This blog is about me contemplating and trying to make sense of this fascinating journey called life and penning down various life lessons that I learn along the way.....
So make yourself a nice cup of coffee..pull a chair and sit back and enjoy the little ponderings that I share with you...


Friday, April 8, 2016

My Two Bits on... To Be or Not To Be.. :)




Not writing long articles these days. Happy with bits and pieces.. Let's call them Soul Food Bits.. :)
It's more a compelling pull to write what's happening on the path. As if I made a promise or something before getting on a journey that  I will keep writing...that I will keep posted...will keep communicating....literally.... Feels exactly like that.. that's what I realized I had been doing sub-consciously with my food blogs too .. :)

Anyways :) Saw Kung Fu Panda 3 the other day.. And actually surprisingly many of these cartoon movies these days are quite inspiring and have very profound messages... Interesting to watch this Panda trying to live upto his dragon warrior destiny and wondering who is he? .. a son of a Panda? a son of a bird? a dragon warrior? a teacher? And finally receiving his answer that he is ..All of it....

Brought a smile to my face when I saw that because interestingly this has been on my mind too... Obviously not a co-incidence.. :)
I have always wondered about this need to define ourselves in one line..in one slot...in one word. Yes, maybe what one does for money can be defined in a line to those people we are offering our services to. But is that all that we are? Is that who you are? 
How does one define the multifaceted beings that we are?...  The journey that we are on?.. 
No wonder then, that people get disappointed when that one facet of their life doesn't work the way they want because that's how they have defined themselves... 

So then.. Am I a mother? A blogger? A writer? A cook?  A vegan ? A dancer? A reader? A thinker? A fitness freak these days! And everything else that I've been in the past!

And interestingly someone very close to me had told me... to not think singularly and in those exact words..that I was ... All of it...
One can categorize it whichever way one wants but it's all me.. and it's all inter connected..

And time and again, I reach the conclusion that I don't want to Be This or That...I don't want to Wait to Be this or that..

Those with conditioned minds often get mistaken and think that when you don't care about Being this or that.. you are not ambitious enough. But infact, I have realized that I seem to be after the most ambitious thing this time  :) I seem to have chosen a real ambitious fast track of learning and evolution this time.. :) Like seriously!! :) No nonsense on the way.. I've been on a fast track ever since I can remember!! :) Sorry....but I deserve to laugh a bit at that!! :)

To me, whether consciously or unconsciously my journey has been most important....
Every person that I meet....every experience that I have...every activity that I do..  leads me towards my destination..my evolution.....
If earlier it meant to be in the corporate world for a certain purpose.. I did it...
And now... 
If that means I need to write a novel or something..I will write it..
If that means I need to go dance somewhere to balance my energy ... I will do that..
If that means only certain kinds of food suit me now ..I will happily do it...
If that means I need to meet certain people have certain experiences with them as a part of my soul work..So be it...
At this point in my journey ..I don't want to get fixed on Being one particular thing....
At this point in my journey.. my goal is my Evolution.. reuniting with my true spiritual being is what I wish and pray for...

Interestingly.. I became conscious of my journey about 3 years back.. and it has been truly such an amazing journey...So much has happened since then too..... I have to allow that process to unfold in it's own time... Every time you feel complete and ready there is a whole new level of completion waiting at the corner.. 
Every event since then feels like it's been minutely planned....each person.. each activity...each experience seems perfect ..like this had to happen....then this had to happen....then I had to meet this person... I truly feel blessed to share this journey with some amazing soul friends who I had to meet on the way...very strategically placed. And  we keep reminding ourselves that our journeys are so same same yet completely different different.. :)
Everything so perfect... not  a day wasted...pit pat like a script.. And I want to stay aligned to that and grateful for it...

Since then, I have developed a much stronger faith in the Path and the Universe and given up the need to define myself.....
My daily affirmation is towards my soul evolution and for all my loved ones...near and far..

Too much has happened in this lifetime itself to fall for the need of the Ego to Be something... I am not falling for that....

I have realized that, for me, it was never about ...To Be or Not To Be..
It is about.... I Am that I Am...
And That is Enough... :)

And the more all of us realize the importance of "I Am that I Am" rather than struggle with "To Be or Not To Be", the more liberated and joyful we all will feel.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lots of ways to reach God.. I chose Love..




