5 Lessons from Meeting Shiva: Intense Love Story Reveals Spiritual Wisdom

MeethingShiva .
Meeting Shiva, a spiritual memoir by Tiziana Stupia

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!)

Separates.(Hear hear.)

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. 

Meeting Shiva author
Meeting Shiva author, Tiziana Stupia


To learn more about Tiziana, visit her website at http://www.tizianastupia.com/. For more information on Meeting Shiva, visit Changemakers Books.


  1. Hey Vishnu,

    Fascinating post. Definitely sounds like a must-read. The end of a relationship always has the possibility of being a catalyst for change and increased awareness: if we are prepared to look and examine. I love the line “It simply could mean liberating yourself from years, and sometimes lifetimes of accumulated patterns and conditioning.” How very true!

    1. Keith – absolutely – this book made me rethink a lot about relationships. There is a lot of wisdom and truth in it – life-changing ones.

  2. Wow! Forbidden love. Taboo subjects. Difficult circumstances. All part of a great read!

    Finding someone when you feel whole, rather than hell fill a void. Can you tell me how that’s done, please?! Being void-less is cyclical (at least for me). Some days I feel great, others not so much.

    Your review makes me wanna buy the book, pronto!

    – Razwana

    P.S – really love your writing for this post, V. It crackles and flips in all the right places.

    1. Thanks Razwana on the feedback on the book and writing. So, the book is very interesting. Seriously, a page-turner which I essentially read in 2 sittings. And regarding your question, I don’t think you have to be whole necessarily. We’re all just a work in progress. The more progress we make towards wholeness and self-betterness, the less of a void we need to fill:) through someone else.

  3. Hi Vishnu,

    This certainly sounds like a fascinating book.

    What you wrote about treating relationships as a spiritual journey towards healing, and not as an emotive treadmill that has to be walked on, really struck a chord with me.

    I’ve never looked at relationships in this way before and after reading your post, I can see how this can completely transform our approach to relationships, for the better. So often, we can get into relationships and our egos get activated and before we know it, we and our partner are caught up in pain-pleasure cycles.

    Thank you.

    1. Yeah, exactly Hiten. This truth from Tiziana’s experience was probably the most powerful thing I’ve read in awhile and what I needed to hear. If we can change our perspective on relationships, we can treat them more like vehicles for growth and healing, instead of the ego-based pain-pleasure cycle. You highlighted the very essence of the wisdom in this book. Thank you for your visit.

  4. Love this review of Meeting Shiva, Vishnu. It sounds like a real page turner with life lessons as well. Always good. While all are important, “Love yourself first” and “Pain brings transformation” are lessons that jumped out at me. I have always felt that the best relationships come when two people have a strong connection with themselves first and then are able to share that love with another person. Of course, we learn so much from our pain don’t we?

    Thanks for sharing the book – will add it to my list to read!!

    1. I’m glad you liked the review Cathy. Yes, a stronger connection with oneself and self-love does help contribute to stronger relationships. We do learn a lot from pain and I think the book helped me look at pain differently – more from a healing and growth-oriented perspective. I enjoyed the book and I’m certain you will too. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Vishnu ~ Sounds like an amazing read! I’ve got a long must-read list going on right now. . . (considering learning how to speed read!) but your intriguing post will bump this book up from #2282 on the list. . . 🙂

    Maybe you won’t find it profound, but I always find myself trying to explain lesson #1 to my five year old daughter. Last night it was a frog she wanted to love (and bring inside) the night before I think it was a beetle. Anyway, sometimes explaining complex concepts to a child can challenge our own thoughts about it and our ability to understand it ourselves. Still thinking about this one!

    1. I know what you mean Jessica. this book was not on my to-read list and showed up unexpectedly. I read the first few pages and then couldn’t stop. What you’re teaching your daughter is very profound because our fairy-tales, Disney movies etc tell a completely different story:) Children help us take the philosophical and theoretical and put it into practice. If we can explain to them these concepts and teach it to them, it will only cause us to have a better understanding of the concepts ourselves. Thanks for this awesome comment Jess!

  6. So what you are saying is that spiritual leaders of any religion are susceptible to secret sexual relations with followers?! Hmm.

    Oh, maybe that isn’t what you are saying. Sounds like a great read.

    Enjoyed catching up on your recent posts.

    1. haha thanks Galen! Yes, they’re all susceptible and now I feel like I want to explore that topic in a future post:) It was a good read and I’m again, glad to see you back in the blogosphere.

  7. While I am guessing the book might be a great read, I certainly loved reading your review, Vishnu. The five lessons sound more like the five truths of life – especially #3 and #4.

    As for the book, okay, bud, let it be me who receives the book 😛

    Again, I just loved your writing style in this post. So upbeat – your enthusiasm literally came off the screen!

