Last week I was awarded a PhD scholarship that includes full international tuition in the UK and a stipend for 3 years. Now, a few months back I told myself that I would write a post on what got me through some very difficult times and kept me determined to pursue this goal, once I had won full funding for a PhD programme.
Dwindling back and forth between being an over zealous optimist and worry fanatic pessimist, my entire life has been a journey filled with extremes. The main reason I started this blog was to direct my energies towards building something positive for I had reached beyond the point of being fed up of my own negative self talk. After years of searching, I have come to the conclusion that I am an oxymoron-the open minded skeptic. Most of my life’s decisions have been based on logic but the few that were based on pure intuition ended up being the most significant. Back then I might not have known what intuition was, but today I’m able to trust that old wise voice in my head who calms me down.
This Friday I want to write about ‘Faith, hope and love‘ and the role they play in bringing you closer to your dreams. My PhD application process has been a long one, I was always aware of my passion for writing, gaining and sharing knowledge and this deep need to work on my own terms to achieve something that would make my friends and family proud. It is true, you have to take a few right hooks and a couple left jabs to realize what you have isn’t so bad. After being knocked around tirelessly, hearing No’s from every where and humiliated, I had spent 2009-early part of 2012 just crawling around helplessly. Little did I know that all these defeats and difficult people were only stripping my ego away until none was left. What I had left was love for my family, love for my dreams and that love is the only thing that kept supporting my back when my spine was in pieces.
Dramatic story short, over the past few months I kept noticing strange co-incidences along with catching double numbers everywhere. Even the email notifications on my phone and my inbox would show up at 12:12, 17:17, 18:18! Definitely proving that my mind was not subconsciously creating these situations. When I googled this phenomenon, I came across mystical/psychic forums which are definitely not my cup of Starbucks Mocha. I don’t believe anyone can talk to spirits, I don’t think some person with a crystal ball can do voodoo and tell me what I should do next and I definitely don’t believe that people who notice co-incidences or double numbers are special. How does one decide who is special? But, as an open minded skeptic, I believe in a universal power/force we cannot see but one that guides us along the way. I believe that power can be molded based on our thoughts. More often than not, one negative thought leads to another and a bunch of horrible incidents occur in your life. Like something is out there feeding off on our pain. The mind is a very funny thing. You can talk it into doing anything and although positive talk is difficult, once you start hoping the universe washes away the worst of you, a strange power does take over.
Back to my double numbers. The one number that ALWAYS showed up on my phone, clocks, mac, TV, emails was 13:13 and upon googling I was directed to this Bible verse (1 Corinthians 13:13):
Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love
I’m not a Christian but I believe in a higher power. My idea of religion is that-it creates war! God or whoever that higher power is could have never wanted wars but our negative judgmental minds definitely learnt that we can thrive on it. I was born in a Hindu family but the atmosphere allowed me to question and be free to form my own conclusions. I spent a few years saying I was an atheist, then I found God again, then I lost God again, all I remember is that the years I spent without any faith were crippling, directionless.
The Google result I came across didn’t seem preachy. 13:13 only highlighted the three things that had always been on my mind but this time the universe was echoing my thoughts. There was an incident when I mentioned this to my best friend who is Jewish. She told me 13 is a lucky number for the Jews. One day, what she said was playing in my mind, I turned around and my eyes fell on the watch in front of me. It was 13:13! Not sure if it was my complex mind playing games but I think #13 has officially won me over.
When I started listening to the universe, I found myself changing the script I played in my head. The stories that left me heart broken changed, I started seeing these people as the ones who lifted me up with the pain they brought me.
Phil Stutz and Barry Michel’s book-The Tools that I mentioned as a Friday Therapy only a little while ago, stresses the importance of facing pain. This book has really helped me stay focused on my dream. A similar thought is mentioned in Gym Class Heroes song Fighter with Ryan Tedder-‘Give me scars, give me pain‘, this song has some really powerful lyrics that fill my heart with hope.
Apart from surrounding myself with positive music, taking up creative writing after a break of 8 years, appreciating the time I spend with my family, watching movies and reading books that inspired me, I make sure that I live in the present moment. Every-time a thought arises that has me worrying about the future, I focus on the faith I have in the universe, on the hope that life’s pain will lead me towards becoming a better human being and finally on the love within my soul that reminds me I’m forever connected to the ones who love me, whether they are with me in this dimension or the next.
Funny enough, the day I was awaiting the result of my PhD interview, I noticed the photo of an Indian deity my mom has in her religious shrine was slightly open and there was my name inside with the text ‘Congratulations’. I picked it up to realize it is a religious holiday greeting card from my Grandfather who passed away in 1993. There is a message in there for me, congratulating me on winning some award at school and he tells me he misses me. When I asked my mom, she said it was the last time he ever wrote before he passed away. Until now I never knew how excellent my Grandfather’s handwriting was nor that this photo was actually a greeting card that my mom had sealed up!
I questioned co-incidences a lot, I lost my faith after every knock but achieving this dream and knowing I came out alive through the most difficult transformation of my soul, tells me that there is a universal power looking out for you. The souls who left you, still want the best for you. We are all ‘works in progress‘ and taking it one day at a time is the only way forward.
More importantly, you by yourself are whole/complete with the faith-hope and love that lies inside you. Detach yourself from the outcome because there is nothing out there that deserves to have any power over how you should feel! If something is meant to happen, have faith that it will and if it doesn’t happen right away, have hope that the universe wants you to learn a lesson, explore other paths and come back stronger. In the end, always stand in love because it will get you through the worst.