Grief 2 Growth Podcast- Roland Achenjang- Who And Why You Are- Part 1

Roland Achenjang is a fascinating young man I met a few weeks ago. Right away I knew I had met a kindred spirit. Roland is a Pharmacist, and has an MBA. But, when something about his life didnt’ feel quite right, Roland gave up on finding happiness through career, religion, or other means and turned within.

In the first part of this two-part interview, Roland and I discuss how he came to the dark night of the soul that sent him on his spiritual quest. In part two, we will discuss what he discovered.


To reach Roland, visit:



Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is brief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey, everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of preacher growth. And I’ve got with me today Roland and changing and Roland is a young man, I just a couple of weeks ago, I was totally fascinated and talking to him about his background about the book that he’s written. And so this is gonna probably a pretty be a pretty extensive episode. So I’ll probably break it up into parts, we’ll just have to see how it goes. What I want to do is just give you a short introduction role and and then I’ll talk for himself. His bio they presented to me says in 2014, he was struggling to manage the stress brought on by his attempts to meet his responsibilities. So as a last ditch effort to coach he made the conscious decision to look with that or to look in the one place it never looked before, which is within which a lot of us don’t think about doing. And Rohan developed his own meditation practices as self taught meditator. Roland is also a pharmacist. He’s an MBA said he’s quite an accomplished young man. He’s got his own podcast, which is called look at my notes or conversations with Roland I believes that right. So it’s called conversations with Roland, again, fascinate young man, I don’t want to spend a lot of time introducing him. Let him speak for himself. So I want to welcome Roland to Greta growth.

Roland Achenjang 1:59
Thank you. Thank you, Brian. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. That was a pretty sweet introduction to thank you.

Brian Smith 2:04
Yeah, I like I said, you know, meeting you a couple weeks ago, we just had a conversation, I felt like a kindred spirit, we headed off kind of right away, we were introduced by a mutual friend. So what I want to do today, or at least to begin with, I want to start talking about you and your experience. And we could start in 2014 if that’s what you’d like to start or start wherever you want. Just tell me about yourself.

Roland Achenjang 2:26
Um, we thought it might be better if we go a little bit beyond or before 2014 just set a background. I mean, 2014 was 2013 2014 pretty amazing, amazing time in my life. But I am originally from West Africa, in a country called Cameroon is where I was born and raised. I lived there with my family until I was 14 years old. And that’s when we are relocated to the United States. That in itself was a pretty life altering experience. Right when it happened, I would say I was I was still pretty young and just excited to be leaving camera and to be moving to the united states that the culture shock didn’t really hit me until a couple years later, after I had settled in a little bit into the US culture and then started to compare and sort of contrast the differences. Right. And then following that, you know, there are just so many stories that we can talk about, but life continued to happen for me as it does for just about every other being that’s experiencing life on Earth. I went through ups and downs, I had, you know, many things to celebrate in my life as well as many things that I thought didn’t make sense. One way I put it is my rational mind was beginning to fail me. My beliefs were getting challenged left and right. More so just because you know, a lot of that foundational beliefs I had were molded in within the Cameroonian culture, right? Come to the United States a whole different ballgame. Trying to make sense of of all of it. And, and the challenges didn’t stop at the same light. I did well, I mean, I went to school, graduated, went to college, and then got my farm D degree in 2010. And then working in a couple of hospitals. And by 2013, I was in Nashville, Tennessee, and that’s where I was working. And this was shortly after the Affordable Care Act had been passed. And so you know, in my, in my genius at the time, I thought and you know, I’ve been working as a pharmacist for two years, three years. And again, I was getting all this you know, the metaphor the check engine lights kept coming on, right? Something is off. Yes. Something doesn’t make sense. The real world is adding up and So I thought maybe if I go get a business degree for, you know, for, for many reasons that would that would help sort of get rid of this check engine lights then that kept coming up. And so I decided to enroll in business school and I was working full time as a pharmacist and going to business school and beautiful school Belmont University down in Nashville, Tennessee, during that time is when things got really really, you know, stressful, I could not ignore, quote unquote, the check engine light anymore, I really couldn’t ignore it. And I had to find a way to cope. When I picked up a practice, I call it meditating. Now at the time, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I just I just given up on, on trying to make sense of life, using my rational mind using my analytical mind using my scientific mind using my religious upbringing mind. And, and I just thought I, I’m just going to, quote, literally go lay in my bed, one day after work, listen to my body, write everything about my body, everything about my being, my thinking, how my toes feel, just listen to my body, and and then hear what he has to tell me. I mean, just literally out of frustration, I decided that on a whim. And then did some research about meditating. Some things turned me off on the different meditative practices that we can get into in this conversation or another one. But then that was it. And I said, like it was, you know, just not easy going after that very interesting experiences began to happen. And life moved on. One thing led to another, usually the word in the spiritual community is synchronicities, then, you know, you just can’t plan for

