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The Struggle Within Part 1: The Wind's Divine Melody (First 4 Chapters)

 

 

The Struggle Within

 

Part 1

 

The Wind’s Divine Melody”

 

Arjuna D. Ghose

 

Halifax, Canada

Lotus-Dove Publishing

 

 

Copyright © 2017 by Arjuna D. Ghose

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner or form other than for “fair use” as brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews without prior written permission of the publisher.

 

This book is most humbly dedicated to humanity, but especially to the little sweetheart…

Preface

 

Written to roughly seven fellow Sri Chinmoy disciples through email on December 23, 2016:

 

Hello Dear Friends, fellow lovers, lovers of goodness, God, humanity and Bliss:

 

This, I think, may be the final time I will send to you something you might find encouraging or inspiring about my story, which I have been writing since 2010, and which you may have found discouraging thus far…

 

Earlier today, Dear Guru guided me to read the following story from his writings, and I understand that this will be the prologue for my book, The Struggle Within. He also advised me to read the introduction to the book in which this particular story is presented within which he states that he did not actually write these stories, he is merely telling them from long ago.

 

Punishment Pays

 

A father and mother were both extremely fond of their child, who was only six years old. They were a very, very happy family. One day the child did something wrong and the father was very upset, so he gave the child a smart slap. Then the child cried and the father felt absolutely miserable. The father tried to console the child by giving him four rupees.

 

When the child got the money, he started crying more loudly and pitifully. The father said, “Why are you crying? I gave you a slap, but now I am consoling you. I will not slap you any more. Why are you still crying?”

 

The son said, “I am crying more powerfully and pitifully because I have to ask you something.”

 

“What do you have to ask me?” the father said.

 

The son said, “Will you promise me that each time you give me a slap, you will increase the amount of money you give me?”

 

“What?” cried the father.

 

The son said, “I did something wrong, and you gave me a slap. Now I will do something even worse. Each time I do something worse, will you not give me another slap and more money?”

 

The father said, “What are you saying?”

 

The son said, “I want to be punished by you every time I do something wrong. Each time my crime will be worse, so you can give me a harder slap if you wish. I will not mind at all. But you have to give me a larger amount of money, too.”

 

The father said, “What kind of son do I have? He is ready to be slapped for money. Why did I make the mistake of giving him money the first time? Each time he wants the slap to be harder. He does not mind being slapped if he receives a larger amount of money!”

 

(Perhaps you can figure out what the story references)

Blessings,

Arjuna

Introduction

 

This is the story about what happened to me and my daughter and is centered around my struggle within. As I write this in 2017, I’m not even fully sure what the struggle within is. But I do know my daughter would never even have been born if it wasn’t for it. In my story, I changed my name to Jacob to help protect the characters within it. Arjuna D. Ghose is also not the name I was born with. (I explain more about that later.) All names in this story have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved. This is the first part of The Struggle Within and deals mostly with what happened to my daughter and how it was addressed.

 

There are a few things I’d like to tell you about myself before I begin my story. First of all, I can be a space cadet, often forgetting things over the years and making silly mistakes. Secondly, my feelings are easily hurt; sometimes. I can be too sensitive, and I don’t like it. I’m not generally the type of person who takes false accusations well; it’s probably the main thing that offends me. That being said, the third thing is that I often mess with people’s heads. I mean, seriously, I often don’t like to tell people when I’m really just joking around, teasing them, or tricking them. It’s almost as if I’m shy but not shy at the same time.

 

The final thing is that I love detective shows and would love to be one. When I watch TV, I almost always watch a documentary-style show called Forensic Files; it’s one of the only shows I watch. I like the idea of catching the bad guys and exonerating the innocent.

 

In 2010, I started telling my story to my friend, Tammy through Facebook because I had a lot of things I had to tell someone. I chose Tammy because I like and trust her. I had to get my story recorded because if I didn’t I felt I wouldn’t be able to recollect it well, because I don’t have a good memory. It’s hard for me to articulate things from the past; that’s why the first few chapters of this book have been the most difficult for me. I felt something significant and important was happening through me, and I had to tell somebody. The reason I like this story is because it’s all about the truth. The reason why I am writing this book is because I know that if I just keeping writing about the truth Sri Chinmoy will reveal his Divinity in some way, and I knew that if I could record everything it could help people. The philosophy here is that the more you talk about the truth, the more the truth comes out.

 

I am spending a lot of time writing this story, hardly making any money while doing so, taking a big risk, while not knowing how this story is going to turn out, whether it will have a good ending or bad ending. But what fuels me is belief and inspiration. I believe in my story, I believe in the divinity behind it, and I am inspired to write it. Even if I only sell a few copies a year, I will feel like I accomplished something incredible. There is a divine story in my story; God is looking out for me and my daughter, and I believe in it. But I am also a man of little faith, like Peter when he began to sink (Matthew 14:29–31), and I have thus had some struggles because of that.

 

My daughter, Abigail, turned 13 in May 2017. She’s had serious behaviour problems since she was about two or three years old and over time I realized that there must be some psychological cause to her problems. I had my suspicions for quite some time that it had something to do with her mother, Erin, but at the time I didn’t know what.

 

Abigail has been doing better since Erin and her boyfriend, Justin, got married. I do not trust Justin as he was in prison for eight years for tying up and robbing an older couple and I’m not sure he is the best influence for my daughter. Abigail is not yet able to exhibit her true personality most of the time, she is much more inwardly beautiful than what she has been manifesting. I’ve learned that this can come out by way of much more respect, affection, and concern from the significant adults in her life and the better you are as a caregiver, the better she is. Inwardly she is stunningly beautiful, although much of that beauty has not been not visible.

 

I knew there was a problem with Abigail before she started school. It became obvious to me when she was attending swimming lessons and summer camps where I could compare her behaviour to that of the other children. When all the other kids would be gathered around listening to the teacher, Abigail would be off getting into things or doing things she shouldn’t be doing. I never heard from her daycare teachers that there were problems with her behaviour there, but I did know within a year prior to the beginning of school (which here in Nova Scotia begins with Grade Primary) that there was something wrong with her and that I would have to work closely with her Primary teacher to help her.

 

In Grade Primary, her teachers and the principal identified behaviour problems that were disturbing to the class as a whole, just as I had predicted. When I met one-on-one with the Primary teacher, I suggested to her that perhaps the reason for her behaviour is because Erin (her mother) and I are not together, but she dismissed that saying that she has other children in her class who have parents who are not together, but they do not exhibit similar problems.

 

A few months later, Erin and I were called in to meet with the principal and Primary teacher. The principal tried to come up with solutions, all of which were to be implemented at the school, however those solutions didn’t clear anything up. According to what I observed, the solution to improve her behaviour problem was that something had to be resolved at the mother’s house, as opposed to the school. I really wanted to say that but decided not to out of fear of being judged. I did hint towards it a little, but my suggestions were dismissed by the principal.

 

As I’ve said, I knew very well that Abigail’s behaviour stood out in comparison to other children her age, however, knowing that, I asked her teachers, by email, to clarify this for me; just in case, for future reference, I would have to show other people what their professional opinion was. Here are those email conversations:

 

/ March 7, 2011

/ To: Pauline [Grade Primary teacher]

/ From: Jacob

Hi Pauline,

How are you? I’m wondering if you can briefly answer a question on Abigail’s behaviour during her entire Primary year:

In your experience, does her behaviour generally stand out as unusual in comparison to other children her age?

Thank you

 

/ March 16, 2011

/ To: Jacob

/ From: Pauline

Hi Jacob,

I apologize for the delay in my response as I’ve been out for the past couple of weeks.

Abigail’s behaviour during the Primary year was unusual in comparison to other children her age.

