The Day I Won the Race

by Renu Gulati June 11, 2020

The day you stop racing is the day you win the race – Bob Marley

Sometimes, I feel suffocated by ‘spiritual’ and wellness teachings. I am an Ayurveda teacher and I suppose that the statement I just made is not politically correct at all.  

I came into the domain of ‘spiritual teachings’ at age 17, not because I happened to be born into a spiritually inclined family, but because like so many soul-searching teenagers, I was looking for a deeper purpose in life. From the age of 5, I had had questions about the purpose of my life. I left my education after senior school for a few years, after having secured a place in mathematics at a prestigious college in London University. Instead, I travelled around India and lived in various temples and ashrams and in other holy places, of several different denominations.

I was in love with India and its profound teachings, yet in the end, I chose the academic route, as I thought it would be met with Iess bias from the people around me. I gave up all thoughts of ever studying mathematics and instead secured a place at Edinburgh University to study Sanskrit and Indian philosophy. 

But even after the degree, I was, really none the wiser and decided to pursue a more ‘practical’ life. I studied Law in England, and then practiced at the most prestigious firms and lived the ‘western life’. Ten years into the latter part of my career in law, I still felt discontent, and decided to follow spirituality once again, this time planning to merge it with the ‘material’. However, this did not seem to go well together, so I headed off to India again, the land of the Heavens. This time, I studied yoga, Ayurveda and all things spiritual. 

Without getting into more details, let me just say that this time I realised that spirituality and materialism is an integrated way of life based on integrity and that you cannot segregate one from the other. I began seeing the other point of view, as well. I saw that my parents who did not have any one spiritual practice, however, had integrity. I began looking at integrity as life’s purpose. 

Why did I have to complicate my head to a point where I had created such a rigid set of do’s and don’ts and limit my freedom to a point where I was suffocating? I had steeped myself in so many rituals and superstitions that I realised that I was living in fear and had begun to lose freedom as well as connection and faith in my own intuition. It was bondage that I had now entered. There was now a division in my own being.

Now I seek to recover the lost natural personality of my childhood and shed the so-called ‘spiritual trappings’ I had so painstakingly acquired after so many years of study. I now opt to live with three simple values―Integrity, gratitude and authenticity.

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