My Therapy Stories (#1) : Inner Child Wounds

Beginning 2020 with a very personal, monthly series, called My Therapy Stories. Let’s break the stigma!

With all the talk about mental health, I decided to put together a new series about my experiences with therapy. The first aspect of my story, begins with inner child wounds from my time at school, and the ripple effects it had all the way through adulthood.

I hope to encourage more people to step up and take therapy as a lifestyle choice. And NOT something to look down upon. Let’s break the stigma!

DISCLAIMER : These stories aren’t always pleasant and they might trigger the parts of you that want to be healed too. But, I promise they have happy endings. And I hope these endings will inspire you. 🙂

Also, none of this is to disrespect or blame anyone. I am only recounting my experiences as a child, but also discussing how these experiences were healed.

How Schooling Effects Mental Health

My family and I stayed in the United States for a few years. Then, we came back to India, the motherland, once I was in 5th grade.

vasundhra, family, childhood, grand canyon, inner child,
Our family trip to the Grand Canyon, from nearly 20 years ago!

Growing up, my school life in India really challenged my mental health. While in USA, I was acing my classes, in India I wasn’t even in the top 10 (though yes, Indian classes are much bigger in ratio).

I often missed playing outside because even after school, I’d spend hours in tuition for all the subjects, catching up with the education system. There was a lot of culture shift. I struggled especially because I also had to learn to write Hindi from scratch, several years after other kids were already quite good at it.

Another difference? Getting told-off in Indian schools for my “poor handwriting” or “sloppy diagrams”.

I remember being asked to go home with the class topper’s notes and practice writing like her!

I didn’t realise things like these even mattered, that these qualified for a reproaching, until I started feeling the embarrassment flush in my cheeks for it infront of the whole class.

Uptil this point, I had always been known for my sincerity and diligence, and had never been called-out so blatantly. Never being very sport-oriented to begin with, now, my academic intelligence also came into question.

Inner Child Therapy for School

Recently, in processing my childhood through Inner Child Healing work, I unblocked some strong feelings of incompetency and guilt.

I realized the reason I never cut myself slack after growing up, was because I felt bad for not being able to prove my worth in school. I felt like I needed to work even harder, and that’s what my college and work life saw – grinding, extreme grinding.

college, workshop, teenage, young adult, studying, intense, focused, vasundhra, mental health, therapy, healing
An intense capture from one of the workshops I attended back in college. Haha!

My parents never once asked me to do better, but I felt the guilt of not being good enough. I felt like I was letting them down.

Who knew, these thoughts weren’t coming from within me, but from a different source? Overtime, kids start believing the thoughts to be their own. And bam! Down goes their self-esteem.

Infact in 10th grade, right before my Board exams, I had a panic attack and started hyperventilating. I had to be rushed to our physician, and she made us realize that I was overwhelming myself with performance pressure.

Hypnotherapy helped me uncover and heal this guilt, after a decade! I’m also slowly learning to allow myself time to relax and enjoy, and to stop taking life so ambitiously.

How Creativity Helps Mental Health

My creative and artistic side rarely got the encouragement it should have, the way US schools provided kids.

creativity, throwback. childhood, Idaho, Map, handmade, project, vasundhra, inner child, therapy
My Idaho state project as a kid, where learning and creatvity went hand-in-hand.

Infact an art teacher scared me to my very core, one year. She seemed crazy, a woman that yelled at us kids for forgetting our art supplies or for not painting as per her standards.

I too, got a LOT of heat from her once, and I became deeply terrified.

There was another rather mean, intimidating dance teacher who often yelled at me in front of other classmates, because I was too shy to dance freely. I probably looked incompetent inspite being trained in the classical dance form, Bharatnatyam

Bharatnatyam, dance, vasundhra, solo performance, stage, tabla, Indian, Classical dance, inner child, creativity
One of my Bharatnatyam performances in Boise, when I was 8 years old.

Inspite studying from an academically sound school, many of the teachers were daunting, and mean to kids except the ones that scored perfect grades (not me). The rest of us were constantly reminded how we’re not good enough.

