My life completely transformed after I stepped foot into the ashram of light, then called “Omrit”. Om – the primordial sound of the universe – the sacred sound with the highest vibratory frequency associated with the creation of the universe, and Rit – meaning nectar. Omrit translates to Cosmic Nectar – the unlimited love of the universe.
The chef told me at my first visit that I had to stop wearing make-up if I wanted my face to get better. “NO WAY” I said. How do I stop wearing make up? I can’t just walk around bare-faced, pimple-faced, what are people going to think?
“You have to.” He said, “Are you going to heal, or are you going to live your life being scared of what people think of you?”
“Of course I want to heal!!!!!” I cried.
“Then you have to stop wearing make-up. They’re clogging up your pores and they’re not allowing you to heal… To see yourself for who you are. So what if people look at you? If they can’t see you for who you truly are, do their opinions really matter? ” The chef asked.
“No. Ok. Ok I will stop wearing make-up…” I replied.
The World isn’t So Bad…
And so I did. I took baby steps and stopped wearing dark eyeshadow (and embraced my chinky Chinese eyes, which was a BIG deal for me), sometimes wore a bit of foundation, and other times completely stopped wearing it altogether. The only times I ever wore make-up was to go to work where I had to look fierce and all as a bartender. I’ve been wearing only dark eyeshadow since college and hardly ever left home bare-eyed.
I persisted with my determination to allow my face to breathe and heal, and stayed strong sans make-up when facing demeaning comments like “Go see a derm,” “Put on some make-up”, and “What happened to your face?!”
To my surprise, my friends and I still hung out like we did before, my colleagues were just as pleasant to me, and the people in my life remained pretty much the same. The people that mattered to me and the people I mattered to didn’t treat me any differently at all.
Do Everything in Life with Love
Two weeks after my first visit to Omrit, my beautiful Guru finally came back to Singapore from the states. She was in every way exquisite – there was pure love in Her eyes and Her very being was divine, so divine that you would feel the buzz being in Her very presence.
I didn’t understand what I was experiencing, just as I didn’t understand what the energies of Omrit were, but everything She said to me was absorbed at a very different frequency. I never learned at this fast of a pace before.
I visited Her every day after work to hear Her teachings, Her wisdom and Her stories. I would’ve never imagined a divine being to be so very funny as well. Her humor was spectacular… And she understood everything about everything. The joy I had just being given the permission to be with Her, to hang around at the ashram, cook there, clean there, and serve food to the people that visited was all I wanted to do. I even went clubbing with my colleagues once, got bored, and went over to the ashram drunk. But once I stepped foot in the space, I would sober up immediately.
Guruji taught us to do everything with love – especially cooking – that energies are always transferring and you’re always going to want to consume love – not anger, not pressure, and that’s why home-cooked food (like our mama’s, or grandma’s) are always so much more comforting.
She taught us to always be in humble gratitude to receive and to be able to give at all times. I became significantly more positive, cheerful, and optimistic about the things in my life. Because I found it so much more pleasant to be with myself, I spent much less time worrying about how much other people liked me and started to enjoy their company more as well. Life became more about giving love and compassion, and not taking attention and validation from other people.
The Ego & Its Images
I stumbled into Omrit one evening when Guruji was having Her usual class with Her senior students. It was the first time I’ve ever learned about the ego and its images – how we are inclined to uphold certain images to suit certain situations, how we want to portray an ‘image’ and a ‘personality’ to the world so people would think of us the way we want them to.
I learned that our true selves have no image. Only the ego does. And that is what Guruji teaches – self-realization – how do you truly understand and become aware of yourself enough to see these non-beneficial personalities and release them from your life? For example, because I wanted people to always see me as an independent, strong, beautiful, and intelligent female, each time anybody saw me for my emotions and weaknesses, I would be furious at them for finding out the truth. We use these negative emotions to protect us from losing these ego images and desires that we so dearly uphold.
So what if you let go of all of these things and just be yourself? Do you even know how to be your ‘true’ self?
I can honestly say that I don’t truly know yet. But because I’ve been Guruji’s student for more than four years now, I’ve learned to see the reasons why I have all of these emotions, these energies, and each time I feel that torturing sense of anger or fear, I am now much better at deciphering them before releasing them.
