By Life Positive July 2005 life positive readers share their experiences on the path. A journey of Self-DiscoveryN. KumarThe full moon rose in a clear black sky. Suddenly just the way the Great Bear, Orion and others had left, I too disappeared into one of the most beautiful experiences a human being can have. It’s impossible to describe it for another. I have never been able to figure out how long it lasted, I didn’t know what it was, and I was certainly unprepared for the consequences. It was a few months before I realized that it was somehow connected to my sudden strong ability to ‘see’ events that made headlines later, know who came visiting by listening to the birds, and the telepathic powers that began to manifest themselves. Then one day I ‘knew’. I met a very senior Buddhist Lama in a search for leads. I was told I would know the answers to any questions I may have. I remember thinking, such a statement left me precisely nowhere. For I was no seeker, and had always railed against the burden of these crazy things. Soon, however, I found that if these were crazy things there were also other beneficial ones. For instance, unlike most people, the more variables I was faced with, the better my solutions became. At work, people talked of my ‘computer mind’. I had always provided quiet leadership, now I was everyone’s grandmother. To say it was exhausting would be an understatement. It changed the nature of my work. I contributed my bit in changing the situation for others by bringing in new ideas, solutions that seemed obvious to me, but appeared ingenious in their simplicity to others. Spirituality was not a hot subject those days. Some years later, I came across Andrew Cohen’s magazine on enlightenment, read of his experience and its confirmation by some spiritual leaders. Later, I read descriptions of others’ experiences. Earlier, I had had similar experiences, but I had not, to my knowledge at least, changed. Perhaps, since I was not actively ‘seeking’ in the accepted sense, I was not to know. Most importantly, I knew that unlike the people I’d read about, I had fewer answers, less to say because everything seemed so self-evident. Since I was not ‘enlightened’, there was no dealing with other enlightened persons or their disciples who’d endeavor to instill in me that which I already knew. A discussion with me often assisted others to arrive at new states of mind. I’d help them arrive at solutions, which I knew they could of their own accord as well, sooner or later. few years back, I ‘located’ myself. People like me had existed, albeit infrequently, across the centuries. Their experiences had been documented many millennia ago, they throng the annals of Hinduism’s Shrutis and such offshoots. There is nothing for me to add because everything is already there. Now I ‘know’ how diverse things like hatha yoga, bharata natyam and the concepts of the Upanishads came about. But, what is enlightenment? I still wouldn’t know. The QuestAbhishek Thakore‘To attain supreme consciousness,’ I remember scribbling this as the goal of my life, in a friend’s slam book, 10 years back. I was 13 then. My journey since then has been varied in experiences, fraught with paradoxes. Having embarked early on the path, I’ve had enough time to explore the many different ways to self-realization, before I settled on my own. Intellectually, I’ve always grasped that the world is really maya… an illusion. But I must confess there are times when the world around becomes so entrancing, seems so real, that I almost forget there is more to it. And much more to us as well, than the roles that we live. So, you know that you should live in the present, but your mind wants to flee to the recesses of good times in the past or gets obsessed with endless and futile thinking about the future. Times, when you know that there is so much beauty around, and so much love and warmth, but you are shut off to it. Through these fluxes, however, my awareness has been a constant companion. But then awareness became an excuse – I would permit myself to slip into a low state under the pretext that I was at least ‘aware’ of it. And paradoxically, becoming aware of this, took the longest time. Being aware has helped me move ahead – it’s the torch on the path. The brighter the torch, the more powerful is your understanding of the surroundings and the journey itself. Then again, there are times when I feel I am free of a particular pattern only to discover that it has disguised itself in another form but is still there. For instance, I realized that I was trying to race towards enlightenment as well, just as I’d competed in college. All around me I spot seekers – ones who are supposedly beyond competition and ego – but still are unconsciously competing for ‘better experiences’ or more realization. My journey was also filled with dogmas: like times when I was so much in love with a guru that I believed his was the ultimate truth. I have missed important exams to attend Art of Living courses, and traveled half way around the planet to attend an Anthony Robbins workshop. It was only later that I began to realize that while committing to a path is important, everyone’s path is equally meaningful, equally respectable. To look down upon a person who is chanting or following a cult guru is immaturity on my own part. All I do at such times is try and understand what that path has to offer, and realize each one has some beautiful gems. On the way also came the realization that the world outside is essentially a reflection of your inner state. For now, when I see conflict, troubles and issues, I know that these are inside me. The solution is not ‘out there’ in a quick fix but more in observing and letting go of my own internal struggle, albeit very patiently. I am still negotiating the gap between intellectual information and lived knowledge. The ‘Aha!’ that comes when you internalize an insight is the actual step forward. At times, I’m gripped by existential angst. A look around shows me birds and animals, ever blissful, beautiful, seldom overweight, never competing. Makes me wonder where we went wrong to create this incredibly worked up and racing world. Finally, I have also realized that there is no one size that fits all. Each one of us has to seek our own path. And perhaps the goal is the journey itself. Because once you are enlightened and one with consciousness, you are that consciousness. In the MomentY.V. ChawlaThe inner freedom, liberation or touch of wholeness, whatever you may call it, just happens. You cannot attain this state with your efforts. You will still be chained in an effort and result mode. You will never emerge from your expectation of results, and this will only create struggle. It is sufficient to understand this freedom, liberation. When it is known and absorbed, there is biological change in you. A fundamental change that is not the product of your thought process. This state then engulfs you and the veil between ‘you’ and the ‘whole’ drops. This understanding only develops with the acceptance of these facts: The universe is in perfect order. No wrong can happen. We think our present state unsatisfactory and seek solace in books and teachers. Herein lies the error: seeking satisfaction away from the present moment. Once this truth is grasped, seek no further. You are in the achieved state, satisfied state. You move in ecstasy. The understanding of the programming of the mind is not a result-oriented technique. It frees you from the beginning. There is a sudden shift in your perception, you get in touch with the actual operation of energy. You perceive your intention in energy form, in spirit form, and then you become spiritual. Every moment then becomes ‘live’, a continuous interaction with the ‘whole’. Parabrahma: the Ultimate GoalDr Swami J. PersadIt takes a fraction of time, that realization and knowing of untruth. Suddenly, you are the seer, enlightenment happens. Is it simple to announce, I am enlightened? But who remains to make this announcement? No ego remains. The truth dawns of being one with the divine – ‘I am He.’ The divine is within, without, everywhere at once. There remains no difference between the self and the other. Our soul is not an element but is a part of Brahma, like a water drop in an ocean. Bhagavad Gita lists eight elements of which five are the panchmahabhoot – earth, water, fire, air and space, the remaining three are mind (manas), wisdom (buddhi) and ego (ahankar). The first five disperse at the time when body and soul separate; the last three remain as companions with the soul, to accompany it in rebirth. At the time of moksha, the soul merges with the Parabrahma or the supreme soul. Enlightenment is the journey towards this ultimate goal: Parabrahma. Here the drop merges with the ocean and becomes an ocean. This stage of enlightenment has been called by other names as pragya, mukti, buddhattva and savikalpa samadhi. My seeking began early in my childhood, when I turned a bhakta, pledging my devotion and surrender. During hypnotherapy, I visited a past life. In that lifetime, I had been a devotee servant of Lord Krishna and I even died in the temple. At that point I had been reading the scriptures. Many questions and illusions encumbered my mind. I had sought many masters and gurus to quench my spiritual thirst. I had been meditating for 33 years till the age of 63. On the day of Krishna Janamashtami, there was a sudden explosion inside my skull, at the spot of the ajna chakra.I was shocked, unable to grasp what had happened to me. Realiz
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