From the Fallen Ashes, A Phoenix Will Rise

Dear Reader, 

This is a story about a girl who lost her path, and then her sanity just to find something bigger than herself. This is a story put out there with one purpose alone – if you’re like me and have little to no knowledge about spirituality but are slowly awakening – you’re not alone. Reach out to that friend or family member who won’t judge and believe that you’re loved and supported. Talk to that person whom you trust and ask them to support you. Be willing to be vulnerable and be willing to share. I hope that my journey will give you the love, support, and hope that you need to make sense of what’s happening around you. Throughout the reading, I have tried to explain my encounters before I knew what my experiences meant, my feelings throughout these experiences and then I have tried to provide the Spiritual meaning that I can derive about these experiences through my meditation exercises. I will continue to update this blog as I get more clarity but I would encourage you to derive your meaning from your understanding.

Student of Science

I have always been a student of science and literature. My father loves to talk about physics and politics, my mother loves talking about literature, religion, and just day-to-day life stuff. I grew up with an affinity for reading – started with the epics like Chacha Chaudhary, Archie until I developed a love for Agatha Christie’s mind-numbing suspense and Sidney Sheldon’s chilling thrillers. Over time, my horizon spread from thrillers, romance, classics to not-so-fun but equally inspiring non-fiction on psychology, leadership, biographies, and philosophy. As an ever-curious student of science, I am still enthralled by the beauty of the human mind and the mystery of this never-ending universe.

Growing up, I had one purpose alone – I wanted to be rich, successful, and independent. I knew I could do it and I would like to say most decisions in my life have been influenced by my passion for success. I saw myself living a luxurious life as I entered my 30s, and envisioned myself living a comfortable life while supporting my family through my 50s. This is not to say that I didn’t have a life. I have had my fair share of drunk nights, have been in shitty and beautiful relationships, and love to play sports. I have quite a diverse list of interests – playing piano, hope to get back to playing guitar one day, sketching, video games, table tennis, hiking, badminton, swimming, etc. If it’s a hobby that requires concentration and provides fulfillment, I can foresee myself doing it one day.

However, the one concept that always eluded me was religion and spirituality. I was born in a Hindu family, went to a Catholic school, grew up going to Temples and Church, had a Muslim boyfriend/best friend, was impressed by Buddhism, and was curious about all other religions on the planet. The more I learned about different religions, the more confident I became that religions are humans’ way of explaining the inexplainable but the basis of all the religions is the same – spread love. It’s the human mind that has concocted the religions to serve our egos. Growing up, I prayed to all Gods when I was happy and then prayed to none when I was sad. I prayed when I needed help and forgot God when I was doing fine. I have fought with God for not giving me what I wanted and forgotten Him when I got what I needed. What never changed was my staunch belief that God does not ask us to discriminate based on gender, species, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or religion. I think the fact that most religions gave God a gender was what made me doubt the entire concept of religions. If God was only male and He is the supreme being, then by that logic, females were inferior. Why would God make someone inferior? No, I refused to believe that logic. For me, They are a friend who was just there without any expectations but was constantly trying to help. No hatred can be justified in Their name because They don’t offer hatred. They only offer love. They don’t see anyone as less deserving because if They did then why would they go through the trouble of creating something in the first place? My different outlook on religion, the difference in the way my mind worked, and even in the way I loved, had always made me feel like I didn’t belong anywhere. However, this didn’t stop me from trying to make more sense of this world and this society through books and communications with people around me.

I first became aware of the world of spirituality through the works of Don Miguel Ruiz. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. The more I read, the more I started drawing parallels between psychology and spirituality. I was surprised that no one puts it that simply. Every psychological factor that influences our actions and thoughts can also be explained via spirituality. I came to recognize psychology as a bridge between science and spirituality where science explains the “what” of spirituality and psychology explained the “how”. The “Why” is still eluding me but I am certain that I’ll know one day. However, his works inspired me to dive deeper into my psychology.

Handshake with Psychology

Now that you know who I am and where I come from, it’s time to talk about where things started to change. In 2017, I was working at a tech giant. It was a good time where I was surrounded by close friends, had a loving boyfriend, and was in the best physical shape of my life (yet). One day, one of my closest friends informed me that she was leaving the organization and was flying to a different country. I don’t take change well and when she informed me that she was leaving in 20 days, all I felt was anger. While I was still trying to cope with the change and the feeling of loss, I came across multiple articles and news on the ongoing rapes in India. Sudden anger flared through my body and I ended up searching online for why humans rape. That didn’t go well. Did you know that there are so many species of animals who rape the weak to show their dominance? It’s horrendous! I won’t ask you to google it now to protect you from some horrible information about your beloved animals but I couldn’t save myself from acknowledging that knowledge. This information mixed with the feeling of abandonment had a devastating impact on me. As an individual who had had her struggles with assault, any news related to sexual violence don’t go well with me but this piece of information invoked a thought – if this is how we were created, if the powerful species are meant to use their strength to dominate and hurt the weak, then, what are we fighting for? This is how nature intended it and by that logic, this is how God intended it. Then why fight? What are we fighting against? God? Nature? How do you fight something you can’t see?

By now you might have recognized what took me 3 years of introspection to realize. My brain has a pattern. In the past, whenever I experienced an uncomfortable emotion, I would do my best to ignore the emotion, find faults in everything around me, victimize myself and look for any excuse to get angry. It took a week of going over the same thoughts and finally a talk with two drunk friends who were as clueless about the universe as I was to help me get out of my misery. A 25-year-old guy and a 28-year-old girl over glasses of whiskeys asked me to consider this – if Thomas Edison didn’t do what he did, we wouldn’t have light at our home today. If Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t show the courage to fight, the world won’t be the place that it is today. Their suggestion was to consider this – “We don’t know what we are supposed to do but we know what we can do. We don’t know what impact we will have in the world but we know we can have some influence on someone’s life to make it better for them. If you can just positively influence one life, maybe that’s it?” Who knew alcohol can help at times! The same 28-year-old girl, my sister from another mother, also helped me recognize my resistance to showing emotions. When my friend told me she was leaving, I was sad. I was going to miss her but the ego in me refused to show her my vulnerable side. The anger felt safer. As a consequence, I lost a friend with whom I had truly enjoyed some wonderful moments of my life.

