Time flies, it’s been one month since I’ve been home! I’ve spent the last few weeks catching up with friends, working, and reflecting. Everyone was surprised to see that I appeared to be exactly the same and they all asked with curiosity “so…are you enlightened?”
I can’t help but laugh and declare “not even close, but I’m on my way!”
To me, enlightenment is the state of perfect wisdom, knowledge, and freedom combined with infinite compassion and universal love. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface but I know a seed has been planted and it will only grow from here.
Coming back to the reality of my life back home was honestly a bit shocking. Even though I looked the same, dressed the same, spoke the same, and did all the same things, I feel distinctively different. I’ve travelled a lot in the past but has never experience this, it’s almost as if I’ve become a better version of myself living and breathing a familiar yet distant life. Reflecting on this amazing journey I want to share with you three important lessons that I’ve learned:
The most immediate feeling I’ve felt coming back home was gratitude. From the moment I stepped out of the airport I embraced the fresh clean air and smooth pavements. When I got home, I was impressed by the softness of toilet paper (it really makes a big difference to the whole washroom experience!) and consistent stream of hot water to take a comfortable shower. These are the little things n life that I’ve never really paid attention to but now feels like luxury.
My gratitude extends beyond physical things to relationships as well. Growing up I never understood why my parents refused to give me anything I didn’t earn. My dad grew up very much like an orphan and he could not afford to pay for school let alone a decent pair of shoes. Visiting the orphanage in India gave me a new sense of appreciation for my parents who built everything from zero and allowed me to be who I am today. I am also fortunately to have meaningful and lasting friendships from as far back as elementary school. Not all friendships lasts forever and when they do it’s priceless. I thank my body for providing the strength to help achieve my goals. I’ve put it through some rough times like running long distance in sub-freezing temperature, working past midnight for consecutive weeks, and now intense yoga training. The very fact that I can wake up every morning feeling strong and healthy is a blessing.
Yoga Sultra, one of the oldest on yoga, states that “from contentment comes superlative happiness” and I cannot agree more. By focusing and appreciating on the things that I have instead of what I don’t have shifts my mindset to be instantly happier.
My time at in India at the ashram was probably the longest I have ever spent “living in the moment”. Practicing yoga and meditation encouraged me to be more aware about the connection between mind, body, and surroundings. I’ve learned to eat slower so that I can enjoy the flavours and feel how the food nourishes the body. I’ve learned to take long, deep breaths to bring awareness to the present and stop myself from worrying about the future or thinking about the past. I’ve learned to become an observer of my emotions, to identify the root cause, to own it, and to let it go. I’ve learned to sense the energy of the people and things around me to understand how they affect my well-being. In the book The Tree of Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar wrote “concentration has a point of focus; meditation has no points. That is the secret.” Awareness is about living in the moment, it’s about bringing all the senses into the NOW to feel every aspect of what is going on at any given time. It takes efforts to live in the moment, but it’s so liberating when it does happens.
Since I’ve been home I’ve committed to practicing yoga and meditation everyday, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. It’s a matter of discipline and some days are harder than others, espcially with demanding work hours during my company’s year-end. Normally I become super stressed and unhappy around this time of the year but I handled it much better now. The gift of yoga and meditation helps to cultivate a sense of stability and calmness so that i can deal with whatever life decides to throw at me next.
Life is short, we should focus on the things we love to do with the people that we love. I often feel that my world is spinning and there’s never have enough time to do all the things I want to do. But when it comes down to it, it’s is a matter of choice. With that I realized I need to take a serious look at my choices and live a simpler more fulfilling life. This includes focusing to be good at 2 or 3 things instead of attempting to do 10 things. This includes saying no to everything that are keeping me away from reaching my goals. This include listening to my inner wisdom and gut instincts to find out what truly inspires me. By making the right choices, I know I’ll have more time and energy for things that matters.
Simplicity also translate to material matters. I admit I am a shopaholic (see my about page haha). It’s true, I like to make money, spend money, and enjoy the finer things in life. My yoga teacher would label these desires as “rajas” qualities. I’ve struggled on this and even asked him “does being a yogi mean giving up on all the material aspects of life?” He told me there is a tremendous balance to be achieved between the philosophical and practical life. We need to stay true to our own evolution but not lose sight of the spiritual path. It’s natural to have materialist desires, but be grateful about what you have and remember to give back. I am taking this advice to heart.
With all that reflection out of the way (thank you for reading by the way!), what am I doing now? I want to turn this blog into a place where I can continue to share you with all the things that I am passionate about: conscious living, healthy eating, natural beauty, active learning, and appreciating all the little things in life. I’m currently working hard to fine tune all the details, but I promise it will be worth the wait! 🙂