AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT ELIAS NAJEMY
By Giota Dimitriou
for the site http://www.skalatimes.com
Mr. Najemy, Your Father was the Dean of Students at the American University of Beirut and you were born in America and moved to Beirut when you were 12 years old. Then you became a Chemical Engineer. In spite of your scientific academic background, you decided to dedicate your life to a spiritual search. How did that happen?
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to express my perceptions and convictions about life and share with others what has helped me. The question here is, «Why did I change life styles?»
After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering I worked for Uniroyal Chemical Company for two years. They we very good to me and the work was well paid and I had everything I was supposed to need in order to he happy and fulfilled, such as money, an apartment, a car, a woman in my life and anything else I needed. The company was satisfied with my performance and I was well accepted in my position. This was in 1970 and 1971.
There was only one problem. I was very unhappy. None of this seemed to supply me with meaning or fulfillment. At that time, I did not believe in God or in an afterlife or in the concept of evolution. I believed that life would simply end when we died and that there was nothing more than what I already had; And that I had what I supposedly needed to be happy. Thus, I saw no reason to continue living. I thought, «If this is all that life has to offer me and that in 80 years this will also end, then I am not interested, and I might as well end my life now.
On the same day, that I had this thought, I was guided somehow subconsciously to a bookstore and as if in trance, picked up a book about which I knew nothing – not the subject and not the author. It was the book «Doors of Perception» by Alan Watts. Suddenly I realized that there is a whole other aspect of life that I had not investigated at all (as a scientist) – a world of energy and consciousness. I had focused until now only on matter.
I read this rather small book that evening. And shortly after finishing, while lying in my bed, I had this thought, «My life belongs to me, and no one else.» It was as if a light was turned on. I realized that if I was unhappy with my life as is was, that I was not obliged to my engineering degree or to my parents or to society to remain in that. I was free to be who I wanted to be and live a life that truly gave me meaning.
The next day, I gave notice that I would be leaving in a month. They asked whether I wanted a raise or to work in another department. I cordially with gratitude declined. They asked what I was going to do. I answered, «I am going to search for a meaning in life and whether there is a reason for me to live.»
I left and began my search in all possible directions for the meaning in life. Eventually I found four reasons.
Evolution – the idea that I could better myself, become more able, more loving, kinder, healthier happier. It was an interesting challenge, that I could in some way control my life and become a better person.
Creativity – I explored a wide variety of creative forms of expression – all of which gave me pleasure and fulfillment.
Service – I discovered the joy of serving others and in some way contributing to their well being and happiness.
Relationships – I began to perceive relationships as growing opportunities in which I am challenged to be honest, understanding, forgiving, loving and to communicate clearly.
All of these purposes gave meaning to my life and still do.
As a child did you have any indications that when you grew up, you would become involved in spiritual life?
I do not remember very specific things except for my fascination with nature which led me to spend many hours alone as a young child sitting silently observing nature and learning from it. My mother told me that I used to play the role of the priest at times (perhaps from a previous life) and that once a stranger on the street stopped her when we were walking together and told her that, «that child would one day help many people». I do remember those events.
How did you end up in Greece?
I had started a yoga retreat center in Lebanon in 1975 and then the war broke out and the Syrians came and took over our retreat center. With all of the bombing and fighting, it became impossible for people to come and be helped by our activities. Then my father was assassinated and situation worsened. My brother had already moved to Athens from Beirut in order to continue his business from here. I decided to stop by and see him on my way back to America. I ended up staying permanently from 1976 until today – that is 36 years. Those at least are the external factors that led me to be in Greece. I am sure that it was a soul decision made before my birth.
You have written 30 books and have given many hundreds of lectures with around 600 of those on CD and DVD. How easy is it to guide people on the spiritual path during this time which full of difficulties such as the economic crisis?
There is an even greater need today for such work. I could easily leave Greece and go to America, where my family is. However, I feel that would be like deserting the people I love at the time they most needed to be reminded of these basic spiritual truths. This «crisis» is an even greater opportunity to apply these truths in our daily lives. They are really the only solution to the feelings of fear, betrayal, injustice, resentment and anger that burden so many.