Sincerely,

Pauline

 

~~~~

 

/ February 5, 2011

/ To: Sandra and Shyanne [Grade One teachers]

/ From: Jacob

Hi Sandra and Shyanne,

I’m just wondering if you can answer a couple quick questions about Abigail’s behaviour:

1. Have you noticed an improvement since the beginning of the year?

2. Do you feel her behaviour stands out in comparison to the other students in your classroom?

Thanks so much. Have a good weekend/week, and I’ll be in touch again soon.

 

/ February 6, 2011

/ To: Jacob

/ From: Sandra

Hi Jacob…..At times I have seen glimpses of improvement in Abigail’s behaviour but overall I would say no, and in fact the last couple of weeks there has been a regression in her behaviour. Abigail’s behaviour definitely stands out in comparison to the other students. At times the other children get annoyed because Abigail’s behaviour often interrupts class discussions. It is easy to see the frustration on the other children’s faces when they have to wait while Abigail needs to spoken to several times to put her book away and sit and stay in her seat. Sandra

 

Erin, and I have not been together since Abigail was three-months old. We met on the Internet and lived together on and off for about a year and a half. We broke up twice, getting back together for various reasons. The third time I broke it off with her it was for good.

 

We signed a joint custody court ordered agreement which stated that I was entitled to visits with Abigail totalling at least 19% of every two-week period, or roughly 32 hours. I usually had her longer than what was stipulated in the court order, so I probably had her closer to 25% of a two-week period, roughly two full days. It also stipulated that I was to have her for two block-access periods a year for about five to seven days each, generally during the school breaks; I also had her for a block period during every Christmas holidays. When adding in these block access periods, I saw her for roughly 23 – 29%, or 90 – 100 days, of each year.

 

It was, and still is, extremely difficult to be taken seriously as a single father especially when Abigail’s mother has a background in Early Childhood Development and works at a daycare. No one wants to believe she is the cause of our daughter’s behaviour problems, but how else can I get this issue addressed if I am not taken seriously, at least to some degree?

 

In January 2017, when Abigail was 12, Erin kept Abigail from me for about two months (starting from late December 2016 until February 26, 2017), and then allowed me visits only once every two months until May 13, 2017. This was because of emails I sent her in late January regarding my concerns for Abigail. The same thing happened in 2012 when she kept our daughter from me for eight months. The trigger back then was the same: emails that I sent her regarding Abigail’s behaviour. For some reason, she is afraid of me being a concerned and involved father, but she is not afraid of living with a convict who was indicted for tying up and robbing an older couple, who got out of prison in 2012, as the full-time step-dad to our daughter.

 

This book is all about me addressing the situation my daughter is in, which, as another way of looking at it, has been harm inflicted upon my life. It is also about the struggles I’ve gone through during that time and an intervention by Sri Chinmoy. My goal is to help my daughter, and the only thing I can come up with as a solution would be for me to have sole custody. Regardless, however, no matter where she is, no matter where I am, no matter what our situation is, I will continue to fight for her well-being.

[Chapter One:
__]Trouble at Home and an Anxiety Disorder

 

We must be sleepless

Plus, ruthless

In our fight against the troublemakers

Of our inner life:

Doubt, anxiety, fear,

Jealousy and insecurity.

– Sri Chinmoy

 

Early Life to Present

 

Let me go all the way back to when I was about seven years old living in Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada, a small community near Halifax. I was in Grade Two at the time, and around that time I used to write long stories for writing assignments; I don’t know why I did that, but I liked it. Eventually, my Grade Two teacher expressed that she thought I’d become a great author some day. What seemed like a special skill of mine was quickly forgotten, though. My parents never helped me in any way to continue with that interest and instill me with aspirations, and I didn’t actually continue writing in any way. Perhaps you can notice that here, at age 41, I have a long way to go as far as technique, skill, and practice, are concerned. And this is by far my most difficult chapter to write. I think it is amazing at seven years old for some reason I loved writing long stories, but I am only realizing it fairly recently that this is a passion of mine.

 

Speaking about my grade two teacher, she was, for some reason, quite fond of me. It made me think that perhaps I was somebody special or that I would be somebody special. She used to look at me sometimes, just stare at me and go off in a daze. And there was one time, she asked us to gather around her for a story. I was one of the first to get up right in front of her. But one boy came up to me and asked if he could have my spot, which meant I would have to go to the back. So, I said, “Sure” (but didn’t think it over too well beforehand, being overly compliant, and immediately regretted it). Right at that moment, my teacher yelled, “No!” The boy and I were wondering why and what was going on, but she just said, “Nothing. Never mind.” I knew, however, that that meant she had some kind of special affinity for me. It was as if she blurted it uncontrollably from her being perhaps not fully realizing what she had done until after she said it. I don’t remember ever seeing her again since I finished that grade.

 

Only after I became a parent and had the opportunity to support and inspire my daughter’s passions did I realize that my parents, Robert and Debra, failed to do this for me. I do my best to help Abigail as much as I can to pursue her passions—she is becoming very good at art—and as she gets older I also talk to her about staying away from drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex. I will never stop investing in my child and trying to help her no matter how old she gets. The same can not be said for my parents.

 

One of the so-called passions I developed as a boy was to hunt for and capture toads. After capturing a toad, sometimes I would hold it in my hand and pretend that it was on some kind of (what I considered) super awesome amusement park ride and zoom it around from side to side, up and down, and around and around. I knew I’d enjoy a ride like that so naturally I assumed the toads were enjoying it too. Sometimes it would pee all over my hand, and I now know that meant I was scaring them, but I didn’t consider that at the time. Despite the fact that they would urinate all over my hand, I would continue to hunt for these poor toads and give them a “nice” experience.

 

When I was young I often thought that someday I’d be really big and famous. When I was about nine years old I told my sister, Belinda, who is one and a half years older than me, “You watch. Some day in the future I’ll be really famous or something.” I felt like it was cool or important to tell her because I thought maybe then she’ll see someday that I knew it all along if or when it does happen. I don’t know if this is something all little boys think, but it has turned out to be a significant aspect of who I am because I still suspect or think about it on some level.

 

As I got older, in my teens, I often imagined that my life was like a book or a movie being played out, or that I was recording it and that it would be published in a book some day. Although, I never imagined myself to be an author when I got older. In fact, I developed a severe anxiety disorder in my teens and I made the decision not to go to university, as well as many other decisions I would not have otherwise made, solely because of this anxiety.

 

Looking back, I recall that, as a young child, perhaps 10 or 11, I sometimes felt worried about having thoughts that I felt God would be disturbed about. Because I was worried or afraid of having these thoughts, I would end up thinking them again and again—thoughts like “I hate God” or “God is stupid”. I learned very recently that these kinds of thoughts could be called intrusive thoughts by psychologists. These are my earliest memories of anxiety, but, according to Sri Chinmoy, whom I have felt is within me and inwardly connected with me since I was about 18 or 19, my anxiety problem began much earlier than that. My parents used to have severe arguments; becoming vile to each other, and sometimes to Belinda and me. It is my opinion that I developed my anxiety disorder because of fear of my mother, although I also feared my father’s anger.

 

My father had a bad temper and my mother said mean things to him during their frequent arguments, deliberately snarling out insults and accusations that she knew perfectly well would upset him and just add fuel to the fire. Belinda and I had to endure it again and again as witnesses absorbing the poison from their toxicity, stabbing our hearts as though we were somehow at fault, as we were trying to grow up into psychologically sound warriors in the battlefield of life.

 

On Belinda’s tenth birthday, they had a terrible fight, being vile to each other once again, completely insensitive to how they were making my sister feel and more concerned with making sure their own hurt feelings were being attended to from the other. My sister cried bitterly, and I felt so sorry for her. Somehow my young, innocent mind knew that this was harming her in a major way.

 

Their fights sometimes became violent. One time, my mother ended up with a black eye, and I was told that it was because my father was trying to protect himself from her attacking him. I don’t know what happened, though; I only know what I’ve been told.

 

One day, when I was about 13, my mother took a butcher’s knife from the kitchen and was ready to attack my father with it. Me, my sister, and my father were all trying to keep away from her and hide while she had it. At one point, we were hiding behind a wall, and I made eye contact with her; she looked at me with a craziness-cloud in her eyes while holding the knife in the air and said, “I don’t want to stab you, Jacob. I just want to stab your father.” Later, I watched her scrape the tip of the butcher’s knife on the carpet of the stairs. She told me she was doing it in order to bend the tip of it in so that it would cause more serious damage when she stabbed it into his heart.

 

I hid with my father and sister in my bedroom. We couldn’t figure out how to get out of the house, so we were in there for hours. I was disturbed about what was going on, but used to it. We eventually ended up being able to get out of the house somehow, and, after it was all over, my mother went to her bedroom and stayed in there for three days or so. Afterwards, my mother came out and things sort of went back to normal. Nobody mentioned anything about what happened, and my mother said to me, “Why didn’t you come into my room to visit me while I was sick in bed? Belinda came in…”, implying that I should have since Belinda did. And that was it—that was the so-called resolution.

 

When I was younger, one day I got scolded by my mother, although not in a hurtful way, for telling my teacher about my parents’ arguments; I got no sense from my mother, whatsoever, at that time, that she was acknowledging that they were doing something wrong by losing their minds in front of us. No. It was I that had done something wrong by revealing something private and personal to my teacher.

 

My mother always taught me to worry about what other people might think by scolding me on the basis of how she thinks so-and-so might think. As I got older and older, I realized the opposite is true, that we should not give a shit what people think about us, and I like that way of thinking much better. But, on another level, I am still to this day negatively impacted sometimes by how I think other people might be thinking about me; it is perhaps the main reason I am so quiet.

 

In our household, the parents were allowed to be disrespectful to the children, but the children were not allowed to ever be disrespectful in any way to the parents. This was never a rule that was discussed; it was just communicated with emotional abuse, a very mean tone and a face expressing the likeness of the devil.

 

Their abuse towards me has been in the form of false accusations and undo blame. They often told me I was ungrateful, I cause them too much stress, or that I’m disrespectful. My mother often accused me of not liking her saying other sons treat their mother much better than I treat her.

 

Robert is emotionally abusive almost daily in the sense that he often communicates to close family members in an insulting, blaming, and ridiculing manner. This is not when he’s joking around—when he’s joking around with friends and family it is completely different. In addition, there were several episodes of explosive anger directed towards me, which he somehow has believed was discipline. It was explosive anger coupled with ridicule, insults, false accusations. He filled the house with a toxic atmosphere with his lies and abuse but blamed me for the difficulties in our home.

 

I’ve often felt that Robert’s anger is some kind of delusion. From the wikipedia.org article on anger: “While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of ‘what has happened to them,’ psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability.” This description applies well to him.

 

I can remember my father getting very angry with me as though it was discipline and my noticing, as a young child, that he never apologized for how upset he got. Somehow, he fooled himself into thinking that his anger was discipline, so perhaps that is why he never apologized.

 

One day I accidently pulled too hard on Sheena, our border collie puppy`s, leg. My father heard her yelp and physically disciplined me for hurting her. After he hit me he exclaimed that if you hurt a puppy she will remember that for the rest of her life. I was just a little boy and I remember that he hit me so hard. I hope Sheena remembered my treatment of her was a one-time accident as I remember my father`s anger was neither. Unfortunately, both of my parents are hypocrites.

 

Poor Sheena was often stuck in the garage, at my father’s dictates, for most of the day, particularly at the times we all had to go out for the day, such as to school for Belinda and me, and work for my mother and father. I wasn’t smart enough at the time to understand that there was something wrong with it.

 

Sheena, was similarly affected by their arguments, as though she was at fault. I observed her many times while they were screaming at each other and it was as if she was experiencing a major scolding, looking scared and sad with her ears and head down.

 

Poor Sheena often drank too much, deliberately getting into my parents’ booze in the garage, getting too drunk to bark at squirrels and birds. Sometimes the birds would mock her as she lay outside in her drunken stupor. (Just seeing if you’re paying attention.)

 

Debra has been emotionally abusive almost daily by engaging in infantizing behaviour towards me and my sister, treating others like they are incompetent, and, although less frequent, false accusations.

 

My mother appears to convince herself that she is some kind of special mother when she unnecessarily provides unwanted or unneeded “help”, treating her children like they are much younger than they really are. Both my sister and I think this is due to some undiagnosed mental illness, but I am not sure. My sister thinks she has narcissistic personality disorder. When we tried to point disrespectful or wrong behaviours out to her she would fall back on the only way she had of absorbing any form of criticism: she took immediate offence, claiming we were attacking her entire identity, everything about her, and accuse us of not respecting or loving her. She is incapable of accepting any form of constructive, helpful, criticism instead choosing to deny there is anything wrong, covering her mistakes with excuses. This may have something to do with how she was raised and/or the emotional abuse she’s received from her husband. I think it is due to some kind of underlying insecurity, without her fully realizing it, that she has to treat me like I’m four years old to convince herself that she is a special mother, and it has taken me over 40 years to develop this much understanding, although it is still unclear for me as to what is really going on.

 

My mother’s actions have always seemed more complicated, perhaps because I never knew the right words to use to describe it. For example, if ever I appeared to offend her, unintentionally, she would become negative and mean, and it was almost as if, during her negativity towards me, she was possessed by some sort of evil spirit, and I don’t know how else I could describe it. I don’t know the words to use to describe the emotions she is going through, because I’m not sure if it’s anger, but it certainly is very mean. She would have a very mean looking demeanor, she would stamp her feet, slam doors, and offend my feelings. Neither of my parents even one single time explained their true feelings and emotions to me or my sister after getting upset.

 

I should point out that my mother tends to be much more loving and eager to help, while Robert is often insensitive with little affection, often being the opposite of a sweet and loving husband to his wife. He often jokes around a lot, but, again, he is often mean to my mother. He has also been emotionally abusive towards me and my sister in the sense that he has often been emotionally abusive towards our mother right in front of us. But this is one side of him; he also has a very loving, amicable side to him.

 

The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence states: “Repeated verbal abuse, such as blaming, ridiculing, insulting, swearing, yelling and humiliating,” (things Robert is guilty of towards my mother) “has long-term negative effects on a woman’s self-esteem and contributes to feelings of uselessness, worthlessness and self-blame.”

 

