Updated: Dec 10, 2020
When I restarted my practice in 2008, I again was making observations about how the practice impacted me, similar to how I approached meditation.
With meditation over the years, I experienced that when something opens up within and I feel more airflow within different parts of my body and being , my experience in the world and with other people tangibly change for the better. After years of observing inward opening through meditation, it became a clear that growth and expansiveness within directly translated to growth and expansiveness of my abilities, clarity, and opportunities.
But I didn't notice the same with Agnihotra. It felt good when I would practice and be in the presence of the fire, but I couldn't tell how it affected the rest of my life. I couldn't tell if it added anything beyond my meditation practice. Hence, I was more casual about my practice.
That all changed when I made a work trip in Jan. 2010. I made a trip to Dallas, TX to connect with two potential business partners (with whom I started a company and have been working with for more than 10 years now). I was excited because I felt a strong synergy with the two of them, and also felt that I could be contribute to the group. That meant a lot to me.
We had all spoken before and we planned the work trip to all meet in person and spend the week together having meetings to create opportunities.
I decided not to bring my Agnihotra set but focus on meditation while down there.
Things started off great. I felt a very strong team dynamic, our skill sets complemented each other, and we became genuine friends.
But in the middle of the week on a Wednesday, I noticed myself start to feel a little off. It carried over that afternoon to a meeting I was leading to land a potential client. I remember from almost out of nowhere, my confidence left me. I felt overpowered and lost control of the meeting.
We didn’t land the client and I felt I let the team down, that I didn't pull my weight. I meditated later that evening to see if I could shake the feeling, but it didn't change. I put in longer meditation sessions throughout the week, but I felt myself slip into a deeper state of negativity, feeling off, and uncomfortable in my own skin.
It was a familiar feeling, because it was similar to a deep depression I had felt in the mid 2000s. I thought I had grown past it years earlier, but I felt it creep back into my life, and my meditation wasn't helping.
Throughout the week I feeling of heaviness and being off continue to deepen and grow. I felt it affect my dynamic with my business partners.
At the end of the week when I flew back to Chicago, I was reflecting as to whether I could actually contribute to the team. It was a complete 180 turn from how I felt when I flew down at the beginning of the week.
When I was back in Chicago, the feeling stayed with me. I felt down and was in a state of depression. I was contemplating my life and the direction it would take if this feeling stayed with me, and how it would impact my working relationship with my business partners.
The next day I performed morning Agnihotra. When I made the morning offering, I noticed immediately that I felt a little better. I noted to myself that it was interesting to notice a slight shift, because I didn't expect to feel any change. Nonetheless, I still felt that heaviness and uncomfortableness still there.
When I performed evening Agnihotra that same day, I experienced something that forever changed the course of my life....