The story of Namaste Publishing
• Until 1996, my spiritual practice had been a private one so I was surprised when early that year, an inner yearning ignited and I felt called to join with others in spiritual practice – to be part of what in the East is called a sangha. Although this yearning was intense, I did not act on it immediately, thinking perhaps it was a passing whim and would soon fade away. But it didn’t.
I was a management consultant at that time and one day at work, following a meeting in our boardroom, I mentioned my wish to John Kutchenthal, one of my colleagues. John responded, “That’s interesting because I just met a fellow who arrived from England a few weeks ago and is said to be a spiritual teacher.” I was surprised and delighted. “I would like to meet this fellow,” I responded.
John said he would ask him if he would be open to leading meditation sessions in the office. A week later, at the end of a long workday, a small group of us gathered in anticipation. We heard a soft knock on the door; John opened it and in walked a gentle, unassuming man who was introduced to us as Eckhart Tolle.
Beginning that evening and once a week for almost a year thereafter, Eckhart came to our office at the end of the work day or we met early in the morning at John’s home, where we woke ourselves up with coffee and muffins before surrendering to the bliss of stillness. At each of these sacred gatherings, we were fed a measure of pure jana and led into progressively deeper states of stillness and shared Presence. Eckhart was the bonfire of consciousness that drew our small, splintery flames into its centre. Life had brought me my Sangha.
As time passed, I learned that Eckhart was writing a book. While I thought this was a wonderful idea, I didn’t give it a further thought. After a semi-private session with Eckhart that summer, he asked me, “Constance, would you consider being my publisher?”
On one level, I was astonished by Eckhart’s request, but curiously, at another level, not at all surprised. I was happily ensconced in my career as a management consultant. True, for 10 years I had been in the college system as both an instructor and Department Chair of English Literature, but I knew absolutely nothing about publishing.
My ego jumped in: “Constance, you have never published a book before. What if you fail? What if you let Eckhart down? How are you going to find the time to do this, not to mention the money?”
As I drove home from Eckhart’s that afternoon, I began to sense the possibility that behind the chronology of our meeting was the hand of an invisible weaver. If life had orchestrated our coming together at just the moment I was seeking a deeper and more communal form of spiritual practice, was it now orchestrating our partnering in this new work?
My drive from West Vancouver to Vancouver proper that day took me over the Lion’s Gate Bridge. As I literally crossed this bridge, I also crossed an “inner bridge.” Yes, I would be Eckhart’s publisher.
The mustard seed had dropped into the soil.
As Eckhart and I sat together month by month during the writing of his yet-to-be-entitled book, we were in total oneness in feeling compelled to put it out into the world, with no regard as to whether 80, 800 or 800,000 people would read it.
The Power of Now was born into the world in 1997. But many tests of our commitment lay ahead. As first-time author and publisher, how could we defy many of the publishing industry norms and practices to create a breakthrough with this book?
With no marketing budget to speak of in those days of early germination, Eckhart and I often walked the books into stores ourselves. Sometimes we met with no interest and other times the store would order a few copies at a time. Then something wonderful happened – The Power of Now began to spread effortlessly through word of mouth.
It was evident there was a readership for this book. But to best cultivate and respond to it, we needed a vehicle for distribution. After two failed attempts to convince a Canadian national book distributor to carry The Power of Now, the third and final attempt met with success.
Fifteen years after its first printing, The Power of Now has sold almost seven million copies worldwide, is available in 47 languages and continues to find new readers and catch the public eye. The delicious spiritual “back-story” is that this one book alone has significantly contributed to raising the consciousness of our entire planet.
Would Eckhart write another book? At all times, our publishing decisions were dictated by the hand of life’s invisible weaver. The answer came as Eckhart’s teaching evolved. The Power of Now was followed by Stillness Speaks and then A New Earth.
Led by the hand of life, other authors were published and much like Eckhart, they were not sought out; Life brought them to Namaste Publishing, along with a perfect mix of gifted, service driven staff.
Just as with The Power of Now, which ignited Namaste Publishing, all subsequent publications were and will continue to emanate from our intent to be of service to humanity by providing content born of the higher consciousness that is pressing to emerge on the planet at this time. This higher consciousness speaks of our true nature, our divine and inestimable worth captured in the word “Namaste.” Namaste Publishing grew over the years through sub-licensing and co-publishing agreements, foreign rights sales and by finally procuring our own distribution throughout North America and the world.
Any person in business whose primary raison d’etre is to be of service to their fellow man needs to have both feet on the ground at all times: one foot in the spiritual world, the other in the practical world. That’s a given. The challenge is to remember which of the two you must always lean on. Then decisions are made quickly and with confidence.
Of course, one will be challenged along the way and it is usually just before life presents a new service challenge. Has egoic motivation crept in? Is heart energy still the fuel which drives actions? Are you up for the next round?
One can only move with humility because it is evident through experience that the “little me,” as Eckhart Tolle calls it, does very little of the work. One’s job in this business of service simply involves being a willing vehicle through which love can flow into the world, holding to one’s service intent while ensuring it remains pure, listening for directions from your “inner knower, “ then taking the next small step, followed by the next.
In Namaste Publishing’s birth and growth, all manner of help was given, as needed, from both seen and unseen helpers. We have been carried, like the eagle born up by the wind, needing only to make a slight movement of wing to effect flight or a change of direction.
Life has generously given back to us and we continue to experience wonderful surprises to which we can only respond with profound gratitude.
And the beautiful beat goes on. Namaste.
Constance Kellough is the founder and publisher of Namaste Publishing and the author of The Leap: Are You Ready to Live a New Reality?
mustard seed photo © Shawn Hempel