I also learned that we are addicted to these feelings because we are so used to it. We have forgotten what it is like to be blissful in the ‘now’. When you’re in the presence and are aware of everything about you and around you, you no longer have to brew over the past, get anxious at the thought of the future, you just ‘are’, and that’s absolutely wonderful.
It has been an amazing experience so far. Although I still go through these emotions, each time I am more detached from it, each time I am better at handling them.
“Enlightenment is having emotions, but not being attached to those emotions.” Guruji once said. As a human being, you won’t stop having emotions. If you see a car coming towards you, you’re going to freak out, but you don’t have to be attached to those emotions. If someone dies, you will feel the loss, but you can be positive and allow that person to continue on his or her pathway without holding them back with your depression. When you truly want something in your life, you can do your very best, but stay detached from the results. It is a journey to learn how to experience your ‘self’ the right way – the non-anxious, non-angry, non-fearful – the peaceful, blissful way. To realize that you were born alone and you will die alone, and that you can’t hold onto anything is truly blissful.
I wasn’t exactly expecting myself to go in depth with Guruji’s teachings today, but oh well, it happened. I am going to go with the flow! I would love to continue talking more about this some other time. Because I’ve been in Bangkok for a while now, I have been much more in touch with the teachings of Buddhism, and so I am speaking from much more of a Buddhist mindset than I usually do. Each great master’s teachings are very pleasant in their own ways.
Detachment from the Image
Back to me.
I continued to visit Guruji almost every day. On one friday evening, I showed up at Omrit after work in my navy blue pencil skirt and a white with navy blue pin-stripesRalph Lauren button-down shirt. I sat in the corner closest to Guruji like I always did (good students sit in front LOL). That night, Guruji spoke of the ego, one of the very first classes I’ve attended. This was in January 2012, I remember. She spoke of our hair – that our hair held our image the most intensely and held and intense amount of our emotions as well, like a recording of what we’ve been through. I finally understood why it felt so wonderful each time I had a haircut after a break up hahahaha. The chef was there too, and he turned to me and said “time to cut your hair Tida!”. Again I reacted extremely violently and told him to “SHUT UP”. I was that freaked out and attached to my hair. Mind you, it was long. Super long. And I’ve always had long hair and made a lot of effort to make sure they were perfectly wavy and had perfect volume every single day. I voiced to everybody that I was NOT going to cut my hair. No way. No. I am Tida and Tida has long hair.
Me being me, I would whine first at the slightest thought of losing my image in any way possible, and yet me being me, I knew I had to do the right thing. Once I know the truth and feel it in my core that it is the truth, it would no longer be right for me to uphold such stupidity. I’ve already committed myself to learning self-realization, what rubbish would I be holding onto if I can’t even give up mere hair.
Less than a month after that class, Amanda, another student of Guruji’s who was the same age as me, chopped off her long locks. She was a singer too, and she was game enough to go for a bob. Now it was my turn. I just graduated, just got my first real job, and change was inevitable.
I returned to Taiwan to spend Chinese New Year with the family, and decided to get my haircut there (after getting mama’s consent).
It felt extremely liberating. Wow.
Not only was I rocking a new bob. I made another big change, and by then it had been two months – I turned vegetarian.
Why I Am Vegetarian
When the chef strangled me, I completely freaked out and automatically felt anger towards him. WHY ON EARTH WOULD HE TRY TO HURT ME LIKE THAT?! WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?!
He read my mind, and said “Well you see, animals are like us… They feel pain. They suffer. They get angry and fearful. And like us, when we go into mental distress, our bodies pain – we hold so much emotions in our muscles. It is the same with animals. They’re very intelligent, and we keep slaughtering them for our tongue’s pleasures – manipulating ourselves into believing that we NEED protein and nutrients from them. We don’t. Everything you get from animals, you can get it from plants – and plant-based nutrients are a hundred times better. If you can’t even handle your self and your emotions, why are you transferring their energies into your body? Why are you processing their anger? Every day they see their mother, father, siblings get slaughtered, they get slaughtered, do you think they’re happy to experience such pain? Do they think it’s fair? No. They think it’s absolutely unfair. If you can make a choice to release yourself from the necessity to eat murdered angry flesh – which are just dead corpses, wouldn’t you?”