It is an opportunity to take responsibility for our lives and cease blaming others, but also to take greater creative control of our lives and become more united in our efforts to create our ideal society with equality and abundance for all. It is an opportunity to discover that happiness is within and that we can be fully happy with very little, but also that we are very powerful spiritual beings who can attract and create from the universe whatever we need (especially once we have overcome our attachments to having and fear of not having).
It is an opportunity to discover the abundance of methods such as meditation, prayer, methods of healing and energy psychology such as EFT, TAT, BSFF, Sedona Method and Ho’oponopono that allow us to transcend unpleasant emotions and connect with out spiritual center and enjoy the peace, love and happiness that are always within us no matter what might be happening externally.
We need to realize that according to Quantum Physics there is really no objective external reality. We as observers are directly affecting whatever we observe through or conscious and subconscious beliefs. Our families, our society and our leaders and all of their behaviors are in fact extensions and reflections of our personal and collective inner worlds. Our leaders will never change their behavior until we change our personal and collective psycho-synthesis.
It is a time of great change and we need to let go of fear, anger and hate and unite into groups with common ideals and create a new realty for us all. We need to support each other and help those in need. We need to learn to care for others as much as we are for ourselves.
For this reason we have created two books on how we can deal with difficult times. The titles of the books are:
TWENTY-FIVE WAYS TO MANIFEST OUR IDEAL LIFE
DEALING WITH TESTING TIMES.
Also our website http://www.armonikizoi.com/ has an abundance of helpful formation about dealing with this «crisis-opportunity.»
What is the first step for someone to take on the path of spiritual search?
Everyone starts from somewhere else. Some start because they want to heal an illness. Others because they want to lose weight. Some to overcome fears. Others to reduce anxiety. Some will seek help to heal relationships or overcome childhood traumas. Some begin in order to become more successful. Still others come to heal the pain of loss or rejection after a divorce or departure of a loved one from the physical body. Others may begin in order to learn how to manifest goals and create abundance.
A few begin in search for spiritual growth, a deeper meaning in life or the ultimate truth of their divine being. Eventually many of those who began this path with the earlier-mentioned more superficial motives, end up eventually desiring spiritual evolution and alignment with their true divine self.
The first step in all these cases is to realize we and no one else can be responsible for or create our happiness, peace, health or ideal life. The is the first step to spiritual growth – to take responsibility for our lives and forgive all others and cease blaming others or depending on them. In accepting responsibility for the creating our reality we are also realizing that our inner self is the only real teacher we can follow. We can read books and listen to others and learn from them, but in the end, we can only follow our own inner guidance.
Another basic step is the choice to be truthful to ourselves and others in all cases.
An equally important step is the decision to love everyone including ourselves without conditions. I am not saying we are able to do so until we are enlightened, but that have at least decided that we want to be able to do so and try to when we remember this decision.
Everyone seeks happiness. What do they need to know in order to find happiness?
Happiness in an inner state which actually has little to do with what we have or what is happening in our lives. Happiness is having what we believe we need in order to be happy. Depending on our childhood programming and character which we bring with us into this life, we believe we must have some specific persons, objects comforts or situations Each believes he needs something different to be happy.
There are thus two solutions for happiness. One is to need less and thus to be able to be happy in a greater variety of situations. The more attachments and prerequisites we have in order to be happy, the less likely we will be; as will can seldom control the people and events in our world so that they are exactly as we need them to be.
The second solution is to learn how to more effectively manifest or create the reality we desire in order to be happy. There are methods that enable us to do so.
Happiness is difficult as long as we are controlled by fears and attachments. In Armoniki Zoi we learn both, how to be happy without an how to create what we need. They are both necessary in life. Our self-knowledge seminar is a very good solution for that.
Is it possible for an Atheist to be spiritual?
Yes, it is possible. We need to distinguish between spirituality and religion. Spirituality has to do with inner states and behavior, not with dogma or beliefs – especially programmed or unexamined beliefs. Persons can behave with respect, love, kindness and equality even without believing in God. On the other hand, a belief in a divine being, if correctly understood and freed from social misconception, can help us to be spiritual beings. In some case, when wrongly perceived and used as a vehicle for promoting a spiritual ego, it can be an obstacle.
