Hari Om friends!
Finally, I am returning to this blog after 4 long and unexpectedly challenging years in which I haven’t felt able to do any writing. The exact external circumstances and events that occurred are not so interesting – suffice to say that it was a period throughout which I was tested many times – physically, emotionally and spiritually. In truth, on several occasions I felt I failed which took me to some dark places. But ultimately, through His grace and through the love of those around me, I found my way back and now find myself in a new version of life that is fuelled by love, service and gratitude.
I know now that many have experienced some challenge like this in life – for each of us the exact nature of the challenge is unique to us but the effects on the mind and therefore your life are the same. I once heard a wise man say, the Lord doesn’t give you what you want, He gives you what you need.
Sometimes, what we need is to be shaken violently, to be pulled out of our comfort zones and back onto the path where we should be. This transition can be rough, but sometimes it’s necessary to give you the training for the life you are meant to lead. Because out of that struggle alone comes real strength. Not just mental or physical strength (although that too may be important for you). I mean a strength of conviction about who you are and what your purpose is. A rough uncut and dust-covered diamond must be cleaned, cut and polished many times before it becomes pure – a shining diamond radiating light in every direction.
Isn’t it interesting that some people have much more hardship whereas others seem to breeze through life? Of course there are many factors at play in life, but from a spiritual point of view perhaps it just that some of us need more polishing than others. With His grace hopefully one day we can be that bright illumined diamond.
The other thing that I found eventually comes from this type of struggle is gratitude. You realise that nothing you are is solely because of your own merit or effort. Everything you have become is a result of someone or something in your life that created that reality for you. It is only because of how strongly we identify with our personality that we assume that we have achieved something. Once you start to question what you have actually ever done yourself you come to some interesting answers. Interestingly, at one stage you even become grateful for even the struggle itself because you see the difference it has created in you.
From a practical point of view, in the hardest of these times what I found amazing was the strength I got from kirtan – simply keeping His Name with me wherever I went. In fact it continues to amaze me how powerful this technique is. Any time I felt my way was lost, I simply said his Name over and over again, chanting and singing simple kirtans whenever I was alone. Instantly, the mind gets snapped out of its constant pointless chatter and thrust back into a place of happiness and peace. Now whether there is some esoteric reasoning to this, or its just a potent form of NLP, I don’t really care – it works!
Luckily it seems there has recently been a huge surge of interest in kirtan music and you can find many offerings by amazing devotional artists online – try Spotify or Apple Music for starters. So even if you don’t know any chants or mantras you can find something you like and can connect with. In the coming months I will also add several links to offerings I come across that I like. It is a practice that works whatever beliefs, faith, or religion you follow.
So, while I continue on my path, I thought I would share this experience with you in case it can be of any help on your journey. Now I look forward to getting back to this blog and sharing again with you!