and then ended up four years later developing this meditative practice that I, I was disciplined enough to maintain daily, averaging about two hours a day. And on the fateful Tuesday morning of August 21 2018, had a fool had a spiritual awakening, spiritual transformative experience, most people would refer to this as a Kundalini awakening in the Christian sense, if I’m, you know, using my own interpretations and understanding of those teachings is receiving the Holy Spirit in a very profound way. Or getting in touch with the intelligence that is that is the source from which our creation comes interacting with that intelligence. And then remembering all these facets and fascinating things about who I am, which is basically a universal understanding of why you are as well, Brian, and everyone who’s listening. And it, it really helped me at that point. Put a check on the engine light as in, Oh, my goodness. Now everything sort of makes sense in a way that I could not have previously understood. Not having had a spiritual awakening. Mm hmm. And yeah, then following that, I wrote my book, which is another funny story. I published that in a year after that fateful Tuesday morning. And then again, things just continued to build from there. ended up learning different energy healing practices, a lot of it was building up on the practices that I was doing to myself, while meditating. These are things I this is all self taught. And, and then I thought, well, you know, given all the lessons I’ve learned, I have to start living them out. And so the podcast came about, and then connections, and now I am here talking with you, Brian.

Brian Smith 9:18
Yeah. Well, let me let me ask you a few questions. So you mentioned you know, you came from from Cameroon. You were like 14 years old. So and then you go through school and everything sounds like you were very successful as we would use the terms you graduated with the farm D which is not an easy thing to do. But something was kind of off. You know, when what you had was, I think it was a cold dark night of the soul. So what type of things are off? What was what was creating the check engine light for you?

Roland Achenjang 9:46
That’s a great question. I love it. So many things. And I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you one story to just try to paint a picture of what I mean by my check engine lights kept coming on. So growing up in Cameroon, I was raised in the Catholic faith. And I started doctoring classes when I was eight years old, for instance, right. And we learned everything we, our teachers taught us about Jesus Christ, a lot of Christian upbringing, stories in the Bible to help guide you, and help you build sort of a moral corn on which you would then use to develop your your life your life through.

But amongst those stories, where,

you know, there was this, this aspect of Jesus Christ, his life and his birth, specifically, that I had never ever heard otherwise, that he was the only son of Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph was sort of his stepfather or his father, essentially. Right. And, and Jesus Christ was the Savior. And you know, the whole, I mean, most of us know this story. Mm hmm. So this was my upbringing, up until I was 14. Fast forward, the spring of 2001. I am in platteville, Wisconsin, my uncle’s house, watching the History Channel. So this was right around Easter Easter break. And on the History Channel, there’s a documentary about the life of Jesus Christ. And this is a being who an individual who I like just like, the entire world, I’m super fascinated by like, why what was so special about him, etc. I mean, he did so many things, so many miraculous things, an amazing teacher. And I’m enamored by this documentary. So I’m really, you know, caught up in it, watching the stories. And a lot of it is building on the foundation of the stories that I had been exposed to growing up in Cameron. Now, another interesting aspect about this is growing up back home, we I did not have the luxury to watch reenactments of the stories of Jesus Christ, a lot of it was what I was either reading or being taught by a teacher, right? Just Uh, yeah. And we know the power of pictures, especially moving moving pictures as in as in documentaries and reenactments.

Brian Smith 12:33

Roland Achenjang 12:35
Now, in the middle of all of this, I’m fully engrossed. I hear the narrator mentioned that Jesus Christ had brothers and sisters, who were born of Mary and Joseph. Now to your listeners, maybe even to you that sounds Oh, yeah, of course he did. It’s in the Bible. It’s here and there. To me, in that moment, right 2001 that was earth shattering for me. If I can channel in, you know, Steven a Smith, the blast for me, that I heard out of this narrator was earth shattering. Hmm. I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t pay attention anymore. And I in my, you know, genius as a 15 year old, less than one year in the United States, was enamored on contacting the History Channel to tell them stop spreading this bs lie. Why are you indoctrinating the American people with this bs lies? Jesus did not have siblings. He was the only son of Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit. How dare you? Right? I mean, the blasphemy. Hmm. And so in my frustration, and not being able to make sense of this, I turned the TV off in the middle of this and walk away, now was done with it. And that’s an example of a first, you know, one of many examples, essentially, of when my check engine light came on. Hmm. My foundational beliefs were seriously challenged. Yeah. What do you mean, Jesus had siblings? I have never heard that for 15 years on this planet. And those, those are the kind of things I mean, my rational mind was failing me. And over time, I would have experiences like that and just wash them on the rug or find another sort of justification or come up with some reasoning to help me feel centered Yeah. But as those as those began to grow and add on and add on it came I mean, it came to literally had I had to make a decision I add a continue to live this sort of life that doesn’t make sense and just navigate through this fog and then hope that something happens or make sense of the fog.