I wonder, however, if in fact there are any real atheists or whether those who declare so are simply reacting towards an old outdated perception of God as a austere being separate from ourselves who rejects, gets angry and punishes those who do not obey him, and likes to make people suffer for incomprehensible reasons.
For me God is not a separate individual being but a divine omnipresent conscious present in and around all beings. God is not a form. The divine is simultaneous formless and yet all forms are expressions of it. We are all equally expressions of that one divine consciousness. We are the divine itself in a process of rediscovering our divinity and expressing it here on the physical realm.
What is your opinion concerning the much talked about 2012?
This a special time which offers us increased energy and opportunities for growth and freedom from fear and external attachments. It is a time in which the changing magnetic field of the earth is bringing up our collective subconscious and allowing us to see ourselves more clearly and make decisions about what we really believe and what we really want. It is an opportunity to reevaluate our value systems as to what is truly important; security or growth, money or meaning, people or things, taking or giving, loving or protecting our ego from it fears, caring for a few or caring for many. We have collectively chosen during this time to create an opportunity to manifest our true selves and our true purpose.
We have, however, free will and we can use these wonderful opportunities for growth and evolution or we have the freedom to react negatively with fear, resentment, selfishness, anger and hate.
You are the founder of the spiritual center Armoniki Zoi in Athens, Greece. What can people find there?
This the subject for many pages of explanation. I would suggest that the reader visit our web site where he or she can view, listen and download for free hundreds of articles, ebooks, lectures and relaxation techniques. We deal with all aspects of human harmony from healthy eating, physical exercises, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, inner exercises and visualization, energy psychology, EFT, TAT, BSFF, Sedona method, Ho’oponopono, manifesting goals and improving communication and relationships as well as psychological and philosophical teachings to prayer, meditation and the transcendence of the ego.
We have centers in Halandri, Failro, Markopoulo (our retreat center, where people can come a stay), Thessaloniki, Patra, Xios, Volos, Xania, Lemmesol and Nikosia.
Better to check out our site at http://www.armonikizoi.com/
In Athens today which is beaten by this economic crisis, how easy is it for people to come to your center Armoniki Zoi?
If you mean from the economic point of view, there is no problem. For the last 36 years we have survived with a system which we call the Suggested Optional Offering, which means that person is free to offer what he or she can or not. Money has never been a prerequisite for following our classes. We suggest and hope (so that we can continue our work that people will act responsibly and loving donate the amount we suggest. But those who cannot are free to come and enjoy the same service and benefits. Also none of us get paid for our work. Not I, nor the teachers or group facilitators. Our center is based on selfless service.
If you mean that it is difficult for people to come because they are lost in their emotions and fears, this might affect those who are unfamiliar with what we do, as they might not have their minds open to something new. Those, however, who know us or discover us through friends or over the Internet or the 30 books which are in the book stores, come seeking peace of mind in an alternative perception of what is happening and how they can deal with it.
What is your opinion about the concept of reincarnation?
I believe that the concept of reincarnation (Μετενσάρκωση) is not necessary for one to live a happy or spiritual life or be a good person. It does, however, explain many phenomena which are difficult to understand otherwise. Without this concept we cannot explain why unpleasant events happen to some and pleasant to others. We do not see the cause of those events in their actions in this present life. With this concept we can explain why some people fear situations they have never been in, or why some siblings (or even identical twins) with basically same DNA and childhood environment develop different characters. It can explain childhood genius in music, math, science and languages. It can explain why we have inherent positive and negative feeling towards persons we have just met.
Most of all, it allows us to believe that we live in a just world, where what is happening to us or others might have some cause in our own past choices and actions and not some chance event or dictated by a whimsical or incomprehensible God. That, however, does not mean that we do not need to correct and heal what is happening and create a better life for ourselves, our families and others. It simply means that we are not the victims of people and forces outside ourselves.
One of the main causes of the events and experiences in our lives is our past actions, words, beliefs and choices and many of them might be in a past life. Other factors that create our reality are our soul choices and the law of reflection or attraction which brings to us a reality which is a projection to our conscious and subconscious beliefs and emotions.
