In December 2013, my husband and I went on a 3 week SAS voyage that began in the Atlantic Ocean and journeyed to Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. At that time, I was five months pregnant and not only was I carrying a little peanut in my belly, but I was also carrying a lot of suffering in my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed early morning loving-kindness meditation with our on-board monk Bhante Sujatha, evening yoga on the ship deck, practicing knitting, learning about lucid dreaming and connecting with like minded deeply spiritual people. There was something about being on the water that had an intense cleansing effect on me. All of these events and interactions caused a strong inner revolution because of which all my past hurt, ego and expectations were rising to the surface. It was definitely a turbulent time, but I secretly knew that it was the perfect moment for me to go through a much needed inner transformation.
On one of the warm and sunny days in the Pacific Ocean, I pondered on my goals for 2014. Before deciding on the things that I wanted to accomplish in the New Year, I focused on a few aspects of my life that I didn’t want to carry forward in 2014. In a letter addressed to the Universe, I wrote my purge list on a piece of paper and when I was done, I wrapped a rock in it and threw it away in the ocean. I prayed to the Universe for bringing alignment in my life and freeing me up from any suffering. It’s been 2 years since then and the Universe hasn’t taken a single break from bringing a continuous alignment in my life.
The key aspects of my spiritual cleansing process, aka things that I didn’t want to carry forward in life, are:
1. Selfishness - Living in this country alone for the last 10 years had made me overprotective and vigilant of guarding my own interests. The good and bad experiences that I had gone through, the hurt and loneliness that I had faced and the lack of friends and family - all of these factors gave birth to selfish thoughts which involved - “what is in there for me”. While I was a fairly selfless person since the beginning, I was not 100% there yet. My decision of cleaning my mind space by freeing my thoughts from any selfish motive provided purity in my intentions. This step was also critical because all my life I felt passionately about being in service to others. This is my truth at the deepest core of my being, which I had known since I was a little kid. Aligning my thoughts with my truth had a potential of unlocking my higher self, which was so eager to come out and bring out my natural gifts to so many people around me.
2. Transactional Nature of Relationships - I have worked in extremely competitive jobs in top blue chip companies. I have been one of the top performers throughout the years and enjoyed taking on the toughest challenges along the way. In business roles, I have been appreciated for being a hustler and getting things done in a crunched timeline. I am trained to develop a strong point of view, to the extent of having judgments, on a variety of topics and communicating them in the loudest voice to a room full of people. I had been encouraged to think of the corporate setting as a big race where my task is to be # 1 by competing with everyone else. Wow, doesn’t it sound like the perfect attitude for a Type-A person who’d like to excel and be a winner? Absolutely NOT! This is a recipe for a disaster. Even though I could claim the title of a top performer and score promotions, at the end of the day, I felt like a complete failure.
I finally realized how wrong I was. I realized that my work relationships were shallow and transactional in nature and I desperately needed to stop that. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't mean to people at all. I was sweet and polite, however, the underlying intention of my interactions had been always related to collaboration at work. I realized that I needed to genuinely invest myself in people and relationships around me. No matter how busy I am, a shortage of time couldn’t be an excuse to not let my guard down and allow others in. There is no big race; we are on this earth to enjoy this journey together. My goal was to let go of the transactional intention by which I pursue professional relationships and open my heart to people around me.
3. Expectations: when I look back at all the hurt and pain I suffered in my life, I realize that it wasn’t people’s actions, but my expectations and reactions that caused me all the pain and agony. To break this cycle, I needed to forgive people, heal my pain and transform my emotions into compassion and kindness. I also vowed to keep my own expectations and judgments to zero so that I could enjoy selfless relationships with people.
Two years ago, my heart was filled with emotions of loneliness, shallowness, poverty and incompleteness. I was trapped within the walls of a guarded heart desperately looking to rescue myself. My heart was filled with hurt and pain and there was only so much more I could take on. I felt like a bird trapped in a cage, when I was meant to fly and break free. I was eager to experience true freedom, liberation and lightness. There were many more aspects of my personality that I wanted to purge. However, this starter list felt good at that time and helped me in initiating the momentum for much needed spiritual alignment. I have continued this practice even in the present, wherein, I take a stock of my emotions on a regular basis and purge what doesn't serve me right.
Food for Thought: which aspect of your personality doesn't always allow you to be completely at peace? Are you ready to purge it?
Photo source: http://www.spiritualdoctors.nl/meditations.html