Journeying Inwards with Warren Munitz.
Warren Munitz, founder of Integrative Coaching, believes that while we all have uniquely different paths to walk and journeys to experience, unlocking our true potential can lead to a life of transcendence and enlightenment. We chat to him about his own extraordinary path of self-discovery…
Tell us a little bit about your journey to integrative coaching. Where did it start?
I suppose I never had a traditional career trajectory, and from very early on in my childhood I never really fitted into anything mainstream. Some personal trauma and quite dark experiences led me to questioning the purpose of life quite early on. When I left college, I ended up going to India for six months in solitude and meditation. I was meditating for 12 to 18 hours a day, questioning the meaning and purpose of life. I had several out-of-body experiences previously that enabled me to experience a state of oneness with everything. That’s when I started meditating and researching, and just reading and devouring as many courses and books on the subject of spirituality, meditation, self-awareness and consciousness as I could. I was looking to not only recreate the experience that I had, but to find it anew. And that’s what led me on my quest to India and inwards.
What happened while you were in India?
My goal was essentially to become a monk. I was very determined: I wasn’t going back home until I found what I was looking for or died trying. The first few months led to an unfolding of this experience of a deeper state of consciousness - one in which there is just an interconnectedness of all life. It was an enlightening experience in which the person I thought I was started to dissolve into the origin of consciousness itself. As I looked inwards, I started to become aware of who was meditating - who was aware of the thoughts that were in the mind. I thought, “If I keep going inward, I’m surely going to die. I’m going to let go of this person called Warren - not only my identity, but everything that I know about the world and that will be it.”
There was a profound inner peace that was the foundation of this consciousness. Afterwards, when I started to interact with the people around me, I noticed that everyone seemed to be chasing their tails, but that what they were looking for would be found if they were just to sit still and explore inwardly. I eventually realised that finding peace at the foot of the Himalayas in India where there are no distractions around is not that difficult. I thought that there was no purpose here for me, because many people have come and found the same peace at this same place. But maybe my path was to find the same peace within society. So that became the next step on my journey.
Can you tell us what happened after you came back to South Africa?
When I came back in 2001, I opened a yoga school. That evolved into meditation classes, then into one-on-one conversations with clients, which turned into integrative coaching. I essentially went from teaching people yoga poses to having one-on-one conversations with clients. At first, I didn’t realise I was coaching them - it was just a guide or a conversation into their consciousness. So, as my coaching evolved and I started becoming more aware of it and doing other trainings in coaching itself, I began to realise that ‘coaching’ was just a popular name for this kind of work. I mean, you can become a life coach in three weeks if you want, where you just learn a methodology or technique of questioning or goal-setting, but I don’t see that as coaching. For me, coaching is really an experiential conversation about your own consciousness and the relationship you have with that dimension, the exploration of which brings the transformation of ego into realising your authentic self.
Most of my one-on-one interactions with clients begin with a conversation about struggle. They struggle with anxiety, depression, relationships, communication, finances or various other pain points in all kinds of facets of their lives. Most people come with a problem from which they’re seeking relief, and share that they have heard that meditation could help. So, I listen to the pain points and then guide them into exploring what lies behind the root of these experiences and what hidden lessons could they bring. This brings about a transformation of consciousness.
Can you tell us more about your Integrative Coaching practice?
Integrative Coaching is for anyone who has some level of emotional awareness, introspection and the willingness to look within. It is an approach that is grounded in direct experience, so on a broad scale, it’s about raising awareness of the individual so that they start to recognise their own patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion, and then guiding them to realise that they aren’t any of those things either. Those are merely the activities that they’re engaged in. The integrative approach is about moving your awareness from the very conscious level – ego consciousness – to expanding it into the unconscious and integrating what comes up, which leads to the underlying state of consciousness, or authentic self.
If you only rely on your conscious mind, you rely on only thinking, opinions and interpretations of the world. If you keep holding people in the same frame, position or narrative in your mind, which means you will keep getting the same outcome or result. But if you look inward, you will start to become aware that the person who is irritating you is perhaps reflecting some part of your unconscious dimension that you aren’t aware of. And by integrating that dimension of consciousness, the entire interaction will change.
Tell us more about your book, The Infinite Spark
I wrote The Infinite Spark because so many clients were asking me to write down or record a conversation we had and encouraging me to publish this as a resource for others. At first, I created a very comprehensive online meditation course (which is still available on Teachable). It’s designed to teach people who don’t know the first thing about how to meditate to start building self-awareness. Using different techniques, the resource helps people to eventually reach a place where they’re empowered to build a meditation practice of their own. My book helps readers to learn the crucial steps of how to unlock and actualise their greatest potential to create a life filled with love, meaning and purpose. It’s split into three parts: the first is about my personal journey; the second is about the philosophical principles I’ve learned and discovered on my journey (plus how they can benefit you and challenge the way that you perceive the world); and the third is a guide that expounds on the meditation course I previously mentioned.
Send an email to [email protected] letting us know why you’re ready for your journey inward, and you could WIN 1 of 10 copies of The Infinite Spark. Use ‘Warren Munitz’ in the subject line.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Warren Munitz is the founder of Integrative Coaching, where he has developed his own unique coaching approach he calls integrative coaching, wherein by engaging with the unconscious mind one can heal and transform one’s life. As a qualified and experienced Master Executive Coach and Master NLP Coach, he has studied many different forms of meditation, yoga, philosophy, empowerment, psychotherapies and esoteric paths. For more information, visit www.integrativecoaching.co.za.