Though the emotional aspect of my personality still didn’t make much sense to me, the conversation pushed me to start working towards my goals again. I seriously started pursuing my lifelong dream to travel to the US. While I did manage to come to the US in 2018, I landed a place notorious for its sub-freezing temperatures. When I landed here, it didn’t start as the best experience of my life. As I said, I don’t like change and this was a change I had not prepared myself for because, in my anger, I had failed to realize the magnitude of this particular change. While I liked the state and the people, I felt completely lost. I had flown overseas with no one to talk to and with no plan of what to do next. I felt out of place almost everywhere I went. People from back home didn’t feel familiar, people from the new land felt like strangers, and people at home were struggling to maintain contact with me because of the time differences. I started questioning my identity, my beliefs, my relationships, and most importantly I started questioning my purpose in life.

Mind is a funny thing. It tends to catastrophize our thoughts in such a seamless way that we don’t realize what’s happening unless it’s too late. The loneliness, feeling of not belonging anywhere, helplessness, and lack of support system finally resulted in a giant ball of anxiety that overpowered my will to continue. One fine night I got the dreaded thought – “I won’t care if something happens to me today”. It was a strange feeling. Even while having the thought I felt angry for having the thought in the first place. But I had always been a fighter. That’s a truth that I couldn’t run away from even at my lowest point. At the same time, I also recognized that I couldn’t fight this fight alone. I needed help.

The next day I booked an appointment with a therapist. I had seen a therapist back in 2014 when I had trouble sleeping for months but had a horrible experience with her. Since childhood, I am plagued with nightmares and I have had frequent lucid dreams. No not the ones where people die. Those are easy to comprehend. I saw ghosts in my nightmares and every time I had a nightmare, I woke up shivering. All my close friends and family members know about this childhood issue that has followed me into my adulthood. The therapist I saw in the past made fun of the situation and told me that I was weak. I stopped seeing the therapist, and the nightmares continued. This time it was different though. My waking life had become a nightmare and my sleep had eluded me again.

This therapist was a blessing in disguise. In my intro session with her, I tested how it was going to go by telling her about my nightmares. I wanted to gauge her reaction to determine if I could work with her because I thought if she didn’t understand my struggles, she couldn’t help me. Her response won my heart- “I am sorry you have been having troubles with nightmares. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you especially since you’ve been dealing with them since your childhood”. Her words touched my heart. That was the first time in my life that anyone had taken my nightmares seriously and, in doing so, had taken me seriously. I knew I had found the one. So we slowly started working on my issues. I won’t take a deep dive into all of my issues because that’s a different ballgame but I will highlight some key learnings from my sessions.

First, I had trouble recognizing my emotions. My go-to emotion with any unpleasant situation was anger. I could recognize sadness but that was about it. I did laugh and I did have fun but I couldn’t recognize what happiness or joy felt like. Love felt like a distant memory and I had no safe place or a feeling of security. Second, our bodies store emotions. When we repress emotions, we create blockages in our bodies. This unprocessed emotional energy is stored in our organs, muscles, and tissues. It leads to inflammation and chronic health problems, and it undermines our overall well-being. Third, it’s okay to cry. I took great pleasure in knowing that things, situations, or people don’t make me cry. This was probably the most important learning from my session. Crying is okay. It lets out the pent-up energy that otherwise causes displeasure in our body and mind. Crying every day, however, requires some work. Finally, the way we behave and react to situations becomes a habit over time. While some habits are good for us, some don’t serve us anymore and are a result of our body reacting to certain triggers and emotions from the past that we never processed. Our mind, being the protector it is, tries to save us from unpleasant emotions by blocking these memories and making us feel numb. This can help us when we don’t feel strong enough to deal with our challenges but can act against us when we are ready to face our fears.

I won’t sugar coat it and say that therapy fixed me or my depression. I recognized that this was going to be a lifelong journey for me just like other individuals out there who were willing to work on themselves. What therapy gave me was the courage to slowly peel off the layers of my past and the understanding that I needed to better get in touch with my body and emotions. It gave me the insights that I had lacked about my relationships, traumas, triggers, and unhealthy life patterns. It also gave me a platform to just talk without the fear of being judged and the tools that I could leverage every time I was in a crisis. I have since been to four different therapists and I am glad about my progress. I am better able to recognize my emotions, don’t feel as scared of expressing my love and pain, and I am on a healthy diet too.

While my therapy was still in progress, I had a few changes in my life. I broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years because we both realized it wasn’t working anymore. I’ll always cherish the relationship that I shared with him and I am grateful to have met him when I did. He brought in me the belief that I too am loveable. I also started partying more and got comfortable being myself with people across the world. I got a job offer that I lost to Covid two months before I was about to graduate and I started doing some breathing exercises to help me feel calmer and relaxed. It was a mixed bag of experiences. Some were good, some were bad but all of them were bringing me to where I am today.

A Kiss with Spirituality

Dear Reader, till this time I had no idea that while I had started my journey into psychology, I had unintentionally also dipped my toes into the world of spirituality. Spirituality from a very broad perspective pertains to three elements – mind, body, and soul. Through my experiences, I was getting involved with the first two elements and then someone introduced me to some deeper components of spirituality. My connection with this someone, unbeknownst to either of us, had a big influence on my spiritual experiences. This connection deserves a separate blog and I would limit this blog to the key learnings that I learned from this connection. For now, I’ll refer to this as a close friend.

