How a Dubai entrepreneur’s spiritual awakening inspired a book


On his way to Dubai, where he moved from his home country Canada, Alexander Thomas made a retreat stop in London, where he experienced a spiritual enlightenment. The visions of divinity and cosmic love were so vivid that he wrote them down the next day.

“One of the things that is difficult to communicate with people is how precise these things are; it’s not like a dream, ”he says The national. “I think it sounds crazy to most people who haven’t experienced this insight and directness and depth. And it was scary because it indicated a change in my life and I don’t like change. But it shaped my decision to write about the love and beauty that I testify. “

This extraordinary event forms the cornerstone of Man on the move, part memoir, part love story and part self-help book published last month by The Dreamwork Collective.

As a Canadian tech entrepreneur and co-founder of the global aviation start-up Searidge Technologies, Thomas has been in constant motion for the past two decades and has shaped his business. Nevertheless, he says, he feels an increasing tendency towards spirituality.

Man on the move guides readers through the past and present of personal experiences that led Thomas to move to the United Arab Emirates. As he better understands his role in the universe, he ponders how to apply the principles of love and compassion to his encounters and relationships.

“Spiritual awakening is only half the way; The integration of divine wisdom and intelligence into everyday experience takes a little longer, ”he writes.

Thomas’ tone is honest and engaging, and the experiences he shares are relatable – from his tendency to chew the inside of his cheek in awkward moments to his ritual chanting of You are my Sunshine to his children. He also writes about not being entirely “present” with his children: those “moments of inattention that will be lost forever” that will appeal to any parent who finds they are glued to their phone far too often.

Fatherhood strongly influences the author’s desire for a more rewarding and spiritually balanced life, and he is motivated to break out of the constant, income-oriented cycle of society.

“To me, being a positive role model means having some clarity in my own life, and I didn’t believe in just cycling through the monopoly of making money. So I thought, ‘What are my beliefs?’ And that kind of boosted my writing, ”he says.

The United Arab Emirates can be seen frequently everywhere Man on the move, from Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the Dubai Opera. Thomas also mentions major world events and the reactions of his own family and friends to them, such as the 2016 US election that resulted in Donald Trump’s victory and the day George Floyd was assassinated, sparking global protests against #BlackLivesMatter.

Covid-19 had a significant impact on Thomas’ life and writing. He describes his life before the pandemic as “autopilot” and compares the pandemic with the world in “time out”. Then, six months after the pandemic started, he decided to back out of his company and step down.

“I wanted to re-evaluate and re-evaluate and reconcile my own actions with the text in the book,” he recalls.

Not only does he define the time throughout the book with reference to Covid-19, such as “seven years before the global pandemic,” he also wrote most of the text right in the middle.

“It was [initially] three times the size and there was a lot of anger and confusion, ”he says. “I spent the next 18 months with various editors and loved the process – I would brush over any trace of anger and confusion with an iron and finally come to this loving thought about a situation.”

Man on the move is a deep dive into the churned wheels of an enlightened mind. It will resonate with readers of various faiths, and even those who have no religion at all. “I claim to be like a wise old man, just to be a good person who can be helpful.”

Many of his thoughts about conquering one’s ego, the veils of reality and absolute love reflect the work of the 13th century Muslim philosopher Ibn Arabi, whom he describes as “my hero”.

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Thomas reveals a deep awe for the Islamic faith and writes that he feels a movement when he hears the azaan or the call to prayer.

“When I drive on the highway in Dubai, the strongest scene is a man standing by the side praying – I pull myself together every time,” he says. He believes that the desire to be worshiped is “innate”.

Thomas is currently working on starting a new company, still in the global aviation sector, but with a focus on environmental sustainability. It also suggests another book in the future – one perhaps inspired by the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran’s definition of love.

“I want to keep writing, I just love to write, but I want writing to be anchored in the filth of everyday experiences,” he says.

Man on the move contains innumerable lessons in self improvement and spiritual awareness, but at the same time Thomas’s work is evidence that one must take the initiative to embark on a journey of one’s own to discover the depths of their existence.

Updated: November 30, 2021, 3:58 a.m.

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