15 Lessons I Learned from Reading Spiritual Memoirs

A wide range of spiritual lessons on lifestyle choices, marriage, relationships, detachment, humility, and more!

There was a time when I couldn’t stand biographies. And then, I was introduced to the world of memoirs – the less factual, more emotionally invested kind of look into people’s lives. It was like a paradigm shift!

While our Ultimate goal as spiritual beings is to attain Enlightenment, not all of us are aspiring single-mindedly to achieve that goal within this lifetime. Also, not all of us are inclined towards renouncing our material lives to go live in ashrams or caves with the monks, to attain this guidance.

That being said, we need all the encouragement, wisdom and inspiration along our way, that we can get, even whilst we choose to engage in worldly matters.

To me, these are the Spiritual Memoirs that brought different flavors of enlightenment to the comfort of my lazy space. Here’s highlighting what stood out to me, in each of the recommendations listed below.

I am usually unbiased, but this time I’ve placed my personal favourite at the last, so read till the end. *wink*

#1 – The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer

This inspiring story looks into Michael’s life of almost monk-hood; spending 40-years in the forest trying to live in solitude but by a strange twist of fate, being anything but alone, ever!

Meditation, Buddhism, Monk, Temple

Not just that, there are humbling insights like him teaching meditation to jail inmates, building a spiritual temple that is a magnet to spiritual masters from around the world, coming clean from an FBI raid, and demystifying several spiritual experiences in simple laymen language.

Without giving away too much, here are my 5 key takeaways.

  • ON MEDITATION
    Meditating for long hours is not comfortable, not easy and definitely not rosy. But he shows us how to get through the sluggish phases, as well as embrace the overwhelming ones.
  • ON EGO
    Furthermore, even years of meditation can lead to stagnation in spirituality. You might be able to use his life incidents to identify your own shortcomings and ego blocks, so that you can accelerate your journey once again!
  • ON LIFESTYLE CHOICES
    It is possible to earn a LOT of money, get married, have kids and still be increasingly, spiritually-conscious. The real-life incidents in this book are more than plenty of evidence in terms of practical spirituality.
  • ON HAPPINESS & SURRENDERING
    Our personal preferences about what should and shouldn’t happen, is the reason we experience resistance. Once you stop feeding these preferences, you are able to do what needs to be done without being emotionally driven.
  • ON PRACTICAL SPIRITUALITY
    And my absolute favourite, which was the theme of the book – pursuing Spirituality is NOT black and white; the universe continues to throw other necessary ‘obstacles’ such as jobs or relationships, and the only way out to the other side of Oneness, is through these obstacles. As the saying goes, obstacles on your path, are your path.

Read more : Being Spiritual Everydyay – 8 Books on Practical Spirituality

This book affirmed my belief that we are no longer in the time where we go sit in caves and become monks. The monks need to live amongst us – WE have to find our Light and spread it, all the while being amongst those that are in the darkness.

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#2 – Sadhguru by Arundhati SUBRAMANIAM

What stands out about this book from many others, are the strange experiences that are described. Though strange, are not impossible to believe. It also is perhaps the deepest introspection into Sadhguru’s life, I’ve read thus far.

Shiva, Lord Shiva, God Shiva, Isha

There’s actually a lot to takeaway, but I’ll share just 5 aspects :

  • ON MARRIAGE
    Marrying a non-spiritual partner is okay (and as proven by this mystic, at times necessary in your journey). This book helped me close the loop on my personal pondering – Should Spiritual People Get Married?
  • ON ENLIGHTENMENT FOR THE COMMON MAN
    Non-spiritual people might attain nirvana before the Enlightened being (called Bodhisattva) who was evidently more Spiritual in life! Everyone is moving at their own pace, don’t let someone’s journey disappoint you or make you arrogant either.
  • ON PAST LIVES
    Not only are past lives proven to be very real experiences as proven by Sadhguru’s stories, what seems like an ‘instant’ and effortless enlightenment is actually many lifetimes of raising Awareness to attain that peak point of bliss.
  • ON THE AFTERMATH OF ENLIGHTENMENT
    Enlightened beings can fall sick and undergo a lot of challenges too, their life doesn’t become rosy and effortless. As long as you’re alive, you’re going to learn a lot! This makes me think we’ve exaggerated the topic “your external is a manifestation of your internal”. Some things happen regardless, and that’s just that.
  • ON MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES
    Disembodied spirits (ghosts) are real, but they aren’t spooky as we believe them to be. They’re just searching for the Light and sometimes they think we, as humans, can show them the way. So are other concepts like chakras, soul bonds, and much more.

