—by Paul Levy Chicago, IL

Throughout my teenage years and into my late 30’s, the undercurrent mood to my surface life was depression. It colored all my thoughts, speech and doings. I suspect that I was clinically depressed although I never visited a professional and so was never diagnosed or treated. I was also beleaguered by severe anger to the extent that it may actually have been a partial cause for the migraine headaches I suffered. On many days it was difficult even to get out of bed in the morning, although I always did. There was also an overwhelming and pervading confusion around “how to live.” In short, my inner life was one of anguish. My thoughts were sharp and wounding. There was the sense of being at the bottom of a deep, pitch-black abyss. It felt like the epitome of hopelessness. All this was my life on the inside, although on the outside, I was quite focused on completing my education and achieving my goals.  At the same time, I had an innate sense that there must be a deeper significance to life, something my spirit continued to search for.

In my late 30’s, I began meditating daily with Jagna (a teacher & student of Stuart’s), and attended intensives with Stuart. I quickly realized this practice was exceptional, as it had a profound effect on my inner life. I continued to practice devotedly.  After about 7 years Stuart made me a teacher.

For years, the only time I was completely free from mental pain was when actually meditating in class. Gradually, over nearly 20 years of frequent meditation practice, the depression and inner pain dissipated and at this point is resolved.  Nowadays, I am happy and enthusiastic. I rise in the morning eagerly looking forward to the day. Life is still difficult and always will be, that is the nature of life, but my mind is balanced, clear and able to process all that comes my way.

This technique of meditation, developed by Rudi and taught by Stuart has given me the tools with which to process life experience, whether good, bad, or neutral. And through it I have learned how to take Life on Its terms and be ok with that.