Table of Contents
As a child I believed that God existed, but He never took any particular form. My family is of Chinese background and we follow some Buddhist beliefs and traditions but not so strictly. Starting from when I was around 10 years of age, on and off I would try to speak with God, usually at night before sleeping to thank Him for looking after my family and ask Him to continue to look after us. Whenever I was in any sort of trouble or if I was close to meeting with some serious accident, I would remember God at those times.
2. Marital problems between my parents
At a young age my parents began having marital problems and often it would play out at home in front of us. I have two other sisters, but out of the three of us my mother would confide in me about the things my father did and said to her. It was disturbing for me to hear what she told me and I began to develop anger towards my father and was often depressed inside as there was nothing I could do to fix the situation.
My elementary school years were filled with visits to the school counsellor to help me deal with the situation at home. I started becoming emotionally attached to my teachers at school as I would find comfort in how they would be able to understand me and my situation in a manner that my peers could not. Despite having some support at school, the problems I felt inside were not resolved.
3. Teenage years
When I was around 15-16 years old, I felt that something started changing inside me. The depression I felt about my family situation turned into anger towards both of my parents. I was angry at my father for the double life he was living and I was angry at my mother for not doing anything about the situation, like filing for divorce. As my mother was always upset with my father, she would often take out her anger and stress on me and my sisters.
Around this time I started wearing all black, and used black nail polish. I made the decision to cut my long hair very short for the first time and dyed it various colours from green to blue to purple. At that time I also listened to a lot of heavy metal music like Slipknot and Godsmack with obscene lyrics and I often swore in my regular speech. I enjoyed watching horror movies and the more gruesome they were the more I wanted to watch them. I started having thoughts and desires to pierce my eyebrow, lip, etc. and to tattoo my body.
There were also times when I would feel intense anger for no particular reason but I would feel like screaming or punching the wall. I also became very emotional easily during these years. My friends and family at the time would be confused because it was like there was a new side of my personality that sprung up suddenly.
I struggled with realizing and finding out who I was as a person and felt unsettled inside in pursing various interests. This made me constantly feel restless inside. Later I realized that only Spirituality can help us realize who we truly are.
4. Becoming interested in Spirituality
I started taking more interest in Spirituality after starting University in 2008. I began taking many classes in Anthropology and was most curious to learn about the various belief systems and religions of different cultures around the world as well as their knowledge about the spiritual dimension.
Around this time I also began working at an outdoor recreation and camping store where I became friends with two people (who later became seekers of SSRF). I felt instantly connected with both of them as we would often speak about various topics of Spirituality. After work or on weekends I would often go to their house to talk about Spirituality and they would show me the various books they had on spirituality and spiritual healing.
5. Starting spiritual practice with SSRF
In 2009 my two friends from work planned a trip to visit Goa, India and asked me to look after their house while they were away. When they travelled to India they unexpectedly ended up staying at the SSRF Research centre and started their spiritual practice there.
During those few months while they were away, we started having some experiences in my family home with some negative entity. My aunt, younger sister and I were able to perceive the presence of this negative entity and he would often do different things in the house to try to frighten us.
Not knowing what to do, I emailed my two friends who were at the SSRF Research centre to explain what was happening as they were the only friends I had who would understand and possibly offer us some guidance. They forwarded me the link to the SSRF website and instructed us to begin chanting “Shri Gurudev Datta“. While reading the website for the first time, I remember feeling like everything that I was reading was the Truth and never was there a doubt about what was written in any of these articles.
On the first day I started doing the Datta chant, that same night I had a vivid experience of sleep paralysis and a painful pressure pushing against my body. I had experienced sleep paralysis several times throughout my childhood, but this particular experience was the most extreme. Automatically the Datta chant started in my mind and after some time the sleep paralysis and pressure stopped. I began doing the Datta chant daily and experienced that whenever I was chanting this chant, the negative entity was not able to come near me and would stay farther away. This strengthened my faith that this chant was actually protecting me and I encouraged my family to do the same chant.
Anything that SSRF seekers guided me to do for chanting or spiritual healing remedies, I would try to make sincere efforts to put into practice and began to notice positive changes in my state of mind and well-being. I began to feel calmer in situations where normally I would have many racing thoughts or negative thoughts.
Soon my seeker friends returned from India and they shared with me everything that they learned in the SSRF Spiritual Research Centre and about spiritual practice. I would come to their house often for satsang I was very enthusiastic to come to their home for satsangs because each time I would experience a lot of positivity and I was eager to learn what else I could try to put into practice.
I also began attending the SSRF North America satsangs held over phone conferences each week and had several spiritual experiences that whenever I had some question in my mind it would automatically be answered by the satsang conductor or some other attendee would ask the same question. I would make sure every Friday night was open to attend this satsang and would decline invitations from my friends to go out with them as I experienced that the Chaitanya I received through this satsang would help me in my efforts in spiritual practice for that entire week.
We soon met a fourth seeker who lived in the same city as us who started his spiritual practice with SSRF and together we organized and conducted a series of public SSRF workshops in libraries as our satseva.
