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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 68 - Q&A Relationship of traumatic
experiences and bhakti
Date: Mon Jan 5, 2004 10:18am
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Four years ago my bother and I were in a car crash. I survived and he didn't. After
that my life was hell, filled with grief, guilt, anger and despair. Then something
happened. I just couldn't take it anymore. I longed for an answer, and something let go
inside me. Immediately, spiritual knowledge started pouring into my life, and I knew what
I would do for the rest of my days. Your lesson on bhakti rings true with me, though my
experience with it has not been gradual. It came suddenly out of my traumatized state, and
my emotional state continues to move me forward rapidly. What are your thoughts on this?
A: Traumatic experiences can often lead us to an awakening. While the sudden loss of a
loved one can never be fully rectified by anything, if we are able to open, the process of
bhakti will certainly try. The emotions are so huge that the slightest letting go, the
slightest redirecting of emotional energy will have dramatic results. None of us would
volunteer for such a mission, but in life it happens.
When trauma happens, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a loss of health, or other
serious dislocation in life, a cycle of grief will occur. It begins with disbelief, then
can go into denial, then anger, and then down a long emotional slope into despair. For
most of us, there is little control while this is happening. Then, at some point, there
comes a letting go. It can be months later, years later, or decades later. Maybe a letting
go doesn't happen at all for some. Everyone is different. When it does happen, this is a
crucial point in the process. Crucial in the sense that emotionally we may gravitate back
to some semblance of the way things were before the trauma. It is normal to try for that.
Or, we may let go into a divine space, as you have done. That point in the grieving
process is a kind of crossroad.
Again, it comes down to the first impulse of bhakti, that question: "Is there
something more?" If that question is there in some form, emotional energy will rush
into it. That question is a letting go, and the beginning of the manifestation of our
ishta inside, our highest ideal. It is also the beginning of the manifestation of the
guru, and responses are stimulated in our outer environment by it.
It is an opening, a receptivity, a letting go that enables the bhakti effect. As soon as
we surrender our emotions to a higher purpose, they become divine energy rushing in.
Traumatic experiences put us in a position where we may have little choice but to
surrender, or face many years of misery. It is a much more clear-cut choice to make than
considering the divine quest while engaged in the smaller ups and downs of mundane life in
the work-a-day world. The truth is, every emotion is an opportunity for bhakti -- the very
small ones, the very big ones, and every emotion in-between. The emotions will be there.
The letting go may or may not be there. That is up to us. It is we who choose.
Having embarked on the spiritual path with a strong and continuing bhakti surge, you have
found something sacred in your tragedy. Keep in mind that bhakti is powerful spiritual
practice. Make sure to balance your practices to give the best chance for a smooth
unfoldment of pure bliss consciousness and divine ecstasy.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on
employing desire and action on our spiritual path, see the
AYP Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.
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