In search of peace…my accidental spiritual journey!
This story goes back to those days of my life when I was trying to counsel a friend of mine into taking a lifetime decision. He was going through turbulent times and was in the verge of giving up everything in life. He wanted help to decide on his life. This basically means separation from his “wife”. So, this friend would call me up everyday and cry about his life non stop. I slowly reached a point where I couldn’t bear his daily pain and rantings. I tried to console him somehow my way. I am not married yet, so my judgments and advises were naive and could be biased. Understanding this fact, I tried consoling him both ways:
Ø By being non-judgmental — asking him to go back to his wife (the conventional way where all are happy), the most ideal situation
Ø A stronger decision like moving on, starting fresh and giving life another chance.
My goal was to help him try at least one of the options. The challenge was that he would do neither and crib about this situation every day! This was taking us nowhere. The only solution I could think of was to stop taking his calls as I couldn’t bear more negativity.
This ban went on for almost 6 months. He called me one fine day after long and i thought of speaking to him. To my surprise, he sounded all happy and transformed. All the negative ramblings were gone. I was surprised when i saw him back to his normal bubbly self and this was an achievement. I was no less than happy with him in this success.
The secret of his makeover.
Well, I was curious to know how that happened. My friend narrated to me that had been seeking professional help through all means possible. Nothing seemed to have worked out in the long run. However in this process he met a mentor who helped him connect with his real self. I call this mentor an angel. The previous counselors provided relief but temporary and at a price. This mentor who finally healed him, charged nothing so i equated him to an angel.
Someone once told me that all good things in life that make us happy are freely available. eg: kindness, gratitude, love, blessings, laughter etc. We waste time searching for them and ultimately depend on others.
I wanted to meet this mentor for some guidance and direction in my life as well. Since we were geographically so spaced apart, i could only speak to him on phone. Correlating my issues to my friend’s, I was hesitant to call because I felt my problems looked trivial. But everyone has a different struggle. This mentor heard me and asked me to make a start by doing meditation to calm the mind. As he wasn’t around, he guided me to approach a few known spiritual organisations like Brahma Kumaris and Art of Living (AOL).
Somehow AOL registered in my mind and I looked out for AOL courses. I collected the contacts and dialed a number that belonged to an AOL teacher. I spoke to her and inquired about AOL and its courses. She informed me that there was a small course happening soon near my apartment. I have often heard of this saying that when someone needs something, the whole universe conspires in helping him/her achieve it. In those lines, I felt everything got arranged for me at my door step, i just had to wish for it :).
My first spiritual class.
So I enrolled for a basic 3 day course with AOL. This was also the first time I saw Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a poster picture. I had seen his pictures before but it never registered in my mind. I joined the course with many of my inhibitions like any new comer. Below were a few of my observations and takeaways.
Feedback, Day 1 — not close to what I had expected (since meditation was in my mind, my end goal)
Feedback, Day 2 — setting in of varied new concepts, so I told myself that meditation could wait till day 3.
Feedback, Day 3 — on completion of day 3, my mind opened up to many new feelings. I felt more energetic, happier and calm.
Some basic learnings which we ignore in our day today life made sense to me after the class.
So what next after the initial spiritual foundation.
Well, I never had a path laid up for this journey and likewise I had no clue on what to do next. I was told that I needed to learn basics like pranayama to progress to meditation. So i was practicing pranayama once in a while on my own. Again one by one events started unfolding and I was once again taken in for another spiritual journey. This time I landed up in the spiritual headquarters of Sri Sri’s ashram in Bangalore, 15 days post the initial program. I got to meet and see Sri Sri Ravi Shankar/ Guruji at a semi private gathering (darshan)! I have heard of stories where devotees get to see or meet Guruji like some 2–6 years post the course. I don’t know how or why my journey was so quick. Maybe that’s the reason why I am still unable to grasp on what had happened and how I landed there. On the day I was in the ashram, I happened to attend a Live Guruji’s satsang. In Sanskrit “sat” means true and “sanga” means company and in Indian philosophy this means:
Ø The company of the “highest truth,”
Ø The company of a guru, or
Ø Company with an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth.
His voice was melodious and equal to DIVINE. I have attended a few satsangs but this was different. It was a 1 day full visit at the ashram and I felt good to be a part of it. It was during those moments I realized that this spiritual journey was just a beginning. Meditation is just like a drop of water in the ocean. There are thousands of things to be learnt in this process of getting close to meditation.
This is how i accidentally stumbled upon spiritualism. I am yet to explore the many facets this new subject provides. However I am positive and find this new world interesting. I do my share of reading on spiritualism every day. This has also brought me close to the surprises of many of our old Indian practices like Ayurveda and Yoga. I may be selfish if I say I am gaining a lot of wisdom in this accidental journey. But at the same time I never lose an opportunity to preach on this subject to my friends whenever time permits.
I hope I get all the answers (and peace of mind) that I was looking for when I started this journey. I thank this mentor for laying the foundation stone of spiritualism in me. I am sure there are many more interesting roads to travel. It will be a long one, but I am confident that it would be worth it!
I am finally enjoying meditation. I devote minimum one hour everyday for meditation. It is like my new found LOVE, my new HIGH!
Do watch this space for more.
A new spiritual follower, also a follower of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar aka Guruji.