When Rohini, from Pennsylvania, US, experienced ‘unusual symptoms’, she asked a stranger on a helpline; “Am I going mad?” This astute reply; “No sweetie, you are not going mad, you are having an awakening” changed her life forever. Ro now wants to spread awareness of spiritual awakening in order to help others who may also have gone through a process of falling apart, to know that this may actually be the start of you becoming who you truly are and living a joyful life. What a star she is!
A star is born
Scientists say, when atoms of light elements are squeezed under enough pressure for their nuclei to undergo fusion, a star is born.
I am sure my parents didn’t really think about the science behind the name when they chose my name as Rohini. Rohini is the name of a star as per Hindu astrology.
I was born in India, to a humble couple, a father who escaped his small town for a better life in the city and a mother, who was forced to discontinue her education in 8th grade to clean bottles, in her father’s home run cool drink business and be married off to a suitable. In time they got married through a customary arranged marriage.
My childhood memories are a mixed bag of my parents fighting and mom leaving the house weeping, vowing not to return, the sadness, the silent tears and sharing of a blanket with my brother to feel safe, my father trying to distract the absence of our mother with board games and snacks. And, then simply one day, she would be back, not because my father was a changed man or because he had convinced her of his love for her. She came back, just because, she didn’t belong in her parents’ place and she had nowhere else to go. And, maybe she did miss us as well. She never said anything but her cooking, would tell us everything we needed to know, and all was well again with the world.
In majority of the cases, when a girl is born in India, a gloom comes over the house, as the family now has a mouth to feed, a body to protect, a reason of worry to set aside savings for her wedding and an urgency to transfer the burden to someone else, as soon as possible. She is considered a liability, and, in most cases, she is treated like one as well. I was no different.
My brother, was an exceptionally brilliant child, not just in studies but in everything that he did. He was a gentle humble introverted rock star. We all loved him. It was hard to beat him at anything and I being a girl, an average student and an even less average doer of everything else, soon started feeling the discrimination, mockery and disappointment directed towards me from my parents, my extended family and our friends. I cried myself to sleep many a night, curled up in my own misery.
As I became a young adult, I was meanly humiliated for my average grades, my average looks and for my independent thoughts. But, I was a born rebel and I cried, shouted and rebelled at every opportunity. And, for having the same honest, independent big mouth, I was also held responsible for my father’s massive heart attack. A burden too great to bear for a teenager. And, that was the first time, committing a suicide seemed so easy, so doable but the tiny window of courage has come to pass on that hard night, due to the knowing of a mother’s heart that something was amiss with her child and she never left my side, until the rough tides had subsided.
By, the time I was in my early twenties, I was in relationship with a guy whose parents disapproved of me, because I belonged to the lowest of castes as per the Indian caste system, called literally as the “untouchables”. But after much back and forth, they gave in for their son’s happiness and we were married. While all this was happening, my brilliant brother had graduated with an Ivy league degree and a high paying job, that made us he proudest, happiest family in town. But, after a year into the job, my dear brother was drowning in a whirlpool that we knew nothing about. Being a sensitive introvert, he bottled it all up, quit his job, abandoned his family and left for the Himalayas. Upon return he abused drugs, tried to commit suicide, had no control over his own behaviour and left us for a couple of years, without telling us about his whereabouts.
He was soon diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This broke our family.
My parents lost their son, a kind, smart, respectful, loving boy on to whom, they had pinned all their life’s work, sacrifice, dreams, aspirations, expectations and happiness.
I lost my brother, my partner in crime, my go to IT Helpdesk guy, my best friend.
The whole family spiralled into a mass depression. A cloud of suicidal thoughts, denial, anger, sadness, agony, depression and numbness loomed over us for years.
While this was playing out, my entry into a new family turned abusive in the first week of marriage. My ex -husband’s family never accepted, respected or welcomed me and my family into their hearts, home or their lives. My heart was torn between the increasing pain, suffering, depression, misery, desperation for our beloved Rahul and between an apathetic husband. The subtle emotional abuse, apathy, indifference and mockery towards my family’s misfortune continued for years, until I could no longer suffer anymore, I was drowning. I chose to survive and filed for a divorce, without informing my family; they had enough on their plate. My world had grown very drank and I very lonely.