Brian Smith 14:59
Yeah. You know, it’s interesting, you tell that because I can relate so much to it, I was raised as a Pentecostal and was raised with a very fundamental, literal interpretation of the Bible. And I remember when I was a young man, I was in my 20s, or 30s, I guess. And I started hearing people push back against the creation story. And I always thought it was literal. And I was like, how am I gonna make sense of this, and I actually, you know, the young earth, the young, the Creation Museum is down in Kentucky is which is close to you. And and by both your local or your local, I’m in Cincinnati, there’s Creation Museum near here, and this guy, Ken Ham, they put together this this argument to say that that creation was real. And I’m a, I’m a chemical engineer by trade. So my background is like, I’m a rational person. And I’m like, yeah, it’s real. So I get into it, and I’m reading all this stuff. And then I read the other side. And then I remember reading a book about this guy was taking the Bible and not taking it literally Genesis, but saying that it was a period of seven light ages or something, and explaining how we could have both creationism, and this kind of old Earth Theory, I was sitting on my deck. And I remember I looked at my eyes looked out, and like the whole world just suddenly look different. It’s like, I suddenly understood, you know, how God got, quote, created this thing. And it just, it blew my mind. So I’m just relating to the experiences that you went through, because I had a series of those, and it creates a crisis, right? It’s like, well, what else do I believe is not real?

Roland Achenjang 16:26
Exactly. Who else is playing games with me and telling me, you know, stories or tales literally tells? And what am I supposed to do with those tales? And then you start going into, you know, this conversations in your mind of what’s right, what’s wrong. And then it hits a hits a bigger head, like me, I was just in in health care. Oh, my goodness, just so many check engine lights are coming on. And we do amazing things in the healthcare industry, right, as pharmacists, as medical doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, radiologists, etc, we do so many amazing things. But I’ve always also been, you know, deeply philosophical without actually knowing this, I never took any philosophy classes in school, to be honest. And it was only in asking this, this, this questions and trying to make sense of my Earth life experience, that I, you know, realized that I had this lie to me. And in talking to a priest One day, he was actually the first person to call me that where I was, I don’t want to say debating, but I was I was trying to paint a picture of, of how, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t I grew up not believing that Jesus Christ had siblings. And he, his answer was very straightforward to me. He goes, Well, you should have just read the Bible. And it seems so obvious, right? Just read the Bible. But then again, are you telling me all these people who were teaching me this and teaching all of us this didn’t read the Bible? And, and then you’ll get to this nuances of? Well, they did read the Bible. And, and then, you know, everyone starts coming up with justifications of, Okay, well, Catholics read the Bible, but they don’t study. And everyone’s coming up with these reasons for why I never learned that Jesus Christ had siblings. And, and I thought, well, what you’re each demonstrating is basically what I’ve come to learn is that amongst many things, we are a product of our environment. Yeah. And and those environments are as diverse as we are. And even beyond that, if you look at your environment, there’s still many outcomes to how people perceive reality, even though they came from the same environment and the same teachings that you had. And I started to now go back into those and question, and then those were the kind of things that led me to saying, but wait a minute, wait a minute. And it was a little ego. It was a little bit egotistical, but it was seriously, how can I make sense of this reality? If I continue to let other people tell me what it is?

Brian Smith 19:22
Yeah, you know, it’s, that’s a really good point. And the Bible, I think, is a great, it’s kind of a Rorschach test, we see what we want to see, we see we look at and for me, you know, when I started coming out of some of the teachings like eternal hell, and, and Jesus is the only way to be saved and all that stuff. And I was told that that’s the way it reads. And then I started talking to some other people who read the same Bible and said, but now we see it totally different, that you know, everybody is safe, and there’s no eternal hell and you know, now that and I’m like, Well, wait, it’s the same book, but we’re all reading it different ways. And we’re all getting different things out of it. So, you know, I think it’s interesting that we come to this. I think it’s common story we come to, like I said, a dark night of the soul, we all come to it differently. And it’s all manifested differently. But we come to a point where it’s like, it’s just not working anymore. So what made you decide the thing to turn within? Because a lot of times at that point people will go, Well, how can I find you tell me the truth, but you decide to turn within?

Roland Achenjang 20:20
Yes, another great question, Brian. And, again, with me at that point, I had reached a space in my life where I had experienced quite a bit already. Right, I was a practicing pharmacist. So I knew that, at least from a scientific background specific to the practice of, of medicine, and in my field. No, nobody was really going to tell me I mean, I was talking to pharmacists all the time. And many of them weren’t even interested in the kind of questions I was asking, right. And so I just knew that. At that point, I couldn’t find another colleague, to talk about this with, you know, I’ll even share an example of a story. There’s one evening I’m working with a colleague, and this patient gets admitted in the ER, R, and they have elevated liver enzymes. And so the doctors do the workup, the, you know, the order the labs, and then they admit the patient to the hospital. And I’m following the patient through from the ER to admissions on the floor. And I’m looking at the treatment plan for this patient. And the medications that, you know, we intend to give this patient. And what I find out or what I realized quickly is, even though I’m not saying that this is what happens with everyone, I have to preface preface that with this, but is we weren’t really treating the underlying elevated liver enzymes. In this case, we admitted this patient to the hospital and gave him a room to basically rest. Because every medication we gave him was what we call comfort meds, which are usually things like Tylenol as needed for pain. So you’re not really going to get the Tylenol unless you’re complaining about pain, medications for constipation, as needed, everything was as needed. And then IV fluids which is literally rehydrating you, right. And that’s what we gave this patient and I and I’m looking at this and it suddenly dawned on me that for for this patient in particular, in particular, we were basically giving them a place to rest or quote unquote, meditate and sort of get rid of maybe life’s challenges, that would be causing them additional stress, and then making it difficult for this body or their body’s autonomic regulatory system to kick in. And then and then fix the underlying issue. And I look over at my pharmacist and I go, Hey, man, are you looking at this? Like, we’re literally giving this person a place to rest? Mm hmm. Which to me sounded a little bit like, oh, meditate, right? And that those are the kinds of things I was seeing. Um, and then the another reason why I decided to go within again, was was basically that the answers the answers I was looking for, were it in pharmacy, weren’t in health care, weren’t in religion. Because again, I was raised Catholic, but I came to the United States and my Catholic upbringing in Cameroon was different, right? There were different interpretations in the same faith. And then I started to learn about so many other religions, Muslims, right Hindu in Scientology, and then old religions, Greek mythology, Egyptians, etc. And you begin to see this underlying stories that are the same. There’s a story of creation, there’s always a battle. There’s a fall of man, somehow there’s a redeemer that comes in there changes to the stories. The more I began to learn about this different aspects of religious teachings, them I began to see the similarities and how they had differentiated from each other. And then also how they were very, very dependent on the times and the cultures in which they were being spread, right. So I was seeing how the Catholic Church was changing over time, for instance, and I thought, isn’t this sort of like, maybe political in a way? But the one big thing was this, Brian, it was, well, if the founders of these religious practices, right, the founders upon which a lot of these religious practices are based, where souls who were born on this planet What is it that they did? What is it that they had available to them that I currently have today?

