Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I just wanted to survive...

I HAVE ALWAYS experimented with my life, and joining a Buddhist organisation a few years ago was another one of those experiments. Though I tried hard to attend meetings, I didn’t always find the time — my job always seemed to come in the way. But I didn’t worry too much because my life was perfect. I remember thinking, “I have a good job, a great family, people who adore me and I am engaged to the man I love. Do I even need to pray?”

My answer came one year later. January 12, 2005, was like any other day. I was on my way to office in an auto when, inexplicably, I broke down. There I was, the girl who never shed a tear in front of people, howling in front of the whole world as though my life had ended. A seemingly innocent verbal duel with my brother earlier that morning had opened the floodgates to emotions buried deep inside. I was overwhelmed by feelings of rejection, self-pity and worthlessness. I had to fight with myself not to jump off the auto and kill myself right then and there.

A small part of my rational self knew that I had to do something. I asked the auto driver to take me to Vimhans (Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences), where a friend had recently sought help. I sat there for two hours saying things I did not know I felt — feelings of inferiority from constantly being compared with my ‘model material’ sisters, the pain of growing up in a family that was forever struggling with finances, the loss of my father to cancer when I was only 16, the disappointment with my high-profile job where really, I was no more than a glamourised data entry operator. My life suddenly seemed surreal, like I had not really lived through any of this. Another me had emerged, one who was tired of hiding behind the facade of normalcy.

I was diagnosed by the psychologists at Vimhans with chronic depression and told that years of counseling and medication is what it would take to be free of my demons. But although venting all that emotion helped me, a couple of sessions later, I still found myself in the midst of hell. I just couldn’t see the purpose of my life. I felt no confidence in my doctors and frequently had suicidal thoughts. A fellow Buddhist asked me to try and chant, even if it made no sense. I tried, but my mind was not in my control. I was losing the battle and just when I thought that things could not get any worse, they did.

On February 14, I got a call from a girl claiming to be my fiancĂ©’s girl friend. I knew instinctively that she was telling the truth. I think, subconsciously, I knew he had never been mine and had always feared losing him. But I had been in love with this man for the last four years and had dreamt of a future with him — to discover that he had been cheating was shattering. I collapsed. I could not breathe. Once again, I called my friend, a fellow Buddhist, and once again her advice was: “Chant; it will be fine”. I still couldn’t do it. I popped two sleeping pills instead and went to bed.

The next day, when my fiancĂ© called to apologise, although there was no question of taking him back, I somehow found the strength to say, “I forgive you.” I did not blame him; I blamed myself for trusting him but I didn’t want to deal with him just then. I just wanted to survive; to look in the mirror and not feel disgust, to live my life and to see the beauty in it all. But I could not forgive myself. My mind was blank; my spirit had died. Dark clouds surrounded me. Finally, I began to chant.

I chanted just one line, again and again and again, with my eyes open — facing my problems head-on. I was not thinking about divinity or the life-force but something amazing happened. The tears stopped and a smile spread across my face. A weight lifted and I could see everything clearly. I was free. From a moment of hell, I had reached a stage of complete bliss. Obviously, the feeling did not last forever. But that moment, the way I would react to situations had changed forever and I had finally accepted myself, with all my flaws. From that moment on, my life took a turn for the better. The girl who was once diagnosed with chronic depression has not had to see a counselor since. The girl who did not share her feelings is sharing her life with you, has met her soulmate, is happily married and totally in love with life!

Though I describe myself as more of a free thinker than a Buddhist, this transformative experience still sends a thrill through my body and soul. I finally understood what Buddha meant when he said: “You, more than anyone else in the world, deserve your love”.

I wish my soul could always be steady and loving but I know that’s not possible. I realise that I will falter. But my courage lies in being able to get up again. I know, now, that miracles happen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


You should be happy. You have everything you ever wanted. Life is complete. But you feel that gnawing hole in your existence. Something is missing. Something so intangible, that you don’t even know what it is, forget about getting it. Maybe that’s how life is supposed to be. Maybe it is just not possible to be completely happy and satisfied. Maybe but I just can’t accept that. There cannot be any other reason for our existence but to be happy. All we do, every action of ours is in pursuance of happiness.So why are we never truly and completely happy? Why is there something missing in life, no matter what we achieve or possess?Personally I believe that the happiness comes in the working for the desired goal, not in achieving it. Couples that are always WORKING at making their marriage successful are happy because they are not content to sit back and say, “Well, I’m now happy, nothing else to do.” Getting our home or yard decorated or landscaped is fun while we are doing it. Not in standing on the sidewalk with our hands on our hips looking at it. We often THINK that when we are done we will then be happy, not so. Anticipating a long vacation, planning, arranging details, making reservations is often more engrossing and rewarding than actually doing the anticipated activities.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Code to live by…

Inscribed in old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1691,author unknown.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there maybe in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quitely and clearly; and listen to to others, even the dulla and ignorant; they too have their story.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of HEROISM.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all ardity and disenchantment it is perenial as the grass.

Take kindly the councel of the years, gracefully surrendring things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to guard you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. May fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the starts. You have a right to be here. And whether or not its clear to you, the Universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with GOD, whatever you percieve him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisey confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The story of my faith.

I knew ‘God’ even before I understood the meaning of the word. The earliest memory I have is that of me sitting in the corner of our dusty garden, crying. The memories are foggy, but I do remember that I cried a lot. Maybe its my way of burying the bad memories. I cried because my parents always seemed to fight, I cried because time and again I was told how ugly I was. I ahd three beautiful elder sisters and even as a five year old I was made aware of the fact that I was an aberation. Every guest who visited us added a new cruel coment that sent me hiding, from the world, from myself.

But even then a small breeze would come floating in, engulf me and tell me how special I was. That breeze would make me feel like a princess. That breeze gave me strength dust my dirty dress, smile and go back to face the world. That breeze sometimes became a sweet song, when I hid in the dark corner of the cupboard. As I grew up, I realized that breeze was God, my God. God never made life easy for me, never took away the obstacles. God gave me courage to fight and grow. I never had to go to place of worship or follow a religion because I found God in my heart, in my soul. It was God who showed me that I didn’t need to be beautifl to be loved, and suddenly the world loved me-because I had learned to love myself.

God helped me look beyond the ugliness of this world. What was it, if not the strength of God that helped me to live a normal life after a so called uncle tried to molest me as a seven year old, and later when my sister’s boy friend tried to do the same?
I was never bitter. Even after my fiance of four years cheated on me, and the relation came to a heartbreaking end. I didn’t suddenly stop believing in men or love. And God gave me my soul mate. No matter what, I never lost my faith…even when my father died of cancer, when all my family was questioning God, I didn’t. The only time I questioned God was when I was TTC. The day I realized that I was losing that special song, that cool breeze, that God no longer spoke tome, I stopped TTC.

What I had was special and TTC almost destroyed that. I still have not heard God in a long time..but I fee his presence, and I know soon he will speak to me again…