You have no idea how hard I've looked
for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to
the gold mine, or water to the ocean.
Everything I came up with was like
taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my soul 

because you already have these.
So I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me.
- Rumi




All, everything that I understand,
I understand only because I love. 
- Rumi



Rumi, undoubtedly is my favorite poet. I am ever amazed by his beautiful inspirational words which seem to come from such a deep pure place. Each quote is such a masterpiece. Each of them is so profound and impactful that it takes time to soak in each of these quotes. Was trying to compile some of his beautiful thoughts and realized that all of them are so beautiful that my list ended up being much longer than what I had intended.

In Rumi's own words - Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Absorb each of these thoughts at your own pace, maybe just one a day and let your being soak in the beautiful eternal divine love expressed in these quotes. He has beautiful words for everyone whether you are together, single, separate, believer or a cynic - such as - "Open Your Arms If You Want The Beloved's Embrace." or  "A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home". Truly words of a wise soul.
 
I am ever grateful and humbled by the power of this divine eternal love which has the capacity to awaken you, heal your deepest wounds, make you love your own self and want to make this world a better place. Nothing remotely cheesy about it. If each soul was soaked in this divine love and was inspired to be a better version of himself/herself and be of service to others around, how beautiful and peaceful  this planet would be.
Words truly are powerful and when expressed positively and wisely can have such a wonderful impact on the world around. Always sending lots of loving healing energy your way.

Here are some more precious thoughts by Rumi to warm up your heart on this or any other beautiful day.....

Love cannot be learned or taught;
Love comes as Grace.
~ Rumi




In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you.
~ Rumi



One day your heart will take you to your lover.
One day your soul will carry you to the Beloved.
Don't get lost in your pain,
Know that one day your pain will become your cure.
~Rumi



Your longing for me is my message to you,
All your attempts to reach me,
Are in reality my attempts to reach you.
~Rumi



The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along
- Rumi





Someday our souls will be one and
our union will be forever.
I know that everything I give you comes back to me.
So I give you my life , hoping that you will come back to me.
~ Rumi



Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul,
there is no such thing as separation.
~ Rumi




Love is not an emotion,
it is your very existence.
~ Rumi




Your body is away from me, 
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.
From this window, like the moon,
I keep sending news secretly.
~ Rumi




Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion?
~ Rumi





You think you are alive because you breathe air?
Shame on you, that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don't be without Love, so you won't feel dead.
Die in Love and stay alive forever.
~ Rumi




In fact, my soul and yours are the same,
You appear in me, I in you,
We hide in each other.
~ Rumi



At the end of my life, 
with just one breath left,
if you come, I’ll sit up and sing.
-Rumi




I will be waiting here
For your silence to break
For your soul to shake
For your love to wake.
-Rumi




To Love is human. 
To feel Pain is human.
Yet to still Love despite the Pain is pure Angel.
-Rumi



I don’t know where I end and You begin.
~Rumi




No joy have I found in the two worlds
Apart from you, Beloved.
Many wonders I have seen:
I have not seen a wonder like you.
~Rumi



I am a Mountain
You call ~ I echo
Rumi




The One Who Truly Loves You
Will Set You Free
~Rumi



Your soul is so close to mine..
That what you dream, I know...
I know everything you think of...
Your heart is so close to mine!
-Rumi




Come let's fall in love again
let's turn all the dirt in this world to shiny gold.
~ Rumi



Saturday, September 26, 2015

You are the Universe expressing itself.... Don't die with the Music still inside you...






"Don't die with the music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your souls" - Wayne Dyer 



Most of you are well aware that I have not been writing much recently on Soul Food Bites. I am not sure if it was a writers block or simply that my soul had chosen to experience and express itself in other creative forms recently. Between this period my vegan food website "A Sweet Vegan World" was born and it will always be very close to my heart. But whenever I would go anywhere people would ask me about  Soul Food Bites articles and why I had stopped writing them. I really had no answer. It just wasn't happening. I just wasn't feeling like it. I felt like I had nothing to say really. I guess..


But then something really got to me the other day. It was the news of Wayne Dyer passing away. 
I honestly couldn't believe that this man had died...
The reality and certainty of death always has that power to jolt you out of your comfort zone.

Why? You ask.. I didn't even know him personally right? But you know what? when I was in my darkest dungeon ..his words had the power to pull me out... Yes simple words..I held on to those words like a rope which pulled me out. Wise and inspirational words by some very wise authors. And Wayne Dyer was one of them. Wayne Dyer, Robin Sharma, Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Paulo Coelho and even Brian Weiss.. These authors unknowingly became my mentors through their works and their books.