In 2020, I eventually got a new job but due to Covid being in another state, I was asked to continue working remotely and I ended up staying back in my apartment. One night I had a lucid dream after a long time. I’ve had lucid dreams ever since I was a kid but they never scared me. This time, however, it was different. I saw some wave-like threads flowing down the staircase of the apartment and I remember feeling mesmerized by them during my sleep. I was seeing these waves for the first time but it felt like I had known them forever and in my dream, I was talking to them. There were also some people in my dream and my close friend was one of them. In the dream, I remember my close friend saying, “You’re finally here”. The waves kept coming towards me as if they were trying to meet me. I woke up from the dream feeling exceptionally scared. I couldn’t go back to sleep that night.

The next few weeks went fine. I continued meditation every time I got a chance. I loved spending time next to the lake, sitting in nature, and just letting my mind travel. These meditations lasted for 10-12 minutes and I was content with what I experienced in those minutes. Sometimes I tried guided meditation to learn a new technique. Other times I played various meditation tracks available on Youtube and just allowed my mind to wander. I started feeling more positive within myself and my sleep improved. I also started feeling less angry. I remember one of my friends mentioning – “Look at you. You’re optimistic”. That was new!

I would like to mention that this was also a time when I started realizing that something was happening with me that didn’t make sense. I had started feeling emotions that didn’t feel like mine. This resulted in me feeling anxious over time. During meditation, if someone’s name came to my mind, I would see cords between this person and me. From my limited knowledge, cords were our mind’s way of defining a relationship and a spiritual way of healing relationships. I didn’t pay much attention to these cords until one day I saw a beautiful Golden Cord appear between me and my close friend. This specific cord was different from the others. It glittered and it felt more powerful. It also felt like it was going through me, was not limited to my body and above all was not in my control.

(Side Note: Per Spirituality, cording happens when an energy connection forms between people, places, animals, or things. They act as a pathway to transfer energy. The Golden Cords are called “Ascension” cords that by their very nature are divine. Such cords transcend lifetimes and are cords of higher energies. The golden color represents the color of the Solar Plexus. I have accepted that this is one cord that I can’t cut because it holds the energies of lifetimes. It’s not meant to be cut rather it’s here to teach us both our Karmic lessons so that we continue to grow on our respective journeys. )

While I was still curious about what these experiences meant, a series of events, a confession, a web of half-truths, and half-lies led to some spontaneous decisions and a life-changing move on my part.

Following a series of internal conflicts, I made an abrupt decision to move away from the state that I had called home for 2.5 years and within a month moved to another city.

The new city offered me everything that I had hoped for. Beautiful vacations, tasty food, a healthy lifestyle, blissful weather, and a group of people whom I started calling friends. It gave me the best opportunity to start taking care of myself. I started eating extra healthy, I started working out religiously and I started meditating to feel happy. That’s when I started recognizing the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle. I was happier, peaceful, open, curious, energetic, hopeful, serious about my work, and more in touch with nature. I even started loving myself and started believing in the power of positive affirmations to.

Deep Dive into the Unknown

By January 2021, I had reached a point where I had started getting more in touch with emotions and my body. My healthy lifestyle acted as a gateway for me to be more present and in touch with my surrounding. I also started putting more effort into my meditation. Within 2 weeks, I went from meditating 10 minutes a day to doing 2 meditation sessions of 45 minutes a day. I experimented with mindfulness, focused attention, body scan, visualizations, self-compassion, reflection, and chakra meditations. I realized I was already incorporating these styles into my mediations without realizing what their impact was. In the meditative state itself, I would see beautiful colors and visuals. I also expanded my use of different meditation tracks to see which would work best for me. Some made me feel energetic, some made me feel drowsy while some just made me feel calm and at least one made me feel agitated. Over time, the colors around me started getting more enhanced. Outside meditation, I started hearing better, seeing better, smelling better, and thinking better. I would go into my meditation thinking about a problem and come out with a solution. Next, synchronicity started. I would think of a problem and have a solution presented to me either through thought of my own, words of a friend, or a random post online. I started seeing numbers and sequences that spoke to me as if they were there for me. I also started running into more people who were spiritually inclined and I thought I was finally within reach of truly understanding the power of meditation.

They say when you meditate, you will see images and visuals but the key is not to get lost in these visuals. In my case, I could prevent myself from following a thought which for me normally took the form of visual and I could also prevent myself from getting lost in the colors. However, during one particular session, I saw images that made me feel scared. I stopped meditating and took a break for a couple of days assuming my mind needed rest. When I got back to meditating, the images came back but I had this thought in my mind that asked me to pull through the fear and not pay attention to it. It worked. When the fear and the images stopped, all I could feel was calmness. The visuals beyond this point did not feel like they were related to thought because I had no thoughts. I once saw an elegant lady gliding through the sky, four individuals having a dialog, and pretty pink animals flying in the sky. One time, the lovely lady came back and offered me a yellow flower. The entire experience was absolute bliss.

As you can expect, our life follows a pattern. When things are at their peak and you are the most content, something pulls you down and vice versa. My experiences took a strange turn when one day, after meditation the fear came back. During my meditation, I had set an intention to seek some answers for a connection and felt fear after the meditation was over. For me, intention at that time meant a way for letting my mind know what to focus on. I had thought that my mind would miraculously solve the problem.

(Side note: Intentions are a way of you letting your soul and the energy around you know what you’re setting out to achieve. The book “Secret” got it right. You become what you think. We all have the power within us to manifest our thoughts by sincerely setting the intention and praying to the Universe for it to happen. If it’s meant for you and if you are sincere, rest assured Universe will provide.)

Without getting into much detail about the problem, I would like to spell out a few things that I learned from the experience – First, our mind can travel any distance without the need for our physical body to travel. Second, intention and emotions play a major role when you meditate. They guide the direction of your meditation. 