I believe in my heart that Robert, while angry with her, caused my mother to believe that Belinda and I don’t like her. Could this be the reason why Debra is the way she is towards Belinda and me? They go on to say, “Women who are psychologically abused but not physically abused are five times more likely to misuse alcohol than women who have not experienced abuse.” My mother drinks every day. She is psychologically addicted to it. And it is obvious in her well-being that it is not good for her. She once stated to me, after Robert yelled at her, “This is the reason why I drink,” although it sounded like she was trying to be facetious.

 

The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence also states: “Parental verbal aggression (e.g., yelling, insulting) or symbolic aggression (e.g., slamming a door, giving the silent treatment) toward children can have serious consequences.” Both of my parents are guilty of this behaviour towards me and Belinda; my father is mostly guilty of the former, while my mother is mostly guilty of the latter.

 

After telling my recent therapist what I’d grown up with, she remarked, “It sounds to me that you had a significant amount of trauma in your life, both emotional, verbal, and physical trauma. I am more and more sure that your experiences as a child did affect you significantly and did cause you to have the anxiety issues that you have had and do have.”

 

It seems to me, and to my therapist, that my parents are both narcissists, rarely admitting when they’ve done something wrong with little insight into the scars they had caused me and my sister. After arguments, they just went back to normal. Never sitting me and my sister down and saying how sorry they were and how they were going to do what they could to try to make sure it never happened again. The same went for abuse towards us.

 

Most people who know them would say that they are pretty good people and they can definitely be very friendly and congenial. Recently I said to my therapist: “They are friendly, but bad people (not that they are entirely bad) can be friendly. And a lot of people, such as aunts, uncles, friends of the family, rarely see anything but their friendliness and congeniality. So, what my sister and I have gone through, their negativity towards us, has been totally concealed.”

 

After I told her this, she stated, “It is also common for people who act as your parents do behind closed doors to show a completely different face to others, such as you stated with your aunts, uncles, friends of the family. They would probably never allow others to see their true selves; had they done so, I am sure that someone would have stepped in (or at least I would hope that they would) to protect you and Belinda from that abusive home! I believe that you and your sister may be right, that they are both textbook narcissists. They have an inflated sense of self, no remorse for what they do to others; exaggerated feelings of self importance; excessive need for admiration; lack of understanding of other’s feelings, take advantage of people around them….”

 

I emailed that statement of my therapist’s to Belinda to which she replied, “That is great you have found a counsellor who you can feel comfortable with and have validate you.

 

What she said about you and I resonates true.

 

There is no doubt in my mind anymore that our childhood was distorted in severe psychological and emotional abuse…. It’s time to heal and thrive now ;)”

 

At age 14 I started heading in the wrong direction very quickly. At that age, I got drunk for the first time. Not only was I drunk, it was the most intoxicated I’ve ever been. I think I had some sort of alcohol poisoning from consuming so much alcohol. It didn’t help that my parents were heavy drinkers and kept their booze within easy access. In fact, after drinking about three beer from a six-pack some older guy bought for a so-called friend and me, I unwittingly got terribly intoxicated from the booze my parents were keeping in their garage. I couldn’t stand up or see straight and then couldn’t stop vomiting.

 

That was the beginning of a period of rebellious and inappropriate behaviour for me. I began doing drugs like acid and weed, I continued drinking, and there were times, while walking through the neighborhood with my friends, I would walk right on top of parked cars on the street. Sri Chinmoy later told me inwardly that all this was because I had little guidance in the right direction. My parents gave my sister and me too much freedom, including leaving us home alone while they went away or out for the night beginning when we were around 14 or 15. It is good when you’re an adult and have a good moral compass, but too much freedom along with not enough guidance in the right direction was a terrible combination.

 

My anxiety disorder became uncontrollable and tormented me every day, all day long, while I was going out with my girlfriend, Sandi, in high school. My anxiety disorder consisted of various types of distress and doubt. I would struggle with societal anxiety in crowds, but would also struggle with the same anxiety while alone for hours. My anxieties included me having no control over feeling tension in my face, mostly around my lips; another involved a type of nervousness which resulted from worrying about being worried about being worried (I call this my nervous energy.); and another was a crushing doubt which destroyed everything about me. I would go on suffering from these anxieties and doubts for hours while all alone, with nothing impending that could cause anxiety.

 

For the longest time, all I would have to do is unwittingly think for a split second about this nervous energy anxiety and then I would go on struggling with it for hours. This is my life. I just suddenly worry, or think about things I shouldn’t, and then I struggle with it. But I have other forms of worrying and doubt as well. These days most of my anxiety is more subtle; sometimes I’m hardly aware I’m experiencing it either because it’s so subtle or because I’m so used to experiencing it.

 

Belinda was hardly much better as she grew up, although screwed up in a much different way. She also was not given much guidance in the right direction, and, along with psychological problems, headed down a path of poor decisions and unhealthy responses to difficult experiences. The drug ecstasy became a god to her as though a drug can literally bring about a form of happiness, and her abuse of that for many years certainly provided no strength in helping prop her up with true psychological stability. She also used cocaine for a time and thought it was pretty special but preached that it had to be used “properly.” She is and has been on a life path of trying to discover her true self like anybody else, but she is unfortunately not reaching that most of the time due to abuse and poor guidance.

 

At age 17, I suddenly lost the ability to smile without feeling tense in my face and lips. To this day I still struggle with that sometimes and I don’t smile much. In addition, I could not (and it is something I still struggle with) sing along to songs without beginning to feel my nervous energy. I’d feel very self-conscious when dancing or when I think a girl is looking at me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had true admiration for people who can smile, particularly while dancing.

 

My friends began to ask me why I was so quiet, but I didn’t really know why at the time. During this time, I also became very self-conscious about being quiet, thinking that it was disturbing to others, which added to me not being able to manifest my true self. To this day I feel uncomfortable beginning conversations with people, even old friends, because I’m worried I’ll be too quiet or say dumb things in an attempt to not be too quiet. For this reason, there have been countless social opportunities, some pretty major, where I did not begin a conversation, or continue one if someone began talking to me.

 

Throughout my past, and even still today, when I’m talking to someone and experiencing subtle anxiety, it doesn't show on my face; what shows is a more reserved, stoned-faced look with little expression in comparison to my much more relaxed state. And I often can’t articulate my thoughts when talking to people face-to-face. I can't answer questions or clarify myself properly, such as a question by a waiter asking me if I want this flavour or that flavour, because of my anxiety about failing socially or feeling like I’m looking terrible to him, I'll say the wrong flavour because I can't think straight. And I won’t be able to listen well to what he’s saying to me. My thoughts, my self-expression is expressed internally 99% more than externally. That, however, does not include writing, or talking to people on the internet, if you take those as an external form of expression.

 

These are things I’d like to conquer to become what I believe would be a much more self-actualized state.

 

Because of my anxiety, quietness, and reservedness, I’ve been quite often misunderstood by my parents, particularly my mother, and others. Incidentally, Belinda also has a serious problem with anxiety, although in a different form. Needless to say, neither of my parents have this struggle.

 

Present

 

Often, my parents misunderstand me by treating me like they don’t have faith that I am going to do something right. As an example, whenever Debra says anything to me, I always must confirm back to her that I’m listening by saying, “Okay,” otherwise, apparently, I’m just rude. In other words, she doesn’t just simply have faith that I’m listening to her, she doesn’t believe I’m doing the right thing. And I worry that she can be deluded into thinking that if I don’t respond my not responding is the same as being negative towards her which could cause her to become negative towards me. It is lack of faith and thinking I am something I am not, which is how I was raised. But, at the same time, over the years, they have also been, many times, very kind and supportive. Sometimes they do express that they believe in me.

 

As another example, one time we were staying at a hotel and we had ordered some food to be brought to the room. My mother asked me if I wanted something, and I said I didn’t, because I was not hungry at the time. After 20 minutes, she said, “All this sitting around at the pool, sun tanning, and ordering food is tiring.” I thought, does that mean she ate already? Because I was just curious, because it seemed like that was pretty quick to get the food and eat already. So, I asked if the room service came already. And she responded, “No, that will take another hour or so; I asked if you wanted something and you said, ‘No.’” Assuming I’m asking because I’m just realizing that I actually do want room service like some kind of little boy (even though I was 41) that can’t think properly for himself. So, I had to immediately correct her and say, “No, I don’t want room service right now.” But this is the kind of thing I deal with every day. She laughed a little, but, as usual, never learning that she has a serious problem with thinking things that are not true even though I correct her again and again.

 

My mother quite often does this. She tends to think you’re talking about something you’re not, and often scoffs at you, or wrongly accuses you, and thinks there’s something wrong with you that isn’t. Both tend to frequently scoff at me stemming from not truly understanding, but my mother tends to do it much more frequently.

 

After becoming Sri Chinmoy’s disciple, learning to meditate and learning about his philosophy, I’ve quite often felt that if only my parents would pray and meditate (sincerely and soulfully), they wouldn’t be so negative towards each other and towards me and my sister. One day when I was 18, I got mad at them for this very reason and moved out, the first time I lived on my own.

 

Both of them are guilty of this negativity and of doing nothing about it. In fact, for some reason, my father shuns therapy. Not only did they not attempt to practice any disciplined meditation, they never incorporated any family therapy to help with the poisonous atmosphere.

 

From The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence: “Emotional abuse follows a pattern; it is repeated and sustained if left unchecked, abuse does not get better over time. It only gets worse.” and “Emotional abuse of children can result in serious emotional and/or behaviour problems… and poor social skills.”

 

As I got older, and I improved with the help of my spiritual life, my parents never realized (or cared) that meditation can help us all be more loving towards each other and more insightful as to what others are going through enabling us to show increased compassion and understanding and respect. As I’ve said, my parents have misunderstood me. To this day, my parents are not insightful as to who I am.

 

These days, my mother every day has the wrong impression that I am somehow incompetent and that her giving direction and pointing (obvious) things out are somehow helpful. My father blindly follows her lead, and I think that is why he also tends to treat me like I don’t know any better. For example, I don’t have any problems with my daughter and getting her to do the things she’s supposed to do when they’re not around, but when they’re around they wrongly feel that they have to give me orders to do this and that with her as if I’m not handling it properly and they are righteous arm chair parenting experts. “Can you get her to take her thyroid pill so we can get some food into her?” “Daddy can you put the movie in for her?” “Jacob, we have to leave at 9:30 tomorrow morning so, you’ll have to get her up and get her ready,” all right in front of Abigail, undermining my authority. This sort of treatment has been going on all my life. You’d think it would dawn on them that I am already more than fully aware to do these things. But to say that they are unaware of what is really going on is an understatement. It is mostly my mom who does this and she often uses my dad like a pawn and orders him to give me orders.

 

It is just like I don’t have any problems driving a car when I’m by myself, and yet when my mom is with me, and even my dad sometimes, she has to tell me to watch out for this and get in that lane and so forth as if I don’t have it figured out on my own. This is the daily treatment I get from them, always telling me what to do when I already know to do it and can handle it on my own. It’s a sign of their inability to trust me and have faith in me. I am 41 years old and they treat me like I am an incompetent or delinquent teen.

 

The fact is, both of them treat me like I am incompetent and if I don’t keep my cool about it, they could become more severely abusive towards me. The problem now is that they are beginning to do this to Abigail and I think she is going to object to it more and more as she gets older. That being said, for some reason, no matter how much you object to something they are doing, they don’t tend to clue in. The more likely result of objecting to them is they would eventually become negative to you.

 

Although both are not very insightful and don’t tend to acknowledge when they do something wrong, I love my parents very much. These days they are extremely helpful in helping me to be able to write my book and being kind to me most of the time. I am very grateful and I love them and we have a lot of good memories. We often talk about memories when we sit together enjoying each other’s company.

 

And I do love it when we are enjoying ourselves together, when I’m joining them on the deck for a drink, or when we go out for dinner together, which is one of my all time favourite things to do. They are very congenial when we do these things, although they are usually drinking during those times. I’ve always remembered them to be congenial and enjoying themselves when partying, not that they don’t become a bit less intelligent when buzzed. And they are always willing to do something to help. Their generosity, kindness, and the freedom they give me has been helping me to get this book completed. Generally, the times when they misbehave towards me, aside from being mean to each other, are when they perceive I have done or am doing something wrong. I know from experience that no matter how good I am they will regularly perceive me negatively. But joining them for a drink or going out for dinner with them is almost always a good experience. They are very rarely negative towards me during those times. Perhaps that is why I enjoy it so much.

 

Also, I’ve always loved when my parents had friends or family over because that always meant they were going to enjoy themselves and treat me better. The version of my parents while around friends and family is much more enjoyable version for me.

 

Both their love and their hurt towards me has affected me. Their hurt has affected my faith in myself. And their love has helped me to be well, nourished, and propped up. However, their help is nothing in comparison to that of Sri Chinmoy’s whose help never ceases, and it does leave a knife stuck into my heart that they never admit their wrongdoings. It’s almost as if it causes my disorder to continue.

 

I feel I have dwelt overly much on the negative parts of my childhood in this chapter. There were good times too, and times when Robert and Debra were very good parents. Sadly, in my case, the negative had a strong impact on the direction of my life.

Chapter Two:[
**]I Am Found

 

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

– Luke 15:1 –10

 

I Am Lost

 

When I was close to 16 years old, I discovered on my own that if you really practice something then you can become successful at that thing. That thought eventually inspired me to practise the piano for hours each day, with the idea that all I have to do is become really, really good and then I can become successful and perhaps even famous. I would have preferred to practice the guitar, but we only had a piano, and I didn’t think Robert and Debra would buy me a guitar. Robert and Debra were mostly supportive of my piano playing and enjoyed listening to me play.

 

