I’ve been taking a lot of time to think lately. I’ve been going inward and taking stock of life thus far and beyond. I no longer believe in coincidences. It was the same me that once said that “things don’t happen for a reason; things happen and we make our reasons to justify them”. Since I wrote these exact words over a year ago, I have undergone many changes, emotionally and spiritually. I have moved, and since the day I got back to India something inside me knew that I was here for a reason, like this was all a grand scheme. And today, more than ever, I can feel that I am exactly where I need to be – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. All of me is present here in this moment and there is nowhere else I’d rather be. And surprisingly, I wouldn’t choose any other path to get here either.
Earlier today, I was embroiled in an emotionally charged discussion with my mother about my “future” (as if we have any control over it). She said to me, “what’s the point of getting educated in the US if you want to end up teaching yoga in India!”. I did not respond. Not because I didn’t have an answer. Au contraire, I knew the exact answer. But I don’t think she is ready for it. However, this is my personal space and I must respond here.
Everything that I am today, every fiber of my being, mortal and immortal, is a consequence of my life journey thus far. Every person that I have come in contact with has shaped my personality in some way. And by shaping I don’t mean influence or manipulation of any kind. When I meet someone I instictively like or dislike, it makes me question that sentiment. And in trying to decipher that reaction, I discover something new about my own self. Sometimes I like what I discover and I work on enhancing it. Other times I don’t, and I work to fix it. So people don’t change people, but they certainly hold up a mirror to us so we can see ourselves in a new light. What we make of the reflection is up to us because only we can change ourselves. And I have used every opportunity life has afforded me to change myself for the better, or at least so I think. If I didn’t travel the path that I did and saw these reflections along the way, I wouldn’t be what I am today, and I wouldn’t trade my today’s self for anything in this world.
I have walked a long, sometimes extremely arduous road, to find my one true love – myself. I don’t say that with any trace of narcissism or arrogance. I say it with utmost humility and gratitude. In order for me to be able to love others fully and honestly, I must first love myself. And in order to love myself, I must first know and accept myself. This life, through all its highs and lows, especially the lows, has helped me fine tune my character. It has helped me acknowledge my shortcomings and forgive myself for them. It has helped me recognize my strengths and use them as a foundation for everything else. I don’t pretend to be anything or anyone else, and I certainly don’t try to conform to any moulds. I am who I am and I embrace it. So now that there is no “void” to fill, I can genuinely love others instead of using them as crutches to make up for my own weaknesses. I am complete and that is a consequence of my journey, the exact journey that I took; it couldn’t have been anything else or I wouldn’t be complete.
So to go back to what my mother said, my American education didn’t start and end at a university. My American education is ongoing, and will continue for the rest of my life. If I didn’t go there, I wouldn’t be here. My American education is the brickwork in my life’s foundation, it’ll always be there. I don’t know if I would’ve got the same experiences elsewhere. And yoga, well, I didn’t choose yoga, yoga chose me. I didn’t decide one day that I want to become a yoga teacher, then went on to take a course and practise. I was lost and meditation showed me the light inside my heart. Meditation led me to the physical practice and I practised for a long time without any formal training. Then one day I heard of teacher training happening in my own backyard, if you will. I took it because it was convenient, and because I was curious to learn the philosophy of yoga. Even at that time, I was the only one in my class who had no intentions of teaching anytime in the near future. But now it’s all I can think of. If that doesn’t seem destined then what does. And it’s not just teaching the superficial, “Bollywood yoga” as I like to call it, or the acrobatic yoga on the other extreme. I want to help people understand the essence of yoga, and live healthy, holistic lives. Quite simply, I want to share this wonderful gift that I’ve been given.
The thing with truth is, once you have seen it you cannot unsee it. I have seen my truth, my calling and it is simply a matter of time before I heed it.