I had followed a boy who was my universe, to live a happy love- filled life where he was, and he wanted to persue his dreams and live in US. And, now I was in US, all alone. I knew I would not be accepted by my family cause not only had I chosen the guy I wanted to marry but, I had chosen to leave him as well. That wouldn’t have gone well with them on top of what was already going on with my brother. So, I kept to myself and lived a lonely life.
I accepted that probably my purpose in life was to just be a sister, earn money and take care of him for the rest of our lives.
But, the universe had other plans.
About 6 months after my divorce, I bumped into a guy at work, we became friends instantly and it was a start of a very turbulent few months of connection, as he was separated and my association with him was against everything I ever believed to be true about myself. Of all the billions of people in this world, why did I have to love him? After I had parted ways, in a moment of weakness we ended up together for a night and never spoke about it, as we knew we were not going back. As, I went about my life, in 2 weeks I discovered I was pregnant. For someone who had always desired a loving partner first and never just children, I was not in a situation I never thought I would ever be. My mother instincts kicked in as soon as I knew, probably even before…when I told the guy, he told me neither did he want me nor the baby now or in future and it was up to me to do whatever I wanted to do with the pregnancy. This was the coldest anyone had ever been to me. I told him to leave and never saw him again.
I imagined myself and my baby or 2; I have a twin gene in my DNA, as my mom is an identical twin and my maternal side of the family has many sets of twins. I was in a foreign country, abandoned by my ex-husband for whom I had left my own home behind, abandoned by my family who upon the revelation of my divorce told me to never to come back to India, and abandoned by a lover, who had promised me his commitment should such a situation ever came up. I was unwanted by everyone I knew, and I didn’t want my babies to feel the same, I knew they would know it, if they came into this world.
So, as my heart ripped apart into a million pieces and I knew there was a high possibility that, I may never recover from losing a piece of my soul and might kill myself, I went ahead and got an abortion.
I had no desire to live. I had failed as a daughter, I had failed as a sister, I had failed as a wife, I had failed as a lover and the last role that I could fulfil, if I wanted to, I had chosen to give that up and had failed at being a mother.
So, I had just failed at being a WOMAN. I had no reason to exist, I had no desire to exist, I did not care if I lived and no-one in this whole wide world cared, if I lived or not.
I was empty.
What remained of me thereafter, was a hollow shell from where once love, laughter and life existed. As suspected, I spiralled into acute depression, unable to get out of bed, unable to look at myself in the mirror, unable to show up for work, unable to function at all. I was just waiting for that moment, when I would have the courage to slit my wrist and end this misery called life. I was already dead on the inside and I cared about nothing anymore.
Then, after witnessing a gun shooting on my 33rd birthday I started laughing hysterically. I laughed and laughed and laughed, because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t feel bad for the guy who was shot or for the guy who was shooting or the people who were scurrying for safety.
Every time I went to the bathroom, I avoided the mirror, but I remember after this incident, I forced myself to look into the mirror, look into my eyes and have a real conversation. I told myself even God forgives at least one mistake, and God would forgive this BIG mistake of mine, that relationship and its consequences. There was no-one around to judge me, actually, there was no-one is in my life that even cared if I died or lived. So, right now, in this very moment, I had to forgive myself, I had to fully accept myself and I had to unconditionally love myself for all that I was. Only then could I move forward or else I might just kill myself and get it over with, as this moping around was no longer fun and it would be easier to just, die now.
Something changed after that night, I don’t what exactly and I didn’t realize it right away. I kept going through the motions of life and I remember, my close friend saying, you should go see a therapist, you seem to be in a bit of frenzy. I knew something had changed within me, the heaviness, the hate, the darkness, the burden in my heart had been listed and I was feeling light hearted, but I still kept making plans to kill myself one of these days soon. I felt different in my heart, but I was being told to act differently by my mind. I got scared about my own behaviour after that and stopped talking to anyone at work, in case someone else noticed my erratic behaviour again.
