A few years ago, Americ Azevedo sat in a college classroom with about 15 students. It was a meditation class and he was the instructor. This past fall, that same class enrolled 603 students and took place in one of the largest lecture halls on the UC Berkeley campus.
A philosopher, author, and lecturer of peace studies, Americ slips through all of these titles as a seeker of truth. He's spent a year living without money and serendipitously became the acting CEO of a company in a field for which he had no formal training. He's taught an unlikely mix of university classes (philosophy, religion, leadership, finance, business and information systems), developed several virtual companies, directed the Innovation Center at Golden Gate University, and held the first podcast at UC Berkeley in 2005. Today, he co-teaches a service-learning class on inner-to-outer social change, and focuses on building a more human world in this age of technology.
In the early morning hours, Americ finds time to write. Lucky for us, he shares some of them online:
On the bus to work I read a passage from Krishnamurti, "Live the truth." That phrase exploded in my mind. I must say "No!" to those aspects of life that are false or do not work. That same day I got up before my trainees and felt a pit growing in my stomach that gradually moved up to my mouth. After writing a sentence on the blackboard, I turned around and said, "I can no longer do this work. We are not real with each other in this company. We ignore each other. There is no love in this place. I quit." As I walked out, half the class looked stunned while the other half applauded.
Back at my desk, I felt a powerful stillness. I saw everything in a new light. The desk, the walls -- everything present was suddenly there. An emotional and spiritual fog had lifted. Gradually, people came by and wished me well. Some felt that I had contacted a deep need in themselves.
Socrates showed us that thinking the truth is not enough. Truth demands to be lived.
Join us on February 2nd, for more insights from Americ's unlikely path.