Not long after my 16th birthday, I skipped school one day, stole my parents’ car, which was in the driveway of our house, and tried to drive to New York City. I imagined that eventually I would meet somebody in New York who would allow me to practice on their piano all day every day. I wasn’t very intelligent, and thought I was going to be some sort of hippie blues piano player. I didn’t feel like I was running away from something, but running toward something. I just felt that somebody would be there to help me and things would magically work out so well. The idea spawned in my head from reading books like Helter Skelter and No One Gets Out of Here Alive. Young kids, particularly kids who don’t have enough guidance in the right direction, shouldn’t be allowed to read books that might negatively affect their minds. I got caught at the US border because I was so nervous while answering the border agent’s questions. What actually gave my secret plan away was I had written in a journal, which I kept in the car. The border agents found the journal while searching the vehicle in which it said, “I hope the border service agents don’t suspect anything.” I spent the night in a nearby jail. My parents picked me up the next day. They were offended. I didn’t even have my driver’s licence yet.

 

Eventually, from practicing the piano for hours and hours every day, I noticed something was happening with my eyes. I was becoming better looking. I started noticing young women looking at me and liking me. Looking back, I suppose this was kind of like God’s Hand reaching out to me, saying, “Come. You’re doing the right thing. Keep coming this way.”

 

I was first introduced to meditation when I was 16 from a Tae Kwon Do instructor who taught it to the class one day. Although, I was in Tae Kwon Do and practicing the piano, I was completely lost with respect to where I was heading in life and what I was going to do with myself. I became interested in meditation but felt it was dry while practicing it with the Tae Kwon Do instructor. It didn’t seem to do much in other words, and I was thinking that it should probably do more.

 

When I was 16, 17 and 18, there would be times when I’d be overcome with a discouraging insecure-like depression, and it felt like the end of my world during those times. One moment, while practicing the piano, I started to feel a bit better. And during that moment, a thought came over me that sometimes clouds come and sometimes they go. And it made me feel so good and encouraged. I learned something. It’s not the end of the world when I feel bad. How could I have this thought when no one ever taught me this? It is as if something within me, perhaps my own self, taught it to me. It dawned on me from within, and I became a little bit more enlightened.

 

One day not long after that short instruction on meditation from the Tae Kwon Do teacher, I stumbled upon a book on a bookshelf at my parents’ house called Out on A Limb by Shirley MacLaine. Not even knowing what it was about, I decided to read it. It turned out to be the first book that steered me towards the spiritual life. It had a positive effect on me and helped me to become interested in meditation. I ended up trying meditation for a few weeks or so, but I didn’t know what I was supposed to do and felt no results, so I stopped.

 

At 16 years old, I did acid several times while in school. I would be high on acid during class. I would buy the acid in the school parking lot from somebody I knew through friends who sold it to me from his car. Then I would go to class, or skip class and do nothing productive, while suffering from paranoid thoughts magnified by the acid. And this I did at least seven or eight times. Why would I ever think to do something so stupid?

 

At 17, I became a very heavy drinker. That was when I became tortured by severe anxiety every day, which was so bad I couldn’t function, meet people, talk to people, or anything. An evil cloud was brewing within me ready to destroy everything about me.

 

I eventually felt I had no hope in life; I felt, in the future, I would be a bum on the street struggling with alcohol and drugs and that that is where and how I would die. I didn’t do well in high school because of this anxiety and because I was not taught well by my parents on how to behave properly. As a result, I was also hanging around with the wrong crowd. It didn’t occur to me to hang around with people who behave well, who didn’t do drugs or drink. I was in my second or third year of high school when Sandi ended our relationship becasue she needed a break. After that it was too difficult for me to meet another girl in person because of my quietness and anxiety and my sensitiveness.

 

I ended up dropping out of high school so that I could practice the piano all day long. I thought all I needed to do was practice, and then I’d be set. Robert wasn’t too happy about it, but for some reason, I had the freedom to do it. Although I became good at the piano, I was psychologically disturbed and truly had no future.

 

As I said earlier, my parents can be good to be around when they are enjoying themselves with friends and family. In fact, I have often felt it’s best to be around them when they are drinking with people as opposed to other times. My father would often bond with me by laughing at my jokes when he was drinking with friends or family, which reminded me of how he often laughed at my jokes when I was a boy and thought I was funny.

 

One person who often came to visit was Robert’s friend, Michael. And there bloomed within me a great love for him. He was an excellent guy. He drank a lot, but at the same time, he was a good influence and inspiration. He was just a very personable person. Michael would give me advice telling me I need to stay in school and that I need to come out of my shell. I tried playing the piano for him to demonstrate my ability one time, at Robert’s coaxing, and, after watching, he told me that what I need is more confidence. And he was absolutely right, but because I was so sensitive, I found it a little offensive. It wasn’t until after he moved away to Florida, as the years went by, that I realized how much I really loved him and how much of a positive effect he had on me. In fact, when he told me I need to come out of my shell, I took that as an offense well and said, “That does not represent me as a whole.” And the more the years went by, the more I realized I right he was and how wrong I was to get offended. He moved away shortly after I turned 18 and then I didn’t see him again for many years.

 

At age 17, I went with my friend, Mark, and his mother to see a psychic. She was good. The first thing she said to me, after placing some Tarot cards in front of us on the table, was “You’re really depressed aren’t you.” I figured that was close enough and replied, “Yes.” (It wasn’t technically depression I was going through; it was anxiety depression.) While doing my reading, she said to me, “Is there some kind of friend, uncle, or teacher that really drinks a lot? Take his advice.” I thought maybe she was talking about Michael, but I wasn’t sure.

 

Shortly after this meeting with the psychic, while getting drunk regularly, I noticed that Debra had brought home some books by Sri Chinmoy for herself to read. I was interested, so I started reading them. I felt it was a good transition to go from reading Out on A Limb to Sri Chinmoy’s books on meditation and the spiritual life, including Meditation: Man-perfection in God-satisfaction and Death and Reincarnation.

 

I eventually decided to go back to school to finish my credits, possibly thanks to Michael’s influence, but unfortunately, I ended up becoming a total a loner, although not by choice. I lost most of my friends due to my anxiety and being mentally unwell and quietness, plus many of my friends had graduated and moved on to university while I was still finishing high school. I was already beginning to lose friends right before I dropped out of school, although I did hang out with a naughty crowd so I wasn’t too proud of them anyway, and when I came back to school I was no longer able to make friends. The problem of not being able to make friends has stayed with me to this day. It took me four and a half years to finish high school, which should normally take three years.

 

Back then, often times the anxiety would drive me crazy because I couldn’t get rid of it. Many times, while I was in class, I would sit during the instruction and struggle to focus on what was being taught. Rather than being able to listen, I would just suffer from anxiety, embarrassed that perhaps people in my class could see my ugly tension vandalizing my face.

 

After I turned 18, while still in high school trying to finish my credits, I was reading Sri Chinmoy’s books every day and they were affecting me positively quite a bit, because I was otherwise losing my mind with anxiety and insecurity depression. One of the first things I did was stop smoking weed, although I was still getting intoxicated from booze regularly. Although I hadn’t read about it in his books yet, I just felt that Sri Chinmoy would feel that doing drugs would not be good for you. The fact that alcohol was a drug and probably not good for me hadn’t clued in yet. But I did feel that if I wanted to improve psychologically then perhaps I should make some improvements to my life, and this thinking was thanks to reading these books.

 

The reason I believed in Sri Chinmoy is not just because his writings were so real, natural, and normal—they were quite easy to understand but also seemed like they were written by a highly spiritually advanced person—but just by looking at him in pictures of him in his books, he seemed highly spiritually advanced, and I was not only impressed but inspired.

 

I read in one of Sri Chinmoy’s book on meditation, Meditation: Man Perfection in God Satisfaction, that a beginner should start with concentration. Even after learning to meditate, one should begin his meditation with concentration, Sri Chinmoy said. There was one of several concentration exercises in this book that I felt I could do. He also said that regularity and punctuality are of paramount importance, that you should meditate every day at a set time. And although he said that it is best to meditate early in the morning before you start your day, I decided to set my meditation time for the time being for right when I got home from school until I became a little better. So, right after school every day I practiced this concentration exercise. Numerous times I had to discipline myself to not drink until after I did my exercise. Sometimes I didn’t want to do the exercise and just wanted to drink, but I remembered reading in Sri Chinmoy’s book that to skip your meditation just because you don’t want to bother is a spiritual crime, so I took statements like that from him very seriously; I didn’t want to commit a spiritual crime, and therefore disciplined myself to stick to it even when I didn’t feel up to it.

 

A few months passed of reading Sri Chinmoy’s books and going to my high school classes every day, which I was told I had to do in order to pass, and then one day I found a small piece of paper on the kitchen table that said, “Meditation Classes” with a phone number below. Wow, that’s good, I thought. I just so happen to be interested in that. I called the number, and there was a very calm and relaxed individual on the other end who told me when the date and time of the first class was. I asked him how much it cost, and he said they are free, which was good because otherwise I may have needed help to pay for them.

 

I drove to the first class from Bedford to downtown Halifax on a cold winter night and was eager to attend, however, despite my eagerness, I came very close to not going because I was so disturbed with anxiety. Despite my anxiety, I decided to go anyway. I listened to what I felt was best and went. And while attending the class, I discovered Sri Chinmoy’s books for sale on a table and that this class was being taught by Sri Chinmoy’s students, although I did not put two and two together that perhaps this was some sort of magical intervention.

 

On a later day, my sister confronted me asking me where that piece of paper was. But she also had apparently lost interest and didn’t seem interested in coming with me to any meditation classes.

 

At the final class, one of the Halifax Sri Chinmoy Centre leaders, whom I’ll call Sarina, asked us if we wanted to be Sri Chinmoy’s student and attend the Halifax meditation centre weekly group meditations. I still wasn’t able to meditate at the time. Since I definitely wanted to be able to meditate and wanted help with that and felt that meditation and spiritual help from an advanced Master was the solution to my problems, I asked to become a disciple.

 

Who Is Sri Chinmoy (aka Sir/Guru)?

 

Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007) is a God-realized spiritual teacher and guide who came to the West from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1964 to serve western seekers. At age 13 he became again conscious of his God-realization that he already had achieved in previous incarnations. He has about 7,000 disciples around the world, and many admirers. From the Sri Aurobindo ashram in Pondicherry, India, he moved to the city of New York where he lived for the latter half of his life. In October 2007, Sri Chinmoy compassionately left the body to continue to serve aspiring seekers from the higher worlds.

 

Sri Chinmoy’s path is not a religion; it is a guidance to help you with your faith. His teachings do not contradict Christianity, or any other faith. From what I have studied about other religions, I have learned that Sri Chinmoy’s teachings compliment and provide a good foundation for them. He encourages those on his path to continue practicing their religion, and many do. Sri Chinmoy says (from srichinmoylibrary.com):

 

For me, there is no such thing as an Indian God or a Christian God. For me, there is only the Absolute Supreme. When I pray to God, at that time I do not say, ‘O my Indian God.’ When you pray to God, you do not say, ‘O my Christian God.’ We both say, ‘O my Heavenly Father.’ At that time, Heaven in not divided into pieces. We do not say, ‘This is India, this is Germany, and this is France.’”

 

The following are a couple stories by two of Sri Chinmoy’s disciples published on the srichinmoycentre.org website:

 

Pradhan Balter

Chicago

 

Many, many years ago, I was visiting a restaurant owned by Sri Chinmoy’s students in San Francisco along with Sri Chinmoy. When Sri Chinmoy was leaving the restaurant, I was standing next to a young woman. Guru walked past the both of us, suddenly stopped, and seemingly without any outer beckoning came back and faced the young woman with eyes closed. Because I was right there, I could not help but be privy to his words, which went something like this:

“You are having trouble reconciling my life and the life of the Christ. Think of it this way. Think that the Christ is the boss, but he is in Heaven. You can think of me as his secretary. My job is to screen people in preparation for meeting the boss!” (Remember, this is my memory…but it’s close.)

Then Sri Chinmoy went on. “But I tell you, if you cry in your heart for the Christ… when you find him in your heart, there also you will find me. Or if you cry for me in your heart, when you find me, there also you will find the Christ.”

Now, as regards a personal experience… I was raised in the Jewish faith. I had no connection with the Christ as a child. But as soon as I became Sri Chinmoy’s student, it awakened in me a powerful and intimate association with the Christ, for which I am grateful.

One of my dearest friends, Sunil, prayed to the Christ for a master in the physical. When he saw Guru for the first time, he immediately felt that the Christ had made this possible, and that it was an answer to his prayers.

 

Mukti

Ottawa

 

In the early days of the Ottawa Centre, Nivedita, who had come from a very orthodox Roman Catholic upbringing, used to tell me that every time she sat down to meditate on Sri Chinmoy’s Transcendental photo, she would see superimposed on the photo the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which she had long revered. She asked what this might mean. The Centre Head told her that it was her soul telling her that all she had adored in the Sacred Heart was to be found in meditating on Sri Chinmoy’s photo.

Some time later Maitreyi joined the Centre, arriving back in Canada after ten years of intensive Zen discipline in Japan. She noticed for some time that when she meditated on Sri Chinmoy’s Transcendental photo, she would see the wheel of the Dharma superimposed on Sri Chinmoy’s third eye. Again, the explanation was given that everything she had revered in Buddhism was to be found in meditating on Sri Chinmoy.”

 

I Join Sri Chinmoy’s Path (1994 – 1998)

 

About two other people from those classes were also interested in being a disciple, but eventually they decided they weren’t interested. So, I was the only one from those classes of about fifteen or twenty people who stuck with it. From what I understand, most people from the free meditation classes given by Sri Chinmoy’s students don’t decide to become a disciple and benefit from the classes in other ways that they feel are good for them.

 

Sarina did a wonderful thing helping me to get adjusted to daily meditation and meditating at the Centre by meditating with me at the Centre, just me and her, once a week, and talking to me and answering my questions. There would have been other people attending those meditations with us, but, like I said, I ended up being the only one. I was inspired by her. She talked a lot, which was good for me, because I didn’t, and we became friends, although is old enough to be my mother. Sri Chinmoy, with Sarina’s help, was inspiring me to be sincere, and I was therefore becoming a better person right in front of my eyes without fully realizing it yet. I was informed that Sri Chinmoy wants his disciples to meditate at 6am every morning, called the 6am meditation, and so I began to do so.

 

After about a month or two, I received word back from Sri Chinmoy, who the disciples tenderly call ‘Guru’, that he had accepted me as a disciple. I was very inspired and happy about that and started to feel proud and lucky. I turned 18 in September 1994 and was accepted as a disciple that following March.

 

I had given up drinking shortly before receiving word that I was accepted as a disciple. What caused me to stop was I read in one of Guru’s books that Sarina lent to me that he wants his disciples to refrain from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I had no difficulties giving it up. According to me, since Guru is God-realized, he knows what he’s talking about. So, therefore I no longer drank because of what he said in his book.

 

