March 2017 By Shivi Verma Spiritual awakening is so precious that it should be cherished even if it occurs to you in your old age, says Shivi Verma People often called me courageous. But the truth is that I feared the voice of my conscience. And I found that to keep it from nagging me I had to do its bidding, which could involve doing daring things which normal people avoided. I remember singlehandedly taking on a group of young boys for teasing me, in a highly orthodox and patriarchal college, even though I feared the consequences of such defiance. Luckily, it never turned ugly for me due to some Divine grace. Listening to my conscience also meant always monitoring my speech, thoughts and actions so that I didn’t have to face its rebuke later on. So facing myself was never an issue with me as it is with most people. But my difficulty was the people surrounding me. According to them this was not how life was supposed to be lived. The outer world praised my submissiveness calling it sensible, and upbraided me for my conscientious actions terming them foolish and laughable. I was in a state of constant flux and confusion because of this. My inner self had its own standards to measure me by, and the world had its own. And both were at loggerheads. Hence I was a crazy mix of idealism, anger, self-doubt and pessimism. That I was wonderful the way I was became apparent to me when the Divine responded very strongly and positively to me. My self-worth skyrocketed. And once this self-belief entered, I began to see people for who they were, beneath their facade of self-righteousness. I realised that my guileless and conscientious ways were a big threat to their deeply held beliefs based on fear and judgements. As long as I was unaware of this, they could ridicule me and break my spirit, but the moment I became aware it wasn’t possible to do so anymore. And while it increased my power it also made me vulnerable to increased hostility and even bitter conspiracies from their side. The more I saw them, the more pained I felt. They had their pains and sufferings, from which they wanted relief but they weren’t comfortable knowing that it was all their own creation. They prayed ardently to God for help, and She always responded, but their egos made them reject that help once it arrived, if it in any way humbled them and made them see their own faults. And often this resistance stemmed from the regret that if their faulty beliefs were the reason for their suffering, then they had wasted a huge chunk of their lives living in a fool’s paradise thinking others were at fault. It was a terrifying thought. Hence they shut out all help and new knowledge that could have transformed their lives just to feel the safety provided by old beliefs. It used to sadden me to see them throw away the precious grace of God. But time had lessons for me too. As I was kicked out by them I realised I couldn’t help people until they were actually ready for it. One day I heard my guru speak at an event: “People think that life ends with death, but in reality the journey of life and its learnings continue even after passing away. So never ever think that it’s too late to wake up, or that you have wasted your life.” Hope returned in my heart on hearing this. Yes, people wake up when they have to and when they are ready, and it can be any moment. Whether early or late, on their death beds or in afterlife. But they do wake up. In the meantime they are working out their karmas or accumulating necessary experiences. Therefore nothing is lost, no precious years are wasted, and neither are opportunities squandered if you feel that self-knowledge came to you in your twilight years. Because that is how your soul wanted it.
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