Navigating Life on a Wing and a Prayer: Having a Spiritual Practice with Kushal M. Choksi
Life is not a race. We’ve heard it countless times before. But with how our society is right now, it’s not easy to unsee it as such. Many people are deep into the hustle culture. We’re wired to grind, grind, grind without stopping. But if we pause and look at the greater scheme of things, is it really all worth it? Is running a rat race all there is to life? No—and it doesn’t have to take a momentous event for us to wake up and start truly living our lives.
In this episode, Kushal M. Choksi joins us to talk about his life-changing spiritual practice and meditation journey. He writes about this story in his book On A Wing And A Prayer. Kushal lets us in on the deeper meaning behind the book and its title. He also shares his definition of spirituality and how everyone can acquire this state of being. Kushal says that we are never too busy to meditate. It’s a matter of little time commitment and finding your modality.
Tune in to this episode to learn how to achieve a naturally still state of mind with a spiritual practice!
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Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Reflect on the rat race we call life.
- Discover how having a spiritual practice can help you navigate life better.
- Find out two things that will help you get unstuck.
What Led Kushal to Write a Book
- It took Kushal almost 20 years to tell On a Wing and a Prayer’s story.
- Prior to 9/11, Kushal was deep into the rat race of wanting to live the American dream. He worked in Wall Street and had a type-A personality.
- His miraculous 9/11 escape woke him up. At that moment, he began questioning the status quo.
- Kushal stumbled upon the journey of breathwork and meditation, which changed his life. He believes it’s worthwhile to share what he has experienced with the world.
Going through the Motions of Life
- Going through the motions of our careers is a strange self-fulfilling prophecy.
- The more you succeed, the faster the currents drag you along. You’ll wake up one day, and 20 or 30 years of your life have gone past.
- As humans, it is supposedly in our nature to evolve.
- Yet, it often takes a momentous event for us to drop the monotonous, mundane rat race and aspire for something bigger.
On a Wing and a Prayer
- The book title’s double meaning roots from Kushal’s interest in aviation.
- WWII pilot Hugh Ashcraft Jr. came back from the enemy war-front while operating a damaged plane. He radioed the tower: "I'm coming into land on a wing and a prayer."
- Kushal thought that Hugh Ashcraft Jr.’s experience was analogous to his story.
Being a First-Time Author
- The feedback on his book has been very encouraging.
- He wanted to put himself out there with no filters and tinted glasses. Kushal calls it “open kimono” writing.
- He had no process in writing the book; the book wrote itself.
- Digging through the memories of 9/11 was the most challenging part of writing. Kushal also had difficulty with the chronology of events.
- Overall, he enjoyed the book writing process.
Kushal’s Definition of Spirituality
- To Kushal, being spiritual is being natural in any circumstances.
- A spiritual practice, in essence, is about being in touch with yourself.
- Life becomes so natural and in a flow state when you’re in touch with yourself effortlessly.
The Impact of the Pandemic
- The pandemic evoked very similar emotions from that of Kushal’s 9/11 experience.
- It was the same familiar walls narrowing in. But his response to it was very different from the first time around.
- It was much more effortless and seamless to go through without bogging him down completely.
Having a Spiritual Practice
- The pursuit of joy, desires, and ambitions is not mutually exclusive to meditation and spiritual practice.
- Kushal previously had a wrong notion that meditation was anti-progress. He thought he had to give up everything to meditate.
- Even taking 20 minutes out of the day for your spiritual practice can make everything much more vibrant.
What He Wants Readers to Feel After Reading the Book
- Kushal wants readers to feel that if he can do it, anyone can.
- Getting into a still state of mind is not something that requires years of practice.
- We all have it; it’s only a matter of uncovering it through a little time commitment for your spiritual practice.
- He wants every soul on the planet to experience a thoughtless state of mind, as it is a source of creativity, productivity, and liveliness.
How to Get Unstuck
- First, look at life as a game. Perceive it as something you go through without emotions.
- Second, adopt a practice—anything that will get you out of it.
- Unpleasant things in life will always happen. How you go through it will depend on the conditioning of your mind.
- It's the patterns of our minds that keep us stuck to something. You will move without feeling stuck if you remove the grip of that conditioning in your system.
- Figure out your own modality. What worked for Kushal is the SKY breath technique.
SKY Breath-Based Technique
- SKY is a breathing technique that makes use of the rhythms of our breath. It introduces coherence and harmony within ourselves.
- Our physical, cognitive, perception, memory, intellect, and ego functions go out of whack as life happens to us.
- A few minutes of SKY breath meditation brings them into a rhythm.
- Naturally feeling in the moment is feeling unstuck for Kushal.
- Feeling unstuck becomes natural even after just a few days of practicing the technique.
No Such Thing as “Too Busy” for Meditation
- We have a lot of time on our hands. We're never too busy to meditate.
- For an arrow to tear forward, you have to pull it back. Taking a few minutes out of the day to connect with yourself is key to effectively showing up in life.
- Mental hygiene is also just as important as physical hygiene.
- The information we used to consume in 30 years, we now consume in 3 months. The world demands more of us, so we need to take more care of our mental health.
- It’s critical to keep our vital force and energy up. Breathing and a calm state of mind are crucial yet ignored sources of energy.
How Kushal Feels Radically Loved
- Being in the moment is how Kushal feels radically loved.
- It’s being grateful that the universe is loving us unconditionally in every moment.
- Feeling grateful and being aware of it brings that love.
5 Powerful Quotes
[03:23] “If our nature is to evolve, we’re all moving, step-by-step evolving towards a higher purpose, then why does it take a momentous event, maybe a loss or a 9/11, for us to wake up and ask that bigger question that actually moves us toward our goal?”
[09:36] “To me, being spiritual is being natural in any circumstances, being yourself no matter what.”
[10:17] “When you’re in touch with that delicate space within you, I think everything that you do in life just becomes so natural and normal. It just flows.”
[14:27] “Even wanting to enjoy the world, wanting to enjoy life and the pursuits, desires, and ambitions, they’re not mutually exclusive to your practice of meditation.”
[22:12] “For an arrow to tear forward, you have to pull it back a little bit.”
Kushal M. Choksi is an entrepreneur, author, and former Wall Street trader. Narrowly surviving the 9/11 attacks and escaping death made him realize that that life was too short to be playing safe. Since then, he became the founder and CEO of Clavileno Capital. Together with his wife, they co-founded Elements Truffles, an artisanal chocolate company.
Kushal also wrote the book On a Wing and a Prayer. It tells his account of narrowly escaping death during the 9/11 attacks. He shares his journey of spiritual practice, shadowing the spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
If you wish to connect with Kushal, you may visit his website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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