Have you ever looked around and become struck by a strange sensation? Like a veil dropped in front of your eyes? You stood frozen to the spot, processing the realisation of a disturbing thought.
Is this it? Is this all that there is to life? There must be more to it than this?
Maybe it was a sense of intense disillusionment within you that you couldn't shake off. Or that restless night when you couldn't stop your mind from racing as you stared at the ceiling. It could have been when you stared into the mirror, thinking those three mysterious words.
Who am I?
These are the kind of thoughts and feelings that I felt profoundly growing up. Ever since I can remember, I would question everything around me. I did all the things that everyone told me would make me happy. Yet I still felt like something was missing from my life at an early age. There was an emptiness that I didn't know how to fill. An itch that I couldn't scratch. So many existential questions that were burning inside of my mind.
Why couldn't anybody answer me?
I knew that I wasn't like everybody else. That much was obvious. I was different—more aware and perceptive of everything around me. Yet I wasn't afraid to open my mind and go where others wouldn't dare tread. I could feel things, sense things that others couldn't seem to on an innate level. I would question things about reality that everybody else seemed to take for granted. The things that everybody else seemed to desire and covet meant almost nothing to me. All that mattered was the truth. I knew there had to be more. This couldn't be it.
But how could I find it? And where would I even start?
Walking the path
I was always intrigued about the many mystical stories I would overhear growing up. The ones that spoke of enlightened beings of old. These people had found a way to liberate themselves from the cycle of suffering. Being raised in the culture that gifted meditation to the world, I had been introduced to such concepts that had resonated in me from a young age.
I would hear the amazing tales of people who had rejected all material pursuits to live in seclusion. They chose to dwell in remote caves, mountains and jungles rather than be immersed in the distractions of society. Here, they explored the very nature of their existence and consciousness. They were searching. Walking the path to self-realisation and moksha—the ultimate form of liberation.
I was fascinated by these tales as a child. They had made a much bigger impact on me than I had ever let on to anybody. I couldn't contain my curiosity at the sound of such a majestic mastery of the mind. For a curious young boy with a painful past, the sound of such inner-peace was unfathomable. Was it truly possible to calm the storm that I felt within? I needed to know if it was real.
I had to walk down the path and see for myself.
By any means
One day, I had enough. My life was falling apart around me. Everything that I thought was real was breaking down in front of my very eyes. I had made a decision. One that seemed inevitable. I decided that instead of chasing success at all costs, I would endlessly pursue the path to enlightenment instead. I would abandon the notions that society placed on me and ruthlessly dedicate myself to finding the truth.
At any cost.
It wasn't easy. I was all alone. All I had was a burning desire inside me to know what was behind the veil. I left my life behind and took my very first step on the path.
I began by immersing myself in ancient scriptures. I was consumed with an insatiable drive to accumulate any morsel of wisdom I could. I read voraciously, dissecting countless writings in the hope of finding a loose thread and stumbling upon a way in. I began an intense study into the origins of yoga and its much-neglected spiritual aspect. This led to me beginning to experimenting with the natures of truth, reality, the ego and the self.
I read every religious book I could find, from the world's major religions to the most obscure and overlooked. I began studying ancient philosophy and followed the techniques of meditation and mindfulness passed down for thousands of years through my ancestors.
Many years passed as I withdrew from the world and dedicated myself to this journey. I didn't know where the path would end or when. I just had to keep going, one step at a time. This led to me taking the step of becoming an ascetic, living a life of no luxury and extreme self-denial to strip back the layers of illusion that enveloped me.
I tested and pushed the limits of my body and mind to discover more about the human condition that I was experiencing. I spent tens of thousands of hours in intense introspection and contemplation. I could feel new horizons and levels of consciousness to explore arising in me. New questions that I had never even heard asked before.
Yet, nobody around me understood me. These were the ways of old; not for modern times.
Didn't I know I was supposed to get a career, a nice car, a house, a wife, a family? What was I doing leaving good money on the table? Who would desire this stubborn, resolute young man who was only making life harder for himself?
The price was high. But I was more than willing to pay.
Some people thought that I was a failure. That I was out of my mind. I became an outcast. A social pariah. But none of that mattered to me. It was too late to stop. I had come too far to go back. I couldn't stop now. Not when I could start to feel something beginning to shift and stir inside of me. A light that was growing stronger each day.
I was at a low point.