These authors became my rocks. And Wayne Dyer was one of such a big rock. He spoke about hope, inspiration, strength and sometimes even about orbs around his head and monarch butterflies sitting on his shoulders. :) And honestly initially even I wondered if he was deluded or something but as I read more and more of his books.. his words would resonate with the deepest part in me.
And today as I looked at his picture on one of my books, a sense of realisation dawned on me. His face appeared so serene and peaceful. It was as if he had written everything he knew and believed to be true and now had moved on to his next step in his eternal journey. It was as if he had emptied himself out ..fulfilled his purpose and moved on.. Some got inspired by him, some must have called his work humbug and some don't even know who he is. But  he did what he was meant to do on this planet.. He wrote it all out...
It really made me wonder..Had I written it all out? Yes some may read it, some may not, some may like it some may call it bullshit, one day it may culminate into a book , one day it may not. But the real question is had "I" written it all out? Or was I going to die with the "Music still inside my heart" as Wayne Dyer himself would say it. Was I going to share with the world everything that I had learnt since I began my journey consciously or would I just die with all the knowledge inside me?...
If you really ask me last 6 years of my life have been so dramatically life altering that I have really prayed to God.... please give me one non-happening year!! Seriously! But then I realise life gives you experiences so that you may learn from them and share your learnings with others. All this could not be happening for no reason. I have to write it out. Weave them into beautiful stories.. Or what's the point? Right?
I believe the Universe expresses itself through us. It gives us desires, dreams, knowledge, experiences and opportunities for our learning and for sharing these learnings with others. And to express these desires is our purpose in life..The Music in our hearts.. And that's why many famous authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Paulo Coelho have repeatedly said that ..When you decide to follow your dreams the entire Universe supports you ....... Why? Because I believe you are simply the Universe expressing itself through you so when you align yourself with your dreams and desires you allow things to flow....allows opportunities to come your way. Yes ,we like the word opportunities as compared to the concept of the Universe supporting us..isn't it? :)

And to think about it..we are all going to die one day..each and every one of us..And it's really not going to matter how many Likes you got and how many you didn't. Even Mr. Deepak Chopra or for that matter Mahatma Gandhi have their fair share of nay sayers. But imagine if they didn't do what they were meant to do because of fear..
A friend had recently sent me a message that "The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find"...How true is that! Accepting our true self is surprisingly such a challenging task. Never thought it would be like that.. But that's what it is.. right? I mean, I always wonder ..why did I choose this silly task of writing such thought provoking stuff!! why couldn't I have just chosen to be a famous movie star instead!! :) haha.. But I guess that's not how the story was supposed to go.. :) So many times we literally need the Universe to push us to finally get down to what we were meant to do! So funny huh!!



And as I stare at Wayne Dyer's serene face. I realise that even I want to die like that..after having written everything out.. Some may not read it, some may not like it, some may call it airy fairy but some sweet souls quietly read it and look forward for more and so I write for them and mainly for Me. As most of all I owe it to all my life experiences and my own soul to express itself clearly and give it an opportunity to do what it was meant to do!! Yes..it takes courage to put yourself out there..But that's the whole point isn't it?. I am not coming back all over again for it!!  What about you? :) 







Monday, October 6, 2014

Lessons of Unconditional Love from "Doggy"….


 
 

