From the single window of the conference room I can see the rain blasting sideways against a background of evergreens. We are in the Fairbanks Centre beside the Shubie Park canal/trail system in Dartmouth, NS. It is just down the road from where I live in Waverley, but I have never been here before.
Walker moves at a high rate of speed. You would not guess he is 56. At home in Australia he kayaks in Sydney Harbour every day. He leads treks in Nepal and South America and jets around the world to speak and consult with corporate clients, entrepreneurs, rock stars, native communities, and couples. The guy just goes.
He says that life is simple. Paradoxically, as we make it complicated and lose touch with nature we narrow our choices. His definition of personal mastery includes variety. “I want each of us to play the whole piano,” he says. “Keep it simple and earthy.” He radiates the joy of life that all kids have—and that many adults lose.
“I walk around the planet trying to get people reconnected to the earth,” he says. “That has made me a lot of enemies. Fancy theories are great but if they keep us out of touch with nature, they cause more problems than they cure.” He admits he loves using the Internet while flying above the planet. The trick with technology, like everything else, is to keep it in balance.
Some years back I attended a lunch presentation he gave in Halifax. At that event each table had a potted plant, and Walker encouraged us to pull it out by the roots and examine in carefully. That is the sort of thing you remember.
Now the former yoga teacher and consultant gets us standing up, adjusting our posture and slowing our breathing. “Our energy comes from the earth—the place of reality,” he says. “Today many of us are ungrounded. We are thinking all the time-stuck in our head. The mind can’t make us happy. This has led to a global epidemic of depression.”
Walker’s resume is a blur: a consultant, author, speaker, and coach, he was in a street gang at 14, dropped out of school, married at 19, got degrees in engineering and business, ran a yoga school in New York City, had his own multinational technology firm, became a millionaire at 34 and went broke at 36.
He speaks of nature from experience. He has climbed to and guided entrepreneurs on a “vision search” to the base of Mt. Everest and surrounding areas 47 times in 20 years. He has created retreats “to teach people about living well and not screwing up their life because of their work or their work because of their life.”
He’s run the retreats in the “world’s greatest places including Atlantic Canada, Bhutan, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Australia, Bali Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York City, California, New Mexico, Hawaii, Tibet, and China.” And he has written a series of books on Nature’s Universal Laws.
Walker’s view is that the average person is boring themselves to death by trying to define themselves too narrowly. “We need to honour the diversity within ourselves as well as the diversity of life,” he says. “We’re multi-personality individuals and we need to express these parts at different times. Bipolar? Heck, we are five-polar.”
In his view, each of us has the five elements of nature described in ancient philosophy: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. For example, earth is the grounded, wealth-creating side; ether our visionary nature. For a healthy life, we need to honour all aspects and use them as needed.
Walker has spent decades investigating spiritual disciplines, and has come away skeptical of spirituality if it takes you away from the rest of life. “Do what you’re born for—your lifestyle has to match your constitution,” he says. Otherwise you will get caught up in one or more of the four substitutes: food, greed, sex, or spirituality. These explain 99% of social problems.”.
In his seminars Walker teaches that the five elements correspond to five laws of nature that help us to understand ourselves and others. He also seeks to get us to “unlearn” our health-defeating judgements.
Then we are lying on the floor doing breathing exercises. “The soul speaks in pictures,” he says. “Close your eyes and visualize what you want, create a picture in your mind, play with it, move it around. This is the spirit of the child within you.”
The session ends in a flurry of wisdom.
- By honouring nature, you’ll find greater harmony, love success and inner peace.
- Reconnect with nature. Every day go out into nature and for 10 minutes say to yourself: I need nothing. I want nothing. Therefore I have everything.
- The world is continually evolving and drama comes when that evolution is blocked.
- By finding harmony we are moving on from the past and growing every day.
- Nature is destroyer as well as creator. Nature destroys anything that doesn’t fulfil its purpose.
- In an era when technology and overthinking are disconnecting us from nature, staying in harmony with nature might be the answer to the various global crises.
Walker credits some of his philosophy to what he learned at Big Cove Reserve in New Brunswick.
His books are available from: www.chriswalkeronline.com.