As a child, Jason Gallant was in awe of kung fu masters, the folks who could perform impossible feats. These were people who could manipulate energy, seemingly fly across rooms and burst forth with supernatural strength.
To Gallant, those tales were fantasy, cast as fiction.
“I was one of those guys who thought if I haven’t seen it, then I don’t believe it,” he says.
You may know Gallant from his competitive natural bodybuilding days or his time spent as a bouncer at a Maple Ridge night club.
Gallant admits he was the consummate tough guy with “scars on his knuckles” to prove it.
Back then, spirituality and things of the mind were things he’d dismissed as hippy fluff.
“I went up many different buildings trying to find my happiness and each time I’d fall down and hit the bricks,” says Gallant, who hit the ground hard around five years ago, which sunk him into deep depression.
Unemployed, single and battling a shoulder injury, it was the first time in years that Gallant couldn’t pump iron.
“ Exercise was my medication,” he says.
“I always had to have an overwhelming high. A victory.”
Without a goal, Gallant was in limbo, hiding in his parents’ house and trying to practice shamanic exercises, just for kicks, which had him pose like different animals.
He picked up the book on shamanic exercises out of curiosity, he explains.
“Not because I thought it would help my depression. I thought it would make life more interesting.”
Although those exercises helped, Gallant was soon back in the same rut, depressed, lonely and pessimistic about his future.
That’s when Gallant’s twin brother introduced him to Arathi Ma, an energy healer who had an ability to change people’s emotional state.
Through a series of “miracles”, Arathi Ma showed Gallant that happiness was possible, that he was more than the physical body he worked so hard to perfect.
“Somehow we believe in life that if we sacrifice our own pleasure and happiness we can make others be happy, but we’re not fooling anybody,” says Gallant. “All you do is drag them into your unhappiness. There’s another way to live and find happiness instead of going out and getting a bigger car, job or new relationship.”
Gallant chronicles his search for his “true self” in a self-published book titled Awakening With Arathi Ma. A journey that’s seen him investigate spirituality in all its forms, including cleansing by consuming ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant, illegal in North America, traditionally used by shamans in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.
“It’s only illegal because it’s misunderstood and western culture doesn’t understand it,” says Gallant.
The “cleansing” sessions were life changing and his journey eventually led him into a relationship with Arathi Ma.
“This spiritual work is real,” says Gallant.
“I have never done drugs. I’ve never been a whack job. When I started this spiritual work, things started to happen. It took time. I started to see and experience what I had never experienced before.”
For Gallant, sharing the tale of his journey just seemed natural, especially when people around him noticed something different and asked if they could try it.
Telling one story just wouldn’t do his journey justice, that’s also why he wrote the book.
“You become more self-less. Automatically you move outwards to help other people,” he says.
“Spirituality is not meant to disconnect you from reality, it’s actually meant to make you more in touch with it.”
• Jason Gallant will be signing copies of his new book Awakening with Arathi Ma on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Seeds of Life, 22348 Selkirk Ave. in Maple Ridge from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. His book can be purchased online at www.seedsoflife.ca. To learn more about Jason, visit jasongallant.ca.