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#3 – Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh

This was single-handedly the most influential book I have ever read on my spiritual journey yet. If there is one book you ever buy on my recommendation, please make it this one!

Buddha, Banner, Religion, Meditation

Though over 400-pages, it is not overwhelming at all. It is a gentle, easy-breezy read that will transform you in the most subtle and lasting ways.

I learned a lot about Buddhism and the life of the Buddha, by reading this but also was able to adopt many aspects into my own life. Here are 5 highlights :

  • ON ESSENTIALISM
    The Buddha and his disciples only ate one to two meals a day, before sunset, depending on the food available. The practitioners were not required to cook meals because it was considered an added household chore – so both with the intention of learning humility, and saving time, they would beg alms once every morning, and that food would be used throughout the day. (Focus on what really matters, Essentialism)
  • ON MINIMALISM
    The same for clothing – the monks were advised to have only two pairs, one to wear, one to wear whilst the other pair was in wash. This minimized worldly duties. (Minimalism has been around longer than us new-age folks want to believe)
  • ON MONKS & COMMONERS
    Lay disciples, were the followers that didn’t want to be monks, but wanted to benefit from Buddhism while pursuing their livelihoods. The lay disciples had five simple practices to follow – don’t cheat on your spouse, don’t steal from anybody, no alcohol, no non veg, and don’t lie. (If you can’t be a monk, following just this little bit of advice is enough to change your life)
  • ON DIVERSITY
    Though the Buddha did not voluntarily cook meat, if during bhiksha, the process of begging alms, he was served non vegetarian food, he would not decline because he saw this also an opportunity to connect with and share the Buddhist practice in every household. (Don’t stand against those that are not like you; gently gain their confidence and show them a better way; but stay open to possibility that they will still not walk your way)
  • ON HUMILITY
    Buddha was aware in much advance, of the exact moment of his death, and reason. Still, he continued to carry out his life without trying to win death. (Stay humble, and know when your time is up, don’t try to bargain with destiny)

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That being said, a special mention to the classic works of Paramhans Yogananda, called An Autobiography of A Yogi, is a book that often gets the review “this answered many of my doubts”.

And this has been true for me too. Whether it was my confusions about Hypnotherapy, fear of negative entities, or many other personal experiences, this book gave me the guidance I otherwise had no access to.

The language is a bit dated and complex, but if you try not to get too stuck in all that and simply glide through the story, your answers too will find themselves in this 400+ page biography.

There are many wondrous books that bring us the lessons that we otherwise would have to learn though ardent life obstacles. It is a fortune more than ever to have such a beautiful bouquet of diverse information.

Hope these works inspire you to read and gain from them too.

Happy reading!

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Side note, My Spiritual Shenanigans just got featured as Rank #17 in the Top 100 Spiritual Blogs of 2019!

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Spiritual Awakening : Don’t Let These 7 Experiences Disappoint You

Special 11/11 post at 11:11 PM! Discussing the ebbs and flows of the spiritual awakening, and some tips on overcoming these moments.

A 11/11 special post, at 11:11!

As much as I am excited to be on this path, there have definitely been some odd and unnerving experiences along the way which took some patience and perspective to overcome. These make me nostalgic and grateful to see how far I’ve come though, so no grudges! 🙂

Sharing a few of such moments, and hopefully in better light, so that you feel motivated to keep going.

#1 – You will not be regular with your practices.

If you’re like me, you might actually jump between one form of healing to another and feel short-lived joy. Here’s what I was like in the first two years.