Wow, I never did think of animals in such ways. I’ve been eating meat my whole life so I have no idea what it’s like to NOT eat meat. Every time I thought about how a cow is slaughtered, how sad and how much pain it would go through, my mind would just justify it with a “Well…the whole world eats it, it’s normal. We don’t need to know about their pain – it’s irrelevant.” Just because the whole world does something, doesn’t mean it’s normal…
To know that animals have intelligence and understand things the way we do too have completely changed the way I operate my life. Because turning vegetarian made sense to me, I gave myself the opportunity to try it. Of course, the thought of giving up meat right away was just frightening – but I had hit rock bottom. It only made sense to try things I never have before to find solutions to the blockages of pain in my life.
To my surprise, I felt much lighter, much more energetic, and much much calmer. I was hardly EVER a calm person in my life – always feisty, antsy, and quick-tempered. The only thing I was extremely paranoid about was not getting enough protein (hahahaha #vegetarianproblems). I ate loads of tofu, tempeh, and lentils, only to realize later that I was eating too much of those! Later, I found out that our bodies actually absorb 90% of a plant-based protein when we consume them, and only 10% of animal protein because their muscles are much much harder for our bodies to digest. You end up not needing to eat much plant protein at all to be healthy. After a while, I just stopped thinking about protein altogether, and have remained very healthy and energetic for the past four years. I haven’t gotten sick since, maybe just once or twice because I was brewing in some kind of a self-loathing lesson I was facing.
Turning vegetarian made me a much more compassionate person to myself, others and every living being. I didn’t become a vegetarian because I was compassionate in the first place. I turned because I needed to love me more, know me more, and feel me more and not feel others’ pains. But turning vegetarian have brought so much abundance to my life. Only later did I learn about the cruelty of farmed animals, how miserable they are, how much chemicals and antibiotics are used to sustain them, how more than 70% of the world’s crops are grown to feed animals, how unsustainable that is, how much stinky waste they poop that is creating a dangerous amount of greenhouse gas emission in the world, and how our bodies function like a herbivore – our intestines are too long to keep meat rotting in there for days, and how carnivores only have 3 feet of intestines. I could go on about us being herbivores, but you get the point.
Geniuses like Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci are both vegetarian for good reasons…
You would think that progressing so much would continue to be a breeze in life, and I did too. I thought that these changes would remain consistent, but it didn’t.
I Hit a Wall
Cutting my hair brought a great sense of liberation to me, as well as my decision to stop wearing make-up.
But one deeply-ingrained pattern of mine persisted stubbornly – my addiction to seeking validation externally.
I’ve never felt so ‘non-exceptional’ in my life…
I was no longer bitchy, fierce, or hot…
Because I truly wanted to let go of each ‘fake’ attributes that I have acquired from each of the personalities that I had, I had to take a look at each of the images I created to be hot, smart, and strong.
Having a thorough look at myself became brutal… I no longer had anything to hold onto – not hair, not boyfriend, and not even make-up. They were no longer my safety nets, my weapons, my precious…
I had to become a nobody so I can learn who I truly was. I had to stop ‘trying’ to be anything else and just ‘be’. And it was damn hard…
Since I no longer had a significant male presence in my life to comfort me, I found other ways to ease my senses when I felt anxious…
I had gained 13 kilos (28 lbs) and became curvy as hell – a body type I never embraced growing up. I always HAD TO BE as skinny as a model (which I never was!) It was a hell of an attachment. I was just plain brutal to myself growing up. And it destroyed me inside. It destroyed me and I couldn’t figure out how to:
- Stop eating my emotions
- Stop wanting to be model-skinny
I lost hope on myself and decided that being ‘wanted’ by men, the way I have been operating for a large part of my life, was my shortcut solution when I just couldn’t handle myself any longer. I turned to my old friend – sexuality to find solace.
Ironic, seeing as I was trying so hard to let that image go.
My sexuality is my most dangerous alter ego – the non-sexual, sexual Tida. The girl walking on a spiritual pathway to detach from everything, yet had the ability to slay men at HER very will whenever SHE wanted to, just because SHE wanted to…
To be continued…