When I was young, I was privileged to have been born in a family where money was not an issue yet my father combined his hard work with hard alcohol daily leaving my mom to raise myself and my 3 brothers. My dad’s income presented my mom with a security that she was unable to attain on her own with no college education. She was married at 18 and pregnant with her first that following year. My fathers’ growing pay check and increased absence gave her the freedom to hire babysitters, shop, or go on fancy trips. We had many babysitters and family rules were not part of our upbringing.
As kids, we were pretty much given whatever we wanted whether it be ordering out pizza every night or money to buy material items. Living life in this way may have seemed nice to many, but without the stability of 2 parents teaching family values such as love and kindness towards others, my family life often resulted in a chaotic blend of self entitlement, without compassion, love or respect towards others.
When I turned 25, I was in the middle of College with average to low grades and my dad had made a series of poor business decisions which resulted in him filing for bankruptcy. My mother was filing for divorce. Suddenly, I no longer had the financial support that I used freely to get by in life. I’ll give you an example. This was me speaking to my car insurance company: ” Oh, you’re not going to insure me anymore because I skipped a few payments and was living and driving in the States? – Who cares. I’ll find another car insurance company.” So, I did and my dad paid double.
“Oh, you mean, I can’t come back to school because I missed too many classes and essentially failed out? Whatever…I am going to school in Europe next year.” So off I went.
By the time I was thirty the family money was all dried up with my parents fighting over it in court, and I was left with a very poor set of values and wondered why things just weren’t working for my very entitled self. I no longer had my dad’s money as a crutch. Whatever good things came my way, I realized I would have to work hard for them and learn how to maintain them. It was a while before I found yoga and process of meditation, and in the interim I would say that my life was a series of lessons learned without any real guidelines to go by. I was frustrated with life’s curve balls and was searching for some form of peace and guidance in my life. Once discovered, it would seem that yoga and meditation process was the perfect solution.
I think one of the first things I learned was that life is so unpredictable. From Hurricanes to Earthquakes and so many other Natural, Social & Personal Events can bring you way up, then way down. Then way up, then way down, just like a seesaw in a playground. Yet with life’s unpredictability, I could always find shelter from ups and downs through mantra meditation. When practicing this meditation on a daily basis, I felt safe. I especially felt warmth and love in my heart.
So, my whole world could be turned upside down but I always had somewhere peaceful to go to. This constant consistent practice gave me peace of mind, and soon I learned how to detach from the things that were out of my control. I realized that my life’s events of going up and going down were essentially just part of my karma. And the only way to ride my karmic storm without getting all caught up in it would be to surrender to it. This was very humbling. I learned that I had to detach from the outcome because after all, we have very little control over how people will respond to us or what life brings us and takes way.
With learning this powerful lesson, I was humbled and my heart softened. I began to realize that one of the only things I could control was the way in which I treated other people, especially my friends and family. I no longer wanted to feel guilty about how I would mistreat my friends and family if I wasn’t getting what I wanted. This feeling soon spread to no longer wanting to be a cause in the mistreatment animals by eating them.
I came to the understanding that all living things are spirit in nature covered by material bodies. And each spirit soul is part and parcel of the Supreme Being. Once I understood this, I felt the desire to treat all living things with kindness and respect from the smallest ant on the sidewalk to my elderly grandmother. I began to see the world as literally one big family with the Supreme Being as the Father of all living entities.
The truly most wonderful thing I learned about yoga and meditation was that the more I practiced it, the more I achieved self-realization. The more I achieved self realization, the more I understand about the science of identity, my essence, purpose and goal in this life. This has become a wonderful journey and I feel so blessed to have found yoga and meditation.
I make an effort each day to meditate upon the Supreme Being, and in return, I feel a sense of love and happiness which supersedes all other forms. In return, I can’t but help to try and emanate the same love and kindness I feel in my heart to all. This can only be done through the regular daily practice of chanting the names of the Supreme Being. I truly know this because I have experienced it.