From another point of view, as spirits we do not exist in time and space and thus, us as spirits, we have no past or future lives; they are occurring simultaneously – perhaps in other dimensions or alternative worlds. But all of this is difficult to comprehend.
How easy is it for us to get free from our Karma?
It is important to understand that this law of cause and effect is accepted by all religions including Christianity. «As you sow, so shall you reap.» «You will be judged with severity with which you judge.» «Get up and walk, your sins are forgiven.»
Karma is a much misunderstood concept in today’s society. Many perceive this simple law of cause and affect as a form of punishment or that if we suffer enough, we will balance some accounts and we will not longer be burdened with some cosmic debt.
I do not perceive karma in this way. I see it only as an evolutionary mechanism where we have the opportunity to learn and evolve by experiencing how our actions affect the people around us by becoming the recipients of those same acts that we have done in the past. Thus, if my karma is to be in a relationship with a negative person, or have an illness or an economic difficulty, I gain nothing by suffering for a number of years. My suffering adds nothing to my evolution nor to humanity. The only reason I have that situation is to learn through it.
We need to learn two things in relationship to any karmic limitation. One is how to be happy with the situation as it is. The second is to how to change and improve it. Suffering solves nothing. Learning does. Thus each karmic situation is a blessing from the universe, (not a punishment) and an opportunity to discover our true divine nature. We, of course, have free will and can chose to remain in fear, resentment, hurt, guilt, anger and hate.
Jesus Christ has given us the Mystery of Holy Communion in which through confession, repentance and Holy Communion, theoretically and theologically our «sins» (mistakes, karma) is absolved and do not exist and thus their effect on our lives cease to be active. This is actually the dissolution of karma, not because, as you say, we have escaped (ξεφύγουμε) from it but because through self observation, confession, and a desire to become pure and one again with the Divine, we have rendered this karma as unnecessary any more. We have used the karmic situation to learn the lesson for which is was created.
On a higher level still, as spirits we are one with the divine and beyond of time and space and have no karma. We experience karma only as long as we are identified with the body and mind. In reality our true eternal nature is perfectly divine and one with God.
I explain much about this and the previous question in detail in my books:
THE MYSTICAL CIRCLE OF LIFE.
THE ROLES WE PLAY AS SOULS IN EVOLUTION
OUR IMPERSONAL LIFE
In one of your books, you say that love is the solution for all problems. How easy is it for us to love others when there is a «hell» around us? When people are dying of hunger and there is so much injustice and pain?
I agree that this is not easy. But this is our goal and purpose. We need great faith in basic spiritual truths in order to choose love. This the subject of my book, «Love is the Choice» (Η Αγάπη είναι Επιλογή) We always have the choice of loving. All we need to do is to feel safe enough and perceive the divine in ourselves, others and the events and situations in our lives.
When we realize that others are all divine spiritual beings who we have attracted through karma, soul choices and our beliefs and emotions to play the specific roles that they play, we will be able to forgive them for those roles and use those situations to learn and choose love.
When we understand that we and no one else are the sole creators of our reality and that no one can do anything to us that we ourselves have not created through our past and present beliefs, emotions, words, behaviors, actions, and choices, we will forgive and love them.
When we realize that our self-worth, security, freedom and happiness are within us and that we do not need to protect them from anyone, we will be able to love. The opposite of love is fear. When we have no fear, we can love. When we need nothing, we will not fear; as Nikos Kazanzakis said, «I have no fear, I have no hope, I am free.» We can interpret hope here as an attachment to something specific happening.
The more attached or dependent I am, the more fearful and the less I am able to love.
It is possible to grow spiritually and love in all situations. It is important to realize that this is our challenge and destiny. Our true self already loves all of those who our minds have difficulty loving. Connecting to the choice for understanding, forgiveness and love is a connection with our true divine self. We are love. When we are not loving, we are lost in our fearful ego.
Do you believe that there is an unwritten law of justice in this world?
Yes I do. I believe that behind the phenomena of injustice that we see everywhere there is a hidden justice which has to do with our past actions, our present beliefs and emotions and also the lessons we have chosen to learn through these «injustices». I believe that the universe is an expression of a divine, loving and just consciousness and nothing unjust can happen.