There was another Centre leader, whom I’ll call Ushala, who also inspired me. Both of them seemed, for lack of a better word, much more advanced than me, and I figured it was because they had been meditating for over 20 years. Eventually, I was invited by Sarina, provided that I felt comfortable enough to do so, to attend the weekly group meditations at the Centre. These meditations would be longer than what I was used to, and thus a bit more challenging. But I felt up to it. I was even beginning to think I was experiencing some sort of peaceful feeling while trying to concentrate during my practice of meditation. Sarina helped me quite a bit with one thing she said one day: “Concentration is the key that opens the door to meditation.” That awakened in me a little more understanding of what to do to meditate and gave me a boost forward.

 

Conquering Anxiety

 

I can remember several times trying to meditate while in my mind I was struggling with anxiety. I had anxiety bugs tormenting me while at the same time I was trying to concentrate and relax, yet that was an amazing first step. Those first steps were so essential and important, even though they didn’t seem like they were achieving much, because they led to the next steps where I learned what meditation is, that it is extremely natural, normal, and nourishing, and how to get past anxiety and enter into it. Eventually, it was like a miracle and I was able to break through obstruction’s door and enter a state of meditation. It is my belief that, along with my personal effort, Guru is the one who helped me inwardly to meditate and from whom I received many inner blessings. My anxiety decreased significantly. In fact, after some time, I no longer suffered from my crushing doubt problem which would destroy everything about me. One aspect of my anxiety problem which did linger throughout my life, though, although to a lessor degree, has been my nervous energy, but I know from experience that Guru has been addressing that.

 

I recently told my therapist: “I relaxed for a little bit last night after coming home and watched a show on the Discovery Channel. It helped me think of a good analogy for my anxiety disorder: If you cut your hand on barnacle and don’t clean and treat the cut, you could get infected with an evil bacteria and barnacle could literally grow inside of you. (It would be very painful.) The adhesive that barnacle uses to stick to things is one of the strongest adhesives ever and you really need a massive amount of power to remove it. You would need a really good surgeon to remove this and it is so rare that most people wouldn’t know what was actually happening to you. That is what happened to me! I was emotionally scarred and it never properly healed, so barnacle-like anxiety grew inside of me. And now Sri Chinmoy is my really good, amazing, very powerful, surgeon removing the barnacle-like anxiety. Much of it is gone now, but all my life, even today, people couldn’t understand what was really going on, especially my own parents. For instance, a girl working in a bar alone, whom I talked to a little bit before closing, thought I was going to try to rape her after she closed and called the police on me; that is all because of my mostly subtle anxiety that doesn’t enable me to be who I truly am, doesn’t enable me to express my true self and people misunderstand me.”

 

As I said earlier, my mother has often misunderstood me. She has been inclined to see things in a negative way, which I believe is not too smart. For example, one day when I was 18 years old, I was going through some amazing improvements because of Sri Chinmoy’s divine help and meditation. I was in my mom’s room talking to her while she was in her bed and she looked at me and said, “Oh you are so sad these days, Jacob. You are so sad and depressed.” And I said, “No, I’m not,” which was true as I felt amazing. And she replied, “Yes, you are,” convinced that she is right.

 

At a time when my anxieties got so bad that I felt I could no longer function in society and was going to end up on the streets struggling, and I dying of alcoholism, I was given a new life when I joined Sri Chinmoy’s path and tried sincerely to follow it. A new existence of joy bloomed in my heart. A flower of divinity grew within me at a time when I had forgotten what true happiness even felt like. I began to realize what innocence was and that perhaps I had something special inside me that I can really tap into and become; perhaps I could become my true self, a self-actualized, glowing manifestation of something much more divine. I had a thought a few times that if I could reveal my truer self, a much more higher quality type of self-expression, the way I could while by myself listening to music, I could become famous.

 

In Search for My True Passions

 

When I was 18, I decided to stop practicing the piano, because I was playing secular music (which Guru refers to as vital music), pop music and blues, and I felt that playing vital music every day for hours and hours could be distracting or disturbing to my spiritual-life, which could be the case if you are trying to be more spiritual. I also want to stress that playing the piano wasn’t actually a passion of mine. I wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. A deeper musical passion, which is only beginning to manifest these days, is playing the guitar and singing. It had always disturbed me a little that I didn’t actually really want to be playing the piano. Since I stopped playing the piano, the attractiveness which showed in my eyes as a result of my practicing the piano for hours and hours every day went away, but I didn’t pay much attention to it; I wasn’t playing the piano to be good looking

 

True Inspiration

 

I became very inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s disciples, and, quite quickly, deep down inside I developed the hunger to help Sri Chinmoy in some way, to serve his disciples, to help him help them with their aspiration and faith. I was so humbled by his disciples. To say that they are amazing people is an understatement. I was so honoured to be around them and to feel almost a part of their group. I was usually some kind of underdog in my mind, so I could never really be a true part of them. They were too special for me to be able to be a part of who they are. I was just humbled to be able to be amongst them. And I felt Sri Chinmoy was so special that I wanted to help him help them.

 

I decided to get into graphic design because I felt it would be a good way to spread Sri Chinmoy’s Light. I’ve seen other disciples do graphic design work for manifestation projects, such as book covers or posters, and I thought I’d like to do the same. I also felt that perhaps by way of Sri Chinmoy’s divine capacity his Light could work through me and manifest through my designs.

 

A Strong Moral Compass Has Bloomed

 

What Sri Chinmoy has done for me goes beyond inwardly helping me to meditate and find purpose; he has given me a strong moral fabric. And the more devoted I am to him, the stronger that moral fabric is. I am kind to others because of him. Because of him I know that I should not drink or do drugs. Because of him I know that I should build rather than destroy, not physically like buildings, but in spiritual ways. One example of spiritual destruction would be self-doubt. Not only that, he is the reason why I shave right away rather than choose to procrastinate. He is the reason why I get out of bed right away after waking up rather than lying there for a while being lazy. He is the reason why I try to show people love and kindness. He is the reason I meditate every morning. He is the reason for my moral compass. He is the reason for many decisions in my life, good decisions, healthy decisions. I think things like “Guru would prefer that I do this,” and therefore I do it. Sri Chinmoy has helped me overcome myself and become a much better person, but I’ve still got a long way to go.

 

Deep Meditation and the Saundarya

 

Whenever I meditated my eyes would water, often causing my eyes to be red and glossy looking. In the later half of 1996, I started having trouble being able to meditate, and for a few days I couldn’t meditate at all. This concerned me very much. To help me be able to meditate, I discovered that if I rub my finger on my eyeballs to get my eyes to begin watering, that can help me to jump into a state of deep meditation. Although this way of meditating was very deep, it was more unnatural to me whereas before I was gradually easing into it by concentrating, relaxing, and breathing in and out.

 

Sometime in 1996 and 1997, I began to realize that the daily deep meditations I was experiencing was resulting in a significant improvement in my looks, a glow in my face, which I now call the saundarya, which is a Sanskrit word meaning beauty. I began to frequently notice girls looking at me and noticing me and the looks in their faces and eyes as they noticed me, and I really liked it. It made me feel that something special was going on, but I didn’t know what. It also made me wonder if I was ever going to get married.

 

Ranana

 

There is an older female disciple, whom I call Ranana, who is probably in her late 50’s by now who worked closely with Guru on the outer plane. I did not know her, and never talked to her but I knew of her. Back in 1996 or 1997, when I was about 20 or 21, I was at a function at a nearby school in Jamaica, Queens with many other disciples, and Guru was up at the front of the auditorium. I was a few rows behind Guru, and we were all facing the front towards the stage. While at this function, I suddenly wondered whether or not I would ever get married. This thought came to me because of the saundarya and the fact that I was noticing various girls noticing me a lot.

 

Immediately after I had that thought, Guru turned around and looked at me intensely. Then the lights went off for a little bit. And after the lights went back on, Guru was sitting up on the stage facing the disciples. At the time, Ranana was also up front, standing in front of all the disciples, and I noticed Guru doing something with his eyes, looking at Ranana and me back and forth really quickly, apparently saying, with his eyes, that Ranana and I will get married, but it seemed pretty far out. Perhaps he was looking at somebody else. I’ve always questioned it, and wondered about it; I thought I might have been misinterpreting Guru, but I always wondered if he meant we were destined to marry. Guru did not usually permit disciples who were on his path to get married after they had already joined his path, however, there were a few disciples whom he told to marry. Since Guru is now no longer in the body, I do not know how it could be possible for Ranana and I to get married.

 

The Boy Who Knew I Desired to Be Famous

 

There is a vegetarian restaurant in Toronto owned by a couple Sri Chinmoy disciples called Annapurna. Enterprises like this owned by disciples are called divine enterprises by Sri Chinmoy’s disciples. During the first half of 1997, I worked there briefly as a waiter. I didn’t do very well most of the time as a waiter mostly due to my shyness and anxiety, and I don’t think the owners were that interested in me continuing.

 

One day, while working at Annapurna, I encountered a boy who appeared to be psychic in some way. He had set stones on the table where he was sitting to apparently help him with his psychic abilities. He seemed intrigued by me, and asked me if I had ever wanted to be famous. I completely lied and said, “No,” because a few disciples were standing around me and I was too shy to say, “Yes.” I didn’t want them to know that I thought like that sometimes. I guess he didn’t realize I had lied even though he was psychic and replied, “Oh, well, there is just something very significant about you, but you’re not going to be famous or anything like that.” I thought that was intriguing because I had always suspected that (the former part, not the latter).

 

Inner Communication

 

I was, and still am, devoted to Sri Chinmoy, whom I, and his other disciples, affectionally refer to as ‘Guru’. And thanks to his help, and perhaps to this sincerity, I developed an inner connection, an inner communication with him, by way of meditation and his blessings. One of my first experiences of this inner communication with him was when I was 18, in 1994, a few months after I had joined his path. I was awoken for my 6am meditation by what felt like a tennis ball bouncing once on my leg. (Guru has communicated to his disciples that meditating at 6am—or sometime before 6:30am—for 20 minutes or so every morning is of paramount importance.) I began to realize, very quickly as a disciple, that it was truly fascinating and inspiring the kind of inner help you can experience from a spiritual Master. Since then, I have received many various kinds of pokes, or divine touches, as well as other forms of communication.

 

The following are some additional anecdotes from my time on Guru’s path that help illustrate this inner connection:

 

1994, New York

 

I was still a new disciple. I was usually quite nervous and embarrassed to go near Guru, either for a walk-by meditation or prasad (which means blessed food), and I definitely could not perform in any performances on stage at a function in front of Guru and the disciples. One time, while walking up in front of Guru for some prasad, I was quite nervous and when I glanced at him he was looking at me compassionately, with a look on his face that said: “What have you got to be afraid of? There’s nothing to be afraid of.” That helped my nervousness decrease quite significantly when going in front of him.

 

1995, New York

 

While I was still a relatively new disciple, I was thinking a lot about whether Guru really knew me. At that time, I had never talked to Guru outwardly before, and, as far as I was concerned, Guru didn’t have any way of knowing what my name was. I partially believed that Guru knew my every move, my every conversation, my every thought, but at that time I questioned whether that was really true. One evening, before a function, I walked into the auditorium of the school where the function was being held. It was one of the set of doors farthest away from the stage and Guru was up on the stage facing a few disciples that were getting ready for the function. He had a microphone. As soon as I walked in, I heard him say, “Jacob!” like he was really happy to see me. Then he said, “How are you? I was meditating on you.” For a moment, I was thinking, “Am I supposed to talk to Guru even though I’m way back here?” Then I realized he was talking to another disciple named ‘Jacob’ up front, closer to the stage. It felt like he was talking to both of us at the same time, but one message had been for me and another message had been for the other ‘Jacob’. The message for me was that he definitely knows me very well. I’ve been impacted by that ever since.

 

1995, Montreal

 

I travelled a lot in those days, following Guru and spending spiritual time with disciples. Once in Montreal, Canada Guru gave me a very important outer message, which nobody else saw. On this occasion, I experienced a divine touch while sitting right in front of Guru, which caused my leg to jerk significantly. Guru noticed my leg move, and he looked like he was very impressed by that. I realized many years later that this was my outer confirmation for the many various kinds of touches I received and continued to receive. With this experience, Guru lovingly confirmed for me that I really do experience divine touches from him.

 

During that short but intimate gathering in front of Guru, I could not help but control my tears most of the time because I was so moved by his close presence.

 

1996, New York

 

I was sitting in the spectator stands with approximately 100 other disciples at Aspiration-Ground in Queens, NY, when I had an encouraging and inspiring experience with Guru. The stands at Aspiration-Ground were constructed as part of a tennis court in the 1980s, and we often watched Guru play tennis with disciples there. Sometimes he sat in a special chair within a little blue gazebo on the upper part of the grounds. On this day, Guru was speaking soulfully to us for a little bit while he sat in his little blue gazebo. It is possible that the doors to the gazebo were closed at this time, I can’t fully recall. I sat with my legs crossed, listening, but after a short while I thought to myself, “Perhaps this isn’t a good way to sit, maybe I should be sitting with a better meditation posture.” Shortly after I thought that the doors to the gazebo opened and there was Guru sitting in his gazebo with his legs crossed just like mine were. He was looking from side to side as though he is supposedly completely unaware that he is sitting like that and that he has no idea that he is sending me a message. I am very lucky to have had these kinds of experiences with Guru.

 

1996, New York

 

I was at a function with Guru and other disciples at a school in Queens, NY, and I realized that after my meditations I was seeing everything around me in a humorous way, but I never outwardly expressed this to anybody. At this time, I had never spoken to Guru outwardly before. Later that evening, Guru asked us to walk by him while he sat in a chair on the stage. I was meditating when he asked us to do this, and I decided to stay in a state of meditation while walking by him. As I began to walk by him, I thought he would notice that I was meditating while walking. But that is not what I saw at all.

 

In the few seconds that I walked past him, he gave me a very nice smile—something that really impacted me—and, in that smile, within the look on his face, I noticed he was divinely appreciating my sense of humour. Guru had no outer way of knowing about how I was seeing everything in a humourous way that evening. I will always remember that, and it has helped convinced me that he knows everything about me and that I have a connection with him; I guess I had already known this but this made me more confident in that knowledge.

 

1997, New York

 

One evening, at a function, I was in an auditorium waiting for Guru to arrive. After some time, I saw him walking towards the stage along the side of the auditorium, with his head mostly down, in some sort of meditative state looking kind of serious or introspective. When I saw him, I offered him some gratitude and I felt that my gratitude was going to him or into him. At the precise moment I did that, his head popped up and he burst into a spontaneous smile while continuing to walk and looking straight ahead.

 