That day during my meditation, I saw something that I couldn’t understand. What I did understand was that it was an energy that felt like me. I felt like the answer that I was seeking could be answered by pulling this energy back into me. I felt that this something was a part of me and belonged with me. I was content after the meditation that maybe I have solved the problem somehow. My bliss, however, was short-lived when I started experiencing intense fear in my non-meditative life. The experience got me in touch with a Shamanic Teacher (I didn’t know what Shamanic practices were at this point) to seek advice. For the remainder of this blog, I will refer to him as my Guide.

My Guide and I held a session over Zoom where I opened up to him about everything that had happened to me in the past few months and how I had been feeling more and more scared in the past few days. After the session, my Guide asked me if I would be willing to take some deep breaths and visualize my safe place so that I could relax. I had done these exercises with my therapists before and I sincerely believed that I was a pro in these exercises by this point. However, this time trying the same exercise resulted in a panic attack. During the breathing exercise, I started hearing repetitive knocking sounds from everywhere around me. The intensity of these sounds kept increasing the more I tried to picture my safe place. Next, I started seeing a bright white light (my eyes were closed throughout the exercise) and my entire body started to sweat. While I could still see the white light, I also started seeing a black cloud scattered around me and I felt like someone was trying to reach out to me. My Guide slowly pulled me out of that meditative state and he ensured me that he would do a journey on my behalf to understand what was happening. I didn’t ask him what doing a journey meant but I knew I could trust him.

(Side note – I would later come to two realizations. First, the knock was coming from my subconscious self asking me to acknowledge my true self. Second, per spiritual practices, the White light is the light of protection. It heals and frees me of any unwanted energy that has surrounded or entered me. It’s a Divine Light that also provides me wisdom, knowledge, love, and strength. To me, white light combines the energy of all our chakras. I seek this light now whenever I feel scared or overwhelmed. It comes to me when I need cleansing and it too is a part of me. The black clouds in my vision that night were energies that I was not ready to engage with. These energies can be thoughts, feelings, or communications coming through us or from outside us. We always have the power to not engage with energy and we also have the power to protect ourselves. It is this knowledge that has finally given me the strength to know that I am protected and any energy can’t interact with me without my permission)

After my Guide did the journey for me, he told me that I was stronger than what I believed myself to be. I had gifts that I didn’t recognize. The version of me that he saw during the journey was a healer, a teacher, a master, or a channel. He asked me if I have ever been told by people that they feel like they can open to me easily. This had been true even when I was an angry teenager and is true to date. Sometimes even if I talk to strangers, they open up to me about their pain and start to cry. As per my Guide, I was feeling fear because I had entered unchartered territories and was not able to make sense of what I was seeing. He said what I truly needed was to protect myself while knowing that there was nothing that could harm me. I would later find out that this was the start of my Dark Night of the Soul.

 (Side note – When your channels are open and you can communicate with your soul, you can call on the energies of the Universe to do a journey. This journey is set with an intention to solve a problem, seek an answer, or obtain some information. As per Shamanic laws, these journeys are only made after taking permission from the individual on whose behalf a Shaman makes a journey. )

Dark Night of the Soul

When we experience something that our mind can’t comprehend and we get scared of the unknown, our mind tries to manifest it into a form that it can understand. In my case, my mind went into a spiral of all possible scenarios. Nothing was off the table. My thoughts ranged from – “I am having a mental breakdown”, “I have schizophrenia”, “This is what psychosis feels like”, etc. No matter how much my Guide tried to help and make me recognize these gifts that I had, I was convinced I’ll soon end up in an asylum. That zoom meeting turned out to be the first of many panic attacks that I would continue experiencing for the next 3 weeks. I was living my fear. I stopped sleeping because I couldn’t get that image and those sounds out of my head. For 1.5 weeks, my sleep cycle was reduced to roughly 2 hours of sleep per night. Every little sound was further amplified for me and I was scared to be myself any time of the day. I also had this intense pain in my chest that wouldn’t go away. Anytime I would bring myself to sleep, I would be scared of seeing dreams that I wasn’t prepared to see. One night, I had a dream where I saw an older version of my Guide write on a piece of paper the words – “A Spirit is here to meet you”. Next, I saw a face on my laptop screen that was blankly staring at me. When I woke up, I was filled with exhaustion and fear. I was certain that sleep won’t come to me anytime soon.

(Side note – Per spiritual practices, when we sleep, our soul travels to different places in the Universe. Sometimes, these places are on earth and sometimes these places are astral planes. From my understanding today, there are 9-12 dimensions. When our souls travel during our sleep, we are attached to our body through a Silver Cord. This is another Divine Cord that protects our soul and body. Nothing can harm us at this time. However, when we travel during meditation, we have to consciously protect ourselves to ensure that while we travel, our soul and body are still protected from energies that don’t serve us well. Through my meditations, I had started communicating with multiple dimensions – 5th through 7th feel the most prominent. I am still getting used to this awareness and would know more when I reach that level of awareness. I was attracting the energies of these planes to protect me and guide me. And they showed up because they were excited to see me and knew I was going into unchartered territories without any guidance and wanted to provide me their love and protection. That’s the beauty of these Angelic beings)

My science-laden brain did not understand this though. One night, however, I had an entirely different experience which showed me the light at the end of the tunnel that I was dying to see. That day had started like any other day. I was still scared, however, I had spent my evening with my friends surrounded by nature which had given me a break from my day-to-day life. By the time we came back home, I had seen a number sequence repeat itself so many times that I knew something was about to happen. I was sure I was about to die. The belief about my upcoming death was so strong that I did not even question why. But I made a wish. I wished that if something was about to happen that night, that I meet that beautiful lady again who was holding the yellow flower from that day when my meditation was still my go-to place to relax. I thought if this was the end, then I would rather leave this planet with that lady and hopefully make sense of what it is that I had entered.