    1. hahah Vidya – I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I try to write book reviews as interestingly as you do your reviews. Yours are so good sometimes I feel I’ve read the book after reading your review:) I will see what I can do about delivering the book – I’m doing a completely objective, random drawing – I can put your name in twice (kidding, everyone:)

      Vidya, if you’re up for a review of the book, I’m sure Tiziana would be more than happy to send you copy.

  8. I really think our most important relationships are a very important part of our spiritual journey, and man can it be a challenge sometimes! I crave peacefulness and quiet but I have to say I definitely learn the most and feel more motivated to continue my spiritual quest when things are a challenge. Parenting presents me with many opportunities to learn every day.

    1. lol loved this comment Wendy! I’m going to quote you on that and tweet you on it too. Parenting is probably a situation where you’re doing the mentoring, teaching and raising of the kids but you’re receiving the lessons and many insights from them as well. Relationships are in fact a part of our spiritual journey which should have us ask more often – what is this relationship here to teach us?

      Thank you for this insight and comment:)

  9. This sounds like an interesting book. I totally agree with point #3 loving our self is the first step to truly loving someone else. When we value and love our self it will be easier to love and value those around us, and especially a sole mate.

    1. You got it Dan! Instead of looking for love on the outside, it has to start from the inside. It was a very interesting read filled with inspiration and wisdom.

  10. Wow. Sounds like a powerful book man. I really resonated with so many of your points.

    I’ve had my own personal experience with your first lesson about love and freedom. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. But it was clear our directions were very different from one another and that we would lead a life of discontent and resentment if we continued on.

    Being able to let go, while still loving someone is intense. But it was the right thing to do for me and it sounds like it was the right thing to do for Tiziana.

    Great post man.

    1. Thanks Kevin. I’m glad the book resonated and you were able to let go in your own life and still love the person. I wasn’t quite there. Not sure if I am now. lol but this book was an opening to consider that possibility. The book is definitely helping me change my perspective on relationships.

  11. Wow! Reading your comment on the post was exciting and disturbing at the same time. I couldn’t imagine my reaction if I read the whole book lol…

    On my first read, I began reflecting on the monk [not that he is drop dead gorgeous or something] but what was in his heart. I started to question how come he gave in ~ well, I haven’t read the story and I couldn’t read souls so I leave the judgment to God… But I think in the process of this relationship, both of them learned a lesson. I wish the monk would also write ‘his’ share of the story and how it transformed him.

    On the more serious side, I could relate with Tiziana and how she came to terms with truly ‘seeing’ the real side of the man she ‘thought’ she knew. Monks, like religious ~ nuns or priests ~ aren’t perfect and are still human. What veils people’s eyes from recognizing that is the environment these ‘spiritual people’ live in. I think she was the ‘test.’

    I could also relate on the ‘letting go’ part ~ everybody wishes a happy ending but the Lord has a path for each one of us. Love is Freedom ~ let the person you love grow ~ that is very powerful!

    Thank you Tiziana for such an intriguing topic and thanks Vishnu for the book, lol… thank you for sharing this.

    1. Hey Melissa – while I can’t give away too much about the book, I promise you that you’ll definitely be intrigued by the monk. He is definitely not perfect 🙂 And you’re right – he doesn’t have to be. He is also human like all of us.

      The lesson about letting go resonated quite a bit with me (as you can imagine) and was a wake-up call. If you enjoyed the write-up, you will find the book particularly interesting and insightful. You’ll likely be able to compare with your experiences with people in the religious order 🙂

  12. Number 3 struck me as in interesting variation on what I went through before I got married. I once made a list of all the things I wanted in my partner: characteristics, qualities and even physical traits. That list had MORE than 170 items. (I know, right?) As you might have guessed, the years kept rolling by without anyone fitting the bill. I finally realized it is not about looking for perfection in others; if I wanted to have a great soulmate, I had to be a great soulmate. I made the conscious decision to improve myself. I was (and still am) far from perfect, but God is kind and within a year of that decision, God led me to the man who is perfect for me. 😀

    1. Hey Jammie – many of Tiziana’s insights resonated with me, including #3. Only 170 – wow, Bjorn probably fit 220 of the 170? hahah That is pretty funny – I wonder if you have the list and can compare with Bjorn. kidding!

      This line is priceless – If I want to have a great soulmate, I had to be a great soulmate! Why is it sometimes, many times, much of the work that needs to be done has little to do with the external world but simply within ourselves!

      Yes, indeed God has been kind to you – it’s like hitting the lottery with your other half. Thanks for your adding to the convo and congratulations! With Bjorn in your life, you can (both) focus on him self-improving now, instead of yourself. haha

  13. Congrats Cathy over at Treatment Talk on winning a free copy of the book. Cathy, I’ll be in touch and get your address 🙂 Enjoy!

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