What do the three white stripes on his forehead mean?

I belong to Shaivism, the oldest group in Hinduism, and the three lines are sacred ashes. The first represents the ego.

Does everyone have one?

Yes, having no ego is impossible. The goal is to cultivate it positively, to be kind, generous, compassionate. The second line is karma: everything I think, everything I say, everything I do, has a consequence.

And the third?

The deception. We often forget who and what is important in our life, we get distracted, we deceive ourselves. And the point is the focus.

What did you learn in the monastery?

If you understand how your mind works, you can use it to live a fantastic life.

How does the mind work?

Imagine the mind as a vast space with different regions. One region is happiness, another is sadness, anger, sex, fear… There are many areas within the mind. And the mind does not move.

What jumps from one topic to another?

Imagine consciousness as a ball of light that moves and illuminates different areas of the mind. When it illuminates an area I am aware of it. The goal is not to control the mind, but to control where consciousness goes within the mind.

Can we choose?

If someone tells me: “Your clothes are ugly,” I can choose to let my consciousness go to the zone of anger or to the zone of gratitude and joy and decide to go buy new clothes.

How can I control consciousness?

Developing two qualities: concentration and willpower, which is a mental muscle. When the ball of light goes to a place I don’t want it to, I use willpower to bring it to the place in the mind where I want it to be.

But the circumstances, the shocks…

I can be in the room of happiness and someone is taking me to the zone of unhappiness. And I, with willpower and concentration, can stay in the zone of happiness. And I would like to add something about ADHD.

Did you suffer from it as a child?

I had a hard time concentrating. Adults told me “concentrate,” but no one taught me how to do it. In the monastery my teacher taught me and the dispersion ended.

Does it teach me to concentrate?

I’m talking to Ima, the ball goes somewhere else and I make her come back. And I practice over and over again. Remember: the mind does not move, it is consciousness that moves through the mind.

This concept is key.

Yes. I suggest finding things that I call “non-negotiables and recurring.” What is non-negotiable for me? I talk to my wife every day, and every time we talk I keep my ball of light on her. If she leaves, I make her come back.

A good practice.

People are very easily distracted, and by dint of being distracted they become masters of distraction.

Practice and practice concentration?

Every day we spend time with the people we love. If I am with my daughter, but I can’t concentrate, how can I experience my daughter? Listen to what she is telling me or what she is not telling me?

That is important.

We must learn to concentrate to have richer experiences and be happier.

Happy to concentrate?

Could you, Ima, name me a person who you love very much in your life?

Yes, my daughter.

You go out to eat with her; If you are focused, if you give your full attention, you will feel joy, fulfillment, and you will make your daughter happy.

No matter how hard they concentrate, many people are dissatisfied with their jobs.

You should spend time with yourself, five minutes a day reflecting and asking yourself questions: what do I want? What and who makes me happy? However, we allow the environment to tell us what we have to do: meditate, do yoga… People are unhappy because they don’t know what they want in life.

Sometimes we don’t have answers.

Then you need help, someone to ask you the right questions. The educational system does not prioritize this aspect. Our children grow up without understanding what they want in life. We tell them “go out and explore the world.” It’s the worst advice.


Consuming information without drawing conclusions is pure nonsense. Concentration helps you see who and what is important and focus on it. The consequence is realization.

What else?

When you start something and finish it, you develop willpower. We can practice it in a simple way. If you drink coffee, wash the cup and put it away, finish what you started. The answer lies in the simple things in life. Train there.