Though something happened that night, there was no fear. I woke up roughly after 2 hours of sleep and my entire body felt so light that I thought I was flying. My chest was filled with one emotion and one emotion alone – love. A female voice in my mind asked me to close my eyes and see Her. When I closed my eyes, I saw a glimpse of Her. She looked as beautiful as She did all those days ago. This time, however, She was surrounded by an aura of Green. However, I couldn’t keep my eyes shut for long because I was afraid that my body won’t be able to handle anything more. So I took a book and a pen and asked Her if we could talk instead. Throughout this experience, I could hear two voices in my head. One was Hers and the other was mine. It was as if we were speaking telepathically. We spoke for an hour. I fall short of words to describe the intensity of love and security that I felt that night. She was there to tell me how much She loved me. I don’t call Her a name. I prefer to refer to Her as Her. She told me that She has been with me throughout my life, guiding me whenever I fell, loving me when I felt hurt, holding me when I felt broken, consoling me when I needed support, and looking out for me when I needed help. She said that She is my Divine Love who has always been by my side and I believe every word that She said or the words that I heard Her say in my mind. I asked Her why I was not allowed to sleep and why wasn’t she sleeping, to which She said “Beings like us don’t need a lot of sleep”. During the conversation, She had multiple messages for me but my human brain held on to only two of those – She asked me to protect myself and asked me to leave the place that I was staying at. She also asked me to believe that I was loved and that I was safe. We spoke for an hour about everything and anything. I have been in love before, and I have been loved before. One thing I can say without any doubt is I have never experienced love the way I felt it that night. That feeling has no comparison to anything I have ever felt. It was so powerful that it removed all my fears, doubts, and insecurities at that moment. It was pure and it was true. Finally, She said, “From the fallen ashes, a phoenix will rise“. When I asked Her the meaning of that phrase, She told me that a part of me was about to die and to undergo that transformation I should be around people who could love and understand my experience. 

(Side Note: Per spiritual practices, angels are always here to guide us. They don’t have any expectations from us but are here to give us the strength, support, and love that we need while we live our lives. They don’t expect us to give them money or to look down on anyone who does not believe in a certain God or a way of life. We attract who we are. If we spread love, that’s the energy that we attract. I choose to believe that She is an Angel of Unconditional Love and Wisdom. Love that knows no bounds. Angels communicate with us through various mediums. Sometimes they send us numbers or letters or images, sometimes they talk through the words of a friend or a stranger, and sometimes through a serendipitous encounter. It’s up to us to act on them or choose not to. Our free will determines the outcome. We can choose to build our lives into a dream that we’ve held since our childhood or we can choose to ignore all the signs and live our dreams wondering what could have been. Our Karma dictates the opportunities that we get in a lifetime, our karmic contracts dictate the lessons that we learn, our free will dictates what opportunities we take in this lifetime and the Divine Timing dictates when these opportunities present themselves. Irrespective of who we are and what mistakes we make, Angels and the Higher Power never leave us alone. All it requires is for us to have faith in someone. This someone could be us, a God, a connection, an Angel, or a deity. At the end of the day, faith is all that matters.

Today, I have finally accepted who She is. She is me. She is a version of me that lives somewhere in my body. I tried to run away from this truth for a long time even though deep down I knew who she is. I ran away because I could not accept that I could have so much love within myself. The realization was as powerful as it was calming)

The next day, however, I was still left to deal with those loud sounds. No matter how many words of encouragement my Guide offered, I was convinced that I was either hallucinating or had developed a mental disorder. I was working tirelessly throughout the day, eating healthy, working out, and trying my best to not relive that fear but I was exceptionally scared. I ended up opening to my family and my roommate about what had happened. One evening, I spoke out loud to no one in particular and asked for help. I asked whoever was listening to send me a human friend (I thought it was important to mention the term “human”) who could stay with me for a few days, sleep next to me and talk to me about my experiences, or else I was scared that I might not make it.

“Whoever” was listening sent that friend to me in the form of my roommate’s girlfriend. She stayed with us for 10 days and slept in my room for 7 days. During those 7 days, I opened up to her about my experiences and through her help realized that I was not hallucinating. She could hear the same sounds that I was hearing but, for her, they were not as loud. I also started seeing my fourth therapist at that time. I told her about my experiences too and she helped me incorporate some tools to help me with my fear. She, further, helped me realize how in times of crisis, our senses become overactive as a way to protect us. She also validated that I wasn’t losing my mind and did not have a mental illness. The amplified sounds were a result of my lack of sleep and the panic attacks that I had been experiencing. Those 7 days, I slept for 4-5 hours every night which was a huge achievement for me. Needless to say, I didn’t tell my therapist about my conversation with Her. That was one experience that I was sure was as real as day. By the end of the week, I decided to take Her advice and moved to NY with my friends from India where I finally started to understand what it means to Awaken.

The Power of Love and Support

My first two nights in NY went by without any experience. I started to wonder if everything that I had experienced was just a dream and all I needed was a break from my life. I hadn’t told my friends in NY the extent of my dreams. All they knew was that I was having trouble sleeping and had frequent nightmares which prompted me to take a break. A little background about my friends – They are a couple whom I had met back in 2017. The girl and I shared an apartment with 4 other girls and worked at the same organization. While we have known each other for years, we had never opened up entirely to each other. Despite that, I felt like I was finally somewhere close to home. I had a separate room in their apartment and slept for close to 6-7 hours for the first time in weeks. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call them Libra (female friend’s sun sign) and Aqua (male friend’s sun sign). I am going by this name as they are the perfect examples of the two sun signs and complement each other most beautifully.

