In my business life, I struggled to get ahead, I worried all the time. But now I realize you living has to be the ultimate goal.
Survived the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008. The 53-year-old yoga amd meditation teacher lives in Markham, Ont.
I was in India on a meditation retreat. Normally I went to my room after meditating. But my group decided we’d go to the hotel restaurant. When the shooting started, my friend Alan shouted at us to get under the table. Some ended up beside the table rather than under it, and they were all shot. They were all injured. I was grazed in the thigh by a bullet.
I kept chanting a powerful mantra of peace: Om shanti. It means “God’s peace” or “universal peace.” I had been taught that it created a subtle shield around you that protected you from negative energy. Afterward, when there was a ceasefire and one of the hotel staff called quietly for anybody who was alive and could move to come his way. I had to crawl over Alan, who was shot in the head.
People generally come from their stories, about what they think life is and how it should be. I was coming from my story, which is that of a yoga and meditation teacher with an awareness of universal consciousness. The shooter was coming from a very different story, about great suffering and deprivation. From what little I know about it, he had been raised without most of the basics of living.
Everyone has their own role to play. The role the shooter played helped me evolve. It helped put me in a place where I experienced the possibility of death and I also experienced a higher consciousness. I feel a lot more whole, a lot more integrated. I experience a lot less fear. I think when you face your worst possible fear and you realize there’s really nothing to fear except the fear itself, that’s liberating. Do I need to fear death anymore? I don’t think so.