Rishikesh is the 'playground of synchronicities' (ya Andy!) - it brings people together in seemingly random encounters, but you just wait and you'll see that nothing here is random.
I don’t believe in random encounters anymore. I believe that every single person we meet in life has a purpose, something to show us, a lesson we can learn, a new skill we can pick up or a new experience we can have; maybe we can gain more insight into ourselves, the order of the universe or the unspoken rules of society.
Maybe someone is there to help us work through some childhood trauma without us realising it at first.
Like the friend who showed up to the first yoga class I taught, the friend who said he liked the opening and closing chanting in the class. And just like that, he chipped away the first little piece of a limiting belief I’ve been carrying around my whole life: that I can’t ‘sing’, that I don’t have a ‘nice voice’. Caused by flippant comments made when I was little.
This was so deeply engrained in my mind and would prevent me from singing in front of people - only ever allowing myself to sing when I could be sure nobody would hear me. My favourite place of all: in the car, while driving, from the top of my lungs, with loud music and all windows closed of course... Funny looks from other drivers didn’t bother me. It’s not as if, now suddenly, that belief is gone and I sing my heart out in front of an audience - not yet anyways. But the point is that it’s made me critically question that belief and maybe I’ll take some singing lessons some time in the future - why not.
We all have a whole plethora of these beliefs that we soaked up like a sponge during our younger years. Stuff that our parents or other family members or close friends have said to us. Specific sentences that we can remember decades later. That’s how deeply they took hold in our psyche. And bless all our parents, family members and friends who might have said something that has caused a long-lasting trauma for us. They didn’t know any better. They did the best they could with what they knew in the moment. Maybe after they said something they realised it wasn’t a good thing to say, maybe they even apologised for it. But what was said was said and the damage was already done. An apology doesn’t always work like a magic eraser taking it all back. The only way to move forward, is to practice forgiveness and cultivate a sense of compassion for those who have hurt us.
Here’s another popular belief that I am sure many of you can relate to: If I am not perfect in all situations, I am not lovable. And here is another not so random encounter involving a whole group of people who I have grown very fond of, over the last few months. There was a situation in which I have messed up and my actions have caused those people discomfort, awkwardness, disappointment and hurt feelings. This was never my intention and if I had actually listened to my gut, it could all have been avoided. But what was done, was done.
[By the way: always listen to your gut! It only sends you a signal about any given situation ONCE and if you don’t hear it or ignore it like I did, there won’t be any more signals and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your actions.]
Back to the story now. This specific situation turned out to be a special offer: 2 lessons for the price of 1. Number one served as a reminder and wake up call to be impeccable with my word (if you haven’t read it yet, check out the Four Agreements). Number two was the realisation that despite making a mistake, and hence not being perfect, I was still lovable. When I heard things like ‘it’s ok, don’t worry, I still love you’, gratitude settled in and a big piece got chipped off that old, deeply rooted belief.
Some people you meet in life will only stay for a short while. Maybe you have a conversation with a stranger on a bus that lasts less than an hour but gives you a new perspective. People might stay in your life for a few months (thank you lockdown!) or maybe years (also thank you lockdown!). Some people perhaps only have one lesson for you, they’ll maybe just plant a seed in your mind, that will grow into a new belief and erase an old one. Others might be like a natural spring with an endless supply of wisdom, bubbling up from deep within when given the opportunity.
What about the person you bump into in a cafe, you have seen them around but not really spoken much before. And that day you talk about work and how we both have reached a point where we felt that meaning was lacking. And just like that the conversation serves as a reminder to not lose track of your personal development goals. Especially in these corona ridden times, it is so easy to live day by day and watch the weeks turn into months, doing the same thing day in and day out. This 30 minute conversation prompted me however to think about who I want to be in a few months from now. While I have this time, what do I want to learn and improve about myself. How can I become a better me and grow personally rather than remaining stagnant? Not a lesson in itself, but a gentle nudge not to lose focus.
And when I took the time to write down personal goals, one of them was to nurture my inner child more - and surrendering to the divine guidance, I signed up for handpan classes. And just like that my teacher is chipping away at some more limiting beliefs: that I am not musical, that I don’t have rhythm, that I can’t get my two hands to play something in different beats independent from each other, etc. But he just says: no problem, it’s ok, you can learn. And he tries different ways until my brain gets it and voila, there is the proof that anything is possible.
As humans we are capable of so many things, we have so much potential to create and do amazing things if only we believe in ourselves.
Another person helped me really understand the concept of a Growth Mindset: look at all experiences as learning opportunities, including those instances where you made mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up over it, change your perspective to ‘I’m learning how to do this’ and notice how 1) you feel much better right away and 2) you feel motivated to improve. This is a much better place to be than the one where you’re stuck in the mindset of ‘I can’t do this, I suck at that, etc.’ or feeling guilty and unlovable for messing up.
A Growth Mindset cultivates a belief in yourself and that creates higher vibrations. Sent out into the universe, higher vibrations will attract more circumstances and people to help you grow and become the best you and create the life of your dreams.
I feel blessed to have a couple of people in my life (and that’s all you need imho) who have an abundance mindset rather than a lack mindset. Manifestation is a very real and completely normal thing in their life: goal setting, visualisation and most of all a rock solid belief that whatever you can dream, you can make it happen. The human mind is incredibly powerful and your thoughts create your life.
Whether it is someone who sees so many different types of business opportunities everywhere, or someone who is steadfast in successfully pursuing and developing the one thing that he has mastered over decades, it is simply inspiring and it lifts you up.
You meet people like this to help you believe not only in yourself but believe that anything is possible. When I decided to quit my job which was earning me a decent and secure salary, I had some letting go to do. Letting go of the idea that the only way to make a good living is with a Monday to Friday 9-5 type office job. Letting go of the idea that you cannot make a living as a yoga teacher. Trusting that there are many ways in which you can creatively make a living while loving what you do and enjoying the freedom of deciding when and where you work. I am so endlessly grateful that I met these people at exactly the times when I met them. They have not only become close friends but have encouraged and inspired me to take the plunge then and now.
Taking the plunge leads me to talking about going with the flow and living more in the present moment.
Take a moment to ask yourself this: as children, how do we learn?
We learn by observing and copying behaviour from people around us, friends, family and society in general. In the Western world, most people live in their heads most of the time. They are rarely fully present, right here, right now. I also grew up like this and for most of my life, I wasn’t present in the moment, but already thinking ahead about the next one.
Thank you universe for putting two people in my life who I can watch and learn from. Not only how to be more present, but also how to be true to yourself, remain grounded and centred in whatever situation life throws at you, and communicate openly with your partner. From the heart, not from the ego. It is such a beautiful thing to witness when the love is so pure, the connection so deep and the bond so strong, that everyday dramas just bounce off an invisible force field. No fucks are given about those, instead they spend their energy on enjoying each other’s company, having fun together, being silly and playful.
As we go through adult life, the random encounters here there and everywhere might just hold the various keys to unlock the invisible shackles, the limiting beliefs that are holding us back, formed in our childhood and young adolescence by words spoken carelessly around us.
So I invite you today and everyday to take a conscious look at the people around you, those you’ve known for a while, and those you’ve just met (if there is such a thing as meeting new people these days...) and ask yourself if there may be a reason for these ‘random’ encounters?
Sometimes, when there is too much ego and not enough consciousness, seeing the lessons can be hard, because we tend to react with defence rather than a willingness to learn and accept.
Don’t worry though if that is the case. Speaking from my own experience, the universe will create as many opportunities for you to learn your lessons as it takes :D
Much love and light,