I came home one night, and I couldn’t help but call a friend in India and talk, as I was unable to contain my words. While I was talking to him, he seemed to have picked on my weird behaviour and he yelled at me, saying, “Oh stop! Just stop with all this spiritual bullshit talk“. I was stunned with his words, I got scared and I hung up. But, the word “spiritual” triggered something in me, this word didn’t exist in my dictionary. Someone could have called me a religion hopper and I would have agreed with them, as I had converted to Christianity a few years ago though I was born in a Hindu family. What did this word, “spirituality” really mean? I did what I knew how to do best, I opened up my laptop and typed the word “Spiritual” and as Google did its thing; the words “ Spiritual Awakening” appeared in my search box and I hit enter. I read through some blogs quickly and saw a few videos and I felt crazy, as these were the very symptoms I had been experiencing last few months. My head started reeling and I started panicking. I ran to the bathroom and started looking at my reflection and my whole world as I saw it collapsed before my eyes…I was itching all over my body, my head, my neck, my arms and as I looked around in my bathroom, for a few moments everything stood still, everything merged into each other, everything blended into one colour of light, everything was just particles and particles of light…. just a shimmering soft colour of yellow. Everything was ONE. I was unable to distinguish between the mirror, the lights, the shower curtain or the walls… everything was just a blend of light. It was like I was seeing different colours blend into one colour on a paint palette. Everything was just one light.
As I continued to look at the mirror, deep into my own eyes, I remembered that I was wearing this body, like a piece of cloth for a role I had come to play here, as a woman. I remembered, that I was not this mere body, I was not the mind, which kept yelling at me to kill myself, but I was that feeling, that knowing, that unconditional fountain of love that flooded my heart and my whole being, in this very moment. I felt the joy of my being.
And, I remembered, I was just a speck of dust but at the same time, I was the entire universe in motion and I laughed. I laughed for a long time.
After a while, I got scared as I was experiencing, an indescribable feeling of being flooded with love, compassion, empathy and joy for myself and also my body continued to itch, and I was seeing spots of light.
I was not able to comprehend what was happening, I thought maybe I was going crazy, I was 33 and suicidal, maybe this was the onset of schizophrenia. As, I grew frantic and I googled for help during Spiritual Awakening, I came across ACISTE (American Centre for The Integration of Spiritual Transformative Experiences) and called their help line number but it went to a VM. The intensity of whatever was happening to me had increased and I called a friend frantically before calling 911 to ask for help. I told her I was feeling like someone who was shedding her skin and would burst into a million pieces of this indescribable feeling in my heart. She asked me to put on a pot of coffee and write through the night.
As I hung up, a lady called me and said she had gotten my VM and asked me, what was going on. Having found someone to talk to that might be able to help me, I just began a verbal frenzy. Beth, patiently listened and after I was done, I asked her; “What is happening to me? Am I going mad? Should I call 911?” And, she said, “No sweetie, you are not going mad, you are having an awakening“. And, those words changed my life forever.
December 5th, 2016. This day, is my real birthday. The day I died and was born again with feeling and knowing of my true nature. The day, I woke up from the dream I had been dreaming for lifetimes and lifetimes.
The day, I shed thousands and thousands of years of old skin and realized my pure essence.
And for the first time in my life, I appreciated the beauty of my body, I felt unconditional love overflowing from my heart and I felt the serenity of my being.
I was free of my suffering. I was just joyous for being and being me.
For the first time in my life, I was happy to be ALIVE.
I was in that euphoric state for months and with the help of couple of amazing women in my life, I slowly transformed my life.
I now knew, everything and everyone was one energy and we were only separated by what we thought.
Divine grace had touched my heart and my heart flooded with unconditional love.
There was only now and there was only God, as all of us.
I realized I was God and everyone else was God as well.
To this realization, I am eternally grateful.
It’s been 2 years since the experience and I have not been more happier in my life than I am in this moment.
I continue to work my bank job, volunteer and I am training to be a Life Coach to help other people, awaken to their true nature.
My heart is filled with unconditional love, compassion, gratitude and joy of being me.
And, a star was born.