Guru is extremely good at communicating something with a look or expression on his face. There were a couple times, while I was on the path, that Guru looked at me for a second or two as though he knows me really, really well. It was just for probably one second or so, but that also helped me to have more faith that we have an inner connection. It’s almost as if he lovingly left no room for doubt.

 

One thing about having an inner connection with my loving Master is that he doesn’t rush you, he doesn’t get frustrated or irritated with you. It is a learning process to realize that he is not critical or impatient.

 

I am very lucky to have a relationship with Guru. I am eternally indebted to him for how much he has helped me. I was a wreck when I was 17 years old and first became interested in his path. I was tormented every day by an anxiety disorder so severe I was not able to function properly in society and felt I would end up living and eventually dying on the streets. I was embraced by his grace and began to make spiritual progress very quickly after joining his path. How much he has helped me inwardly over the years simply cannot be expressed in words.

 

It is much easier to feel completely confirmed that Guru has said something to you when he says this to you outwardly, which obviously he is no longer capable of doing because he left the body in 2007. When he says something to you inwardly, unfortunately it is so much easier to question it, to question whether it really came from Guru or whether he really said it. I have questioned myself so many times. Many times, I have questioned on some level whether I am really experiencing Guru; people not believing in me certainly doesn’t help.

 

I don’t hear audible voices, but Sri Chinmoy uses the term “inner voice” to describe the voice of our conscience or the soundless voice of our soul. And in that vernacular, I also sometimes use the term ‘voice’, or at least I’ll say, “I heard the words… (etc.)”.

 

According to my belief, Guru, God, my higher reality, Jesus Christ, my Inner Pilot, and other spiritual Masters are one. As Guru stated: “The Master is the disciple’s own higher reality,” and “Our true divine existence and God are one.” It may seem to us mortal humans that he is a different person, however Guru has stated, “But I am not a different person; I am the most illumined part of your own existence.” This inner communication that I often feel with Guru is an experience of oneness; there is no separation. My experience is perfectly normal, experiencing oneness with my own higher reality, but many people in the West often do not understand how a spiritual Master can be one’s own higher reality nor how one can have an inner communication with him, because they are not conscious that they also are doing the same thing. Guru talks about this a lot in his writings with statements such as, “There is no yawning gulf between man and God. Through his aspiration and meditation, Man can become conscious of his oneness with God,” and “I have known intuitively, from my early childhood, that there is a deeper Self within me. Each one of us has an inner Self. Some are conscious of this inner Self and some are not. Those who are conscious of this inner Self are, according to us, spiritually developed.” The fact is, I often cannot distinguish the difference between Guru, God, my soul, or my own thoughts.

 

Many times, over the years of having an inner communication with Guru, I could not tell the difference between Guru and God or my Inner Pilot or my Higher Self; but most of the time, I distinguished the communication as coming from Guru. What has been most frequently communicated to me from Guru has been various forms of love and compassion, and other times hidden compassion. It has been my negative reactions to his disciplinary hidden compassion that has gotten me in trouble.

[Chapter Three:
__]Himalayan Disobedience

 

“If somebody is able to raise their consciousness and establish a close inner communication with the Master, with the Inner Pilot or with the Supreme, that person will only be appreciated and admired by the soul, by the Master, by the Supreme, because that person is now getting ready to take some responsibility from the Master, the way I am taking responsibility from the Supreme. If somebody develops oneness with me, it will only help me. But while that person is establishing oneness with the Master, that person has to be so grateful, so grateful. If, for any reason, on a particular day he suffers, always he has to say, ‘It is for my good.’”

– Sri Chinmoy

 

What I understand from reading Guru’s writings, or from experience, is that self-improvement occurs when personal effort meets Grace from Above, and looking back I realized, yes, I made personal effort. But, dammit—there was a lot of Grace going on.

 

Guru also said that personal effort itself comes from the Grace of God and that if we are sincere, we will realize there is no such thing as personal effort; it’s inner nourishment comes from Grace from Above and that if gratitude dawns in our life, then we will give 100 percent credit to God. He says that what we call personal effort is an action being done in and through us by an invisible force. I don’t understand that very much. Then again, I feel that in those days, although I made an effort and I was very sincere, it seems it was mostly God’s Grace. And I think this is due to the spiritual nourishment that I felt; and I’m not making up stories—it’s just reality.

 

Shortly after joining Guru’s path, I began to learn that God feeds you spiritually when you make a spiritual effort, and I gradually realized that this is what spirituality feels like. This nourishment of my efforts that I felt those days, I call God’s Embrace. I felt God’s Embrace during my conscious effort to improve myself, more during my meditation, and even more when I offered gratitude. Sri Chinmoy has said that by offering gratitude we assimilate what we have received during our meditation.

 

These days, however, it is different; I feel like I’m making a lot of personal effort, but God’s Touch is not there much. The nourishment I felt back then is just not there these days. And as a result of what became normal to me back then, I feel something is really missing these days; something is not quite right.

 

I began to completely lose my ability to meditate in mid-1997. When I was just beginning to completely lose my ability to meditate, I went to a fun, happy circus with Guru and hundreds of disciples organized by a few close disciples as per Guru’s wishes. The disciples sat on one side of the gymnasium in spectator stands, while Guru sat on the other side facing the disciples in a special chair. I didn’t want to do a performance, because I was too shy and worried I would look bad, particularly to some female disciples, but there was one particular performance masterminded by a particular disciple that any disciple from anywhere was allowed to very easily participate in with little preparation. It was a couple minutes before this performance was about to start that another disciple whom I admired greatly informed me that Guru wanted every single disciple to participate in a performance that day. I was unaware of that before then.

 

Even though any disciple could choose to join this performance on short notice I chose not to participate, entirely due to shyness, like a complete fool. Right as I made that decision in my mind, and as the performance was beginning, Guru looked at me from across the gymnasium with a shocked and gravely disappointed look on his face, assumingly because I had chosen to disobey. Apparently, he doesn’t like disobedience. I didn’t understand that for quite a while, about why he had to be so grave with me. It felt a little bit on the overly brutal side, especially considering I was mostly doing quite well. I understand it much better now. From Sri Chinmoy’s writings: “But today’s negligible disobedience is preparatory to the worst possible disobedience to come.”

 

In August 1997, I completely lost my ability to meditate; right at the point I felt meditation was going to help me to completely come out of my shell, I lost it. Although, I’ve had glimpses from time to time, I still haven’t gained it back. And these days I can’t meditate in any way whatsoever. I often feel like I don’t feel God’s Response when I make a personal effort. Be that as it may, the truth is there’s certainly some response; but it often appears so sparse and sometimes it’s so small, I’m not aware of it.

 

After I lost my ability to meditate, I tried really hard to get it back, often practicing trying to meditate the more unnatural way for hours. I would rub my eyes with my fingers to try to get them to start watering a little, then I would try to jump into a state of deep meditation. But it wasn’t working. I would also try to meditate the more normal way by trying to relax, concentrate, and breathe. I would try that for about a half hour to an hour a day. But it was going nowhere. I was not getting up for my 6am meditation, though. I was meditating later in the day. And although I was concerned that the reason I couldn’t meditate was because I was missing this 6am meditation, I continued to fail to get up for it.

 

During this time, Guru began to repeatedly touch me by way of his inner connection with me and his spiritual capacity in very helpful divine ways. These touches felt very good and helped me to feel better. If I had some negative energy or insecurity, these touches would improve on that. This went on daily.

 

About a year after I lost my ability to meditate, I started to get upset with Guru from time to time, blaming him for not helping me properly. Gradually, this began to result in somewhat bothersome pokes/touches coming inwardly from my Master, which I could feel physically and affected how I felt internally. These divine touches vary in how good they feel. In other words, there is a range. They can feel very good, very kind, kinder than a reassuring hand on your cheek, but they can also feel humiliating and violating, like a severe version of an angry parent tugging on your ear in front of your friends.

 

The Beginning of the Worst Possible Disobedience

 

On about three occasions in 1998, while trying to meditate, I was experiencing bothersome pokes coming from Guru. Since I felt it was an intrusion, I threatened Guru that I would call one of his personal secretaries, Ashrita, and tell him I wanted to leave the path. This would simply be a consequence to Guru and leaving his path was not something I had the intent and desire to do. I only wanted to communicate to Guru that I was not happy with the way I was being treated. Essentially, I wanted to spite him for humiliating me and send a message. Not only could I not meditate, a problem I still blamed on a lack of help from Guru, but I was often being poked in what I perceived to be a distracting way. My demands and threats did not work as Guru continued to poke me. As a consequence, I called Ashrita, but he was not available. Finally, the incident happened again and Ashrita happened to be home.

 

On the phone, I told Ashrita who I was and that I wanted to leave the path. My intention was to call Ashrita back either right away or the next day or so and tell him that I didn’t really want to leave the path and that I didn’t really mean it, because I didn’t. It was a great big trick and my intention was to temporarily supress how I truly felt. Ashrita sounded disappointed with my “decision”, and I felt like I had killed my mother. A gloomy feeling, like I had done something really wrong, stayed with me for a quite a while.

 

I went down the wrong path with respect to how I relate to my loving Master inwardly. I screwed up big time. Incidentally, it didn’t begin with that phone call.

 

A few years before this phone call, after following the path for a short while in sincerity and meditating with some success, I noticed I was at sometimes thinking ill of Guru as though he wasn’t helping me enough. I was acting like some kind of spoiled brat. There was one occasion, in late 1994 or early 1995, I thought ill of Guru because I felt he wasn’t helping me move out of my parents’ house through his special spiritual power and capacity. I became so bothered by this, that I decided to leave my parents’ house and go live in the woods until some sort of solution developed out of thin air. I walked about a half-hour to some woods and sat down to meditate. The meditation was so deep and encouraging that I decided to walk back immediately after; my entire mood had changed from that one experience. But it wasn’t to last.

 

There was another time, in 1997, when I had just moved to Toronto, and I felt Guru was not helping me find a job as quickly as I was demanding and expecting. I had some money that my mother had given me prior to my leaving for Toronto. One day, I took the bills and started ripping them up one-by-one because Guru had not helped me find a job yet. My attitude was that I don’t want this money—I don’t want help in this form—I want a job and earn money that way. “Oh, you don’t do what I want? You don’t please me the way I want you to please me? I cause destruction. What do you think of that?”

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel comfortable calling Ashrita back right away or the next day, because it just didn’t feel right. The truth is I wanted Guru to accept that I didn’t like the way he was treating me. I wasn’t quite aware at the time that it was technically spite, but I knew that the idea of my having the sentiment to leave Guru’s path was not true. About three days after my call to Ashrita the pokes took a new turn. They turned from somewhat disturbing or distracting pokes to violating humiliation-blows, the kind that feel like a severe version of an angry parent tugging on your ear in front of your friends. As a result, I made the decision to remain spiteful and did not call Ashrita back to tell him the truth.

 

These humiliation-blows were like getting spanked by a parent disciplining you and caused my muscle to move at the area of my body where they were administered. Right as I was about to experience a feeling of joy, I would be poked in some way, disrupting my ability to experience that joy. In return, I would be left feeling humiliated and violated. As Guru began to violate my joy in this way, I began to notice something about this joy inside of me. It was like my soul was a computer monitor and the moments of joy were the constant refreshing of the screen’s image which prevented the screen from becoming burned or damaged. When Guru would jab, poke or violate me in these humiliating ways, the joy would become disrupted. The computer monitor was unable to refresh the screen’s image, and I had to suffer. I had no control over feeling this joy in my heart, so, therefore, since I had no choice but to feel joy, I was doomed to suffer from the humiliating blows.

 

The humiliation-blows looked like strange muscle spasms. I showed one person some of these humiliation-blow-muscle-spasms one time. She was freaked out by it and said, “It looks like there’s an alien inside of you!” These so-called spasms, which caused me severe humiliation, would occur in one muscle or part of my body for a week or so and then change to another part of my body for a week or so. Many times, they went on for a large chunk of the day.

 

Guru has very little in his writings about blows or some kind of suffering coming from him by way of his inner connection with you. The following aphorism, which I wasn’t able to find until 2015, is one of the only passages I was able to find:

 

The blows of my Master

I take as most beautiful flowers

Given to me by my Master.

– Sri Chinmoy

 

I usually did not view Guru’s intrusions as flowers. The truth is, I know I should take something like this very seriously, but I’ve had trouble with that.

 

Though I was still very sincere towards Guru and devoted to him, I would get mad or upset with the intrusive blows as they were a reminder of my own shortcomings and how I had spiritually offended Guru. I responded to the blows by trying to inflict consequences upon Guru to, in my stupidity, make him pay or to send him the message through my behaviour that he was to leave me alone. One of the consequences was not calling Ashrita back when I knew that’s what I should do.

 

But I also began to react to these blows by getting drunk. This started building momentum in the wrong direction, and eventually I began using Guru’s pokes as an excuse to get drunk without fully realizing I was doing that.

 

In 1998, around the time I made that phone call to Ashrita, I enrolled in a full-time graphic design program in Toronto. I was 26 years old and I had been trying really hard to get my meditation back, although I had been neglecting to get up for my 6am meditations. I often blamed my inability to meditate on that fact that I was late for my morning meditations. Now I gave up trying so hard to get my meditation back and focused more on graduating from college. In my “spare” time, I became spiteful towards Guru.

 

Before I came to Guru’s path, I was practically an alcoholic, but I gave up alcohol because of Guru. I knew that he didn’t want people on his path to drink and that was very helpful for me. The path helped me to live a better, purer life. I was completely sober for the four and a half years I was on his path. But drinking became a way to punish Guru. The fall of 1998 was the first time I drank any booze in four and a half years and I became a heavy drinker very quickly.

 

At first, I didn’t like the booze and poured most of it out after having only a couple sips. But gradually I got to the point where I was getting really drunk almost every day. Again and again, I would wake up the next morning still drunk. All this while deep in my heart, I was still actually very devoted to Guru. I felt he always does what’s best for me and I really did want to surrender to him. Instead of listening to him, I suppressed my feelings. I suppressed all my feelings of love, devotion, and surrender to Guru and his path. All my ways to spite Guru were self-destructive and defied how I really felt deep in my heart. Many times, I didn’t want to listen to my conscience, or I wanted to do the opposite of what I felt my conscience wanted me to do, because I felt that was either coming from God, or inline with what God or Guru wanted. And since I was bothered by Guru, I didn’t want to do anything that would please him.

 

