Often, unpredictable events in one’s life can be very unsettling, maybe bring up fear in many people as well as a reluctance to accept the outcomes. The uncertainty of where life is taking us next can take most of us out of our comfort zone. Unpredictability has so far defined my life, and although at times it’s felt like a front seat at a roller coaster ride. However unsettling, fear arousing, uncomfortable, and reluctantly I took these events, I wouldn’t change any of it.
The life I’ve had is a far cry from the life I had imagined as a small child in Brazil. When I was eight years old, my mother remarried and as a result, I suddenly moved to the UK and to a life so totally different from what I had known, it could have been on another planet.
The first shock after landing in London in the middle of winter was the grey skies and bare trees which I had never seen before and in fact, had no idea even existed. The second shock came after leaving the airport and driving into the city, where I observed very pale grim-faced people wearing dark coloured clothes going into old grey buildings. I remember asking myself why my mother had brought me to live here instead of the sunny joyful place I had just come from?
In truth, I was overlooking the way I had always felt in my country of origin. Even there I didn’t feel I fit in anywhere but in London, it seemed I was in an even more alien place. Nevertheless, instinct told me everything I had experienced before had to be put aside.
The immersion into such a different culture changed me to the point where I cut all ties with my previous self. I replaced my habits and behaviours so thoroughly that when I returned to Rio for a visit a couple of years later, not even my closest friends recognised me anymore. It was as if I had shed myself completely and become a new ‘me’, and I accepted that new version of myself.
I had grown to love my ‘adopted’ country, the slate had been cleared and all the past feelings had disappeared.
The following years brought many moves, many other countries and exposure to a variety of cultures. Many personal life challenges came as well – marriage, two children, divorce, re-marriage, a late pregnancy, cancer and recovery, all while running my own businesses for 25 years.
In between marriages, I had taken up Kriya Yoga quite seriously and had been on various pilgrimages to India, connected to these practices. After the birth of my youngest daughter and recovery from cancer, I felt a need to prioritise my life choices. I sold my business and my new husband, myself and two of my children moved to India. Our stay in India lasted just over a year – my husband got a job offer in the UK, an opportunity he felt he couldn’t pass up. We returned to the country where my journey had started all those years ago. I accepted the change once again because I was at a point in my life where I felt huge gratitude just to be alive, to be a mother again. I was comfortable in myself, happy and satisfied.
Then one day, in London, we met a person who would radically and completely change our lives once again.
I had trained in spiritual therapies over the years and in India had developed my own kind of therapy. Once back in the UK, I heard about a renowned alternative therapy clinic in London and someone I treated recommended I get in touch with the owner. After chatting with her, she invited me to see her at the clinic to discuss my work. My eldest daughter and I went for that meeting and in the room was a desk in front of us with a book about Mahavatar Babaji that was quite unusual and written by the lineage I belonged to at the time. I also noticed a keyring on the desk with a picture of Babaji so in my surprise I blurted out “Oh, Babaji!”
The clinic owner was just as surprised that I knew of Babaji and told me that her spiritual Master would be coming to London the following week and he was a direct disciple of Mahavatar Babaji. She also said she was organising for people to meet Him and offered to schedule an interview for us? I wasn’t looking for a guru at all, but I was curious about His connection to Babaji so I agreed to the meeting. When we got home and told the rest of the family about this meeting, everyone, including my mother and brother who were visiting us, wanted to meet this master. I called and asked if we could be seven people instead of just one!
The following week, we all went to meet this master. Personally, I had no expectations other than plain curiosity. Having lived in India, I was open to the idea of gurus, especially a satguru who is God-realised, understanding their role is to literally to dispel our ignorance and guide others to realise God themselves. However, I had gone to that meeting without any such intention.
When we entered the interview room, the master was alone, sitting in an armchair. He looked at us and smiled, and all at once the room filled with such palpable love that we were all touched by it. We sat in front of Him and He asked what He could do for us and why we had come. I sat and quietly observed his interaction with each one of us. He was very different from the many spiritual Masters we had encountered in India. He was approachable, humble, giving and patient. As I sat next to my husband half listening to what he was asking, completely unpredictably, I suddenly remembered this Master. He had been my Guru in a previous life long ago! My memory of him returned very clearly. I sat silently wondering if he remembered me too. After everyone had been listened to and had received some guidance, he politely ended the meeting, but he asked if my husband and I could stay behind for a couple of minutes. After everyone else left the room he looked at us and asked if we were going to the darshan event the following evening and we decided we would. He then turned to me and said, “okay, so during darshan, please remind me to re-activate your guru mantra, the same one you had before. You know which it is.” My reply came spontaneously and naturally “Yes, I do know it. I will remind you tomorrow.”
After that first encounter, there was no turning back for me and it’s been 14 years of an amazing unpredictable journey still unfolding itself.
I would not have had the imagination to conjure up the experiences I’ve had the privilege to witness and to live, with my gurudev. It still takes my breath away when I think of Him and the Love He embodies every moment of the day. He is the most patient, the most humble person I have ever met. I have witnessed Him wash dishes when I was too tired to and to cook for everyone out of love for His devotees. His loving compassion knows no limits and He gives attention and time to everyone who meets Him. He is down to Earth, direct, straight-talking, and non-judgmental. He has the ability to enjoy every moment, to laugh, to appreciate the simplicity of life. He reaches people of every age and every background. Above all, He teaches through being the example Himself. His mission is to open the hearts of humanity to the innate Divine love within us all and to enable each one to develop a personal relationship with God also through His teachings and practices. Guruji shows us time and again how present He is in our everyday lives supporting us through life’s challenges. One of the main aids He gives that supports me every single day, is through my Atma Kriya Yoga practice. It’s so easy to practice and so amazingly effective! Unlike any other previous practice, it encourages acceptance of myself as well as the confidence to transform what needs to change. Most importantly for me, the practice connects me to the innermost part of myself that can experience unconditional love. It has become my life companion and I can’t put into words the joy and love I feel when I am able to teach it to others.
The unpredictability in my life is ever-present, in more recent years, there have been moves to more countries, more tasks to accomplish, but I take it as it comes, knowing Guruji is always sitting beside me in the roller coaster. Now, I laugh and enjoy the ride.
My gratitude for the changes and the totally new dimension added to the lives of all my family, by my satguru Paramahamsa Vishwananda, cannot be adequately expressed through words. One thing is for sure, I learned to be open to the unpredictable instead of fighting it, to embrace whatever I receive and to stay positive along the journey.