Emotions @ Meditation - An Interview with Shruti Kakkar
“Emotional quotient is the very basis of our existence. This statement is inscrutable in today’s world. Emotions play havoc in our day to day lives and enslave us completely. Some are imprisoned in the four walls of depression while some are inflamed by their own temper. Some are controlled totally by their impulses while some are shackled tight to their fears. Each one of us is dominated by one emotion or the other.” says Shruti.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shruti Kakkar is a full-time homemaker, a doting wife, hands-on mother of two, and a loving and caring daughter-in-law. She left her corporate career as an advertising professional post marriage as she believes in giving her 100 % to whatever she chooses to take up in life. She has always strived for spiritual advancement which led her to explore the world of chakra healing. She is a certified Pranic Healer in physical and mental health.
This 137 pages book is like listening to a friend who's finally opening up to you and you're listening to her/him with a lump in your chest. As I was reading, I had so many things to say, so many words to weave. At the moment, I just cannot.
I'm swinging between "I can relate to you in so many ways, Shruti di" to "Can I?"
I don't know. Yet to figure out the complexity of emotions within.
I think this has to be one of the best book I read on emotions and meditation. And not only because it is so well written but also because it is so relatable. Some of us may not be suffering from depression on that level but we do feel bouts of sadness, loneliness, emotional turmoil, rejection, inferiority, helplessness etc. Life is not easy for any of us. Maybe easier for some than others but it doesn't mean there are people who are never sad. The book feels like a companion who understands every one of these feelings and helps overcome it. I'm so glad I read it during this pandemic because if life is depressing sometimes, it's probably worse during this pandemic. Reading it during this time made me feel I'm not alone and that someone understands. There were many quotable quotes and beautiful lines I could totally relate to. A short book but definitely worth anyone’s time.
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW :-
Q1) When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Shruti : Somehow I feel that this realization usually dawns upon people pretty late. I started writing very young, probably when I was 7 or 8 years old I think. My favorite activity was writing greeting cards for birthdays and anniversaries. Presenting a homemade card, with a few rhyming lines full of love and endearment used to be the highlight of my near and dear ones’ special day. Then I began creating lengthy poetries on the burning topics of the times , I remember writing a poem on “Kargil War’’ called ‘Our Soldiers-The Grenades.’ It was printed in the local newspaper and magazine.
Though I kept writing but never realized that it could be taken up as a career too. You see, what one is good at is always taken for granted, and mostly we used to look at careers as something one needs to struggle for. We feel choosing difficult path in life is the only way to achieve success and greatness. So at that time I felt writing was no struggle so it could not be my career. The height of my ignorance was such that even after studying mass communication; I chose to be into client servicing! I hated my job and after 3 miserable years, I put down my papers, least realizing that the right job for me was only one room away, in the same office, with the team of copy writers.
Q2) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Shruti : I love giving a humorous twist to even the most serious issues. Emotions@Meditation, is a very earnest and sincere effort towards making the practice of meditation simple or more acceptable, which is a serious affair, yet wherever and whenever I got a chance, I did complete justice to this quirk of mine!
Q3) Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?
Shruti : Yes I do hear from my readers in the form of book review. Most of them are of view that my book has removed their apprehensions about complexities of meditation. They feel that this is first such book that lucidly conveys exactly what a beginner requires to know. I feel blessed and humbled to live up to my own expectation from this book. It’s a cliché but true, that if even one person starts meditating after reading my book, it will be a job well done.
Q4) What kind of books inspired you as a writer? Who are your favorite authors?
Shruti : I am a very spiritually inclined person and so books like-
Autobiography of a Yogi – by Paramahansa Yogananda
If Truth Be Told – by Om Swami
Living With the Himalayan Masters – by Swami Ram
Siddhartha – by Hermann Hesse
Journey of the souls, Destiny of the souls – by Michael Newton
all the books of Brian Weiss, are few of the works that have really inspired me
I also love Paulo Coelho. He is a great story teller and an eccentric writer. His writings juxtaposes a subtle spiritual message, which nudges us almost negligibly. It will catch our eyes only if we are looking for it. Alchemist and Veronica Decides to Die are my all time favorites.
Q5) Tell me something about your book. Some highlights. How do you decide what to share and what to withhold?
Shruti : This book is basically a mission. As a writer/individual, if I know something good or have experienced something extraordinary, I try to share it with family, friends and strangers too, if possible. Somehow I feel almost obliged to help people make use of everything good that I know of. So when I experienced the benefits of meditation, how could I not share it with the world at large, and what better way to do it than publishing a book?
The highlight of my book is very simple. It simply depicts personal experiences, some interesting stories and some gripping anecdotes to prove my point, which is “Through meditation we can control our emotions and become the master of our lives.” Right now most of us are just obediently serving our sentiments and giving way to chaos. Also, there is a very clear message that meditation is everyone’s cup of tea. This idea is supported and backed by step wise, guided meditation provided at the end of each chapter. These meditations concentrate on one emotion at a time.
