*The real holi festival, celebrating the colors of the heart
*The real holi festival, celebrating the colors of the heart
I have something to share with you
I am a self-critical, judgmental, angry, emotionally repressed, pretender. I have lived my life with a mask of being a good boy, peaceful, spiritual, grown up, with an air of having it all together in an effort to keep everyone happy and slightly removed so I would not have to feel any real emotion, commitment, or fear; to live life all on my own without any support. I lived as if this was the truth, that my mind had all the answers, that I didn’t need to change and I conveniently pushed all this to the side and kept it hidden from my consciousness. Until now; the ego can’t live forever after all.
Stepping back in time a moment, we can watch a beautiful process unfold of the universe stepping into my life to shine light on these wonderfully true aspects of myself, then stepping into the space of love, and being reborn into the beautiful essence I have always been, while dropping this mask of a personality.
I find myself once again in India, at the Osho International Meditation Resort, working as part of the staff to extend my visit. I am struggling again slightly with the money and bureaucracy issues while enjoying tremendously the meditation community of people and self-development. I am having special difficulty and insights about this thing called mind. For the first time I can clearly see the mind as a separate entity, completely it’s own thing, and wildly the most insane, ADD child, I have ever met. It picks up anything it can get its hands on, plays with it for two seconds and throws it in the corner the instant it sees something new. Not only is this really annoying, it is getting in the way of everything I love because I have no control over this tiny monkey.
Flash forward a month and a half into my experience here: I am in a high stress job, feeling burnt out on working, missing out on connecting with many friends due to no time, missing out on opportunities, and I am putting a smile on everything because that’s what I do. Suddenly, Sambhavo walks into my office, a group facilitator and friend who says:
Sambhavo: “I’ve been looking for you”
Me: “I know, you need to pay for your program”
S: “No, no, no, I am holding a spot for you in the Path of Love”
M: shocked a bit
M: “Why did you just say that to me?”
S: “I don’t know why, it just came out!”
My mind was absent, or in shock, and suddenly there were just a few steps before me. The universe just quietly pushed me along without any resistance; check the program costs, check the requirements, see if they will let me off work, fill out the paperwork, have an interview, pack up my room, find a new place to live, get cash, pay, take a breath and jump into a 7 day intensive, super secretive, most money I’ve ever spent on myself in one go process called The Path of Love.
*That’s what commitment looks like
Leading up to this huge, yet deceptively easy decision were many friends approaching me and sharing their own stories about Path of Love. I hadn’t been inquiring mind you, but many people in just a few days told me how transforming and wonderful the process was. A few good friends of mine were also going to staff on this PoL and shared their input. Somehow the universe just prepared me, without my awareness, so that when the moment came I couldn’t think about it, but rather just act out of instinct. It became the most important decision of my life and I didn’t really have to decide very much.
When you look back at your life, all the most important decisions and events aren’t planned; they just happen. It’s hard to see it at the time, but hindsight is pretty good. I felt in the moment that if I thought about what I was doing I would talk myself out of it. Instead I just walked the path laid before me with trust and knowing it felt right. 7 days later I walked out into the sunlight a new person, quite literally.
While I cannot talk about the process itself, I can share all of my realizations; the biggest being the birth of my heart centered self. Through the work I came quickly to the understanding that I have been wearing a mask my whole life. A pretenders mask of being the “good boy”, so that I might hide my authentic emotions of being angry or sad, for fear of upsetting others and not knowing their reactions. A mask aimed to keep the status quo and people at an emotionally safe distance so that I wouldn’t have to feel any pain of separation, aloneness or any of my self judgement/criticism. My biggest question going into this process was a distinction between non attachment and being shut off emotionally. I could never find a concrete answer to this difference until this course. I realized that I have lived my whole life without awareness of the depth of my emotions. Surely they exist and I experience them as I am not a robot, but my experience of them, being overpowered by them, using them, allowing them to the surface, really tasting each emotion, was completely shut down. This started as my coping mechanism from 6 years old when my parents divorced. I decided right then and there to be a grown up, to solve any problems that arose, to be a good boy and cause no trouble, not to ask for anything, and to take care of myself. Well all those things are backwards, as no child or even adult knows how to do all that, and yet I lived with this belief and strategy for 24 years, strengthening it each moment.
There came an experience in this process where after accepting these facts at a deep level and understanding how and why I behave like I do, the mask suddenly dropped. I saw myself for the first time without pretending to be something. My face was radiantly alive with joy and tears. My tension was gone. I felt as if I finally saw myself like God sees me; as a perfect creation, alive, good, full of love and peace, and that there has never been anything wrong with me ever. In that moment I knew the mask known as Torey was finished and my pure essence had begun it’s new life. I jumped into a state of newborn ecstacy, where every look, touch, taste, and thought was new. I explored everything with an aliveness and newness I’ve never known. It was so beautiful and transforming to know this energy exists in me always, along with every range of emotion, and that this is what it means to be embodied and what a gift that truly is.
