To many, spirituality and business success may seem like mutually exclusive concepts: To achieve the former, you must reject the latter. But the self-made millionaire David Hans-Barker is not only proof that you can achieve both, but he has also made it his mission to teach what he calls the ‘spiritual hustle and bustle.’
Today he is the founder of YogiLab, co-founder of Guide Education, and meditation teacher, but David hasn’t always had it all. Born in Mysore, India, having fled an oppressive religious cult while still young, he was raised in poverty by a single mother on the busy streets of Southall, west London.
At age 14, increasingly drawn to gang-related crime, he managed to break “that regressive mental cycle,” as he describes it, to find a path to discovery through the power of meditation.
After turning his life around and earning a degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Kent, David realized that authenticity was the key to finding spirituality.
“In my 20s, I didn’t want to be rich and own a Ferrari. I wanted to live in the middle of nowhere, somewhere with chickens where I could volunteer and build villages in Africa, ”he says. He chose to live as a monk for three years, which led him into deep meditation and ultimately gave him the skills that would later enable him to be successful in business.
“Meditation helped me realize that everything is pattern recognition,” says David. “You can use pattern recognition to make a market strategy in the same way as when you analyze a literature book,” he says. “And with the same idea, you can understand the patterns from which you are built, if you meditate deeply,” he says.
His knowledge allowed him to predict market movements and visualize new business opportunities for people, which led him to earn a lot of money. “All of these opportunities just started coming my way,” he says. “On a more real level, when I came out of meditation, I had a lot more positive comments from the world.”
Meditation for social change
By the age of 27, David had achieved financial independence by hitting the million dollar mark, and soon after became an eight-figure entrepreneur.
“I know that meditation changes lives because it changed mine forever,” he says. Seeing firsthand how much the practice helped him and his family deal with real-world problems had such a profound effect on his life that he wanted everyone to have access to the same power, regardless of their circumstances. “Meditation is a practical skill, not just an elite spiritual hobby, that’s why we bring it to people,” he says.
Now his mission is simple: bring meditation to 80 million people, 1 percent of the world’s population today, in line with the Maharishi Effect, which is linked to the belief that if 1 percent of the population meditates, it will produce measurable improvements in the quality of life of the entire population.
YogiLab brings people together
A starting point in this mission was the creation of YogiLab, established to offer meditation as a real-world skill, bridging the worlds of business and spirituality, and applying meditation to all areas of life.
David founded YogiLab together with fellow ‘spiritual scammers’ Brian Kelly, Sascha Haert, Aren Bahia and Aurimas’ AJ ”Juodka. Not only are each of the five trainers at the center highly qualified to teach business and spiritual development practices, they are all successful entrepreneurs in their own right.
His physical space is The Istana in Uluwatu, Bali, which today leverages the experiences of each of his tribe to bring a next-level, multipurpose venue on the cliffs of one of the most spiritual places in the world.
He explains that the goal was to be able to create a meeting place where both “billionaires and backpackers” could meet. Having mixed in both circles at different times in his life, David said he was surprised to discover a new truth. “Growing up thinking money was bad, I was surprised to find that the billionaires I met were among the most conscientious people I have ever met.”
Bringing together different ends of the wealth and social spectrum is also linked to his deep-seated belief that “meditation levels the playing field.”
Meditate to move forward
YogiLab offers free online Vipassana meditation courses every month, with a strong focus on how to apply meditation to your life in the most practical way.
Vipassana, which means “to see things as they really are,” is one of the oldest meditation techniques in the world, and was taught in India more than 2,500 years ago as a remedy for universal ills.
David says that the reason YogiLab focuses on Vipassana and gives it away is because that is the only technique that he knows from experience that it does everything.
“That’s the only way I realized this, not listening to some guru, not joining some tradition, is just trying things on myself, seeing what worked and seeing what didn’t. And to be honest about it. “He goes on to explain how his self-experimentation inspired the YogiLab logo – a yogi inside a conical laboratory flask,” because the point is, we are all our own laboratory. “
Having originally offered free online meditation during the pandemic, when meditation centers were forced to close, YogiLab now has more than 10,000 people enrolled in its next course and has reached more than 100,000 people since July 2020.
New methods are being adapted to reach even more, including the creation of YogiLab Meditation Hubs, guides to help people create and manage their own meditation centers. And not forgetting the ‘Day of the Spiritual Hustler’ to bring meditation to the real world and create the 80 million meditators needed to unleash the Maharishi Effect.
Spiritual scammers day
The ‘Spiritual Hustlers Club’ online training program allows participants to step up to their potential by achieving personal and financial success and living their purpose.
“At Spiritual Hustler’s Club, we see spirituality as a practical skill. There is no separation between the hustle and the soul. Because when you infuse your life with concentration and meditative states, you will find that everything becomes spiritual, ”says David.
And at the heart of it all, he concludes, is meditation.
“So if I want to give something to someone, it is Vipassana. If I have children and I have the option of giving them billions of dollars or being able to practice meditation properly, I would certainly give them Vipassana meditation. Because if you can do it right, it practically gives you mastery over yourself and over anything you want to master. “