In my last blog, Developing a Spiritual Mindset: From Lockdown to Liberate, I shared my journey as a teen experiencing lockdown and culture shock during my years in India. Through anecdotal experience, in my blog I offered three reasons why maintaining awareness is important in life in order to make more conscious choices. In this blog I share stories from the next chapter of my life from my late teens into adulthood. During this phased I learned to create a spiritual mindset in order to persevere during life’s challenges.
As I neared the end of my high school in India, I fought with an “against the grain” attitude to define my life on my own terms. I faced daily cultural pressures to agree to an arranged marriage, and conform to other social expectations. Yet I resisted.
I refused to allow these external conditions lock me down.
I questioned and challenged everything, including the role I thought I was destined to fulfill. Why follow dogma, rituals, or any traditions, if its meaning for your life is unclear?
I sought to live a life that had purpose and authentic meaning.
After spending four years in a land of mystics and enlightened souls I felt a calling to understand the mindset of Yogananda who brought the spiritual wisdom of the east to the United States, with a solid grounding in science. In my final summer in India, upon my mother’s encouragement, I read “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. I felt drawn to the autobiographical stories of a saint whose life had true meaning.
I was also drawn to the idea that by applying yoga’s scientific universal how-to-live principles in my daily life, that I could achieve my own innate spiritual potential.
The lessons from this book and Yogananda would become a silent force in helping me develop a spiritual mindset and facilitating my life’s inner and outer transformations.
Developing Spiritual Mindset
Shortly after my last summer in India, I returned to the U.S.A, to pursue my college education. I chose to study Information and Computer Science, and refine my focus in a field that did not yet exist but years later became known as ‘User Experience’ (UX). I had found a career path practicing what I was always meant to do and it served deep meaning for me.
I could not, however, escape or avoid cultural expectations as a young Indian woman.
Nearly on a daily basis, since the day I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, my parents would be on the phone with me urging me to get married. I resisted, as I convinced I could find more meaning in my life by furthering my education, so I applied for and pursued a Ph.D.
The prospects of a truly happy future seemed possible only if I could be autonomous, and not be defined by my marital status. I eventually left graduate school with a Masters’s degree and continued to refine my craft while climbing the corporate ladder.
I became a bit of a gypsy by following career opportunities in the corporate world of technology. Some roles required becoming an apprentice. All the roles required an insatiable desire to continually learn, and passionate perseverance. Over the years I grew more seasoned in my niche field of UX.
Years later I met and married my husband & soulmate. I had resisted the traditional path to marriage and held out to marry only for love. A few more years later, after a great struggle, we had our son, Omni.
At this point in my career, I was caught up in the drama of holding on to a high-level UX management role.
It’s easy to get lost, especially if you lost sight of your core intentions.
My day-to-day routine including rushing through traffic, managing work-relationships with often hostile personalities, and never having enough time to slow down in enjoy the precious moments and experiences around me, including just playing with my son. I became a rebellion in moments that offered immensely beautiful gifts – such as, patiently feeding my son as I would try to rush to work, or enjoying a freshly cooked Indian snack from my mom, as I would be rushing to get home after work.
And then one day, I unexpectedly lost my mother.
This incident triggered a deep shift in where I would focus my energy moving forward. On a deep level, I was aware that I was under the illusion that eventually I could be more present.
Through all of these years of highs and lows, I slowly realized that I had been giving my energy to meet the expectations of culture, society, and corporate rules.
Emotionally, physically, and spiritually I was burnt-out.
I started listening to my soul’s calling that longed for inner stillness.
I had avoided being still.
Too busy doing.
While I had the tools, such as meditation, I resisted using them.
Thriving in the corporate world made it easy to avoid going inwards. I had spent too many years caught in the vortex of the noise from the outside world.
In this next chapter of my life, I let of go fear.
Surrendering to my inner calling to live a more soulfully conscious life, I placed trust in the universe to guide me.
Through this trust I sought a path to liberate myself from my inner lockdown.
Awareness Guided Meditation: Meditative Walking
Practice this guided-meditation, to train yourself to more be mindfully self-aware of your body and your surroundings.
A walking-meditation is a way to bring conscious awareness to various elements, internally and externally. By observing what is going on around us, while tuning into our body, we can become more present and shift our attention away from the swirling thoughts in our mind.
Why is it important to develop a spiritual mindset?
- You are able to guide your life with clear intentions: Through my adulthood, I had developed a pattern of unconsciously reacting through avoidance to situations that felt uncomfortable. However, through the clarity of my intentions, I started to live a more conscious life.
- You consciously choose to respond and behave from a spiritual perspective: When I lost my mother unexpectedly, I found myself questioning the corporate framework where I had worked so hard to build my career. Within this framework, there is no room for solace and managing grief in a spiritual way. When faced with deeply painful or uncomfortable situations I had lost sight of spiritual tools that I could utilize to function. To heal I learned to respond and behave from a spiritual perspective.
- You embrace a more holistic approach to your role in life: I struggled to meet the expectations of the Indian culture and that of the corporate world. Within these worlds, as a woman, I recognized that I was being asked to play a certain role. Through a spiritual mindset, I begin to explore my true role that holistically embraced my multidimensional beings – on a psychological, emotional, and spiritual level. Through this mindset, I also proactively integrated a lifestyle that was more holistically balanced – nurturing my mind, body, and spirit.