The years had passed by and many had been brutal. I had mastered so many teachings and techniques. Yet had little to show for my efforts except for the corner inside my mind that had become a sanctum of peace. No matter what I tried, I seemed to have reached a plateau that I couldn't surpass. I spent years retracing my steps, trying to push through, and waiting for some kind of sign from the universe. But I felt nothing new. I even questioned my sanity at the choices I made and couldn't help but try to calculate the tremendous cost of my decision.
I could feel that I was so close, yet I was still so far.
It felt like the final piece of the puzzle was missing and without it, I was still as far from my goal as when I had started. Doubt was beginning to creep in and I was questioning everything. I had taken the long, hard road of finding out for myself, without the aid of a spiritual guide.
Had I misinterpreted the teachings? Was my karma preventing me from attaining the truth? Had I thrown away the prime of my life in pursuit of a mirage? Did I make the biggest mistake of my life?
I will never forget the feeling. When the final piece of the puzzle clicked into place. It felt like a seismic eruption of indescribable sensations within me. What I experienced went beyond what I can put into words. It was as beautiful as I had only ever read about.
All my worries, fears, doubts, and anger melted away instantly from the intensity of light that shone from within my mind. All the demons that followed and haunted me for so long disappeared in the blink of an eye. My entire being became completely still. The storm that I used to carry around with me had subsided in a flash.
Time seemed to slow down and swirl in slow motion around me.
I had a clarity of mind that was as pure as a flowing river of fresh water. Everything that had ever worried me became trivial. I had complete control over my mind, body and spirit and the power was immense. I had dedicated my entire life to finding this path and now it had finally happened.
And it was like nothing else I had ever experienced.
Through all the darkness. All the seclusion. All the doubt. All the anger. I had been through so many precarious and intense experiences in my life. By persevering and overcoming them, I had finally found absolute peace within myself.
I had made the transition from becoming... to being.
My journey is far from over.
I have climbed a huge mountain, only to see that there is an even larger mountain in the distance beyond. In some ways, my journey is at an end. Yet in others, it's only the beginning. There is still so far to go and this path will last a lifetime. I know I have only reached the first rung on the ladder of self-realisation.
I'm finally at a place where I can begin to integrate back into the world and share my insight with others.
I believe we all have the power to change the way we feel and behave. Yet many of us are stuck in destructive ways of thinking about ourselves and our lives. We become trapped in negative patterns, or we see life as a series of obstacles that stand between us and where we want to go.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
You can learn how to shift your perspective so that instead of seeing things as problems, you see them as opportunities for growth. You can learn how to use your emotions in a positive way instead of letting them control you. And you can learn how to focus on what makes you happy instead of what makes you feel upset.
Every person has the ability to find peace and live their best life. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. So I'm here to share my journey of enlightenment with you to help you conquer your emotions so that you can find harmony within yourself.
The path of such intense enlightenment isn't for everyone. The goal isn't to make everyone follow in the same footsteps as me. That path is one reserved for a dedicated few for whom the overwhelming sacrifices are bearable. Yet, these insights and lessons can benefit anyone in any situation to help strengthen the mind-body connection and become more in harmony within oneself.
They can benefit every kind of relationship you have and impact society as a whole. That is if we all strive to become more conscious of our karmic footprint. So many of these beautiful concepts have been misinterpreted, misappropriated or mistaken over the years. The time has come to reset what has grown out of alignment.
My goal is to use these teachings to help illuminate the way for others who don't know how to start.
The next step
My journey to enlightenment didn't occur through only one thing. It was through many factors: meditation, yoga, introspection, solitude, silence and more. I created the conditions within that allowed for many incredible sensations and insights to flourish. This allowed me to do what was once unthinkable—to conquer the chaos that was once my mind.
I have gained a wealth of in-depth knowledge from almost two decades of dedication in my quest for inner-peace. By experiencing the extreme events that I encountered along the way, I learned there are many ways to overcome the obstacles that life throws at us.
It is possible to turn your life around. It's never too late to change.
It's not about being perfect—it's about trying your best to become the better version of yourself that you deserve. This is what mindfulness helps you to achieve. It allows you to be present in the moment so that you can experience life as it happens. I'm a living testament to the power of mindfulness, and I believe that it can transform this world in spectacular fashion.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my tale. It took many years in the making. If you would like to learn more about my incredible journey, follow and subscribe to keep in touch with all of my latest insights and updates.
Let us walk the path that lies ahead together.
Ronin is an entrepreneur, creative, writer, blogger and founder & CEO of mello, a pro-active wellbeing platform.