By Jamuna Rangachari March 2008 Don’t tell me you don’t eat this anymore. Amazing willpower,” exclaimed my friend, who had been struggling with a diet plan, when I declined a serving of fries and a spicy, oily curry. The surprise was understandable. I was, after all, very fond of such fare at one time. I smiled and thought how it was not really willpower but a natural inclination to eat something less spicy, less oily and more wholesome.So it was with movies, books, clothes. Comfort over appearance has become the motto in clothing and footwear. I avoid gory, negative reading and viewing and veer towards inspiring, soul-stirring reading and entertainment; in a sense, choosing nourishing, wholesome food for the soul. A simple smile as a reply instead of a preachy, patronising speech is yet another welcome change The old ‘me’ would have sermonised immediately on the benefits of eating healthy without recognising that the poor girl was struggling to lose weight. Now, I listen to unspoken vibes that people send, and have learnt to speak only when the person is seeking the message. As a result, my relationships have become much smoother, much easier. Even in serious matters about which I feel strongly, I have seen the futility of verbal duels and ‘arguments’, something I had revelled in earlier. For, I have understood the crucial difference between indifference and equanimity, appreciative of what the Buddha meant when he said, “Be a ‘witness’ (‘sakshi’) to the events around you, and engage yourself only where you can play a role.” All these changes are a part of a process, not an overnight development. A series of serendipitous events that happened a few years ago, nudged me towards a path that I had never before been conscious of. At that point, I was a computer professional with no real idea of what spirituality was all about. The societal events did make me feel, however, that religion was being grossly misused and misunderstood, and prodded me to write a few stories for children on the subject. The trigger, therefore, was the small step I had taken on focusing on the other.“Why don’t you attend the session on chakra meditation?” Shakun Narain, who headed a forum for communal harmony, asked graciously after I had shown her my (then unpublished) stories for children. As we meditated on all the chakras guided by the practitioner, Promila Gurtu, I recognised a clear imbalance in my Manipura chakra where the solar plexus was placed, as there was quite a throbbing, when that chakra was being meditated upon. I was told that this usually indicates a feeling that one’s aspirations are not being met. An absolutely accurate diagnosis, as I was striving hard to ‘achieve’ so-called success then.After this unplanned session, there was an amazing light feeling which I had never ever experienced before. I soon began attending the regular classes conducted by Promila Gurtu, made easier by yet another serendipity – the fact that she lived close to my home.Meditation has today become a part of my life. Even when I do become irregular at times, someone or something always arrives on the scene to gently remind me of the path. “A magazine with Gandhi on the cover!” As I read through the special issue of Life Positive, it seemed to be just the kind of magazine I was looking for. Issue after issue opened me up to a spiritual perspective. I could not resist joining up. The people I met, the articles I wrote, and the events that I attended through this association, have proven invaluable to my own personal growth.When multiple sclerosis struck, answers were waiting for me in the form of practitioners who I met through my association with Life Positive. Reflexology through Rafat Jehan and naturopathy through Dr Salila Tiwari helped me bounce back to a normal routine, and a state of well-being. I also understood the chilhood baggage that I still carried as the spiritual reason for the illness through Martin Brofman’s book on self healing, and worked on myself with the faith that I could heal myself. If health can be defined as wellness of body, mind and spirit, then yes, I am truly healthy today, maybe more than ever before. I now view events as preordained and yet malleable; having experienced life shaped by one’s response to the signals that are constantly sent to us. With this perception, I think I have moved a step closer to a state of complete equanimity and peace, the ultimate goal of all seekers.Jamuna Rangachari is Assistant Editor of Life Positive and has published two books for children, and a story in Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul .Contact: email@example.com
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