And, and amongst everything, it wasn’t the actual religion for one, right? It wasn’t current technology, technological practices that we, you know, we we experienced, so we get involved in, it wasn’t healthcare the way we currently practice. It was their physical bodies, their ability to breathe and their ability to think. And I thought there’s something there. And, and I looked around, and I saw that everybody had a physical body, their ability to breathe and the ability to think. And lo and behold, I had one too. Yeah. And so I, I said, Well, this is the one place I have never looked. I’ve never just paid attention to my body unless it was hurt, unless I had a cold or something. And I thought, what if I just consciously did this? And mind you? There. Many people had meditative practices, transcendental meditation, Kriya, Kundalini, but I was also turned off by those in a way just because I, in my, in my own judgment, and perceptions, I started to see similarities in those practices, and then other, at least in my mind, Catholic upbringing. Mm hmm. And I’ll give you an example. So mantras for instance, I said, what those sound like prayers, you’re repeating things after a while. You’re just saying them you’re kind of lost in them. You don’t even know what they mean. So I said, Okay, I don’t want any mantras. mala beads, they’re like you can you can meditate with mala beads. Looks like that’s, that looks like a rosary to me. Yeah. beads. You’re saying prayers. You may be ordering mantras at the same time. And, and so I said, Okay, no, I’m just going to go with with what I came to this planet with. That was naked, Roland. I mean, I had clothes on when I wasn’t. Yeah, but I mean, just my physical body. Yeah.

Brian Smith 27:11
Yeah, I think that’s really interesting, Roland, because I, you know, as I went through my journey, you know, we were I was taught, you know, trust your teachers trust the Bible. Trust that, you know, and and I went through kind of the same thing. So I started going out is to look at different ways of interpret the Bible, start reading books and stuff. And I think it takes a lot for us to start really trusting ourselves, especially with that, that indoctrination. We’re kids, and if you got this, but I was told that the hardest evil that the heart is wicked, and you can’t trust your own, your own instincts, you know, you’ve got to, you’ve got to read the Bible to understand what, what’s really real. But things start to open up and like you said, you start to look at, because for me, I looked at meditation, and my background was like, okay, meditation is bad. That’s, that’s evil. So I found this thing called contemplative prayer. And so I’m reading books about contemplative prayer. And I’m like, this is just meditation, you know, you read a verse, or you say it over and over again, or the mala beads are the same as the rosary beads. So I think we come to the conclusion, it’s like, well, it’s all kind of the same thing. So when you started your meditation practice, you said you didn’t call it meditation? You just, you just called it? What? Did you have a label for it?

Roland Achenjang 28:20
No, I didn’t. Okay. I mean, the best thing I would say is, I was spending time with myself as much as I could. Because, you know, you do touch on a lot of good points, too, Brian, you talk about reading all the books, and started reading a little bit. And one of the first books I read, that was really great for me was the age of reason, by Thomas Paine. Mm hmm. And in that book, he basically, he this basically, lets the reader, you know, look at the other side of the stories in the Bible, or like, religious teachings. And I thought it was fascinating. And one of the things he pointed out was, how much power we sort of give a creation of source in the sense that, right we have this, this fallen angel, who is now quote, unquote, the devil or Satan, and we fear him just as much as we feared a source and and he was saying, but if, if this being is the creation of the source, how did he get to be so big that we are basically enabling empowering and fearing this thing so much? That you know, it’s it’s basically the, the biggest message in a lot of religious teachings is there’s this being that is so bad. The Creator doesn’t want to get rid of it, but it’s so bad. The only way to get rid of it is if you come to us, and we’ll help you and we’ll show you how we teach you how, and those. So in reading, those are the kind of things that made me think and and then I also begin to began to wonder, but how did he get at this conclusion? Who did he talk to? Right? And that was just spending time I would imagine with himself and thinking and analyzing and trying to make trying to make sense of reality. And another piece to was, again, the check engine lights didn’t stop. And I would do things Brian, consciously that I knew were based off of my upbringing and conditioning, the right things to do expect him to experience similar right things. And I would not, I would experience the total opposite. And so I thought, well, something’s off. And then I would do things consciously that were the wrong things to do sometimes, because it benefited me in a selfish way. Hmm. And it would turn out, okay. And then there were times when I could care less. And I would experience the outcome of both both like a good outcome and a bad outcome. And so it was just all confusing. Even more, so if you look at the background from which I came, I came from a country that, for lack of better words, is literally a third world country under developed, it has a lot of potential that’s not been tapped into. Right. And I come to this country where it’s so developed, the problems we’re facing here, don’t even resonate with what I would say not that we what I would say, with the problems that my fellow Cameroonians are facing back home. Hmm. or in any other, you know, like third world country, for instance. I mean, I’m working in the hospital, for instance, and we’re getting mad and was saying things like, the interoperability of our electronic medical records suck. I can’t share my data with with another hospital because we’re not on the same electronic medical records. Well, I go back home to Cameroon bride, and it’s like, okay, we don’t have roads. We don’t have what is no running water. You’re getting up in the morning to go to the stream to carry water to come back? You’re, I mean, it’s just a different world.

