Article by Annelies van't Westeinde
For as long as I can remember, the big questions of life have dominated my thoughts – who am I, where do I come from, where am I going? Being a rational person, I turned to the brain for all the answers. Studying cognitive neuroscience made it all seem so logical; everything could be explained just by looking at how our brain operates. A meditative state was just a result of our brain shifting to a different frequency, which made you feel calm and had nothing to do with God whatsoever. And everyone who thought differently was plain silly! Yet, deep down somewhere in my heart, I always felt there was a tiny flame burning, waiting to be awakened, waiting for me to change my mind. This shift in thought, however, was a long way off and it took many struggles and adversities in my life before I finally reached out to that little flame.
About this time my father died, and I was overcome by an intense longing to go Home. The Universe responded – in my case, it was my mum (mums are great!), who suggested that I go on a yoga retreat. There I caught the first glimpse of my connection with the Universe and my journey Home began. However, a combination of science indoctrination, my stubborn nature and a lack of confidence made it very hard for me to continue my practice on my own. It was time to reach out and say, “I can’t do this on my own, I really need some help!”. Lo and behold, I found Heartfulness meditation one week later for which I am eternally grateful.
My yoga teacher says that the first awakening is an act of grace and so it is immensely fulfilling that with Heartfulness meditation this grace is ever-present. I am still a neuroscientist and have many more questions, but my mind has opened up and I am increasingly made aware of both the limitations of science as well as its potentiality to help our understanding of the Infinite. And of course, in addition to pursuing my quest for understanding, I am learning to create a loving and peaceful existence.