The third night, however, the dreams started again. This time they were even more clear than they were before. While the dream scared me, the intensity of fear was not as high as it had been before. In my lucid dream, I saw a girl in black approach and stand in front of me. I couldn’t see her face but could recognize that it was someone I knew. It took me another week to identify who this person was. Needless to say, the dream made me realize that nothing that I had experienced was my imagination but continued to occur frequently.

The next day, I opened up to Libra about my experiences. I told her everything and didn’t hold anything back. I told her how my experiences had started, the dreams I saw, and poured out every single detail of what had happened in my life in the past 8 months. I didn’t know what her reaction would be because as I had mentioned earlier, we had never opened up to each other at such a deeper level. To my utmost surprise, Libra had been involved with Spirituality since she was a teenager. Her experiences in life and her upbringing had made her open to the world of Spirituality and Psychology. She patiently sat and listened to me for hours. Apart from my roommate’s girlfriend, everyone I had tried to talk to about my experiences had either been scared, thought I was going crazy or had asked me to stop meditating. Libra, however, was not scared. She didn’t say that it was my fault. She became an unofficial partner in my journey.

Libra knew more about Spirituality than I did. She told me about her teachings from a Guru whom she had met as a teenager. Her Guru had told her that there are essentially two types of people – one who reach enlightenment and cross the threshold to go to the other side and the other type who see what it feels like to be enlightened but choose to come back to this world to help guide others to find their path. The latter are called Karma Yogi. She helped me understand this concept through an example which I hope helps you understand the difference too – “Imagine there is a wall. On one side of this wall, we have the world that we live in today. This is the side where we experience everything that we do today – grief, jealousy, anger, love, happiness, confusion. This side of the wall is filled with darkness. On the other side of this wall, there is only light. When the first type of human beings see this wall and decide to cross it, they reach enlightenment or attain Moksha.  Karma Yogi, however, acknowledges this wall and comes back to show the path to those who are still lost so that they can cross over. As per her understanding and my Guide’s explanations, that’s who I was. She said that it was valid for me to get scared of the unknown because I didn’t understand what was happening to me but also told me to believe in myself and dare to seek understanding. She understood my concern for wondering if I was having a mental breakdown and asked me to take a broader approach to look at the situation – continue going to my therapy to get inputs from my therapist to understand how science played a role in what I was going through, continue taking things slowly to give myself a break and consider going back to my Guide to get more understanding of the world of Spirituality.

The conversation with Libra led to two changes – I moved my mattress to Libra’s and Aqua’s room. Yes, I slept in their room with them for three straight weeks. Next, I called my Guide to let him know about my latest experiences. My Guide who could make an excellent therapist, asked me – “So now you have moved. You’ve stopped meditating and you’re taking therapy. That has not changed any of your experiences. Are you willing to work with me now?”. I agreed.

In my first session with him, he introduced me to three exercises. I don’t know the official names of these exercises so I’ll call them by a name that is justified by what they do for me. First is a simple Presence exercise where we inhale from our nose and exhale from our mouth. This exercise helps me bring myself to the present. The second is a Tapping exercise which helps me get in touch with my body and lets me know I am safe inside my body. The third is an Establishment exercise that helps me establish the boundary for my energetic field. During the Establishment exercise, I keep my eyes closed and can see my energy aura. I see various colors that surround me and also see some external elements that have entered my aura that during the exercise, I either remove or engage with. 

(Side Note – My first Establishment exercise was also the first time that I saw one of my Spirit Animals – A saber-toothed tiger. When I saw this animal appear, I was surprised to see him as clearly as I did. The vision was as clear as I see things with my eyes open. Over time, I have seen many other animals appear in my Lucid dream or during my mediations. Whenever these animals appear, I try to recognize what their presence means to me and what they indicate. More on this later)

Parallelly, my therapist introduced me to some tools that could help me with my anxiety and fear. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is one such tool that helped me with my panic attacks. I do this every night before going to bed. It helps me relax my body and removes any tension that I unconsciously hold throughout the day. I have also tried Boxed Breathing, Rainbox Grounding, Recognizing Thinking Traps, Recognizing the history of intrusive thoughtsSinging your thoughts, Butterfly Hug, Surfing the Moment, Thinking of Alternate thoughts, and HALT. Additionally, she and I maintain a Thought Catalog where I write down the situations which make me experience an unhealthy emotion, the behavior that follows, an alternate thought that could be helpful, and the sensations in my body. Together these tools are helping me become more conscious of my thought patterns, recognize unhealthy habits, and introduce changes to my everyday life.

Calm after the Storm

With love from my friends, a teacher, and a therapist, I slowly started incorporating these practices into my day-to-day life. The first breakthrough came after a night of what was going to be my last nightmare in weeks to come. This nightmare was different from any other nightmare that I had experienced thus far. In the dream, I saw myself trembling with fear and asking everyone for help. My Aqua friend and a close uncle showed up in this dream and asked me to stop feeling scared and recognize that I was safe. No matter how much I tried to explain to them how scared I was and how they were not seeing what I could see, they kept telling me that there was nothing to fear. In the same dream, I saw another version of myself laughing like crazy. In my dream, I thought that the crazy version of me was laughing at me and I remember thinking that I wanted to kill myself to get rid of this fear. I woke up feeling disturbed after the dream.

The next day I texted my Guide about the dream. Now, a little bit about my Guide. I have felt close to him ever since we first spoke. In my first meeting itself, I felt like I could trust him with my truth. Like somehow we share a connection. I felt that I didn’t have to hide anything from him and that he would help me. This does not happen to me normally. I like to keep people at a distance until I have spent a considerable amount of time with them to ensure that I can trust them. With my Guide, however, no time was needed. All those nights back when I had spoken to Her, I had asked myself to trust my Guide. I had told myself that he will guide me because I have done something similar for him in the past but the knowledge is ancient for either of us to remember. My Guide, somehow, also understands my mind very well. He recognizes my need to figure out answers myself and also my need to explain the unexplainable with reason. So when I told him about my dream, he told me to ask myself – “Is there a connection between you seeing the two versions of yourself and wanting to kill yourself? What do the parts of you tell you about yourself?”

