Kenya’s Machachari actor, Ian Nene has opened up about the transformative journey that led him to join a monastery.
He said his profound decision was triggered by a series of challenges, including his mother’s diagnosis of stage four breast cancer and his battle with depression and substance abuse.
According to Ian during an interview on The Motive Podcast, his world took a drastic turn when his mother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. The news sent him into a spiral of depression, and he turned to drugs as a way to cope with the overwhelming pain.
It just hit me like a break. “You don’t think it’s ever gonna happen to your family. I got depressed for a while. I started getting into drugs to minimize my pain.
“In my inquiry, I reached out to a friend of mine who had posted a picture of this lady who seemed more peaceful than normal… She told me she could give me absolute wisdom.
“I visited the temple she was staying at in Nairobi and started asking all these questions Then these guys were just looking at me with smiles,” he said.
Ian’s visit to the temple marked a turning point in his spiritual journey. Instead of engaging in heated arguments, he found monks responding to his questions with verses about the journey of life, the seasons of stress, and the laws of Karma.
Ian’s newfound spiritual journey didn’t align with his staunchly Catholic mother’s beliefs. She noticed changes in his behavior, from the aroma of incense to his association with monks.
Concerned about the monks’ lifestyle and fearing her son was being brainwashed, she demanded that Ian cease visiting the temple. Despite her disapproval, Ian persisted in his quest for spiritual understanding.
“She was like wait…where did you come from? My mum is a staunch Catholic and I applaud her her faith in Catholicism is so beautiful and I’ve just watched her always still rely on her practice of connecting with God. That’s the reason I was attracted to the practice in the first place. Coz of my mum’s faith in God.”
She resorted to cutting off his financial support, hoping to discourage his involvement with the temple.
“She cut off my money, coz I’m still under her care because she knew it would not be easy for him to travel,”
Undeterred, Ian found ways to fund his visits, leading to strained relations with his mother. The situation escalated when his lies were exposed, and his heartbroken mother accused the temple of brainwashing him.
Unyielding in his quest for spiritual growth, Ian’s mother booked him a flight back to the UK, hoping to sever his ties with the temple.
However, Ian found a similar community in the UK, and one of the monks there became his mentor. Determined to continue his monastic journey, Ian announced to his mother that he wouldn’t be returning to Kenya.
Ian’s decision to stay in the UK was met with heartbreak from his mother, who felt abandoned during her battle with cancer.