Namaste beautiful brothers and sisters, it is so nice to have you here <3 Because you have come this far it means you are in one way or another surrendering to the call of your heart and I am honored to share that journey with you. I am here with the soul purpose to help increase the well being of all beings on this Earth to the best of my ability and Anahata Ma is the action of that formless love. Anahata Ma is a sacred space of community and truth where all of us can gather safely together under the roof of compassion, joy, love and peace on a quest to heal the Earth. It is a vehicle we can use to celebrate our natural abilities to heal one another while raising awareness and the means to help others without the basic needs to sustain health and well being. I feel so blessed to have found this beautiful reason for being here, however it wasn’t always this way and below is the story of my journey.
My name is Ian Wilkes and on paper I am a traveler, healer, meditation and yoga teacher from the state of Vermont on the east coast of North America. My mother Lorrie Wilkes introduced me to the Buddhist teachings of mindfulness and meditation at very young age. When I was 12 she took me to a vipassana meditation retreat for children at Karmê Chöling Meditation Center in Vermont lead by meditation master Thich Nhat Hahn. Only 15 years later did I realize that this retreat had planted the seed of mindfulness, loving kindness and compassion within me.
After high school when I was 18 years old I left home for New York City and perused a degree in business management and marketing at Pace University. I went to school full time and worked full time in a luxury hotel as well and quickly rose to upper management before I graduated. I was also hosting night club events and started a tour management company for touring bands and artists. I was completely absorbed in the idea of being successful from a material and social standpoint and identified myself with what I did in the exterior world. I was overweight, had a detrimental drug and alcohol problem and would work myself until complete exhaustion. My mind, body and spirit were completely disconnected with my health and well being quickly deteriorating. After a rock bottom experience and with the help of a friend I somehow found the strength and courage to leave the city in attempts to save myself. I quit my jobs, signed over my apartment lease, packed a bag and booked a one-way ticket to Costa Rica to go surfing. It was the only thing I could think of that I would love to be doing in that moment so I went for it without a plan.
After a few insightful months of recharging with the waves of the ocean and meeting the right people at the right time I began to ask myself, what’s the next step in this process? I began to feel that I was not interested in returning to normal life and was determined to let go of the addictions, ignorance and attachments that bound me to all of this unnecessary suffering. By sailing with the winds of the infinite universe with a deep desire to find peace I found myself living with a shamanic tribe in the Amazon rainforest for six months where everything changed. I had been led to the path of ayahuasca shamanism and through this experience I rediscovered the seed of truth my mother had planted in me many years ago. In doing about a hundred ayahuasca ceremonies and surrendering to the shamans I was reconnected back to the earth and re born over and over again. I realized for the first time that I was alive and how special that opportunity is. My addictions and identifications where released after many long and excruciating battles with my ego and the immense amount of pain and misunderstandings I stored in my sub conscious. After months of deep inward looking and purging I had found my heart space again and began to build myself a home there. After leaving the Amazon I realized my mission was to simply continue healing and help others heal, there was no turning back.
My quest then began of absorbing the ancient teachings of oneness and love left in the world in particular the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism. I traveled extensively throughout Asia and India determined to experience the authentic teachings from the masters of these practices to further my healing process. My next spiritual endeavors (although every moment of life is a spiritual endeavor) included living for months in silence in deep meditation with Buddhist monks in northern Myanmar and taking teachings from swamis and living in ashrams throughout India.
Through these deep experiences my heart continued to open, my mind found peace and the only desire left was that of wishing that others be well, safe and happy. I then began to fuse everything I had learned from my journey. By joining the insights from the shamanic, yogic and meditation journeys along with my own style of medicinal music a beautiful healing tool came to fruition. Gratitude then arose from my choice of diving deep into a material based life in my earlier years. I realized that experience blessed me with a strong understanding of the mental barriers that keep the western mind from experiencing peace and truth in the present moment and how to overcome them. I now share the art of finding harmony and peace of body, mind and spirit with brothers and sisters through by donation yoga, meditation and music thereapy workshops and classes around the world. All donations from these workshops go directly to Anahata Ma projects.
In January of 2016 I started Anahata Ma in the spirit of Karma Yoga (selfless service) after having a close experience with the poverty, lack of clean drinking water and suffering that plagues the tribal areas of southern India and consequentially all of the impoverished areas of our planet. Currently I’m still traveling the world fulfilling my karmic duty as a student, teacher and your brother spreading the message of love, compassion and healing to as many as I can.
Om Anahata Ma Namaha.