Throughout my journey, I have asked myself, people around me, and my Angels – “Why”. Why was I experiencing this? What had I ever done to deserve this? Was I too into myself for my own good? I had thought that working on myself would make me a better human but the same self-love was taking away my entire sense of balance. While I am still on a journey to explore the “why” more, I have finally come to recognize some reasons behind this why.
When my journey started, several experiences made me doubt my mental health. I knew I am what they call a “Highly Sensitive Person”, I exhibit symptoms of PTSD, and I have suffered from depression at different phases of my life. However, I had hoped that my therapy and the changes that I had introduced in my lifestyle would heal me and make me a stronger, healthier individual. So when the experiences started to happen, I thought my brain had finally crossed the threshold of what it could endure.
We Become What We Think
I still remember that day quite clearly when I had convinced myself that my brain was too weak to handle these experiences. The previous night I had a thought in my mind to remember Durga. Durga is a Hindu female Goddess of war, strength, and protection. On one hand, She is the epitome of Love, and on the other, She is known to destroy anything and everything that causes harm. In my state of fear, I had convinced myself that She was here to destroy me. The next day, no matter how much I tried, the thoughts of fear, self-doubt, and the pending death did not stop.
I called my Guide the next day to ask for help. After hearing me blabber for minutes, he said – “I am your Guide and so I am going to hold different roles throughout your journey. It’s time that I stop telling you that everything will be fine but instead tell you the truth. You have to stop victimizing yourself. You are not weak. Nothing is happening to you. Why are you afraid of death when we are all dying every day? This voice in your head that’s telling you to doubt yourself, you have to conquer it. You cannot keep telling yourself that you are a victim. You have to be stronger with yourself. Do you observe your thought patterns? Do you realize how much you doubt yourself? Stop this voice in your head that’s continuously telling you that you are weak. Embrace your power” That was the first time that my Guide had shown any anger towards what I was doing to myself and for some reason, I had felt nothing but deep gratitude towards him for understanding my predicament. I understood that I needed tough love to get through this phase.
That day I intentionally started observing my thoughts. To my surprise, I could distinguish between 7 different thought patterns. Next, I started observing the messages from all these patterns and could associate each thought with a voice and a specific location in my body. There was a child that was scared and told me that I had abandoned her. It told me that it had been trying to get me to pay attention to these nightmares since I was a kid but that I had always dismissed them. I could feel this child speak from my lower abdomen. I, now, associate her with my Inner Child and her voice now originates from throughout my body. Next, there was a calm voice that originated from my heart. It showed calmness, deep love, and understanding towards me. Now, I associate this voice with Atma and Paramatma. There was a voice originating from the back of my head that kept telling me that I was weak and going nuts. This voice keeps me in check as it makes me question my assumptions. Another voice originated from the right side of my brain. This voice was extremely logical, protective, and wanted me to trust myself. There was another voice that only wanted to crack jokes about everything that was happening around me. There was yet another voice that originated from the left side of my brain that only wanted to show love, had a sense of balance, and was accepting. And then there was my voice who was seeking all the answers. Each of these voices was bringing forth a different thought and each thought had a different emotion associated with it. Though it would still take me 7-8 weeks to get better at managing these voices, a dream where I saw my scared Inner Child, and, finally, a meditation session where I saw my highest self, the fact that I could differentiate every thought in my head was nothing short of a miracle for me.
