Many years ago, I didn’t know what religion, truth or sanctity was. I was fortunate to be born into an Indian religion, Jainism, which teaches, “Live and Let Live” (the same ‘Ahimsa’ or ethos of non-violence that Mahatma Gandhi promoted), in which the sacredness of everything on earth, including a fly or an ant was observed. However, I could see that this religion (and others) lost its way when it came to how we, as humans, treat ourselves and each other. I could see that my society had taught me to subconsciously loathe myself for not being ‘enough’, for being a woman, for being dark-skinned, and later on, for not being married soon enough, or not being successful. I thought that if I simply followed the ‘smart, successful’ path, I would be safe. My parents did their best to instill their values, love and faith in me, but deep inside, I felt unworthy.
In my pursuit of success, I ended up receiving my B.Sc. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from The Wharton School. I worked at top organizations, such as Merrill Lynch & Co, The World Bank, Bain & Co and the top P&C insurer of Australia. I am very fortunate for my prestigious education and background, because not only did it teach me about critical thinking and how our world works, I could also see our impact in the world, especially through policy and decisions, either negatively or positively.
Even though I was successful on the outside, I felt anxious and discontent inside. I was a lost soul, and went from relationship to relationship, experiencing the highs and lows of love, usually ending with my partner breaking up with me.
I was once engaged to a man who broke up with me after a month of our engagement. When I begged him to tell me why, he told me “Sarika, you’re too controlling. I don’t feel safe with you. You keep people at a distance. You’re not the same woman I fell in love with, and I don’t trust you.”
These words shook my soul, and while I felt shocked and angry at him, I felt I had it. I was so exhausted with life, felt so unloved, and I wanted to end my life. I was heartbroken and devastated. Moreover, in my job, I was embroiled in drama and no matter how hard I worked, I felt stuck and under-appreciated. I had read every book on love and success, but now, nothing made sense.
It was then that a voice came from my heart, that said, “I need spiritual healing”. I didn’t know where that came from. The phrase, “When you’re at your wit’s end, you meet God” is true.
The very next day, I took a leap of faith, followed my heart and sought out the support of a New York City psychic in healing my heart and finding wisdom and clarity about my situation. I desperately wanted to win back my fiancé’s love, but also undo all my dark sides. I felt like I was living like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and I couldn’t even trust myself.
I joined a few meditation groups, including one in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and Vipassana. In my free time, I went to monasteries or took breaks at work to meditate, usually in churches. Instead of running away from my life and emotions, I began to sit through my discomfort, heartache and pain. This felt fiery and scary inside my body, and yet I could see that there was no way out of my misery, but through.
It was through this process that I could finally face my inner demons, my fears, my anger and agony. My pain, my discontent, my needing to control. I could see how I hurt others through my sabotaging ways.
I saw that I could no longer control my situation, and decided that the only option was to surrender to life. In becoming quiet, I could finally meet myself, as I was. I decided to love, accept and approve of myself, even though it was very challenging. I did not like myself, and felt like I was a loveless blob.
In this process of self-examination, I began to see a divine spark. As my whirling thoughts settled, I could begin to observe the cells in my body, and even have gratitude for their workings. In being with my emotions, I could see that they were linked to old wounds I had since I was a child. I could offer this inner child my love, and begin patching up old scars and wounds which were coming up, haunting me in my everyday life.
I became in awe of my body – consisting of fifty-two trillion cells, each working in harmony together, through universal intelligence and the incredible power of nature. I could see that my intention and conscious awareness could affect each cell, and I could be in communication with my body.
Through this process, I began to feel lighter, happier and more aligned, with my body, mind and soul. My heart became more open and vulnerable, and I could feel my love pouring through me, to all of humanity. My cup was full… and overflowing! My body became healthier, and so did my daily habits, and my relationships. I felt a sense of peace that I’d never felt before. It was in this state that I attracted my soulmate, my husband, and countless other miracles began to emerge in my life.
I could see that the more I was in alignment, inside, the better the circumstances became all around me. The healthier the choices I made, such as saying ‘no’ to things that were not right for me, setting healthy boundaries, or communicating authentically, the healthier my relationships became. The more compassion I had for myself, the more I could offer it to others. I could begin to honor and respect each person’s choices and journeys, understanding that each of us is in the School of Life to learn and heal, and to step into our most loving selves. I could see that the challenges in my life were for my spiritual growth.
In a ten-day silent meditation (in which I was seven months pregnant with my first daughter), I experienced a disillusionment and feeling of ‘death’, followed by a profound, ineffable knowing of my truth that I am pure love, nothing really exists, and everything is intention – and all that exists in the material world is because of ‘the word’. I directly experienced the verse from John 1:1, “In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It was the most profound, beautiful experience I had, with a direct understanding of life and truth, and my purpose here.
In retrospect, I have come home to my religion of Jainism, which promotes “Live and Let Live”, and have also adopted Christian values of faith, mercy, tolerance, temperance, reverence for life, and so much more. I regularly meditate and use it as a practice to understand the truth of my reality and find inner acceptance and meaning. I am devoted to Love, and through meditation and mindfulness, aim to grow my capacities in the Four Faces of Love (according to Buddhism): Loving Kindness, Joy, Equanimity and Compassion.
Since beginning my ‘religious’ journey in 2012, I began to offer Love Coaching to women to become better, more loving and capable versions of themselves. I have helped hundreds of people become more connected to their hearts and divinity within, and become wiser, more compassionate and openhearted people, who are finally engaging in their relationships in a healthy way.
The definition of religion, as per the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:
1 1a: the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
1b.1: The service and worship of God or the supernatural
1b.2: commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
As I’ve learned, if gnosis through religion is to be experienced, meditation and the practice of Love is a viable pathway while connecting with the divine and seeking truth within our hearts. This was the pathway of Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Mahavira, including many great unnamed teachers and saints.
In these times, embracing mercy, compassion, tolerance and wisdom are important. I believe they will guide us as we seek a better world for us and our loved ones. In following these virtues, I believe that we will pave a new road, and become a light in a time of darkness, pain and confusion.
- Practice Self Love
- Clear your spiritual blocks and increase your vibration & magnetism
- Date and attract your soulmate in a healthy, joyful way