That means that most of the time, during the countless times that I drank, I wasn’t drinking to have a good time. That would be the reason why most people drink: they drink to party or at least to deal with stress or “wind down” after a long day. Can you think of who else in society who would drink or do drugs for reasons other than to enjoy themselves? I’ll tell you later. It starts with ‘u’. When my parents or other people were aware of my drinking they thought it was to enjoy myself in some way. In other words, they were tricked by the truth. Nobody knew that, usually, it was to make Guru “pay the price”.

 

During episodes of being drunk and upset with Guru, I would often threaten Guru that I would write a letter about my episode to Ashrita if he didn’t leave me alone and often fulfilled that threat. Many times, I wrote a letter to Ashrita while experiencing a self-destructive episode; they were not well written and mostly said things such as: “Tell Guru to stop fucking harassing me!!”

 

When getting upset with Guru for humiliating me, I would welcome in self-destructive thoughts as a consequence to Guru. These thoughts were about drinking, drugs, and partying. I knew these thoughts had the potential to cause me to indulge in those activities, the type of indulgence over which I was previously practising self-control through my devotion to the spiritual life. I knew that he would not want me to drink or do drugs. Along with his rule on his path that his disciples must not drink or do drugs, I feel he is responsible for my spiritual development and spiritual well-being. Drinking and drugs would cause problems for both him and me, which I felt he would not like.

 

I often felt perhaps he was doing this to me to help me in some way. Maybe he wanted to help me be more spiritually mature and achieve something good in the future—but I didn’t want to be his hero. When upset with him, I felt I could choose not to participate in that and that he should respect my choice.

 

My First Drug Addiction

 

After a few months or so of getting drunk regularly, I started to get into drugs as well. I was losing my moral compass, my moral compass which had been constructed by my interest and value of Guru. One day, I met a friend in college who introduced me to the drug ecstasy. I took a half of a pill one night due to my momentum of vengefulness and self-destruction. I realized very quickly that this drug could help me to talk to other people, the key gender being female. Typically, I was very quiet and anxious, and I found it difficult to meet and talk to girls. Guru also has a rule on his path of celibacy. So, in order to spite him, I felt a good solution to what I was experiencing (i.e. inability to meditate and the blows) was to find a girl and get married. I also did not want to surrender to the blows, because it was too humiliating, so it kind of helped me to feel better to live a life of sex (well, mostly just potential sex), drugs, and alcohol. But the truth is, I was too messed up from my self-destructive lifestyle and too shy, quiet or insecure to meet many girls or to find a wife.

 

By 1999, I was frequently going to dance clubs and bars. For a period of time, I entered into a state of continuous self-destructive-spite and momentum in the wrong direction, and I was doing ecstasy once every week or two to try and meet girls, though often times the ecstasy wouldn’t work because I had been using it too frequently. But because of my anxiety, I felt there was no other way I could meet girls than to use a street drug or even to go out to a club with my at-the-time friends. I also refused to live any kind of spiritual life whatsoever and refused to try to meditate or pray for perhaps a year. It was definitely not what I wanted to do. What I really wanted to do was to take good care of myself and meditate every day.

 

I would also get angry at Guru sometimes in addition to being cynical towards him for humiliating me and violating me. I felt (and still feel) this anger is a serious crime because he is a spiritual Master whose only role is to help me and has already helped me tremendously.

 

In fact, Guru has said, “When you are angry with me, you are consciously hurting me. Instead of surrendering, you are only striking me inwardly again and again.”

 

When I felt violated, I became vengeful and at times I have tried to cause Guru pain by trying to send him inner “arrows”. This was in addition to the poor decisions I was making in my life.

 

Back on the Path (2000)

 

Later, in late 1999 or early 2000, I asked Guru (through another disciple) if I could go back to the path. And Guru accepted me back but didn’t say a word about the problems I was having with him administering blows and my doing self-destructive things to get back at him. While back on the path, the humiliation blows continued but were less frequent. Unfortunately, I continued to react negatively in my emotions and actions, even though I had the capacity to handle it in a pure, mature way. My major problem was that I had developed momentum in the wrong direction. I would have episodes of spiteful, self-destructive behaviour and anger and cynicism and resentment that lasted a few hours or a day or, a few times, several days straight.

 

But I was mostly meditating every day, and for a few weeks, while on the path (in 1999 or 2000), I could actually experience meditation but it did not come as easily as it had in the mid 90s. Unfortunately, I was having trouble breaking my bad habits and, on one or two occasions, I went to a club and did drugs during a period of experiencing the fact that I could meditate; in other words, what should have been a time of spiritual renewal. I then lost my ability to meditate again after having it for a few weeks.

 

While back on the path, I told a few disciples in the Toronto centre what I was struggling with, sincerely looking for support. I did receive some support, although nobody seemed to understand, which made it difficult for me to feel that I was actually finding any ideal support.

 

Sometime in 1999 or 2000, I went to a peace concert put on by Guru with thousands of people in attendance. At one point, I fell asleep ever so slightly, and I suddenly spoke the words, “Please, God, forgive me, and help me to live a pure life,” or rather the words were spoken through me. It was my Inner Pilot that caused me to say that; I didn’t say it intentionally or on my own. Up until then, it didn’t really occur to me very much that I should pray for forgiveness. I figured Guru must be doing something wrong to me by humiliating me and violating me even though deep down inside I felt he was doing it to help me, and therefore I had a right to revolt against it. The feeling that I should pray for forgiveness stayed with me from that point on.

 

Many times, after a self-destructive episode and after my anger subsided, devotion and sincerity would rise again in my heart, and I would not only pray for forgiveness, but I would wonder how I would ever make up for the crimes I committed. Several times, in repentance, I resolved that I must not only realize God in this incarnation, but I must incarnate again and again on the earth for the sole purpose to serve and help God help humanity to make up for what I had done.

 

As stated, I contacted Ashrita by letter several times. I continued to do this while I was back on the path. This was not only an attempt to make Guru look bad during my negative moments but, out of retaliation, make myself look bad so that I wouldn’t be allowed on the path.

 

While living in Toronto and on the path in 2000, during one episode of getting angry, cynical, upset, and spiteful towards Guru for violating me and inwardly insulting me in some way (by hiding his compassion and giving me an impression of disgust and complete indifference), I got so angry with him that I hit myself a number of times on the forehead with some object, and I started to bleed. I wanted to take my anger out on something and I wanted him to feel bad about that, so I hit myself. With blood on my forehead and face, I took public transit to a vegetarian restaurant in Toronto, Annapurna, owned by a couple disciples at which several other disciples worked. I went there so that they would see the blood on my face in a pathetic attempt to give them a glimpse of what I experience with Guru with the intent of “exposing” Guru, even though I was the one that got upset and angry. I didn’t actually tell anyone why I was bleeding, but I was not in a very good frame of mind and I shouldn’t have been there like that.

 

After I feel asleep that evening, I had a dream in which Guru appeared. In my dream, he showed me an orange and told me this orange is made up of numerous pieces and all together these pieces make up one orange and that is how you are, you are one whole made up of various pieces or parts. Then he gave each piece of the orange to each part of my being, one for my soul, one for my heart, one for my mind, and one for my vital, which is the animal in us. As he gave each piece to each part of my being, he told each part that what had happened earlier (the self-destructive episode) was its fault. As he handed the last piece of orange to the last part of my being, my body, I saw and felt that part of my being grab the piece of orange from Guru and eat it in a self-indulgent manner. As that happened, I noticed that Guru was, unfortunately, very tired, exhausted. It kind of offended me. I thought what does that mean? Does that mean he’s tired and he needs to leave the body soon because he’s just too tired? It had not dawned on me at the time, but the sentiment I have now is that I was causing spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy to feel exhausted because of all my bad behaviour and of him trying to discipline me and get me to behave. This is similar to how a parent would feel when dealing with an unruly child. He said nothing further.

 

A day or two later, I felt some violating experiences again, so I decided to write Guru a letter about what was happening to me. Within the letter, I articulated the blows that were happening to me, which I said were coming from him, and I asked for advice. However, my intention with the letter was mostly spiteful, because of the fact that Guru continued with the humiliation-blows. I had the intention to make Guru look bad to the other disciples to get him back for what he was doing to me.

 

I mailed the letter to a disciple I’ll call Prasha, a secretary of Guru’s, and, to my surprise, I received a response a few days later. However, the response did not help me to feel good; it left me very confused and lost. Prasha called me and told me she had shown the letter to Guru, and that he was very sympathetic. She informed me that Guru had said “it would be best right now” that I’m “not on the path”. He never said anything supportive or helpful to help me snap out of my problems, cynicism, spite, or to help me live a good spiritual life. Guru has stated in his writings, “If the Master’s outer answer may cause problems for the seeker, the Master remains silent”—but this did little to appease me. Although Guru did not say anything in addition, Prasha added in her own two cents by stating, “I think you need to get it out of your head that Guru is doing this to you.” That was in no way helpful; in fact, it subsequently caused a lot of struggles with my internal relationship with Guru.

 

Perhaps you think that my inner communication with Guru is a delusion and that’s why I got kicked off the path. Would you say my anxiety is a delusion? While anxious, my mind is embracing notions that are not true, I’m listening to the wrong voice, the voice that destroys me, causes me to fail, causes me suffering. And what is Sri Chinmoy’s job? His job is to help people with their delusions and mental illnesses. So, why would he kick me off the path for being deluded?

 

My moral compass had been severed by my own bad decisions, but I tried to improve myself. A few weeks later, I asked if I could go back., but I got no response. While waiting for a response, I sat down in Annapurna, in Toronto, with a disciple I’ll call Devana. She told me that Guru doesn’t do stuff like what I described and doesn’t give thoughts to disciples. I knew this could not be true, although it bothered me what she said and helped fuel internal struggles because what she and what Prasha said caused me to question myself and to question Guru. It has also bothered me quite a bit that I got kicked off the path. I often suspected that I’d be allowed back some day, because I was actually a good disciple despite my problems.

 

More Struggle

 

Guru continued to administer blows after he kicked me off his path, and my psychological addiction to ecstasy lasted until about 2003. After that phone call from Prasha, I no longer experienced humiliation-blows in the form of what looked like strange muscle spasms. Instead I received, along with visible inner love and compassion, only humiliation-hair-flicks, which were also very humiliating, but the pain of humiliation from the humiliation-hair-flicks felt different than the pain of humiliation from the humiliation-blows “muscle spasms”.

 

I continued to have struggles, but I also continued to try to improve myself. And even though I couldn’t meditate for the most part, I continued to practise trying to meditate mostly every day. During episodes, I got upset with him for violating me when he didn’t even want me on his path, and I got angry with him for not stopping when he knew I was having trouble with it.

 

Within a period of a few months in 2002, there were a few times on separate days, I called Annam Brahma restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, NY, drunk and upset with Guru. Annam Brahma is a lovely vegetarian restaurant, owned and operated by disciples that Guru frequently visited while he was on earth to share his love and compassion. This was pure vengeance. I wasn’t calling because I felt that disciples could help me, I was calling because it was pay-back towards Guru and I wanted disciples to get a glimpse of what I was going through, which was in reality just a childish temper tantrum, but my intention was to give off the impression that Guru was causing harm to me. This may have also caused some disciples to think things that are not true.

 

As you will read later in this part of The Struggle Within, psychiatrists thought that my inner communication with Guru was a delusion, that when I feel thoughts from him these are “delusional thoughts”, and where I think I have an inner communication with him, this is a “delusional belief”.

 

The only delusions I have of Guru is of him getting mad at me, being overly critical of me, causing problems for me, or giving up on me.

 

One time, around 2002, I became spiteful towards Guru and got drunk out of retaliation for humiliating me. Then I went to a hospital with the intent of speaking to a psychiatrist so that they would help me “expose” Guru. My intention was that I could speak to the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist would know by talking to me that my experience is not actually mental illness. Thus, I could use the psychiatrist’s statements about me to expose that Guru was indeed humiliating me. I wanted to make Guru look bad in retaliation.

 

The medical experts at the hospital performed various medical tests on me and concluded that there was nothing wrong with me physically. Afterwards I was able to speak to the psychiatrists, who concluded (based off the results of those tests) that my experience of Guru administering blows was due to a chemical imbalance in my brain. Although, they acknowledged they could not see into my brain by doing tests, scans, or x-rays, they felt confident about their conclusion. Therefore, it did not work out the way I intended. In fact, they forced me to stay at the hospital for about three days. I did not agree with their assessment. However, this went into my health record. As you will read later in this book, I ended up speaking to psychiatrists again when I wound up at a hospital (involuntarily) for a different reason and the conclusion of my in-patient psychiatrist was largely based off what was previously recorded into my health record by these psychiatrists.

 

That being said, not all psychiatrists have had the same opinion. I went to another hospital later in 2002, again drunk and having a spiteful episode, and the psychiatrist I dealt with at that time told me he feels all I needed to do is stay away from drugs and alcohol and I will be fine. He did not prescribe anything, unlike the previous psychiatrists whose prescription I had stopped taking. I do not know if this second experience at a hospital went into my health record, but the fact is, this psychiatrist was right. These days, I am completely free from drugs and alcohol and, although I am still humiliated from time to time, I am doing very well. The times I wasn’t well was when I was using drugs and alcohol.

 

I believe that my way of reacting to Guru’s discipline, my cynicism, how I was choosing to perceive him, and my vengefulness, has indeed indicated that my mental health has needed some improvement. It has improved significantly, but that does not warrant the need for anti-psychotic medication because those are not psychotic thoughts; cynicism and choosing to retaliate due to a cynical perception is not psychosis. I would not have had problems if it were not for the childish ways I reacted. I do understand that many people would see my internal relationship with Guru as delusional. However, he is not a separate entity, he is my own higher self. Call it conscience, call it soul, call it moral-center—it is all the same. It is all oneness; there is no separation. I feel a connection with Guru, and God, in my heart as opposed to my head which is the true place where delusion lies.

 

While I was still in college in Toronto, I called my father and convinced him to call several disciples, including Ashrita and Prasha. I asked him to call to complain that Guru had been humiliating, violating, and tormenting me and to try to get them to speak to Guru about it, and to hopefully sound upset if he could. I felt that since I had been kicked off the path, no disciple would take me seriously and talk to Guru at my request. Instead, I got my father to do it. It was spite towards Guru, because I knew it was my choice to behave well despite being humiliated. But I wanted to get back at Guru in some way, to expose him for what he was doing to me, and perhaps make him look bad. Regrettably, I made my father feel that I really needed his help with this and thus kind of tricked him. My dad called various disciples, talked to them about how I was saying that Guru was harassing me. Then came to me and said out of the blue that these are very good people, obviously moved by the divinity within them. Perhaps he was taken aback by the fact that I would have problems with such people. Guru never responded outwardly, but perhaps I caused some problems for him. It was another one of my big screw-ups.

 

