In my last blog, From Lockdown to Liberate: Developing a Spiritual Mindset, I walk you down the path that I took as a young adult seeking deeper meaning for my role in life. While I find success in many areas, I ultimately lose sight of maintaining balance and inner peace. Through my life experience, I offered insights on why developing a spiritual mindset is important to persevere.
There was a time in my life where I had a ‘limitless’ attitude. This attitude opened doors and manifested dreams. However, somewhere along the way, I got lost, or maybe jaded.
Shortly after my son turned two, within one year, both my husband and I lost a parent, our jobs, and lost additional extended family members.
It was hard to process and heal from so much grief and disappointment, all in such a short time. The corporate world rewards you for getting right back into the ‘swing of things’. Not much room for reflection or healing.
Have you ever experienced pain so deeply that you struggle to just catch your breath?
I spent close to a year struggling – on so many levels.
And then perhaps through divine intervention, a light switch flipped on in my spirit. Over the next three years, my path became more illuminated.
The nudge I needed to make an initial shift came in the form of a friend suggesting I join her for an evening of a restorative yoga class. One thing led to another, and I started a daily high-intensity fitness routine.
I was still struggling with stillness in my daily efforts to meditate, but a silent force in my heart encouraged me to ‘Keep on Keeping on‘.
Slowly, I became my own personal coach, cheering myself on towards reshaping my life.
Through moments of serendipity, I found myself being inspired by seemingly ordinary souls who challenged the status quo. Their stories were similar to mine. These were souls who felt called to pivot their careers and transform their lives.
One form of this early inspiration arrived through divine intelligence over the internet. In 2017, I somehow ran across a TED-talk with a title that piqued my curiosity, “What Steve Jobs Learned from Paramahansa Yogananda.“.
This talk spoke to me as it drew inspiration from souls that had directly influenced my life.
I had crossed paths with Steve Jobs in 1996, while briefly interning at Apple. My entire User Experience career had been strongly influenced by this iconic man. And my entire spiritual foundation had been strongly influenced by Parmahansa Yogananda.
After watching this video I immediately sought out the speaker, coach KC, as I resonated with the messages he shared. I learned that he was a meditation and life-coach.
Somehow a seed was planted in my soul. I felt like I was silently being guided to explore the field of meditation coaching.
As 2019 came to an end, a dear high-school friend I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years reached out, out-of-the-blue. She had somewhat impulsively booked a flight to get away for a weekend trip to San Diego. She was curious if we could meet up. We spent that weekend catching up, and reflecting.
This friend essentially held up a mirror for me to recognize all of my current blessings, and re-evaluate my mindset. Rather than being consumed by the unknowns, I felt a divine spark when she reminded me to have faith – that everything will work out, it always has.
Days later, on a beautiful and sunny fall morning, I found myself on a refreshing beach-side walk with my son and husband. I watched them walk ahead of me, and reminded myself of the blessing in front of me, and all around me.
I felt such immense gratitude flow from my heart.
In months proceeding I had geared up to pivot my career as a meditation coach, while utilizing skills and experience in User Experience.
Yet I had no idea what I was going to do next or how income will flow.
To prepare for 2020, I consciously paused and took stock of my life through some mindfulness activities.
- I reflected on what I had learned, every year, for the last 10 years and gave each year a title.
- I teased my mindset with possibilities of what my life could manifest by filling out a ‘wheel of life’ diagram where I holistically visualized all facets of my life from career to health.
- I motivated my spirit with positive affirmations.
I then took my bravest step yet – I surrendered the results.
Developing Spiritual Trust
To step into the next chapter of my life, I learned to develop Spiritual Trust.
What I realized only recently is that the catalysts for my transformations appeared in my life – as a series of synchronous events – well before I realized my path.
The more I learned to spiritually trust that my life was being guided, the more I found spontaneous synchronicities occur.
After some soul-searching, I felt a calling to persue a meditation teaching certification.
Years before I had become aware of a lovely meditation teacher, named Sura. For years each time, I’d watch her meditations, I felt inspired by her energy. After some research, I realized that Sura offered a nationally recognized meditation training program.
On January 1st of 2020, I started the new year by scheduling a discovery call with Sura. After a brief conversation with her, I just knew in my heart that I needed to pursue her meditation training program. Sura’s steady calmness gave me faith that the right opportunities would flow and unfoled. Soon I was signed up for her Liberate Meditation Certification Program scheduled to start March 2020.
From Lockdown to Liberate
I was about to embark on a journey with many unknowns and surprises along the path.
The month of March 2020 arrived as news and social media channels confirmed that the world pandemic was not a rumor.
Almost overnight schools were sending kids home, many businesses and shops were closing early, some stores shelves were empty, and shortly news of unease spread.
Our world seemed to be closing in on each of us, as curfews were put in place.
It was a global lockdown.
The week my Liberate training began was the same week my son’s school started remote-learning, and it was the same week my husband came down with unusually severe flu. The lightness of my heart over the joy of starting my Liberate training was juxtaposed against surreal darkness brought by news of the world pandemic.
As this lockdown unfolded I sensed a feeling of de-ja-vu, as I was reminded of my first experience with a lockdown as a teen in India.
It was hard not to be distracted by the disturbing news and increasing numbers of deaths caused by the pandemic. I wondered how long this dark event would go on. Were we talking about isolating for just a few days, weeks, or months?