To answer your third question, I would say that withholding can be done only to a certain extent, if what you need to convey is in your experiences of life. But again, within these life instances one could calculate and take out the parts necessary to be communicated and withholding those that may not serve your purpose. It should be taken into care that no one is embarrassed or hurt at the end of the day.
Q6) What is the one message that you would like to convey to your readers?
Shruti : I would only request my readers to try meditating, do it for one whole week, only for ten to fifteen minutes each day, and then they might also want to start writing about their personal bliss.
“Let us not live life for the heck of it , let’s live it for the love of it”.
Q7) Tell me something about yourself and your background.
Shruti : I belong to the holy city of Prayagraj. My childhood was amazing. I lived in a joint family with uncles, aunts, grandparents and lots of cousins. All girls! There were eight of us and one or two friends were always over. Our home was like a girls’ hostel. I lived in a colony where everyone knew everyone. Festivals were celebrated with zest and zeal together by all the colony people. My background made me into what I am today. That is where I learnt sharing, loving and caring selflessly. Later in life I went through unbelievable turmoil and storms of emotions but nothing could take my basic goodness away from me. I think that’s what upbringing is all about.
Q8) How did you realize the importance of emotional intelligence? Can emotional intelligence be taught? What do you think?
Shruti : Well, I remember there was a time when we cared only for IQ. EQ was nowhere in the picture and then arrived the corporate culture. We learnt to want more, we learnt to go beyond our means, we learnt to feel the absence of material goods, we learnt to get envious, we learnt to get depressed when denied, we learnt to get devastated and that’s how we learnt the importance of emotional quotient. So many individuals in our country as well realized its significance I feel and that’s how psychology became an important subject and psychiatry, a profitable profession.
According to me, yes, emotional intelligence can be taught. If meditation is included in the curriculum of kids from an early age, gaining emotional intelligence is possible. Meditating regularly automatically takes care of our emotions. We sort of, start emoting optimally. There are no emotional outbursts leading to catastrophic effects.
Q9) What is the power of meditation and mindfulness? What has been your experience?
Shruti : The power of meditation is unlimited and ineffable. All I can say is that realized yogis have been able to discard their mortal bodies like clothes, at will. What could be more powerful than that?
As for me, I only know that earlier I used to just pass days and today I live. And that is reason enough to continue on this path. Two diseases that I have been able to conquer over, with just meditation were clinical depression and thyroid. I am told that thyroid is a lifelong ailment. Well, certainly not if we are meditating regularly.
Q10) Have you come to a point in your life where you accept that “peaceful” and “happy” do not necessarily have to coexist? Also, one of the benefits of getting older is that we slowly start not to give a damn about certain things that had a crippling effect on us when we were younger. What do you think?
Shruti : I feel that when we are happy we are definitely peaceful too but the opposite may not be true. That’s why yogis talk about everlasting joy and not peace. Imagine that you are very happy yet something is at the back of your mind which takes away your peace. Will you be happy then? On the contrary you may generally not be happy with your life but you may still be peaceful. There maybe someone you love the presence of whose gives you immense happiness but you always end up fighting ruining your peace of mind. When this person is away you may not feel happy but you could certainly be peaceful.
“Experiences in life can alter our personalities to the extent of 180 degrees!”
Coming to my age, I must inform you that 40 is the new 30 these days, but since you have already decided that I am old then let me think about what would I say had I been old.(just kidding) :P
On a serious note, I think with age we become more accepting and less demanding, which again comes with experience and maturity. But haven’t we seen many old people constantly complaining and demanding? Well, maturity comes not only with the growing age of a person but also with the growing age of a soul.
Q11) How would you describe your publishing experience with Notion Press?
Shruti : It was on the whole, good. It is a nice publication for debut authors as their publishing managers are extremely encouraging and helpful. The downside is that it is difficult to understand the worth of your book as they are with you only till the book is finally published. Beyond that, it is up to the author to promote his/her book totally on their own.
An established and more experienced publisher might know, with so much work and involvement in all sorts of books, the merit of a work and the possibility of it becoming the best seller and accordingly promote a book. This was missing there. Yet, it was over all a good experience.
Q12) What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Shruti : You have asked for one, I will give you two. One, my parents have always told me to be a good human first and the rest will follow. Two, the advice I give to my kids is that they should laugh a hearty laugh each day. A day gone without laughter is a day gone in vein.
Q13) If you could say one thing to the next generation, what would it be?
Shruti : It’s time to return to your roots.
Thank you all for reading and a big thanks to Shruti Kakkar for collaborating in today’s post!
It’s a pleasure!
If any of my readers here , wish to know more about the author or her writings. They can follow the links mentioned below :-
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/mehraykakkar/
NotionPress : https://notionpress.com/read/emotions-meditation