According to the World Health Organization, almost 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and these numbers are growing steadily by the year. With our mental health slowly declining, the need for spiritual coaches and mentors has never been greater. I'm saying this because it's never been more evident that no matter how good someone's external factors are (wealth, possessions, friendships), if there is trauma stored in their subconscious, they are unable to find peace. These days we are not living freely in truth. Instead we hunt to compensate by doing anything to escape our thoughts, leading to all types of addictions from overworking to compulsive buying and eventually leading to physical ailments. It seems pretty clear that if we don't heal our mental wounds then every single aspect of our lives will suffer.
We spoke more about this topic with Kamel Jaber. Kamel has been studying spiritual and healing traditions around the world for 10 years on a quest to discover what makes us live well. An accomplished CEO in finance, a meditation teacher, mentor and speaker, Kamel’s goal is to help others be who they deeply know they are supposed to be; to move beyond the limitations of the mind and step into their power as the master of their destiny.
Here, Kamel explains in more depth about the power of subconscious reprogramming and how he works with a combination of techniques to help his clients uncover their truest potentials. He also shares some ancient wisdom along with some modern tools that can help us all elevate our consciousness and transform our own life experiences.
Can you tell us a little about your background and life experiences that led you to where you are today?
I was born in London, and then spent the first few years of my life in Beirut, Lebanon, until the war there got so bad that my family decided to move to London permanently. Those early disturbances set the foundation for some of the unwinding work I would have to do later on in life.
I went to great schools, and got good grades. I never felt like I fitted in though – so many of us were second and even third culture kids. I was of Lebanese origin going to English schools, yet with my strong British accent and upbringing I was different to people in Lebanon too. But my school was massively diverse, and full of people from all over the world, so I had great exposure to different religious beliefs and cultures. That served my curious nature well.
I spent my 20s working the grind for investment banks in London and New York. I’d always been interested in finance, and this experience was an amazing education in itself. I left that to become a real estate developer and managed projects in London, Europe and the Middle-East, which were all very successful.
Then in early 2012, I was approached to head up a portfolio of manufacturing and real estate investments in Iraq. The deal was for me to build it all from the ground up and manage a large team. It sounded exciting, different, and had the potential for a huge pay out, so I went for it. I’m still involved in that business today, and it (as well as Iraq) has been my greatest spiritual teacher.
I was not a “spiritual” person before this. I was a straight-up finance guy who spent his spare time on a European social circuit of parties, interspersed with various adventures.
However, it's often said that suffering is the gateway to spiritual awakening. And in the space of two years, I had to deal with an ISIS invasion into Iraq and threats to our physical safety as well as the business I was responsible for. We were also being blackmailed by corrupt officials at the time, and with extreme poverty around us whilst trying to keep employees on board we were hemorrhaging money. In addition to all that I had a very challenging romantic relationship and had to watch family and a close friend battle with severe illness.
It was a lot to deal with at once, and it broke me. That’s when I started to question everything - what I was doing with my life, all the choices I had made. I wanted to know if there was a God and I wondered what the point of life was and why we are all here.
I started to see a subconscious healer that a friend recommended, because I needed help with stress and depression. I experimented with psychedelics and plant medicines, thinking they would be the magic pill that would solve everything. They made things harder on one hand, as all my early childhood trauma came to the surface. On the positive side, they gave me a felt sense of energy and a mystical life force that moves through us.
I spent all my spare time taking different healing courses such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and sound therapy, and learning from different spiritual teachers around the world. From Brazil and Peru, to India and Nepal, I wanted to understand life. I learned about Kabbalah, Sikhism, Sufism, Gnostic Christianity. Then Yoga and Tantric philosophy. Finally Buddhism.
I was doing all of this for myself, it was my way of making sense. But eventually, seeing the big difference in my way of being, people started asking me to teach. It's been ten years since that whole journey started, and now here I am.
Explain your system of coaching - what exactly do you do?
The greatest gift I got through my journey was a deep, powerful connection to myself and to spiritual guidance. I gained a feeling of empowerment to live my truth in complete authenticity, despite what societal conditioning would otherwise dictate is “normal” for a man from my cultural and social background.
This is what I now share with others. Generally, it’s a three-pronged approach that involves spiritual practice and meditation instruction, to begin to cultivate that inner relationship; subconscious work to begin to clear up the stickiest thought patterns or energy that hold us back as we become more aware of them; and guidance on actions to be taken to support the more empowered vision one has for life.
