My name is Eisha Chopra and I am an actor and a writer. I was raised by a strong set of parents who always taught me that small things or happenings shouldn’t deter you from showing up to what you’re supposed to. This made me think that no matter what happens to me, I have to do my best and be strong. I realised that for most of my early 20s, there was so much stuff going on that I wasn’t even aware of because I was more concerned with keeping it together. I didn’t want to be like all the other people around me who were breaking down. And in the process I didn’t realise I was having breakdowns of my own.
I was about 23 when I got diagnosed with a slipped disc and I had no idea why that happened, as there were no accidents and I hadn’t worked out extra hard in the gym. I spent over six months on bed rest with excruciating physical pain. When I got the MRI, the technician told me that what I was experiencing was a delayed reaction and that it had just started to hurt now. I don’t think that I digested that news properly. I just decided that I have got to be strong.
Finding answers to my questions
So, I powered through. And when you are powering through something and you’re not actually paying attention to the issue that you have, it starts to manifest in your body. I finally became aware of this when I got on a more spiritual path. I learnt something called EFD or Emotional Freedom Technique. I started to meditate. And when you’re doing that and when you’re in a heightened state, you become more aware of what is happening in your body, and how your energy is moving. And then you have your answers.
That is when I realised that I was trying to cure my slipped disc with all the wrong methods. I was going to a doctor and consulting acupuncturists and physiotherapists, but I wasn’t getting any better. I realised that I had some unresolved emotions and when I started dealing with them, I actually began to heal.
What meditation taught me
A lot of people say that “I can’t meditate” or “I can’t get my mind to stop thinking”. But the thing about meditation is it is not about controlling your mind. It is about realising that you have no control. It is about surrendering to that. When you shut your eyes and sit in silence, more thoughts tend to come to your mind than in regular life. You have to accept that these thoughts will come and go.
The practise of meditation is not about shutting down those thoughts; instead it is about removing your emotional engagement towards those thoughts. So if a thought is coming to your mind, it’s fine. It is like a boat is passing by. You don’t need to get on it. Neither do you need to stop it from passing by.
When you go to the gym, you don’t expect to lose five kilos right away, so why we expect the same from meditation? It is not about going higher, it is about going deeper. Keep practising it like any other activity. You can let your thoughts wander and not try to control them and that’s enough for meditation. You could be sitting on a train or staring into space and you could be having a meditative moment there. Or you could be doing it while you’re cooking or while you’re working. I do it often when I am writing because that is when I am alone. It is a divine moment because that is when I feel the maximum amount of energy and awareness in me.
The road towards accepting myself and dealing with mental health
We are taught to cover our faces when we are crying, laughing, or indulging ourselves in any such private moment in order to hide it from the world. So in extreme moments of sadness and extreme moments of joy, we are made to feel ashamed. Everytime you actually believe in your emotions, you’re made to feel ashamed. You’re made to feel that it is something that you’re supposed to do in private when you’re alone.
My method to deal with mental health is to stop taking yourself so seriously. They’re just emotions and feelings and not who you are. Thoughts, emotions, and feelings are just products of our minds and we tend to take them very seriously and we tend to invest ourselves in them. If you’re feeling sad, then you think that you are the sadness. But you are so much more than that. You are so much more than just a random feeling or a passing thought. But the more attention you start giving to these things, the more you believe that that is who you are.
A little note for all
Don’t hold yourselves together all the time. You don’t need to be like steel. You don’t need to be solid. You don’t need to be anything. You just need to be open. You just need to realise that we are just a bunch of molecules that are frozen to be together to become this body. And every day, you’re shedding some cells that are becoming a part of something else. Nothing is created or destroyed. It is all the same and that is the order of the universe. So, why are we taking this so seriously? This is not to make anyone feel that healing is not important but it is just to make you everyone realise that you are so much more than just your emotions and your thoughts.