Through a deep sense of longing and prayer, I also knew it was time to dedicate myself to walking this path of truth. Before, being spiritual was easy, a few meditations, reading some books, acting good and nice, and spouting off whatever lessons I had learned. Walking the path is much more difficult actually. It is a constant re-commitment to truth. To finding out who you are and how to let the divine into you. It is so much effort and courage, to burn with a passion and longing to always know the truth. The mind’s whole effort is to make life easy by putting us into the sleep of comfort. Walking the path is a constant stirring of the pot so that in fact no comfort exists for the mind, no room to take control and become master again. The heart, feeling, and pure essence are king here and the mind a tool to be used surely, but not ruler of the kingdom. To recommit yourself everyday is a true effort, using the intensity of your physical, emotional, and spiritual practices, but one I am happy to make now that I have seen the difference.
For this reason I decided to take and was given sannyas on the last day of this process to anchor this knowing. Sannyas for me was always a dedication to walking the path of truth, mediation, and awareness, but contained a special emphasis on letting go of the old and starting a new commitment. PoL gave me exactly that experience, as the personality I had carried for so long died, and my essence was born as Premraj. This new name, meaning “king of love” or “ruled by love”, serves as a constant reminder of my true essence, a guide post that will always be a reminder when I do fall asleep, to keep my heart awake, alive, and full of love. To feel the radiant spectrum of emotions that exists in me and keep digging deeper and deeper to awaken the Buddha in me. Both prem, meaning love, and raj, meaning king, would never have been names I took for myself. When I was given this name though, it was like music being played on my heart. I was given this name by someone who could see into my essence and called forth what I am. A wise and just leader, who is strong yet merciful, one who has great treasures to share, and is able to balance himself and the kingdom he overlooks with ease and with love.
*Pre Path of Love photo
After being out of the process for a few weeks I came to a new understanding of what I really gained. I’ll have to be honest first; coming back to the world from this depth of being with oneself was at once explosively amazing and slightly crushing. I exited my silence and confinement into a world of friends and loved ones who immediately saw a deep transformation in me. My presence, feeling, hugs, power, sexual energy, masculine energy, and open eyes blew everyone away. Sometimes it was too much for them, and sometimes too much for me to take a whole person so totally into my being. The very next day I had my sannyas celebration before the whole community. The crowd to hug and support me was the most anyone has seen in a long while. I had to be lifted onto the shoulders of my dear friend Adam and really feeling like a king, accept all this love and joy, to honor who I have become. This was the high followed by the low of retreating back into myself and my own space. With each new encounter, I was able to explore how I responded to the world and people. What I found, what changed in me, turned out to be only one thing. I learned how to trust myself. Suddenly I found that the fear of living life was gone. Situations where I normally would have avoided, or shut off emotionally, I could face head on without feeling scared. I could step into that space with my power and emotions intact and experience it. All my pretending and avoidance was gone and each time I kept surprising myself by doing something new.
*Post Path of Love photo
This truly was the gift I received. To trust myself, trust the guidance of the universe, to trust love and the support of all human beings who want only my highest good. A strong realization came to me during PoL, we all have fears, hurts, longings, desires, hopes, needs and while the story might be a little different we really are all the same in essence. The fact that as a species we aren’t openly talking about how we really feel is perhaps the saddest thing I have ever come to know. Such a simple, yet terrifying effort to expose ones true self, and the whole world would come to know that your neighbor is the same as you. That everyone is just as scared as you, as hurt as you, as hopeful as you, as longing for love and support as you. I look now at everyone with such compassion because I know everyone has a deep wound that they carry, and they may not know anything about it, but I do, and I can interact with them in such a way as to share great love and caring and hold a space of compassion for their being.
To be seen is what every human being really wants. To be seen with eyes of truth and be accepted for who you really are is a foundation of love. To see a person at their core and accept them for their humanness and in turn be accepted, contains all the spiritual effort one needs to practice. I saw into people and ended up making lasting friendships because nothing can shake the truth of what was witnessed. We may all slip back into being the personality we have carried for our lives, but nothing can take away the truth of seeing another clearly.
The depth of being that was experienced, the limitless amount of energy, the overwhelming support of the staff and growth in love was enough to turn me in a new direction. Understanding that this inner place of truth can be called out and touched, I want to dedicate my work to helping bring it out in myself and others. This is what holds value between human beings and has touched me as it touches every PoL participant. The effort is ongoing and once the taste of the possibilities are known, your life is changed forever. May clear communication and love flower amongst the hearts of all, until we realize we are all one essence. Love and blessings on your personal journey.
Check out the Path of Love for yourself: