In Brief: My story and purpose
My name is Ken Taves, but you can call me “Zen Ken.” That’s a name I’ve come to embrace because it was given to me by numerous individuals whose lives I have deeply touched along my path. But it wasn’t always this way…
Brief Background: A long time back, amongst my fellow free-love, tree-hugging hippy days of the early 1970’s, my student friends at UC Santa Cruz gave me the name “CAPITALIST KEN,” and I seriously went on to earn it. Thanks to many factors: a great business partner - team -timing - hard work plus a little luck, I made my first million dollars by the time I was 23 years old. I went on to make many more after that and, boy, was I living it up… fancy cars, motorcycles, airplanes, mind blowing adventures, luxury homes all over the world… a genuine dream life. As a single man I risked a lot and played life big. I took a step higher by marrying the love of my life, had two amazing children and lived the American Dream in our home in sunny Malibu, California. We vacationed in the most amazing places in the world and there was nothing one could imagine that we did not have.
But eventually, I got too greedy. I thought I was invincible. Even though I had it all and was doing what I always wanted, being a good provider and lovingly involved father and husband, I had an inner insatiable desire for “more more more” where I needed constantly bigger thrills. The dopamine rush I got from a short stint with cocaine, racing formula cars, sky diving, helicopter skiing, and body surfing was addicting.. I needed more of that feeling in order to feel connected with living fully…
I was like the main character in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, but I flew my own helicopter, had hotter girls, and a lot better times with Quaaludes, Lemon 714’s… (oh My G-d - they were everyone’s favorite party drug.) Of my many companies, one was involved in online fraud. It was not designed to be, but due to a glitch we crossed over to the dark side of commerce and when discovered it… we didn’t pull back. I let it be and, long story short, my bad choices finally ended up paying me back…
Karma got me good.
I crossed the line… made gigantic mistakes. I was busted for the largest internet fraud ever recorded at the time and I ended up loosing everything: my family, homes, bank accounts, friends, reputation, and most costly, my freedom. Because of self pity, depression and not having inner purpose, I ended up gaining over 100 pounds and just existing was a struggle. I lost all my confidence. I had hit rock bottom.
Upon hindsight, this was the worst, and yet, the BEST thing that has ever happened to me.
You see, just like the classic hero’s journey, the hardship forced me to enter my innermost darkness… and slay the dragon of the ego. I have come to learn many lessons, one of which is that the only way to truly live, is to live truly FREE. It’s not one’s circumstances nor how much money you have nor where you live nor where you go that make your freedom… It is the overcoming of suffering and recognizing that true health is yours any time you want it. You just have to find a little space.
I discovered many wonderful teachers in prison. Two particular come to the forefront of over a hundred great people. These were my Zen and Qi Gong Masters and we practiced one-on-one training for over 14 hours a week for over five years. Qi Gong, and Zen Meditation became my passion. Although I had been practicing Transcendental Meditation and yoga for over thirty years , my need for developing my inner-self required teaching and guidance from my teachers. They helped bring me out of despair—to find my purpose-to give back what I learned from them that saved me and to now pay that knowledge forward to others.
Despite all this training, I returned to the outside world as a lonely man. I had to now apply the tools and techniques I acquired with my masters to create a new way of life for myself in the outside world which was full of the temptations I had been secluded from for the past eight years. In order to survive I dug deep and rediscovered strengths I thought were gone forever. I did this through a very disciplined daily routine combining the best of Eastern and Western health practices mind, body and spirit. The foundation of my practice revolves around mediation and Qi Gong with a religious adherence to diet and sleep. My program also includes yoga, massage therapy, chi machine, breath-work, strength training, swimming, sauna sweats, cold plunges and my magic “sludge” detox smoothies and colonics… alas “Ken Zen’s Program” which today has evolved into Malibu Zen.
Today, nearly four decades later, I’m practically in better shape physically than I ever was in my life (and most 30 years olds). My stamina and mental focus are truly off the chart. I sleep deep, wake up happy with morning wood, have less stress and am fully engaged with winner clients dedicated to bettering their lives. I am pleased to report that I’ve made it full circle and once again get to call Malibu Beach “home.” And here is where I teach from.
Today I share decades of painfully acquired knowledge through Malibu Zen’s dedicated immersive “one on one” training with clients who want to improve their lives… Some of the things we tackle are weight reduction, stress management, detoxification, personal discipline, setting goals and overcoming fears. Each individual client program is custom tailored to each person’s specific needs.
Our goal at Malibu Zen is to help you FIND YOUR FIT.