Sitting in meditation one early morning, I experienced a sense of profound peace. I felt calm and comfortable in my body and my mind was pleasantly still, soaking up the quiet energy of the early hours. It was not burdened by anxious thoughts, and I was joyfully expecting my day to begin. I knew that I would be stepping into a very busy day and looking forward to whatever it had in store for me. The more I felt into the sweetness of the moment, the more incredulous my life journey seemed. How did I arrive here?
Until a few years ago, my general experience of life was one of turmoil and a continuous sense of constriction and discomfort. My default state was one of conflict with myself and the world. Experiences that came my way felt hostile. When faced with social situations, I felt like I needed to remain on alert desperately trying to protect the image that I wanted to project to the world. I was uncomfortable simply being and not trusting that it was enough to just be myself. I didn’t even know what it meant to be myself. Because of this deep-seated feeling of unworthiness, I repeatedly found myself in dysfunctional relationships and I couldn’t understand why or how to stop the cycle. When I turned 30, the inner conflict became so strong that everything in my life was crumbling. I couldn’t handle it anymore and I needed to do something radically different. Thus began my journey of healing.
As I set out to find solutions to my problems, I realized just the insight about how the sense of unworthiness was driving my life was not enough. I wanted to understand how this kind of confusion comes to be and is sustained. I also wanted to understand how to effectively deal with it.
The healing came in the most unexpected way when I stepped onto a traditional Tantrik path under Kavithaji’s guidance. I had never heard of Tantra before and had no idea that such a thing existed. Whatever I thought I knew of Tantra in fact had nothing to do with what I was about to discover. This Tantrik path has been revealing itself to me as an algorithmic way of understanding my body and mind, which are the expression of Divine Consciousness. I had come to a realization that since I could only experience life through my body, I first needed to bring balance to it. It all started to come together when I embarked on Kavithaji’s Heart of Wellness. I began to understand the interconnectedness of the choices I make in relation to my body and how that is reflected in the way I think about everything else in my life. I could see that if I wanted to experience my body and my mind as Divine Consciousness, I needed to radically change my relationship with both.
Along this journey, I became curious about the incredible capacity that we possess to change and overcome our limiting patterns. The further I went along this path, the more it cleared out in front of me, and I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back at it, I see a seamless tapestry of transformation. It has not been easy, but it has been tremendously rewarding to contemplate my entire journey of healing and change. From one moment to another, there are minute changes within us and life around us. The cells in my body multiply, live and die. What I eat becomes what I see in the mirror, as well as what I think, feel and how I make choices. The day changes to night. Pain and joy come and go. A new cycle begins and ends again and again, and yet it is so seamless that I mostly remain oblivious to it, only occasionally stopping to take in the fact that I and everything in my life have changed. But it is in the minute changes where the principle of transformation becomes obvious, as I pause and relish in the aliveness that is me. It is now clear to me that the minute choices that I make throughout my days either support the easeful flow of transformation as the unstoppable primordial force or block it with stagnation, apathy, and non-serving patterns.
Here, I am learning that the principle of transformation, or agni, is the crux of everything.
“Agni is the intermediary between our external and internal worlds. It enables us to take in the world through our senses, process it on the physical, subtle, and causal levels, and act accordingly. It is the pulse of intelligence within each cell, organ system, mind, intellect, and emotion.”
Kavitha Chinnaiyan, The Heart of Wellness
Thinking of it as the pulse of intelligence that nourishes the interconnectedness of everything and propels the flow of life, I cannot help but see how everything I do and think is also interconnected. Now I look back to where I came from, and I see how the arc of my choices are created and sustained by the interconnectedness of my every thought and action from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed… in other words, by my lifestyle.
I like to think of Agni as fire. In the absence of discipline, my fire was unpredictable. Some days, it would burst into flames of hyperactivity and agitation. Other days, it would barely pick up, being choked by the heaviness of my inertia and stagnation. A disciplined lifestyle brings consistency in which the fire can burn with even strength, brightness and longevity. On the level of the mind, it translates into steady focus and an open, welcoming attitude. I recognize the change when I see that my thoughts move in an affirmative solution-driven way and my body functions at its optimal with easeful digestion and assimilation, taking in what is needed and eliminating what is not.
First, the effects of a disciplined lifestyle became palpable in my body. As I kept to it, I started noticing that I was able to digest my emotions, feelings and states as well, flowing with what was arising and appreciating the richness of my inner landscape. This path teaches me to take all my feelings, thoughts and states as gifts that help me cultivate intimacy with myself and life, since everything is the expression of the Divine Consciousness.
The incredible gift of dinacarya is that it holds the key to understanding our own minds and leads us toward freedom from limiting and non-serving patterns. Through it, I learn everything that I can apply in every other area of my life: authenticity, determination, compassion, patience, acceptance, and every quality worth cultivating if I want to live a meaningful and purposeful life. It is a journey of taming the mind and bringing the body to its brilliance that results in a complete transformation. Here, the body functions in alignment with the natural algorithm of life, returning to its natural way of being entrained to the interconnectedness of everything else in the universe. As a result of the body coming into such an alignment, the mind opens to the realization of Divine Consciousness. In this transformation, every day is a new beginning, and I have the freedom to be anything I want. I just need the courage to let go of what is not serving me anymore. It is a journey like no other.
“Vīrya is cultivated through discipline in our lifestyle including diet, habits, and speech. Once we commit to a lifestyle, we keep at it, regardless of logistical challenges. We courageously deal with temptations, training our mind to remain focused. Gradually, because of steadiness in our discipline, the mind becomes quiet and begins to function in a surrendered role. The world around us evolves in parallel with our inner landscape. Our interactions become streamlined and purposeful, our work becomes more efficient, and our perception of life becomes refined.”
Kavitha Chinnaiyan, Fractals of Reality, Living the Śrīcakra