"When I first joined Vedika's Spiritual Studies Program in 2014, I wasn't entirely sure what I was signing up for. I had a vague notion that this course would focus more on one's "mental health" as opposed to "physical health." I remember Acharya Shunya-ji expressing that, for many of her students, despite having a vast knowledge of healthy cooking skills, herbs, yoga asana, etc., still experienced a deep suffering that held them back.
In my own life, I recognized this. I had dedicated my adult life to studying and exploring "wellness"on a personal and professional level. I ate healthy, exercised regularly, and had even begun a meditation practice. I tried therapy and I coached others. But despite my passion and dedication to living better and feeling better, I still felt stuck. At times, I felt beholden to my emotions or state of mind. I would have bouts of depression, anxiety, and irritability and didn't know what to do about it. 'How exactly does one "process"? What does that mean?' I asked myself many times. I felt as though I needed an excavation of my psyche - I wanted someone to go in and remove the negative energy that was dwelling there to reveal the joyful self that wanted to shine through.
The Spiritual Studies Program helped me do just that. It wasn't a "magic bullet," and I don't feel cured of all the ills of the world, but I did find a way to deal with difficulties that have come and difficulties that will inevitably come again. Vedanta and the Yoga Sutras have provided me with the knowledge to understand and contemplate the joyful, peaceful self that I know resides within me. It has given me a framework of how to cultivate this true self and cut through the negativity that covers it up.
In the two years since my spiritual studies began, I feel far more balanced, at ease, and confident in myself. I am more in control of my emotions and my state of mind and I know what to do to pull myself out of a rut. My feelings or states of mind aren't such a mystery anymore and I have practical tools to deal with it. And best of all, I do not identify so strongly with my external world. I now have a lens that allows me to look at the world and let go of what used to hold me back. I am only starting my journey but I can say I feel far more free than I did before I began it. "