Now, I will be honest. This revelation only further confused me about the state of my mental health. If hearing voices in your head does not prove mental illness, then, what would? I remember thinking – “Oh! So this is how I go insane. What’s worse than hearing voices in your head? ” But, a little deep dive into research papers on psychology, meditation, and brain patterns led me to multiple publications that showed me how meditation changes the neurological pathways of our brain. During my research, I prefer to stick to research papers or renowned publications to avoid noise. I also found research on how monks who regularly engage with spiritual practices could self-regulate these thoughts and control these voices. Some of the articles can be accessed here –
(Side Note – When we meditate, we activate different wave patterns in our brain that have been lying passive for years. Here is a study on how brain waves impact Buddist Monks, and how they maintain peace, insights, and calmness through meditation. These waves are always present in our brain, however, the duration for which they are active differ from individual to individual. Meditation can increase/decrease the duration of these waves depending on our thought patterns. Another useful article I found is this which further explains the role of different brain waves and tools to decrease or enhance certain waves. As per Daoism, our Living Soul (Po) is comprised of 7 Spirits that together make Po. Our Supreme Soul (Hun) is comprised of 3 Spirits. Needless to say, I did not know about this when I started this journey.)
There it was – when my brain was driving me crazy, the same brain came to my rescue and asked me to do what I did best to solve a problem – dig deeper into science and psychology. When I was convinced of being too weak to handle my challenges, my body helped me associate my thoughts with my emotions.
Through the Lens of Science
Science helped me bridge the gap between what I thought was normal and abnormal. Since we are born, our brain learns different ways to respond to triggers. These triggers can be harmless or harmful, depending on how we perceive them. With time, our brain learns to react to these triggers by following a specific thought pattern. Through my therapy and meditation practices, I had been continuously challenging these thought patterns. Where therapy helped me form new thought patterns, meditation was helping me rebuild the patterns that I had lost.
When I thought I was feeling calm, peaceful, and physically fit, my brain was restructuring and re-aligning years of thought patterns. It was a shock to the poor baby! It had grown up in this world with certain patterns that it had become comfortable with. All it was trying to do was to protect me. Now, I was forced to change and unlearn all the learnings with no help or support from me. All the medical journals were telling it that it’s weak. Its conditioning made it act like it still had to be the protector of me and our body. It was trying so hard for what it has always done but did not know how anymore. From my limited knowledge, this is what I understand today – Meditation offered me that calmness I desperately needed to calm my brain. While it provided me the calmness that it needed, it also brought to the surface various thought patterns that were not serving me anymore. It also brought to light thought patterns and brain waves that I had been oblivious to. The lights and colors that we see during meditation are not something new. They come from the same thought patterns and the light within us.
You’ll hear many people and even leaders say that our brain can be our biggest weapon or our biggest enemy. They’d say that our bodies are a means to an end, a tool to be used. I chose to believe it’s all a lie. Our brains and bodies are our best friends who help us find balance in our day-to-day lives. If anything, we can be their worst enemy if we chose to be. In the past, I have felt ashamed of my body for not looking like that of a supermodel. I have felt ashamed of my brain for having countless thoughts and digging its own grave. However, a few nights back when I was paying my gratitude to everyone around me who continue to help me on my journey, I heard my Atma say – “It’s time to thank your body and mind”. That sentence made me take a pause and forced me to acknowledge that I had never recognized the role that my mind and body have played in my growth. My body has shown intense endurance during pain, it has guided me to get in touch with my own emotions and has helped me feel the beautiful sensations of this world through all of its parts. My brain has been my protector, my biggest champion, and my most loyal partner. So what do you do when your best friends are confused and scared? Do you blame them for struggling and label them insane? Or do you take the role of the savior for once and guide them through the process? Do you further destroy them with your insecurities or do you show them the love, support, and encouragement that they need to continue doing what they do best – love unconditionally. When our best friends astray, we don’t abandon them. We nurture them, love them and help guide them to feel better again. Our bodies are not a tool to be used, they are our best friends too. When our best friends struggle, we don’t blame them for not having the strength to push through. We nurture them with healthy food, a healthy lifestyle, encouragement, and empathy to be a better version of themselves.
