort Less @ Omega Institute, NY
The day following my arrival in the US last week after two years abroad, I was in front of an audience of about 50 staff members at the Omega Institute in upstate New York sharing a slideshow presentation I put together called "Effort Less."
Omega is retreat destination that attracts famous, bestselling authors and spiritual leaders with large followings who come to guide groups on journeys into their own healing and self-realization. Given I have no bestselling books and a tiny following, it was an honor (if not humorous) to join the ranks of their illustrious list of speakers.
Basically, the gentleman who scheduled me thought I represented the values of Omega and was interested in the message I have come to deliver to those of us interested in the service of others and humanity.
That message has to do with inspiring service from the heart or service with love. As opposed to service from the ego: service that seeks to heal, change, and/or save. It's a way of life really—of getting out of the way, forgetting about outcomes, and allowing a deeper will to inform and guide your actions. Your actions then become effortless, and any results become more harmonious for everybody involved, including you.
As a way of demonstrating the approach, I've put together a slideshow presentation highlighting a few of the activities from India, Kenya, and Rwanda over the past two years where there was strong evidence to support it.
I cite, as one example, how listening to the extreme stories of orphan children who survived the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda forces you to open your heart, and cast aside your helping, do good notions. Or, how we were able to raise close to $7,000 for a project in a Nairobi slum without doing any formal fundraising.
The stories seemed to land with people, especially when I started getting into details about the kind of poverty I encountered—such as a young student at Brosis who sometimes goes missing from school to beg for food.
I said once, "I do not want to entertain, dazzle, or amaze. What I want to do is silence." This was the effect I noticed at the end of both talks. People were quieter, with their hearts and minds open, struck by what they heard about and saw in the photos. This is a good thing—similar to the experience I had when I first traveled to Rwanda in 2009, which effectively catapulted me into the lifestyle I'm living today.
It's why giving these talks feels like a gift. If I can help people drop into that place of silence, where they might realize there's much more to life than "my own personal survival and happiness"—it's a kind of disruption of the status quo that can start a process of fundamental change toward a life lived in greater alignment with inner purpose.
Twice at least I was asked about how to sustain a lifestyle of service, so I dedicated another brief missive to that response. In short, I said it was not something you need to particularly concern yourself with. If the commitment to the path is there, as well as integrity, you find sustenance taking care of itself.
A women approached me at dinner one evening and shared she felt more inspired to take a leap toward her dream. There has been something she has been wanting to do but she was stuck on financing issues, and material concerns.
As I explained to all the kids I taught in the slums and these two audiences at Omega: if you take the first step — the hardest one I think there is to take — in the direction of your heart, you find a magical path open up before you to walk as a child does. Innocently and carefree.
From here, the plan is to travel (or walk, as it were) to New York City, Tennessee, Detroit area, Chicago, Las Vegas, Tuscon, and then California—and as always, see what wants to happen.
There's nothing but the journey, it never really began, it never really ends.
If interested, you can watch a video of the full Effort Less presentation given at a talk in northern California.