Alan Gompers had it all: massive wealth accumulated from wildly successful business pursuits, a dream house, a beautiful wife and children. There was only one thing wrong: He was miserable. “All the things I ever wanted seemed to come true,” Gompers explained on the phone recently, “but it was all fueled by this incredible loneliness and fear and depression. I was more materialistically better-off than I ever dreamed I would be, but I was as close to suicide as I have ever been.” In desperation, he turned to drugs, then to dealing drugs. One night, the police busted him in the middle of a deal, and he found himself facing 15 years to life in prison.
It was on the prison yard where Gompers had the experience that altered the course of his life: After breaking down hysterically, he found himself lapsing into meditation. Though he had no experience of the practice, he emerged from it changed forever. “The knot I’d had in the pit of my stomach all my life was gone,” he said. “The loneliness and fear were gone. I was sitting there in the prison yard feeling more content than I had ever been. I had no idea what the hell had happened to me.”
This Sunday, April 11, Gompers will appear at Yoga Soup (28 Parker Wy.) at 7:30 p.m. to share his story and to promote his book, Maximum Security: The True Meaning of Freedom. The book, which took Gompers a decade to write, tells the story of his extraordinary life, from Wall Street and real estate successes to the depths of depression and to that moment on the prison yard, now 30 years ago, when he discovered the power of meditation to free the mind.
For more than two decades, now, Gompers has traveled the country teaching meditation. “The real prison is the mind itself,” he explained. “That was the big realization for me—I was searching for happiness and freedom in external things until I realized they could not give them to me. I realized nothing out in the world had anything to do with the experience I had.”
For information about Gompers’s appearance, call 965-8811 or visit yogasoup.com.