6. Learning how to handle and overcome Spiritual distress
After some time in spiritual practice, my guiding seeker explained to me that I have severe distress due to negative energies. She had told me this in the morning before I left for school, and I remember sitting in class realizing that being severely distressed means that I am possessed by a negative energy. It took some time for me to accept this, but once I accepted this fact then I was able to learn what this actually meant and what I needed to do to overcome the distress.
My teenage years began to make more sense as I realized that all of the tendencies and the reason why I felt like two different people was due to the negative entity that possessed me.
As I started increasing my spiritual practice and spiritual healing remedies, the negative entity possessing me began to manifest in physical movements or in a change of facial expressions. Often it happened when I was in satsang or in an environment that had more sattvikta. Thankfully God took care that this would only happen in the company of seekers and that my family and friends would never witness it as they would have probably got scared.
The distress also came in the form of many negative thoughts and thoughts of harming myself. For example while driving, often I would have the urge to turn the wheel to crash the car or I would visualize this happening before my eyes while driving. During these times, I would keep pleading to God to help me and to show me how to disregard these thoughts and urges. Even though these thoughts and urges were very strong, God never let anything bad happen to me.
In 2010, the SSRF January spiritual workshop at the SSRF Research Centre was broadcasted for some seekers around the world to watch over the internet. I remember whenever I tried to watch any of the workshop sessions, the distress was so much that I could not comprehend anything that was happening. During that week my stomach muscles would continuously convulse for the entire day. I still had to drive and attend school and I had so much fear about what others would think if they saw me making these uncontrollable movements. By God’s grace only, while I was sitting in class or if I was in the company of my family the uncontrollable contortions of my body would be reduced to some small movements. However, anytime I was alone again then they would be quite severe. From experiencing how the movements reduced when required, I realize that God must have been doing something that is beyond my understanding and so I accepted it.
Through these experiences, I started realizing that the severe distress was actually a blessing in disguise because through the distress, God was teaching me how to develop a fighting spirit, how to develop seriousness and independence in spiritual healing, acceptance of situations, and most importantly to develop faith in God that He is always taking care of me.
7. Coming to the SSRF Research Centre
In July 2011 I came to the SSRF Research Centre for the first time for the spiritual workshop. After this workshop I made the decision to stop my schooling and to do full time spiritual practice. I had completed my schooling up to certificate level so I could apply for a job in that field, but had originally planned to pursue a higher degree. I realized that so much time was being wasted going to school, in homework and assignments, and in reality my worldly status and this degree in schooling did not matter compared to the importance of spiritual practice. The time we have now for spiritual practice before the difficult times was very short.
By God’s Grace, I had the opportunity to come to the SSRF Research Centre several times to do spiritual practice between the years 2011-2014.
At the SSRF Research Centre I felt at home and at peace. I learned so much from all of the seekers who lived there and received so much help and guidance for my spiritual practice and spiritual progress. I made efforts to implement the 8 aspects of spiritual practice and concentrated on practising the Personality Defect Removal process. By being in the company of Saints continuously, this strengthened my conviction more that there is nothing else more important than living spiritually and doing spiritual practice.
During my first few visits to the SSRF Research centre, the distressing energy possessing me would often manifest violently. I participated in different subtle experiments in which the negative energy would manifest and contort in inhuman ways. These experiments allowed me to learn more about negative energies and how to differentiate myself from the possessing entity. The only thing that would calm these manifestations was making efforts to awaken spiritual emotion, chanting the Name of God and by making intense prayers to God. These experiences actually strengthened my faith that only God could save me from distress and negative energies and that is one of the reasons why they are conducted. The other reason is that negative energy distress decreases in the seeker after these subtle experiments as negative entities are forced to manifest and thus lose their black energy which helps the seeker.
8. Reaching 61% Spiritual Level
In March 2013 while I was staying at the SSRF Research Centre, it was announced that I had reached the spiritual level of 61%. I felt immense gratitude to God as it was only due to His Grace and His care that spiritual progress could happen despite the spiritual distress that I experienced. By trying to accept and take every situation and experience as spiritual practice God showed me how when we take one step towards God, He takes ten steps towards us. I felt grateful that through all of the seekers I was in touch with in SSRF, God guided and helped me to practice the 8 aspects of spiritual practice and to understand how to make efforts to overcome my defects and ego through the Personality defect removal process.
9. Current state
I don’t know where I would be had I not come into contact with SSRF and started spiritual practice with them. Only due to spiritual practice was I able to realize the true purpose of life and able to let go of the difficulties I faced. I am no longer confused about who I am because spiritual practice has made me realize that all of us are truly the Soul within.
My spiritual distress has reduced greatly and I am able to devote more time for spiritual practice and Satseva. I am indebted to God and SSRF for helping me overcome this spiritual distress that could have followed me throughout countless lifetimes. The calmness and peace that is felt inside through doing spiritual practice is something I see so many people striving for in society.
If I could share one thing with the readers of SSRF, it would be my sincere plea for them to start their spiritual practice today as there is nothing else in this world that can bring you peace and realization of who you really are. No matter how many ups and downs there are on the spiritual path, keep persevering with faith as the ultimate goal of reaching God is worth every moment of effort one puts in to be on this path.
– Mrs. Christie Leung (Mrs. Radha Mallick after marriage), Vancouver, Canada