On Sep 1, 2010 at 15 minutes past midnight, I drove my car, fully loaded with the most essential of possessions and went onto Fort Huachuca, Az. Once on post, I promptly drove to the headquarters of the 40th Signal Battalion and signed my name on the very last military issued document that I would ever see again for the rest of my life. After six years of youth had been spent stateside, overseas and in combat, I was finally free; I was no longer government property and could, for the first time in my adult life, make decisions as a grown woman.
I got back into my car, cracked open an energy drink and prepared for the drive ahead. I had a long way to go to seize the freedom that I had now tasted. Three days later, I arrived in a small town in rural Iowa by the name of Fairfield, and in my time here I have learned what freedom of the self really means.
The population was around ten thousand people and as expected, there was a lot of corn. In fact there was so much corn, that I ended up renting a room on a farm that cultivated corn and soy. But what the innocent observer would not have realized about my living accommodations is that my house was built according to a very ancient, system of architecture based in India, called vastu and had begun to effect my life strongly just as other technologies of consciousness in this town had.
I was in Fairfield to attend a university called the Maharishi University of Management, because I thought here I would find the secret to happiness. Six months prior, as I was getting ready to make my exit from active duty life, as I was shedding the conditionings of the system that had become my family and my personality, I was at a loss in what direction of life I should go in. Many of my friends had started careers in high paying salaried positions contracting for the government and going back to Iraq and Afghanistan, and this seemed like the most logical and intelligent path to embark down. Many others chose to attend a university and pursue subjects like business and psychology . And many others simply did nothing and struggled with depression, ptsd and other behavioral issues. The one thing that they all had in common was that not one person was truly happy with their life. And as I thought about this more, I realized that not one person, that I knew in life, civilian or military, was truly happy.
Sure there were these transient moments of ecstasy and excitement, but nothing that stuck; nothing that was real. As I pondered on this, the conclusion I came to was that I was not fit to make any clear decisions for my life until I had established a good strong foundation within who I was. I contemplated on this and recalled a faint memory of the ancient writing on Delphi, the Greek oracle, which stated “Know Thyself.”
But how do you exactly go about finding yourself? I had traveled to over 18 countries in my life to include spending 15 months in the deserts of Iraq. I had left home at the age of 16 and been disowned by a family of East Indians, who in their rightful traditions had their own opinions on proper behavior for me and my generation. I had stitched myself back into the tapestry of my family and had a wonderful relationship with my siblings. I had engaged in healthy romantic relationships and refused to succumb to the pressure of getting married to a nice Indian boy, who was nice for the sole reason of his profession of being an engineer. I had no debt and bought my first home at the age of 24. I had completed 3 years of college by going online while working in the military full-time and having a very decorated career. I had accomplished a lot and should have felt on top of the world, but the thought that kept marching back to me was, that I did not know who I was and not a single decision in my life truly reflected my soul.
After mulching this in my mind, I decided the best thing for me to do was to go look for a nice cave in the Himalayas and find a guru there who would guide me. But then, how would I pay my mortgage? Who would look after my little sister? My real word responsibilities were too great to just leave behind. The best solution would be to find a guru and have my GI Bill fund that journey somehow, so I did what any capable twenty-something would do: I embraced the technology that had influenced a majority of my life and soul-searched on google. And it was there, that I discovered the only regionally accredited university in the entire world that accepted the Montgomery GI Bill and hinted of the vedas, meditation and spiritual insights. And it has been here, at MUM, that I have learned some of the biggest lessons in life, met not only one guru but have had lectures by many gurus (in the “teacher” sense of the word). It has been here that I have experienced the most purest moments of bliss and fallen in love with myself and been able to share that love with the world around me. It has has been in this small town of Iowa that I finally found a home with colorful residents from over 80 countries who all have had their own journeys that led them here, to a place that we call: heaven on earth.