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Heart and Wings - Supporting inner growth

Little does the heart know

about science and money,

ravelling in joy and happiness

or miserable and in pain,

 covered up by sorrows and self pity

Little does the mind know

about joy and pain

always jumping from one thought to the next

always counting and calculating and keeping score

so busy with its worries it forgets

or even does not listen

to whatever happens to those we care for

Balance is what we need

in all things

It is difficult to tell when ones inner journey begins. For many of us, it begins with some tragedy, some shock, a search to find a way out of the suffering we encounter.

But for me, it was always about reaching out to the ideals and dreams I had since I was young.

In September 2005, at the age of 29, I entered my first taiji class.

Always eager to learn and explore, taiji offered exactly what I had been looking for since I was a child: 

a method of continually improving oneself, and a way to explore the limits of what is possible for a human being. Through coincidence, luck or faith, 2 years later I met my current teacher, who I have been following ever since, entering a great daoist tradition passed on from teacher to teacher.

Through my taiji teacher, I came in contact with sufism.

The first introduction was mainly through books: Patrick Kelly's 'Spiritual Reality', Abdullah Dougans 'The Quest', a trilogy on spiritual teachings and positive and negative attitudes, Ouspensky's 'Fourth Way' and G.I. Gurdjieffs work. In my attempt to understand these teachings for myself, I started trying out for myself what they recommended to do, but also found it quite hard to do without a teacher. Nevertheless, I gained some understanding of it, worked on my personal flaws, tried my best to consider others before my own needs, and so on. 

As faith would have it, my wife took an interest in the sufi teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Initially I was her chauffeur, just dropping her off at sufi gatherings and then going back to take care of the kids. Eventually she invited a small sufi group into our home. The combination of these wonderful people and my own curiosity and interest in sufism drew me in, and in 2014 I formally entered the sufi path under the guidance of a teacher.

Since I started taiji, some questions kept coming back:

how can I increase the focus on my inner work, while providing for my family?  

And how can I put what I learned to good use, how can it serve others?

It appeared to me I did not have the qualifications to make a career change in that direction.

To open up that possibility, an effort was necessary. 

At the same time, I had discovered a series of lectures on positive psychology, thaught at Harvard by Dr. Tal Ben Shahar. It seemed to me that this might be the missing link. After I found a course in positive psychology, I applied but only students with a bachelor's degree in psychology were accepted.  

So, in October 2015, I enrolled in a psychology class at university and got my bachelor's degree cum laude in 2020.

I did start the positive psychologiy course I had been preparing for, but seeing that I had learned about most of it already during this preparation time and feeling the need for practice more than for additional theoretical background, I decided to drop out and focus again fully on my sufi and taiji practices.

In the autumn of 2021, I visited a friend fom high school in the South of France, who had completely turned around his life. Once succesful and ambitious, a leader fully focussed on business and outer life, he discovered he had not been true to himself and took a break, then within just a few years abandoned his job and went on to lead a very sober, retreated but peaceful and happy life, dedicating himself fully to his inner development. 

This triggered my own wish to focus more on my own inner development, and on sharing that journey with others. While intensifying my own learning, soon I started leading some sufi meditations with a small but quite experienced group, with a strong focus on spirituality.

Heart and Wings is the next step.

An attempt to support everyone who wants to grow, 

sharing the findings of psychology,

bringing something of the benefits from sufism and daoist training

to those who are not necessarily spiritually inclined,

bringing something useful to those in need,

using science as a bridge

between the materialistic view and meditative practices.

setting up a way of life that combines

my inner wish to develop and learn,

 my hearts desire to help

and my hope to let others experience the true joy 

that I have discovered on my path. 

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