Meditation Brings Clarity —The Story of Aarav—
Aarav had a difficult childhood. He felt much was expected from him. He was taught to respect the word of the elders, and his relationship with his father was rather complicated. His father had an attitude of authority, strictness and control, and Aarav felt he was not receiving enough love and support from him. He was told he was old enough to take care of himself. Moreover, he was always compared to his younger brother. This made Aarav hungry for his father’s attention and affection, and so, as a child, he always did things to impress him and be loved the way his younger brother was.
In order to win his parents’ attention, among all else, Aarav stayed very focused on his studies, determined to be a topper. He never shared his feelings of fear and insecurity with them—no matter how challenging a situation, he always did his best to stay focused on his education. Coming from a middle-class family, he knew that the most important thing after graduation was to land a good job, get settled, and take care of his parents. He aspired to find a job abroad, but at that time the September 11 attacks happened, and the job market in the USA got affected. Aarav started to work in a Call Center (BPO) during the nights, and during daytime he completed many courses in order to upgrade his skills. He was convinced that, in order to gain success and “become somebody in this society,” he needed to work for 18 to 20 hours a day. This hard work and determination led to a step-by-step carer growth until he finally got an opportunity to work abroad.
Being completely focused on his education and carrier, Aarav found it exceedingly difficult to get into a romantic relationship and connect deeply with another person. All the while, he believed that most relationship problems can be overcome though love, and that he could accept any life partner as long as that person was sincerely committed. His parents liked a particular girl, and when they introduced her to him, he felt a connection and decided to get married.
At first everything was great, and their relationship was wonderful. But soon after, he realized she was going through a lot of childhood and family issues. Aarav found her way of thinking quite different than his own. This disturbed him. He could not understand how could anyone think and speak in such odd ways. This resulted in many misunderstandings, arguments and fights. between them very often that used to disturb entire atmosphere. Since he understood that her childhood traumas had been the reason for these problems, he tried to support her the best he could. Yet the whole situation became very painful for him, and he started internalizing it—he redirected the blame toward himself, hating himself for what he was and for what he was going through.
When his wife was carrying a child, they went for a sonograph examination, and the doctors identified a heart murmur in the baby. His wife was shattered. He, on the other hand, again took all the pain upon himself, and decided to protect his wife from suffering, by hiding the disturbing details that the doctors shared with him.
The biggest challenge came their baby was born with a heart issue. Within a few hours of her birth, the child underwent an open heart surgery. This was the most horrifying situation for the parents. Aarav could not alleviate his pain by seeking support in his family, since he felt they were not supportive. He only relied upon himself, thinking he had to overcome the situation, irrespective of how difficult it seemed to be. He thought his role as a husband and a father was to create a space for his family for a happy life. His financial burden significantly increased, as the medical expenses related to the treatment of his child grew larger. At that point, his focus shifted on how to make more money. He took up two different jobs, and started working hard for 17 hours a day.
With the child undergoing a lot of health issues, the fights his at home also intensified. He was terrified by the thought of no longer being able to cope with all the challenges in his life. Questions began to popup in his mind. Why Me? Why is such a thing happening to a person like me who loves kids so much? What is the reason that I see so many problems in my family, even though I always try to be supportive and understanding?
After a few years of struggling, he began actively seeking answers to those questions. He wanted to identify the key drivers of health and happiness. Eventually, he discovered Yoga as a method and a tool that had a potential to help. He decided to try it out first, before passing it on to his family. Exploring the system of Yoga became his quest; it felt as if a door has suddenly opened. He began to understand that his challenges had been there for a reason. The techniques of yoga and meditation helped him go deep within, see things for what they were, and step into the situation without opposing it. He understood that he could not run away from the situation, and that the best thing that he could do was to face his problems gracefully.
He stopped obsessing with the Why me? questions. Instead, he slowly began to develop an attitude of complete acceptance, by directly facing the situation. Once he did that, things began to unfold. He stated noticing a lot of positive energy around him. There was a sense of smooth handling of things, in the place of what used to be resistance.
He then began to search for the root cause of his problems. He knew he had to get to their core, rather than just dealing with them at the surface. None of his family fights and job pressures made any sense to him. He realized he could handle his emotions in two ways: by either allowing himself to get carried away with them, or by taking a step back, being fully present, and doing what needed to be done. From that point on, his process of understanding and evolution became fast tracked.
He triggered a big change in his life the moment he decided to start sharing openly his innermost feelings with his friends and family. This was something completely new to him, and it led to many heart-to-heart discussions. These conversations helped him gain a larger perspective and to stop seeing his problems as huge or unsurmountable. Other’s point of view also helped him learn how to handle the situation more effectively.
He got deeply immersed in a daily study and practice of yoga and meditation. As he progressed in his understanding and mastery of the tools and techniques, he also realized that meditation is not a mere act of doing, but an essential state of being. His greatest understanding is we can never arrive to the ultimate point. Every moment is an opportunity to be still and completely present. Life and our evolution are ongoing, and every moment brings forward something new to understand and embrace.
Yoga and meditation brought clarity into Aarav’s life, making him ready to embrace life and deal with challenges in a more effective way. To find out more about how meditation brings clarity, read our article Gaining Clarity Through Meditation.