Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple Inc and Pixar Animations, was responsible for revolutionising four major industries in his relatively short life; computing, music, movies and mobile telephones. He was a visionary who transformed our day-to-day lives through his passion for technology and drive for perfection. But something few people know about Steve Jobs is he was an incredibly spiritual man with a deep interest in Zen Buddhism.
It began in high school when he started experimenting with fasting and rigid vegan diets. Then during his only semester at Reed College, Steve continued to explore his spirituality by creating his own reading list, including the following titles –
Be Here Now by Richard Alpert, Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa, Meditation in Action by Chögyam Trungpa, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Once Steve dropped out of College, he continued to sleep on friends’ floors and drop in on lectures which took his fancy. Meanwhile he would travel seven miles across town to the local Hare Krishna temple once a week for a good meal. In the Summer of 1974 he spent months seeking spiritual guidance in India and in 1991 was married by his Zen teacher, Kobun Chino Otogawa, who was also appointed by Jobs as the spiritual advisor at Apple Corporation.
In his Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005, Steve talked passionately about listening to your intuition, advising students to follow their hearts and find what they love. He had been guided by his intuition his entire life and during times of hardship (like when he was fired from the company he had co-founded), he never lost faith. He remained focused and determined. Believing every challenge was sent for a reason, even if it was difficult to see why sometimes, the ‘dots’ do eventually connect and everything falls into place.
If you find what you love, work hard and love what you do, you will create success for yourself, but it has to be honest and true to the very depth of your inner being. That comes from listening to your intuition, understanding who you are and what you want and having the courage to chase it. Sadly this is something people find increasingly difficult in our digital age. Surrounded by endless choices, hectic schedules and boundless technological distractions, we are becoming further and further removed from our spiritual selves and clarity of thought.
At Steve Jobs’ memorial service, all attendees were handed a small brown box on their way out. One final gift and passing of wisdom from Steve, a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.