I want to introduce you to this wonderful being who recently came into my life simply called “Doggy”. Why he is called just Doggy and not some proper name is the entire basis of our relationship.
 So when we started regularly visiting our small little beautiful village house, I was this typical city dweller who would walk around with a wooden stick in my hand to protect myself and my little one from some doggies who followed us around in the campus. I would often wonder why the stray dogs are allowed to walk around in the campus in the first place. Then slowly I noticed that this one particular doggy always sat outside our house, always followed us everywhere no matter what wherever we went. Sometimes I would be scared but then slowly I started getting familiar with him.
Sometimes a thought would cross my mind whether I should feed him something but then I would stop myself thinking that maybe this would encourage the whole bunch of dogs to land at our doorstep. I thought this would not be a wise thing since I had a little one to care for and protect and would be scared of the germs that these dogs would be spread around.  
But this particular one would not give up. He would follow us everywhere. Even if I didn’t give him any food he would still hang around in the verandah and spend the whole weekend around us. My son too became familiar with him and started pointing him out to me. He would say “Look Maa, there’s our Doggy.” Slowly he started being “our doggy”.
Then I began wondering that if he spends the whole weekend with us where would he be eating? So I slowly started giving him some food. Then I would notice that he would loudly bark whenever he saw any other dog near our house. He was getting territorial. I never realised how powerful his bark actually was. He never showed it to us. But whenever another dog approached our house this fellow would growl and bark at him and then again gently just come and sit on the verandah. I didn’t know what to make of this.
Then one day while walking around I happened to glance right into his eyes. I was told never to stare at a dog right in his eye, but this just happened. And I noticed such deep wise gentle eyes. He too was gently staring right back at me. I suddenly felt so safe. I realised that he meant no harm. Eyes are truly the windows to the souls and animals have souls too. I had read a lot about this. But this was the first time it truly sank in for me.
I used to think that my heart was open enough but I guess not. This doggy taught me that I could further open my heart to him too. That there were still places in me that I had not yet explored. Growing up in matchbox sized homes in Mumbai, having a pet was a luxury that I hadn’t even thought of. So I had an indifferent relationship with “pets”. I thought it was something that I did not have to bother with. Humans already have so much trouble. And that, there was already enough and more on my plate to worry about. I didn’t realise that I had the capacity to hold much more love and compassion than I had imagined. And ofcourse, with time he helped me open my heart so much that I ended up becoming an active Vegan. I realised that I had an unexplored area in my heart where I could extend my compassion to not just dogs but all animals.
After that day everything changed. I now looked forward to having him around  and he would always hang around us during our entire stay. I started taking care of his meal timings. I noticed which food he preferred and his mannerisms. He was simply just our doggy.
Then came a stage when I would wonder what happens to him when I go to Mumbai. Who gives him food? Would the other doggies be caring for him now that he barks at them, when he is with us? Taking him physically back with me wasn’t a realistic option for me.
That’s when I learnt to hand him over to the Universe. I knew he would be fine even when I was not around. I don’t need to own him, name him, chain him, train him. Nothing! He is his own being. He is his own master. He goes for his walks, comes and goes at his will. He stays with us out of his own will. He is not our “pet”. And I am not his owner.  He is simply just our doggy.
That’s when I realised what this doggy was teaching me! Isn’t that what unconditional love is about? Not wanting to possess another being. To be able to love another deeply without owning them. And more importantly, trusting that they will be feeling that too no matter what. This has been such a major lesson in my life.. letting go physically of my loved ones… my parents are in another realm, my sister stays in another continent, my besties stay in other countries and cities.. Infact, isn’t that the case with most of us nowadays? Probably humanity as a whole needs to learn this lesson to love each other unconditionally without physically possessing them. We may be spending the days of our lives making new wonderful friends and sharing lives with other good people. But deep down, given a choice, our hearts truly crave for each other. And if it doesn’t then why worry anyways…
They say that true unconditional love doesn’t mean that you are visibly inseperable. It means that you are separate and still nothing changes. If we are able to even understand this and more importantly believe that such love truly exists and is even possible. It is enough.
And that’s what this gentle soul, “Doggy” teaches me….. Let go. Don’t own me. I will still choose to come to you… And I too choose to have that faith…

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Hidden Sanctuaries, A Visual Diary and A Song ....


 
Here is an article that I had written for Speaking Tree on Meeting of Inner and Outer Sanctuaries which appeared on Sept 21, 2014.
 
 