It never occurred to me to discuss this at home, seeing that this was a culture that everyone faced with me. Don’t get me wrong, there were some really sweet teachers. But there weren’t that many. Nope.

Trying to cope with all this, I missed out small hobbies, like completing my Bharatnatyam Arangetram and even smaller things like watching Harry Potter.

Inner Child Therapy for Creativity

Working on my childhood through therapy taught me to provide myself those experiences now, as a grown up, and to cherish my hobbies even if they are childish sometimes. In otherwords, ‘reparenting’ myself.

Only recently, in August 2019 did I, as a 25 year old adult, watch the Harry Potter series! What a classic.

These have all been tributes to my younger Self. Afterall, don’t we owe it to ourselves to live the quality of life we want to? It’s never too late!

This process is called reparenting. If you’re interested, do look it up (until I can plug in something written myself, haha).

Healing is also how I gained the confidence to dance front-row for my Salsa performance in office. And it was what empowered me to perform a Bharatnatyam-fusion at my engagement, whose video you can watch below.

I didn’t have that kind of confidence growing up. My heart was always pounding even though I had done several stage performances before. But now I do feel relaxed and capable of being carefree while on stage. And I’m proud of myself for coming this far! 🙂 

I also continue to expose myself to various art and recreation classes, that keeps my inner child happy and thriving.

Concluding Thoughts on Therapy for Inner Child Healing

I didn’t have any of these memories consciously. To me, I felt like my childhood was rather relaxed and happy.

But when you go into therapy, it turns out, you can uncover a lot of hidden pain that at the end is the reason your personality and choices are the way they are.

For me, spirituality and psychology have been a blend in my healing. They have both equally and substantially provided to my happiness quotient.

As Spirituality teaches us, we may not be responsible for what happens to us, but we alone are accountable for our healing.

So, the best thing that happened to me, was learning how to forgive each and every teacher, because they did teach me a lot, even if it wasn’t the kind of lessons my parents enrolled me for.

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Image courtesy : Pixabay, shutterstock

Meditation : An Ultimate Guide

A mini-memoir of sorts. My journey, from the lens of Meditation, from hopelessness to happiness. Also loaded with all my tricks and tips!

I blew my own mind in writing this; I didn’t know I had this much to say about meditation! But I won’t put a word-limit today, because even though you can find tips and tricks everywhere, I haven’t found that much on the ‘experience’ of it all.

So I will keep adding to this post whenever I discover something new worth sharing, simply for the fact that I want this to become an ode to the power of meditation, a mini encyclopedia of sorts for you, whenever you feel stuck. Please bookmark this page and feel free to revisit it often. 🙂

I have revisited everything when it comes to my story with Meditation, from my confusion, inconsistency, semi-mystical experiences, to paranoia, and then some.

Therefore, we’ve got two parts, to tackle the subject :

If I had to help you understand meditation in just one post, this would be it.

Though I share everything that happened along the way, for those that want to jump straight to the ‘advice’, feel free to jump to the last section of this post –Part 2 : All My Resources, Tips & Tricks.

Although, I would recommend reading both parts, simply because Part 2 only focuses on what works for me, but Part 1 is more detailed about what didn’t work along the way (but might work for you, so don’t miss it).

PART 1 : All the Life-Changing Details

It wasn’t until January 2016, that I began meditation. Before that, I had no clue how to, neither was there any interest. I did try some relaxation techniques in the beginning months, but nothing happened beyond that – I relaxed and I would fall asleep.

Fast forward to January 2017; there was no specific cause for me to feel as upset as I was, because on the outside, my life was great. I had amazing family and friends that always supported me, I was working at a well-paying job, and I was in decent physical condition with no medical challenges to blame.

Still, at the time, all I knew was, I was not happy. This thought of unhappiness, further made me consider myself quite ungrateful, making my feelings more ‘smaller’.

It was gnawing away at me, one endless day at a time. So, I did what everyone says – I tried harder.

