I am Italian but I have lived as a bramhachari (a monk who has not taken the final vows yet) for 20 years in the U.S. at the Self Realization Fellowship’s ashram (monastery) in California founded by Paramahansa Yogananda to spread teachings on Meditation and Kriya Yoga in the West. It was a balanced life of daily service, study of the scriptures and the ancient teachings of yoga, practice of deep meditation and chanting of the mantras, living a pure and disciplined life at the service of humanity.
After leaving the Monastery, I have continued to give motivational lectures, to conduct meditations and to lead spiritual-devotional chanting in kirtans (check out the new CD of these chants). In the past two years, my work as a Spiritual Counselor has expanded by getting worldwide accredited certifications in coaching, helping people in the areas of personal and spiritual development and transformation. I have also worked with companies as an executive coach and to improve communication among their managers and employees, and among employees in order to increase the productivity.
If you want to know more:
I will tell you a bit more about myself…
Two years ago, after I have decided to leave the ashram and come back to the world (I will explain later my inner process), a couple, friends of mine, told me: “Hey, you have been given spiritual counseling to people around the world for some years, now that you are back in the world, why don’t you get a coaching certification so that you can be in the unique position of being able to combine all that spiritual training, meditation, and counseling with the knowledge and mastery of coaching techniques? You will certainly be closer to people’s real challenges and issues since you are now going to leave among them”.
I replied enthusiastically: “Good idea!”.
In that very moment started my new journey that would bring me to the Erickson International Coaching school and to the ICF (International Coaching Federation) coach certification. I have also studied the IPL (Institute of Personal Leadership) approach to develop leaders.
After fulfilling what my friends had suggested I understood better what they meant when they had encouraged me to become a life coach. I have met many people who, even though enthusiastic and sincere, were entering the coaching world with very little work on themselves. The coaching tools where for them like an over structure built on the loose foundation of lack of inner knowledge and development. In all those years of training, I have learned how important, actually essential, is to first start with ourselves because any change on the outside, be it on our personal or work level, originates from the inside.
I have noticed that they would learn some cool communication techniques or some tools to listen more deeply, but unfortunately, they’d apply them mechanically without the inner mastery that it’s necessary to make them really effective. Or they might sell packages for self-development without having really progressed or changed themselves.
That’s why I believe I am different because of the journey I have been on for 20 years: a journey based on self-growth and improvement, on a search for a deeper communication and service to others.
To explain this I will tell you a little bit about this journey.
I want to start back when I was 13 years old and just got the black belt in Karate Shotokan. I had attended the Italian championship of kata and arrived 4th. My father was also very involved in Karate, being himself a 3rd Dan and an international referee. Since I was very young he thought I had a “carrier” in front of me. He certainly didn’t want to favor me in any way as a referee. In fact, after that kata championship I was talking about, he confessed to me that he had given me a lower score (he was one of the referees) just because I was his son and he didn’t want people to think I was going ahead because of him. I could have stood on the podium in 3rd position if he hadn’t been so conservative! But I was really proud of him and I understood why he did it.
I really liked the discipline of this wonderful martial art and I felt more secure because I was more able to defend myself if somebody wanted to attack me. But inside of me, I knew I was looking for something else and, to my father’s astonishment, one day I announced that I had decided to move on and quit karate. I said to him: “It’s because I am looking for a Master of life!”. I was only 13 and a half years old.
My quest for somebody who could show me where real happiness was to be found was short lived because my enthusiasm got swept away by the confusion and turmoil of the teenage years.
Fortunately, I was able to channel my energy somewhat by applying it in many sports like soccer, rugby and later on even parachuting (first in the army and then as a hobby). I also liked to overcome my fears and my personal limitations.
When I was in high school the inner need to understand and know myself more deeply and the need for guidance to a more fulfilling life came back. I turned to the western philosophers. In the beginning, I was in awe with all their theories and great knowledge but soon enough I realized that my head was even more confused and my heart was drier! My burning questions could not find an answer yet: where was the happiness I had felt when I was a small boy? Who could help me to get it back?
I was not happy and I couldn’t find too many people around me that happy either!
It was only when I read the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda that my heartfelt content at last! For some obscure reasons what he was saying was going straight to my heart in a way that nothing else had even been able to do before. My head was clear and my heart open and peaceful.
Soon after I discovered the power of devotional mantra singing and my heart finally sang (literally) with joy. In those sessions of spiritual chanting, I could magically dissipate all the worries and negative emotions present in my heart to make room for uplifting spiritual vibrations of peace, love, and joy. I was very happy to witness this very same process in all those who would participate in the chanting.