Brian Smith 32:15
Yeah. Yeah. First of all problems. Yeah.

Roland Achenjang 32:18
Yeah. But it’s on the same planet. And if you put just several I mean, as much as you can, if you put yourself in my shoes, it’s like, how can this same planet where we are currently experiencing life? have this much diversity in experience? And then, and then you couple all of that with your own personal experience and how you’re contributing to all of it. The guilt you might feel, because Catholic teachings are really good at making you feel guilty, right? The guilt I felt of, Okay, I’m in America. Why should I be complaining about this? When I go back to Cameroon? I mean, you’re like, whoa, whoa, you’re it’s a different place. different experiences, different problems, and then your your own problems? No one you try to complain when you’re back home, people just think you’re ungrateful. Yeah. But those are the kind of things that led me to say, Okay, if there is a source of creation that we’re all seeking, and if they are these myriad ways that we’re all experiencing life on Earth, how do we reconcile both? And, and that’s why I said, No one is nothing is helping me reconcile both reconcile the pain, reconcile the suffering, reconcile the differences, reconcile the, you know, that, for lack of a better word, the shenanigans It doesn’t make sense.

Unknown Speaker 33:48

Roland Achenjang 33:50
And, in that was, that was my, that that was annoying. Again, many of the reasons why I decided, ah, so there’s, there’s something here that we’re missing, where is it? What are what are the enlightened beings talking about? Right? How do we find it?

Brian Smith 34:08
So you you develop this technique, and I talked to people about meditation and a lot of us are turned off by the idea of meditation, we say, I can’t sit for five minutes without, you know, falling asleep, or just being bored out of my mind or driven crazy by my own thoughts. So what was your experience? Like when you when you first started meditating?

Roland Achenjang 34:28
Oh, great. Great. A great question. So the very first day was actually a morning I was walking home after work because I was working night shift minute. So this was another reason why I say the check engine lights were now just too many. I would go to work from 9pm to 8am. And then before going to work, I would go to class from 6pm to like 8:45pm and then leave and go to work. So I was doing this and sleeping during the day. So the first time I decided I would just sit in my bed in my bedroom, which was I had blackout curtains, my room looked like Batman’s cave. This is true. And again, it was just because I slept during the day at work that night. So, I sat in my bed and and what I decided to do was literally pay attention to as much as I can about my current being. And, and I, I didn’t know what would happen, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know how to do it, I didn’t know where I would start or you know, anything like that. I just thought I would lay there, or sit there, and then see what happens. And the very first time I did it within, like five minutes, because this was out, after work, I passed out, I was gone. I mean, I slept I was so exhausted. And then I wake up. And once I woke up now I was a little more rested. And I tried it again. And instantly, you know, just laying there and trying to pay attention to my being. My mind is racing, right all kinds of thoughts. This that drama here drama, their class, this work this, my technicians are mad at me. My boss is probably not happy that I was maybe late to work. Everything’s coming on, right? I feel awful. At the time, my back was hurting like crazy, I thought I had a pinched nerve that I needed surgical intervention to heal. I was missing my family because I wasn’t seeing anybody anymore. I was just really this lonely being. It sounds really sad, but really was. I look back and I thought maybe I was clinically depressed. Most of this is going on. And then all of a sudden I see this toiling light, right. And it’s just colorful, and it’s very distinct. And it looks like a blurb. But it’s right there and just turning in my in my third eye. Mm hmm. And so I get enamored by it. And that was what my attention now became focused on. And as the lightest turning and just watching it. I’m freaking out at the same time. Like what is this? Right? Nobody up to that point had ever told me this was possible. Hmm. Not in business school at the time. Not in in pharmacy school. The idea that you could lay in your bed after waking up in your best attempt to pay attention to yourself. Sorry, I’m laughing it sounds crazy. But I see this light swirling in my in my third eye. I had no idea what a third eye was at the time. And I’m thinking What is this? What is this? And it goes on for a while. And then it stops. And I wake up. I remember I went to class that day. And I was so alert. I mean, I was awake. And I I paid attention in class that afternoon, evening. And I just being alerted like oh my goodness, and they know what happened. And so I would come back, and then continue the practice where I would sit and pay attention to myself. Hmm. Now while I was doing this, those experiences began to build on themselves. Soon the light turned into my hands would now start moving throughout my body. Kind of like in a scanning position. Mm hmm. My fingers would move through my body as if I was playing piano keys. Hmm. Sometimes my hand would move by itself. I like to pause here and say this. If you recall, I grew up in Cameroon in West Africa. If anything wasn’t off religious Christian teaching that you were experiencing outside of what this realm could explain. It was witchcraft.