I tried harder to make new friends, hang out at new places, eat differently.
I tried gratitude writing, tried checklist-striking my daily achievements.
Tried making a more ‘conducive’ environment, one home-improvement project at a time.
Tried harder to eat right, run longer, pray more.
I tried harder to balance every facet of my life.
It wasn’t working. Nothing was.

spiral freestanding calendar on white surface
Image by Manasvita
On the brighter side, I can’t say I was having extreme thoughts.

But I was beginning to question if there really was a better reason to living the life I was, so purposeless, so shallow.
I felt like going away, to where?
No clue.
To do what?
No clue.
And I didn’t even have the courage to go away, anyway.
I was trying to be here, to fight where I am, one day at a time.

NOTE : I’ve already shared a more vivid description about the Dark Night of the Soul, this phenomenon I was experiencing, which seemed like depression. Skipping those details from here, but if you haven’t read that yet, here you go

I don’t know what really made me decide that I should give meditation another try, one not-so-fine day. I want to credit the small part of me that wanted to survive this adult-life crisis. Or maybe there was some kind of Divine Intervention.

Perhaps a kindred spirit whispered in my ear, “don’t give up just yet”. That there was something more left to try.

I had grown quite fond of Shiva and his low-maintenance philosophy, after watching the Indian Saga, Devon Ke Dev, Mahadev. So, that momentous day, I started with Om chanting.

In the days to follow, every morning, right after I’d take a bath. I’d sit like a yogi, at the side of my bed, and chant Om with my eyes closed, for a few minutes. I added to this little ritual by visualising that I was offering different coloured flowers to a shivalinga, one chant at a time.

meditation, zen, dhyan, mudra, rudraksh
Photo by Ksenia Makagonova 
Maybe it was beginner’s luck, but within the very first week, I began feeling better.

One day, when I was chanting Om, I freaked out a little bit though. I felt disconnected from my body, and I felt like I could hear the Om humming even when I wasn’t chanting it. Shaken, I abandoned this practice as quickly as it came.

But I remember that not long after, I came across Binaural Beats and Solfeggio Music (I share these resources in Part 2). For several weeks to follow, this is how I ended my days – falling asleep to such music.

Lying low and letting music guide me, here are some of the experiences that came with it.

I decided I would focus on one single instrument. Do you know how difficult and overwhelming that can be? But what I did learn was, there are so many ways to listen to the same song!

I also started seeing all kinds of colourful and vivid universes in my head. I have always a had a thing for astronomy and the aurora borealis, so I didn’t think much of what was going on. Later, reading many spiritual biographies, I felt a slight sense of triumph – I was definitely doing something right here!

think, gloat, boast, emotions, face, smug

I would also see flashes of images, mostly ones I couldn’t recognise. These images still stay with me, and I like to believe they were glimpses of past lives. Yes, past life regression is an interesting and sometimes controversial subject of its own, and one very dear to my heart. I will talk about it in due course of time.

My experience with ‘Guided Meditation’ wasn’t all that great though. 

For one, I felt rushed. No matter how slow the guide was, I felt like I always wanted to be slower.
Slower to watch my breath going in and out of my chest.
Slower to feel my muscles relax, feeling the tension disperse.
And slower to imagine the dream-like place, I was often asked to construct.

Regardless, I kept experimenting; hopping between one technique to the other.

Fast forward a year later, in 2018, I did gain a better sense of chanting and music meditation, but things were really about to change again.

A friend recommended me to read Book of Secrets (also known as Vigyan Bhairav), by Osho.

osho, book of secrets, vigyan bhairav, meditation, 112 techniques, shiva shakti

The book talks about 112 Meditation Techniques, and it is believed that Shiva taught them to his beloved consort, Shakti; later shared across the world as a salvation from this cycle of Life and Death.

Sitting in my office cafeteria every morning, like a ritual, having my morning cup of tea, a hot buttery parantha and scrolling feverishly through my e-book, here’s what I realised – the book is anything but boring.

