Most of us in western society are born fortunate simply because of geography. While specific circumstances of our upbringing such as familial life, education, and health are unique to every individual and are innately more challenging to traverse for some over others, we are fortunate in that we are born and raised in relatively peaceful environments and times.
Ramzi Najjar was not so fortunate.
Born in Beit Mery, a small town in Mount Lebanon, Lebanon in 1978, Najjar was born and raised amidst the Lebanese Civil War: a 15-year stretch of violent turmoil in Lebanon’s history that claimed over 120,000 casualties. As a result, Najjar’s childhood was extremely stressful having witnessed explosions, bombings, and other disastrous violence in his home country, leading him to find creative outlets to alleviate the stress of his upbringing. But when Lebanon’s civil war ended in 1990, Najjar, then only 12 years old, couldn’t help but compare the violence he had been surrounded by during his childhood to the calm that draped his homeland, as well as the lives of his family and friends in its aftermath.
For years, Najjar wondered how people from all walks of life could be both so aggressive and violent at times, yet friendly and compassionate at others. His search for answers to this perplexing dichotomy – one that beckoned him to explore the nature of our reality and the psychology of the mind – wasn’t taught or covered in any of his school subjects. It wasn’t until after he finished his preliminary college education at Louise Wegmann College in Beirut, followed by the completion of a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration at The American University of Beirut in 1997, that he was finally able to explore the topics that had interested him for nearly two decades.
After completing his mandatory one year of Lebanese military service at the age of 24 in 2002, and recognizing the lack of career opportunities in his native Lebanon, Najjar traveled to Kuwait where he rediscovered the innate power of reflection, self-discovery, and growth in peaceful silence and solitude. In 2011, Najjar established Securita, one of the world’s leading insurance brokerage and consultancy firms focused on serving clients in regions of the Middle East and North African. But having to focus on his career, it wasn’t until later in 2013 that Najjar says he felt something hit him “like thunder” – a kind of awakening that resulted in “an intense headache for a full day.”
“[I knew that] I could not continue living the way I was unconsciously living,” said Najjar, “and I felt an urge to apply consciousness [to my life] and filter all that I do from that moment on.”
According to Najjar, applying that filter to all aspects of his life – from the food he ate to the social interactions he had with others – allowed him to realize that this new “awakening” was causing a shift in his behavior. In fact, it was allowing him to live a more enlightened and existential lifestyle: one where he allowed conscious practices of reflection and self-awareness to thrive and impart peace onto others.
Najjar’s “awakening,” of sorts, came to a head in 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mandatory lockdowns brought on by the pandemic caused him to find himself once more in silent solitude, but those periods of being isolated in lockdown brought one additional element Najjar had been lacking: time.
“COVID-19 created the time [I] needed to put all of the realizations and knowledge from my life into my book, ‘The YOU Beyond You – The Knowledge of the Willing’,” Najjar said. The book, which was published in July of 2020, summarizes Najjar’s experiences from childhood into the modern day and offers insight into his beliefs on what reality is, how it works, and how it impacts the human experience.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding one’s birth, upbringing, or other factors, all of us experience life through the same lens of subjective perception. Those perceptions are molded by the beliefs, biases, and experiences we all have, as well as the things that we are taught or told by others. Rarely do we allow ourselves the time to stop, breathe, and meditate on the reality surrounding us. Because so much of our lives are inadvertently influenced by our beliefs and perceptions – many of which often congeal into a collection of misleading ideas – this, in turn, can generate mental “blockages” of sorts, further hindering our ability to truly recognize and understand our own reality.
In his book, ‘The YOU Beyond You’, Najjar guides readers through numerous methods (many of which Najjar has used himself) in order to dissolve the detrimental beliefs, energies, and habits gathered through our experiences and gained passive knowledge, while simultaneously bestowing the knowledge of life’s true secrets and “how they operate [both] within us and [within] our environment” – a process that, as Najjar describes in his book, regularly occurs for each and every one of us, but “mostly goes unseen due to the obstructions in our lives.”
‘The YOU Beyond You’ is much more than a simple self-help guide. Within the book, Najjar explains how perception is merely the tip of the iceberg in how we experience life and its nature. As Najjar explains, by dissolving our mental blockages, we can become unafraid to dive deeper into life’s true nature and use it as a platform to unveil the true depths of our knowledge and potential in order to achieve even our most ambitious goals in life and become the best, truest version of ourselves.
In this way, ‘The YOU Beyond You’ is an exploration of the intricate network that ties our mind, body, and spirit together within our environments, and how recognizing the delicate connections between these aspects can help anyone – no matter their past experiences – to grow and flourish.