How being a life-long reader of “mindfulness-scriptures” helped lessen my neurosis
(What follows is only a recounting of the positive effects “mindfulness” has had on my life, and deals with general discussion of the philosophy surrounding mindfulness. I’m not a “mindfulness expert” “counselor” “psychiatrist” or “therapist”, so naturally my article is not meant to diagnose or treat any mental illnesses or psychological problems that I discuss here.)
I’m not sure what got me hooked on to books — related to mindfulness — and my life-long love for them. An early parental divorce? A lonely childhood — clearly an aftermath of the divorce?
But today, (when I’m) in my mid-thirties, reasonably balanced and productive, and with my “all-prevalent” neurosis and loneliness long at bay, I wished to take a moment to thank everything: those vexing moments, a difficult and oft-traumatic childhood, my discovering of mindfulness-books (books on Eastern Mysticism and the rest), and subsequent tempering of my ill-habits — of being habitually anxious and neurotic, being a slave to those emotions.
Now, a little backdrop:
Getting back to my parents divorce — Like all divorces, it was painful. Oh, it sure was. And, like all divorces, it did take a toll…on me emotionally and psychologically, on me a then nine-year-old. Not surprisingly, in the aftermath, I found myself a tad too fearful, anxious and neurotic…to the point where years later, as a young medical student, I found myself desperately lacking in self-confidence.
A question: How did I land there? Like all divorces, the actual event of the divorce was a “sort of relief ”. Why? Because it was sort of like an end, a termination to years of violence and other accompaniments of marital discords, yelling and berating… for example. So, the divorce was a relief. But no hard feelings. I have, again through being a student of “mindfulness”, forgiven my parents. It was not their fault. Not all relationships succeed. And they too were a couple, out of many, that didn’t get along. That’s all. I love them. Still.
But there were few problems in the repercussion: I was “neurotic”, hypochondriac. I’ve had panic attacks. There was an ever-looming sense of hangups or fear about entering into a “relationship”. A sense of dread and fear (of the unknown) never left me! Somehow. Somewhat. Finding solace in “solitude”, I’ve been withdrawn, isolated — and often been deemed a “weirdo” as a result.
But luckily for me, mindfulness-books, that I gazed through after picking them off my father’s shelves, turned into a life-saver.
It was gradual: the embarking of concepts and trying to utilize it in my day-to-day life. But then, I realized that large part of learning, when it came to embarking the know-how of “mindfulness”, lay in “unlearning” (unplugging…if you will) , of “living in the present moment”, of “being grateful and gratified”, of “not repenting the past or groping in future” of “accepting occasional failures” of “living live fully” and of “opening up”. They, in turn, helped foster creativity. And not to forget, I was successful in pursuing my ambitions of becoming a medical doctor and later serving my homeland Nepal.
I began enjoying simple things. I relished meetings with ordinary people…normal folks going about their daily businesses enamored me. Everything — in this Universe and inside of me was “in a sort of never-ending dance, a delightful languor became a constant…now — pleased me. People started to enjoy my company; they felt loved. Peace and love and kindness seemed to radiate from me, from my being. Life itself felt like an eternal dance that I was a part of. When you don’t take yourself “too seriously” amazing things start to happen. That was the lesson.
So, what did I Ultimately learn by reading books on eastern mysticism, Buddhism for instance (and other books on related matters too). Let me delineate:
1. Suffering lay at the heart of being a human;
2. “You shouldn’t beat yourself up”. Don’t be “too hard” on yourself and others. Forgive and forget — often. When “things don’t go your way, let go and relax”. Embrace an accepting heart.
3. Empathy and compassion should be practiced even while you are suffering, cringing— in fact, those timeless “humane virtues” (empathy and compassion) could specially be exercised when your own life was in shambles: and it is also a Buddhist principle, i.e to endure suffering through tolerance and empathy. Those problems were there to teach…to deem you more in touch with your nature. (That was the purpose of those problems, those vexations, to begin with: to teach you, to help you evolve).
4. Follow your ‘human nature”. And what is your nature as a human being? Compassionate, loving, empathetic, generous and kind.
5)Practicing silence and contemplation can be a health-promoting habit. This is something science has validated today.
6) Slow down. You can “only do so much”. Enjoy finer things in life and needless to assert “live in the present moment”.
7) Above all, relax. Enjoy occasional breathers. Occasional breathers breathe life into your works.
8) Succeeding in Self is also succeeding in the outer world.
So, starting at age nine, I became a life-long student of “mindfulness”. Also, I didn’t stop at books on Buddhism alone, I also read books by Indian saints and yogis, most notably, Paramhansa Yogananda, the author of , An Autobiography of a Yogi, Ramana Maharshi and Vivekananda.
Reading their works alone has helped me immensely…Now, decades later when I witness the wisdom of “living in the present moment” or “mindfulness teachings” becoming mainstream, particularly in the advanced Western Nations, I’m more than happy to learn and share what has been in my “heart of hearts, in any case”: mindfulness. Why? Because I know that it works. I’m myself a living testimonial to that notion. My own e-book, Pull of your soul, has done well Internationally. And, soon I’d be looking to share my insights and knowledge through various platforms — blogs, online courses and in-person seminars and workshops: in helping share and propagate the knowledge and wisdom that helped appease my own neuroses.