The entire world as we knew it struggled as it went from uncertainty to chaos.
Adapting to the initial shock on how to survive a world pandemic continued to be at the forefront of our collective consciousness. Yet, my daily Liberation training was what remained at the forefront of my mind and heart.
While the world adjusted to the “new norm” I adjusted to my new sublime spiritual training. While the outer world continued in lockdown, I was leaping into my own liberation.
Training in Liberate
The Liberate training included reading “The Artist’s Way” which helped me overcome blocks to my creativity through a process called “Morning Pages”. I integrated this new practice that involved starting off my day pouring my stream of conscious thoughts into my journal pages.
This practice enabled honest daily self-reflection and revealed to me how I had held on to inner-critic stories from the past, that might have held me back from fully embracing all facets of my creativity. Some of these stories were like scars from past corporate jobs or my days in academics where labels are used to define people, their roles, and then neatly tuck that labeled-individual into a pigeon hole.
As I introspected on my journal entries, patterns emerged that helped me gain clarity of my own mind.
A form of healing was taking placed when I realized I was to ready break all the stereotypes and release myself of preconceived limitations or labels. And I was ready to release past stories that no longer served me.
Through the meditative practice of writing my Morning Pages, I learned to really listen to myself, and trust the inner guidance that was revealed on those pages.
As part of my training, we also read “Journey of Awakening” – which delivered messages that resonated with my ancestral upbringing and reminded me of my childhood years visiting spiritual retreats and ashrams in India. Instead of actually going to a retreat to experience silence, during my training we were encouraged to live a day in silence at home while practicing longer meditations. Ironically, the pandemic lockdown essentially trained many of us to thrive in the solitude of our home-based meditation sanctuary.
Over the course of the training, Sura seamlessly incorporated interconnected concepts of Mindfulness and Meditation, Energy Healing, and Leadership Coaching.
Meditation modalities such as grounding, focus, and awareness meditation slowly helped me gain clarity on how to self-regulate my thoughts, breath, and energy. And a once esoteric concept of universal life-force energy became more tangible – this energy that permeates our being and connects all of us also helps heal us through meditation.
My daily routine gained more structure, and my meditation practice continued to become more refined. I learned to frame my daily meditation by setting clear intentions, which enabled me to more consciously be present in my meditations and gain a deeper awareness of my thoughts, feelings, actions, behavior, and energy.
At the beginning of the program, I started with just 5 minutes of meditation. We were encouraged to gradually increased the amount of time we would spend in silent meditation.
To train to sit in stillness, during this unique time in the world-history was tough. The heaviness of the world’s news was often drained my energy. The stress of the unknown future would at times overwhelm my consciousness. Daily I would witness my son face new challenges from learning to adjust to home-schooling to lack of contact with other children. And daily I would witness how so many friends and family members collectively struggle with isolation.
When thoughts of the outside world, especially fear-based-thoughts, such as the threats of the pandemic would surface up in my consciousness, I learned to be a neutral observer with the mantra, ‘right NOW, at this moment, everything is OK’.
Many of us in my Liberate cohort found solace in being able to express how the pandemic was affecting each of us. The synchronicity of events amazed us. The occurrence of Covid-19 coinciding during the exact period of our training appeared to be a more profound shift in our collective consciousness. We also shared stories on our personal transformation during this period. As part of our training to serve as a meditation coach, we learned to more skillfully listen through tools like Reflective Listening. Such tools helped us support one another.
Almost a year later I have realized that my inner rebellion – that resisted stillness in mediation has come full circle.
Sura’s gentle and softer meditation training approach has helped me reapproach meditation in a totally different way. I can now ease into my daily meditation practice and sit in deeper and longer meditations, where I am often able to feel a tangible stillness in my heart.
This is a simple practice of mindful heart breaths to cultivate greater heart awareness and increase your ability to listen to your heart through stillness. By breathing in through the back of the heart, and breathing out through the front of the heart you are guided to be more present in your heart and gain a deeper sense of peace and calm.
Why is it important to develop spiritual trust?
- You have the ability to transform: When you resolve to make meaningful shifts, it requires trust. When I began my Liberate training I embraced the training and trusted the process. Through this trust, I learned to get out of my own way, which enabled the inner transformations to take place.
- You have the ability to heal: I marvel at our capacity to heal. Each of us has accessible the divine right to heal through meditation. For years I had avoided the tools to heal including meditation. However, once I eased my resistance to utilizing spiritual tools such as meditation, then the healing began. I discovered that meditation is a healing superpower.
- You can achieve liberation: Some call it “liberation,” others call it “developing oneness with the Universe”, “achieving a state of enlightenment”, or others call it “Self Realization”. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge, and infinite perception. My journey to liberation is an on-going process. I trust that liberation is achievable.
While we may not have the ability to change world events, or external circumstances, we do have choices. We have the choice to take a moment to pause, evaluate our circumstances, and figure out who we want to become.
We can choose to be more aware of the present moments, maintain perspective, and learn to persevere.
We can choose to maintain the right spiritual mindset that helps us become clear on our intentions, choose behaviors that help us become resilient, and choose a holistic approach to our role in life.
And finally, we can choose to trust our ability to transform, heal, and achieve liberation from the pain caused by the outer and inner lockdowns.