“From the point of view of someone who lives in Istanbul, it looks like a very courageous act to quit your job and shake the dust off your feet by claiming, “I want to transform my life!” before going to be trained in an ashram.

From the point of view of ashram people, though, it is such a normal thing to do, and everyone has a similar story. I thought I was doing such a huge thing, but when I changed my point of view, I saw it was nothing to make a fuss about. Instead of applying for an MBA to increase my leadership and management abilities, it was instead very meaningful to come to the ashram to experience the Gurukula system of training. Anyone who comes here can adapt the teachings into his or her lifestyle and make everything in life come true.

I prepared myself to experience a deep transformation within a short period of time, and I witness that change day by day as I become purified both physically and mentally. For example, my body and consciousness have been enhanced. I became aware of another world inside me. I observe the blood that circulates through my veins, my esophagus, the burning feeling on my skin upon eating something unhealthy, the strong parts of the body, and the parts that require more training, as well as the reasons for these imbalances. The more I understand how this mechanism operates, the more I know myself.

On the other hand, my consciousness has also been enhanced through meditation. I learned to define stress and not take it on. For example, the stress of a badly planned project getting close to the deadline can stay right over there. I have the choice to take it on, but I can also refuse it. I can determine it, and as long as I do not define myself according to that project and not depend on its result, stress will not affect me. Swami Ji talks about stress like this: “Yoga became more popular as people became more stressed. In the next 50 years, stress is even going to increase. This time meditation will become more important. Under his guidance, we meditate, and after a while, as I get used to his style, my practice also changes. In these practices, especially during meditation, I make sure there is enough space around me. If someone is close to me, I lose concentration.  One evening, I went to the lake near the ashram. Upon the trial of meditation, my mind started to elongate, just like a stretched out piece of chewing gum, from the past to the future. During this trial, I realized that the concentration of the mind is just like doing balancing asanas. The more you balance the mind, the more the body is balanced. In the following weeks of training, I gained another balance ability via meditation. The distinction between mind and heart gets so obvious one the “what if’s” and “if only’s” of the mind become weaker and weaker. I feel my blood being pumped by the heart. I reflect the voice of the heart in the sentences I write, and the love inside me grows and grows. A strong desire to hug the world arises within me.

Every morning, I wake up promptly at 5:12 AM, just before the bell rings. I then go to Kalyani and wake her up. Although it is advised not to talk, at least not much, just before meditation, I tease Kalyani a bit and she takes it full throttle. One morning when I woke up, I said, “Is it possible to get a feast-like breakfast in Seferihisar?” We imagined bagels being dipped in olive oil, tasty honey mixed with butter, and so on. One morning, we babbled about Sesame Street and sand, “I’m between, I am beeetween”, and then I continued, “My lucky number is six… because caterpillars never, never, never wear brown boots!” It is the crack of the dawn, 5.30 AM to be precise. Once we wake up, we can understand what kind of thoughts are running in our minds. Kalyani has a big stash of snacks in her bag. This is how I meet peanut butter once again. This beauty in the jar also becomes a part of my afterward journey. While Dhidam peels and eats fruits like a good girl, Kalyani dips the banana chips into peanut butter and offers them to me. Eating peanut butter becomes the day’s fun.

“The fear of death,” I ask Swamiji, “How do you think I can overcome it? Let’s say that I am okay with the fear of my own death, but what about fearing the death of my family?” He gives me such a sarcastic look and answers, The body is born, grows, gets old, and then decays. Don’t you realize that you will die? Do not be attached to your physical body, because one day you know it will be lost.” The answer is good in one sense, but it still lacks something for my feeling. “I know how to reach them when I am in my physical body; it is enough to get on a plane and be with them. But what if that person is not in that body, then how am I going to see her again?” He replies with an unexpected question, “What have you learned from them so far?” After a pause, the first thing I utter is “self-discipline and responsibility. He then concludes, “You will apply all those things in your own life and spread it to the world—this is the way you will connect with them.” After that talk, the knots disentangling inside me were indescribable. As tears washed my face, each knot loosened itself. I went through one more turning point in my life with a huge twist inside.

Before I tried to move away from Turkey, I would say, “Another place, another space…” But now I understand that everywhere is the same, so wherever I am, it does not matter. As long as I change internally, there will be an external difference. It therefore does not matter where I am, whether it’s Turkey, India, or the USA. The more I find liberation inside, the more similar everywhere becomes. Today, wherever I am, it is because I need to be there. I am there just to find the freedom inside me. Before coming here, I had a coded definition of a peaceful home filled with love. All of these prior definitions have now been turned upside-down. I find compassion and love irrespective of my social title and where I come from. In order to experience these feelings, I do not have any need to create four walls and call it home. All the things that I thought I knew are vanishing one by one. The more my point of view changes, the more my field of perception expands.  I break the ordinary once again.