How I Got From Depression To Joy & Inner Peace (Audio version below)
Part 1: The Bald Soprano. 2006-2009
”Please, God... Universe?... Jesus?... Whoever's up there, please give me an answer. Please tell me what to do…"
I slowly mouthed these words to a stranger in the mirror who was staring back at me strangled for answers.
It was September, 2009. I sat in my basement suite with two exhausted hands holding up my forehead in a panicked distress.
I was just about to enter my second semester at one of the top professional acting conservatories in Vancouver, British Colombia. Until then, it had been my biggest dream all throughout high school to study with this particular acting academy. It was common knowledge they turned out more successful working actors than any other school in the country.
Like nearly every young artist in the industry, I had a burning desire ever since I was a kid to become an A-list actor in LA, working with the biggest names in Film & TV.
At that point I was right on the success path my 5 year old self would have killed for. My fire was burning bright and for a long time it didn't look like anything could stop me.
But that night as I sat staring at myself in the mirror, something felt seriously wrong. A titanic shift had been occurring within me for weeks and I couldn’t make any real sense of it. And so I sat there begging...something...for an answer.
Rewind to 3 years prior in 2006.
I found myself studying personal and spiritual development material in my spare time, a passion that unexpectedly came upon me while directing a play in my senior year of high school entitled The Bald Soprano.
This play was an avant guard piece derived from the philosophy of existentialism which is essentially the idea that mankind's existence is devoid of any real meaning or God except for that which he thinks for himself.
These theories, although often very bleak, were what caused the beliefs my family gave me about religion, science and spirituality to be directly challenged for the very first time in my life.
I remember when the realization first hit me. It was as if my mind had been suddenly let out of a cage it didn’t even know it was in, set free to fly wherever it wanted.
I don’t have to subscribe to any religion or faith that doesn’t resonate with me? Meaning… I can think whatever I want to think…and believe whatever I want to believe?
My brain would teem for hours at night, trying to comprehend the validity and falsity behind everything my mind had ever been introduced to throughout my life…
But what is the TRUE truth?
The months I spent interacting with this play changed the way I looked at life forever. It was my first real spiritual awakening from what most of our society expects us to think about the world, ourselves and the true nature of our existence.
After the play ended, my hunger for knowledge didn’t stop, it only became more aggressive.
I was obsessed with wanting to know the real answers to the questions mankind has been asking for thousands of years:
Who are we really as a human species?
What is our actual purpose in life?
What are the scientific and spiritual laws of creation that govern our existence and the universe?
For my 17th birthday I asked my parents for roughly 10 different philosophy books from authors like Jean Paul Sartre, Descartes, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and more. I was a total nerd for this stuff.
I soon found these teachings, however, to be dated and boring to read, so I sought after more modern approaches on the topic.
It was normal for people my age to be getting high off of drugs and alcohol.
I was getting my fix from teachers like Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Napoleon Hill and Dr. Denis Waitley — just a few of the top leaders of the personal development movement in the 20th century.
The knowledge and wisdom I was injecting into myself from these great teachers got me high in other ways...and I couldn’t get enough.
The depth of self empowerment and fulfillment I experienced expanded over the next year and a half.
Not only was I beginning to learn the truth of mankinds purpose here on earth, I was also discovering that there was, indeed, a consistent, scientific process for creating success in ones life that was universally applicable.
This lead me to develop a strong desire to want to help others by sharing all the beauty I had learned with anyone who’d listen.
With young and innocent enthusiasm, I would bark sentences at my friends and family like, “You can be happy and successful in life! If you understand how your mind and the Universe works!”
Oh, I was high alright… On hindsight, I know I came off a bit nuts.
The truth is that I didn’t know how to fully communicate the totality of what had helped me so profoundly in a way that other people could really relate to as well.
Even though I began to use what I had learned to fulfill many of my goals over the years, including my biggest dream at the time which was to get into one of the top acting schools in the country, I found myself starting to fantasize about what it would actually be like to give back and teach this material to others on a professional level.
This started to produce a lot of conflict and confusion within me about what I was truly feeling called to do in life.
To everyone around me, I was always known as the guy who loved nothing more than acting and film.
I was learning so much at my new school from some of the best acting coaches in the country...yet I couldn’t help but recognize that there was a visceral shift occurring within me.
What’s going on with me? I asked in a puzzled stream of thinking to the universe. I’m literally living my dream right now! Why am I not happy? What am I missing?
It was then in June, 2009, that I stumbled upon a meditation program on the internet called Holosync.
This leading edge technology was said to contain binaural beats, which are essentially natural frequencies built into the audio track that were designed to stimulate the left and right hemispheres of your brain in a way that would scientifically synchronize them together to work at a more optimal level.
Put simply, it said that it makes your brain work better.
With consistent use it would result in measurable levels of reduced suffering and an increase of clarity, peace and joy.
“Meditate like a Zen monk at the push of a button,” the headline of their website so boldly claimed.
As skeptical as I was of something that sounded way too good to be true, I was extremely intrigued and so I did a lot of research over the next couple weeks.
The science behind the product made sense to me and the testimonials from hundreds of people all over the world made me convinced to give it a try.
I ordered the introductory version of Holosync and started using it immediately.
I remember the first time coming out of an hour long meditation with holosync feeling a sense of clarity and purity I had never experienced before in my entire life. It felt as though my brain was being cleansed of everything it didn’t need anymore.
As I knew from my research, however, this could possibly come with a price.
I learned that like when your muscles get really sore from an intense workout, your brain undergoes a similar breakdown-buildup process when meditating with holosync.
It said that because everyone’s brain is wired differently, everyone naturally reacts to this breakdown process differently.
I was pretty confident, thinking it wasn’t going to effect me much because I had already been doing so much personal development for the past three years.
How bad could it be? I thought.
I was wrong.
What followed was what seemed like random intense surges of fear, anger, sadness and sometimes rage…or “strong emotional upheaval” as the program called it.
These would last anywhere between 5 minutes and sometimes days on end.
When the surges subsided, however, I was met with an overwhelming feeling of serenity, peace and bliss I didn’t even know existed.
After every downward spiral I was having mini awakenings and realizations about life that were giving birth to an entirely new sense of self. To some degree it felt as though I was being reborn.
Suffice to say, it was an intense rollercoaster of emotion.
There came a tipping point after meditating with holosync every day for four months where my urge to leave school totally dominated me. I would have visions during my moments in silence of me speaking on stage in front of thousands of people talking about personal and spiritual development.
Even though on some level I felt better and more clear-minded than I ever had in my life, it was completely jarring to lose touch with who I always thought I was ever since I was a little boy.
I felt fear and couldn’t tell if what was happening to me was in reality good or bad.
And so, on that night in September, 2009 as I sat alone in my room, a shadow draped heavily across my exhausted mind, I tried to avoid the possibility I couldn’t help but loath.
But I’m so young; how could I possibly be a personal development teacher at this age? And what would my parents and friends think if I left acting school to become a spiritual teacher.
What if neither decision is right?