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An Inner Treasure Awaits You

By Tom Gegax

In 1989, I thought my life was working pretty well. Then, within a 6-month period, I was diagnosed with cancer, my 25-year marriage ended, and my chief financial officer came into my office and said, “Tom, the bank account is a million dollars short and our credit line is exhausted. What are we going to do?” So, just like that, the three major areas of my life — my health, my love relationship, and my career — were in shambles. And I was hit with the stark reality that not only had my life not been working, but that I had played a major role in causing it all to come tumbling down.

That was when I began seeking a different way of being in the world. I knew I had to remake myself and create mutually fulfilling relationships in all areas of my life in order to be truly happy. It was a long, painful process, but by exploring healthier lifestyles and making better choices, I was eventually able to reclaim my health, find a wonderful woman to share my life with, and build my business into an industry leader.

Three years after that triple trauma, I took a meditative trip to the Greek islands with the express purpose of getting more in touch with myself, something I wasn’t able to do amidst the busyness of everyday life. I had heard the Greeks had the worst phone system in the world, so I decided to go there for a retreat. I did a little sightseeing but most of my time was spent meditating day and night in my room. There was no schedule for when I would eat or sleep. I wanted to get lost in not thinking and just being.

Remember in the movie Cocoon when two people were across the pool from each other but were having virtual orgasmic, bliss-like experiences? That’s how I felt. I was able to get in trance-like states that were incredible, just sitting there meditating, not thinking about any of life’s challenges, feeling a deep sense of connection with everything. It was a unique state of feeling grounded, yet being one with the universe. I had meditated before but had never been in such a deep state.

One night, after a particularly blissful meditative day, I woke up in the middle of the night. On the pillow next to me was a bright, glowing treasure chest. I was wide awake; this chest was definitely not a figment of my imagination. I stared at it for ten or fifteen seconds, and finally thought, I’ve gotta try to touch this thing. As my hand drew closer to the chest, it slowly dissipated until it was gone. I got right up and wrote it all down, in case I would try to fool myself the next morning into thinking it hadn’t happened. The meaning of it was very clear to me — that if you take more time to meditate and go within, the treasures are immense.

For another week, until I flew back home, everything seemed so bright and magical. It was like I was living in a fantasy land. My senses were so heightened and powerful, and I was experiencing life to a greater degree than I ever had before. I’d love to say, yes, I visit that space all the time, but even though I’ve gone on a few more retreats since then, I have not yet been able to duplicate that experience.


Tom Gegax has been a Shell Oil executive, a start-up founder, a CEO, and a member of numerous boards. He co-founded and sold the national chain Tires Plus Stores to Bridgestone/Firestone before writing books, including The Big Book of Small Business. Gegax Advisors provides seminars and speaking while Tom serves on the boards of Center for Science in the Public Interest and Bobby Kennedy, Jr.’s Waterkeeper Alliance. For more information, click here.

This story appears in Phil Bolsta’s book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. To order your copy, click here.

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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 12: The Enneagram Global Summit