“You know what?” he said as he studied my astrological chart. “You’re like a souped-up Ferrari with the brakes on.” He laughed at my puzzled expression. “Well, I say that because you’ve got some great planets on your side, but equally tough ones countering their beneficial effects. The trick to beating all of this negativity is to accept that your suffering emanates from your own past karma. YOU have created this scenario—so don’t waste precious time blaming others. Instead focus on melting down all that blocks you from evolving into the powerful woman you were meant to be.”
“What are these brakes?” I asked nervously.
“You know what they are,” he said. “You’ve even admitted them to me. But don’t worry, I rarely see such potential for transformation. You’re going to make it.” I took his words seriously—because a friend had assured me that this man was the best vedic astrologer then working in America. This brilliant man told me other stuff that blew me away too—and a couple of years later, one of his predictions literally saved my life.
The brakes he mentioned were self-destructive habits I’d picked up to shield myself from the suffering I saw all around me. Being hyper-empathetic and hypersensitive, not just to my own pain but to that of every human and animal I encountered, living could be so unbearable that over time I’d found many ways to bury my head in the sand. But, as we all must realize at some point or another, one can assume the ostrich pose only for so long—eventually the pain gets so bad that we are forced to change. Especially if one seeks peace, one has no option but to face reality head-on, learn ways to transcend our perceptions, and merge with the substratum of our being, which sages inform us authoritatively is nothing less than existence-awareness and bliss.
Simply knowing what my brakes were, however, was not enough—I had to suffer a lot more before I put an end to the cycles of self-destructive behavior I’d manifested as a shaky teenager. What helped me out of the rut was a willingness to digest what I was learning from many great gurus; yes, it was the ancient teachings of the East that finally imbued me with an unshakable self-confidence in who I was beyond ephemeral body and mind, and which also gave me a goal—“moksha” or permanent liberation from suffering.
I’m writing this today because a dear friend has been telling me about her inability to let go of her own difficult past. Her mother was a narcissist; for the first nine years of her life, since her father was in the US Army at the time and posted all over, my friend, an only child, was raised by this messed-up and angry mother—a mother who had no compunction in insisting that she was nothing but rubbish and that she wished she’d never given birth to her.
My friend is now in her 70s and despite constant inner work, the demon of low-self-esteem still haunts her. She asked for advice on how to be permanently rid of her pain. “You have to take off the brakes,” I said. “You have to digest all that you are studying and make it a living inner truth. Then you will know that who you are is far more than that frightened little girl who believed her mother’s damaging lies.”
Most of us who have suffered greatly have these invisible brakes. If we really want to be happy, which is our true nature, we must begin by acknowledging that we are blocked. Then we figure out the best way to take off those brakes and so we learn to fly, fabulously free, down the highway that leads to higher consciousness.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva in the form of a hill of fire and light who promises to help us to destroy all that blocks us from knowing that we are in truth nothing less than the immortal and blissful Self!