Why would someone become a Wall St banker? Is it because of the fast-paced, high-stakes environment? The exciting challenges? The glamorous, high-rolling lifestyle attached to it? Those all seem like pretty common reasons.
Why did Mario, a long-time member of Higher Self Yoga, become a banker?
“Lack of anything better,” Mario admitted.
For Mario, a profession in banking came by accident. He planned to move to California to study art and photography, but a stop in New York derailed those plans when he got a lucrative job in banking. A short trip turned into a new profession.
“I got stuck in New York,” said Mario. “I had no idea what I wanted to do.”
It’s a story so many of us are familiar with: we find a job because there doesn’t seem to be anything better, and we stay at the job because we know we can do it. Mario stayed with banking, putting in the hours and feeling stagnant. And – while he did enjoy his time outside of work, spending time with his friends, listening to jazz, hiking on weekends, and doing a little bit of photography – he felt like he was wasting his time. Work got progressively more and more boring. Over time, that boredom only became more and more intense.
That is when he met a friend – a friend he could talk with about life and philosophy and things bigger than themselves. This friend would introduce him to Nanette V. Hucknall – who, in turn, introduced him to meditation and to Higher Self Yoga, a new spiritual approach Nanette had founded and begun to share with others
Soon, Mario was committing himself to a meditation practice. He would meditate on his lunch breaks, finding a quiet place in a nearby church to sit and be one with himself. He would meditate in the evening, when he was too tired to be preoccupied with thoughts.
In a world filled with tedium and stagnancy, Mario found something that exhilarated him.
“I was excited from the beginning,” said Mario. “I was discovering things about myself that I didn’t know. I was discovering my outlook on life. It was very stimulating.”
Tapping into his Higher Self allowed him to figure out what he truly wanted out of life. Through that connection, Mario was able to realize his calling in the world of science. It would mean completely changing paths in life, but Mario knew it was what he most wanted and needed to do.
Such a changing of paths did not come without its obstacles. Mario’s parents were more conservative and did not approve of his decision to leave banking and return to school. And – while Mario’s friends were positive about his decision – they were not as emotionally invested in his endeavors.
Furthermore, Mario did not have a background in science, making the return to school an added challenge. However, knowing at a core level that this was what he was meant to do helped motivate him through the new hurdles.
“Science was all new to me,” he said. “But it was absolutely the right thing for me to do. It was exciting regardless of the difficulty.”
Mario’s story of eventually leaving the world of Wall St and entering the science field is well known at Higher Self Yoga. He credits his meditation practice and his friendship with Nanette for helping him during this time of transition, as he went from banking with absolutely no science background to a man who would get a BA in Biology and eventually get his doctorate in Immunology and Virology.
“Nanette really helped me at that time,” he said. “She was supportive and understanding, and it helped that we talked the same language.”
Now Mario is a researcher in the field and also an Executive Director of HSY, and finds wonderful overlaps between the world of meditating and the world of research.
“Research is like meditation. You are finding out new things. You are in the process of discovering the unknown,” he said, and “that is very exciting and rewarding”. “Through meditation, you can access that ancient knowledge. The inspiration to meditate is that – that you can access knowledge that already exists and get creative ideas that are synchronistic with that area of knowledge.”
Mario still keeps a meditation practice, starting first with taking a moment to tune into his Highest Self in the morning, consciously reminding himself to listen to his heart center.
Mario is also currently writing a book on meditation for men. He knows that men might have a harder time giving meditation a try, for fear that it might not look masculine enough.
“I think a lot of men find it difficult to consider themselves spiritual and take on meditation because there’s a fear of being embarrassed, being looked down upon,” said Mario. “They don’t want to be rejected by their family or friends. It is certainly not seen as something masculine like football or hunting.”
But Mario is committed to his own meditation practice, as well as helping other men find theirs. Mario believes that Higher Self Yoga was exactly what he needed to find his way.
“The difference with Higher Self Yoga is that it’s an internal guide,” said Mario. “If you tell people what to do and what’s good for them, they’ll reject the idea and usually do the opposite. This was more of a path to self-discovery – and guidance towards the point where you and you alone discover what is best for you.”
By: Abby Rosmarin