“To expand and grow yourself, you have to reach the edge of yourself”
Ben Saxon, a man with a double life. Depending on when you catch him, you can either see the white-collar finance worker, or the free-spirited Yogi with a deep passion for spiritualism, Shamans and Pagans. It is no secret that the latter is Ben’s true, authentic self. After working in finance full-time for a number of years, he realised that a life devoid teaching, helping and healing didn’t interest him at all. So he splits his time between the western pursuit of money, and the eastern pursuit of enlightenment.
Ben is a relative new-comer to the Therapy Life Centre, but don’t be fooled. His four months at the Centre pails in comparison to his 10 years of teaching Yoga. Specifically, his own unique brand of Yoga, Total Yoga. Total Yoga draws from three distinct areas; Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Zen Mindfulness. The three combine to provide a therapeutic, meditative experience which targets the body, the breath and the mind. Ben believes that these exercises can create a heightened state of awareness, releasing ‘feel good’ hormones whilst simultaneously alleviating physical stress.
Ben’s story starts 15 years ago, while studying for a degree in Philosophy, he came across Hatha Yoga at a local gym. Initially unaware of the effects Yoga was having on his mood, this discovery led him on a journey, a journey which culminated with the introduction of Chocolate Gong to his spiritual repertoire. His pursuit of enlightenment has led him to India and South America, and he has been able to incorporate cultural and spiritual elements of these societies into his work.
Chocolate Gong is a modern interpretation of an ancient method of meditation. The gong has been used in spiritual ceremony as far back as the Bronze age. The cosmic sound which the gong creates draws the mind away from the folly of modern life and removes one from their day-to-day thoughts. This is combined with the chocolate aspect, high-quality raw chocolate is used, which contains no dairy, making it accessible to anyone. The use of chocolate in a ceremonial capacity is a tradition amongst South American shamans. Chocolate gong was conceived five years ago, when Ben purchased his first gong as an engagement present.
Despite his travels to India and South America, his ponderings of human nature whilst studying Philosophy, perhaps the biggest change in Ben’s life came five years ago, with the birth of his son. He explains that the birth of his son made him realise the importance of the example he sets, how his son is almost a mirror reflecting his actions back onto him. Ben recalls a particular story when he used the example of the Wright brothers to teach his son patience and hard-work when attempting to fly a paper aeroplane. The recent birth of his daughter is sure to be a whole new lesson for him.
You’d think that with his 9-to-5 work, his spiritual efforts and his young family that ben would have enough on his plate, but his appetite exceeds expectations, as he is working on a book too. The book has been a slow-burning project since his first day of work in London. The project is titled ‘The Buddha and the Wolf’, a modern re-telling of an ancient Zen parable. The title is inspired by two symbolic mascots on his desk; a Buddha and a Wolf. In many ways, these two differing symbols provide an understandable insight into the nature of Yin and Yang. The Buddha represents patience, calm, enlightenment, while the Wolf represents the volatility within us. Perhaps the two represent the east and the west, or quite simply man and beast.
When he’s not teaching enlightenment, crunching numbers or modernising ancient Zen literature, Ben exhibits mindfulness and inner control in his daily life. The first thing he does in the morning is empty the dishwasher, a seemingly mundane household chore, this is a precise act of mindfulness. Ben is also a passionate learner, stating that he is not a ‘finished product’. His daily consumption of web content includes motivational material on YouTube.
All of these things drive Ben forward in all of his pursuits, whether that be professional, personal or spiritual.