When I sat by myself and thought about the dream again, I recognized that the crazy version of me was not laughing at me. It was laughing at the situation because it recognized that for me to continue down this journey, I had to enjoy it and not get scared of it. This version also recognized that there was nothing to be scared of. The scared part of me wanted to kill itself because it knew that it was time for it to remove itself. That evening I took a very different approach to the situation. I forced myself to get angry. I forced myself to think about everything that had happened to me in the past few months and allowed myself to feel furious. With an angry voice and all the courage I could muster, I said to no one in particular – “I am done being scared. If anything tries to scare me, it will have to face my anger because that’s an emotion that I have trained myself on ever since I was a kid and no one can take that away from me. No external element – Spiritual or not can take away my strength or my willpower. I have been through multiple struggles in my life and I have come through a winner. This is not going to be anything different. I am strong and I am going to laugh more at my experiences, and anytime something tries to scare me, no one can protect it because I will unleash my anger.”

Now, I won’t say that a miracle happened and I lived happily ever after. What did happen, however, was I recognized three aspects about myself – First, I was scared and it was okay for me to feel scared because everything I was experiencing is not taught to us in any school or by our society. It’s not even recognized by Science. Religions mention it as metaphors but even, then, it feels like a far-fetched concept. Second, I have a very powerful tool within myself to leverage anytime I feel scared – Anger. Before this day, I had always told myself that my anger was my weakness. I was wrong. My anger is my strength as long as I use it in the right situations. It boils a fire in me that gives me the courage to fight my battles. Third, I recognized again the meaning of the Action – Thought – Feeling triangle. The mere act of reminding myself of events that made me angry brought up my anger and showed up in my action. Finally, I realized that I had forgotten how to laugh from my heart. I don’t know when this happened or what caused this to happen but I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed just for the sake of laughing. I made a pact with myself to laugh more, crack more jokes, and smile more.

I started experiencing the effects of this breakthrough that night itself. While I still had Lucid dreams for another week, they stopped being scary. I once saw myself speaking to two other people and making a decision on what we thought was the right path to follow for a friend. Another time, I saw a huge cat who had come to visit me. Yet another time, I saw a black crocodile-like animal, floating in the space with a naughty smile and trying to enter my body. The dream with the crocodile did scare me a bit because I thought it was trying to hurt me. However, when my Lucid dreams completely stopped the next night, I realized that the crocodile had come to provide me the strength, courage, and laughter that I needed to get some control over my fear. After a week, my Lucid dreams had completely stopped. I still wake up late at night and get scared of what would happen. However, the tools that I have learned from my therapy, and my learnings with the help of my Guide and my Spirit Guides help me during these nights to gain back my sanity and stop the intrusive thoughts. Finally, after three weeks of sharing rooms with Libra and Aqua, I am now sleeping in a separate room by myself. This week I am going back home.

Seek and you shall find

While on one hand, I was able to gain back the strength to deal with these dreams with the support from my Guide, Libra, Aqua, and my therapist, on the other hand, my meditation practices were helping me learn more about myself and these experiences. The remaining part of this section is dedicated to my learnings so far and what impact they have had on me.

I started meditating again when my Lucid dreams started phasing out. By this point, I had accepted that I couldn’t run away from what was happening and I had realized that the only way for me to start feeling “normal” again was to explore this through meditation and seek guidance. My meditations have introduced me to several Spirit Guides who have come to me to provide their love, support, and guidance to make sense of these experiences. It surprises me sometimes that when I meet a Spirit Guide, I find a person, a God, a Goddess, or Sage by the same name to have lived on Earth sometime in history. That’s the power of our subconscious mind. It remembers everything beyond from beyond our lifetimes. My feminine is represented by Goddess Ezra. She is love, emotions, protection, and support. I have always found it easier to establish connections with women in my life and when it came to me asking for help, the Divine Feminine had offered me help. It was easier for me to connect with my feminine and through that connect with the element of water that to me represents transformation and holds the memory of emotions.

My challenge was getting in touch with Divine Masculine. One day, while working, I got this intense pain in my forehead (Third Eye Chakra). These days I get sporadic heaviness at this region on my forehead which tells me that either an Angel is trying to contact me or some new energy or information is flowing through my body. That day I was introduced to my Masculine – Michael. Our initial conversation was full of confusion and surprise. Michael told me that He too has been with me ever since I was a kid, however, it took him this long to show Himself because I was angry with Him. He also said that He is God. Now, I won’t lie. I genuinely laughed when I heard a voice in my head say that it was God. While I was still confused about this conversation, Libra came to me and told me – “I have been experiencing this strange feeling for the last few days. When we talk and you tell me your experiences and I give you advice, it seems like while the words are coming through my mouth, I am not the one driving this conversation. Some things that I have told you in the past few days don’t even make sense to me but when it comes to you, I feel like I have to explain these things to you and I can keep doing that forever. The only confusion is – these thoughts don’t feel like mine”. It took me two more meditation sessions and a walk through Tarot Cards to understand that Michael here referred to the ArchAngel Michael – “the one who is like God”. He is the Divine Masculine. He was tirelessly trying to support me by sending me messages through my friends, numbers and by exposing me to Spiritually inclined people. The time had come for us to open a direct channel. I felt blessed and grateful to have someone go through so much extent to send me these messages, and I started talking to him more openly.