Brian Smith 38:53
Exactly, devil.

Roland Achenjang 38:54
Now. I don’t know how, how else to explain it. Maybe I use the word Voodoo. But here in America, um, the whole idea of witchcraft is it’s very different back in Cameroon. It’s a taboo, huh? I mean, a taboo, even the whole idea of meditating is a taboo. That’s that’s witchcraft stuff. Don’t bring that. What do you mean meditating? What’s that? You’re gonna make us go crazy. You’re gonna. So if you can appreciate where I was, as this, this kid who is really just starting to, to dabble into paying attention to himself, and I’m having all these experiences, and my conditioning to that point was, this ain’t supposed to be happening. The red lights were This is witchcraft. Right. And I knew, and I was convinced that I had been possessed by the devil. Right. So that was my thinking. I was like, the devil’s got hold of Roland. He’s now moving his hands in weird ways. What the heck is this? But he was the kicker, Brian. I would meditate and have these experiences, and they would build on themselves One day, my hand might just move an inch. And then I would stop and freak out. Then the next day, my move three inches, and my whole hand will stop moving and moving to my body. And as this built on themselves, I would freak out and stop in a moment. But then realize how much better I was feeling. And then build up the courage to continue to practice.

Brian Smith 40:29
Yeah, and I yeah, I think it’s really fascinating to hear, because as I said, I’ve realized so much to your story, I was raised Pentecostal apostolic, which is similar, everything outside of the church has got to be the devil and stuff. But you, you’ve gotten to the point where it’s like, I’m going to trust myself, I’m going to trust my own experiences and go with it. I think that’s so that’s so powerful that you were able to do that. And, and, and the other thing I think is really cool is when you start to meditate, you had no expectations, you know, for so for myself, a lot of other people were like, Okay, well, how do I do this? And what am I supposed to experience? And I could mess this up, you know, in our own minds, because we were like, you know, am I doing it right? And you you were just free? And maybe that’s why you were able to have such an amazing breakthrough as quickly as you did.

Roland Achenjang 41:17
That is true, I mean, that that’s certainly part of it. And I created this six proven paths to effective meditating guide. And, and that is one of the paths I talked about in looking back at my experience. Now, I did have goals. So I started meditating, because I needed help, amongst other things, to cope with my work and school stress. Right? Right, I had no idea it would become this spiritual practice at all. And that it would lead to a spiritual awakening and kind of life altering and life transforming experience. But the whole idea of not trying to guide it to help me cope with work and school stress only, definitely played a role in that as I was meditating and having these experiences, I was exploring it. And the cool thing was, it was actually simultaneously helping me cope with the stresses of work in school. Yeah. And so today, I say, if you are thinking about meditating, regardless of why, as long as it is your y, as long as you say, Okay, this is why I want to do this. And you’re disciplined enough to continue to practice, right? focused, or even, I’ll just say, with the intention of achieving your y. This will also happen for you. I’m not this unique individual, who all of a sudden figured out something that has not been part of the human race since we started to incarnate on this planet. Even more so given my background, there is no no upbringing of mine, that would have said Roland would be able to find a sense of state of being that he currently has through meditating. Because this is not part of my culture growing up in Cameroon. Yeah. Today, if I even mentioned this to my, you know, fellow Cameroonians, a lot of them, you know, they’re telling me, Hey, take a hike with this witchcraft stuff. Don’t dabble in that stuff. Yeah. And, and, and, and I pray today, I appreciate that very much, right. Especially following my awakening, I do. Because these fears are what are creating the current Earth life experience that we’re having. And these fears are really based off of your upbringing, your conditioning, the lessons you chose to come and learn in this current life. And the way you choose to overcome the fears are entirely yours. And the cool thing is, the more fears you overcome, the more you expand your consciousness, and then eventually, you start to see life from an entirely different perspective, which is what I think is where I am today.

Brian Smith 44:09
Yeah, I think it’s, like I said, as I hear you, when we, when we met a couple of weeks ago, I was like, I can just see myself and you but I see a lot of other people also. And when you talk about your meditation technique, I work with a guy named Calvin chin, who’s taught meditation all around the world. And one of the things that I’ve gotten from Calvin, over the last several months I’ve known him, it’s like, stop expecting, somebody stopped worrying about whether you’re doing it right or wrong. And he had a period of time after his mother passed away when he was trying to get back to his meditation. And he said he would just cry. And he finally realized that was my meditation. It was just to sit there and to be with my own feelings. So I say this to our listeners, not so much you is that if you’re trying to meditate, stop trying, just do it and trust that you’re doing whatever you’re doing is the right thing for you and, and we all have different experiences. I’ve been meditating myself for several years. Now and every day for about the last I’m coming up in four years, I guess it is. My experiences are not like yours, and that’s okay. But your you know, listen to your experiences, they can be, I think inspirational to all of us and realize you know that you got what Roland needed at the time with your experiences. So you’re doing this meditation and you’re getting hooked on it, you’re going, you’re going longer and longer, you start off for five minutes, and now you’re up to what, a couple hours a day.

