By Patricia Danflous
You have the power to jumpstart the energy transition. No scientific innovation or financial investment in solar or wind power required. The energy is in you. Your fuel-breathing and meditating.
“This energy that keeps us alive and vibrant–what the ancient traditions call ‘life energy,’ or vital force – is a fundamental force that we can all easily tap into. It’s a simple equation: the more energy you have, the more alive you are. Energy is life, and life is energy! The more energy you have, the more positive and expansive your state of mind is and the more you thrive,” said internationally recognized self-awareness coach, motivational speaker and author Rajshree Patel in her recent work, The Power of Vital Force: Fuel Your Energy, Purpose and Performance with Ancient Secrets of Breath and Meditation.
The Uganda native who was raised in rural Indica and New York City is also a former U.S. Attorney prosecutor.
It may have been fate, karma or just coincidence that an encounter with spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a much earlier life-questioning moment in a coroner’s office, and signing up for a Happiness Program with the Art of Living Foundation sparked a life-altering decision. Thirty-five years ago, she transitioned from criminal lawyer to self-awareness guide, helping a diverse global audience discover energy with less stress and increased professional and personal resilience.
“I went from criminal law to universal laws and principles,” she laughed. “This was not something that I was looking for, but once I found it I realized ‘wow, ‘ there’s another way to live. There’s a way to survive from the inside out. It had never occurred to me. Because like many people, we measure our sense of life and our sense of success with what goes on outside and we don’t stop to look to see, am I happy? Am I healthy? And I don’t mean healthy just physically, but healthy emotionally, mentally, spiritually, just as a human being.”
“With the Happiness Program, I discovered that if I look inward-if I move and make choices from the inside out-I succeed internally, meaning I have health with a smile on my face,” she explained. “I have well-being internally and I create success externally.”
For Patel, the challenge of a professional change became less about career and more about living a dynamic, purposeful life.
“One of the things that makes us unhappy and disconnected as we question the purpose of our life is the way we tend to compartmentalize,” she explained. “We break life down into: that’s my outer world, that’s my personal life, that’s my professional life, that’s my family, that’s not my family, this is what I like, I don’t like this. We compartmentalize our life into pieces. The more we divide our life, the more unhappy, unfulfilled, less successful we are. What I discovered is, the more I integrate the pieces of my life the more joyful I am.”
“That doesn’t mean I don’t have ups and downs,” she emphasized. “But the more integrated, the more whole we are with our life, the more resilience and strength and courage we have to go through the challenges of life.”
How do you integrate the pieces of your world? It’s not something you learn in kindergarten. In her book, speaking engagements and coaching, Patel details methods for rebooting, recharging and living with energetic harmony. Her varied breathing techniques such as power breathing or active acceptance breathing along with evening breath and morning breath cycles provide a foundation for strengthening your vital forces.
“I have a Sit Down Practice, meaning I sit for meditation every morning and evening,” she said. “I treat it as mental hygiene, even if it’s for 10 minutes. We brush our teeth twice a day. We bathe at least once a day and we groom our hair and put on fresh clothes and wash our face and so on at least once a day. So from that perspective, mental hygiene is an absolute requirement just like cleaning our teeth and bathing. We have this idea meditation means sitting down with eyes closed. That’s one thing, but there are other techniques, like breathing, that help us to be calm and relaxed while we’re in an activity. While we’re at our busiest moment, there is a way to find the stillness within you so that your actions and activities are not frantic, but calm and create greater results.”
Patel emphasizes that a focus on meditation, breathing, self-awareness and healthier living will not deliver an overnight change, but rather gradual differences noticed over time.
“You don’t have to move from 0 to 100. If you move 5%, 10% in your life from where you are, you change the game. I think the first thing I noticed was efficiency,” she said, noting that she did not leave her law practice one day and become coach the next. “My effectiveness shot through the roof. What was taking me four hours to do, I could accomplish in an hour. That made me think, ‘Oh my God, I’m buying time for myself.’ That translated into more presence to what was happening in the moment.”
Patel also learned how to drastically dial down the unnecessary chatter in her mind so that she was present to whoever and whatever was in front of her. “That sense of presence led me to realize that to the degree we are present is the degree that we’re joyful, happy, connected and fulfilled. The quality of being happy and kind and compassionate showed up in my life and reinforced my resilience to keep walking the path.”
If you read Patel’s work or accept her 10-day challenge your chances for finding joy are high. “Joy is contagious,” she stated. ”When you’re happy, when you’re positive, people want to be around you. You want them to feel up level, so it becomes a win-win situation. They get happier. They get inspired. With concrete tools and techniques the people I work with begin to look at life differently in a more optimistic up level to life.”
Continuing to expand her vital force, Patel is currently exploring the intuitiveness that has guided her success. “Intuition is moving out of what is known and creating new pathways to reach new results,” she said. “It’s operating from that place of unknown, which is so vast, and it can lead to so many more new opportunities inside creativity, innovation. Actually, it is what we need more and more of. The more uncertain the time, as we experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic, the more you must operate from the unknown and be at ease and comfortable with that. Leaders are not taught to be insightful, intuitive, innovative and creative. The only way to learn is to let go of what you know and what you understand and leap into what is unknown.”
“This was not something that I was looking for, but once I found it I realized ‘wow, ‘there’s another way to live.”
Rajshree Patel has guided government leaders, families, Oscar-winning filmmakers, Fortune 500 executives, and individuals from all walks of life. She has given talks and led programs at organizations including Amazon, Facebook, Mircrosoft, NBC Universal, IBM, Linkedin, Gap, EMC, The World Bank, Shell Oil, Morgan Stanley, Harvard University, IIT, the United Nations, UNESCO, and more. Learn more about Patel and Vital Force at www.rajshreepatrel.com, and find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.