It depends on the person and their needs. Some need more help dealing with anxiety, so we have more work to start with on calming the nervous system. Others are more interested in learning about philosophy. Some people just need someone to talk to on an ongoing basis, someone to listen to them without judgment and to cheer them on.
I have a great network around the world. I’ve become like a global encyclopedia so I have a lot of resources I can share with people about paths to take and places to visit.
I do a few 1:1 sessions a week, and I’m starting to get back into group work and programs.
I love taking groups of people to unique places around the world for deeper immersions into it all, and I am starting a community platform called zenish precisely for that. I still run an investment business, so I often mentor people for their businesses and finances too.
The intersection between spirituality, business and creativity fascinates me – I’ll be doing more teaching about finance as we go into this coming economic cycle. I think it's criminal that so few people are given an education in the public system about something that is so essential. It should be universal, rather than reserved for those at the top of the pyramid.
How does this differ from other spiritual coaches out there?
I don’t know a lot about what other teachers are doing. I do think I have a unique background in terms of my work and the breadth of my knowledge across the globe.
Why is spirituality so important for us all?
This is a crucial question. My personal view is that one of the key reasons behind the current anxiety and depression epidemic in the West is the disconnection from nature and spirituality/religion that’s happened over the past few decades. I believe that spirituality and nature are intrinsically linked.
We used to go to church/synagogue/mosque/temple once a week. There was the backbone of a community there, there were core teachings that underpinned a reason for existence and explained stories of how we came to be here (whether you agree with them or not).
There was a connection to nature and an understanding that we are not separate from nature, but an essential component of it. We live in symbiosis – for example, trees rely on our waste product (carbon dioxide) to live, and we live on theirs (oxygen).
This is all mostly gone. We’ve become spiritual skeptics and fearful/abusive of nature.
We have no teachings about life after death and are completely separated from it by hospitals and funeral homes. So we live life terrified of (and desperately trying to avoid) the one constant we are all going to experience at some point – death.
Combine all of this with the emergence of a 24-hour news cycle that is constantly telling you about all the suffering and disasters happening all over the world. And now you also have social media networks that enable the idea that you are not enough as you are, that there is some benchmark for living that you are failing at.
There you have a recipe for disaster.
Humans need some kind of grounding as to why they are here. There has to be some kind of subconscious structure that at least attempts to explain some of the mysteries of existence. Without it, unconsciously you’re just left spinning and wondering how the hell you ended up here, bracing for something to happen.
Is it any wonder that we don’t think twice about the damage we are causing to the planet, if we think this is some nightmare we got stuck in for no discernible reason?
Spirituality is essential. We are in the midst of a global spiritual crisis of sorts. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that science on its own cannot take its place. My hope is that this is the beginning of a spiritual renaissance.
What are some of the top spiritual practices that you recommend?
Some form of silent/sitting meditation - it can involve a mantra or visualization, followed by what's known as open awareness.
Prayer. It's underrated.
Breathing exercises are promoted these days for stress relief (which is great), but actually the more intensive ones can mimic the effects of psychedelics and enable mystical experiences. They also allow for old memories held in the body to be brought to the surface.
Consistent rituals that promote a sense of gratitude and reciprocity for life can create new neural pathways to embed that feeling into the subconscious.
Pilgrimages. Go to sacred sites in your country or other countries. Learn from different teachers and traditions. You’ll find that we’re more similar than we are different.
And a really simple one – reverential time in nature. You might laugh, but learn to talk to trees. They’re good listeners.
Can you tell us about the subconscious therapies you use in your practice and how these therapies can help us lead better lives?
The influential psychologist Carl Jung once said: “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
So many of our habits, anxieties and phobias are the result of key early life experiences in which certain beliefs or protection mechanisms were formed. Going back to the root of it all opens up the opportunity to remove the charge from these memories, and with consistency we find that a transformation starts to happen. That which was frightening before, becomes much less so.
On a personal level, I wouldn’t be where I am today without having shown up to work with my subconscious on a weekly basis for nearly two years, using a combination of a technique called Brainspotting as well as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Hypnosis. They unwound the severity of my PTSD symptoms by accessing parts of my brain and body that used to kick into fight or flight at the slightest occurrence.
Now, what I offer to my own students varies depending on their needs. But typically for reprogramming sessions we begin by calming the nervous system first to get the intensity of thinking out of the way. Then, it could be one of or a combination of techniques to access the subconscious mind and begin to unwind the entanglements. I have strong intuition which comes into play and we soon get to the root of what needs to be uncovered for that session.
Most people feel immediately lighter, more focused and trusting in themselves. A handful of challenging memories usually govern a large chunk of the unhelpful belief systems in the subconscious. Bringing them to light usually leads to measurable outcomes.
