Hubert and I attended the same business school. At the time, we did not know each other very well. We had friends in common so I knew he had chosen an original path 1 year (or so) after graduation… I was impressed and admiring because I thought that it was quite a courageous step he had made. An illustration of Authentic Life Design, which particularly makes me come alive.
Hubert, who are you?
My name is Hubert, I’m a French, I am 28. I studied at EM Lyon, a French Business school. Then I worked in Sales for one year, before resigning to go and live in Plum Village, a Buddhist community in the South of France.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the path that led you to be a permanent resident at Plum Village?
During my studies at EM Lyon Business School, I realized that I was looking for something deeper than business. I felt that I was not made to work in business during my whole life. It seemed to be too classic for me. And a little bit boring too, to be honest.
I felt that I was not ready to work hard everyday for something that would not even make me and the people around me truly happy. I knew that spirituality could be a good way out, but I had not found a spiritual practice in which I had enough trust to devote my whole time to.
I was looking for something really fun, I did not want serious and boring approaches. So for several years I tried different spiritual traditions – during and after my studies.
I found what I was looking for on September,14th 2012 – around one year after I finished EM Lyon.
That day, I attended a conference by the Venerable spiritual Master Thich Nhat Hanh who founded Plum Village Community. I was deeply moved by the simplicity and the depth of the practice of mindfulness that he taught.
After this conference, I continued to work in Sales for one year. I practiced mindfulness during my spare time, until I realized that I wanted to devote my whole time to it. I decided to go to live to Plum Village.
What was most difficult in this choice ?
The most difficult thing for me was to be so much misunderstood and criticized by the people around me, my friends and my family.
I think that our society does not really believe in the depth and the necessity of spirituality, especially when it’s a new spirituality like Buddhism.
Most people do not want to question themselves and the way they live. They just do what their parents do, or what the society tells them to do, even if it doesn’t make them really happy, because they are afraid to do something else.
So if you dare to say that there is something wrong in the way our society functions, and if you dare to do something else, people will criticize you because they also feel criticized if you point out what nobody wants to see.
It’s so much easier to let oneself being driven by habits rather than having the courage to question one’s way of living.
What were the resources that helped you to be faithful to transforming your dream into reality ?
It may be strange after what I just said, but it’s also my friends and my family.
At first, when I decided to go to Plum Village, my relationship with them was really complicated. But after a few months, they began to realize that what I was doing made me happy and helped me to transform myself.
So they slowly began to change their mind and support me.
Most of them now ask me a lot of questions about meditation, some of them even came at Plum Village for a few days or a retreat and really enjoyed their stay.
Yet, after two years in Plum Village, I think that many of them still do not really understand what I’m doing here. It’s too different from their way of living. But I’m patient, it will come ! 😉
At Plum Village we talk a lot about being in the present moment : could you tell is what it means concretely in your life ? How does it help you ?
Most of time, we think that happiness in the present moment is not possible, because we think that something is missing.
So we consume a lot (food, TV, internet, sex, etc.) to compensate the feeling of vacuum within us, and we build and imagine varied and complex projects for the future.
It has become a habit, something we do without even thinking about it anymore.
But I think that it doesn’t really help us to be truly happy, it’s only a kind of superficial happiness.
Sometimes, to much consumption makes things even worse, and our body and mind become sick.
With mindfulness, we do things a little bit differently, because we learn to enjoy the simple things that we already have, we do not try anymore to always look for something else. We learn for example to enjoy the presence of our family and friends ; the nature ; animals ; our body ; simple activities we do everyday like sport, cooking, having a shower etc.
And as we remain focused, we always discover new things that nourish us. There is so much to learn from a very simple life.
Is there an easy way to be more mindful in our busy lives ? What could we do ?
To me, the answer is very clear. It’s to share your life with people who also live mindfully, because it makes this art of living much easier and enjoyable.
If you live with people who always think about the past or the future, it will influence you and it will be more difficult for you to be mindful.
But if you live with people who know how to live simply and happily in the present moment, then it will be really easy and joyful 🙂
Click here if you want to know more about Plum Village !