On the wave of my spiritual awakening, I decided to go to California and join the ashram of the Self Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda not as a new religion but with the mission of showing the unity between the original teachings of Krishna and the teachings of Christ. I wanted to deepen the practice of meditation, devotional chanting and study of the scriptures on my quest for happiness. When we were meditating and chanting together, I felt the power of these group devotional gatherings or KIRTANS when everyone became one mind and one heart and the joy created in a very tangible way.
Those were years of self-discovery and self-transformation that included service and love to others. It was a difficult training and discipline that enabled me to know myself and what I needed to change (of course I am still in the process 😊). Living in a community it’s not always easy, trust me on this one! You find yourself surrounded by a bunch of mirrors and you can’t escape them! It’s a painful process but in the end it helps you to smooth the rough edges and to understand yourself and others in a deeper way.
In my daily service, I had the blessing to learn new skills and competencies by serving in many capacities and different types of jobs.
I worked in the gardens and in the office learning different computer programs.
Managed meetings and projects.
Worked on a bluff to trying to containing its erosion to save a sacred place where Paramahansa Yogananda once lived.
I did public speaking
Conducted meditations and devotional chanting sessions
Spiritual counseling was another of my duties.
As you can see the mindset of “I can’t do that” was not really an option in those years! I was forced to stretch myself and many times to lift the bar of what I thought I could do.
At the same time, I have never forgotten the importance of physical exercise and of group sports. I have believed that body, mind, and soul need to be ‘fed’ and ‘trained’ in order to have a balanced life and real fulfillment.
The most important thing was that, through the teachings and blessings of my Guru, I had been able to develop an inner life and to find a greater serenity and inner happiness.
I have had the support of counselors who listened to me and helped me through my struggles, inner and outward discoveries and changes. Through these sessions, it became very clear to me the incredible importance of having a soundboard, a caring and loving ear, a helpful heart on our sides. These counselors weren’t necessarily trained in coaching, but their sincerity and caring helped create a safe space for me to open up and share.
I was receiving spiritual counseling and also, I was giving it to people around the world with sincerity and great interest for their own personal growth.
In 2016, after 20 years of this beautiful life, I felt that my heart was calling me outside the ashram and, with the blessings of monks in charge of the ashram of my Master, Paramahansa Yogananda, I entered this new chapter of my life.
A question that people often ask me is: “Why did you leave?”. I can only honestly answer that, even though I was a happy brahmachari and I liked our community, in my heart I felt that my dharma (or personal life’s duty) was to be outside in the world. This realization didn’t come to me overnight. It took 4 years of prayers and introspection to come about. And when it came, it took some courage, blessings from above and the support of my counselor and some of the monks to make the leap from a secure life where I had everything I needed to an unknown and much less secure (practically speaking) and stable territory.
But as I had followed my heart when 20 years earlier I had left everything to dedicate myself completely to the spiritual life, I followed my heart in coming back to this world.
I have to say that, even though has been difficult to adjust again to a different lifestyle, it has been worth it.
I was coming back after a great journey that changed and transformed me in ways I can’t even fathom. A journey that has given me the possibility to develop the ability to introspect and to use my intuition, besides helping me to grow in my interest to help others in their search for an all-rounded wellbeing.
In all these years I have seen how many times people feel lonely and not really understood even though they might know a lot of people. Or they might be very efficient but they neglect their own inner life and important relationships. Each one of us has his own customized set of challenges and difficulties. And for each one there are undreamed of possibilities and solutions.
In my own experience, it’s tremendously helpful to have a non-judgmental, skilled and intuitive listener that can help us through tough changes and challenges and become who we want to really be.
I hope that at this point you got to know me a little better 😊
As you can see from my experience, training, and certifications, I can’t just be defined as a spiritual counselor or a life coach or an athlete.
That’s why I am a holistic coach, who has practiced and experimented first on himself what he wants to offer to you: the harmonious development of body, mind, and soul.
This is not an easy task but it’s always possible!
“There are only two ways to travel in life: one leads to happiness and the other to sorrow. There is no mystery about it; it is very simple in spite of its apparent complexities. You should look at life unmasked, in the mirror of your experiences. View time and space as they come to you in the form of problems, experiences, and relations. Look at the perpetual current of emotions and thoughts that arise within you. Go into the heart of your aspirations, dreams, hopes, and despairs. Dive deep into the mute craving of your inner self. Life is manifesting itself through all these channels and demanding that you seek understanding with your highest intelligence, wisdom, love, and vision”