Since we’re born, we try to understand the world and society through our experiences. Our brain tries to make sense of these experiences to help and protect us. Every time we feel happy loved, threatened, or abandoned, our brain comprehends the situation, learns from the experience, and creates patterns that depict what works for us when we encounter a trigger. Our mind, soul, and body are all wonderful parts of the same team. Like any other team, this team needs a leader to hold all the three together in times of crisis and joy. When we are lost in our own world, our brain takes the role of the leader to protect our soul and body from external forces that can harm us. It becomes our savior. Our perception of reality guides our thought process and consequently our behaviors and perceptions. It’s a cycle that when gets broken results in a shock to both the brain and the body. How can any of them be a tool to be used or our potential enemies when these same parts of us have helped us create a sense of this reality?
It is when we start challenging our core beliefs and garner the courage to work on ourselves that our mind and body lose their sense of balance. Everything that they are used to, every single circumstance that they’ve lived through and the perceptions of reality that they are known to, get challenged. It’s like they both go through an identity crisis. Now let’s consider this – if someone you love is having an identity crisis, will you leave them? Or would you show them love and care? Would you succumb to the thought patterns that were a result of various experiences that you’ve had since you were born or would you take a stand and say it’s enough? My lifelong experiences were not anyone’s fault. They just were. My mind and body have done their best to make me who I am today. The scars left by these experiences can either continue to define me or I can choose to unlearn my learnings and create my definition of who is me. I have decided to unlearn the learnings that don’t serve me anymore. I have decided it’s enough.
I was in grade 4 when I told my mom and a dance teacher out of nowhere one day – “You know what. I think we’re doing it wrong. We don’t have to go the outer space to understand if there is life outside the Earth. We need to look at our bodies. The way our cells are made up of all these tiny atoms which themselves are made up of tiny particles, the Universe is made of galaxies which themselves are made of planets and stars. The space within an atom is mostly empty just like most of the Universe is almost empty. What if this Universe is a giant human body and we are the bodies living inside that body? What if our bodies contain tiny human-like creatures somewhere on a proton that we can call earth?”
Yes, I know. The above thought was quite outrageous. Even more so when it was coming from a 10-year-old. I remember having several such questions pop up into my mind as a kid. One day, I had asked my dad – “Papa, how do we know that trees don’t talk? Just because we can’t understand what they say, does not mean that they don’t have a way to communicate.” My dad walked me through the process of photosynthesis and plant biology to explain why trees don’t need to talk. He did what he does best – he analyzed the question, looked at the science, and communicated the answers to his daughter. Except it took science years to start recognizing that plants grow faster if we talk to them. Science is now trying to understand how.
While my parents had the patience to answer my “abnormal” questions, society didn’t have the time to entertain a curious kid. It was against the norm to question society’s expectations, societal beliefs or rituals, or society’s regulations. I have been told that I think too much about things that don’t matter. I have been told I get too “worked up” when I see injustice. I have been told I get “too emotionally involved” or that I “get too affected” by situations around me. I have been told to “chill” down and I have been told to “leave it if it does not impact you”. Well, it impacts me because if it impacts someone, then, it impacts all of us. There is no difference between you and me because there is no and you. There is and always has been only “us”. When I went through my struggles what kept me going was the support I got from those around me. The support was sometimes provided by my family, my friends, acquaintances, or my Guardian Angels. When I was not aware of the presence of my Angels, it was my inner strength that came to my rescue. However, every time I overcame these struggles, I always wished that no one else goes through these struggles alone. Even the motivation for publishing this blog came from me hoping that it helps others who are on a similar journey and are trying to find the strength to go through the process.
I am done letting anyone or myself tell me that I am not normal. I am done associating my normalcy with the expectations of myself and the society around me. If anything, this is the closest I have felt to be normal. I don’t align and never align with society’s definition of normal because that’s what’s not normal. We are born to be loved, we are born to be cherished, we are born to love everyone around us irrespective of who or what they are, we are born to be happy, we are born to be curious, we are born to challenge that does not make sense, we are born to grow and above all, we are born to be awakened. We matter, our feelings matter, and our existence matters.
