HomeVolume 7October 2022Finding peace of mind

Finding peace of mind

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Finding peace of mind

THÉOPHILE STREBELLE has worked as a lawyer in Paris and New York for 15 years. His busy work schedule was taking a toll on him, so he decided to take a break and is currently in India. Here he shares with us how a practice of meditation helped him break the thought pattern that was driving his life.


For most of my professional life, my main concerns have been productivity and efficiency: how can I execute the maximum number of tasks as perfectly as possible in a minimum amount of time? My days started with a list of things to do and my life energy was used to execute them. My reward for that was an ephemeral feeling of accomplishment. Every day would start with a new “to-do” list. I was doing what I had been taught at school, and then at work: executing what people were expecting from me. 

After years of living this way I could see an improvement in my profitability but none in my well-being. The number of things that I “had to do” was increasing. My mind was pushing for more action every day. 

One day, I started to seriously question this never-ending push for action and achievement. Where is this drive coming from? Is this way of living a part of my nature or only the result of my education? 

To find out, I made a radical change in my life. I stopped working. What would happen to my mental state if I had nothing to do? I organized my life in a way that I had zero obligations. No work, no social interactions. At that time I was thinking that this decision would instantly erase my mental loops and bring me immediate balance and calmness. 

Things didn’t go that way. At all. I first started doing things that I have always wanted to do. Spending time in nature, in creative activities, reading books, and learning new skills. I was enjoying these activities and my mind was stable and focused while performing them. However, while I was inactive and at rest, my mental activity was still very strong and my thoughts were all over the place. There was no improvement in my overall well-being. I was fulfilling my desires but nothing had changed. Worse, the activities I was doing were stimulating me so much that the lows felt lower. I was not satisfied. It felt like the changes I had made to my existence were not right.



I was looking for guidance when a friend of mine suggested meditation. I thought I had nothing to lose and was willing to give it a try. This is where the real change happened. I got introduced to the practice by a trainer and right after the first session I slept profoundly, like I had not slept in a very long time. I remember being surprised by such a quick change and decided to give a serious and disciplined shot to the practice. I started meditating every day and at fixed hours. At first, my mind was still racing, and my thoughts were altering my ability to concentrate. Slowly, session after session, I started noticing small changes. My mind was getting clearer. My focus during the day was increasing and the number of thoughts was decreasing. I was not feeling any urge to feed my mind with multiple thoughts. At the same time, I realized that some thoughts were signals to the changes I had to make in my life. Some others were unimportant and I could let them go.




It triggered an almost vital motivation
to deepen my practice and put my thoughts
at the service of the expansion of my heart.



Then, in a very subtle way, the space that had been made available in my mind started to fill with a sense of calmness and balance I had never experienced before. I had learned how to remain unmindful of my thoughts so that they did not affect or trouble me. That state became so precious that my will for growth became a priority. It triggered an almost vital motivation to deepen my practice and put my thoughts at the service of the expansion of my heart. 

Today, after a few months of regular practice, my mind has become clearer than it has ever been my entire life. My focus has increased. I feel lighter. I found the courage to make decisions I had avoided for many years. I feel transformed, anew, and refreshed. I know better where my priorities are, and what is right when I make decisions. This practice has been a time- and life-saver. I know that today I found the perfect tool for growth and a guide toward peace, my heart.


Théophile Strebelle

Theophile is a lawyer. He worked in finance in Paris and New York for 15 years and now lives in Chamonix, France. 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Good to know your story. We are taught to earn what is good for us, and spend the rest of the time every day in quiet surroundings, silence, meditating.

  2. I AM ALSO AN ADVOCATE, AND IT IS GOOD TO READ YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHICH ALMOST REFLECTS MINE. EVEN AFTER PRACTICING MEDITATION FOR SEVERAL YEARS, HOWEVER, I COULD NOT HALT THE MATERIAL INTERESTS AND COULD NOT STOP WORKING. I AM HAPPY THAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED WHAT YOU DESERVED.

    • Key point he has made is that one learns not to pay attention to the thoughts arising in the mind.
      When thoughts are there during meditation, you simply remind yourself that you are meditating on the light in the heart. Do this very gently.
      Thoughts stop bothering you. They stop like a barking dog stops when it is not attended to, or an uninvited guest goes away if we don’t pay attention.

  3. I am grateful to you for the excellent write up, advice and guidance for well-being. It is a pleasure to read and understand such incidents, thanking you once again, and hope to receive in future too.

  4. Most people ignore the signals of the heart, so salute to your ability to take a pause and to take hard decisions to follow your heart. This is the real courage I believe. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  5. What a wonderful and supportive article! I find especially interesting the part where the author tells how he found no real peace even in leisure mode.
    And that his previously developed discipline helped him to find the way to his heart very quickly thanks to daily meditation.
    Thank you for this beautiful contribution to us readers, Théophile!

  6. Very inspiring Theo, what technique are you using for your practice: mantra, the breath, Zen?
    I have struggled with my practice for years, still searching…

  7. It’s a wonderful journey you have gone through, and it will inspire us to look at our lives differently. Thank you for sharing. As an entrepreneur, it’s very important to have peace of mind to increase productivity. The only challenge is how to start meditation as i am not able to concentrate.

  8. I have also found that meditation helps find balance in life-enhancing, enlightening, and inspiring this life through the heart!
    Thank you for sharing!

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