  • Balanced chakras a few times and felt like a saint, until I clearly wasn’t;
  • Learned Reiki and completely quit after 3-4 days of practice;
  • Practiced hypnotherapy for a few sessions and felt healed (that bubble did pop quite a number of times);
  • Meditated sporadically and kept getting agitated at home and office;

My takeaway : It’s okay to be inconsistent or to keep exploring. Spirituality cannot and should not be FORCED. Treat this as your “no-strings-attached” period with spirituality where you’re not completely committed for some time. Eventually, you will automatically incline towards some practices more than others. Until then, keep going!

Checklist, Check, Think About

#2 – The duality will seem more obvious and unsettling than ever.

This may mean a few things, all which can be really scary to feel, such as,

  • you no longer like your job;
  • you no longer enjoy the things you used to (drastic change of habits, possibly making you an introvert if you weren’t one already);
  • you no longer enjoy being around certain people;
  • you may start resenting material pleasures;
  • you might look down on people that aren’t living as Consciously (which takes me to the next point);

My takeaway: I experienced ALL of these, and almost all at once. It was scary and I felt isolated. But gradually, I started enjoying my own company. So much, that I stopped going to parties or hanging out around people that I didn’t really vibe with. In other words – you will be able to transmute this into your strength, once you realize that YOU are still with yourself, and that’s really all that matters!

Girl, Feelings, Solitude, Unrest, Detail

#3 – You may experience arrogance, that you’re better than the people who are not Spiritual.

On the contrary, you may feel arrogant infront of other spiritual people too, and cut them off when they’re sharing something.

You might roll your eyes and think, you already know that, why are they wasting time repeating things to you!

My takeaway: Life has its own ways of humbling and grounding us. To save the embarrassment, I’d encourage you to focus on holding more compassion in your heart, so that you are able to accept people as they are. Work on keeping your heart open. And also on holding space for repeated advice – usually its the things we are so confident about are the ones that require most attention and sorting through.

#4 – You may feel overdosed.

When I had first started reading spiritual books and trying all sorts of Spiritual practices, I would swing like a pendulum. A few days or weeks, I’d devote to all things Spiritual.

And then, I’d ‘compensate’ because I was feeling overwhelmed by my experiences.

Upset, Overwhelmed, Stress, Tired

My takeaway : Though you will gradually establish a natural and less awkward rhythm in life, if you’re feeling this way, and want to do something about it, here are some suggestions. Try to balance yourself a little in both aspects of your life, by practising grounding and balancing your chakras. It also helps to meditate on crystals that balance our energy.

#5 – You may actually lose a lot of relations, or they may become somewhat irrelevant.

This is natural. You’re experiencing a growth spurt and the only thing that’s constant right now, is the growth itself!

As with all things, you will find new relations form where people vibe at your frequency and understand the experiences you’re having!

Men, Women, Apparel, Couple, People

My takeaway : It may be this way for quite some time, don’t let it get to you. Place your anchor within yourself, and your faith in the universe.

#6 – You may not behave spiritually at ALL!

I can’t even count how many times I’ve exploded in rage when cars on the streets cut my lane or honked incessantly at me the second the signal turned green. Even worse, I’ve over-reacted at home, and at work, for situations that now obviously seem petty. For a long time, it hardly seemed like spirituality was changing my behaviour.

Fist, Strength, Anger, Tear, Breeze

At times, it feels like being Spiritual is a curse more than a blessing because now we REALISE how many mistakes we make and we are desperate to really correct ourselves.

But being so deeply rooted in our past habits and patterns, it can take a really long time before we start acting like the way we think we should be acting, now that we’re Conscious.

My takeaway : As the saying often goes around, give time, time. Let yourself gently come out of years of behaviours and patterns. I assure you that in due course of time, you will be able to match your mind and actions.

#7 – You may start preaching and oversharing.

Because we think we know better (#3), we start preaching and nitpicking at people. We want them to behave in certain ways and we might scoff at them for not being conscious about the things that we have. We might think we’re being helpful, but it can seem more like mothering or teacher-ing, to those at the receiving end.

Lecture, Conference, Mission, Planning

My takeaway : Eventually, you’ll learn how to experience your truth without trying to impose opinion or recommendations on other people unless asked for. This infact has been my latest lesson, several years into the journey. Stop giving unsolicited advice. I still fumble with this one, but I’m getting there!