Roland Achenjang 45:29
So, now I average about two hours a day.

Brian Smith 45:32
So when you had your, your, I’m gonna call it an awakening, and I was at 2018. What was that? Like? What, what was the experience of that like?

Roland Achenjang 45:42
That? That was fascinating. So I’ll take you back a couple of months leading up to that day. Okay, um, and then Fun fact to that August 21 2018, was exactly a year to the date where we had that national solar eclipse move across the United States. It was August 21 2017, when that Eclipse happened. And it was only about, you know, six months after my awakening, where I was looking at the glasses that we had to look at the solar eclipse that I saw that date on there. Whoa, that’s odd. That was a year to date. But I digress. Sorry, to answer your question. About six months, a couple of months prior to that. Part of my meditative practice, would was, you know, still requiring me to adopt these yoga positions. Now, I’ve not mentioned that yet. But the Koreas my hand movements, those began, like I said, to build on themselves, to the point where my entire body was being moved into yoga positions and yoga poses. And it was in that realization, or it was during those experiences that I also appreciated that, you know, everything that we do is really a child of source. When you connect to source, you start to do these things. And it made sense to me in that way. Um, another interesting thing about these yoga poses that I adopt in the midst of meditating is how fine tuned and accurate there are, it’s not like going to a yoga class, I could go to a yoga class, and actually get stressed out even more. Because the poses and the flows that the yoga instructor putting me through, isn’t necessarily what my body needs energetically at the time. Hmm. In deep meditation, these yoga poses that I’m going through exactly what my body needs. And there’s a synchronicity to the entire movement and my breathing, it seems like a symphony, it’s, I’m flexing the right muscles at the right time, I’m breathing just the right amount of depth and releasing at the right time. Sometimes it’s even a firebreath, where it’s faster. So all these aspects of all these different meditation and yoga and breathing techniques, become part of my experience, without me consciously saying, I need to do this now. It’s just letting go deeper and deeper into the meditative practice. But one of these yoga positions I was trying to adopt was a boat pose as like a deep boat pose, where as my butt was on the floor, and my legs were raised up, my torso was also raised up. But then I had to connect my hands to my legs and hold them. So I look like it kind of looks like a triangle in a way. And I, I try to hold that pose. Many times I would, I’d be meditating. And I’d end up on the floor, raise my legs, and then try to hold it and then balance myself in that position. And when I did, I would fall every time I do it. Every time I attempt it, I would fall on this Tuesday morning, I kid you not I’m slipping in my bed. And something wakes me up. And I get this urge deep within, hey, don’t do anything right now. Go meditate. This, this is the time to go do it. Hmm. And because as I’ve started to build on receiving this intuitive messages, not doubting it, I get out of my bed right on the edge there. start meditating. I ended up on the floor again. My legs, right, same pose, my legs go up, my back straightens up. Then my hands in a lock my toes. And then bam. For the very first time, I was able to stabilize, I was strong enough and calm enough to stabilize myself in that position. And as I held it, I could feel this vibration in the base of my spine and a hair pop and then this energy frequency or this energy ball moves right from the base to the crown of my head. Feel it great to me. spine, as one energy wave moves up, I go, oh, now me exclaiming Oh, was actually me remembering all this information about who I was and why I was. And with every move with every way, a