It is the densest and most practical form of wisdom I have come across thus far.
Did I try all 112 techniques? Nope.
My marker is still placed at the 13th or 14th technique, somewhere.
But I did try the first 12 or so. And I tried them sincerely. I even found some of the ones that work for me.

Among the many ‘weird’ experiences I had, upon following Osho’s techniques, I had another worth mentioning.

I woke up in the middle of the night and felt myself breathing. Like, I wasn’t actually breathing, I could feel breathe as a separate thing from me, and me separate from my body. I find this incident funny because literally 3 seconds later as soon as I realised what was happening, I was back to my senses. Ofcourse I had not attained Enlightenment. I had only had a taste and it was such a tease, geez.

I did happen to come across some other amazing books that transformed my vision of meditation. We’ll talk about that in the second part.

In 2019, I tried Group Meditation, and it works!

I was invited to try the Heartfulness Meditation program thanks to a friend, and it was a game changer for me. Though I still don’t enjoy guided meditation from online tapes, in person it is a different story.

There were a lot of wonderful things that I learned and continue to learn from participating in these group meditations, and I will talk in more detail in due course of time. But I want to say, that if you sit in a group and meditate, you are more likely to go deeper and be less ‘in thoughts’.

If there are any group meditation programs near you, go for them! They are great for anyone that is struggling to meditate on their own, or alternatively needs a space to share their spiritual journey without judgement. 🙂

In summary, I was basically a waking, walking experiment, always trying to find the right mix, the right ingredients to happiness. I was rapidly adopting new techniques and letting them go. I was peaceful until I was not. And even today, on goes my journey, my spiritual shenanigans.

refill of liquid on tubes, test tubes, trial and error
Image by Louis Reed

I still have my days, but I have finally started to develop a way to ‘ease’ myself into my meditation. I think it’s time to talk about that now.

Also it’s been a post-and-a-half already, so if you’ve come this far, here’s a secret we can share. Drop a comment with a “Oh boy, this was something. My favourite meditation technique is….(fill your answer)” so that I know you’re a true reader here! *wink*

PART 2 : All My Resources, Tips & Tricks

One-stop shop. Here you go!

My Current Meditation Practice

I like to ‘Layer’ myself into the meditative state (described about in the Tips & Tricks section that follows this).

First I begin with chanting out-loud. I share the different kind of chants I use in the Resources section of this post at the end. Having grown slightly tired from the chanting, it becomes easier for me to focus on my breathe and body, in silence. By this point, my conscious mind has really used up a lot of energy, and is more docile to the thoughts that surface. And I allow them.

Tips & Tricks

TIP #1 – Why and How You Should LAYER Your Practice.

It takes a little effort to quiet the conscious mind, and until you don’t do that, it will not let you ‘be’. This is precisely why we have guided meditations talking about focusing on the breathe, focusing on your body, and then building a dream-world, before you enter the actual meditative state. Try any or all of these.

Stones, Meditation, Balance, Relaxation
  • Good For the Primary Layers
    • Write your thoughts down for 1-2 pages, whatever they are at the time. Writing will slow your mind down to a writing-pace, and also empty a lot of the dominating gunk.
    • Having more pre-meditation rituals such as burning an incense stick, or dimming the lights is also a great way to train the brain for what’s expected.
    • Focused meditation – focus on a single point like candle, or point on wall. Quickest way to make your eyes droop shut!
    • Counting backwards out loud (this works best when you club it with focused meditation)
    • Chanting out loud, eyes closed
  • Good for Secondary Layers
    • Music Meditation (my resources at the end)
    • Breath Meditation
    • Body Meditation – bring your attention to every body part, and then the body as a whole
    • Guided Meditation

Asking your mind to concentrate on these long list of activities can help soften the interference once you start working with the thoughts that come.

TIP #2 – How to SIT and meditate without getting a backpain.
Relaxation, Yoga, Meditation, Nature

Either use a back-support like a pillow, or lean against the wall. You can also alternatively sit in a reclined chair. There is also nothing wrong with lying down and meditating, but it may make you sleepy.

