A friend yanks you out of the water before you drown. (Never mind that you were just taking a leisurely swim.)
A holy man bestows you with a special mantra which you repeat to find unlimited spiritual bliss. (That and an increasing army of cattle, goats and livestock on your farm)
Or serendipity could even unveil a literary feast of a memoir which resonates with your very being, help shifts your perspective and ingrains the seed to heal from a broken-heart.
That’s what occurred when the universe presented me with Meeting Shiva: Falling and Rising in Love in the Indian Himalayas, a first time spiritual memoir by Tiziana Stupia.
She travels to India. (Check)
Falls in love. (Fist bump)
Finds herself in relationship. (Yup!)
Finds herself in profound pain and confusion. (Amen, sister)
And has insightful spiritual realizations…well I was with her all the way until the discovery of weighty truths but not too shabby otherwise.
This memoir simply knocked me over like a Japanese bullet train because of the incredulity of the story and the gripping account of an impermissible romance.
I gasped for air reading because the author not only lived my story but started imparting the deepest spiritual truths for awakening and healing.
Tiziana’s journey to her soul-mate.
While I’ve always
day-dreamed, fantasized, imagined finding a spiritual Goddess tucked away in the holiest of lands, Tiziana seemed to have found the man of her dreams tucked away in the remotest regions of the Himalayas.
The small predicament is that her soul-mate, Rudra, is a “drop-dead gorgeous” ascetic monk who serves as the administrator of the ashram she decides to reside in.
The development of the passionate romance in the holiest of ashrams was a real page-flipper which made me constantly ask myself, “Holy Lord Shiva! Is this *$&#&@*@ real? A true story?”
Tiziana finds herself in a forbidden romance. Rudra has so much to lose. The ashram seemed intimate enough that word of this intense love affair could have leaked out at any moment.
As thoughts of “could we” and “should we” danced in their minds, a passionate and amorous relationship begins to unfold.
More torrid than a Spanish telenovela and more taboo than your typical Bollywood romance, Tiziana shares the entirety of her relationship with us.
The intense romance slowly turns to confusion and frustration for the author as she finds her spiritual and meditative Indian boy-friend isn’t quite all he’s cracked out to be.
As she delves in further to know the spiritual-seeking monk, she’s shaken up by his very “un-guru” like personality, unholy behavior and disturbing addictions.
Who’d have thought?
This book is no Eat Pray Love, which is the only narrative I could remotely compare it too.
A single woman on a journey to find herself, her purpose and her man. Except unlike EPL, I found Meeting Shiva fast-paced, attention-grabbing and acutely wise.
Tiziana is able to make profound self-revelations and discover sage-like spiritual truths which she shares with us to help us on our journeys.
Here are 5 insightful revelations she imparts to us in the course of this memoir:
5 Lessons of Meeting Shiva
1) Love is freedom. Sometimes loving someone is having to let them go. (Still haven’t woken up from the knock-out punch of this insight)
You may love someone deeply but loving them may be holding them back on the path they’ve chosen for themselves.
You may have to put your own needs and desires aside and let go of the person you love so they can grow and develop.
2) Love which lasts requires authenticity. For any relationship to work, it needs to come from a centered place of authenticity and awareness.
Tiziana shows us that you cannot simply fill a void in your life with a romantic partner, without delving in further into each other’s background and issues.
You must come to the table as you are and be willing to confront your own insecurities, shortcomings and pain.
You can’t just sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist.
3) Love yourself first. Tiziana realizes that in order to find true love, she has to go through much self-healing and growth.
If you want to stop living the life of conditioned responses and pain from your childhood, you have to work on yourself, heal, grow and become the person you’re capable of.
Otherwise, you will continue to find partners who you think will help you heal and fill the void you feel.
Unfortunately, they can’t help you as much as you can help you.
4) Pain brings transformation. Tiziana came to realize that relationships are learning experiences and can bring profound healing and growth.
Staying in the fire can bring the greatest alchemical transformation.
Start thinking of relationships as a spiritual journey towards healing, not an emotional treadmill you have to endure.
Your change in perspective about relationships can help you change your understanding and purpose while in a relationship.
You’ll go from a place of satisfying needs to embracing healing.
5) Enlightenment is here now. Enlightenment doesn’t have to mean heaven, God shining down upon you or moksha.
It simply could mean liberating yourself from years, and sometimes lifetimes of accumulated patterns and conditioning.
Liberation means to be free from all that so you can be aligned with your true blissful and joyful nature.
Enlightenment is already here and within you. You just need to realize it.
In addition to her savory and heart-rendering personal life story, the memoir touches upon mythological stories of India, the caste system, Indian customs and traditions, the nature of living in a patriarchal society and more.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic heartbreak, seeking spiritual wisdom or simply looking for a laugh-out-loud, cry-even-harder personal journey, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Meeting Shiva.
Be prepared to have a life-changing experience.
What are your thoughts on the 5 spiritual lessons from Meeting Shiva? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
* Lord Shiva (or most likely, I) will award one lucky commenter, drawn at random, a free copy of Meeting Shiva simply for sharing your insights in the comments below.