One day, while I was visiting at my parents’ house, Robert came into my room really upset with me. He was consumed with anger, claiming I was causing him and Debra a lot of stress over this. I did not want to be treated like this and I did not want to be on the receiving end of his anger, so I tried to respectfully push him, or help him, out of my room. That caused him to attack me out of anger! He ended up on top of me and almost punched me in the face, but Belinda came into the room to stop it. Robert never gave any apologies or an admission that there was something wrong with his behavior.

 

Although, my father didn’t process that very well, I wouldn’t have upset them had it not been for my own screw-up.

 

The Humiliation-Pokes

 

These humiliation-blows hair-flicks continued for a few years until, finally, they were administered to me as some form of discipline only at the times I was thinking cynical thoughts about Guru, blaming him, getting upset with him, perceiving he’s caused problems for my life or not helping me properly. I call these kinds of blows humiliation-pokes. I have been experiencing them since around 2006.

 

As you can see by the above statement from Guru (at the beginning of this chapter), it is important to have gratitude when dealing with the Master, particularly on the inner plane. It is possible that Guru goes on to suggest that one can suffer if one approaches the Master internally in an ungrateful state.

 

My feelings about Guru have swayed throughout my daily life. Most times I felt happy, and felt love, devotion and gratitude towards him; but there were times I got stressed because I felt like my life was not working out and I start to become cynical towards him and blame him—that’s when I received a humiliation-poke. When I’m cynical towards him, I think negatively about him, like he caused me problems. At other times, I feel like he humiliates me as though he is some kind of barbarian. In my cynical view, I do not trust him, I am not trustful of his sincerity and integrity; I am unwilling to surrender and I perceive him in a negative light. But that is an unhealthy way to approach the Master.

 

From Guru’s writings: “There are two attitudes one can take. You may say, ‘Oh, hostile forces are attacking me. That is why I am not making any progress, and my Master is fast asleep. It is clear that he does not care for me.’ That is one answer. The other way is to say, ‘My Master knows everything. If I am determined to remain really close to my Master, my Master will not allow hostile forces to attack me. But if I deliberately go away from my Master, my Master will say to the hostile forces, “Do anything you like.”’”

 

It is all about perception. If you perceive your Master or your relations with him in a negative way, it could be detrimental to you.

 

One time in November 2016, I was upset with Guru because of his humiliation-pokes, and I contacted a fellow disciple, whom I’ll call David. David had been on Guru’s path about 20 years longer than I, and I asked him if he has ever heard of anything like what I experience, i.e. the blows. The following is our conversation:

 

Jacob:

Hi, David, I don’t mean to bother you. I just want to ask if you have ever heard of anything like this. I am not allowed to think ill, especially in a cynical manner, of Sri Chinmoy or else I will receive a violating/humiliating ‘blow’. If you are not interested in commenting/responding, no harm, or if this bothers you, I’m sorry. But if you have ever heard of anything like that or if you think Ashrita may have heard of something like that, please let me know, I would be grateful. Thanks, Jacob.

 

David:

Hi Jacob, I don’t know to what you are referring. Forgive me if I don’t understand your question…

 

Jacob:

That’s okay. A ‘blow’ is a kind of touch. I experience very kind touches sometimes. Does that help you to understand?

 

David:

Oh, I see… Well, that doesn’t sound like a bad thing, is it? A gentle reminder of sorts? I see you with your daughter… do you ever give her a loving pat on the fanny if she is mischievous?

 

Jacob:

I have slapped her on the bum a few times when she was about 4 or so, but since then, I’ve only done it jokingly.

 

David:

So, you get bump too.

 

Jacob:

Thank you, David. I feel you have helped me. It has a lot to do with perspective. And I’ve read about that sort of thing in Guru’s writings. But it really helps me a lot more to hear it also come from an older disciple. There were a few times I disciplined my daughter, such as put her in her naughty spot or a little slap on the bum, all because of her attitude towards me. And I remember a couple times I disciplined her and her attitude got worse/continued, and I knew at that time she was being naughty, that she wasn’t going towards the light, and that is the kind of thing I have done several times with Guru, so I am being naughty at those times. Yes, it is like a gentle reminder. A scolding, but a gentle reminder. I wish there was a way I could thank you better than just by saying thank you. Thank you for your words and thank you for talking to me. I really appreciate it!

 

I was sincerely trying to find out from David if he had ever heard of such a thing. I was not trying to make Guru look bad at this time.

 

Because of problems resulting from my bad behaviour, I often wrongly blamed Guru for harming my life, which would often result in these humiliation-pokes during times I was thinking that way. But these “slaps on the bum” were not harmful to me; it was how I reacted that harmed me. Guru has been extremely compassionate, and I often consciously felt that inwardly coming from him. That would mean, in short, I must have behaved very badly, which is exactly what I realize after coming out of an episode and becoming sincere again. But at the same time, I didn’t have much capacity for understanding this. First, I had no support; there was no one else in the world that I knew of who was experiencing humiliation-blows or humiliation-pokes. Not one person could confirm that Guru was indeed doing it and doing it for my own good.

 

Visible Divinity

 

Guru’s whole existence is to help others. But he took responsibility for me when he accepted me as a disciple. He made a promise to my soul and to God that he would take me to the Golden Shore, to God-realization, which could take many incarnations. That is why he disciplines me and he would not discipline some dog barking in the street or discipline some random person. He has acknowledged that at times he needs to use a form of hidden compassion on his disciples to help them continue to make progress and bring them to God. But at other times he uses very visible compassion.

 

Over the years, Guru did many kind things to and for me, which I find mostly too difficult to describe in words. He would sometimes do things to me to get rid of inner negative energy or forces, and negative thoughts and feelings that brought me down in some way. The help he provided me was very impressive and helpful. There were many times he would swish my consciousness in a divine way and leave me feeling better, also filling my heart with joy and good feelings. He would sometimes zap or strike away negative unconscious thoughts through my eyes, again leaving me feeling better. At times, a loud sound from somewhere around me would occur right at the precise moment I was about to experience a bad thought of self-doubt or insecurity, that typically would’ve brought me down. The sound would startle me, thereby preventing me from experiencing that destructive thought. He also made me laugh many times by being cute and funny. Despite my struggles and my inability to meditate (in addition to Guru’s inner kindness) when I prayed, I often felt God listening to my prayers. This was very encouraging.

 

Deficient Faith and Ingratitude

 

Regrettably, the rest of the world (my parents, Prasha and Devana, psychiatrists, any many other people) didn’t or wouldn’t view my experience as an inner relationship with my Master or that my Master has indeed humiliated me. My experience from receiving blows coming from my inner connection with a spiritual Master (often resulting in me responding like a hostile, self-destructive brat) is in my view even more unusual than consciously experiencing love and compassion coming inwardly from said spiritual Master (at least to people in the West). And the fact the Guru is now no longer alive tends to add to the perception that this cannot be possible. This has been detrimental to my well-being because it’s a very good reason for me to question myself. As a result, I have had internal strife towards Guru long after the humiliation-blows have subsided, which has resulted in “slaps-on-the-bum” (aka humiliation-pokes), resulting in further bad decisions and bad behaviour.

 

However, perhaps I shouldn’t call it “bad” as much as I should call it “struggling to understand”. God is always there. God was there before all my struggles, meaning God had it figured out beforehand. God brings me out of it during my struggle and during the aftermath of my struggle. My episode that is. To call it bad would be to deny the Truth within my struggle, the essence of my existence. At the same time, the worse my crime of disobedience, the more bad it is. Guru has said that from Heaven’s perspective, there is no such thing as darkness; there is just varying degrees of Light. And I don’t think that means that Heaven is making an effort to be optimistic. I think that means it really is that way.

I learned about right and wrong through my experience of doing wrong and God bringing me out of my struggle.

 

It says in Mark 16:14 of the Holy Bible, “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” I take that as a message that it is better to believe than to disbelieve. My struggles with Guru had everything to do with disbelief, not believing him and not believing in myself enough. I had trouble believing that it is indeed Guru doing this to me and that only good will come out of everything Guru does.

 

It’s also hard for me to believe that he never left me, particularly with so much spiritual dryness and little support from disciples. Some of the disciples are so bad; they invented the term “ex-disciple”, and I’ve been told by one or two that since Guru asked me to leave the path, I am an “ex” disciple, i.e. I am no longer his disciple. Whereas Guru has repeatedly said things like, “I would have accepted you even if you were infinitely worse. Also, if you become infinitely worse, I shall still keep you, only it will be my bad luck. No matter where you go, I will be with you.” But despite Guru’s words in his writings, there are times I have trouble believing. And it seems that the more I disbelieve, the more my disbelief causes problems for me. The Game of Life, though, the Game God invented, is to believe before you see. However, the only conclusion I could often come to in order to maintain my moral compass was to commit to Guru regardless of whether he’s remained committed to me. The Sri Chinmoy subtext here is that I must learn to not give up on my Guru in any way, in an unconditional manner; in other words: regardless of whether or not it is apparent that he has not given up on me. Evidently, if I was already found, why would I then become lost?

 

Perhaps this means that my underlying crime was disbelief and that I would need people like my parents, disciples, and mental health professionals to help me believe and provide support rather than do the opposite. The lack of support in this world has been a real killer.

 

The fact is my behaviour problem, particularly after the humiliation-blows began to subside, was caused by something. And it had a lot to do with disbelief and thinking about what other people experience and what other people think. I thought things like: Prasha said I have to get it out of my head that Guru is doing this to me; People don’t/wouldn’t believe; nobody else is experiencing it; where is my support system; X said I’m an ex-disciple.

 

Having said that there are additional reasons as to what my problem has been and that includes deficient gratitude towards my Master and all he does and has done for me. As you can see from the passage from Guru’s writings at the beginning of this chapter: you need to be grateful, so grateful. Only an ungrateful disciple could behave the way I have (and end up with the problems I’ve ended up with). My problems were also due to the fact that I failed many times to maintain my inner poise even though my soul was telling me to and I had the capacity to.

 

As you will see, my daughter’s behaviour problem was caused by something as well, something somebody important to her was saying to her and causing her to think. But perhaps, ultimately, we both were just struggling to understand.

Chapter Four:[
**]The Wind’s Divine Melody

 

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

– John 3:1–8

 

The graphic design college program I was in in Toronto was a very intense program, a little overwhelming to say the least as I was very busy every day with school projects and often ended up running behind because of the way I was behaving from time to time. I started to feel deep down inside, though, that graphic design perhaps isn’t my ultimate passion, although it can be fun. The reason I started going to college was simply because I wanted to make more money, more than I would make washing dishes, chopping vegetables, or bussing tables in restaurants, which were mostly the kind of jobs I had until then. And I had originally started going down the graphic design road because I felt I could spread Guru’s Light through my work, but now not only could I not meditate, I was not permitted on the path, so perhaps I had no hope with that.

 

Not being on the path was disturbing to me, and something told me I had to improve myself and do everything I could so that I could be accepted back again some day. I felt a sense of guilt. But, along with this sense of guilt, I felt I had no real freedom. Although, I often tried to do what I felt was best for myself, the demands of life were in control of me. I was always having to do tasks either for school projects or to help look after myself such as getting groceries, making food, or cleaning, and I knew after college when I found a job it wouldn’t be much different. It wasn’t how I really wanted to live my life. I wanted the freedom making good money would give me, but this wasn’t my idea of freedom.

 

In about 2001, about three years prior to my knowing that Abigail would even exist, we had to write a poem for a school project. I had written one, but I wasn’t satisfied with it and wanted to write something better. The following is what I came up with based on what I was experiencing at the time:

 

What freedom have I chosen?

I am a feather in the wind more than I am a bird.

Like half-notes and arpeggios,

I play a song in the wind.

And as wishes and more wishes are blown away,

Only one wish remains:

“Oh, Eternal Wind,

Play a divine melody,

One that blows this weightless feather

Across the face of a child.”

With her helpless tears wet and pure,

My hope is that they’ll keep me there,

Ending the wind’s choreographic reign,

And with the child I shall remain.

 

That is one of the few poems I’ve ever written.

 

Obviously, I am the feather in this poem. Every child needs help and I would rather resign myself to helping a child, comforting her and never leaving her, than being like a feather blown around in the wind. Although perhaps it wouldn’t be freedom, it seemed to me at the time to be something that would fulfil a deeper, more soulful, urge, although I honestly never imagined the child to be my own.

 

I learned very recently by studying the Bible that the words above from John 3 were translated from Greek in the original manuscript, and that the Greek for Spirit is the same as that for wind. And it has only begun to dawn on me this year that perhaps this wish that I had spoken of in my poem has been granted by Guru, whom I’ve often suspected is the Mastermind of my karma.

 


The Struggle Within Part 1: The Wind's Divine Melody (First 4 Chapters)

In 1998, because of my Himalayan disobedience, my spiritual Master, Sri Chinmoy, began to humiliate me with “blows” (aka “slaps on the bum”) by way of his divine inner connection with me that were very humiliating, but nobody could see that it was happening. Again and again, out of retaliation, I got intoxicated and contacted several of his disciples with the intention of making him look bad. Fast forward a few years. My daughter’s mother keeps causing our daughter to think there’s something wrong with me and then started trying to make me look bad to the Family Court while my Master causes it to appear like I have a mental illness by tricking me. The mother managed to change the court order in her favour, and there was nothing I could do about my child being emotionally neglected because I couldn’t prove anything without the help of a letter from a psychiatrist. Could this be Sri Chinmoy administered karma? In 2001, I made a wish to the wind in the form of a poem. If I can’t have the freedom that I want, like a feather endlessly blown around by the wind, then at least allow me to be able to care for and comfort a child, never leaving her. In 2003, I unexpectedly got a girl pregnant and my daughter was born. However, as she grows up she is emotionally neglected in ways that are very difficult for others to see. She needed a loving parent to help her grow into the inner light and beauty that she truly is. Her tears and screams not to leave her as I tried to drop her off at school pulled at my heart strings. If a war hadn’t already begun for this child’s well-being, it started then. How could it be that the wind blew this weightless feather across this child’s face only for it to stick to her tears and stay with her, to comfort her and never leave her according to the feather’s wish so many years ago? Was it destiny?

  • ISBN: 9781370938605
  • Author: Arjuna D. Ghose
  • Published: 2017-09-13 18:35:11
  • Words: 25766
The Struggle Within Part 1: The Wind's Divine Melody (First 4 Chapters) The Struggle Within Part 1: The Wind's Divine Melody (First 4 Chapters)