There are unjust actions, meaning unethical actions which we perform out of fear anger, greed, jealousy etc. These actions are unjust, and create for us a karmic learning opportunity. But the recipients of those unjust actions are not victims, because nothing can happen to us that is not our own creation through karma, soul choices and the law of reflection or attraction.
What is the power of prayer?
The power of prayer is the ability of the mind to connect to the power of spirit. Through prayer we communicate with spiritual source within and around us. We learn to direct that spiritual energy through our faith that we deserve spiritual intervention so as to manifest changes in ourselves and the world around us.
The highest form of prayer is one of gratitude for all that we have and a surrendering to the divine asking only that whatever is not beneficial to the highest good for all be removed from us and that whatever is beneficial for all be added to us. We need not ask for material things. Christ’s promise is that if we live according to the will of God (ethically and according to our life purpose for which we have incarnated) all will be given to us as it is to the birds and flowers.
The ego is different from the soul. How can we determine if a need is coming from the ego or from us as souls?
This is the subject of one of my recent books, THE ROLE WE PLAY AS SOULS IN EVOLUTION. We do not have souls. We are souls who have temporary bodies and egos. Our ego needs are often different from and sometimes in conflict with our needs as souls. In general, our egos want to find external sources of self-worth, security, freedom, happiness and meaning. As souls we want to be free from every attachment to external forms, as they prevent us from experiencing our free spiritual nature.
On the other hand, we often need to satisfy an ego need in order to experientially become aware of the fact that our happiness does not lie in that external source. Thus we chase after and obtain a series of external sources of «happiness» until we realize that happiness, self-worth, security and meaning are within us and that we can cease this waste of time and energy.
However, it was not a waste of time and energy while we were engaged in this process, because it lead us to the realization that happiness is within.
The solution is to «upgrade» our attachments to preferences, so that we know what we want and seek to create it, without the illusion that our self-worth or security will be more because we have it or less if we do not. We learn to act without attachment to the result.
The serenity prayer helps here. «God give me the power to change what I can, the peace to accept what I cannot, and the wisdom to determine which is which.»
I would suggest that we all ask daily for guidance and then follow what we feel and also pay attention to the signs we get in our dreams, upon waking, in our communication with others or books that we read. When we ask for guidance, the universe responds. Then just do what feels right and then if we see that this is not creating happiness, learn from that and try something else.
Einstein has said, «It is crazy to do the same things and expect different results.» Thus if we are not finding happiness in the way we are approaching reality, then perhaps it is time for a change. Ask for guidance. We have some guided inner exercises for that in mp3 form on our site.
Mr. Najemy, have you ever come to Cyprus? Are you interested in coming to Cyprus for seminars?
Actually, I have been coming to Cyprus twice a year now for about 20 years. In the Spring I offer a seminar in Lemmesol and in the Autumn in Nicosia. This year I will be offering a seminar in Lemmesol on Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 4, 5 and 6th. One can find our details on our site.
I would like close with a few words for our readers about how to deal with these difficult times.
I would suggest first of all the books I mentioned above which have many practical, psychological and spiritual suggestions for this purpose.
We need faith in some basic concepts.
- Nothing will happen that is not an expression of love from the universe for our highest good – regardless as to whether our ego perceives it that way or not. This same truth must be applied to our loved ones for whom perhaps we fear.
- We and our loved ones have the inner physical, psychological and spiritual strength to deal with any possible situation and use it as a growth process. We have the ability to accept and be happy with any possible situation, but also the ability and power to change events and situations. There is no human experience that we cannot deal with.
- We and our loved ones are all immortal divine beings and we can never die or actually be in danger. What we call death is simply the soul leaving the temporary body. Thus we are never actually in danger.
- We can be happy with very little. Only our programmings create the illusion that we need much to be happy.
- We have unlimited creative energy and can resourcefully create the reality we desire.
- Love and unity are the greatest sources of security and happiness in our lives.
- We all deserve love and respect exactly as we are.
I would suggest the books for this subject on our site at http://www.armonikizoi.com/
I wish for you all to be well and happy.
Robert Elias Najemy