What is Human Design and how do you use this in your practice?
Human Design is a combination of Astrology, the Chinese I Ching, Kabbalah and the Indian chakra system. I studied it for four years and it gives me an idea of the kind of inherent energies and gifts a person is living with.
I don’t show charts to students or do Human Design consultations anymore, because I found that people were getting too fixated on the labels and were creating yet another ego structure around it. The internet is full of information about Human Design and our minds tend towards the negative - so they would end up finding the most horribly written things about their design on a random website. It was disempowering, when my intention is always to empower.
I also believe we are at our best when we flow with life and trust our internal guidance, rather than rigidly holding on to what a system told or tells us we are supposed to be.
It still can be very useful though, so these days I look up charts for help in tailoring spiritual practices for people, or for getting a handle on certain challenges they might be facing. Just for use myself, it saves us a lot of time.
What are some of your top spiritual life lessons you’ve learned that we can apply to our own?
- There is nowhere else but here. Nowhere to escape to. Everywhere you go, there you are. Whether you’re at the top of a mountain, standing in line at the post office, or sitting on your couch, you are IT. So making “you” and your life an amazing place to be, and uncovering/correcting why that wouldn’t be the case, is the greatest life mission.
- Anytime that you and a collective of people outsource your power, it's only a matter of time before the universe will organize to force you to take it back. As an example, I saw it happen as a pattern in spiritual communities that I was a part of. There was a dominant teacher up on a pedestal. Soon enough, the sex scandals would start and it would all come crashing down.
- If you can get in touch with the idea that you are a universal, infinite being, then there is no such thing as doing life “wrong”. Because it's not your first time here, and it won’t be your last. The pressure to get everything “right” all the time comes away, because it’s been formed on the basis that “you only live once”. What if that isn’t true? I didn’t grow up believing in reincarnation, so it was an interesting perspective shift to learn from the many spiritual traditions that teach it.
Why is true authenticity the key to living our most meaningful life, and what are your tips for achieving this for those who struggle?
So many of us go through life trying to fit in, trying not to break the mold so that we can be just like everyone else. It stifles life force and all sense of creativity. It creates bitterness, regret and an unconscious frustration which ends up being taken out on the very people that we are so desperate to please, as well as on ourselves.
I’ve been near death a few times. In that moment where you’re on the precipice, your entire life flashes before your eyes in the form of a slideshow of sorts. There’s a wordless understanding about what you did “right” and what you did “wrong”. About the life you lived, and the way you lived it - with the people that were in it. You feel the attachments that keep you here, as well as the attachments that are pulling you away.
Making peace with the life you are living, by living unabashedly, unashamedly in your unique authenticity, is one way of coming to the end of your life feeling a sense of contentment. You should be letting go of regret that things didn’t happen a certain way, and instead just going out and living differently now, while you can.
The top tip for achieving this, for those who struggle, is to first accept the choices that have already been made and be fully devotional to the obligations that you have for that particular season of life. Having small children is a great example of this as so many feel that they are losing themselves in caring for others. Accepting that there is nowhere else but here, and that this season of life will pass to reveal another, will take some of the pressure off.
The other tip is just to immerse yourself in the lives and stories of people who lived completely authentically. It eventually rubs off on you and you’ll find yourself leaning more and more in that direction. This was a big component of my journey, and why part of my work now is in leading voyages to places where this kind of inspiration is key. We need to see evidence to KNOW that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves.
I’m planning on taking a group to Marfa in Texas in September or October with my community platform zenish, precisely because the artist Donald Judd lived a life so “in his lane”, exactly how he wanted to live, that he ended up putting this remote town in the middle of nowhere on the map as a cultural mecca.
Wherever you are, seek out the unique, the outliers, the visionaries.
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would that advice be?
Care a LOT less about what other people think.
Do what you want.
Know that you are here to experience the magic of existence in all its forms, and to be a witness to the beauty of this incredible planet.
Being alive is the miracle.
How can our readers stay in touch with you and follow your ongoing work?
My website is: kameljaber.com
Private mentoring sessions frequently become available - I’m happy to help. More group sessions are being planned in the coming months.
I believe we thrive in community and my upcoming platform zenish (IG @_zen_ish) is a vehicle for the expansion of inspiration and possibility. Offering urban events and global voyages to unique destinations, the intention is to bring people together to experience magic.
*** THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS INTERVIEW ARE THOSE OF THE INTERVIEWEE AND NOT AGENT NATEUR. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RESEARCHING FURTHER IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS SUBJECT***