Having been born, brought up and lived in the city of Mumbai most of my life, I have always craved for the simple village life that I felt deprived of. As a child, I would love to hear the stories that my friends had to share about their visits to their home towns during summer vacations. Among them, I thought that my friends from Goa where the luckiest people in the world for being able to live in a sea-facing house surrounded by tall coconut trees.
So, I was very excited when we got the opportunity to buy a beautiful small place of our own in the western part of Maharashtra admist the heart of  nature - not for the glamour quotient of owning a weekend home, but because this presented an opportunity for me to experience the simple village life that I craved for.
To me, village life meant a beautiful sanctuary where I could plant my own trees and follow the rhythm of nature. A place where I could go for a healing embrace of mother nature and come back afresh to handle the day to day hectic city life.
Mother Nature has that kind of healing effect on us, helps us transmute all our stored negativity that we carry around and has the capacity to fill the crevices of our jaded souls. Allowing us to experience that just being is enough we don’t have to constantly to be doing something.
We all feel the need to experience such outer sanctuaries in various forms whether it is a simple spiritual getaway, a weekend home or a relaxing vacation repeatedly to heal our splintered souls.
What happens for most of us is that after we come back from such a getaway we immediately start feeling the withdrawal blues rightaway. The peace that we experienced gets immediately washed away as soon as we are back home.
Thich Nhat Hanh explains in his book ‘The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching’ that our object of perception is already inside us. When we perceive the moon, the moon is us. The flower that we are looking at is a part of our own consciousness. In this perspective, it helps to realise that this outer sanctuary that we repeatedly crave for and the peace that it offers is already contained within us. In our daily meditations by going within we can access this beautiful place inside us.
Then we could be travelling in a train, or waiting for the bus or sitting in the office, we can just simply close our eyes and visit this beautiful sanctuary in all its beauty inside us and come back rejuvenated, well equipped to handle the daily chores that lay ahead for all of us and fulfil our roles with sincerity.
This meeting of the outer and the inner sanctuaries is nothing but a profound realisation that whatever we seek for in the outside world is already inside us, we just need to see it with the right eyes… 

 
So much hard work for a bowl of rice.....
 


It's never too early for a bit of gratitude meditation


Or some contemplation....


Or seeing the connections and cheering for the snail.......


Home is truly where your heart is....


 
On that note it reminds me.. long time, no song, right? Listening to Samjhawan sung by Arijit Singh on FM right now. Beautiful lyrics and this Arijit Singh is a truly blessed singer.... Njoy, listen to each and every word with full awareness and Smile! Your smile is precious.... 



 

Monday, September 8, 2014

There goes my glass of wine too!! And I am not even complaining...


Our daily life presents us with wonderful opportunities of mindful living and the other day a simple conversation with my little 5 year old son made me realise the powerful potential that each moment presents to us and our capacity to either harness it or ignore it has the power to plant the seeds of endless future possibilities which we cannot see today.
I would really hardly call myself a drinker and a single glass of wine maybe once a couple of months socially almost qualifies me as a teetotaller. But the other day, while we were sipping a glass of wine, on a rainy late evening, my son came there and asked me a simple pointed question. He came up to me and said “Maa, isn’t alcohol harmful for health? Don’t you know that? Then how come you are having it?” And as most adults would, I went on to explain to him that one glass of wine occasionally is not harmful and anything that is done in the right balance is not harmful to our health. He seemed unsatisfied, had a disturbed look on his face and said “But it’s still alcohol!” and then went about his way. :(
I felt very uneasy after that incident. As a logical adult, I know for a fact that one glass of wine perhaps once a couple of months does absolutely no harm to our health. But then, why am I feeling uncomfortable? What is this situation trying to teach me? I wondered. Here is a little boy bringing a lesson to me, what am I missing out here? His face kept coming to me and I could imagine both of us having the exact same conversation a few years down the line in reverse roles. I couldn’t reach a resolution. So I thought that if I let this just stay with me, it will eventually lead me to the answer.
And co-incidentally, these days I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book called “The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching” and a couple of days later I reached the part on page 97 where he explains an exact similar situation about a woman having wine! He explains beautifully that the Ministry of Health in France advises people not to drink too much. They advertise on television that “One glass is ok, but three glasses invites destruction.” But if the first glass were not there in the first place, how could there be a third glass? Not having the first glass of wine is the highest form of protection. He goes on to say that if you give up wine, you’ll be doing it not only for yourself but also for your children and the society. You may not have the seeds of alcoholism in you, but who knows whether the seed of alcoholism is in your children!
Oops!! This hit me like a bull’s eye! This is a bit much of a co-incidence. Was this the resolution that I was looking for? I thought. Most of us on the spiritual path are well aware of the concepts and ideas that there are actually no co-incidences and that the universe sends it’s messages to us in strange little ways. We are well aware and well-read about the concepts of our wise new age children. But do we have the courage to act upon these messages and listen to them when they actually happen in our life or do we just simply ignore them? That is a true test of our beliefs.
So, I decided to take this message from the Universe seriously and act on it.  I went up to my little baby and told him that he was indeed right. One glass of wine is still alcohol and that I do not really need to consume it at all to feel good or comply socially. I thanked him for being so wise and pointing it out to me bravely. He looked very delighted with this and the look on his face itself was worth the decision for me. :)
Some people may call this extreme or too moralistic but I call this heart based living. Doesn’t make logical sense but feels right to me. This may not make me very popular but then again I am not here to be popular, am I? I am here to follow my deeper purpose in complete harmony with the Universe. So many people have wines and all sorts of things and this situation does not happen to them, does it? Maybe giving up wine may not be in tandem with their purpose in life, which is great for them. But it did happen to me! So I have to have the spine and respect and honour it for what it is.
And in a way I am also not very surprised as I realise that this is not way out of line of where I am naturally heading towards too.. I am already a vegetarian.. literally a vegan.. can't really consume animal products anymore....done with the lattes, milk chais, cheese, paneer and yoghurts also...So I guess, there goes my indulgence of a glass of wine too!! :) It's almost like a natural guided progression.. something which I am not even actively advocating.. Its just happening effortlessly and I am observing it.
Also today, I have no idea what this simple act of giving up my glass of wine based on my son’s observation may have an impact on mine or his future life or the society that he will operate in. And when he grows up I don’t want to hold him to it as a tit for tat and a reason for him to not touch alcohol. Ofcourse, he will go through his own experiences of what this world has to offer. But I am sure that this tiny incident is etched forever as a part of his life story and his consciousness. Maybe it will help him in his darkest hour or maybe he will probably amusingly tell this story to his grandchildren and that itself will have it’s own ripple effects on that future generation. I cannot see those ripple effects today. But I do know that today I was presented with an opportunity to plant this seed of Right Action which may grow into a beautiful tree somewhere tomorrow. Isn’t that what mindful living is all about? :)

