How do we get Shanti'd? How do you become so wise and peaceful?
Do you wake up in a bad mood sometimes? Do you ever get angry? You are the sweetest person I know. I have heard these kind of questions and statements frequently throughout the years but I never really knew how to respond.
I feel know is the time to give a complete answer.
How did I become Shanti?
I wish I could tell you that a Rainbow fell on me or that I had a deep mystical experience like some masters who get struck by Enlightenment.
Unfortunately, like most wise teachers I know, the wisdom and inner peace often comes after overcoming intense hardships and suffering. I am no different.
The biggest hardship was the sudden death of my mother and the loss of my father at age 12. This left me shattered. Despite the loving care of my surrounding family I delved into self destructive behavior in my early adult years, leading me to a place of self hatred and suicide.
Sustained chest and heart pain led me to my general doctor, who diagnosed me with clinical depression. I started seeing a psychiatrist and went on medication.
After a while a close friend convinced me to heal naturally.
I made drastic lifestyle changes. I quit drinking, smoking and partying.
I explored natural, macrobiotic, fruitarian, raw food and Ayurvedic diet.
I diligently worked through self help books, Louise L Hay, Seth Material, Deepak Chopra, Osho, to name a few. I followed seminars, lectures, joined Rainbow Circles, took tarot and astrological readings.
For sure a bit of everything, but the actual healing work was developing more consciousness, the cultivation of moment- to -moment pure awareness to work through the fear, insecurity, loneliness and sadness that I was feeling.
Bringing this darkness in the light of my consciousness was the grand and courageous work at hand. No more escaping, denying and blaming.
I sensed that this was the only true road of emotional healing.
I was deeply pulled to go inside, as if my soul demanded back all the time I have wasted, moment by moment. I cultivated the habit of moving into any ' bad ' feeling and sit with it until it was dissolved.
For a long time my life was a constant emotional purging, always working through some pain. I explored every little tension, insecurity and doubt and examined it to the roots.
After I understood this was similar to a practice in Buddhism, going to the root of suffering to find liberation. The symbol for this process of purification is the Lotus Flower. The seed sprouts in the mud and grows up through the dark, murky waters and finally rises above the water and blossoms into the light.
It is a tough practice, there were moments I was convinced I was going to die.
Gradually there were longer moments of tranquility, lightness and
even moments of pure bliss, like finally arriving home.
I would feel at one with all, fulfilled and complete.
Call it altered, expanded states of consciousness, Enlightenment, God or Kundalini rising, it felt good and real.
Once I discovered this bliss of natural high, my true medicine, the exploration and cultivation of consciousness became my number one priority.
Sometimes I spent a whole day only doing this. I could not bare any unnecessary distraction. I remember the exact moment I gave up on cosmetic beauty.
My perfect, beautiful, long nail that I have been cultivating for so long broke.
I realized I could not waste energy on this kind of trouble. I took the clipper and chopped all nails off, aaaah what a liberation !
I started letting go of anything that could give more freedom of being.
I grew dreadlocks, stopped wearing make up, I stopped watching tv, reading newspapers and stopped keeping up with mainstream fashion. I also became very selective with who I spend time with. I could not just chit chat anymore. I said no to soooo many social invitations. I missed spectacular events, passed up on many dates and probably disappointed many friends and family by canceling.
I also felt completely uninterested, if not disappointed in society as a whole and the commercial way of living. During a life changing travel in Australia, I was close to join a group of gypsies who invited me to live with them and nomad through the continent.