Your usual columnist, Guneeta, is taking a break from writing, and has asked me to write a series of articles. I am happy to comply.
My writing style will be different, but I will try to please. Guneeta is a hard act to follow. She is a very sweet character. And her personality definitely comes through her writing.
I am quite a bit older and, perhaps, life worn, but, I still do have a sense of humour; which shows my resilience to the play of life.
I have been a practitioner of Raja Yoga Meditation, for the Brahma Kumaris, for the past 18 years and a teacher for the past 8 years. So, my writings will give an inside account of what it is like to be a Raja Yogi, and what it means. But, also, I have learnt much over these years and I will share some of this wisdom with you.
There has been a lot of interest in this organisation from its inception. And lately this has been growing exponentially. I think, principally, this is due to the exposure of putting talks Sister Shivani has given on to You Tube. The public, and particularly the Hindi-speaking public, is seeing that Raja Yoga is a tool that can help in so many ways to make life easier and happier. This, too, has been my experience since I was first introduced to Raja Yoga.
I have had a hard life. I was unhappy and dissatisfied with life, when, at the age of 43, I began the meditation course at the local Brahma Kumaris centre at North Ryde. There is no longer a centre there, by the way. I was able to make the connection straight away, that is, “have yoga”. I will explain this at a later stage.
I was fascinated how everyone helped out there and seemed so angelic, or out-of-this-world. They had something, or knew something, that made them strong and seemingly immune to the effects of everyday pressures. I just loved being there. Now I understand, but then, I just enjoyed the experience.
It has taken a long time, for the effects of the yoga to clear my mind and intellect, to take away the hurt from the past, to change me from sorrowful to carefree. It does take time, but it surely does work. And I am so happy to have taken this journey.
I came to this with lot of baggage, meaning a heavy karmic account, which wore me down. Life was a burden for me. I had reached the end of the line, so to speak. My only reason for living was to take care of my four children and give them a life worth living.
At seventeen, life was an adventure, but, by 43, the person I was at seventeen was very distant. I was not the same person.
But, now, life is an adventure once again. I have found myself and I have mastered the art of living. I had to learn a great deal, though, to reach this stage. Let me tell you a little about the things I have learnt.
The “before” me, that is, before Raja Yoga, was constantly dreaming for a knight in shining armour to come and rescue me; to love me, so that I could be happy.
I wasn’t able to see me; how I was and what I was doing. I could, however, see that my family history, going back generations, was all wrong and very hard.
I started out my life happy and full of hope. But at 43 I had lost all hope; also trust in myself and others. I was isolated and unhappy. It was the hard journey I traversed through those years from 17 to 43 that had left me in this unfortunate state. There were so many things I had to learn through those experiences. I had to find the key to understand these lessons in order to solve the riddle of why I wasn’t happy and how to change the whole family’s sorrowful history; to put an end to the unhappy cycle and start a new and good cycle for myself and all those connected to me.
But I didn’t know how to access that key. I learnt this while learning Raja Yoga. I found the key and I started the long and difficult task of retracing my steps back through the history of this birth and then back through the history of my many other births. In this way I was able to release myself, and to help others as they tried to release themselves from the bonds of our own karma; what we had done through all those births that had brought me to this point of hopelessness. As I retraced my steps back through history, I learnt many of those lessons that would free me.
Back in 1996, I would force myself through another work day, and through another work week, until the day each week I was to attend the meditation class at the centre. I would be so eager. As I lived a long way from work, I could go to the centre for dinner with the residents and help out a little before class. I felt that I belonged there. There was no separation from others, as there was outside. I felt I could be me there. I loved it.
It’s now that I understand. I was an empty shell; looking for someone else to fulfil me. I didn’t see that it was up to me to give. The law of karma is to first do in order to receive the return; to first give in order to receive. I wanted to be loved, but, I had to love someone first. But, I was empty of love. As I became a firm and strong yogi, I was filling up with all the things I needed and that others needed too; love, peace, wisdom, contentment. And as I filled, all these wonderful treasures automatically came out of me and others received what I had to give. And, in time, I found I was coming close to others. The barriers were disappearing between us. I was connecting to those close to me and also connecting with many others, who just seemed to gravitate towards me. These were souls who I was simply happy to be with.
Please continue to join me as I relate more of this journey in following articles.
11 January 2014, Sydney