 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's A Personal Journey...



Here is an article that I had written, an abridged version of which appeared in The Speaking Tree Edition of The Times of India dated August 3, 2014.


 

Most of us who are on the spiritual path would have encountered the terms spiritual ego, spiritual competition and spiritual shopping. When I became conscious of my path, I was warned of these concepts also. But I was sure that these things won't happen to me, or so I thought, this path was supposed to be full of compassion, healing, love, peace and happiness. I thought competition was a part of the corporate life which I had left behind a few years ago.
But as I trod along the path, these terms began making an appearance, albeit slowly. As people around you come to know of your spiritual interests, conversations naturally tend to steer toward it. You will be asked with anxiety, whether you practice reiki daily? How long do you meditate daily? Have you read a book of this particular author? How many spiritual workshops have you attended? Do you know pranic healing, tarot cards, angel cards, etc.? Are you part of any spiritual organization? You will be given unsolicited gyan on what a particular guru or teacher says and if you tend to disagree with that, then Lord only spare you!!
All this can sometimes cause a lot of energy imbalance and anxiety inside you. One needs to remember that at a deeper level this is a very personal journey and that it needs to be respected for what it is. There are many paths which lead to the same Source and to assume that yours’ is the only path is a serious disservice to someone else’s journey.
My conscious journey started after the sudden and tragic death of my parents in an accident when I had just been blessed with a lovely baby. This was the first time aspects of duality- death and birth, anger and gratitude, darkness and light were staring at me right at my face. This made me question every concept I knew or was conditioned to believe about life and death. My relationship with the Universe had got distorted and it had been of anger yet of thankfulness. And this confused state of mind was affecting my daily life. And I realised that to be a better person, I have to heal myself completely at a soul level.
Clarifying my purpose helped me to get back to the place of unconditional love and compassion once again.
We all got attracted to our own spiritual path in this lifetime for a particular reason. The reasons could be various for each one of us such as needing to manage our daily stress, loss of purpose in life in general, relationship issues, a need to heal some disease, a loss of loved one and so on. If we are clear about our purpose of getting on this journey, then it helps us stay true to it. Monitoring our improvements on this front helps us increase our self-confidence and thus reduces our inner anxieties to keep cross checking our efforts with others. As Thich Nhat Hanh said “There is no enlightenment outside of daily life”. If your practice is helping you in your daily life to become a better person, improving your relationship with your loved ones, healing you, giving you inner strength, then how does it matter how many hours your neighbour is meditating or how many workshops he is attending? 
To me, a spiritual journey is an inner experiential journey of self-actualization. It is about discovering the divine place within you and not outside of you. It is futile to judge others and draw comparisons on this path. It is about listening to our inner voice who has been our eternal companion in our journey and guides us towards finally uniting with our true being, provided we listen to it!