So you see, the journey is quite a ride. But the thing that always makes it promising is the benefits. You will start feeling balance in many forms, and it’ll all fall into place much faster than things do for people that aren’t consciously living out their lives.

So, hang in there. Not only does it get better, YOU get better too! 🙂

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What My Year of Unemployment Taught Me

I took every ounce of my year of unemployment as an opportunity for personal evolution, and came across with these major realisations.

To clarify that I did not get fired, rather that I resigned from the corporate world because I had other career plans for myself. But, those plans didn’t happen on my timeline. As a consequence, I lived with my parents and had zero active income for nearly 1 year!

That being said, I took every ounce of it as spiritually beneficial as possible, and came across with these major realisations.

#1 – Whatever resources I need, will come to me exactly when I need them.

I’d heard a lot about the abundance mindset that is promoted in the spiritual community, but this became my first-hand experience.

The first concern people have, is the loss of a security net. Though I lived with my parents, there were some financial expenses and assets that I continued to take care of independently.

There was a certain amount of money I needed to complete my pending investments in the upcoming years, but being unemployed, my savings were not fitting.

It might sound unbelievable, but the truth is, as soon as the next instalment would come around the corner and my account was depleted, I received the financial support I needed through a gift, older investment maturing or returns from tax.

Money, Dollars, Success, Business

This happened on several occasions and now I have a safety net big enough to even generate some savings, too. 🙂

#2 – You get to choose your story.

I often got judged, hard. At first, I used to try to invoke sympathy by saying that I was fed up of my job and that it wasn’t my thing, and this and that… but later I realised, I was only trying to seek approval and second-guessing myself every time gave me that look of disappointment.

My story is as simple as this, now. I’m transitioning into a more fulfilling role. And in the process, I’m building my presence as a writer. 🙂

#3 – Other people’s success does not mean I’m failing.

I was always somewhat proud to say that I’ve never felt envious before. Until the day my best friend started getting back-to-back job offers and I sensed a tinge of envy.

He took it really well, held compassion and even admiration that we could be so honest with each other. This became the opportunity for me to see that my life is succeeding in other spaces.

#4 – Unemployment doesn’t equate to purposelessness (I spelled that right on the first shot, phew!).

I used to work 5 days a week, now I work 7.

Building a morning and evening routine for myself was the best decision I could have ever made, and I’m only sorry I waited 25 years! I am able to do EXACTLY what I want to do with my time. And this has improved my mental health in ways I cannot even begin to describe!

#5 – You learn how to un-workaholic yourself.

Like I said, post leaving my job, I became occupied around the clock. Even if they were meaningful ventures, it took me a lot of patience to undo my need to work too much.

I started balancing myself. I became active, but not necessarily productive, in business terms. I wasn’t a couch potato, infact I only watched a few minutes of comedy at the end of every day, but the rest of my time was devoted to my well-being and spreading the Light.

#6 – It is lonely.

I love being alone, it’s my comfort zone, to be honest. But even to me, it became quite lonely. When I was working and constantly surrounded by people, I always craved solitude. I spent whatever time I had after work just soaking in my own energy and trying to experience ‘freedom’.

Now that I had it unbarred, it taught me so much about the need for companionship. I began to appreciate group meditation, workshops and even collaborations with people for my blog.

It taught me a big lesson – we aren’t meant to live life on Earth alone. We just need to learn to live it with detachment and compassion. As my husband puts it, inter-dependent versus co-dependent.

#7 – Balance is NOT effortless, atleast not at first.

In the truest sense, unemployment taught me to balance myself in a way, that no job can teach anyone. When you are fully accountable of yourself, it can be daunting. Full accountability means being able to make small choices at every awake moment.

Fisherman, Fishing Boat, Boat, Fishing

Do you spend your day sleeping because you slept late at night? Do you take a shower the first thing in the morning or skip a few days at a time? Do you spend time reading a book, or in front of the TV?

It calls for the need to have certain routines, to keep growing, educating yourself and moving forward even if not in terms of a paid career.

And most importantly, my unemployment taught me that my job doesn’t define who I am.

I define who I am.

And I am a little more awesome, every single day! 😉

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