Namasté reader since 2008
When you meet Peter Platel, the first thing you’re likely to notice is his authentic kindness and a sense of peace and joy that comes across in his eyes, his smile, and his words. In his calming presence, it’s hard to imagine him as he describes himself only two years ago – as a deeply unhappy, driven man who was quick to blame others and felt like the victim of events beyond his control. When Peter recently spent a week at the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health program, Namasté had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him about how he has changed his life and the tools that have helped him along the way.
How long have you been a Namasté reader and what led you to subscribe? I found out about Namasté and began subscribing in June 2008, after attending the Seduction of Spirit retreat in Dublin. It was such a transformative, impressive program that changed the way I look at things. I feel like my vision has expanded, that things are very clear now, and that I see more. I’m very much more in the present moment now. Just a few minutes ago I saw some hummingbirds, which we don’t have in Belgium, and I was struck with their beauty, their perfection . . . I was really there and present, just seeing the birds. I had no thought of anywhere else I needed to go, or anything else I needed to do. My mind was at peace.
What kind of practical, real-world guidance does Namasté give to you? Namasté brings me a connection to the Chopra Center when I’m off living my life in Belgium. When the newsletter arrives, I think, Oh, my friends at the Chopra Center are thinking about me, and I feel connected. It also helps me stay focused on my meditation and yoga practices. If I’m getting too busy and rushing around, reading Namasté is a reminder to reconnect and stay with the practices that are giving me such a sense of joy and peace.
What was going on in your life that led you to enroll in a Chopra Center experience? Up until two years ago, I was a very aggressive, driven, agitated person . . . truly a super Pitta type, and out of balance in every way. I came to the Chopra Center through an interesting series of coincidences . . . or synchrodestiny! It started when I was attending an Anthony Robbins event in Australia. He teaches fantastic motivational and growth tools, though his workshops stop where spirituality begins. But at the end of the first day of this event, he led our group – all 4,000 of us – in some kind of chakra tuning exercise. I freaked out and literally ran out of the room. I was thinking to myself, My worst fears were right . . . this is some kind of crazy religious cult. I just wanted to get away.
One of the event facilitators saw how upset I was and talked to me, making me feel comfortable enough to return for day two. Also, in my more logical brain, I was curious about my own reaction to the chakra tuning. I wondered why I reacted so strongly to such a simple thing . . . after all, we had really just chanted a few sounds and looked at a diagram of colored circles showing where the chakras are located in the body.
Anyway, Anthony mentioned that he had learned the tuning exercise from Deepak Chopra, and I became intrigued. When I got home, I realized that I had two books by Deepak on my shelf that I’d read and really loved – The Way of the Wizard and The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire. Not only had I read the books, but I’d actually bought copies to give to friends.
Now that Deepak had “intersected” my life in these ways, I was curious to explore and read more. I went online and found out that in just six weeks, he would be in Dublin with the Chopra Center to lead the Seduction of Spirit meditation retreat.
As it “happened” I was going to have back surgery and was not going to be working for a while. I thought, what better way to recuperate than to go learn how to meditate? So I went to the event and ended up totally loving it and wanting to learn and experience more. My next step was attending the Healing the Heart workshop in Vancouver, and then I went to the SynchroDestiny self-empowerment workshop. SynchroDestiny really expanded my understanding of how spirituality, the world, and all the activities of daily life are all interconnected . . . and how we are always co-creating with the universe. SynchroDestiny opened up so many new possibilities for me.
How have you transformed? In so many ways! Two years, I was afraid to look at myself. Actually, I had no clue that I needed to. So much was going wrong in my life and I was blaming others. I was also asking myself the wrong questions. In my relationships, jobs, and all parts of my life, I always asked myself, What am I getting out of this? Now my questions are completely different. I want to know how I can help, what I can bring to a situation to create the best outcome for all concerned.
Living this way has changed everything for me and has brought me some incredible gifts. For example, it led me to Nepal as part of a project working with HIV-positive men. I went through an organization called Blue Diamond, and the idea was to teach the men some practical skills of doing hair and makeup, so that they’d have a way to support themselves. Over the course of the several days workshop, I felt so grateful, humble, small, impressed, and overwhelmed with emotion. The men were talking about their lives, what they’d gone through, and I found myself so inspired by their courage.
What’s the favorite thing you have experienced at the Chopra Center? Everything! If tomorrow I got the chance to move in, I would do it immediately. There’s such a peaceful, wonderful atmosphere here. I love the teachers, the daily yoga and meditations, the classes, and the friends I’ve made. And the weather! Here it is wintertime and we’re sitting outside in warm sunshine, surrounded by flowers and fountains. It’s a special place in every way.
How would you describe your life at this point? Joyful and filled with possibilities! I’ve become certified as a Primordial Sound Meditation instructor, and I plan to become a Vedic master as soon as possible – that’s the Pitta in me! I’m already registered for the teacher training in Perfect Health and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. My dream is to bring these teachings into what I offer at my hair salons. With everything that's happening in the world right now and so many people feeling stressed, I think the time has come to create a beacon of rest and relaxation.
I want to combine salon services, yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda in a personal mix. I think it is a great opportunity to bring together everything I've learned and offer a place to take good care of people on the inside and the outside . . . helping them find inner and outer transformation. I am finding that there is a lot of interest in my idea, as more and more people want to de-stress and feel better on every level. It’s very exciting!
Let us know how Namasté has changed your life – email Namasté editor, Kyla Stinnett, here.
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