Review by Lekha Menon
Change is good.
I have been through tough times, but each phase inspired me and gave me new insights into managing this huge enterprise called life. I was depressive, suffered from low self-esteem and frequently questioned my purpose until my spiritual awakening happened and life took a 360 degree turn.
Doubts and dilemmas
I strayed into journalism after graduation. It wasn’t something I’d sought, for I had no clue of my goals. I was simply doing a job, sans any enthusiasm or passion. I was a drifter — in work and in life.
I was actually going through depression right from the age of 16. I had come to Mumbai from a small town; I was alone and trying to fit in. Moreover, my self-esteem was always low. In retrospect, I see that phase as unconscious seeking: looking for meaning in life and peace of mind. One job led to another and my career took a turn when I was offered the editorship of Society. It was a great position, but secretly I felt fate had pushed me into doom!
The great awakening
Ironically, it was the end of a relationship that taught me an important lesson. He said two things that impacted me powerfully — that I’d not made him happy, and that relationships were meant to be beautiful but ours had not been. Two words — happy and beautiful — riveted my imagination. I longed to know what a beautiful relationship was like or what it meant to make another person happy.
I took a decision: come what may, I’d make him happy. But it wasn’t easy as he was provoking me to anger and jealousy. Then I had a revelation and I asked myself, ‘If I really wanted this person’s happiness, then shouldn’t I be okay with whatever he said or did?’ Suddenly, my negativity disappeared. The thought had actually enabled me to flip out of my ego, and give the other the space to be himself. I wasn’t turning into a doormat; I was simply operating from a space of inner strength and power, where I felt complete.
I see what a rare act of grace had visited me because to transcend the ego is most difficult. I was invulnerable. No one could hurt me; at the same time, I was deeply sensitive to their needs.
Within a month, the jigsaw puzzle of life fell into place. I understood that we were designed to get happiness from the happiness of others which means that there was a designer — God! It also meant that we were interconnected. From being confused, unhappy and reactive, I was blessed with joy and wisdom. I was in a bubble of bliss for almost a year; the positivity reflected in my professional life too.
The highs and lows
However, I was tired of pumping myself into that stage. I wanted happiness to be a natural state of mind. What stopped me was low self-esteem, that kept me looped in guilt, fear, self-criticism and self-distrust.
However, one day I had a glimpse of my soul or true self and discovered that I was whole, perfect and complete. The deeply flawed self with which I identified was only a product of conditioning. This helped me to move into the third stage of my journey — my “de-conditioning phase” where I became aware of all the damage that depression had done to my mind. I was indifferent, careless, lazy, with little focus, concentration or self-control.
A new life
I quit Society just after that phase in my life began, and miraculously got a job with Life Positive. And life hasn’t been the same. I began to take a deep interest in connecting with my spiritual self and gradually regain lost footing. Constant practice of awareness and acceptance helped me shed my debilities to a large extent.
Seeking the true path
My spiritual awakening came on its own, call it due to divine grace. Today, I know what I want to do — discover my true self, and help others do so. I would love to hold workshops for people, especially women who suffer from lack of confidence. It took me 17 long years to get here, but it has been worth it. Life, the great teacher has brought me where I am today.