energetic movement, there were three distinct, the first one comes up and I go, Oh, the second one comes up and I go, oh my goodness, that’s true. And then the third one with the third one, it was just a full foot on my goodness, that’s who I am. That’s why I’m here. And this is true for everybody. Now, there were only three ways. We have seven main chakras, depending on who you talk to. Mm hmm. But with those three waves, I had built this strong foundation. And I believe I was actually opening my lower three chakras, literally opening them that the entire hurt f life experience made sense to me, a metaphor would be alright, you have a 1 million puzzle piece. But it’s in a box, and you don’t know what the puzzle is. That’s earthlife. Now with this, we can experience I was able to put all the puzzle pieces together, and I can see the picture. And it was this divine creation. And in it and I looking back, I always think I should have stayed on and then maybe gone on seven waves. But I was so excited, I stopped, I let go, ran upstairs, open my back door and looked out my backyard. And I could see my car, I could see a storage shed right next to my car. Across the street from me was Main Street in this small town where I lived in I can see cars moving and honking my neighbor’s house, her car, the wind hit my face, I could see brushes on the left side of my house, which is kind of like property boundaries, right where it’s like, this is where our property ends, you know, separating my house from what was a photo studio at the time. And I could and then I looked at the clouds and the sky was blue patches were out those the sun shining. And all of this, there was actually like a little dry clothes hanging rack outside to just some wires. All this stuff. I looked at it. And all I could say was holy crap. That’s This is it. This is consciousness. This is, for lack of better. This is the god we’re looking for. All of this, including me Is God interacting with itself as unique expressions of itself. It was it was so beautiful. I was like laughing and crying at the same time. And I felt like I really felt in that moment after remembering all of this. Like the but to the best joke ever told, literally I thought my this is good. And I was just thinking, wow, whoever or whatever designed such an experience. You got us like this is amazing. What, what, what are the same thing? Yes. Having a unique experience. Yes. designed to teach us that we are all the same thing? Yes. What? And so I go back downstairs, and I’m on a high Brian for an entire week. I can’t I can’t sleep a full night. I can’t do anything. I go to work that day. And I couldn’t work. And I’m just spewing all this just consciousness basically just statements and everything’s making sense. I’m trying to tell my coworkers about this. And I literally sounded manic. That’s how happy I was. I was too happy to function. I mean, I’ll be honest, that whole day, eight hours, I didn’t do anything at work. I was just basically walking around laughing and smiling at people as a Do you realize how amazing and brave you are to be here? Do you even understand what you’re doing? Do you get it? Do you remember? That’s the word Do you remember? And of course they didn’t. Of course they thought I was insane. And being pharmacy director, right. It’s like, hey, Roland is supposed to dispense the drug to our patients. Right? Stop taking them. Yeah, stop, stop taking them. But that’s how I felt. And I would come home and have hours of conversations with myself which were basically downloads is one way to say it right and expanded consciousness. So I was getting all this information and all these explanations come through. And I would write them on my phone, I would audio record them. And that was the genesis of my of what eventually became my book.

I would call my wife and talk to her for hours and

and she she was she felt the same way. She’s like, okay, what’s going on? Why are you so happy? If you don’t mind, I’ll share this story just to kind of paint a picture of, of just how happy I was to the point where I wasn’t even, like you can’t function on this planet in that state of being. Yeah, I can’t maintain it. Well, I can. But

Brian Smith 55:14
yeah, I want to interject, because I think it’s a really good point. Because I’m listening to talking, I’ve got a big smile on my face. And it reminds me when I talked to Mary terhune, who had a similar experience. And when we get into your book, I want to talk about this whole idea because the idea of death of the ego, right, and but you, you were saying you couldn’t function you couldn’t you couldn’t go to work and do the normal. And she said the same thing. She went to work and she was worthless. So it’s, I think it’s a really interesting point that you brought up there. But yeah, go ahead and tell the story.

Roland Achenjang 55:44
Oh, yeah, no, I marry, she’s an amazing lady too. And, you know, we connected through actually the same mutual friend who connected us to so and I was also very fascinated with her story. Through meditating, she had an awakening experience as well. Mm hmm. But just to paint a picture of what I mean by you, my life literally changed. Now, at the same time, my wife, beautiful lady, beautiful souls, so brave as well to incarnate on this planet, and then choose to experience life with with my, with my behind. She was in the midst of applying into medical schools. Now, up to that, that week, I was going based on my experience, which was I only applied to to medic to pharmacy schools. And I got into both of them, and I picked one. And so in my ego, and selfishly, my argument was only apply to one or two medical schools. But she said, No, I want to apply to 1520 medical schools. And I thought, That’s ridiculous. You know how much money you’re going to spend applying to all these schools, then what the schools are going to do, because that’s what they do is they invite everybody to come and interview. But at the end, you’re only going to go to one school. So why waste all this energy going and talking to all these people, making it difficult for you to even make a decision afterwards, on which medical school you want to go to? Right, because you have to as part of the match process, you have to pick which schools are your favorite. And then if there’s a match, or if you if you get admitted there, etc, etc, etc. But I was so enamored that she only applied to medical schools, which was, I mean, it was selfish. It was also based off of my experience as you don’t need this many quit stressing yourself out. And then also, I didn’t want to spend that much money applying to all this man. And then, on top of that, you had to fly and travel. And all of this, I don’t do this, right. After my awakening, after remembering who we were and why we were when she mentioned, she, she called she’s okay, we need to talk about this. And I’m so happy, right? I was like, sweetie, if you want to apply to 50 medical schools Go for it, it doesn’t even matter. Listen, you’re gonna end up where you need to be. And all these applications that you’re gonna apply are part of your learning experience. It’s part of your uniqueness. So go for it. Right, and I’m so happy and so supportive and so positive. And it was unusual. she freaked out. But what is going on? Right? Just, that’s just an example of how life was for me that entire week. Yeah,

Brian Smith 58:32
yeah. Hey, everybody, that’s the end of part one of my interview with Roland. Go ahead and find Part Two where we really get into talking about his book. This first part has been talking about his life experience. Part Two, we’re going to talk about the book, I think you’re really going to enjoy it and I’ll see you there. That’s it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you got something out of it. Please stay in contact with me by reaching out at www. Grief to growth calm, that’s grief, the number two or you can text the word growth to 31996. That’s simply text growth gr o wt h 231996. So if you’re watching this on YouTube, please make sure you subscribe. So hit the subscribe button. And then hit the little bell here. And it’ll notify you when I have new content. Always please share the information if you enjoy it. That helps me to get more views and to get the message out to more people. Thanks a lot and have a wonderful day.

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