17 May My Life Journey through Meditation
-Dr. Shanthi Lakshmi Ph.D., Bangalore
Meditation is incredibly dear to my heart. Meditation had come into my life when I most needed a change and an answer to my ever growing depression. Looking back to my personal history, I can now see how my life took an 180 degrees turn – and it was all about discovering meditation and mindfulness. I couldn’t be more grateful.
It all started out back in my early 90’s childhood when a series of traumatizing events threw me straight into the frozen arms of fear and anxiety. The first one of them has left a strong mark on my once cheerful and full of joy seven years old spirit. A regular day and a regular trip going to school with the back then famous and oh-so-common auto rickshaw has put my future years to the test. It didn’t need much to get to that point, just an earth-shaking, faith-breaking moment of riding the back of the rickshaw and seeing myself with my mind’s eyes falling to the ground – which I haven’t really, but it was just enough to fill up my anxiety level for many years to come.
Years have gone by and the anxiety I earned that day stayed with me. I struggled with it to the point of going through one apparently simple math exam while in high school and not being able to control it. I simply fell to the ground, frozen with fear and heard the doctor say: it’s a nervous breakdown. It was the beginning of a bedridden period of my life, with no real help from my psychologist – except for anti-depressants, that didn’t really do much for me but throw me in an even deeper sense of helplessness. I was angry, anxious and everybody started pointing it out at me – I was That guy.
It was then when meditation came into my life – and I felt it was the right answer for me. Even if changes didn’t really happen overnight, it indeed felt as if things were changing – slowly yet profoundly. With time and intention, I managed to overcome what once used to trigger me so fast and strongly into anxiety. Not that nothing ever triggers me right now, but I completely changed my perspective on it. I can now simply look at what causes fear or anxiety within me and feel it’s just one more opportunity to learn more about myself. No judgments or self-blaming, just embracing it as a lesson.
With such gift into my life, I couldn’t but want to share it with the world. Through meditation, I can truly embrace my journey to self-discovery and to grow in ways I have never even envisioned before. I would be more than grateful to be able to share what I have learned with you, and hopefully, provide you with all the necessary support you need to bring that most needed change into your life.
Here are some precious things I have learned throughout all these lessons I have received in life:
Mindfulness Is a Lifestyle
If there is anything I would say to someone interested in bringing a positive twist to their life and wanting to embrace meditation is that mindfulness is more than a daily practice. It’s a way of living. What that means is that you cannot really go into embracing it without fully implementing its guiding principles throughout your whole life.
Mindfulness is a lifestyle which means it must be embraced with intention, trust, and dedication. Mindfulness is not a pill to bring instant relief without any real long term improvement. Mindfulness is a way of looking at life and of understanding that real changes come with time, with the intention to take life’s challenges as lessons, with openness and desire to make a change.
After the many years of struggle and unhappiness I’ve been through, I can now look back and understand that happiness is all about choices. Being happy is a choice that we constantly make or make not and what that means is that we are entirely responsible for our happiness and of the way we take life’s opportunities and challenges.
Meditation and mindfulness can bring you into the present moment, the only place where real happiness can reside. By reaching that peace of mind that mindfulness brings, you are more prone to seeing the positive side of things and to constantly choose happiness over bitterness, resentment or helplessness. Experiencing happiness as a personal life identity will just start growing organically into your life once you embrace mindfulness.
Not only does mindfulness and meditation help you in handling your personal space and inner feelings, but it also brings so many improvements to the way you relate to the world and other people. When we are miserable, relationships keep on getting muddled with many negative feelings and end up becoming exhausting and negative overall. But when we reach that point of peace of mind, of total ownership of self, we start owning our relationships and the way we contribute to them. Not only does that enrich our experiences with others and allows us to get better to know them and to express our true selves better, but it also brings a sense of alleviation, of release. You will find your relationships start feeling more and more like magic and opportunities to escape the black holes that suck you in are growing.
Last but not the least, my most favorite teaching of all is the art of letting go. Nothing feels as sweet as letting it go, though it’s been a hard one to grasp my mind around because it somehow feels as if we just give up, we lose interest in following our dreams. But the truth is, letting go means just believing things will work out to your best advantage – that, if you just let them be, while putting your sincere and passionate intention into them.
It’s all about taking the pressure away from what you want and just stating: I want that, but I can still be happy regardless or in the meanwhile. It’s about not tying your personal happiness and well being to anything external to yourself.
That is the point when you will start living life to the fullest and owning your magnificence. I invite you all to join me on this great road of discovery, healing and joy.