Unconsciously waking up
GABBY BERNSTEIN shares with us something of her personal journey of transformation.
Q: How did you come to your meditation path?
GB: Meditation was a radical turning point in my life. I was blessed to be brought up in a home where meditation was the norm. I used to see my mother walk into her room, shut the door, and within a few minutes I would start to smell the incense coming out from underneath the door. And I would hear the mantra and just think, “What is going on in there?” And then in twenty minutes, she’d come out of the room completely transformed. She’d be calmer, she’d be more compassionate. She’d be more connected. And I used to think to myself, “I want that. I want to know what that is.”
Then by the time I was about sixteen years old I started to have a little bit of an existential crisis. I was struggling with why I was here and with feelings of depression and anxiety. I didn’t know how to handle it. So I turned to my mother and said, “I don’t know what to do, but I know you’ve got that thing and you go into your room, and maybe that could help me.” And she said, “Listen, that is the only solution.” So my mom sat me down on her meditation pillow and she taught me how to tune in, and she taught me her practice. At the time I was so desperate for a solution, for guidance, for relief.
Meditation was a radical
turning point in my life.
A few weeks into my meditation practice, I remember going up to a country house with a friend of mine, and when we arrived at the house I could feel this anxiety start to come on. I knew all my friends were arriving and I started to feel the anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to run home and hide, so I found this little corner of a room and I started just tuning in, turning inward, setting the intention to let go of the stories, letting go of thoughts.
Within moments of that redirect, I started to feel like this energy of love was wrapping around me. I started to feel like I was wrapped in a blanket of light. The depression lifted, the experience of this energy rush through me came in, and within moments I was new. I was feeling an energy that I had never known before and I loved it. I wanted it more and more and I would turn to my meditation pillow day after day to develop that relationship with my inner awareness. This was the greatest gift that had ever been given.
I started to feel like this energy of love
was wrapping around me …
and within moments I was new.
I was feeling an energy that
I had never known before and I loved it.
In my post-adolescence, I chose to take matters into my own hands. I went off to college and I started to forget about my meditation practice. I thought I could handle it, that I could do this on my own. I went out into my life, and for five years I abandoned my practice.
By the time I was twenty-five years old I was spiraling out. I had no more direction, and I had no more practice of tuning in. Without that I was walking around without an anchor. I became consumed with the stories of the world, consumed with fear. That doubt and that limitation led me down many dark paths. It led me down the path of addiction, workaholism and co-dependency. By the time I was twentyfive years old I was hitting the bottom. I had to surrender once again.
But thankfully, that seed of meditation had been planted. Thankfully, I knew there was only one place to turn; to turn inward. So I went right back to that practice, and I reconnected to that truth. And since that day, I’ve had a daily meditation practice for the last eleven years. I’ve been a committed, devoted, student and teacher of meditation.
Q: What was your experience of the Heartfulness meditation practice?
GB: I had the opportunity to experience Heartfulness meditation a week before the Heartfulness convention. I’m very thrilled to tell you that, while I was invited to come as a speaker, I think that actually God had a bigger invitation for me. I think the invitation was to learn a new practice. These lovely people came into my home and they sat with me and they held the space for me to sit for thirty minutes in a gorgeous, heart-centered meditation practice. In that practice I felt so much light and love and so much serenity.
So as I would normally do my own meditation practice with a mantra, for the last week I found myself turning to my heart. I realized I wasn’t just meant to speak at the convention, I was meant to be guided to this practice.
Q: Do you have the experience of people who have attended your live events who have shared how they have transformed from what you offer?
GB: Countless. I hear stories every day of people who feel the transmission of energy in the room when they come to an event or even through books. But when people come to me and say, “You’ve changed my life.” I say to them, “I did not change your life. I just told you a story, and you recognized yourself in that story.” Or, “I gave you a lesson and you used it.” So I give them the credit for their transformations. I may have been a guide along the way or an inspiration along the way, but I didn’t do it.
Q: As an active participant in this movement, how do you see consciousness shifting across the country and the world?
GB: Well, while there is so much terror and fear and destruction, there is also a big awakening. It is natural to have people wake up when they feel powerless and feel the need to have a voice in those powerless situations. I also think that there is an unconscious call that is waking us up to allow the practices and guidance that we need to come into our consciousness, so that we can actually take action and become participants in a meditation path. I think it is happening all around because there is a deep need. It is also because people are unconsciously waking up – unconsciously becoming conscious. It is the most life-changing thing to find your way onto a path of personal growth or a spiritual path. Nothing can be the same.
Q: What are some of the ways in your life you like to stay playful?
GB: That’s a great question. I have a lot of fun with social media. I find it to be a really creative way to express myself and to carry a message at the same time.
Q: Is there anything else you want to add?
GB: I just want people to be aware that I personally endorse Heartfulness. I think this is such a beautiful mission that you are on. I am so proud to be part of it with the conference. I mean it. When I met you guys, I thought, “Oh, this is great. Let’s get behind this!” It’s fantastic.
Interviewed by EMMA HAWLEY
November 01, 2017
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