Aditya Hridayam Punyam Sarva Shatru Bina Shanam
(Ah-deet-ee-yah) (Hah-ree-day-ahm) (Poon-yahm) (Sar-vah) (Shah-true) (Bee-nah) (Shah-nam)
“When the sun is kept in the heart all evil vanishes from life.”
The sun keeps us alive. The sun made it possible for us to be alive. The sun is everywhere the darkness is not. The sun gives us an idea of what it is like to love unconditionally – for it warms all things in the galaxy, and does not ask what deserves the light. The sun gives us the opportunity to learn true trust, after all we see stars being destroyed at any given moment, but we know that as long as our sun thrives – so can we.
The quote above is my chosen mantra for meditation and for life.
In the summer of 2014 I discovered this quote in the book, Journey of Awakening, by Ram Dass. I bought this book second hand, at a book sale in the University of Winnipeg. I had just recently found out about a meditation group being started at the U of W, and I asked two of my friends to join me in their first meeting. Before the first meeting, I found this book, and after being hooked by the very first page and every page after I knew that I could not miss out on meditation. From then on, my curiosity grew and grew and I read as much on the subject as I have been able to.
Later in 2014, I found out about something called “self-hypnosis” when a friend lent me their audio-book on the subject. This self-hypnosis turned out to be another name for meditation, which surprised me. The only difference I found was that the audio-book gave a structure to my meditation practice. I gave it a chance, and I followed a 21-day program through the audio-book that was lent to me. This was just the beginning of something wonderful.
At that time in my life I had been severely depressed. It seemed that nothing could drag me out of the pit of depression and self-pity that I found myself trapped in. I had almost given up on ever finding solace when all of a sudden meditation and self-hypnosis entered my life. My reasoning was that “I might as well try it, certainly nothing could make me feel worse.” So every night I listened to the audio-book, for 21 days, as the program recommended. The pain I felt from my depression did not disappear. Nor did I want the pain to go away. I clung to it, in the unfortunate belief that my pain was the only form of love I could sustain, as the man I love most in this world had gone far away and had no plans to return. I will not go into much detail here, because I would prefer to write a separate post on this matter.
After 21 days I found myself to have a different mindset completely.
I am not saying I experienced a miracle, I am not saying I was instantly healed, and I am not saying that 21 days of “self-hypnosis” is enough to “cure” severe depression.
What I experienced was an awakening. It was a journey into my own mind. It was a realization that my destiny is in my control – some may argue a case against free will or a case for fate; I argue that fate comes in the form of opportunities, and that humans were created to make choices. We make the choice, but we do not choose the consequences. In every decision we make, we choose either love or fear.
I realized that fear was making me sick. I realized that surrendering my love was making me sick. I realized that viewing the best memories of my life with pain and regret was making me sick. I realized that giving up on life and the world because it could not hold to my standards was making me sick. I realized that pushing people away and refusing to admit anything good into my life was making me sick. I realized that I did not want to feel good, without the man that I love most. I realized that even though I did not want to feel good, I still wanted him to feel good. I want him to be the happiest person in the world, to chase all of his dreams and to be whatever version of himself that he wants most to be. I realized even though I did not want to be happy, I want my parents to be happy. I realized that even though I did not want to be happy, I wanted the world to be a better place – no matter how hopeless things seem. Instead of seeing bad things, and ignoring good things, I began to see room for improvement.
I had an opportunity to feel pain or to continue loving the man I love most. I chose to feel pain because I was afraid I will never see him again. Now I choose love, just for the sake of loving. In every decision that I make. I am no longer afraid that I will never see him again – instead I hope and pray that he is always happy and loved, whether I am near him or not. I love him more every day, regardless of the distance between us. If he loves me, I know for certain that we will find ourselves together again. If he does not, I hope and pray that he will find someone to love as much as I love him. In this way, I gave up the pain, and I choose to love him no matter what happens. Now, I wish that I could love all people the way that I love him. That is a task that perhaps only God can handle, but us humans can certainly try, and perhaps God hopes that we will.
I am trying, and I am blessed to be able to say that my life is full of people I love in a similar way. I will also mention that the man I love most is not the first man that I ever loved truly and faithfully. In fact, I am blessed that I had enough of my heart left to give him any of it at all – but indeed I gave him the whole of it. I made every moment spent with him count, I treasure every memory of him as my favourite, and these memories are empty of pain or regret – although these feelings were abundant during my depression.
I had an opportunity to follow the man I love most to the place he had to go, and although I missed that chance due to financial incapability, I am working every day to ensure that if he ever wants to come home he will have a grand home to come back to, and a lover who is happy and healthy and full of love for him, for life, and for the world.
I had an opportunity to experience depression and either allow myself and my mentality to be destroyed by it, to hide in my room and cry and ignore all the wonderful and awful things in the world, or to put myself out there and relate to others in similar situations. I ended up doing both. I am sad to say that I stayed in my room for the majority of 6 months, and wanted nothing to do with the world. I am happy to say that the experience of depression later allowed me to relate to others who were depressed, and to help them and be patient with them and love them all the way through their struggles, asking nothing in return, and forgiving them when their pain or fear was too great to bear and they lashed out.
I am also happy that during my depression I was able to discover such things as meditation and self-hypnosis and yoga and ayurveda and many other things which have improved my life immensely. I know that these things may not work for everyone who is depressed, but I know one thing that will at least give someone a chance to heal – should they accept it. It is called unconditional love. Unconditional love makes it difficult to be depressed, when someone only wants to see you happy. It provides a reason to stick around, and to give the world another chance, and make that chance count. The alternative is to hurt the people who love you. My parents loved me unconditionally the entire time I was sick, even though they did not know if I would ever get better, and even though the majority of the time I was depressed I did not believe anyone loved me at all. To crawl out of depression I had to learn to accept love, and to love unconditionally. To help others I had to use this unconditional love.
Through love, of my own and of others’, I found solace.
I know that there are many people out there, every day choosing fear over love. For some, life is too painful to go on. For some, a life empty of love is not worth living. For some, the belief that nobody can relate to them or accept them the way they are is just too strong. For some, tasting the “golden nugget” makes the dullness of everything else unbearable. After being depressed and feeling all of these emotions and experiencing these thoughts for myself, my dream is to be able to reach out to all of these people feeling hopeless and to tell them that the world is full of love for them, and to see it all they have to do is hold love in their own heart. I used to believe that nobody could relate to me, but during my period of depression I happened to find exactly those people who could, and I meet more all the time. Please, instead of choosing fear, choose love. Choose to love the world, even if it has horribly wronged or disappointed you.
It is when I felt that I had nothing to live for, that I also felt I had nothing to lose. I felt that all the fear I had ever experienced was gone, and I was free. Free to be myself, free to share my beliefs, free to do anything, including anything I can imagine to make the world a better place. Now, even though I may not ever taste that “golden nugget” again, I see clearly the opportunity I have to make a difference in other people’s lives. I truly have nothing to lose, because I have chosen to hold love in my heart. When I decided that life was worth living, even though I felt I had nothing to live for, I decided I might as well make the most of my time. To take the risks I used to fear, if they were in the name of love.
Loving, for the sake of loving, is the best feeling in the world.
Helping other people find happiness in life is second best.
When I look at others, I do not see somebody else.
I see myself, the choices I could have made, and the person I could have been.
I see somebody who is alive, and somebody who therefore deserves love and deserves to be happy. I cannot argue that everyone goes about chasing happiness in the right ways, but if it involves love then I approve.
“Love is that which enables choice.
Love is always stronger than fear.
Always choose on the basis of love.”