Thursday, July 29, 2010

Om Mani Padme Hum

Every year at the Freehold Yoga Center we have a holiday party.

One of the FYC regulars came to the party one year and she was very happy to be there.

She shared this fact, loudly, many times.

She’d been invited to other parties that night, she told us. But this is where she wanted to be. She wanted this to be clear, to everyone.

Everything she said that night was loud. We all heard every word of her conversation.

It was the kind of loud that you didn’t know what she might say next.

That was the first I’d met her. But after that, I heard her name many times.

I put together a monthly newsletter for the FYC and Nina, one of the directors, told me this woman wasn’t getting it. She’d picked up a printed copy one day, loved it, and wanted to be placed on the e-mail list.

I assured Nina this woman’s name was on my list, she must be getting the newsletter, but I kept getting the message to make sure her name was on the list.

When I saw her again, she told me how much she loved the newsletter and to be sure to keep her name on my list.

A lot of people love the newsletter. It has a monthly column written by Omkar, who founded the FYC with Nina years ago.

In this column, Omkar regularly exposes the weakest sides of himself.

His fears. His pain. His sadness.

Whenever someone tells me they love the newsletter, it’s usually followed by a recap of the latest of Omkar’s columns.

Of course people love the newsletter. Omkar brings to it the same thing he brings to the center. Himself. It helps people feel less alone.

For years I went to Omkar’s class every Tuesday night. Through job losses, break-ups, nasty family fights. I went to Omkar’s class and it was like a hit of morphine for a drug addict.

That’s why people do yoga. It gives you relief from pain.

And Omkar always said what I needed to hear. He made me feel better.

This woman went to Omkar’s class too and now I know why. I know why she loved the newsletter so much. I know why she loved the FYC. I know why she wanted everyone to understand how much these things meant to her.

Today I learned she killed herself.

She must’ve gotten so low, she couldn’t imagine anything making a dent in the awful loneliness she must’ve been feeling.

She forgot that what she got from Omkar, and the center, and the newsletter, is all a reflection of what she has in herself.

It’s like a nightmare I had when I was little. I thought someone plastered my bedroom door into a wall. So I was trapped inside four walls with no door. I stood up and banged on the door, screaming for the door I was banging on.

If I’d let go of the story – this is a wall, it’s a wall, I’m trapped - I would’ve seen the wall was really my way out.


  1. Good post Sat and I love the ending, no one could have said it better:) Glad you found the "door." Love you forever, L

  2. शांति

  3. Thanks, L =)

    Thank you, Anonymous - Why tease us with Sanskrit? In English, please!

  4. that's the hard part, realizing that we aren't alone. then the next part is how to get past the darkness even if there are people around us.

  5. It's hard to imagine going to that dark a place. Hard but not impossible. And hard to know that you never really know just how big of storm might be brewing inside someone you know or encounter: a stranger, a partner, a lover, a coworker, a child. Guess in the same way that it really is best to treat every day like it may be your last (but live like you will never die) it is important to recongnize the humanity and capacity of depth (of both joy and suffering) of the people in our lives.

    I used to have a dream when I was young(er) that I found a hidden room off my bedroom. And it led to another room, and another and another. And the rooms were covered in beautiful tiles, and they led to underground swimming pools, and caves and waterfalls. And I would come back to that dream, and to exploring those rooms, over and over. And each time I would find more places that I hadn't known existed, right in my room, inside my house, inside my self..

  6. The World isn't always an easy place to exist but by Chanting, Practicing, and listening to the Loving message helps keep me in the right place. I only want to stay humble now and follow the path. With thanks to the Yogis I have met lately (You & the folks at FYC are part of that).