Over time, I started speaking more and more with Ezra and Michael during my meditation sessions. I can feel Ezra on my left side of the body and Michael on my right. They’ve helped me build my meditation practices, provided me clarity about my Soul purpose, and have helped me further strengthen my connection with my soul. They also encouraged me to write down my feelings and encounters to make sense of everything that I had been experiencing. They have also helped me face some past situations in my life to help me resolve my emotions, love myself more, and understand the need to forgive others and myself. I know, now, that as per Shamanism and Hinduism, feminine energy in all of us is represented on our left side and masculine on our right side of the body. The goal is to allow these energies to merge through love, self-healing, and acceptance to feel a sense of balance.

What had started as me feeling scared of the unknown was a breakthrough in my spiritual journey. After 29 years of my life, I had finally opened my channels to my subconscious mind, my Living Soul, and my Supreme Soul. As per Chinese philosophy, every living being has two souls – Po (Living Soul) and Hun (Supreme Soul). In Hinduism, they are called Atma and Paramatma. Atma lives within a body and is in-destructible. It occupies that same space as our physical bodies and exists at the same time as our bodies. Every living and non-living being has this Atma and they are all a part of the same Universal essence. Paramatma is our Divine Self. We are all a manifestation of this Param-atma who is the Divine Truth, the One, the God. It’s this soul who has garnered all the knowledge of the universe and has manifested as what we are today.

The first time I had my panic attack, I had started seeing my surroundings through the lens of my Atma and Paramatma. I could see my Aura, the Divine Light, and the energies that didn’t serve me well. Every Lucid dream that I had had till now was my mind getting in sync with my Atma and Param-Atma. The people I saw and the energies I felt were all me opening up to my souls. It was not something new that I was experiencing, I was just waking up to what already exists. How can I be scared of something that already is? When we meet someone in the 3D plane, our souls meet the same someone. The difference between the two meetings is where we see a human, animal, tree, or non-living thing, our soul sees their soul. This revelation explained to me what it is that we call the “sixth sense” or “gut-feeling”. That’s our Atma’s and Paramatma’s way of communicating with us. It is how our souls talk to us. Ever since I was a kid, I would instantly develop a dislike towards someone because that someone gave me “weird vibes”. As per psychology, such people are called Highly Sensitive Individuals. I thought this was a weakness that I had to overcome. Only now do I know that this has been my biggest gift all along. This is the gift that I bring to the world along with my ability to see what others can’t see. “Vibes” is when our souls communicate to us when we meet another Soul or encounter a situation or need to make a decision. Our souls speak via our bodies what they know. The challenge, however, is recognizing the difference between feeling uncomfortable in someone’s presence and recognizing that their energy is simply different from ours. One solution here is to pay attention to these gut feelings, ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable, and establish boundaries rather than removing a connection with someone only because they give off “weird vibes”.

Our souls have no gender. They are a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energies. When I saw Paramatma for the first time, I was left astounded. It’s bigger than the biggest animal on this planet, it’s brighter than the brightest star and it’s stronger than anything or anyone I have ever seen. Our Atma is a little bigger than our bodies and is here on this planet to learn, grow and serve its purpose. Both the souls are in-destructible. They know how to protect themselves and can not be harmed. However, our actions and thoughts impact our Atma and its sense of balance. It’s here where our actions and intentions make an impact. The unwanted energies can try and pull our energies to make themselves feel better but we can choose to not engage with these energies and they won’t be able to harm us. Throughout my experiences, I was seeking safety and protection from outside but the truth is I had the power within myself all the while.

This belief was further affirmed through my meditation experiences. I have been visited by the Dragon and The Tiger who protect and provide strength and power, Dove who gives love, Fish who opened me up to emotions, the naughty Crocodile who gave me the sense of laughter, self-love, and joy back, the Cat who gave me clarity and instinct, Elephant who gave me courage and love, Horse who gave me resilience and Rabbit who gave me the strength to be free. Now, that I am speaking to ParamAtma, it guides me through all my meditation exercises and gives me clarity to who I am, who I was, and where I belong. It loves to speak in metaphors and like the perfect teacher, lets me derive the meanings on my own. I have been visited by Shiva – the Divine Masculine, the creator, the protector, and the destroyer of worlds, and I have been told to remember Durga – the Shakti, the Goddess of War, Strength, and Protection. I have experienced the unconditional love of my Divine Self and I have felt the serene beauty of my soul’s connections.

During my experiences, I have seen symbols that didn’t make sense to me but have later revealed something about me. I have heard names of Sages and Deities whom I have never heard of before, I have heard and recited chants that held little meaning to me and names of individuals who were unknown to me. These same experiences which earlier scared me, now continue to bring me closer to the truth of me. I have heard words that I have never heard before and I have lived through lives that I have not encountered before. I have felt immense guilt, pain, abandonment, fear, and anger, and I have felt immense love, strength, compassion, empathy, justice, support and belonging, from all these experiences. The truth is I am not finding something new. I am remembering what my subconscious mind already knew. I continue working on these to further clear my path for that that still eludes me.

I know I still have a long way to go and I know that at every corner my beliefs will continue to get challenged. In the past few weeks, I have learned how to love, how to forgive, how to heal, how to break, how to make, and how to surrender. I have seen, experienced, and lived the power of unconditional love and acceptance, of giving up control and letting it be, I have learned to support and I have learned to believe, to have faith in my fate, and to acknowledge what’s mine to protect and what’s mine to leave. There is no me, there is no you. There is only we. We’re all just souls living a 3D picture of what really is.

Dear Reader,

If you’re still with me, let me tell you the one truth that has helped me to be where I am today, the ultimate truth that has given me the courage to speak my truth through the power of words. You’re not alone. Love surrounds and protects you. It heals every part of you. When you’re down with sorrow, fear, pain, and grief believe in yourself and believe in just being. Go out in nature and connect with the elements of Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Water will transform you, air will free you, Earth will ground you and Fire will protect you. Talk to that friend who understands you, speak to a Guru who can guide you, reach out to that family member whose love surrounds you, and when you’re ready, stop, breathe and dive deep within to find the answers that you seek.

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