TIP #3 – Switch it up. Vary between the types and duration of meditation you do.

You can chant in the morning, sitting up, and you can dwell in silence at night, while comfortably lying down. The thing is, some meditations make us sleepy because they demand a lot of processing, and that’s not ideal when you’ve got the whole day ahead of you.

So, your morning meditation might be under 2 minutes long, and very ‘shallow’ so to say, but nevertheless is a great kick-start. You can then have the night for a longer, more extensive communication with the subconscious or to simply help you free your thoughts and fall asleep.

TIP #4 – Being scared sometimes is natural.

Like I mentioned in part one, I was taken aback by my experience that came from chanting, initially. I won’t spook you with the ‘why’ of this happening, just know that it happens to some people (including me), and it is okay.

People, Cover, Cry, Desperate

For this, I recommend a few things.

  • In the immediate moment, say a prayer aloud, asking for Divine Guidance to be with you and remove any fearful thoughts or energies.
  • Envision a thick bubble of Divine Light surrounding you rendering you free from any harm, and ask your Guardian/God to take the eerie presence away from you.
  • If the mood persists, switch the mood. Play some peppy music that you can tune into, dance to even.
  • Though usually a one-off occurrence, if the meditation you are trying is invoking fear on repeat occasions, change the type and time of meditation.

Till this date, meditating at night makes me wary. So, I only use nights to relax and drift into sleep, and focus more on meditating in the morning where there’s more white noise and it is believed that energies are more clean and positive in the early parts of the day.

TIP #5 – There maybe physical experiences during meditation, such as tingling and feeling hot/cold sensations throughout the body. My opinion is that don’t think too much of it.
Chakra, Energy Centres, Body, Center

Don’t entangle yourself into the complicated and vast subjects of ‘Kundalini Awakening’, ‘Chakra Balancing’ etc if you’re just getting started. Often, the information on the internet is half-baked, and you will end up flustered unless you get proper guidance to walk down those paths.

Initially, just let the experience guide you and help you become more aware of your body.

TIP #6 – Meditation can and will help you gain your clair senses.

A wonderful insight I gained from Rebecca Rosen in one of her podcasts, was that the physical sense that is most active in our human body, is the one that develops more quickly in the spiritual way too. So if you’re quite the observer, you can expect clairvoyance; if you’re a great listener, you can expect clairaudience to develop. Ideally speaking, we WANT to be able to use all 10 senses, not just our human 5.

red Psychic LED signage

For example, a good listener is more likely to be clairaudient, and a visually stimulated being will have clairvoyance over time. You can and will gain multiple senses overtime, and that is nothing miraculous. It is the way it is, to function efficiently between both parallels.

TIP #7 – Try everything. If you don’t know how to meditate, it’s only because you haven’t found the technique that works for you.

I hope my own story is a good evidence, of how much trial and error can sometimes go behind trying something new (not JUST meditation). Now, here are my resources.

TIP #8 – Take a bath before you meditate, or wait atleast an hour before you bathe.

Meditation is like an energetic cleanse, and we don’t want to lose the state of our meditation, so we try to retain is as long as possible, bathing included.

Books that helped me, and will definitely help you

  • Book of Secrets by Osho (also available for free online, as Vigyan Bhairav)
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

Interested users can buy the book through Amazon links: India Users | US Users | UK Users

  • Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh

Interested users can buy the book through Amazon links: India Users | US Users | UK Users

  • The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh D. Patel

Interested users can buy the book through Amazon links: India Users | US Users | UK Users

Meditation Music

My Meditation Playlist (Solfeggios, Binaural Beats, etc)

My Chanting Playlist

Girl, Music, Fashion, Listen, Headphones

Honestly, I am impressed if you actually read everything. At one point, I was fretting how much I’d have to edit, would anyone actually read all of it? That being said, congratulations, you know everything I know now, so what are you waiting for? Go meditate!

Image courtesy : pixabay
NOTE : Any books purchased through the links above are at no additional cost to the buyer, but support me and my work. Thank you for your consideration! 🙂

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