I have been told several times that it’s important to prioritize yourself. They say “I” should be more important than “You”. “My needs” are more important than “anyone else’s needs”. No, I refute this notion from the bottom of my heart. Yes, we should love ourselves but not because “I” is more important. We should love ourselves because “I” is just as important as “You”. We should love ourselves, forgive ourselves, have compassion for ourselves, heal ourselves and be true to ourselves because only then can we see ourselves in others. With that, I also realize that we all don’t think the way I do. Not everyone keeps the “we” before “I”. This realization has brought me clarity as to why some relationships have disappointed me in the past. I am, now, removing my expectations and instead will continue to have hope that one day “We” wins. While removing expectations is allowing me not to get disappointment, having hope is giving me the courage to continue with the journey and does not bind my wish to a factor of time.
There is no gender, there is no religion, there is no ethnicity and there is no creed. Souls are living in each body around us. No species is better than the other. No gender is superior to the other. Humans have found a way to even dictate the way we love. Homosexuality is a sin they say. It’s again nature they claim. What’s against nature is not being in a same-sex relationship. What’s against nature is differentiating between souls based on the bodies they are born with. What’s against nature is forcing people to live by the rules written down by society and what’s against nature is us, humans, believing so strongly that “a certain way of life” is the right way to live just because it’s accepted by the society.
We are all born from the same source. We all have Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine within ourselves. It’s not we who are different. It’s our bodies and brains that are different. They are different not because humans or religions make them different. They are different because the souls within each of these bodies are here to serve a specific purpose and these bodies and brains help these souls achieve that purpose. The energy behind these souls is the same, it’s only the wrapping and experiences that make us different. It’s saddening to see that to understand how same we are, we have to label ourselves differently to symbolize how different we are. Labels now have to be used to understand our intersectionality and the challenges that we face. Oh! If only there was a natural way to understand each other’s pain. But wait! Nature has a way – it’s called Empathy. And that’s what’s normal.
So why did a girl who had not surrendered to a religion, societal expectations, or to spirituality made to go through this experience? Why was a girl who was not “normal” allowed to meet the Gods and Goddesses that the normal humans would surrender to without any resistance? When I tell spiritually inclined people about my experiences, they say I am special. When I tell them that now I have visions of what was and what would be, and even talk to trees, they say I am gifted. That I am chosen. For a minute, I believed that too but now I know that it’s not true.
I am not special because by that notion we are all special. I am not the only one who is gifted, we all are gifted. We all have a unique talent within us that is waiting to be found. We are all continuously creating our realities. We don’t have to conduct years of rituals to meet our deities or find answers for that that we don’t see. We don’t have to protect our Gods to prove our faith. We can’t protect someone who is unafraid.
My Guide told me – “Surrendering comes naturally to all of us”. For the longest time, I struggled with this notion. I thought – “Why would a God want me to surrender to Him/Her? That’s an unfair use of power”. Now, I am starting to understand what surrendering means. My Guide didn’t ask me to surrender to a God. He had asked me to stop resisting the change. To surrender to love. To surrender to the process and the flow. To surrender to what is. To surrender to me, the real me. To observe, recognize and fall in love with all the parts of my being. To validate my emotions and allow myself to heal. To surrender to unconditional love for myself and my connections. To remove the “I” and accept the “We”.
My journey continues and breaks down every part of me. Yet, I have started falling in love with every existing and new part of me. I have started falling in love with what makes me me, and have started letting go of control over what was never me. There is a fine line between surrendering and suffering. We surrender to the process but not to the suffering. We love ourselves the same way we would love another. We don’t make ourselves suffer just like we want another.
So why me – because why not me? This is who I was, this is who I am and this is who I was meant to be. In the end, the answer to the “why” had to come from within me.
You can go outside the planet and try to find the answers to the mysteries of this Universe. Or you can go within, and find every answer that you seek. At every step, your beliefs will be challenged. What will help in these moments is knowing that you have every tool within you that you would need to overcome any challenge that you perceive.