If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’ve probably heard a teacher say that deep down inside we are nothing but love and happiness. I know I’ve heard that countless times, and while I always wanted to believe it, I never truly felt that in the core of my being I was a happy person. I had struggled with depression on and off for too long to feel like I was anything but a sad person fighting my way into the sunlight.
I’m not saying that I am not happy these days; I’ve worked hard to get to a place of happiness, stability and self-awareness, but there was always a part of me that felt like all of that was a fragile state. At any moment the dark chemicals in my brain would take over again and shatter the balance when I’d be least expecting it. But then I went to India.
It was a trip I didn’t necessarily want to take, it was one I felt like I had to take. I didn’t know what was in store and what I learned in those two weeks is hard to describe. But there was one day, one moment even, which changed everything.
It was the second morning of our stay at the Govardhan Eco Village. Three pilgrimage groups had come together to do sunrise yoga in a gorgeous wooden yoga shala lined with giant windows that looked out into the mountains that surrounded us. Kirtan was being sung; the sun was rising over the mountains and shining in through the windows, taking the morning chill out of the air. And there I was—in India.
In that moment, I took in the sounds, the smells and the energy. There was no work stress, no money stress, no everyday life stress—there was just love. There was music, love, support and happiness pouring out from everyone around me and filling the room. And as hippie as that may sound, I felt it wash over me and ignite every cell in my body. I was alive and completely free. I felt light and happy—completely happy. Before I knew it I was crying tears of joy. That morning and that feeling will stay with me forever.
It wasn’t until I got home and was talking about that morning that it dawned on me: I am not a sad person trying to be happy, I’m a happy person who just needed to clean the dirt off of the lens (albeit, a lot of dirt). Knowing, feeling and truly believing that there is a core of utter bliss inside me, whether or not I am able to find it on a daily basis, changed what I thought I was made of deep down. It completely changed my perspective on life.
Now, I’m not saying everyone needs to hop a plane and go spend two weeks in India. What I am saying is that, for most of us, there is something in this world that makes us truly happy, that allows us to tap into that core of love and happiness each one of us has inside. There is something out in the world that makes you feel connected and alive. There is something that will help you clean off your lens.
I encourage you to find what that is. And if you don’t know, or it takes sometime (or help) to find, know that it’s okay. It took me 35 years, several medications, various hobbies, entirely too many drinks and trips all around the world to find my inner peace. But finding it, finding my footing in this world was worth every second of the struggle.